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 in from a ‘Tutu’ who was using an Gmail address that included the words ‘ranking’, ‘seo’ and some numbers in it.
The subject of the spam was “Need more quality traffic to your website” and went:
Hi whychristmas.com ,
I noticed something interesting while going through your website.
It’s apparent that you have used Adwords marketing to promote your business in the past; however your website does see some organic search traffic here and there. Now, I believe I can help increase that portion of organic traffic significantly for your website.
I believe you would like to come top on searches for keywords related to. I found a number of SEO issues such as broken links, page speed issue, HTML validation errors, and images with no ALT text on your website, that’s stopping you from getting that traffic.
How about I fix those, and also promote you through engaging content on relevant places on the web (read, social media).
I guarantee you will see a drastic change in your search ranking and traffic once these issues are fixed. Also, this is one time, so no paying Adwords every month.
Is this something you are interested in? We have a very special offer for this Month.
I also prepared a “Free Website Audit Report” for your website. If you are interested i can show you the report.
I’d be happy to send you our package, pricing and past work details, if you’d like to assess our work.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Tutu [removed for privacy] | Digital Marketing Specialist
Skype : [removed for privacy]
P.S: If you are interested then I will send more details on our “company profile”, “why you should choose us?”, “Price list”, FREE WEBSITE ANALYSIS REPORT.
Note: I am not spamming. I have studied your website and believe I can help with your business promotion. If you still want us to not contact you, you can ignore this email or ask to remove and I will not contact again.
This spam template is basically identical to ones I’ve had in the past from Weboptimzes/Qtonix, who are just about the worst SEO spammers out there. It’s even got the same ‘I am not spamming’ rubbish in the footer! So not exactly an encouraging start…
Anyway, I replied to Tutu…
It sounds like you think you can do a lot for my site. I would be interested to see what your report says!
Also, please can you tell me more about your company? Where are you located?
Which got me this reply.
Thanks for reply us.
Sorry for the late reply, How are you doing? Hope you are doing well.
Below attached the Pre Analysis Report of www.whychristmas.com. Please check and let me know your feedback.
Our company address is http://www.seohoc.com/
We are located in India.
Waiting for your reply
Tutu [removed for privacy]
Attached to this email was a PowerPoint file (REALLY!) for the analysis report – more on this below. Well, I did have some feedback…
Yes I have some feedback.
Please can you tell me why you think it’s ok to spam people to get business? This breaks several international anti-spam laws like CAN-SPAM and PECR.
Although you have a ‘note’ on the bottom of your email saying you aren’t spamming – YOU ARE. That email (which is identical to ones used by Qtonix, who are one of the worst SEO spamming companies) is in breach of CAN-SPAM if I lived in the USA and it’s in breach of PECR as I live in the UK.
Also, please can you tell me why ALL of the ‘not good’ items on your report are either untrue or irrelevant to SEO? Here are a couple of examples…
You say my site is ‘not present on all major search engines’ – IT IS!
You say my has 0 backlinks. I quick check on the Ahrefs backlink tools shows it has over 75,000!
Please DO NOT spam me again. And please educate yourself on international spam laws.
So, as you can see, I had some issues with the report being wrong and also with him being a spammer. I then got the following reply:
Thanks for reply us.
Sorry to say i forgot the last slide fill the details. I checked the everything, I think i was sending you without fill the slide. I checked the backlink in ahrefs here i saw the 11,943
below available screenshot.
Also i checked the keywords ranking in google serp. Please look at it.
christmas – 14
christmas traditions – 9
christmas customs – 2
christmas around the world – 1
christmas history – 5
christmas story – 30
Keywords rank going well, but need more work.
Also social media profile not update from June 25. Now need update regular basis.
Please don’t think about me as a Spammer. I am not spamming you.
If you can give me once chance, then i will do best work for your website and increase keywords ranking in top page.
So either Tutu (and so SEOHOC Technologies) either sent a report they knew was wrong, or they forgot to fill in some of the most important sections… Neither of those seems very good.
And now, after I mentioned it, they’ve found some VERY competitive search results that the site already ranks VERY highly for, yet Tutu says it ‘need more work‘…
And now they’re also saying there are 11,943 backlinks (there was a screen shot attached). Yet when I do a search on the Ahrefs tool, I get a very different number. It might be he’s using a different search parameter or something, but it’s still odd.
And Tutu still thinks he’s not spamming. Well, I replied again, explaining more clearly how he was spamming…
Ah, so you forgot to fill in the last slide. That doesn’t seem very professional!
My site is doing just fine. As you’ve already pointed out, it’s already got VERY good rankings. It gets well over 20 MILLION page loads every December.
My site is related to Christmas – so I update the social media around Christmas!
YOU ARE A SPAMMER. You sent me an unsolicited email from a Gmail account with NO information about your company. That breaks multiple international anti-spam laws.
I’ve been a web designer for over 20 years. I reply to SEO spammers to see what they say to get clients. EVERYTHING you said was ‘not good’ about my site was WRONG. Your own site is full of basic HTML, accessibility and SEO errors. It also breaks multiple international privacy laws like GDPR.
Why should I (or anyone) trust a company which spams people, with a spam template which is full of errors, produces a ‘report’ which is full of errors and who can’t even set their own site up correctly yet claim to be SEO experts?
Please DO NOT spam me again. I am NOT interested in your services.
I’ve not heard back after that one…
Their Report & Recommendations
As I said above, there was a PowerPoint (pptx) file attached with the ‘Analysis Report’. It was broken down into three sections: On Site Factors, On Page Factors and Off Page Factors.
Each of these sections then had different items with each have a ‘Factor’ (i.e. the title of the item), the ‘Current Status’, ‘Result’ and ‘Action (if any)’.
I’ll go through the items it says my site is ‘Not Good’ for.
On Site Factors
Reverse IP – 375 other sites hosted on this server – Always use dedicated server. It is good from Search Engine point of view.
This is total rubbish and an SEO myth and has been so for YEARS (https://www.seoblog.com/2017/09/dedicated-address-improve-rankings/). And it’s also something that seems to be in every ‘report’ you get from Qtonix! Having this, along with the spam template, makes me wonder if Tutu/SEOHOC has some connection to (or perhaps has worked for) Qtonix…
Search engine visibility – Not Present on all major search engine – Try to visible on all major search engine. Need improvement a lot (Well those two last sentences are ‘not good’ in themselves…)
Again, total rubbish. My site is VERY visible and highly ranked on all the big search engines. And when challenged on this, SEOHOC managed to find some terms – amazing…
All the the terms they found are in the meta title and description of the site, so it’s not like they actually did much work to find these. It also proves that my site is already ranking for what it’s targeting!
e.g. If you search for ‘christmas around the world’ it’s in the top three results (normally number 1) on Google, Bing, Yandex, Yahoo and Duckduckgo. This is VERY WRONG.
On Page Factors
Title relevancy – Found with error – Title relevancy to page content is fair. Go for Unique title up to 80 character with space
Erm, my site is about Christmas information. The title on the home page is ‘Christmas Traditions, Christmas Around the World, The Christmas Story, Christmas Fun! – whychristmas?com’ I’d say that’s pretty ‘relevant’. The title could be a bit long (as it’s 104 characters) but really that’s fine. This is WRONG.
Image alt tag – 16(Alt tags missing: 1) – Need Update
This is simply WRONG. All the images on my site have relevant alt tags.
Availability of search facility – Not Found – Not Good
There’s a search button ON EVERY PAGE. This is WRONG.
Live support – Not Present – Live chat or live help is important for better communication.
Erm, hmmm, yeah, OK. Well, it’s the first time I’ve seen this being claimed as an SEO issue! Having live support could be of some help if you’re a big company that needs to offer live support. I don’t on my site. This will have NO EFFECT on SEO. This is IRRELEVANT.
There’s a line for ‘Html Validation’. It says there’s no errors (because there aren’t) but in the action column it then says ‘Try to fix these errors.’. So that makes no sense then…
Freshness part – Not Updated – Try to put fix the fresh ness part at footer
This is just odd. Having fresh content can help with SEO. But it’s generally only useful to add dates if you’ve got a blog. I haven’t! The copyright on the site is up to date (unlike on their site where it says 2018…). So again IRRELEVANT.
Alexa ranking – 810,089 – Try to minimize the ranking by doing professional SEO and increasing the traffic to your domain.
Alexa ranks sites based on their (estimated) visits and popularity (lower is better in the ranking – a bit like the music charts). Well, this site is about Christmas, so it has ‘date based’ traffic patterns. Looking on Alexa, my site has gone ‘up’ (or should that be down, anyway it’s got better) by nearly 200k in the last 90 days! It’s often in the top 100,000 or even 50,000 during December. (Frankly getting in the top million for any site is pretty amazing. The SEOHOC site currently ranks 5,297,817 on Alexa!)
And they are indeed estimates. Alexa also estimates that my site is currently getting about 3 page views a day! Well, my stats say it’s getting well over 4000 a day, so, yeah…
SEO score – 89% – Run a good SEO campaign to increase the SEO score.
Of course there’s no information about what this score means or where the 89% has come from… Checking on one SEO tool that’s popular with SEO spammers, I can get it to have 88%… The only reason it’s that ‘low’ is because the home page of my site doesn’t have much text on it. And as my home page is glorified landing page, that’s really ok…! (Running the SEOHOC site through the same tool, they get 62%.) Also, isn’t 89/100 actually really good!? I mean it’s a lot better than 62%… So WRONG.
Google Analytics – Not Found – Google Analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.
Yes, Google Analytics does do that. However, I value the privacy of the visitors to my site, so I use a privacy friendly analytics tool. Also having Google Analytics on a site has NO effect on SEO. So this is IRRELEVANT.
Off Page Factors
Back links – 0 – Need to improve link popularity
Yet again, TOTAL AND UTTER RUBBISH. My site has A LOT of backlinks. Using the very good Ahrefs backlink tool, it says my site has 76,881 backlinks! (The SEOHOC one has 229.) So VERY WRONG. (And again this is something they ‘forgot’ to fill in on the report before sending it out…)
Ensuring quality of back links – Not Present – Need to improve quality of back link
See above. WRONG WRONG WRONG.
Top social bookmark listing – Not Found – Start the social-bookmarking promotion
Hmmm, the site has been shared A LOT across social media. Using a tool on Facebook, I can see that the home page alone has had 3782 likes, shares and comments. So again WRONG.
So all of the ‘issues’ are wrong or irrelevant – not good.
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 http://www.seohoc.com/
For HTML Validation, my site has no errors. Their site has 32 errors and 9 warnings, that isn’t good!
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 19 errors and 12 contrast errors, again, not exactly good. My site has no errors of either kind!
Using the Google Lighthouse speed test tool their site gets:
Best Practices: 67
My site gets:
Best Practices: 100
So my site is better across the board, and especially in ‘Performance’. But there’s are several other issues with the SEOHOC site…
There’s no SSL certificate (the padlock next to the www) on the site. This is pretty terrible for a technology based site these days – especially as Google now uses if you’ve got SSL (or not) as a ranking factor!
There’s no Heading 1 tag on the home page. This is TERRIBLE as it’s one of the leading SEO factors on a site. You’d have thought that an SEO company would know that…
The site is also linking to/using a css file from the HTML tutorial site w3schools – that’s just bizarre and I have no idea why you would ever do that!
The copyright on the site is 2018 – that’s not good.
In the site’s header there are several social icons. Only one is actually linked to anything – the Facebook one. One of the icons is for Google+. That closed well over two years ago!
Much of the text of the site seems to have been copied from other SEO sites…
On the home and about pages, and also in the footer, it says that SEOHOC ‘works with different “White Hat SEO” techniques only, which brings about moral SEO methodology execution’. Hmmm, I don’t call spamming people (using a template copied from the worst SEO spammers out there) and copying text from other sites to populate your own as either ‘white hat’ or ‘moral’.
There’s a Portfolio page on the site – only there’s nothing in it! (Well there are six holding images which probably came with the theme the site is using, but no actual sites listed…)
From a Google of ‘SEOHOC Technologies’ I did find three sites which they’d made. One for a musician in Australia, and two in Bhubaneswar, India (where they, and many other SEO spammers including Qtonix, are located) – one for a tax consultant and one for a manufacturing company. Sadly all the sites had basic HTML, SEO and accessibility errors on them. (One of the site’s home page was over 25MB!!!)
A Google of the Skype account Tutu has in his email footer, and also of Tutu’s full name and ‘seo’ shows that he’s worked for (ran?) another (now defunct?) SEO company called ‘SEO Rank Infotech’. The site for that company is currently blank (the most recent version of the site on the ‘wayback machine’ is from February 2021).
However, there is still a Facebook page for SEO Rank Infotech. On that FB page, it says that SEO Rank Infotech are based in North Carolina. Well, that’s not true as we know they’re really in Bhubaneswar.
And from the wayback machine version of the site, I found Twitter account for SEO Rank Infotech, which lists its URL/site as the SEOHOC one…! The phone number is the same on both sites as well.
I found a business directory listing for SEO Rank Infotech saying they’ve been in business since 2011. However, the SEO Rank Infotech domain was registered in 2014 (and that’s when the Facebook page was created) and the SEOHOC domain was registered in 2017. Hmmm…
I also found a spam comment left on a site from Tutu, trying to sell his SEO services.
It also looks like Tutu has worked/works on services like Fiverr. That’s fine. However, what’s not fine is that he claims, on his Fiverr profile, that he ‘will place the website on the top page of Google on desired keywords to bring both good traffic and great business’. But Google have something to say 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?”
So SEOHOC Technologies are another SEO company that uses Gmail accounts to spam from.
They’re using spam templates I’ve only seen before used by about the worse SEO spammers out there.
The report was full of errors – excluding the ‘mistakes’ they made on it before sending it to me…
They’re also probably connected to another SEO company which makes some dodgy claims about where they’re located.
So if SEOHOC Technologies send you an email, the delete button might be a good option.
But, as ever, the choice is yours..