This is one in a series of posts reviewing and looking at how some of the SEO companies which use bulk emails/spam with ‘we can help your terrible site’ type emails really can (and actually mostly can’t!) help your site.
This email came from a David who was using a very random gmail.com email, although subsequent replies came from a different intelisparkz type gmail address – and none of them were ‘signed’, so it might not have been ‘David’ who I was dealing with…
Here’s the initial email from David:
We offer you the possibility to develop your business with very limited costs, simply by defining and integrating an online strategy for you.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) allows you to increase your visibility on Google at no cost. We will assist you choose the most adapted keywords for your business and we will build for you an online strategy to easily and quickly develop your online visibility.
We will at that point improve your site to be sure that you stand apart on these keywords.
I look forward to connecting with you.
This SEO spam was for my big Christmas information site (www.whychristmas.com). During each December it gets millions and millions of visits and is #1 on the whole of Google for a huge number of Christmas searches – so any SEO advice about the site is always ‘interesting’…
Anyway, I replied to David, and got the following reply:
Thanks for your reply. I visit your website and see that you are a great lover of Christmas festive and you want to share Christmas information to reach a particular audience & also willing to generates leads in terms of selling Christmas items. But unfortunately, you are not getting according to your focus behind to create the website., because your website is not to search engine friendly, your websites look and feel is so confusing for first-time visitors. For that, you lose your visitors. you are not able to track your visitors.
I found that you are willing to generate leads. so that you can help them with that basis and full fill your goal.
Solutions mentioned below:
you need to redesign & develop your sites using animated and graphic.
your websites all pages are static you need to create dynamically. so that you manage easily your content.
your website’s engagement is very low in terms of generates leads.
If you are willing to sell your Christmas items to gain more leads, then I will provide you SEO solutions. To track visitors and generates more leads.
Let’s say I found David’s email ‘interesting’ as it was rather critical, so I thought I’d ask him more about what he thought was wrong with it…
Wow, you really don’t think my site is very good do you?
What’s wrong the the design? There’s already animated elements on the site! (Try mousing over the navigation…)
Why do you say it’s confusing?
How can you tell that my site’s engagement is low?
Why do you say my site isn’t search engine friendly?
And that got me this reply:
Yes, of course, your site is not good according to website structure standard for example ( no header section, menu not properly distinguish, if you move your mouse then someone distinguishes.) whether it is animated or not but It looks like a blog.
Your website was built with a purpose in mind. That might be attracting new clients, selling a product, promoting a service or maybe it’s a news or informatic site that relies on visitors and ad impressions. The point here is that when a new visitor lands on your site, there is something you’d like them to do. If they leave your site without taking your desired action, you’ve wasted your opportunity. That’s why simply focusing on traffic numbers is such a waste of time.
What really matters is how engaged your visitors are with your website. Are they sticking around long enough to take your desired action?
Design for your audience – missing
how to interact with your visitors?- missing
Define your interest in terms of generating leads – missing
Make your site easy to navigate – some of the strategies are missing
One thing is very good in terms of content on your website but it needs to check whether it’s duplicated or not.
In terms of search engine friendly – Make your URLs user-friendly, fixing redirection issue, canonical issue. If I go through the total analysis part then it may be more error founds.
This was another ‘interesting’ email which arrived in a number of different fonts and sizes/weights, etc. That got me rather suspicious. A quick Google showed that the two paras starting “your website was built…” were (badly) copied and pasted (i.e. stolen) from a post over on the Elegant Themes Blog!
And again, they’re REALLY not impressed with my site… So I thought I’d ask a few more questions as they seem to know so much about it.
Wow you seem to think you know a lot about my site! I would be very interested to see what your full analysis say…
As you seem to know lots about my site, how many visits do you think the site gets? And who do you think my audience is if I need to design the site for that?
And that got me this reply:
I am sending this attachment regarding your quires.
In terms of traffic I think you will be eligible to get 200 approximately per day.
In terms of Audience: The people who are most likely to donate & share certain characteristics such as amazon wish list for that you need to reach festive lovers, teachers, students, donner (anybody can!).
Some of the points you find in attachment some of the points already send you on previous mail. Please find the attachment that helps you on search engine friendly and website user-friendly for that you need website design & development.
Yet another ‘interesting’ email… Attached to this email was a Word document which said that lots of the pages on my site has various errors (although it didn’t say what pages or what the errors actually were) and also these following ‘Search Engine Friendly Errors’:
Content optimization error: – Your website violet the search engine guideline in terms of content optimization.
URL Structure error: – We’ve detected underscores in your URLs. Change underscores to hyphens to maximize your SEO.
Your page’s links and buttons are too small and/or too close to be easily clicked on a mobile device. The average fingertip area is 48 pixels in width and height. Tap targets should also be spaced enough so that a user’s finger pressing on one link or button does not inadvertently touch another one. The minimum required space between tap targets is 8 pixels on all sides.
Structuring data on your pages can help increase website traffic and improve audience engagement.
We didn’t detect any micro format items on your webpage. – Designed for humans first and machines second, micro formats use code (HTML/XHTML tags) originally intended for other purposes to add context to the content on a webpage. This helps machines (like Google!) to understand certain information (contact information, geographic coordinates, calendar events, etc.) intended for humans.
You are not able to measure a visitor’s activity on your website. Web analytics lets you measure visitor activity on your website.
In terms of donation you need to implement payment getaway.
Some of the facts that is very good in terms of Search engine friendly.
Their Report & Recommendations
One thing that stood out in the emails from Intelisparkz was their ‘frankness’ (I’ve never had SEO spammers be pretty much rude before) as well as the generally bad quality of spelling and grammar. If you’re going to tell someone how to fix their site, it helps to make a good impression first…
Anyway, let’s look at the various issues and errors that Intelisparkz say my site has and needs to sort out:
you need to redesign & develop your sites using animated and graphic. – Hmmm, well lots of the interactive elements on the site (such as navigation elements) have subtle animations on them. So this is WRONG.
your websites all pages are static you need to create dynamically. so that you manage easily your content. – Yes, this site is ‘static’. However, I can update it very easily and having it be static helps it also be REALLY fast loading. So again this is WRONG.
Your website’s engagement is very low in terms of generates leads. – They have NO way of knowing what my ‘leads’ are! Also this is an information site – it doesn’t sell anything and thus doesn’t actually need ‘leads’ on it anyway…! So again this is WRONG or if I’m generous INACCURATE.
If you are willing to sell your Christmas items to gain more leads, then I will provide you SEO solutions. To track visitors and generates more leads. – Had they bothered to read the About page (which is linked on the footer on every page on the site) they would have seen that my Christmas deliberately DOES NOT sell things – it’s one of the main points of the site!!! So again this is WRONG/INACCURATE.
your site is not good according to website structure standard for example ( no header section, menu not properly distinguish, if you move your mouse then someone distinguishes.) whether it is animated or not but It looks like a blog. – Erm, I don’t actually know where to start with this one. It’s got a pretty flipping obvious header and I’m not sure what a ‘blog’ looks like (and if it looked like a blog what would be so bad about that..?!). I’ll just say this is WRONG.
Design for your audience – missing – The site is primarily designed for children. It’s fun and easy to use. This is WRONG.
how to interact with your visitors?- missing – There’s a big [Contact] button on each page of the site and links to the site’s social accounts in the footer. I get 110s of emails a day through the site in December. So this is WRONG.
Define your interest in terms of generating leads – missing – The whole site is about Christmas. And again I don’t need’ leads’. So this is WRONG.
Make your site easy to navigate – some of the strategies are missing – I wonder what ‘strategies’ I’m missing?! Anyway the site is very easy to navigate! So again WRONG.
One thing is very good in terms of content on your website but it needs to check whether it’s duplicated or not. – Oh they like something! It isn’t duplicated so this is IRRELEVANT.
In terms of search engine friendly – Make your URLs user-friendly, fixing redirection issue, canonical issue. If I go through the total analysis part then it may be more error founds. – The urls are user-friendly, the redirects work fine and there are no canonical issues. This is WRONG (x3).
Content optimization error: – Your website violet the search engine guideline in terms of content optimization. – I take it they mean ‘violates’, only it doesn’t. The site is VERY search engine optimized. This is WRONG.
URL Structure error: – We’ve detected underscores in your URLs. Change underscores to hyphens to maximize your SEO. – OK, there are some underscores in some of the URLs. Now it’s thought that hyphens are better. But when I created the site back in 200, the reverse was thought to be the correct thing to do! And anyway many of the pages with underscores in the SEO are #1 on Google for their respective results out of several million results (or in the case of ‘the christmas story’ a couple of billion) so they can’t be hurting the SEO much…
Your page’s links and buttons are too small and/or too close to be easily clicked on a mobile device. – Well all the mobile testing I’ve done shows that the site is just fine on mobiles. This is WRONG.
Structuring data on your pages can help increase website traffic and improve audience engagement. We didn’t detect any micro format items on your webpage. – This is true, but there isn’t anywhere on my site where micro formats would be appropriate to use. So this is IRRELEVANT.
You are not able to measure a visitor’s activity on your website. Web analytics lets you measure visitor activity on your website. – Yes I am. But I do it in a privacy friendly way which you can’t tell from looking at the code on the site! (More on this below.) So this is WRONG.
In terms of donation you need to implement payment getaway. – On my ‘donation’ page – where people can donate to help to keep the site running, although I don’t advertise this anywhere as I don’t run the site for money, there’s a form which connects to my PayPal account. This is WRONG.
Some of the facts that is very good in terms of Search engine friendly. – I think that’s good right?!
So out of all the issues and errors which Intelisparkz says my site has, one (possibly) might be an issue (and from seeing how my pages rank, it actually isn’t).
But I think my favourite thing about these emails are when they say my site “will be eligible to get 200 approximately per day”. Well, I’m typing this on the 27th November and it had well over 57,000 unique site visitors YESTERDAY ALONE… And trust me, it gets A LOT busier during December (with sometimes have several thousand people using the site at once).
It’s really quite impressive just how wrong they are…
Looking at Their Site
With SEO spammers, I also like to look at their sites, to see if they practice what they preach (I mean would you trust a plumber who had leaking and rusty pipes all over their own house?!); and also to compare their site with a site they say they can help…
Their site is: https://intelisparkz.com
It’s so badly set-up that it has some very serious ‘redirection loop’ issues.
These mean that the HTML validator, Google’s PageSpeed, the GT Metrix and WebPageTest tools can’t even see the site to try and see how good the coding is or how fast the site is! (My site has no HTML errors and gets 1000/100 on Google’s PageSpeed tool.)
I managed to get a speed result using the Pingdom tool. It took over 10 seconds for the site to load and it’s over 6.5mb in size.
In comparison, my site loads in 431ms (so under 1/2 second) and is 309kb in size. So my site loads well over 20x faster and is over 20x smaller.
On the WebAim Wave accessibility testing tools their site has 40 errors ,50 alerts and 9 contrast errors. My site has 0 errors or alerts…
The ‘alt’ on their logo is ‘logo’. That’s TERRIBLE! It should be ‘Intelisparkz’. The ‘H1’ on their home page ‘Connect with our experts’ which is also pretty terrible!
There’s a ‘mixed content’ warning because the site isn’t set-up properly.
There’s no privacy page on their site – oh dear.
The ‘customer review’ on their site is actually a quote by Albert Einstein (I very much doubt he’s one of their clients)!
There are social links in the footer but none of them go anywhere! (Did I mention that their site isn’t set-up properly?!)
This has been one of the most astonishing dealings with SEO spammers. From their rather rude emails to their laughable suggestions for my site, I think all of the above really speaks for itself.
So if anyone from Intelisparkz gets in contact with you, you might want to make use of that button that says ‘Delete’ on it.
But the choice, as ever, is yours.