Even if you’re not a business owner, you’ve probably come across one of these gems in your email inbox by now: the common SEO spam email, usually from India.

We get a couple of them per week.  Based on the number of clients that have complained to us, most of them are obvious frauds and sketchy beyond belief. Let’s analyze a recent one, just for fun (my comments in small text). But first, here's the full email unedited:

Subject: RE: Website Designing and SEO Proposal

Dear itecwebdesign, 

This is Julia Roberts, Business Development Manager.  

The reason for my email is I have analyzed your website – www.itec.media and decided to send you Website re-design and development proposal to make your website looks more attractive and SEO friendly.

We are a fastest growing ISO 9001:2008 Certified IT Outsourcing company with 200+ highly skilled and certified in-house IT experts. Having more than 7 years of experience in the web application development, Mobile Apps Development and Internet Marketing services. 

We have experienced working for Cocacola, Lexus, and Disney, have delivered them high quality services in web/mobile development along digital marketing.

We are offering the discount prices on our big packages in order to bring your websites on top ranking on major search engine. So, start your project at only 150$ per month. 

 

Monthly Task and responsibilities:

- On-site Activities

1.       Initial Analysis of the website
2.       Panda & Penguin Penalty check
3.       Google Manual Penalty check
4.       Title and Meta description optimization
5.       Recommendation for website improvement

 

Off-Page & SMO Activities
1.       Submission to 100 Search Engines
2.       Submission to 100 Directories
3.       100 Article Submissions
4.       Press Release Writing
5.       Press Release Submission
6.       Social Bookmarking
7.       Business Listing
8.       Search Engine Directory Submission
9.       Blog Creation & Posting
10.    Video Creation
11.    Video Submission
12.    Blog Comments on related Blogs
13.    Twitter Tweets
14.    Facebook Shares
15.    Google +1s Shares
16.    Video Likes
17.    PPT Creation
18.    PPT Submission
19.    Classified Submission
20.    Google + Page Creation Yes

 

We'd love to hear more from you. Please revert to this email and tell us about your requirements or ask any questions! We value your privacy and assure you that your contact data will NOT be shared with any third party.

We are looking forward to your positive reply.
 
 

Thanks and best regard,

Julia Robert

Disclaimer: The CAN-SPAM Act of (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask mailers to stop spamming them. The above mail is in accordance to the Can Spam act of: There are no deceptive subject lines and is a manual process through our efforts on World Wide Web. Please reply to me with “No”. You can opt out by to ensure you don't get such an email in future.

OK, let's break it down:

Dear itecwebdesign, 

Dear itecwebdesign? Looks like they automate the [name] fields. Although they failed at getting the name right, good to see they’re way above the presumptuous and sexist “Hello Sir,” emails.

This is Julia Roberts, Business Development Manager.

Ah, the American celebrity name, very common in India these days. “Julia Roberts” decided to go to India and represent. And don’t be fooled, she’s not a mass emailing robot, she is a “Business Development Manager.”  

The reason for my email is I have analyzed your website – www.itec.media and decided to send you Website re-design and development proposal to make your website looks more attractive and SEO friendly.

Right. You came across a web development company’s website and decided to do an analysis. Why thank you. And you concluded that you can redesign their website and make it more attractive and SEO friendly.  Should I be happy or slightly insulted?

We are a fastest growing ISO 9001:2008 Certified IT Outsourcing company with 200+ highly skilled and certified in-house IT experts. Having more than 7 years of experience in the web application development, Mobile Apps Development and Internet Marketing services. 

This is always my favorite part. More often than not, your “fastest growing team of 200+ ISO 9001:2008 Certified IT experts” is a small group of Indian guys in a sweaty Internet Café trying to make a buck off globalization.

Here we have Julia Roberts, our Business Development Manager, working
at the fastest growing ISO 9001:2008 Certified IT Outsourcing company
with 200+ highly skilled and certified in-house IT experts.

We have experienced working for Cocacola, Lexus, and Disney, have delivered them high quality services in web/mobile development along digital marketing.

I’m sorry, If you’ve worked on Cocacola’s web development and marketing, you’re way out of my league. I probably can’t afford you.

We are offering the discount prices on our big packages in order to bring your websites on top ranking on major search engine. So, start your project at only 150$ per month.

Wow. It must be my lucky day! 

Monthly Task and responsibilities:

- On-site Activities

1.       Initial Analysis of the website
2.       Panda & Penguin Penalty check
3.       Google Manual Penalty check
4.       Title and Meta description optimization
5.       Recommendation for website improvement

So the “Initial Analysis” of the website is going to happen on a monthly basis? Noted.

Off-Page & SMO Activities
1.       Submission to 100 Search Engines
2.       Submission to 100 Directories
3.       100 Article Submissions
4.       Press Release Writing
5.       Press Release Submission
6.       Social Bookmarking
7.       Business Listing
8.       Search Engine Directory Submission
9.       Blog Creation & Posting
10.    Video Creation
11.    Video Submission
12.    Blog Comments on related Blogs
13.    Twitter Tweets
14.    Facebook Shares
15.    Google +1s Shares
16.    Video Likes
17.    PPT Creation
18.    PPT Submission
19.    Classified Submission
20.    Google + Page Creation Yes

So after a year, I’m assuming you’ll have submitted our site to 1200 search engines right? Amazing. To think that I always thought there were only 3 worthwhile search engines: Google, Bing and Yahoo. I must be living under a rock.

Besides the fact that most of these activities are nonsensical or redundant, “Submission to 100 Search Engines” is plain silly, yet I see this one all the time. SEO scammers prey on misinformed and desperate business owners.  

We'd love to hear more from you. Please revert to this email and tell us about your requirements or ask any questions! We value your privacy and assure you that your contact data will NOT be shared with any third party.

But obviously someone shared it with you without our consent.

We are looking forward to your positive reply. 

Thanks and best regard,

Julia Robert

As much as I want to respond to Julia Robert, I think I’ll allow them to save their valuable resources for a company that’s more deserving.  

Disclaimer: The CAN-SPAM Act of (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask mailers to stop spamming them. The above mail is in accordance to the Can Spam act of: There are no deceptive subject lines and is a manual process through our efforts on World Wide Web. Please reply to me with “No”. You can opt out by to ensure you don't get such an email in future.

This added disclaimer is great - a very official and professional cut and paste job to show “We’re legit, and we mean business.”

Couple more notable mentions - the email came from a "hotmail" address, as if the fastest growing IT company cannot afford professional business emails. There was a link to their website: the portfolio links were broken and the English grammar was epic. Here are a couple golden nuggets of wisdom:

[We] ensure effective and valuable online presence with effectiveness.

We welcome and appreciate your queries. For request a quote for any customized services, kindly go to the Request Quote and submit your requirement by selecting appropriate options available. Our sales team will revert back to you very promptly.

SEO FRAUD ALERT

Low cost SEO spells trouble and could easily get you banned from Google. Most of these "companies" buy email lists and use software to personalize the emails by tossing in your name (if they can get it right) and website address. They often pretend to analyze your website and suggest that you're not ranking well, which is often the case for many sites, so a small number of businesses will think, "Hey! you're right! I'm not ranking well," and follow up.

Then they proceed to outline a generic SEO plan or proposal for you, most of which will contain the most ridiculous technical jargon. I almost think - If you're going to invest so many resources, time and energy into this SEO scam, why not at least make it somewhat coherent? Probably because the people that fall for these are precisely those who don't understand SEO and are desperate for quick, low-cost results. Unfortunately, effective SEO doesn't work that way.

While there are reputable SEO companies, it's very unlikely that the good ones will email spam people. Here are some of the red flags to look out for:

  1. A detailed description of poor performance or errors on your website.
  2. Bad or awkward English and poor grammar.
  3. No phone number or contact info other than email address.
  4. Non-existent or poorly designed company website.
  5. Generic email address like Gmail or Hotmail.
  6. Exaggerated promises - "You'll be number one in Google guaranteed!"
  7. Aggressiveness in trying to start project ASAP.
Anna Gondzik
Anna Gondzik
I drink my tea and make Wordpress great again.

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