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.
Just over a year ago, I started this series looking at SEO spamming emails with a post looking at what Weboptimizes/Qtonix said about my Christmas site. Well… I still get SEO spam from them (pretty much weekly!). So I thought it would be fun (yes I’m sad…) to reply to their spam a year later and see if their ‘report’ was any better. (Short answer, it’s not; it’s basically the same terribleness that it was a year ago; for the longer answer – read on!)
This time the spam email came from a Louis who was using an @weboptimizes.com email, although in subsequent replies he talked about using their main site qtonix.com and copied in Ellie with a qtonix.com email. (weboptimizes.com isn’t a real site). [Edit November 2021: it now appears that they’re also using the domain smartwebexpert.com to spam people.]
The email was a bit different to last year’s one, although I still get spam from weboptimizes with the identical email copy from last year…
Dear whychristmas.com Team,
Is your website truly effective in reaching its audience?
Which is why I propose to SEO optimize your website whychristmas.com , so it could capture the attention of its customers.. In its targeted geography and demography.
My research on whychristmas.com suggests that though the website sees some organic traffic here and there, these numbers could be significantly increased. Because
A. There are certain high volume keywords that you are NOT yet optimized for, and
B. Your Social Media presence could use a few makeovers suited to the current times.
Basically it means, to optimize you for the high volume key-terms related to- whychristmas.com
Where I will-
1. Publish rich content through your social media channels, namely Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram & Google+
2. use Videos effectively through YouTube & Video
3. Promote your site through relevant Blog Networks, Forums & Review based sites.
I guarantee a drastic increase in website traffic and your search rankings once I perform these tasks.
Christmas day sale !! Get up to 20% Off on all SEO and Website design Plans
Are you interested in this? If yes, please allow me to send you a no obligation audit report and quote.
Hoping to hear from you and form a partnership ahead. Also, if this is not the correct contact, could you please pass this to the right person at your Organization?
Louis Parker l Search Marketing Specialist
So I replied to Louis. But I thought I’d ask him some questions as well…
It sounds like you think you can do a lot for my site. I would be interested to see what your report says! Why do you think my site needs your help? And out of interest, how nay visitors do you think my site is getting at the moment?
and I got this reply…
Thank you for responding back to me. I truly appreciate your time.
I got your question. I have gone through a deep dive analysis once I receive your email and prepared an analysis report consisting of on-page, onsite, social media activities factors for your review to better understand my approach.
Q – I would be interested to see what your report says!
A – Please, take a look at the report attached to this email for your reference and review.
Q – Why do you think my site needs your help?
A – It’s always better to keep the site under professional surveillance so that in future any major or minor issue arises you must be aware of & well-connected with a premier company to get it done for you immediately.
Q – And out of interest, how many visitors do you think my site is getting at the moment?
A – You have good customer engagement locally and internationally to some extent. You have 95.27% desktop users & 22.1% mobile users via the site. Nowadays, people are using smartphones, majorly to use any website, account, etc. So, my suggestion would be to;
Increase mobile users and start MOBILE SEO OPTIMIZATION which can help the site increase the number of customers.
Promote the site via social media to get more filtered customers and the best way to reach out to the customer directly understanding their views, requirements & discounts you have in the future. Set up an organic social media campaign and get promoted digitally and reach out to LIVE customers.
That was an interesting reply – and Louis also seems to have misunderstood one question (and also seems to think I can get 117.37% visitors on the site – which is interesting as well…). Anyway, I replied asking for a proper answer to my question… (Ellie also wanted to connect via Skype, which I declined.)
Hi Louis and Ellie,
I’ll review this and get back to you. However, I think you’ve mis-understood one of my questions… I asked “how many visitors do you think my site is getting at the moment?” not “what percentage of people do you think are using desktops/tablets and mobiles?”
Please can you answer my question?
ps, I don’t talk to people on Skype unless I know them – sorry.
And… I got another reply…
Thank you for your quick response,
I have tried to be very specific while answering. Anyways, based on the measuring tool we have I can’t be able to give you an exact figure but approximately it’s current: 2.1M (total for November 2019) Previous: 247.3K (total for October 2019), Unique customers: Current: 1.2M (total for November 2019) Previous: 219.1K (total for October 2019). Overall I can say, it’s nearly 2.1Million (approx).
But if you can give us access to your Google Analytics (if you’re an existing user) then, maybe I can give you an exact number of customers/visitors flowing in.
For any questions or concerns, please let me know. I’ll be right there.
Looking forward to hearing from you;
Interestingly, they got the number more or less correct. My Christmas site (www.whychristmas.com) does indeed get MILLIONS of visits – especially during November and December; and it’s #1 on the whole of Google for a huge number of Christmas searches. However, they still seem to think that the site needs a lot of work…
Their Report & Recommendations
The report/audit I received from them was a PDF file and looked very thorough. It was basically identical to the one from last year – including having lots of the same mis-information, scare tactics and out of date information.
Like last year’s report it was broken into different sections: “On Site Factors”, “On Page Factors”, “Off Page Factors” and “Social Media Factors”.
Then in each section there are different ‘factors’ which are given a rating of “Very Good”, “Good” or “Not Good.”
In the “On Site Factors” section there are six factors and my site ‘Not Good’ in two of them…
In the “On Page Factors” section there are 14 factors and my site ‘Not Good’ in seven of them…
In the “Off Page Factors” section there are 5 factors and my site ‘Not Good’ in all five of them… (Oh no! Well, actually not ‘oh no’, as we’ll see later!)
And in the “Social Media Factors” section there are 4 factors and my site ‘Not Good’ in three of them…
So according to Qtonix, out of the 29 factors, my site is ‘Not Good’ in 17 of them.
But let’s look at all those 17 ‘Not Good’ factors and see just how not good they actually are…!
Reverse IP – they say that 509 other sites are hosted on the same IP as my site and that’s bad for SEO. This is an SEO myth and MIS-INFORMATION. (https://www.seoblog.com/2017/09/dedicated-address-improve-rankings/)
Page Indexed by Google – They say that the 317 pages which Google says is not enough and bad for SEO. Well… the site has about 300 pages, so it is what it is. Having a large number of pages can be a factor but just having a few pages certainly DOES NOT adversely affect SEO, so this is more MIS-INFORMATION. (Oh and their site has 46 pages listed on Google, so erm, yeah.)
Title Relevancy – They say the ‘title’ tag of the site is wrong. The site is about Christmas and the word Christmas is in the title five times – I’d say that was pretty relevant. So this is WRONG.
Keywords – They say there’s not enough Christmas type keywords in the text on the site. See above – this is WRONG.
Duplicate Content – They say there’s duplicate content on the site – there isn’t. This is WRONG.
Image Alt Tags – They say there’s missing alt tags and this is bad for SEO. That is partially correct. Having good alt tags are important – IF having content in alt tags in required. The ’empty’ alts on my site are there because it’s appropriate (and actually correct) to have empty alt tags. So this is WRONG.
Broken Links – They say there are three broken links. There’s one. It’s for sharing via WhatsApp (which you can’t do on desktops). So in this case, this is WRONG.
HTML Sitemap – They say there isn’t a web page sitemap on the site. There is. It’s linked to in the footer on EVERY PAGE. So… this is WRONG.
Breadcrumbs – They say my site ‘needs’ breadcrumbs to be good for SEO. Hmmm, breadcrumbs can help SEO and usability in some circumstances. However, to simply state it’s a ‘must’ for SEO is wrong and MIS-INFORMATION.
Link Popularity/ Backlink – They say I have 380,000 backlinks on Google and 2 on Bing. And this is ‘Not Good’. 380,000 = not good – WHAT?! When I do a test on Bing it gives 19 results. But testing backlinks via Bing itself isn’t reliable – just like their whole report! Anyway, saying I’ve got ‘not good’ backlinks is WRONG. (Oh and their site has 46 backlinks on Google…)
DMOZ Directory and Yahoo Directory Listings – These are two errors but I’m combining them as one. They say it’s bad that my site is not listed the two directories. Well, considering that DMOZ closed in March 2017 (so two and a half years ago) and the Yahoo Directory closed in December 2014 (so FIVE years ago), I’d really love to know how they’d expect my site to be listed on them (and when the directories where open, my site was listed on them…). So these two are OUTDATED (and wrong).
Yahoo Business and Google Places – Again two errors which I’m listing as one. They say it’s bad that my site isn’t listed in these two ‘local business’ directories. Well, if you have spent more than 30 seconds on the site, it would be VERY obvious that it is not a ‘local business’. So there is no reason whatsoever that my site should be listed in them! So these two errors are VERY WRONG.
Facebook and Twitter – Again two errors one listing here. They say it’s bad they the site isn’t on these two platforms. Well, they are. There are BIG links to them in the footer on the site ON EVERY PAGE. So (yet) again two VERY WRONG errors.
Google+ – They say it’s bad the site isn’t listed on Google+. This is like DMOZ and Yahoo – Google+ closed in April 2019 (so eight months ago). Again, I’d love to know how my site is meant to be listed on there (oh and they also said they’d also promote the site via Google+ as part of their service – I’d also love to know how they’d do that…). So again this is OUTDATED (and wrong).
So out of the 17 errors, three are outdated, three are mis-information and all the rest are wrong. Oh. Dear.
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://www.qtonix.com
Let’s see if their site has improved in the last year…
For HTML Validation, last year their site got: 3 errors & 21 warnings – this year there aren’t any – yay go them! (But sadly this is where the good news finishes.)
On Google Pagespeed latest year their site got:
Mobile: 18/100 (THAT’S TERRIBLE!!!)
This year it’s 40/100 and 22/100 – so overall the same but worse on desktops… (Oh and my site has been 100/100 and 99/100 both years.)
My site gets:
Mobile: 98/100 – so both considerably better using Google’s own speed testing tool!
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, my site has got a clean bill of health for the last two years. Last year their site wouldn’t even load in the tool. This year it would load but there are 6 errors, 25 alerts and 44 contrast errors. Oops.
A year on, sadly weboptimizes/Qtonix are just as bad (if not worse) than they were last year (as several of there ‘errors’ are another year out of date!) And remember they also claim that my site is getting 117.37% of possible visitors. That’s some amazing maths right there.
But I’ll leave the rest of this conclusion to be the same as it was this time last year:
I certainly wouldn’t use the services of weboptimizes/Qtonix. The report/audit they sent for my site isn’t worth the bit of paper you would print it on!
Qtonix also trade as ‘SEO Company USA’ although they’re head office is actually based in Bhubaneswar, India (like Skylite Web). I have nothing against Indian based companies. But claiming you’re a big US based company, when you’re not, is another reason to take anything they say with a very large pinch of salt…
The choice is yours, but if one of the seemingly many people from weboptimizes.com emails you, the delete button might be your friend.