SEO Email: SEO Ground

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…


This time the email came into the contact form on my big Christmas site from a ‘David Willams’ (I normally remove the last name of spammer for privacy reasons. However, I know this name is fake [and spelt incorrectly!] – so it’s all here!). ‘David’ was using a Gmail address which had his name in and also some random numbers…

The subject of the spam was “Inbound Marketing services for Online Business promotion Attachments area” and the spam went:

Hello,

How are you? Hope you are fine.

I have been checking your website quite often. It has seen that the main keywords are still not in the top 10 positions in Google Search. You know things about working; I mean the procedure of working has changed a lot.

So I would like to have opportunity to work for you and this time we will bring the keywords to the top 10 spots with guaranteed period.

There is no wonder that it is possible now cause, I have found out that there are few things that need to be done for better performances (Some of them we will discuss in this email). Let me tell you some of them –

Title Tag Optimization

Meta Tag Optimization (Description, keyword and etc)

Heading Tags Optimization

Targeted keywords are not placed into tags

Alt / Image tags Optimization

Google Structured Data is missing

Custom 404 Page is missing

The Products are not following Structured markup data

Website Loading Speed Development (Both Mobile and Desktop )

Off –Page SEO work

Lots are pending……………..

You can see these are the things that need to be done properly to make the keywords others to get into the top 10 spots in Google Search & your sales Increase.

Sir/ Madam, please give us a chance to fix these errors and we will give you rank on these keywords.

Please let me know if you encounter any problems or if there is anything you need. If this email has reached you by mistake or if you do not wish to take advantage of this advertising opportunity, please accept my apology for any inconvenience caused and rest assured that you will not be contacted again.

Many thanks for your time and consideration,

Looking forward

Regards

David Willams

If you do not wish to receive this again, please reply with “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

That’s one of the most cheesy SEO initial spams I’ve seen in a while. It’s like a good old fashioned one with the fact that the site really isn’t very good, a list of the wrongs things with it, an ‘apology’ for the fact they’re spamming you(!) and even an ‘unsubscribe’ option. Most SEO spammers are somewhat more subtle these days… It’s also clear that this template is normally sent via ‘normal’ emails, but these spammers are also happy to spam contact forms.

Anyway, I replied to ‘David’:

Hi David,

It sounds like you think you can do a lot for my site. Please can you tell more about why you think my site is like this? Is there anything else that needs doing?

Also, please can you tell me more about your company? Where are you located?

Thanks!

James

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’…

And I got a VERY lengthy copy and paste reply. It didn’t answer any of my questions about my site and why it needed their help and ‘David’ also replied from his Gmail address, rather than a domain @seo-ground.com one… So here’s the reply, edited for brevity, and your sanity:

Hello,

Thanks for your reply and sorry for the late reply.

Let me introduce us to you first,
We are SEO Ground (http://seo-ground.com/) is a Digital Marketing company based in India. We are providing SEO, Web Design, Logo Design, Web Development, Web Applications Development, Online Reputation Management ( To remove negative links from Google search), CRO, SMO, Mobile APP Development ( IOs, Android and Hybrid ) & more.

Quick Facts about us:
Our Digital Marketing Mix approach
Global Company
More than 90% clients are international
100+ Team Members
In Business from 2007
Already served more that 2000+ clients
Dedicated team members for each project
NOTE: WE DO NOT BIND YOU ANY CONTRACT AND OBLIGATION.

Note:- In my next mail I’ll send you the website full audit report with CRO report. So you can understand what we can do for your website. I already mentioned my proposal. What we’ll do is below.

Project Details:
SEO Price Details: $199 Monthly / 30 Keywords

Update: Weekly Work Report & Monthly Total Work Report. So you can go through on the things we are working on and you can verify our work.

Payment: PayPal

Discussion: We’ll create a WhatsApp or Skype group with the team who will be assigned your project. So you’ll stay updated always about your project work. 1 SEO + 1 Content Writer + 1 Developer will be involved in your project.

Time: We need time 4 month to bring you top position on Google and other search engines. Because SEO is not an overnight process, it takes some time to generate organic search traffic and puss up for high ranking. From the very first month you’ll see improvement in the ranking & traffic by comparing before & after reports. Before start work we’ll send you the current performance of your website & month end total report.

What we’ll do to outrank your competitors & help to achieve your goal:
website.
1st Phase:
Keyword Research
Website Analysis
Competitor Analysis (Please send me your top competitor website)

2nd Phase:

[There was then a LONG LONG list of all the amazing things they’d do for you. It included all the standard things which SEO spammers say they’ll do – many of which are basically worthless – but it also included ‘Alphabetical Menu Dropdown’ which was a new one! They also said they’d do speed optimisation using GTmetrix – more on this below…]

Looking forward to hearing something from you soon….

Thanks & Regards
SEO Ground

I replied to David asking why they thought it was OK to spam people and also mentioning those initial ‘problems’ that they said my site had in the initial spam:

Hi David (is that your real name?)

I’ve been a web designer and developer for 20 over 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 over 20 years. It had well over 20 MILLION pageloads last year – so it’s doing pretty well!

Anyway, let’s look at what you say needs sorting on my site…

Title Tag Optimization

All the title tags on the site are already VERY optimized.

Meta Tag Optimization (Description, keyword and etc)

So are the meta descriptions and other Meta tags.

Heading Tags Optimization

See points 1 and 2.

Targeted keywords are not placed into tags

They are. They REALLY are.

Alt / Image tags Optimization

All the images on the site have appropriate alt tags.

Google Structured Data is missing

Yes. BECAUSE MY SITE DOESN’T NEED IT. [Structured Data can be used for things like events and products. Nothing on my site needs structured data, so I don’t have any!] My site does have Open Graph data where appropriate.

Custom 404 Page is missing

Erm, what this custom 404 page? https://www.whychristmas.com/404.shtml

The Products are not following Structured markup data

See the point above about Google Structured Data.

Website Loading Speed Development (Both Mobile and Desktop)

Hmmm, my site is fast. VERY fast. It scores 100% on GTmetrix and 93/100 for ‘Performance’ on the Lighthouse speed test. Your site gets 76% on GTmetrix and 22/100 on Lighthouse. So why should I trust you to speed up my site when your site is considerably slower than mine?!

Off –Page SEO work

Well, seeing as ALL OF THE ABOVE are either completely wrong or misleading, I think I’ll give this a miss.

You sent your spam via the contact form on my site. So I know you’ve visited the site. However, you could have easily found out about several of the above items, but you still put them in your email, because they were in your spam template…

Please can you tell me why you think it’s OK to spam people from random Gmail accounts?

Also how can you claim to have been in business since 2007 when your own domain was registered just over 6 months ago and your parent company was founded in 2016?

James

Well, I’ve not heard back after that one…


Their Report & Recommendations

As you can see from my email to ‘David’, ALL of the ‘problems’ listed in the initial spam (template) are either completely wrong or misleading! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…


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://seo-ground.com/

For HTML Validation, my site has no errors. Their site has 6 errors and 8 warnings (although there might well be more errors as one of the errors actually caused a problem with the online validation tools, so it couldn’t scan further down the page!).

Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 43 errors and 43 contrast errors (which is fairly terrible). My site has no errors of either kind!

Using the GTMetrix speed test tool (you know, the one they said they’d use to optimize my site…) their site gets:

Overall Grade: D
Performance 76%
Structure 49%

My site gets:

Overall Grade: A
Performance 100%
Structure 100%

So my site is perfect and their site leaves quite a lot to be desired…

Remember that one of the points in the original spam was “Alt / Image tags Optimization”. Well… they have 18 images with missing alts on their home page – that’s pretty terrible.

What’s more terrible is that one of those missing images is the site’s logo. That’s both terrible for SEO and accessibility. The logo is also within a Heading 5 tag. That’s also really not good SEO wise and just general bad practice.

There is a privacy policy on the site. However, it’s pretty minimal and not really of much use.

On their home page, and in David’s email, SEO Ground say “Dedicated since 2007!”. However, their domain was registered in August 2020, so just over six months ago.

On the domain registration, the registrar (who registered it) was the name of another technology company based in Kolkata, India (AOTWO Web & Technology Pvt Ltd). Googling the name of the company shows you that it was formed in 2016. The AOTWO domain was registered in March 2019 and their Facebook page was created in August 2019.

So, hmmmmm…. They *might* have been in business for FIVE years (not the 14 they claim), under different brands. However, something doesn’t seem quite right in all of that!

There are some testimonials on their home page and on a separate testimonials page. Some have names and photos with them.

The three on the home page are from a Joe – although the photo appears to be of a woman (but it’s a very small photo, I could be wrong) and the file is called ‘photo’. There’s a testimonial from a Kathleen – although the photo is clearly of a man and the file is called ‘andrea’. And there’s one from a Mathew – although the file is called ‘andrea2’ (still a man) and there’s a completely different photo on the testimonials page next to Mathew’s name with what appears to be his proper file/photo!

So either something odd is happening or SEO Ground/AOTWO can’t even get the photos of people correct on their home page. Neither is very impressive!

On the about page, there’s info about the different services they offer. These info blocks have ‘View Details’ buttons, where you’d expect to find out more. Only none of the buttons actually do anything!


Conclusion

So SEO Ground hide behind generic/fake Gmail accounts to spam people.

They use copy & paste spam templates which are full of rubbish.

They don’t answer your, perfectly reasonable, questions but just send more copy & paste content.

They don’t seem to have checked their own site with the tools they say they’ll use on your site.

And there’s a good bit to be desired in the way they’ve set-up their own site.

So if SEO Ground say there’s something wrong with your site, I’d take that with a VERY big pinch of salt.

But, as ever, the choice is yours…

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