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 ‘Melisa’ who was using a random @gmail.com email address with other female names in it.
Here’s the initial email from Melisa:
I am Melisa. Hope you are doing well, I was examining your website www.whychristmas.com
See you have a good design and it looks great. But it was not ranking on any search engines for most of the keywords.
I was not finding your website on starting pages; I can help you do better on your ranking for all search engines if you can give us permission. We are the best service provider in optimization in your area. We also offer the most competitive rates for this service!
Let me know if you are interested and we will send your company a detailed cost for our services.
Business Development Manager
This email came in via the email account for my Christmas site. Often spam comes in via my ‘business’ address as that’s on the one associated with the domain registration.
Anyway, I replied to Melisa Say I’d be interested to see what they said about my site…
During each December my Christmas site 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’…
Here’s the reply from Melisa:
How are you doing today? I hope you are doing well.
First of all, let me introduce myself I am Melisa the business development manager of Zenith Digital Agency. I have 8 years of experience in this field of Digital marketing with many clients from all across the globe. I am replying to your email from our company’s main Email id. Please go through to the email for your reference.
Whatever you are thinking that is absolutely correct and yes we can do a lot of things for your website for your better business development. We are here to optimize your website in your targeted location to bring better business for you. Right now you just need the right platform and strategy to increase your sales. We have the best-experienced team who will implement their strategies and digital technologies to increase your sales.
As you have shown your interest to see our report regarding your website and also want to know what the thing is wrong with your website, to let you know all the details we have analyzed your website properly and also prepared an analysis report for your reference.
As we are one of the best 360-degree digital marketing agencies we never say anything without the proper analysis. We have the expert digital marketing team who have analyzed your website and found that your website is getting good numbers of visitors and traffic and you are getting good business. But the most important point is you never ever noticed that your website is having many bad links (13,935 Bad links present) which are never good for a website as per the Google guidelines.
As I said before we have attached the analysis report of your website for your reference, where you can get to know what kind of improvements should require for your website. Please find the attached file for more details.
As you have thought that we can do a lot of things for your website. Let me .provide you with all the details that we will do for your website to make it better and user friendly for your business development.
Let me explain what we will do for your website to make your business better along with increasing your sales.
• In the first step, we will fix all the present On-page & On-site errors as per Google guidelines to make it Google-friendly and User-friendly. Because we don’t proceed with the work without a proper error-free website.
• After that, we will analyze your top competitors in the search engine to find out top high search volume keywords for promotion.
• After the keyword finalization, we will prepare a work road map for your website and will work accordingly to bring traffic, ranking, and brand promotion.
• As you know social media plays a vital role in the current market, We will also do your website’s social media optimization (SMO) to make your brand popular in several social media platforms.
2. Works under Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
To bring more traffic we will first, bring your keywords to Google first page by building quality backlinks in high DA sites like; Yelp, Yellowpage, Quora, Glassdoor, etc. For brand promotion, we will create Google my business, map listing, etc.
3. Works under Social Media Promotion (SMO):
Social media promotion helps a business to engage with its customers by getting new social traffic on a daily basis to the website. Currently, your website is not integrated with any of the social media platforms like; Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. We will create all these social media platforms for your business and promote your brand and services every day to reach more customers.
We have our expert digital marketing team who will work hard for your project and definitely give you the best results within 2-3 months of time. Also, you can see the improvement trends in the first month. Currently, we have many satisfied clients across the world with our services. We are a very much honest service provider in this field and we always update our work strategies as per the latest Google updates. Accordingly, we change our work process from time to time to get better results. You can also check our work quality through our clients’ words. Just visit the link: [link removed my me!]
I hope you have got all the information from this email. After letting me know your thoughts I will explain to you the further work procedure.
If you have any further queries and concerns regarding our service, please ask me. I’ll be happy to assist you.
We always prefer Skype to make communication faster and more transparent. If you have any Skype id please provide me. I will add you on my Skype to move the communication ahead or else you can add me on your Skype, Here is my Skype ID- [removed for privacy]. Say hello to me.
Waiting for your reply.
Melisa said that she was ‘replying to your email from our company’s main Email id’. Only she didn’t. She replied from the random gmail account she’d spammed me on. And it came from the name ‘Amelia Emmi’. Ermmm… Not a very good start is it?
It sounds like that can do a lot for me doesn’t it?! As well as the (rather long and wordy) email, there was a Word .doc attached with two paragraphs of text and a table. We’ll look at this below!
Their Report & Recommendations
So let’s have a look at the content of their email and attachment in a bit more detail and see what we think of it.
First we’ll look at the attachment, starting with the first paragrah:
I and my technical team deeply analyzed your website Whychristmas.com. We found that your website doesn’t have good ranking in search engine compared to your top competitors, for which you may not be getting more visitors and better business. We will explain below the position of your website compared to your top competitors, the reason for your low ranking and our suggestion on the improvements.
Well, this is a total load of RUBBISH! There are several issues with it:
They don’t know who my ‘competitors’ are so they can have NO IDEA how my ranking compares to them. Also, in her main email reply, Melisa said that part of their service (once I’ve paid them!) would be that “we will analyze your top competitors in the search engine to find out top high search volume keywords for promotion”. So if they’ve not analyzed my competitors yet, HOW DO THEY KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MY SITE AND ITS COMPETITORS?!
Also my site has VERY VERY GOOD rankings in search engines for basically anything to do with Christmas information! It’s #1 on Google for a huge range of big search terms!
So as I said this first para is a load of rubbish.
Point No.-2 Why your website ranks low? Because your website has lower back-links and more on-page errors compared to your top competitors. An error free website with a lot of good links gets indexed in Google to give top page ranking.
Yet another load of rubbish. Again, they don’t know anything about my competitors! Also my site is basically error free (unlike their site as we’ll see below…). I am very picky about the code used in my site!
I suspect that they use both of these cut and paste scaremongering paragraphs in all of their ‘reports’…
Now onto the items that were in a (very badly formatted) table. I’ll go through each item:
Backlinks (Nos): 67,215
You can get different number of backlinks depending on what tool you use! I used one tool and got around 67,000. I also used a different tool and got around 110,000. Either way, that is A LOT of backlinks! Using the tool which gave me 100,000, their site gets 7! (Yes 7, not 700, 7,000 or 70,000 but SEVEN.) Backlinks are very important for SEO, so for ‘one of the best digital marketing agencies’ to have SEVEN backlinks to their site is completely laughable! So this is potentially useful but without context is rather meaningless.
Do-Follow Links (Nos): 40,393
These are the number of the backlinks which ‘pass on’ ranking to your site. Again, it’s a big number (and using the tool which gave me 110,000 backlinks it says that 92% of those links ‘do follow’). Oh and about of their 7 backlinks, only 14% do follow (THAT IS TERRIBLE). Again this number is potentially useful but meaningless without more context.
No-Follow Links (Nos): 12,886
No follow links are the opposite of ‘do follow’. They don’t ‘count’ for SEO. So it’s sort of a meaningless number really…
Bad Backlinks (Nos): 13,935
Melisa made a BIG thing of this her email. You can tell in how I formatted it but it was big and red in the email! ‘Bad Backlinks’ must be bad right? Well, it depends! For one, they’re actually very tricky to find/count/work out. Zenith Digital Agency basically know nothing about my site and who’s likely to be linking to it. So it’s IMPOSSIBLE for them to actually know what all ‘bad links’ to my site would be, let alone give me a number for them! This is meaningless.
Rather than going on more about bad links here (as it’s rather complex), if you’d like to know more about the subject, please read this excellent article on bad links and what you can do about them from ahrefs (an SEO site).
HTTPS page has internal links to HTTP: 1 Pages
Erm, I’m not sure what this means. The internal links within my site are done in such a way that they can’t change between HTTPS and HTTP, so I’m really not sure what this means or how they can tell!
Redirect chains: 1 Pages
This is true. There is one page which redirects to another. It’s done correctly, so this is meaningless.
Description duplicates: 4 Pages
This is WRONG. I use a tool which can check for duplicate descriptions and their aren’t any! What I suspect they’re ‘finding’ is that some of the index pages can be found at the folder index with both ‘/’ and also with index.html. However, I’ve got things set correctly (using the ‘canonical’), so search engine only ‘sees’ the ‘/’ versions so they don’t count as ‘duplicate’. (For an ‘SEO company’ not to be able to work this out is fairly appaling…)
H1 duplicates: 6 Pages
This is WRONG. Like above, I suspect they are (wrongly) counting ‘folder index’ pages twice.
Canonical ≠ URL: 2 Pages
This is WRONG. All the pages on my site have canonical tags set correctly.
4xx Client errors: 1 Pages
This is another one where I’m not sure what they mean! 4xx codes general mean something is missing or has the wrong permissions set. Without more information/contxt this is completely meaningless.
Twitter card missing: 146 Pages
This is true, but not actually important! You can add special tags to help when pages are shared on Twitter. However, you can also use another type of tags called ‘Open Graph’ to set these. Twitter also happily uses these. In fact on Twitter’s own help pages about tags, it says:
When the Twitter card processor looks for tags on a page, it first checks for the Twitter-specific property, and if not present, falls back to the supported Open Graph property. This allows for both to be defined on the page independently, and minimizes the amount of duplicate markup required to describe content and experience.https://developer.twitter.com/en/docs/tweets/optimize-with-cards/guides/getting-started
Open Graph tags missing: 11 Pages
This is true but again not important. I’ve got Open Graph tags on all the pages with information on them. However, I’ve not bothered adding the tags to pages which aren’t important SEO wise (like the pages about copyright, etc.)
Description too short: 20 Pages
This is (possibly) true but not that important. All the descriptions on my site are appropriate. Some are less than the ‘recommended’ 140-ish characters but they do the job!
Title too long: 75 Pages
This is (possibly) true but not that important. All the titles on my site are appropriate. Some are longer than the ‘recommended’ 60-ish characters but they do the job!
So of their report, the two paras of text were completely and utter rubbish (and contridicted by their email!) and most of the items were wrong or meaningless…
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.zenithdigitalagency.com/
For HTML Validation, my site has no errors. Their site has 13 errors and 3 warnings.
On Google Pagespeed their site gets:
Desktop: 74/100 (that’s ok…)
Mobile: 25/100 (that’s not…)
My site gets:
Mobile: 99/100 – so both considerably better using Google’s own speed testing tool!
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 37 errors and 56 contrast errors. My site has no errors of either kind! They don’t seem to know what image ‘alt’ text is or how any sort of accessibility works on a site…
There’s no ‘alt’ text set on the logo image. That’s TERRIBLE. The logo is also a link, only it’s not actually linking to anything – so it’s totally useless as a link. There’s also an email address in the header, but of course that’s not actually a working link either…
On their ‘about’ page it says they were founded in 2005. But their domain was only registered in 2018, and that’s also when their Facebook page was created. However, on their LinkedIn page it says the company was founded in 2013, as was their Twitter account!
They also seem to be somewhat confused as to where they’re actually located…
On their Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram accounts, they all have the same blurb saying they’re in the USA.
However, on their LinkedIn page it says they’re in New Delhi – and their on their Facebook page it says they’re in the USA and India – but the URL is ‘Zenithdigitalagencydelhi’!!! Also, the location code they’ve added in the meta tags of their website says they’re in India!
And it gets even more confusing on their own site.
They list addresses in the USA and in (guess where) New Delhi!
The address in the USA is in ‘Boca Raton, Florida’ but the zip code is only 4 digits not 5! But from a Google it turns out that there’s a ‘virtual office’ complex at the address (with an extra 7 added to their incorrect zip code!) – so not a real office then.
BUT… there’s also a map on their contact page with a pin in it – in NEW YORK! But it’s a residential property in Brooklyn…!
There’s one phone number of their site, and it’s a USA number. The dailing code is for the middle of ALABAMA!!!
They also seem to be very confused about who actually works for them. On their about and staff pages, they list four staff members:
Melisa White – Business Developement Manager (who spammed me from a random gmail account with other female names in it!). But a reverse image search shows that ‘Melisa’ is really a stock photo called ‘Pretty businesswoman’.
Patrick Smith – Support Manager. A reverse image search shows that ‘Patrick’ is really a stock photo called ‘smiling man with crossed arms’
Priyanka Goyal – Business Development Manager. A reverse image search shows that ‘Priyanka’ is really a stock photo called ‘executive business woman office’.
Daniel Drown – Team Leader. A reverse image search shows that ‘Daniel’ is really, you guessed it, a stock photo!
But doing the reverse image search of ‘Daniel’ turned up some other goodies! Up came a demo of an html theme called ‘RokTim’, which it turns out Zenith Digital Agency are using.
AND ALL OF THE STOCK STAFF PHOTOS ARE THE SAME – but they’re also all called ‘Jackson Pot’!
But… the reverse image search also turned up another iffy looking SEO company called ‘Digi Web Source’ and they’ve got a very similar looking site (i.e. they’re using the same off the shelf theme) and they also have some remarkably similar looking staff members – BUT WITH DIFFERENT NAMES (except for poor Daniel who’s called Jackson Pot…).
(There’s also a stock image on the history of the company left over from the basic html template…)
So Zenith Digital Agency seem very confused about when the company was started, where they’re located and who actually works for them. Oh dear.
(Or they could just be lying about a bunch of stuff; they’re really located in Delhi and they’ve made up fake names for some employees…)
They also seem to be lying about some of their ‘SEO qualifications’. There’s a lovely looking ‘SEO Certified United States 2017’ badge in the site’s footer. Only there’s no such qualification! The badge seems to be a photoshop job done on a badge used by ‘Moz’ (a really good site about all things SEO) for online courses you can do with Moz. Hmmmmmmmmm…
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!
Zenith Digital Agency are yet another SEO spammer who are hiding behind generic accounts to spam people (and then reply to them even though they say they’re replying from the main email address!).
Their ‘report’ is made up of two paragraphs or utter rubbish and mostly wrong or meaningless information.
They don’t seem rather confused about the company itself and also how to set-up a site properly…
So if a random gmail account emails you from Zenith Digital Solutions, then the delete button might be your best friend.
But the choice, as ever, is yours.