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 started with two different spam emails… The first spam came from an ‘Evan’ who was using an @webliteseo.com email address. Evan’s email had the subject “Complete Revamp of Whychristmas.com” and went:
Dear James ,
I hope you are doing well.
I was looking at your website’s design and felt like we can redesign it better. More appealing, more user friendly, advanced features to match up with nowadays websites that are in
Website’s design is the first and foremost factor that attracts your prospective customers and engages them.
Would you like to discuss the redesign scopes we have to offer? We would be happy to start with a FREE SAMPLE DESIGN.
Let me know if you are interested.
Evan [No last name given…]
Evan actually got my name right in his spam – which is very unusual for SEO spammers! So I replied to Evan but never heard anything back from him… And you might think that would be the end of my dealings with Webliteseo – but no!
Two weeks later, I had another spam email come in. This time it was from a ‘Elise’ who was using a rather generic @gmail.com email (the kind with lots of numbers in it…). Her spam had the subject “whychristmas.com: custom design” and went:
Dear business owner of whychristmas.com.
I hope you are having a great day!!
You have a good website and though it can still designed in a much better way with advanced functionalities & more over customer engaging. If you will allow the we can design a sample homepage for you.
We have expertise in,
· Creative Logo Design & Graphic Design
· Responsive Website Design and Development
· Creative Web design and Website Redesign
· Ecommerce Website Design and Development
Do let me know if you are interested then I would be happy to share our client testimonials, past work details.
About the cost, We can deliver you a website in $500 – $800.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Elise [Last name removed for privacy, even thought I’m pretty sure it’s fake!]
So sadly Elise couldn’t work out what my name was… Well, I replied to Elise as well. This time I got a reply! But not from ‘Evan’ or ‘Elise’, but from a ‘Jenny’! She was also using an @webliteseo.com. Interestingly, her email subject seemed to be a mash up of the two initial spams as it was “Re: James, Get the complete design at just $700.”. Here’s her first reply:
Thank you so much for writing back to us.
Hope everything around you is safe.
We are a new age digital marketing company based in Naples, Florida. This is our company website: www.webliteseo.com
Please have a look at some of the websites we have designed: https://www.webliteseo.com/website-design-portfolio/
I would like to suggest to switch to a better and user friendly CMS like WordPress and accommodate all design needs built from scratch for quicker conversion. The modules of WordPress have a great support indeed. Thus, you can easily manage the contents of your website such as updating texts, images, banners, adding pages, products etc.
The total design cost for your website would be $700. But you don’t have to pay the total amount at a time.
First we will design the homepage for you and show it to you and if you like to proceed further you have to pay $400.
And once we complete the design, we will show it to you in our server and if you like the design you will have to pay the rest amount i.e, $300 before transferring it to your server.
Let me know if you have any questions and also please confirm me if we should proceed for the homepage design.
Awaiting your response.
Jenny [No last name given…]
Wow, that’s getting right into it! But I wanted to know more about why they thought my site needed a redesign – so I asked:
Before you do anything, please can you tell me more about why you think my site needs a redesign? What’s “wrong” with it in your opinion? Both design wise and technically wise?
I want to know why I need to do anything to my site before I do it!
And I got this reply:
There are many advantages of an updated design such as:
a) Access to more than 90% of Internet users worldwide.
b) Reach a large number of people.
c) Increase in traffic and reduce bounce rate.
As far as I am concerned, the present framework of your website “PHP” is outdated, has limited accessibility and less support as compared to modern platforms. Hence, we would like to propose you for redesigning the website with cutting-edge technologies.
We will design & develop your website using the WordPress CMS (The Gutenberg update). With the help of WordPress CMS, you can easily manage the contents of your website such as updating texts, images, banners, adding pages, etc.
In fact, the new version of WordPress gives a lot more flexibility than ever before and adds value to UX. The platform’s focus is moving towards a more intuitive site-building experience.
While working we will also make sure all the unwanted links are discarded and the website is abiding by the latest algorithms from Google. We will also design the website in a dynamic way and make it a Responsive one (Mobile-friendly design) with the necessary call to action elements.
You can check some of our work by following the below links:
[A list of eight sites removed for privacy]
Let me know if you have any more questions.
Waiting for your response!
Again, lots of big claims being made… One part made me actually laugh out loud. Jenny says:
As far as I am concerned, the present framework of your website “PHP” is outdated, has limited accessibility and less support as compared to modern platforms.
Now where to start with this? PHP is a scripting language which runs on the hosting server. However, it IS NOT a ‘framework’ which my site runs on. My site uses some PHP for it’s caching but it’s a basic HTML/CSS/JS site.
What’s even better is that she then suggests I move over to WordPress (which I’m a big user of, this site runs on it!). However, WORDPRESS RUNS ON PHP!!!
So if PHP is ‘outdated’ then surely WordPress must also be ‘outdated’ as it runs on PHP! Also PHP itself DOES NOT have ANYTHING to do with ‘accessibility’ (that comes from the outputted HTML which the system running on PHP produces) and PHP is by far the most supported scripting language on web servers! So the whole of that sentence is a complete and utter load of rubbish.
Also in the email was a list of eight sites (well actually seven as one was listed twice). Out of the seven, two are using the ‘Shopify’ platform and appear to be using out of the box Shopify templates, one link had no site on it (oops) and out of the others I could only see that one of them had a definite connection to Webliteseo.
And that site was not impressive. It doesn’t use HTTPS/SSL and is pretty appalling SEO wise…
Anyway, I still had a couple more questions – especially about the fact that they’d make my site responsive – WHEN IT ALREADY IS!
Wow, those are some claims you’re making!
If you think a redesign could help me reach more people, do you know how many my site might already be reaching? Say, in the last year?!
Isn’t my site already responsive? I thought it was?!
And that got this reply:
I can tell you about the traffic inflow only when I will look into your Google analytics.
I just tried to show you the benefits of an updated design and platform.
Yes your website is responsive. However, I mentioned that, we will be also rebuilding the website with updated guidelines of responsive design.
Ah, so now Jenny admits that she could only know how much traffic I’m getting once she’s sees the site’s analytics – so why did she claim that her redesign would “Increase in traffic and reduce bounce rate” when she actually had no way of knowing that?!
AND my site IS RESPONSIVE now! (Phew…)
I was also interested in the “updated guidelines of responsive design” she mentioned, so I asked about them (and as they’re meant to be based in Naples, Florida, I thought I’d also ask about the NFL and College football teams in that part of them world – you know to be friendly… and also to try and trip them up!):
Ah, OK, so the site is responsive… What updated guidelines do you mean?
You’re in Naples right? In that bit of Florida, what’s the NFL team of choice? The Phins or Bucs? Or is it more Florida State/USF?
Although I’m in the UK I support the Raiders and Clemson.
But sadly I’ve heard no more from Jenny. I’ve sent a couple of other follow up emails asking if she got my email and checking she was ok, but I’ve heard nothing for over a week…
I guess Webliteseo are another SEO company that don’t like answering questions that they can’t answer with a scripted response.
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.webliteseo.com/
For HTML Validation, my site has no errors. Their site has 21 errors…
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 10 errors and 20 contrast errors. My site has no errors of either kind! (And remember, my site is ‘running on PHP’ which is ‘bad’ for accessibility…!)
Using Google’s Lighthouse Tool their site gets:
Performance: 20/100 (Not good)
Accessibility: 83/100 (Pretty good)
SEO: 90/100 (Really pretty good)
My site gets:
So my site is perfect!
Although their site get’s 90/100 using an automated SEO tool, when you actually look at the site’s code, it’s less of a good story.
Their site uses WordPress but it appears to have TWO SEO plugins running on the site. This is really not a good idea as they tend to ‘fight’ with each other. They have two meta ‘descriptions’ and two full sets of ‘open graph’ code – you don’t want that…
They have four ‘Heading 1’ tags. You should only ever have one.
They’re using a ‘page builder’ in WordPress. This is not a bad thing itself. But it can lead to bloated code – and they certainly have some bloated code! Their site has a severe case of ‘div-itus’ (when there’s lots of un-needed code on a page/site).
On the about page they make a big thing of having ’10 years of excellence’ and being ‘quality controlled certified’. However, the site has only been around for just over three years, so that seems far less than 10 (and I’ve really been in the business for 20 years…) and apart from a very cliparty logo, there is NO EVIDENCE for them having any ‘quality control’ (certainly the code on their site is lacking in quality…).
They have a web design portfolio page with some of their web design clients.
Sadly, these sites leave as much to be desired as their own! They’re full of basic HTML, accessibility and SEO errors…
They have two addresses on their site. One in Naples, Florida and one in Bhubaneswar, India.
If you put their Florida address into Google, the first two entries are for ‘virtual’ office addresses. So could this be another case of an Indian based SEO company using a virtual (fake) address to make themselves look like a US based site? (Probably, Yes.)
The phone number of the site is also for this area of Florida, but it virtual office also comes with a virtual local number so that’s not a surprise…
The time which Evan spammed me was 12.30pm here in the UK. Which would have been 7.30am in Florida but 4.30pm in Bhubaneswar.
And when Elise spammed it me was a couple of hours later. So just possible for Florida, but still much more likely from India…
And a Google of the company name also turns up this rather less than favourable complaint on the Naples BBB site when a redesign left a lot to be desired…
Webliteseo seem happy to spam from their own email accounts as well as from random gmail accounts.
On their about page, they claim “We Are The Best In Digital Marketing & Website Development Service”; yet they don’t actually seem to know how the basics of web servers work…
On the same page they also say “We’re Anti False Claims! You get to hear a lot of big talks in the marketing realm. We don’t believe in making false claims when it comes to YOU.”; yet they said their redesign would improve my site’s visitor numbers – when they didn’t know that it could AND they claimed my site wasn’t responsive – when it is…
So if WEbliteseo wants to redesign your site. I’d think very carefully about (not doing) it and ask them lots of questions!
But the choice, as ever, is yours.