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The Epidemic of SEO Solicitors and Scammers

Sinoun Chea

“I will make your site rank #1 on Google in less than a week for $99/month.”

If you’re a site owner with an active email address, then you’ve likely seen such a bold claim or something similar from an unknown SEO expert in your inbox.

On the surface, this sounds amazing. The juicy offer of cheap SEO with the promise of quick results is enough to cause a huge rush of adrenaline, urging you to take action.

But beware! Every time you receive an unsolicited email from a self-proclaimed “Expert SEO Strategist,” odds are you’ve just received a spam email from an SEO scammer.

Sadly, the SEO industry is overwhelmed with scammers looking to pull a fast one on unsuspecting site owners. And it’s quite annoying that the activities of these scammers have given the SEO industry a bad name.

Now is the time to discuss this epidemic so you won’t fall victim.

What does SEO spam email look like?

Scammers compose SEO spam in several ways. But the goal of each spam is pretty much the same: To scare or nudge you into getting scammed.

Our clients regularly get these spam emails and forward them to us, wanting to know if the claims about their websites are true.

Here’s one example.

I want to help you generate more business. We are a small, but very knowledgeable 18 year old marketing firm based in Los Angeles. We can help get you more traffic and leads by methods such as SEO, PPC, Email Marketing, Direct Website Emailing, Social Media Campaigns and more. If you are not ranking well organically then you are missing potentially thousands in monthly income that is going to your competitor instead. We are experts in ranking you on page 1 and if I don’t within 30 days you don’t pay. Our prices range from $199-499/mo and there is no commitment. Here are more details for review [SPAMMY LINK HERE]. If you don’t know how you are ranking currently with google I will run a free audit to get a sense of where you stand and what we can do to push you further along to getting more calls. Is this something you are interested in?

Even as an SEO company, it’s rather funny that we often receive email pitches offering SEO work. That shows the alleged SEO consultant didn’t go through our site as typical of someone blindly sending out automated emails.

Here’s another example of one we got recently.

We can promote your website on google by doing SEO of your website at a very low cost of just $99 per month onwards.

We also provide Web Design services @ $299.

If you would like to know more about this, please send a quick email to us.

If you think that’s going too far, then you’re in for a treat.

The former head of Google’s webspam team, Matt Cutts, shared a post about a spam email sent to a colleague where the scammers offered to boost ranking on Google.

How to identify SEO scammers

It’s pretty easy for us to spot these email pitches for what they truly are – “A SCAM.”

But to unsuspecting business owners, some spam emails can be so convincing and difficult to ignore.

Take, for example, a personalized email from a so-called SEO expert where they mention your name or website followed by talks on how they’ve analyzed your site and discovered SEO issues (usually made-up). These issues, they claim, are currently affecting your search rankings and making you lose potential leads and sales.

After, they conclude by making promises on how they can fix these problems and boost your site’s ranking in very little time for a steal price. And that all you have to do is reply showing your interest.

Emails like that seem very credible, except that it’s not. The thing is, these scammers are getting more and more creative in their craft. And you can bet the same email is being blasted to thousands of other site owners daily.

Spotting fake SEO pitches is easier than you think. And here are a few things to watch out for:

  • The email is of clumsy formatting, contains several spelling errors, and is filled with bad grammar.
  • The sender uses a Gmail address or other free email services like Hotmail or Yahoo. e.g., johnSEOexpert2001@gmail.com
  • No real phone number, company name, or business address
  • The sender has no website, or it looks poorly designed.
  • Promises significant results quickly
  • Extremely low pricing is offered upfront for SEO work.
  • They suggest buying backlinks.

How do SEO spammers get my email address?

These scammers use a range of tactics to collect multiple email addresses like yours.

But the most common method is with the help of a software program (also called bots or scraper) that scans the web and copies contact names and words containing the “@” character.

So, as long as your email address is on your website, they can get it. Then using premade templates and automation, they can send out emails to compiled addresses.

Can these unsolicited emails be legit by any chance?

Sometimes, and that’s 1% of the time, you may get unsolicited emails from genuine SEO companies looking for more business.

But the truth is, no real SEO agency or consultant would spam you with poorly written, unsolicited emails making bogus claims and empty promises from a Gmail account.

Neither will they ever mention a quote straight off the bat, especially not a ridiculous rate of $99/month without evaluating the actual SEO work they’ll be doing.

If you ever come across a seemingly genuine unsolicited email, here are simple ways to verify its legitimacy:

  • Do a simple Google search to confirm their online presence. Ensure they have a website and social handles
  • Check for reviews or complaints online
  • The sender’s email address should include their business website
  • Check for typos, bad grammar, and spelling errors
  • They should be able to provide references

What if I consider SEO services from a spam email?

Spam Email

Giving SEO solicitors access to your site puts them in a position to cause irreparable damage to your business.

By deploying “black hat” SEO techniques like keyword stuffing, cloaking, and sneaky redirects, these scammers could get your site penalized by Google or, worse, banned forever.

Another worst-case scenario is getting hacked via an embedded email virus, allowing hackers access to sensitive information like your passwords, credit card details, etc.

So what should you do when you receive SEO spam?

The best course of action is to ignore, delete, and report the message as spam.

Usually, such offers aren’t worth your valuable time to investigate. Instead, they serve to bring confusion and frustrate the honest efforts of real SEO companies offering genuine, helpful services.

The need for realistic SEO expectations

These spammers usually emphasize the promise of cheap SEO and quick results. And It’s unsurprising to see site owners falling for this scam.

You see, SEO spamming wouldn’t be as widespread as it is if every business owner understood and accepted the realities of SEO.

A reliable SEO strategy that yields long-term positive outcomes requires effort and time. It definitely isn’t cheap, and you won’t see results overnight.

Remember the old saying – “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” And the earlier you realize that there are no easy fixes, the less likely you’ll be to fall for these tricks.

How do I stop SEO spam emails?

Typically, your email service provider will do their best to filter such emails to your spam folder automatically. However, if they make it to your inbox, you can set up manual filters and block spam comments on your website.

But no matter what you do, you’ll still get spam emails that trickle in from time to time. In that case, the best thing to do is follow the “ignore, delete, and report as spam” process.

Knowledge is the first step in defending yourself and your business against these SEO scammers. Now that you know how they operate, the decision to avoid them should be a no-brainer.

But if you’re still not convinced, ask yourself: “Is trusting my business with someone who reached out to me via an unsolicited spam email the wise thing to do?”

However, to save yourself from such tempting emails, you can trust a marketing company like ShiftWeb, to help you manage your business. You can send a proposal or reach out to us on phone.

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