I received an email this morning from a company called WebsearchPR. They seem like jolly nice folks because they’ve guaranteed me first page rankings on Google, Yahoo and MSN or they’ll give me my money back.
A guaranteed spot on the front page of Google or my money back?
Gosh! Now where did I leave my credit card?
Sound the Snake Oil Alarm! It’s time to dust down the Snake Oil Promotions graphic and expose these folks!
Let’s start off by having a look at their email, shall we?
www.yoursite.com is currently linked to by 35 websites. I have used Google to find these links because for most people this is the most important search engine.
I see they’re using the ol’ link:http://www.yoursite.com command. Are these the same jokers I wrote about 18 months ago? Could be because when I run the same command for their site it returns zero links. Zilch. Zip. Nada.
OK so back to their email.
A higher number of links pointing to your website means you can achieve far higher rankings on Google, Yahoo, MSN - meaning that you attract more customers, make more profit, and benefit from an increasing return on investment.
I totally agree. Google particularly values the importance of inbound links so having more sites linking to you makes total sense to me so why don’t I just do another quick test on their site again only this time using a different set of data. Maybe Google was broken, eh?
Ermm. Nope. Xinu shows 0 backlinks in Google, 0 backlinks in MSN and only 10 in Yahoo. Hell even my mums site has more backlinks in Yahoo!
To achieve the above, the full service we are offering you includes on-going link campaigns plus the peace of mind that your website is always correctly “tuned” to the search engines’ current algorithms (extremely important these days).
Sweet! An SEO company that clearly works very closely with the major search engines. After all, how else can they give me peace of mind by ensuring that my website is “tuned” to the search engines current algorithms? I mean it’s not like that kind of information is widely accessible so they’ve clearly got some inside information, right?
To make sure you get the results you need, your actual search engine results are backed by our 2 tier Top 10 Promise:
- If we don’t achieve first page rankings for your selected search terms on Google, Yahoo, MSN we’ll refund your money!
- If we don’t then keep you on first page rankings for your selected search terms on Google, Yahoo, MSN we’ll refund your money!
This is my favourite bit of the email. So they’re promising me my money back if they don’t deliver me first page rankings on the Big 3. For my own search terms. The ones I decide.
OK, WebsearchPR, here are my “selected search terms”:
- kylie minogue naked
Actually I’ll let you off the last one if you can find me some decent pics
We have achieved excellent results for many of our clients using extremely competitive search terms. To find out what kind of results our clients have experienced, we are happy to provide you with their contact details so you can contact them directly.
Clearly WebsearchPR isn’t a competitive search term. Nor is Brighton SEO or SEO services Brighton or anything else I’d expect to find you under. Now why would that be? Shall we have a look at your source code?
So you’re a search engine optimisation company that wants to hide from the search engines, eh? What an inspired move! In a crowded industry, and let’s face it SEO is a very crowded industry, you need to find a USP to make yourself stand out and this would certainly be pretty unique…
OK so let’s have a look at your testimonials, shall we? Maybe I’ve got it wrong and despite how it looks, you’re actually a really good SEO company and not a bunch of clueless numpties. Sadly you don’t actually have any links off to your “satisfied customers” so I had to do some detective work…
Company A - not ranking for their company name. Not a good start. Let’s type in the URL directly and see where we end up. Oh…a holding page trying to sell me mesothelioma? OK maybe they’ve gone out of business. Let’s try the second “satisfied customer”.
Company B - rank for company name. Hurrah! Duplicate meta descriptions, keywords and source code written by Stevie Wonder. In the dark. Maybe the link profile will be better. Google - 4. MSN - 0. Yahoo - 381. Looks promising. Let’s have a look at those links. Oh they all appear to be from loans and mortgage companies. Which are all owned by the same company. And hosted on the same server.
STOP THE CLOCK!
I’ve just been digging through all my old emails and you ARE the same bunch of numbnuts who sent me the email 18 months ago. Either that or someone else is ripping off your “content” word for word, using the same “success stories”, using the same IP range and utilising the same dodgy virtual office/mail forwarding service.
Jason Calacanis famously said that SEO is bullshit. Jeremy Schoemaker recently said that SEO’s are the 21st Century car salesmen. Hell, even Googles BFF Wikipedia refers to spamdexing in it’s SEO definition (wear the link condom, you Wikipedia biatch). Is it any wonder that SEO has a bad name with fuckwits like you shafting people who don’t know any better?
Do you really expect me to believe your money back guarantee? I mean, really? So you’re going to get me a first page result on Google for any search phrase I chose?
To allow the benefits of our optimisation work to take effect, your money back guarantee begins after your third monthly payment. From this point on, your monthly payments will be refunded in full for any guaranteed search terms not ranked in the Top 10.
Ah..gotcha! So basically you have my money for three months whilst you go off and make some more spammy “customer” sites, get some more small businesses to part with their hard earned and then disappear off without refunding me my money because you couldn’t rank me number one in Google for “google”?
Y’know what? I respect the SEO comment spammer exposed by Tim Nash and Shaun Anderson more than I do you. At least they were relatively upfront in their methods. You guys are nothing more than pondlife.
I’m not an SEO. I don’t claim to be. I’m an actor who happens to have a background in web development. To use a popular term that’s in with the kids these days, I’m an SEO fanboy. When I get approached to do SEO work, I explain that I’m an enthusiast who can help with their rankings but that I’m not a full time SEO. I’m not prepared to promise something to a customer and then not deliver. It’s not in my nature.
I still get SEO work despite my protestations because people trust me, they recognise that I have more knowledge than them and that I’m not going to promise them something I can’t deliver. As I recently mentioned, I gave away a couple of hundred bucks worth of SEO advice to a friend of mine recently because I didn’t think it was right to charge him.
You, on the other hand, are quite happy to charge money for services you’re not prepared, qualified or able to achieve. The fact is that there will be some poor muppet out there who will take you up on your offer. They don’t know any better so they see your
spam unsolicited email and think that you’re a company that can help them get #1 in Google and will send you money despite the fact that you can’t even rank for your own name.
If I were you, by the way, I’d have a read of this article by Andy Beal. It will help you with your reputation management issues. It must suck being outranked by people slagging you off. Then again, it must just suck being you.
Matt Cutts announced last year that Googlebombs were a thing of the past. Apparently they don’t work any more. This is a shame because I’d personally love it if WebsearchPR, since they can’t even rank for their own name, would rank for under such search terms as clueless numpties, fuckwits, slimy bastards, seo snake oil, carnal knowledge with dogs and other such fun terms but I guess that without the support of fellow SEO fanboys that’ll never happen.
P.S. I realise that I’d already used the carnal knowledge with dogs anchor text for Network Solutions. Bugger. OK. Let’s leave the puppy fiddling to one side and concentrate on one of the others, eh?
P.P.S. Obviously I’d hate it if anyone were to spam email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org but I guess sometimes shit happens, eh?