In this post I’ll explain an example of a bad, harmful website SEO policy. With a note that I’m by no means a SEO guru/ninja/expert, so that all the information given here should be taken as: “to the best of my knowledge, based on my knowledge and experience so far.”
1. Introduction to website SEO
In separate posts I have already explained what website SEO is, and what are domain authority and backlinks. Since many people mistify this term, I suggest you take the time and read both linked posts. That way you’ll get a better understanding of the topic and probably have more use from reading this post.
For those using WordPress, I also made a comparison of the most popular SEO plugins, notably Yoast vs The SEO Framework, with a brief discussion of some other notable ones.
If you don’t want to read all that text, I’ll briefly explain the essence here:
- SEO means marking website contents so that search engines (like Google) can easily understand what the website and its pages are about.
- Google does all within its power to offer the best possible answer to users’ queries.
- SEO is not some magical tool that will “get your website to Google’s first page”. Quality of your website’s content is what determines ranking. SEO is just about helping Google see what really is on your website, so that it doesn’t miss any good quality content. But it can’t make poor content become good and rank highly, not in the long run.
Many individuals and companies know how to mark website contents properly and can give you very good advice on that, probably better than I did in the above linked posts. Many will charge you and make a living out of this – which is OK.
However, many give unrealistic promises (some call that lying) and use many questionable methods to get higher ranking results (with questionable long term consequences). Which leads us to the topic of this post.
2. Indecent SEO offer
Today I got an email from Matthew Woodward company. Since I recently wrote on email virus and phishing email protection, this was a good opportunity to investigate a bit more – and it inspired writing this post. For all I could tell, email was definitely sent from that domain (i.e. from that company). I checked out the website (directly, without clicking any links from the email).
Looks like a completely legit “SEO guru” website. They offer lots of reasonable SEO advice for free, and they offer their services, for a fee. Promising better ranking, more sales etc. All fine in and of itself. Now let’s take a closer look at their promotional spam email.
I don’t practice public display of the received email contents. In this case I’ll make an exception, for justified reasons (in my opinion at least): it is a generic spam email and I have removed the author’s name and information.
I’ll add my comments as bold between the lines.
Hi [insert name]… only joking 🙂
– this is trying to be funny, but in fact masking that it is a generic spam email sent to 1000 addresses. My name is shown on my website about-me page.
I’m from MatthewWoodward.co.uk and we recently published these link building strategies – https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/seo/link-building/strategies/
As you’ve probably guessed, I’m going to beg for a backlink in this email 😀
– straight to the point
What do I want from you?
I can see that your site has some great articles in the same niche as ours and I believe in collaborating. As I have already said I am looking for backlinks to our Link Building Strategies to be published in new content.
– didn’t even take a look at the site, or some posts would have been mentioned. My website deals with SEO in the smallest number of posts.
Why is this guide great?
Matthew only produces tried and tested quality content, that is designed to help with hands-on actionable advice. This guide, although only published recently, has already had 4,418 unique page views.
However, we are greedy and want more!
What can you get?
Of course, there needs to be something in it for you…
We can share your content with our social network of 60,000+ subscribers.
You can publish some interesting new content on your website
You’ll be doing me a solid, which is a great way to start any new relationship!
– I’ll write about this more below, in this post
What do you think?
What do I think? For start, I think you are doing an awful thing by spaming. This kind of email protocol abuse has lead to ever stricter spam filter policies, that make normal business email correspondence more and more difficult and less reliable (I wrote about how to configure your domain email, so that deliverability is as high as possible, but thanks to wise guys like this one, it is never guaranteed).
What do they really want? They want me to put a link to their website on my website (which is technically a backlink for them).
What is the problem here? My website doesn’t really deal with SEO, while their does. It would be like linking to some florist shop website, for no good reason. Google sees through this and doesn’t really provide any ranking benefits for such linking. Sure, it’s better than nothing, but not far from it (OK if they get 100,000 websites to link, after reading the quoted email, some short term benefits might show).
Things like this only confuse search engines, making their life harder, while Google is still smart enough to see through it (that is why many SEO experts start crying after each update of Google’s ranking algorithms). It also makes life harder for good quality content websites, to be ranked for what they are. Generally, these “wise” SEO tricks make internet a worse place (my post on .com price hike and the direction Internet is taking).
Bottom line is: damage for everyone, with minimal benefits for the “wise guys” (temporarily, until the next Google algorithm update).
To be fair, linking to a SEO website from this particular post (that deals with the topic) makes a lot more sense. In case Google figures out it’s good for that topic, which is not very likely, since it’s not on a website that deals with SEO, nor do any SEO related websites link to it.
What do they offer? If you read carefully, they promised nothing, only implied (“we can”, “you can”). Noting thousands of links to my website on some “social network” of who knows which websites, with which content.
I reported the received email for what it is – spam.
I respect the knowledge, experience and hard work of the above noted company. But I despise spam and “dirty tricks” used for “boosting Google ranking”. Thinking they do more harm than good in the long run.
Make good quality content and people will link to it, because it is good, worth reading and sharing. Of course, tag it properly, so that Google can more easily recognize its quality. But don’t fall for the tricks that you can pay and somehow miraculously “get to the front page”. And don’t spam – it’s harmful and ugly. You are more likely to have such tricks backfire.
Might let them know I’ve linked to their website – I have.