We regularly receive spammy SEO offers by email. This morning we received one which is typical. Having been taken in before, we are very careful before selecting SEO companies to work with. Here are a few of their findings about our site:

After checking the search engines, I ran a back-link check on your site. Back-links are the number of times your site is linked through another website. Your website has 20 back-links, meaning it’s not very popular. Back-links also help build your site’s Google Pagerank score which show’s how trustworthy your site is. Right now your site has a Google Pagerank score of 3/10, which is probably one of the main reasons why your site isn’t showing up in the first page of the search results.

The final check I applied on your site was page indexing. The more pages your site has indexed with good content and unique keywords, the higher you will rank. Right now, your site has only 147 pages indexed by Google, which is quite low. This can be down to many reasons which our service can help resolve.

So what’s the catch, you may ask.

  1. Link analysis: Well firstly the comment about back links is highly dubious, Google webmaster tools tends to understate inbound links, but yesterday was showing us as having 479 inbound links. We have three websites in addition to the dot com domain. Each has separate in-country hosting for the different language versions. Even our own indexed inbound links are more than the quoted total. Also inbound linking isn’t just a number count, we have some good inbound links from authority sites in our field.
  2. Page rank score of 3: this is true (i.e. we do have a page rank of 3). However, all leading experts, including Google themselves, play down the value of page rank. This SEO company clearly thinks they know more than leading experts in the field. Or probably worse, they are deliberately trying to mislead the unwary.
  3. Number of indexed pages: this point is more genuine than the others. We are aware that we need to write more content, and increase the number of pages. But again, quality is more important than quantity. The inference is that the company will help with writing content, but they have overlooked a few things here. Firstly, even a good copywriter won’t know the business or industry as well as we do. They aren’t likely to do a better job than we can do ourselves. Secondly, all search engines, including Google, like to be drip fed additional content. Its therefore more important to write a few well written pages. You can add them one at a time. This is much better than spamming the Google index with loads of low quality content.  

It gets worse, the company then makes the following pitch to try and sell their services:

SEO is not rocket science as many would suspect.  It takes a lot of man hours in hard work and research. This is something a lot of companies out there, just aren’t prepared to do. At least not without charging thousands per month.  We are different, because we tackle every single issue with your website that effects how the search engines perceive you. This is through a combination of expert consultancy and direct work. Eventually putting you on the first page of search results in all the major search engines. We do this by working on your site month on month for a minimum period of 12 months. It’s a no-nonsense approach that cuts through marketing fluff. It gets to the core of what gets a site to the top. We know what that is. We know how to do it.

Whilst we would agree that SEO isn’t rocket science, we wouldn’t agree that this company knows what its talking about. Apart from the points raised above, they have also failed to notice that we have pages ranking very well for many of our chosen key words, so they haven’t researched our site very well. They also haven’t said anything about site construction. Our site is very search engine friendly, and is gaining traffic all the time.

They have also not understood our industry. A bit of competitor analysis will explain. When I last compared our homepage with our leading UK competitor, we had just under 400 inbound links, which I was quite pleased with. By comparison, the UK market leader had just over 17,000! They have domain age and authority (both points not discussed by this SEO company), and are very successful at what they do.

Would we be wise to try to compete with them directly? Probably not. We are a small company, and differentiate ourselves on customer service, and working with niche markets; by contrast our competitor is a multi-national company with huge marketing spend including web development and SEO. They can always outspend us, and have a well constructed site, and good SEO.


So what are our options?

  1. Well clearly we won’t be seeking to do business with this SEO company. In point of fact, there are very good local SEO specialists in Nottingham. If looking for SEO advice, we would certainly look for a company we trust.
  2. We will keep writing new content for our site, including new pages, more language versions, and looking to improve the reader experience.
  3. If you are reading this and thinking of sending us a spammy SEO offer, please don’t bother. We have better things to do with our time. We are always open to proposals from serious potential suppliers, but you will have to do much better than the company that contacted us this morning.
  4. Inbound linking: if we keep writing quality content, and target appropriate authority sites, we will continue to improve our inbound linking. There is no substitute for hard work here. It took us a long time to get into the DMOZ directory for example, and we were actually able to get our Belgian site listed first, in Flemish.

If you are reading this because you are a business looking for SEO advice, here are a few tips:

  1. There is a lot you can do yourself, make sure you have great content, and know your market well.
  2. Be careful when selecting a web developer. Our site is written in WordPress, which is very search engine friendly. It also gives us complete control of site content. We are very happy with our web developers Attitude Design.
  3. Don’t be tempted by these spammy SEO offers, look for a good reputable company, and expect to pay for a professional service. A little bit of SEO done well, is likely to be much better than a lot of it done badly.
  4. Look for local courses to improve your knowledge. In the East Midlands we have been very fortunate to benefit from the e-business club programme, which gives excellent training input in this area for SMEs, and is European funded, so is free to eligible companies.

If you work within the SEO or web design or development field, and are looking for a translation agency to work with, we will be happy to talk to you. We have translated large and small websites into a wide variety of  languages. We are however a quality provider, and want to work only with reputable companies! Contact us, or read more about website translation.