• 8 Signs That You’re Being Offered Bad SEO Services

SEO Redflag 2

I get a lot of spam emails from companies offering SEO services.  The emails are annoying, but more importantly the quality of the services that they provide is questionable at best and damaging to your web presence at worst.

The offers can be tempting; $125/month for a huge list of SEO activities – how bad can it be?

At ThriveHive we regularly see customers who have enlisted the help of so-called SEO experts who are not experts in any sense of the word.  More often than not the work that was performed was either temporarily effective, completely ineffective, or we need to help our customers undo what has been done because it’s against best practices and is actually hurting their results.

Although it’s difficult to know if an SEO expert is really an expert simply from his or her email solicitation, there are certainly some tells.  Completely false statements, indications that they need to spam a lot of people to get business (good SEO services don’t need to spam to get clients), and a general lack of attention to detail are all bad signs.

To help small business owners avoid what are essentially SEO scams, we put together the following 8 flags to help you sniff out emails from low quality SEO services.  All of the excerpts below are from actual emails trying to sell SEO services.

1. They guarantee rankings – nobody can guarantee rankings:

SEO red flag 1



2. They spend more time using different colors, fonts, and font sizes than they do on the content of their message:

SEO red flag 2








3. They use strange punctuation and spacing to try to avoid email spam filters:

SEO red flag 3



4. They tell you that your website isn’t on the first page of Google for any relevant search terms when it is:

SEO red flag 4



5. They use three levels of PostScript at the end of the message including 1 that claims that they found you through your online advertisement when you don’t advertise online:

SEO red flag 5




6. They feel the need to go into a lot of detail regarding why their email is CAN-SPAM compliant:

SEO red flag 6





7. They talk about “automatic” link exchange:

SEO red flag 7


8. They talk about SEO and then talk about Flash in the next sentence – Flash is the last technology any SEO expert would use to develop a website:

SEO red flag 8



Want a second opinion on your SEO “expert”?


  1. Great list Max.

    Another big flag is when they are emailing you from a spammy looking email address like MikeSEO535@hotmail.com… Generally I’ve found while there certainly are best practices, with SEO there are no “quick” solutions – Google really does expect that your site provides value to users.

  2. Kelly says:

    If a seo agency is contacting you, maybe consider that it should be the other way around. SEO is a field that is constantly changing, demanding considerable amount of research and updates to a client’s website/strategy. If your brand would like to focus on SEO, wouldn’t you do the research to find an SEO Agency rather than jump at the first one to offer you the lowest price? If an SEO agency is more focused on prospecting new customers than providing high quality service to the customers they already have, RED flag.

  3. Jerome says:

    Well, I also experienced seo service prosals through email, which is very questionable because they offer low quality link building and the bad thing also is, they are from India.lol

    • Chris says:

      It’s always amusing when SEO providers receive proposals for SEO services from other companies. Also, there are plenty of good SEO providers in India, just like there are plenty of SEO scammers in the US. You should always do your due diligence when hiring consultants for any task!

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