Business owners get overwhelmed with emails daily. Clients, potential customers, and way too much spam.

For someone trying to grow their business an email claiming to get them maximum traffic can sound tempting, and occasionally, an email will come through that says, “SEO Proposal” from a person who is an “Expert Online Strategist” who has reviewed your website and “only wants to help”.

It’s nice to imagine a perfect world where complete strangers would go out of their way to help your business do better.

These mysterious people claim they can magically unlock the secrets to Search Engine Optimization, grow your company’s online presence and make your website the most beautiful powerful website on the internet while sending you so many new customers you won’t know what to do with them all. How can this all not sound amazing? Unfortunately, when you dig a little deeper you find this is nothing but a total scam and these criminals are only out to get as much money as they can from you.

You may think the email is real and that their intentions are pure but if you look closely you will notice that the body of the email is quite generic. It’s common for business owners to be told that their site is failing to rank for important keywords, they won’t identify or specify the ill ranking keywords to you.

It may seem like the email has been directed at you or your company. These scams work in much the same way that horoscopes are written to be generic so hundreds of thousands of people will all read the same horoscope and believe it was for them.

If you’ve received one (or 20) of these emails recently, it was not a personal note to you but very likely a piece of spam generated in bulk by a software program. Often, the sender is an SEO lead generation company whose function is to collect contact information from unsuspecting leads (like you). You can be certain that no human being has spent a single second analyzing your website.

If you contact the sender to discuss web services or search engine optimization, you will be sold to some other unidentified SEO company that will run a quick “analysis” of your site and then try to sell you on a contract for their SEO services that will be a total rip-off.

Worst yet - these companies are usually out for something much more malicious than just your business. They may send specific spam emails that contain viruses, phishing attempts or malware to obtain your personal or financial information. If you actually hire one of these “SEO experts” and give them access to your site you may even find that they are using your site to commit cyber fraud.

So how do you know when you are dealing with a malicious imposter?

There are a few key factors to look out for when spotting an SEO scam email:

The email will usually start with something like:

An “SEO expert” or “online strategist” emails you with news that he or she has analyzed your website and noticed that it is underperforming. The “SEO Expert” will claim they have been checking your website quite often and they have “analyzed” your website, They will point out many unspecified errors and offer vague solutions that they claim will get your website to rank higher. They claim they can get you to the top of Google search results They assure you that you’ll get more traffic, more customers and ultimately more business if you hire them.

These scams are so popular because real SEO strategy is complex and, when done right, quite time-consuming. There is no magical way to land on the top of page one overnight.

Does it make sense that if you hire someone you don’t know, who reached you through an unsolicited spam email, is a wise investment in SEO strategy or your company?

Real SEO is equal parts art and science. It is a painstaking ongoing ever evolving process that takes time and cannot be mechanized. There just aren’t easy shortcuts or tricks.