When you love SEO as much as I do, it breaks your heart to see email spammers and lazy “search marketing gurus” clutter people’s inbox with awful SEO proposals.
In this scenario, I define awful as lacking in content creation and filled with unrealistic / unethical link building among other things.
These proposals will also mislead the customer or recipient on which SEO tasks actually lead to better rankings and more traffic.
If SEO is new to you, don’t worry - I’ll break these items down in more detail as I run through the top 5 signs you just received SEO email spam.
1.They promise a large guaranteed number of links per month
If you’re getting a cold email from a SEO company that says they guarantee 50 or more links per month and they have no idea what your business or industry is about, that’s a huge red flag. Small businesses, for example, aren’t going to be able to add 50 do-follow links a month. It just wouldn’t be possible without an insane budget.
Natural link building during a SEO campaign is important. Links are still anywhere from 20% - 40% of Google’s algorithm.
This part of SEO marketing includes handcrafted guest blog outreach, networking with people in your field on social media, and sharing custom designed infographics about your product, service or customer demographic.
Someone who cold emails you hasn’t done any industry specific research yet, so there’s no way they could know how many links per month they can get your business.
2. There’s nothing about new blog posts or web pages
Another trademark of SEO email spam is a proposal that doesn’t include anything about new content.
These proposals generally focus on unethical link building (which can get your website penalized) and some weird guarantee about getting all your content indexed (Google does this 99% of the time all by itself).
But the bulk of SEO success comes from 1500+ word articles that are well researched, hit your top keywords and get shared on social media because they’re so useful. Articles and web pages that are really well done will be favored by Google’s algorithm, which is evolving to focus more on great content, informational depth and UX.
If you have a lot of different keywords you want to rank for, you basically need a web page or blog to target each one. You can update existing content, but SEO service providers should always have a plan to create new content for you that will be search optimized.
3. The spam emailer wants to bill you for things that don’t add value
SEO email spam will often contain proposal items like:
- We submit your site to all major search engines
- We’ll provide weekly rankings checkups
- We can make 5 updates to your site each month
- We’ll remove any robots.txt files blocking your website
It all sounds sort of good, right? But weekly rankings checkups are just that - where is the work to actually improve rankings?
And 5 website updates each month? I do that many in a day sometimes.
Plus, all major search engines will index your site on their own, and I’ve never met a company that had a robots.txt file blocking their website from Google. Unless the web designer left that in there after the job was done, it’s just not something to worry about.
So don’t let this type of SEO jargon fool you - none of it adds much value or is even totally necessary.
4. Greetings of the day!
Let me explain.
The last couple years I’ve been working with my friend Anna, who runs a marketing agency in San Francisco. Every now and then we screenshot the spammiest marketing service emails we receive and then text them to each other.
One commonality was this weirdly worded intro - “Greetings of the day!”
It makes us laugh every time. We also noticed a lot of poorly constructed sentences in the exact same emails. The point here is, if the email proposal is written by someone who lacks a basic understanding of grammar or spelling, they’re probably being paid by a company doing a lot of overseas outsourcing.
When you work with a SEO company, it’s nice to know they have a bunch of experts in house and are not managing your website and entire SEO work through a team of Fiverr workers.
5. You received a SEO proposal from someone you didn’t know via email
The truth is, 9 out of 10 cold emailed SEO proposals are spam. I’d be suspect of any SEO proposal from a company that I have no connection to. It’s just not how good SEO service providers do business.
If they mention you by your first name, and mention specific SEO items on your website that could be improved, then it might be legitimate. But often times SEO email spam is just some cookie cutter message with no specifics about you or your site!
That’s essential to creating a good SEO plan. Every website and business is a little different and has different resources available. And any company pitching SEO services should know your keywords, customer needs, services provided and marketing assets before they send you a proposal.
I hope this article helps people navigate around awful SEO email spam, and I hope it helps businesses weed out crappy SEO proposals.
Author: Cort Tafoya is a SEO expert in Sacramento, who also teaches AdWords and Google Analytics. He recently became the SEO curriculum developer for UC Davis Extension.