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 time the email came into the contact form on my big Christmas site from a ‘Zoe Fisher’ (I normally remove the last name of spammer for privacy reasons. However, I know this name is fake – see below – so it’s all here!) who was using a Gmail address which had her name in and also ‘seo’…
The spam came in on the 15th December, yet I’m only posting this now, because spammers… So read on!
The subject of the spam was “Interested in improving your online visibility?”, they claimed to be from the UK (they’re not!) and the spam went:
I hope you are rocking with the best Link building techniques to enhance all SEO and marketing efforts at scale!
Are you struggling to find high domain authority blogs to link back to your website? We have a diverse list of blogs and websites that cater to different niches. If you’re managing a niche website, our white hat link building strategy is ideal for its success. Our guest blogging service can help you improve website rankings in search engines and drive organic traffic from the target audience.
I am Zoe Fisher from Only Links Matter Agency, providing the best and most affordable Guest Post and Link Building services in the market!
We are a team of 50 blogger outreach experts connecting with bloggers across the world on a daily basis to make the entire process nice and easy for you. You can even choose custom anchor texts to link to authority sites. With an ever-growing database of Domain Authority (DA) 20+, DA 30+, DA 40+ and DA50+ websites to get your business linked, we’re the smartest choice on the market today.
We can give you the prices and services that no Link Building/Blogger Outreach Agency can compete!
Please let me know you have any questions or feedback soon!
Thanks in advance for your kind help in responding to positive feedback and long term business collaborations that will be profitable for both of us!
Well, with an offer like that, who could refuse? Well hopefully lots of people but not me, I love chatting with SEO spammers! So I replied:
That sounds very impressive. Please can you tell me more about your company and why my site needs your help?
And I quickly got this reply:
Actually, we are a team of experts in content writings and guest post link building services from which you can get attractive and most affordable prices that no one can ever compete!
Please let me know if you are interested in our services.
Well, that told me precisely nothing, so I asked again…
OK. Please can you let me know what company you are? What’s your site? Sending from a Gmail account doesn’t tell me who your company is!
Have you checked the SEO rankings on my site!?
Well, I heard nothing back and I thought it was just another SEO spammer not wanting to answer basic questions. BUT NO!
I got a reply – TWO AND A HALF MONTHS LATER!!!
Here It’s safe to say that the truth is we are based in Kolkata, India, and my real name is Bikram [last name and email removed for privacy], and the only reason I had created or using this profile just to get more attention in opening and responding to a mail. Because nowadays nobody can trust an Indian maybe, But you do not need to be concerned. We will request for the payment whenever jobs will be done through a proper invoice Paypal.
About your SEO Ranking, many more thing is good except TF, CF. If you wanna increase these, please let me know.
Well, that’s quite a reply after several weeks! They freely admit that they’re using a fake name and that basically my site is good SEO except for ‘TF’ and ‘CF’ – which of course Bikram doesn’t explain…
Being a web developer I know what TF and CF are (more on them below…) but most people won’t have a clue – or have even heard of them. So I thought I’d reply as a ‘normal’ person with a site and ask some more questions…
Hi Zoe (well Bikram!)
Please can you tell me what TF and CF mean? Are they are score or something?
And i got this reply:
CF and TF are basically the components of SEO that decide the ranking of a website. CF is the acronym for Citation Flow. It predicts how influential a link ( URL ) might be based on the number of sites connected to it. The greater links the site has, the higher the Citation Flow (CF) could be.TF is the acronym for Trust Flow. It predicts how truthful a link (URL) may be. This is interpreted totally backlink’s nearness to the aged domains. The links that come from trusted neighborhoods are greater dependable while in comparison to links that come from untrustable neighborhoods.
Well the above is mostly correct. However, it still be explained in a better way (again more below!) But I still want to know more!!!
Ah, OK. So I guess they have a ‘score’ on them then? So can you tell me what the scores for my site are (so I can see how they need to be improved)? Thanks!
That got me a one line reply. (I’m not sure that Bikram likes me asking questions!)
Yes, your website TF is 24 & CF is 44.
Well, I’d had enough of the games, so I replied saying I knew what they were up to…
I’ve been a web designer and developer for 20 years. I like to reply to SEO spammers to see what ‘services’ they offer and the things they say and use to get clients.
My Christmas site www.whychristmas.com has also been on the web for nearly 20 years. It had well over 20 MILLION pageloads last year – so it’s doing pretty well!
So I also know what TF & CF are (and that they are no magic bullet and they aren’t proceeded or used by Google!). But I found it interesting that you used them, without any explanation. I think that would confuse most people…
So my TF is 24 and the CF is 44.
Well, a good rule of thumb is that for general sites both over 20 is good and for niche sites over 30 is good.
Also as my site has been around for 20 years (which you can tell from a simple WHOIS) that makes TF and CF less relevant…
And as a good TF/CF ratio is 1-2, my site scores well on that as well.
So I’d say my site is just fine for TF and CF!
You say in your email that you spammed me with a fake ‘western’ name “Because nowadays nobody can trust an Indian maybe” but spamming with fake names IS UNTRUSTWORTHY!
Spamming in general is untrustworthy! Your initial email from ‘Zoe’ broke several international anti-spam laws…
Please do not spam me again.
Often with emails like that I hear no more. But a couple of days later I got two replies within five minutes of each other…
Apologies for the disturbance. Thanks for getting me and your time.
And additionally, we don’t ask for money until the project is completed. My profile can be fake but not my work.
Wow, SEO spammers just can’t help themselves can they?! So I really let Bikram know what I thought of his spam:
No, you’re not ‘disturbing’ me. YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW.
Why should I trust anyone who breaks the law, lies about who they are and also can’t set their own site up properly and lies on that as well?
All of that is completely un-trustworthy!
Well, I’ve not heard back after that one…
More on TF (Trust Flow) and CF (Citation Flow)
From they way that Bikram used the CF & TF numbers, it sounds like they’re the ‘main’ thing that Google uses to rank your site. But they’re not!
They’re not even numbers ‘from’ Google. Bikram is correct in that they’re about the links that go to a site and how ‘good’ they are and so how ‘trustworthy’ your page/site is likely to be. Google used to produce a number from 1-10 which did this sort of thing and it was called PageRank. But they stopped using it years ago.
So a company called Majestic tried to create a similar kind of thing and came up with TF and CF. Majestic make their money from offering services to companies to help them find backlinks and other SEO type of things. (There’s also another number called ‘Domain Authority’ (DA) from another SEO company called MOZ which does a similiar-ish thing as well…)
Things like CF/TF/DA can help you find out what backlinks you’ve got and how ‘good’ a searching *might* think your site will rank for those sorts of things. However, they’re all guesses (pretty good ones but still guesses) and have no ‘direct’ bearing on how a site will actually rank – although they’ll give you a good clue.
BUT CF/TF/DA are only one small part of SEO. How well your site is made, how fast it loads and most importantly, how good the content of the site is! Bikram said “CF and TF are basically the components of SEO that decide the ranking of a website” and that’s simply wrong. CF and TF can give you clue about how ‘good’ the links to your site are. But they tell you NOTHING about the quality of your actual site!
As you’ll have seen above in one of my emails to Bikram, the numbers he gave for my site are actually GOOD in terms of CF and TF!
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://onlylinksmatter.com/
For HTML Validation, my site has no errors. Their site has 8 errors and 40 warnings.
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 4 errors and 32 contrast errors (again not good). My site has no errors of either kind!
Using the GTMetrix speed test tool their site gets:
Overall Grade: E
My site gets:
Overall Grade: A
So my site is perfect!!
The alt text on their logo is ‘SEO world’ and not ‘Only Links Matter’, which be thought of as rather deceptive…
Both their meta title & description are ‘Best SEO Service Provider with Excellence Track Record’. Now they should be different. It’s not actually good to have them being the same!
The heading 1 tag on their home page is “Make A Difference With Expert Team” which is fairly terrible if you’re trying to do SEO for an SEO company… You’d have thought that the “#1 SEO Company in India” – as they claim to be on their site, would know that. Only it seems not!
The site uses an off the shelf theme designed for financial investment companies. Apart from changing some wording (but not much), they appear to have changed basically nothing on the theme/demo site that comes e with it.
There are social media links in the header and footer and some Terms & Conditions /Privacy links in the footer, but none of them go anywhere (like in the theme demo). And one of the social links to is Google+ which closed 6 months before the domain was even registered!!!
Their ‘staff’ are ALL the same demo staff members as on the theme demo – including two people with the same name, one male and one female and they also seem to have two CEOs (erm, odd), one male and one female only they’ve got reverse gender typical names (i.e. a young blond lady called Jake and a middle ages man called Scarlett…).
They’ve also put testimonial contents in the staff profiles – OOPS!
You know I said they’d changed some of the wording – well…
Some of the text on their home page includes:
“Founded in 2015, SEO Expert is one of the largest and most Importent [spelt incorrectly] part now a days for online marketing.”
Which clearly makes no sense…
“WHAT WE DO! – SEO – The European languages are members of the same family. Their separate existence is a myth. For science, music, sport, Europe uses the same vocabulary.”
Erm, dummy text anyone?
“Only Links Matter is one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors”
Wait, I thought they did SEO, not private equity investors = oh that’s right, they’ve not changed the dummy text, right…..!
“Founded in 1980, Investment Expert is one of the largest and most experienced global private equity firms. We have established a team investment professionals, focused on buyouts and growth equity investments.”
Huh?! They said they were founded in 2015 just now. And again SEO or Investments. Oh yeah, more general incompetence and not bothering to change the text.
The address an phone numbers on the site are in Chicago, but guess what, that’s also in the theme demo… They have changed the email address to their domain, but of course it’s not actually linked so it actually works – because you wouldn’t want that would you?!
All the blog posts are the ones that come with the theme. Can you detect a theme here?
They have a page full of testimonials but they’re all by the same person and use filter latin – repeat after me – “just like in the theme demo”!
So here we have it Only Links Matter, freely admit they use a fake profile to spam ‘Because nowadays nobody can trust an Indian maybe’ – well perhaps that’s down to people like them being more than happy to lie in their spam emails and on their own site!
They also don’t seem to have a clue of how to actually set-up a site.
(It’s also rather ironic that SEO links are FAR from the ‘only’ thing that matters. How your site is built and its contents are overall much more important than when links to it!)
But, as ever, the choice is yours…