Computer-generated Unsolicited SEO Audits
If You’re A Website Owner, You’ve Probably Received Many
Anyone who owns a website is likely to get dozens of spam emails or unsolicited auto-generated SEO audits offering to “fix their SEO,” or asking for joint ventures, partnerships, links, or guest blog posts. It’s just par for the course.
Sometimes clients who get these unsolicited SEO emails ask us to analyze them or even to act on the suggestions inside the emails. We instead advise each of our clients to go ahead and delete those messages. We all want quick fixes and easy solutions, and it’s easy to fall prey to promises by SEO spammers. Unfortunately, spammers don’t provide results.
If You Work With Us, You Know SEO Takes a Lot of Work
There is virtually no such thing as a quick-fix SEO solution. Quick wins can happen in some specific, limited cases, but in reality SEO is a slow, steady process.
There’s foundational work, and then there’s work that has to take place on an ongoing basis.
But, What If They Are Right About Something?
So when you get these unsolicited “audit emails” they may even have some legitimate points. Maybe they’ve spotted a missing title tag or a meta description that isn’t at an ideal length. Perhaps they identify other “problems” that, when looking strictly at SEO best practices, don’t follow the rules.
Yet that doesn’t mean that you or your SEO professional should leap to respond to these “issues.”
We do our SEO audits largely by hand, using automated tools to gather data. Yet the decision making, the strategy, is all subjective and prioritized.
Automated Doesn’t Mean Expertise or Results
For any given website there could be hundreds of action items. Some of them even probably include some of the action items suggested by the spam report you received. This doesn’t mean fixing them will move the needle.
We prioritize our recommendations so that you’re spending your valuable time on the recommendations that matter.
Spammers use automatic tools and aren’t bringing their expertise to the table. They could lead you to work backwards, or on small things that don’t really help. We identify high-impact items and tackle those first. There’s time enough to tinker with the low-impact items when your website is generating the type of revenue you’re hoping to receive.
Links, Guest Posts, and “Partnerships”
Some of the most pervasive spam emails are the ones that ask for links, guest blog posts, and various partnerships. Clients forward us these kinds of unsolicited emails all the time.
They look a lot like this:
Guest Posting for Links Is A Thing of the Past
When you get these emails, it’s important to keep in mind that while guest posting for SEO was all the rage in 2015, it doesn’t work so well in 2020. In fact, in 2017 Google issued an official warning about using guest posts.
“Distributing content on a large scale when the main intention is to build links back to your own site is strictly prohibited under Google’s guidelines on link schemes.” –The Search Engine Journal
Guest Posting Is Good For….
That’s not to say you should never guest post. It’s just that Google isn’t going to give guest post links the same weight it used to. The primary reason to guest post is to get the right audience to your website. If you know a site caters to your audience, doesn’t compete with you, and would be interested in what you have to say, by all means, add value to that site by putting together a really high-quality guest post. Get the well-earned traffic from that post. Just don’t count on it to change your position on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
To understand this, you have to understand that SERPs aren’t the only source of visitors to your website. You want to rank, but you want traffic from as many sources as you can get it from. High-value guest posting helps with that.
Low value guest posting, posting on any site just to get a link, does not. Yet spammers consistently try to get you to “trade” guest posts because they have their own clients fooled. They want to say, “See, I got you 90 links this year.” Nevermind that some of those links might be actively hurting their clients. They look like quick, easy wins, and that’s all that matters to these spammy SEO types.
Buying Links Can Get You in Trouble
Meanwhile, if you aren’t careful, you can actively get in trouble with Google by buying or trading links. Even if you are well-known, big company. Way back in 2011, JC Penny ended up with major Google penalties because they had paid thousands of “seemingly unrelated” websites to publish links back to the JC Penny site. Google almost immediately penalized them. They stopped ranking entirely for terms they’d once ranked #1 for.
How We Respond
As our client, you can always feel free to forward unsolicited SEO emails to us if you’re feeling concerned about what they have to say. We want you to feel like you can come to us.
Just keep in mind that we’re rarely going to address the specifics of these emails. Nine times out of ten we’re going to politely inform you that you’ve received a spam email. Then we’ll stay the course on the hand-curated strategy we’ve already worked with you to develop.
SEO is important enough to your business that it’s natural to be anxious. Spammers know that. They’re going to do everything they can to take advantage of your anxiety. We’re going to do everything we can to protect you from their opportunism.