SEO Email: Web Marketing Vendors / Digital Promotion Agency

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.

Read some simple explanations of some of the SEO terms used on this post…


This email came from Ely using an @webmarketingvendors.com email, although a reply came from Ray via an digitalpromotionagency.com email (and as we’ll see these two companies seem to be very related to each other)…

Hello, whyeaster.com

My name is Ely Johannes, and I’m an SEO Specialist.

I was on your website and found, there are many scopes of improvements in the designing and development part. This will improve the overall usability and user-friendliness of your website.

If you are interested I’d be happy to send you No Obligation Audit Report for your website, our package, pricing and past work details, if you’d like to assess our work.

We could lower that cost and not compromise on quality!

Hope to hear back from you soon.

Kind Regards
Ely Johannes! Business Development Manager

Note: Our pricing for fixing the issues would cost $299(one time).

I replied and got a reply from Ray.

Hello James,

Hope you are doing great.

Thank you for your interest in our services.

I am Ray [surname removed for privacy] , Ely’s Manager. I will be the point of contact for you and will answer all of your queries.

Let me first introduce our company.We (Digital Promotion Agency) are a complete Web Designing and Digital Marketing Company having 7+ years of experience with a large team of Google Certified Personals.

I was analyzing your website. Your website definitely has a good look and feel to it and has the potential to attract more potential customers however, there are certain issues that are affecting the online visibility of your website.

Please find attached the audit report of your website in this email.

After analyzing your website and discussing with our support manager, I have tailored the following plans for your website.

Please find the Plans below :

6 Months Plan @ 799

– Complete issue fixing of the website and making it SEO Friendly
– 15 competitive keywords promotion,
– SMO ( 10 monthly postings on Social Media Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.)

Yearly Plan @ 1199

– Complete issue fixing of the website and making it SEO Friendly
– 15 competitive keywords promotion,
– SMO ( 10 monthly postings on Social Media Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.)
– 2 Months Complementary services making the duration 14 months

Advantages :

1. Google and Other Search engines will be able to crawl all the web pages of your website

2. Improvement of the website rank and online Visibility

3. Increase of Traffic on the website, resulting in an increase in business

4. Improvement of the overall functionality of the website.

Guarantee:

80 % of the keywords will rank on the 1st page of Google and Bing.
Improved Performance of your website in the major search engines like: Google, Yahoo & Bing
Improvement in keyword ranking, traffic, link popularity and goal conversion.

NOTE :I would recommend you to go for the Yearly Subscription since you will save $400 right off the bat.

If it is possible on your account, I would love to get into a quick call with you to discuss this further.

Looking forward to establishing a healthy and long term business relationship with you.

Waiting for your response,

Best Regards

Ray [surname removed for privacy]
Business Consultant

So let’s see what their report says about my Easter site!


Their Report & Recommendations

The report/plan I received from them was in the form of a PDF. It contained 14 different ‘On-Site Issues and Suggestions’. Out of the 14 items, they say I have ‘issues’ with six of them. So let’s look and see if I really do…

5 Images missing Image Alt Tag Attribute – Need to add Image Alt Tags to the images
All of the images on the site have alt tags. Some of them are ’empty’ because that’s the correct things to do if the images are purely for visual decoration and so no alt text in needed. So this is WRONG.

Visitors sitemap – Need to add HTML Sitemap
Erm, I guessed Ray missed the link in the footer ON EVERY PAGE OF THE SITE to the site’s HTML sitemap… So, this is WRONG.

Google Search console/website crawl issues – Need to add Google Console
The site is listed on the Google Search Console, but it’s verified by a custom HTML file, not via an HTML tag on the site (which is a perfectly good way of doing it). This is WRONG.

Bing webmaster tool/website crawl issues – Need to Generate unique Website Code
As above, it’s on Bing and it’s also verified by a file. So, again, this is WRONG.

Google Analytics – Need to add Analytics Tool
There is an analytics tool on the site, but it’s run on the server which you can’t see as a user. This is because I value my user’s privacy. So this is WRONG.

7 Broken Links
Hmmm, I don’t know what broken link checker they used. I’ve checked the site on four different ones and there are NO broken links!

WOW – out of their 6 ‘issues’ ALL OF THEM ARE WRONG!!!


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…

Well this time we’ve got two sites to look at as both of the domains which Ely & Ray emailed me on have sites on them. We’ll start with the domain that Ely initially spammed me via.

His domain was: https://www.webmarketingvendors.com

And it’s for an SEO company (what are the chances?!)…

For HTML Validation, this site has: 28 Errors and 28 Warnings! (My site doesn’t have any…)

On Google Pagespeed this site gets:
Desktop: 49/100 (That’s pretty terrible…)
Mobile: 9/100 (That’s REALLY TERRIBLE!!!)

My site gets:
Desktop: 100/100
Mobile: 99/100 – so both considerably better using Google’s own speed testing tool!

Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, my site has a clean bill of health – this site has 24 accessibility errors and 24 alerts.

There is a huge number of ‘mixed content’ errors on the site (because their site is set-up properly to work over HTTPS/SSL), and also 404 ‘missing files’ errors. So it doesn’t look like they know how to set-up a site properly.

On the site, the text claims that the company ‘Web Marketing Vendors’ is based in the USA. However, the domain was registered in Bhubaneswar, India (where a large number of SEO spammers are based). The English on the site is really not very good and there are several phrases that native English speakers simply wouldn’t use. It also has a popup, which loads on every page, advertising a Halloween offer which finished nearly 4 months ago…

They do have a privacy policy page, but the wording is so meaningless that it’s basically useless. I present these two amazing sentences: Any touchy data gathered from the clients of the site is scrambled and transmitted to us in a secured way. Correspondingly, we additionally ensure your data logged off.

There’s an address in New Jersey listed on their site, but it’s for an apartment on a residential street on the outskirts of New York. They also have an address in a business district of Bhubaneswar, India (amazingly the same place the domain was registered!).

The time which Ely emailed me would have been the very early morning in New Jersey, but normal business hours in India!

And… in their site’s title and description they say they’re ‘the best in India’! Ermmmmm, hmmmmmm, yeah.


Let’s move onto the domain which Ray emailed me from: digitalpromotionagency.com – it’s also an SEO company.

For HTML Validation, this site has: 52 Errors and 14 Warnings! (One of the things they checked on their SEO audit report was HTML validation. Shame they’ve not got their own site sorted isn’t it…?!)

On Google Pagespeed this site gets:
Desktop: 79/100 (That’s not bad…)
Mobile: 31/100 (That’s not very good)

Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, my site has a clean bill of health – this site has 53 accessibility errors and 48 alerts – that’s pretty appalling…

Rather amazingly (not) this domain was registered by the came person/company – again in Bhubaneswar – and this time the site is also hosted in India.

However, this time they claim that the site/company is primarily based in California and ‘has offices in California, London and India’. But… also rather amazingly (again not really), they only list the TWO SAME ADDRESSES in both New Jersey and Bhubaneswar on their site that are on the webmarketingvendors.com!!!

But there’s more on the addresses!

On their Twitter account (which has ‘California’ in the user name), they say they’re based in New Jersey…

On their Facebook page, on the front ‘about’ section they list the New Jersey address, saying they’re in “Jersey City, New Jersey”, but in the ‘About’ page in their Facebook listing it says they’re based in California with offices in London and India as well… hmmm.

On their LinkedIn page say they’re based in Burbank, California and there’s an address in Burbank, one in London and one in Melbourne. The Burbank address is a normal house in a very residential area of Burbank. The London address is for a rental office facility in a VERY expensive part of London. And the office complex also offers ‘virtual offices’ where you can just use their address but not actually be there… The Melbourne address is a for another office complex where you can rent space and/or hotdesk (it too is in a rather expensive area!)

By the power of Google, I also found a ‘slideshare’ presentation by them. On this there’s an address in Los Angeles! Again it’s a rental office complex with ‘virtual offices’.

WOW – they seem to have a lot of different addresses!

But it actually gets worse…

From the code I can tell that they’ve ‘stolen’ the site design from a commercial template site and then just filled it with their own information. The tags from a ‘site sucker’ (called “HTTrack Website Copier”) are still in the code on all the pages along with the URLs of the original demo site for the template where it came from!

Like with the ‘Web Marketing Vendors’ site there are some 404/missing file errors. In this case they come from the fact they’ve ‘borrowed’ the site’s files but not all of them copied over correctly (which can happen when you use a site copier)…

And remember they said I needed to fix the 5 missing alt tags? Well, 14 of the 53 accessibility issues on their site are because they’ve got 14 images on their home page with NO alt tags AT ALL – which is downright terrible. They also have an ’empty’ alt on their main logo. This is bad for two reasons. 1. it’s just bad SEO practice (these guys are an SEO company right?!). 2. As the logo is also a link to the home page (normal practice) it means that it’s currently a meaningless link to screen readers as they will have no idea where that link actually goes…

There’s no privacy policy on their site – which is in breach of GDPR.

They have some reviews on the their home page – and these seem to have the correct photos and sensible companies. However, there’s a ‘Reviews’ page and I suspect that ALL the photos on that page have come from: https://randomuser.me/photos where you can get random user images taken from social media profiles. The picture sizes and number systems seem to fit with this – and several of the name & photo combination on the ‘Reviews’ page just don’t make sense, such as a young woman called “Randy Burma”.

And I’m not convinced that any of the reviews on the reviews page are genuine. All the companies have single names which are all very ‘buzzwordy’; such as ‘Grovidex’ and ‘Whollex’. From a quick Google, out of the 12 reviews/companies, I can only find one which relates to a ‘real’ company (several of the company names have NO results of Google at all).

The only ‘real’ company with the same name as one of the ones on the ‘Digital Promotion Agency’ reviews page is a maker of industrial vacuum cleaners. Their site is very slick and was made by a web company in the same town where the company is based (in Minnesota, USA). So I suspect that, in this one case, ‘Digital Promotion Agency’ happened upon a random name which actually to belong to a real company…

So at best they seem to be just using photos of people without their permission (which is really not good) and at worst they’re also making up reviews saying how great they are…! (And, like the content of both of the sites, the English used in these reviews uses some very odd turns of phrase.)

Also, in his email, Ray said that “We (Digital Promotion Agency) are a complete Web Designing and Digital Marketing Company having 7+ years of experience” but the digitalpromotionagency.com domain was only registered in October 2014 – that’s only 5 years and 4 months ago! (And webmarketingvendors.com was registered in February 2014.)

Ray’s email also “Guaranteed” that “80% of the keywords will rank on the 1st page of Google and Bing”. BUT Google says…

Beware of SEO companies that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google.

from Google’s “Do you need an SEO?”

On one site were people can leave reviews, in their listing they claim “we are rewarded as the Best Digital Promotion Agency in California since 2015”. Only I can’t find any awards like that which have ever existed!

And on ‘Trustpilot’ (about the best of the review sites) as I type there are currently two reviews for them. One is a 1* review and says “***Spammers***” and a 5* review WHICH IS FROM THEMSELVES ABOUT THEMSELVES SAYING HOW GREAT THEY ARE!!!


Conclusion

In this two for one special (aka a BOGOF, which seems appropriate in this case…) sadly both companies seem to leave a lot to be desired.

NONE of the ‘issues’ which they said my site had were correct.

Both of their sites have numerous HTML and accessibility issues.

The main brand ‘Digital Promotion Agency’ looks like it has ‘borrowed’ its site design/code from a commercial market place and it also might well have reviews on it from non-existent companies.

It also seems to have numerous address around the world, although I suspect that the only one with real people in it is in Bhubaneswar, India.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have no issues with Indian based web companies; but I do have issues with any company that flat out lies!

If you get an email from either an @webmarketingvendors.com or and @digitalpromotionagency.com email address, the delete button might be your best option.

But as ever, the choice is yours…

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