SEO Email: Interactive Mission

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…


I got two identical spam emails from a ‘Priyanshi’ within 30 minutes of each other. They came from two different random Gmail accounts, both of which had some mangled looking western female names in them… Both emails had the subject “Guaranteed 1st Page Google Ranking!!!” and went:

Hi Sir/Madam,

Hope you are doing great.

We can bring your website on the 1st page of Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Please reply to this email for more info.

Email us back to get a full Proposal.

Kind Regards,
Priyanshi
Business Development Consultant

PS: I will be happy to send the “Proposal” and “Pricing” furthermore.

So I replied to one of the spam emails, asking them to take a look at my Christmas site (www.whychristmas.com) and got this reply from Sameer who was using an @interactivemission.com email address:

Hello James,

Thanks for the email.

Be informed, this is Sameer, Priyanshi colleague working as Business Manager- Sales at Interactive Mission: www.interactivemission.com. at best and affordable SEO, SMO, PPC, ORM Web Design & Development (ASP, ASP.Net, Java and PHP development) and Mobile Application ( IOS and Android) services providing company located in India.

Interactive Mission is an India (Noida) based Best and affordable Digital Marketing (SEO, SMO, PPC, ORM ) , Web Design & Development (ASP, ASP.Net, Java , PHP development , AngularJS , Node.JS and ReactJS) and Mobile Application ( ios and Android) services providing company located in India . We provide high quality services to our offshore clients in UK, USA, Australia, Sweden, Canada, Germany, France, Europe and all over the world. Our company is more than 7 years old and have successfully executed more than 2000 SEO projects. We have qualified SEO team having 10 +years of experience.

I would like to update that we have expert team that works on brand development, driving traffic both via organic SEO and paid PPC techniques. Our team also work on social media for generating traffic and sales for your website. We also help build and promote a keyword based content culture in your marketing team which helps you in long run via regular press realizes and blog posts.

As I have visited on your website https://www.whychristmas.com/ and found that following things on the website. Please have a look.

· Ok But The meta title of your page has a length of 104 characters. Most search engines will truncate meta titles to 70 characters so we need to reduce this .

· Ok but The meta description of your page has a length of 157 characters. Most search engines will truncate meta descriptions to 160 characters., we need to add characters in this .

· Ok Congratulations! Your site uses a “robots.txt” file: https://www.whychristmas.com/robots.txt

· The website has a sitemap file – https://www.whychristmas.com/sitemap.xml

· Your webpage contains URLs that are not SEO friendly so we need to make SEO friendly.

· A Google Analytics script is not detected on this page so we need to fix this.

· SEO score is 83 out of 100 that is great .

· Website speed is good for both Mobile and Desktop .

· We found 16 images on this web page No ALT attributes are missing in this website That is great

· Great, a redirect is in place to redirect traffic from your non-preferred domain. All versions of your page point to the same URL.

We found 2 broken links on this web pageso we need to fix this .

· https://www.whychristmas.com/story/wisemen.shtml.shtml

· https://www.whychristmas.com/fun/recipes.shtml.shtml

We found underscores in this URL and/or in your in-page URLs.

· https://www.whychristmas.com/search_results.shtml

· https://www.whychristmas.com/story/the_christmas_story.shtml

· https://www.whychristmas.com/story/audio_christmas_story.shtml

· https://www.whychristmas.com/fun/cracker_jokes.shtml

Using underscores in your URL makes it hard for search engines to determine your site’s relevance to a search. Google sees hyphens as word separators while underscores are ignored. So the search engine sees https://www.whychristmas.com/search_results.shtml as all one word. Use hyphens in your URLs instead: https://www.whychristmas.com/search-results.shtml.

· We didn’t find AMP on your page. AMP is an open-source library that provides a straightforward way to create web pages that are compelling, smooth, and load near instantaneously for users.

· We didn’t detect any schema.org items on your webpage .

We found 2 Facebook URLs on your webpage. Is one of them your account? Add it to your structured data.

· https://www.facebook.com/whychristmas

· https://www.facebook.com/login.php?skip_api_login=1&api_key=966242223397117&signed_next=1&next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fsharer%2Fsharer.php%3Fu%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.whychristmas.com%26quote&cancel_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fdialog%2Fclose_window%2F%3Fapp_id%3D966242223397117%26connect%3D0%23_%3D_&display=popup&locale=en_GB

There are 2 packages and please select any one below according to your budget.

25 Keywords – US$290 per month

40 Keywords – US$375 per month

Please add me on Skype at: [removed for privacy] or please provide me your Skype name and I will add you. My Whats App number is + [removed for privacy] please revert to Whats App messaging to discuss further. Let me know what would be good time to call you.

Please feel free to reply/Skype incase of any query, I’d be happy to help you.

We are looking forward to your response.

Have a good day!

Cheers,

Sameer [Name removed for Privacy]


Their Report & Recommendations

So let’s have a look at what they say about my site (and what’s ‘wrong’ with it) in their email (complete with their grammatical errors)…

The meta title of your page has a length of 104 characters. Most search engines will truncate meta titles to 70 characters so we need to reduce this .
Hmmm, it’s actually 60 and not 70 characters which are ‘recommended’ by Google (you’d think that ‘one of the best SEO and Internet Marketing Company’ as they call themselves would know that…). Anyway, yes the home page’s meta title is a bit long at 104 characters. However, the word Christmas is in the first 60 characters three times! The length is primarily what’s shown on search results, so ideally you want all of that to ‘show’, but being a bit long doesn’t really ‘hurt’ you as such…

The meta description of your page has a length of 157 characters. Most search engines will truncate meta descriptions to 160 characters., we need to add characters in this .
Right, so being THREE characters short in a meta description will hurt your SEO? NO IT WON’T! The meta description on their home page is only 154 characters – so that must be even worse!!!! This is WRONG.

Your webpage contains URLs that are not SEO friendly so we need to make SEO friendly.
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 I’ll say this is ‘Not Applicable’.

A Google Analytics script is not detected on this page so we need to fix this.
Yes, I don’t have Google Analytics on my site. I used to, but now I use a different, server based, analytics tool. There are a couple of reasons for this. The UK Government has updated its advice about how tracking cookies can be used on sites and this affects things like Google Analytics. I don’t want visitors to my site to have an annoying pop-up and I like privacy, so I’m happy to now use a non tracking system… And not having Google Analytics installed WILL NOT directly affect SEO on a site. So this is basically WRONG.

We found 2 broken links on this web pageso we need to fix this .
Oops – they’re right! I think some naughty elves had got into my Christmas site and got up to some mischief(!); seriously, there were two and I’ve fixed them. It’s a shame that Interactive Misson hadn’t also run a broken link checker on their own site. Had they done so, they would have found about the 21 broken links on it – mostly to sites in their portfolio – double oops!

We found underscores in this URL and/or in your in-page URLs.
This is the same as the point above – why did they include it twice?!

We didn’t find AMP on your page. AMP is an open-source library that provides a straightforward way to create web pages that are compelling, smooth, and load near instantaneously for users.
Hmmm, that sentence isn’t strictly true! AMP stands for ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages’ and it was created by Google as a way of trying to make sites loads faster on mobile devices. To use AMP you need to create a separate version of EACH PAGE (so it can be far from ‘straightforward’ to do) which uses minimal code so it loads faster. Often much of the design is lost as well. On some content management systems (like WordPress) it can auto create AMP pages for you but even then configuring it can be a bit of a pain! Whether or not to use AMP is a complex decision and it’s certainly not a ‘magic bullet’ for SEO. This is a very good article on AMP from Search Engine Journal with much more info about AMP and when it is and isn’t a good idea to use it!

My Christmas site already loads VERY VERY quickly on mobiles and my site simply doesn’t need AMP – there would be absolutely no benefit for my site to use AMP. Also Interactive Mission don’t use AMP on their site! If it’s so wonderful for SEO, why aren’t they using it!? Again, this is ‘Not Applicable’.

We didn’t detect any schema.org items on your webpage .
They are correct, there is no ‘schema’ markup (also sometimes called structured data) on my site – BECAUSE IT DOESN’T NEED IT. Schema is a special type of code which you can add on sites to help ‘code’ some things like business information, events and products. My site has none of those. Now as Interactive Mission are a company with some contact information, their site really could use schema code effectively. Only they don’t have it on their site!!!

My site does use ‘Open Graph’ code (another type of structured data), which helps when pages are shared on social media. Interactive Mission doesn’t have any of this either…

So again, this is ‘Not Applicable’.

We found 2 Facebook URLs on your webpage. Is one of them your account? Add it to your structured data.
Yes, there are two Facebook links. One is to my site’s account (it’s linked via a big Facebook logo in the site’s footer); the other is for sharing the page and is linked from a sharing link. I would have hoped that an SEO company would have really been able to work those links out – it’s pretty obvious. (This actually makes me wonder if they’ve actually really visited my site or just run some auto tests on it…)

Again, because schema doesn’t really suit my site, I can’t add the link to Facebook in any schema code… (And again they’ve not done this even though it would be much more appropriate to do so on their site!) So this is also ‘Not Applicable’.

So out of all of those ‘issues’, only the broken links (now fixed) were actually ‘real’ issues. And they also had most of these ‘issues’ on their own site – in much ‘worse’ ways than on my site…


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…

There site is https://www.interactivemission.com/

For HTML Validation, my site has no errors. Their site has 13 errors. Not a very good start…

Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 6 errors and 22 contrast errors (that’s actually pretty good for SEO spammers). My site has no errors of either kind!

Using Google’s Lighthouse Tool their site gets:

Performance: 70/100 (OK)
Accessibility: 81/100 (Pretty good)
SEO: 92/100 (Pretty good)

My site gets:
Performance: 100/100
Accessibility: 100/100
SEO: 100/100

So my site is perfect!

Although their site get’s 92/100 using an automated SEO tool, when you actually look at the site’s code, it’s less of a good story.

Their main ‘Heading 1’ tag on their home page is ‘What We Offer’, that’s pretty rubbish SEO wise!

They have no privacy policy but are collecting full IPs for Google Analytics. That breaks several privacy laws around the world.

They have links to their social media accounts. These include a link to Google+ – but that closed April 2019 – so over 18 months ago! You’d have thought that a ‘leading’ SEO company such as this would have known that and would have updated their site!!!

They have a Testimonials page. However, the content of ALL the of testimonials also appears on at least one other site – many on several others – all with different names attached to them. And the other sites – they’re all dodgy SEO companies! So I don’t know who’s copying who, but it does make you wonder about the legitimacy of these testimonials…

There’s a portfolio page, so I looked up the first eight sites on there (not unreasonable…). Out of these eight sites, only four of them actually loaded! Two of these sites timed out, one the domains is no longer registered and the other had a WordPress error. Not a great start! (And with the broken links mentioned above, some of the other portfolio items will also be very broken…)

Out of the four that did load, one had a ‘made by’ type link to a different Indian based web company in their footer! The other three had no ‘made by’ on them. Sadly all of these sites were full of basic HTML and accessibility issues. So overall, not a very impressive portfolio!

On their contact page as well as the address and phone contacts in India, there’s also an address for an office in South Africa. A quick Google of this address shows that is is indeed an office complex in Johannesburg, but it also offers virtual offices… Added to the fact that there’s no South African phone number on the site, only an address, it does make you wonder if they have any contact there at all…?!

Also remember the title of the two, identical, spams I got had the subject ‘Guaranteed 1st Page Google Ranking!!!’ and said in it “We can bring your website on the 1st page of Google, Yahoo, and Bing.”

Well… this is what Google says about claims like that:

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?”

Conclusion

Interactive Mission are yet another SEO spammer which hides behind random gmail accounts to send out lots of spam.

They also claim to be able to ‘guarantee’ a 1st page ranking. However, Google says that’s not possible and not to trust companies that do.

So if Interactive Mission say they can help with your site, I think I’d take Google’s advice…

But the choice, as ever, is yours.

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