In today’s post, we are going to cover something that I think every single dentist experiences on a regular basis (unfortunately).
SEO Spam Emails.
Over 45% of all email sent is spamOpens in a new window to an article about email spam”. That’s nearly half! These types of unsolicited emailsOpens in a new window to an article about email spam” are especially prevalent in the dental industry.
Since most dental and medical practices invest in a healthy marketing budget, these industries get a particularly high focus of attention from SEO spammersOpens in a new window to an article about SEO spam”.
As a busy dentist, you and your practice likely receive hundreds of emails a month from legitimate sources (ie. new or returning patients, insurance providers, a variety of product and services providers, etc…)
Unfortunately, you also receive numerous emails from an unfamiliar person or company wildly promising to land your website on the first page of Google for an affordable price. Every once in a while they are sent by a real person; however, most of the time these are automated spam and fake.
What does SEO email spam look like?
At Roadside Dental Marketing, our clients occasionally forward us these kinds of emails they’ve received. They are often curious about the legitimacy of both the sender and more importantly the claims that are made about their website.
Here’s a quick example of an “SEO spam email” that was sent to one of our clients.
This example is filled with a number of red flags that tell you this is a spam email. Some of them you might spot immediately; the poor English and numerous grammatical mistakes, for example.
Some are a little more subtle. For example, the “Google updates” that are referred to were updates that were launched by Google during 2013-2015. Since we are approaching 2020, I highly doubt these updates suddenly started affecting your website nearly 7 years later. Thus, this extremely vague and jargon-filled email is 100% spam.
Now, although most unsolicited SEO emails are spam and automated, some SEO emails are actually from legitimate companies or people who are trying to generate more business. Even though most people hate this approach, it does occasionally work. Otherwise, spammers wouldn’t be using it as a tactic.
Another popular email scam involves claiming your domain is close to expiring and needs to be renewed. This scare tactic email is usually sent with a PDF looking like this:
At first glance, this may look like a legitimate form. However, let’s take a look at the fine print:
It’s not until you read the fine print that you realize this is not even a renewal service for your domain. Meaning the accompanying email claiming to be a renewal service was a complete scam. With tactics like this, it’s no wonder how busy people can easily be tricked and manipulated.
So how do you tell if an email is legit or not?
How to spot SEO spam emails (all the red flags)
The easiest way to spot SEO spam is to know what to look for. So here is a quick list of the most popular red flags:
Red Flag #1: Numerous punctuation or grammatical mistakes (a.k.a “typos”)
We have all made a grammatical mistake when sending an email. That is not what I am talking about. I am referring to the hardly legible emails so riddled with mistakes that it reads like a bad 4th-grade homework assignment.
Red Flag #2: The sending email is unprofessional or from a free email service like Hotmail
This is a clear marker of spam emails. Even if they aren’t spam, you likely won’t want to work together.
If they can’t take the time to send you an email from a professional, personalized email connected to an actual business website; then what does that say about the quality of work you can expect for your business?
Red Flag #3: They don’t have their own website or it looks poorly designed
Again, even if they were a legit agency or firm, would you want to work with someone who claims to be an “online marketing expert” without an online presence themselves?
Red Flag #4: They recommend purchasing backlinks or try to sell you backlinks
This goes directly against Google’s guidelines. If they are offering this right off the bat, then move them straight to the trash can. Not only is this bad practice, but it can also get your website negatively penalized Opens in a new window to an article from Google”.
Red Flag #5: They have no real phone number or no company name
Without a proper business name, address, phone number or website, it’s extremely hard to know who you are paying and if they can be trusted. Delete.
Red Flag #6: You receive an identical pitch from multiple people
These types of emails are being sent in the thousands every single day to practices just like yours. If you are getting emails that look exactly the same, it’s likely spam.
Red Flag #7: They make vague claims or very specific promises
This one is a little harder to spot immediately but is one of the best ways to assess a sender’s legitimacy. Here are some all too common vague statements I’ve personally seen in the wild:
|Claims Made By SEO Spammers||What To Ask Yourself|
|“Your website isn’t ranking very well for major keywords in your niche”||What specific keywords?
Has your website ever ranked very well for those keywords?
|“Your website is experiencing serious SEO issues”||Did they specify any issues at all?
What makes them so “serious”?
|“Your website’s backlink profile is not efficient enough”||What did they use to assess this?
Do they offer any proof?
What do they claim is ”efficient”?
How are my competitor’s backlinks?
|“Google’s latest update is affecting your website”||Which one exactly?
(Google makes numerous algorithm updates every single day.)
|“Your website is experiencing indexing or crawling issues”||What proof do they have?
How were they able to assess this?
|“The website’s online reputation is rather poor”||Based on what analysis?
Has your online presence been growing?
The second half of this is when companies make very specific promises about your SEO results.
If any SEO company is promising specific results like: “We can get your website ranking #1 within 3 months” then you need to run. Any respectable marketing agency would never promise a specific result in an initial email.
For example, we at Roadside work hard to get outstanding results for our clients, and we are quite good at it. However, we would never promise anyone any specific results in Google for two reasons:
- We can’t control Google, their algorithms, or who they decide to rank.
- We can’t control what your competitors decide to do.
The truth is, nobody can make those promises, just like no dentist would ever promise a patient that they will never get another cavity in their life.
Red Flag #8: Confusing SEO jargon
SEO Jargon can be confusing. That is why many SEO spam emails contain a ton of it. Now, just because an email contains SEO jargon, does not mean that it is spam. In fact, most SEO experts will likely use proper verbiage.
So if you are ever in doubt, get a second opinion from an expert you trust.
Red Flag #9: Offering you low prices upfront
SEO is something that should be customized and tailored to each practice. After all, each practice is unique, has varying levels of competition, and often have different business goals.
So now that we have covered which red flags to look out for, let’s briefly talk about what to do when an SEO email is NOT spam. Does this automatically mean that your SEO agency is failing you?
In the world of SEO & marketing, it’s far too easy to pick up a computer, watch one Youtube video and claim to be an “expert”.
So how do you know if your marketing efforts are actually working or if it’s time to move on?
How do I know if my SEO or marketing is working?
As we discussed earlier, most of these emails are automated spam. But every once in a while an SEO report is real and true. Or perhaps you aren’t satisfied with the results you have been getting lately and are curious if the claims hold water.
Let me let you in on a little secret:
Almost every website has room for improvement.
This is because every dental practice has competition, and not everyone can rank #1. How much your SEO and online marketing may need to “improve” or what may “need to be fixed” may depend on your where you are located, the number of locations, and the size of your marketing budget.
Sometimes a dental practice may have a lower SEO budget but is located in a highly competitive area. This is the very reason that ongoing SEO work is often necessary. Your competitors haven’t slowed down, so unfortunately neither can you. It is smart to assess your growth and see if either an SEO boost project or an increase in budget is necessary.
It’s crucial to stay informed on how your marketing is improving. Compare your growth each quarter, and assess the return on investment.
At Roadside, we regularly audit and assess our clients’ performance. We send detailed reports on a regular basis and we have quarterly roundtable meetings where we deep dive into performance compared to your competitors. We strive to make sure every single client knows where their marketing dollars are being spent and can clearly see the results.
If you’re getting bombarded with SEO spam emails but are struggling to grow your online presence, request a legitimate SEO analysis from someone who has worked in online dental marketing since the founding of the internet. And yes, it’s free.