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Avoid getting ripped off by SEO email offers

Beware of shady SEO offers in your mailbox!

If you have a website registered to your name or business, you will likely get email messages offering you Search Engine Optimization and similar web services. The vast majority of these email offers are not legitimate and should be discarded.

Promises often made in these emails — Top search engine rankings. Get on the first page of Google. Guaranteed results. Get listed on directory sites. Free listings.

These email messages may give recommendations for improving your website. Their observations and recommendations are usually very general. These may sound reasonable but they could apply to most websites. Examples: “Need to update your website with fresh content per the latest Google guidelines.” Or “Your site does not comply with WC3 standards.” I assure you that they’ve never even seen your website!

How to recognize suspicious SEO email offers:

  • You didn’t request information of this type. (Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Website Owner)
    • Legitimate SEO firms never send unsolicited or mass emails.
  • It’s sent from a free email address such as Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, Gmail, or Outlook.
    • Legitimate SEO firms are brand-conscious and would use their own web domain name as part of their email address.
  • Contains errors in spelling or poor grammar. Command of the English language is poor.
    • It may be obvious that English is not the person’s first language — even though they may sign the email with a very American-sounding name like “James Armstrong Williams”.
  • The address of your website is not referenced.
    • Often these spam emails are just sent to any email address, not even just to website owners.
  • No mention or where they are located.
  • Located overseas. “Allowing our services to be more affordable.”
    • Not all overseas businesses are shady. However…
  • Company name is often omitted.
    • Legitimate SEO firms wouldn’t omit their own branding.
  • No phone number. No address for their own website.
  • The price given, if at all, is extremely cheap. Sometimes with a guarantee.
  • Impressive results are promised – with little or no effort on your part.
  • You may receive multiple, nearly identical emails within a few days. Often with the sender name or return email address changed very slightly.
  • The email is in your junk folder or spam folder.
    • Mark them as spam or junk if they do manage to get past your junk mail filters.

WARNINGS: Do not click on any links in the email. Do not respond. Do not reply. Do not unsubscribe. 

Be a bit skeptical of any SEO offers you get by email. If in doubt, contact a trusted web professional for a referral. And move emails like this into the spam folder.

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