As a business owner, you get hundreds of emails a day from your current clients, prospective customers, promotions and more. However, in the sea of these emails you notice one or two that say, “SEO Proposal” or a person who is an “Expert Online Strategist” who has reviewed your website and wants to help. This person claims they can unlock the secrets to Search Engine Optimization, grow your company’s online presence and make your website better than ever. On the surface, this sounds amazing. But on a deeper level? It’s a complete scam. These “experts” are nothing but scam artists out to make a dollar off of you.
But, before we begin, it’s very important to note that there are many real SEO firms ready and willing to help your company. These businesses are just trying to gain your service, have genuine intentions of helping your site and can help you with your SEO goals. They have legitimate websites, phone numbers, emails and business locations. Their email is expertly and professionally written, detailing out examples and referencing you back to their own valid website. If you can trace back the company and see that the company is authentic–you’re in the clear.
However, let’s discuss the ones to watch out for and the signs you’re dealing with a fake.
The Basics of an SEO Scam Email
Like spam calls, the majority of these SEO spam emails will come unsolicited (usually from an unrecognizable email that can’t be traced back to a reliable website). The “SEO Expert” will analyze your website, point out unspecified errors and offer vague solutions to get your website to rank higher. They begin to pitch to you how they, the “experts”, can get you to the top of Google search results with just a few tweaks. They assure you that you’ll get more traffic, more customers and ultimately more business if you follow their lead.
The SEO emails we are pointing out in this article are the scams, these companies are out for something much more malicious than just your business. Those specific spam emails may contain harmful viruses, phishing attempts or even malware. In some instances, once the scammer has access to your site, they have access to everything– and that’s a scary thought. These scammers can gain personal information, financial information and commit cyber fraud. Whether these companies are real or fake, generally they’re not the best or safest companies to be connected with.
They Addressed Me by Name…It Must Be Real!
Not so fast. Sure, there are some SEO companies that are legitimate and want to help– but we are here to help you spot the fakes. There are a few key factors to look out for when spotting an SEO scam email:
- The company isn’t named and/or no real phone number (HUGE red flag)
- The email is either not personalized or is personalized–but is either impersonal or wrong
- Typos…and lots of them
- The “SEO Expert” has an unprofessional email/email service (Think Hotmail)
- Information is unsolicited through website form or email
- No website (or a website with less than ideal ranking)
- Terrible subject lines
- Encouraging you to buy their services for low prices
You may think the email is real and that their intentions are pure but if you look closely, past them addressing you by name and/or website, you will notice that the body of the email is quite generic. Though common for business owners to be told that their site is failing to rank for important keywords, they won’t identify or specify the ill ranking keywords to you.
If I Receive the Email–Should I Respond?
The best way to respond to these emails is to drag them over to your email’s “trash” icon. You could also report the email as spam and hit block. These emails are not worth doing an investigation to see if they are a reputable source or not. These SEO scammers are only trying to get you to pay for one of their poorly equipped services that they have no experience in providing.
When you get these emails, it’s important to ask yourself one question, “Should I trust someone, whom I don’t know that has reached me through an unsolicited email, with no valid website, with my SEO strategy?” The answer is simple–no way. Always remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.