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How to spot SEO spam emails

Posted on 8th August, 2018 by Greg Doyle

Search Engine Optimisation

Spam emails are one of the most annoying parts of modern life and can quickly inundate your inbox. And while it can be easy enough to ignore and delete emails promising you thousands of pounds, SEO emails which point to potential website problems can be harder to ignore. These spam SEO emails are easy to spot by a marketing professional but can seem completely legitimate to a normal business owner.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the common things you can look out for in these emails to help you identify them as spam. And while a lot of these emails are pretty harmless, some may contain phishing attempts or malware so we’ll show you how to avoid these.

What does a spam email look like?

It doesn’t matter how well your site is ranked, spammers will try their luck and see if they can scare you into taking action and getting in touch with them. Believe it or not, even the folks at Google, including the former head of webspam Matt Cutts, are not exempt from the attention of spammers. Below is an example of an SEO spam email that was sent to Matt at Google:

Dear Matt,

I was on your website www.google.com and wanted to shoot you a quick note. I think I can make a few changes (aesthetically and/or SEO – wise) to make your site convert more visitors into leads and to get it placed higher in the organic search results, for a few of the select terms.

This is NOT like one of those foreign emails you probably get in your inbox every day. Just to be upfront I have 3 agents that work with me for development /SEO.

I would just need to know which (if not both) services you’re open to checking out information about, either web design or SEO. Would you be open to seeing more brief info / quote for what I would like to accomplish?

Regards,

Unsurprisingly, Google decided not to take them up on their generous offer to help them convert more visitors into leads and get them placed higher up in the organic search results. This is just one example of a spam SEO email and it is easy to see that the email is heavily automated and that they have not actually visited Google and realised that they are the world’s largest search engine.

Common types of spam email

While it is not possible to list all the different types of SEO spam that you may encounter there are some tell-tale signs that can help you identify spam emails. Some of the common things to look out for include:

  • Unsolicited approach via email or web form
  • Use of free email providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo etc
  • Email is full of spelling and grammatical errors
  • No company name or phone number
  • Templated feel to email with a lack of personalisation
  • Claims of huge improvements from fixing errors on your site
  • Declaring that your website is not ranking for relevant search terms without any further details about these

 

Should I respond to these emails

Chances are that if what they are offering sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Also, the vast majority of these unsolicited emails will be from spammers with goals ranging from the malicious such as phishing and malware to the ineffective and potentially damaging to your business such as low-cost link building services.

One of the easiest ways to check the legitimacy of these businesses is to do a Google search for the company name if they have provided one, this should bring up any reviews or forums posts if they are fake. If you can’t find their business, or they have not provided you with a business name then that is definitely a warning sign.

Also be wary of links that are contained in their email as these could lead to malware, a simple Google search for the website address can help highlight if there is malware present on their website.

Other common scams

As well as claims that your website is full or errors another common email scam is to do with domain names and variants of your business’s domain. These emails normally claim that a business in China, Russia, and Dubai etc. is looking to register a similar domain to yours. They then claim that following a check they have found your domain and that you are the intellectual property holder and wanted to offer you the purchase of this domain.

One of the best ways to check if an email is spam is doing a Google search; this will often surface forums and articles about spam and help you avoid potential phishing and malware. We hope that you’ve found this article helpful and welcome any comments you may have below.

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