How to Spot Low Quality SEO Providers

Often you won’t know the quality of work to expect from an "SEO Expert" until you’ve already paid the bills, and the results simply fail to show up. In some cases, however, it’s a bit more obvious. Below is a solicitation email I received this week to my personal email address. An email address this company did not possess because I shared it with them, which means they either scraped the email from somewhere, or have it on a list they "came across".

It’s an interesting tale of the usual:

· Pointless statements

· Shallow results

· Misdirection
…and so on…

Dear Sir/Madam,

Greetings from <company name removed>!!

<company name removed> focuses on building Internet Marketing solutions. Our goal is to advise, guide and support our clients in all stages of their Online endeavor. Our team is highly qualified in the areas of Keyword Research and Search Engine Experts.

Best Prices: Our core technology is web based and automated, resulting in the best possible pricing that you could ever imagine.

Unique Model: Our unique model of submission, optimization and promotion helps you get the maximum ROI <original text revised to anonymize>

Time management: Since we will be handling your SEO tasks, you do not have to worry about your website ranking at all.

SEO Packages: We have packages to suit all your search engine optimization needs.

Traffic: We strive to pool in the best traffic at your website through SEO techniques like pay per click plans, affiliate marketing, online advertising and so on.

Results: We get your website ranked in the first top ten search results.

Always up-to-date: Weekly detailed report of web site.

We do all submissions manually, for the relevant category, thus higher acceptance ratio and guaranteed Results.

Awaiting for a response from your end.


Sandeep <name removed>

If we overlook the obvious grammatical issues, as this may simply come from using a translation tool, and focus on the intent, it remains obvious their approach is outdated, incorrect, and won’t return actual results. Claiming to use SEO tactics such as affiliate programs, online advertising and paid ads? This simply sounds like someone who doesn’t understand the topic.

And claiming their process is "web-based and automated" raises a couple flags. First, its jargon designed to lure in small business owners who think those idea equate to efficiencies. Second, it tells me they either template the work, or potentially use programs to build distributed links, and such, to try to boost rankings. At best, it’s simply their approach for doing directory submissions.

Manual submissions? Umm, this is 2013 not 1997… This simply makes it sound like the company is providing something of value, when in fact it’s an almost complete waste of time. Useful directories are very limited in number and submitting to a search engine is largely superfluous in the age of near instant indexing. …and does this mean their automated process is actually manual?

And the age-old, dead giveaway – promising ranking results. Heck, even saying you’ll hit the top ten is misleading. Sure, anyone can easily do this for irrelevant, no-traffic terms, but what the business hiring you actually wants is rankings on relevant terms that drive actual converting customers to their website.

I was a bit frustrated with their email, as it was obviously spam, didn’t have an unsubscribe option and they clearly don’t vet the list beforehand to understand who potential clients are. I’ll admit, I was also curious to see if anyone would actually respond…so I replied:


My response:

1 – stop spamming

2 – stop selling garbage

3 – research your email list

Remove me from this list.


A.) we are not spammers

B.) we don’t sell garbage if you have purchased any then feel sorry for you.

C.) we should research list to have only people who seek services.

You are deleted.




Best responses ever from a spammer. I’ll include them in my blog post for everyone to read.

…and that’s thousands of actual SEOs worldwide. They’ll love this!


Well you should provide the live url to me, will wait for your response buddy.

Its a huge platform to market ourself as well.

Also keep our complete conversation as well in the blogpost.


Not to worry Sandeep. …and there will be no marketing on your behalf…



So right to the very end, as far as I could tell, Sandeep remained oblivious to what I was telling him. He clearly felt that "any publicity is good publicity". Though the obvious message that I won’t mention his company didn’t seem like enough to dampen his enthusiasm.

This is one example of the type of low quality SEO shilling that happens every day. Solicitations comes from all around the world, this just happens to be from India, a popular target of ire for many in the industry. This actual company, who I have submitted as spam to the teams inside Bing, is low quality.

That said, there are legitimate companies based in every country where spam like this originates from, too.

The trick for a business is to look for clues to help them understand the quality v. the crap.

Duane Forrester
Sr. Product Manager