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 Zoya who was using an @icloud.com email, although a subsequent reply came from Sukanya who used a @successsensation.com email.
Here’s the initial email from Zoya:
I hope you’re doing well!
I am working with an India based Digital Marketing firm which is giving excellent results and top page ranking of various websites from last 12+ good years. Do you want your website to be ranked on Google’s first page?
I would love to share our full SEO package with plan and action that will help to increase the traffic | leads | sales | revenue from your website.
It would be great if you share the URL of your website so that I can come up with my best suggestions and according to the analysis I will suggest you our best SEO package.
Looking forward to hear from you.
Zoya [surname removed for privacy]
I’ve never had an SEO spammer ask me what site I want help with (normally the spam tells you that your site is terrible and really needs them to fix it for you), so that was a new one… So I asked Zoya what she thought about 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, here’s the reply from Sukanya:
Greetings of the day!
I am Sukanya, a Business Development Manager with Success Sensation Technologies. I got to know about your requirements from one of my Email marketing executive Zoya. From now I will be taking this conversation ahead.
Thank you very much for sharing your website. You have designed your website very well. The website looks amazing in terms of design but maintains top pages ranking over Google you need to follow certain SEO processes that will be as per the latest Google trends.
Let’s discuss the website first- https://www.whychristmas.com/.
I have reviewed your website https://www.whychristmas.com/ from the Search Engine Optimization perspective and found that your website is great in terms of design but not up-to the Google guidelines hence not doing great over major search engines.
1. It looks like your title tag is a little outside the ideal length. You need to work on title tags.
2. Keep the Meta Description short and to the point; the ideal meta description should contain between 70 and 160 characters – spaces included (600 – 940 pixels).
3. We found some broken links and also underscores in this URL on your website.
This is just on-page shortcomings. To maintain the top pages ranking of your website over Google you need to go with a certain on-going SEO process.
We will suggest you to first resolve some on-page shortcomings or missing factors and make your website 100% search engine friendly. Once the website becomes search engine friendly we will proceed with some off-page optimization process that will be an ongoing process.
We have designed Customized SEO packages to cater to different clients’ needs, based upon your web presence our Aggressive Package will be a great fit for you which includes 15 keywords optimization along with loads of other activities.
Regular pricing of Bronze Package is USD 180/ month, however, perceiving a long-lasting business relationship ahead I will be glad to offer you our Silver Package at a discounted pricing of USD 159/month.
I hope above-mentioned information shall help you understand our offering, please have a look and let me know your views so that we can take this forward in accordance.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Thanks & Regards,
Sukanya [surname removed for privacy]
Business Development Manager
Success Sensation Technologies Private Limited
Their Report & Recommendations
So let’s look, in some more details, at the ‘issues’ they say the site has… (I found it interesting that they could only find three to start with…)
It looks like your title tag is a little outside the ideal length. You need to work on title tags.
The ‘ideal’ title tag length is about 60 characters. You can have more than and it won’t ‘hurt’ your SEO, it’s just normally only the first 60 are shown on search engines. On my site’s home page the title tag is 104 characters. This is mainly due to Christmas being quite a long word! So it *could* be a bit shorter, but it being that long isn’t ‘hurting’ anything… (Oh and their home page title tag is 110 characters long!)
Keep the Meta Description short and to the point; the ideal meta description should contain between 70 and 160 characters – spaces included (600 – 940 pixels).
Yes, this is good advice – and the descriptions on my site follow this. So I’m not actually sure why they said it was an issue, because it’s not! My site’s home page description is 158 characters. (BUT their home meta description is 282 characters long… hmmmm!)
We found some broken links and also underscores in this URL on your website.
This appears to be two things in one! If you use an automated link checker, sometimes you can get ‘false positives’. This can happen on things like links to YouTube, where they stop ‘bots’ like link checkers from seeing if links are ok or not (to help stop their servers getting overloaded with hits). So I suspect they’ve used an auto ‘broken link checker’ tool, without then checking if the ‘broken links’ are really broken. (Running a broken link checker tool on their site – and then checking if things really are broken – there ARE LOTS of broken links on their site! They’re broken because they’re also linking to lots of files which simply don’t exist or haven’t been set to ‘read’ properly on the server.)
And, yes, there are some underscores in some of the URLs on my site. It’s now thought that hyphens in URLs are better. But when I created the site back in 2000, the reverse was thought to be the correct thing to do! And anyway many of the pages with underscores in them 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…
So out of the issues which Success Sensation says my site has, one (possibly) might be an issue (and from seeing how my pages rank, it actually isn’t). AND their own has much bigger (and real) ‘issues’ with pretty much all of the things they say my site does…
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: http://successsensation.com
Looking at the code on their site, it’s not great; with many ‘basic’ things just not set-up correctly.
On HTML validation, their site has 4 errors and 2 warnings. That’s actually pretty good (especially for SEO spammers!) and all of these are very simple to fix and are ‘basic’ things just not done right. My site has no issues or warnings.
On Google Pagespeed their site gets:
Desktop: 82/100 (That’s pretty good…)
Mobile: 44/100 (That’s not so good)
My site gets:
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 – their site has 8 accessibility errors and 11 alerts. (Again these are mostly simple/basic things just not done properly.)
This is a very new site & company. The domain was only registered back in August 2019 (just under 6 months at the time of typing).
There’s no SSL/HTTPS used on their site. For a site that’s less than six months old, there is really NO EXCUSE for not using SSL/HTTPS – it’s a basic ‘must have’ now on any new site.
The main logo is an ’empty’ link (meaning clicking on it doesn’t do anything, just like the privacy link) and it’s also got no alt text on the logo image – both of those are pretty basic things to do.
They have an email address in the site’s header, only it’s not a link – why not?! (Again, basic…)
There’s two meta ‘description’ tags on their home page – you should only have one. (And using an SEO checker tool, every page of their site either has multiple meta description tags and/or multiple ‘Heading 1s’ – neither are good things!)
With the two meta descriptions on their home page, one is empty (oops) and the other one (you know the one which is 282 characters long) implies that they ‘work’ in countries around the world. As does their site’s title tag, which is “Success sensation- Mobile app Development Company in German, Switzerland, Netherland, France, Denmark, and USA”
Only they’re not in all those countries. They’re in India! The footer of Sukanya’s email says they’re in Delhi, India. Their domain was registered in India (in Uttar Pradesh), their site is hosted in India (In Mumbai), on their Facebook page it says they’re in Noida, India, and there’s only an Indian phone number on their site (a mobile number in the state of Haryana, near Delhi).
They do seem to have a couple of apps which are available is app stores in several countries around the world; but that’s a very different thing from saying you are (or actually being) a development company in those countries!
They’ve got two pages for their portfolio of apps and websites. The apps page works fine; but the websites page is VERY VERY broken… (Not a good look for a company that wants to fix other people’s sites!)
On their SEO services page, they say they’ll do several things for your site. This includes checking for HTML validation and duplicate content. It’s a shame they’ve not done this on their own site. They have HTML errors and there are several pages for their apps ‘in different countries’ where all that’s really been changed is a country name – pages like that can now easily be seen as duplicate content by search engines – oops…!
They also offer to check the ‘canonical’ status of pages – this also helps stop page content duplication. But guess what, NONE of the pages on their site have any canonical status set correctly…
I’m also somewhat dubious about the testimonies on their home page. Three are from Middle Eastern countries and one is from Cambodia. There’s a ‘Aigars Silkalns’ from Iraq (if you Google Aigars Silkalns, you’ll find he’s a top rated web developer who’s from Latvia and his name is very Latvian and not very Iraqi). There are ‘Helen’ and ‘Jennifer’ from the UAE and Egypt respectively and lastly ‘Henry Smith’ from Cambodia. Now it’s possible that all the quotes/testimonials are genuine. However, to have all four with seemingly very ‘not very likely’ culturally connected names does seem a bit odd… (There’s also no companies or sites on the quotes just words with names under them.)
So as you can see, Success Sensation are yet another SEO spammer hiding behind generic email accounts to try and get business.
So it’s safe to say that I won’t be using Success Sensation’s services (oh, nice alliteration there!) and until they can get the basics done right on their own site, I certainly wouldn’t want them telling me how to run my one!
But the choice, as ever, is yours.