When you own a website, you are going to get some spam.
Website spam is automated email sent through the contact form of your website. Often it is someone trying to sell you a service (rather than enquire about yours). Sometimes it is something sinister like a link that’s going to give your computer a virus or malware.
Website Spam is generated by computers that crawl the internet, looking for vulnerable contact forms to populate with a pre filled message. Often the people behind these programs are offshore SEO Companies or criminal individuals looking for a way to exploit your trust.
Website Spam Examples
Over the years we have seen a lot of Website Spam. Below is some of the more common ones.
The “I Have Been Checking Your Website” SEO Pitch
This one is one of the most common. The spammer claims to have been “checking your website” and finding all sorts of SEO problems. In truth they have not checked your website. They have just sent an automated message out to any and every website on the internet that their spam software can get a message through to.
It goes something like this:
Hope you and your business are doing well. We’ve all been through so much this year!
I’m really sorry to bother you, and I know you are super busy, but I have been checking your website, and it seems that you are not ranking well for your ad words and key phrases. I actually help businesses like yours get a better ranking in Google by using 10 proven techniques below.
I would really love the opportunity to work with you and your business, and bring your website to the top of Google’s list – the sweet spot where you get clicks and more business!
Please let me tell you some of the techniques that I can use below to help you get a better ranking in Google search:
1. Title Tag Optimizations are missing; I can add these to your site.
2. Meta Tag Optimization descriptions are absent, I can add them too.
3. Heading Tags Optimization – No problem getting those put in there.
4. Targeted keywords are not placed into tags correctly.
5. Alt / Image tags Optimization is not present – it would take me seconds to write these.
6. Google Publisher is missing; I can set this up for you
7. Custom 404 Page is missing and I can create this for you.
8. The Products are not following structured mark-up data; let me edit that in Google webmaster tools.
9. Website Speed Development (Both Mobile and Desktop) I can make some tweaks and show you a speed performance using GTMetrics or Pingdom
10.Content Creation SEO work – As a native English speaker, I can create fantastic articles that people will want to read and share, these will bring business to you by word of mouth rather than expensive promotion via Google paid search.
I’m sorry if this sounds a little technical, but rest assured, these techniques will certainly improve you ranking in search. I am so confident that I will offer you a full refund of my fee should you not see an improvement in your Google ranking within two months.
We’ve got lots to do together to make you stand out!
Please give us the chance to work with you. You can see our rates on our website.
If this email has reached you by mistake, or if you do not wish to take advantage of this opportunity, please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused. We are a small business and we are just trying to get some customers. I’m sure you were in our position once too. Rest assured that we will not contact you again should you reply to this email with the word ‘unsubscribe’
Thank you kindly for your time and consideration,
Looking forward to working with you.
In return, would you please be so kind as to leave a comment on one of my posts. I’ll let you know which one if you reply to me.
Spread the love!
Do I have an SEO problem if I get this email?
Keep in mind that this is a generic spam message. It is not the result of someone carefully checking your site. The issues mentioned in the email may apply to your site, but they may not.
You are best enlisting the help of a local trusted SEO service if you are concerned about your website optimisation.
The Image Violation Threat
Ok this one is a bit more sinister. It is designed to scare you into thinking you have somehow violated a copyright on your website. The goal is to get you to click on a link you think is taking you to the copyrighted content, but really takes your computer to a dark place where it will likely catch digital herpes.
My name is John.
Your website or a website that your company hosts is violating the copyrighted images owned by myself.
Check out this official document with the URLs to my images you utilized at [insert website URL here] and my previous publication to obtain the proof of my copyrights.
Download it now and check this out for yourself:
[insert link to malicious virus here]
I think that you intentionally infringed my rights under 17 USC Section 101 et seq. and can be liable for statutory damages of up to $130,000 as set-forth in Section 504 (c)(2) of the Digital millennium copyright act (DMCA) therein.
This message is official notification. I seek the removal of the infringing materials described above. Please be aware as a company, the Dmca demands you, to eliminate or/and deactivate access to the infringing content upon receipt of this particular letter. If you don’t stop the utilization of the aforementioned copyrighted content a legal action will likely be commenced against you.
I do have a strong belief that utilization of the copyrighted materials referenced above as presumably infringing is not permitted by the legal copyright owner, its agent, or the laws.
I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in this notification is correct and that I am the copyright proprietor or am authorized to act on behalf of the proprietor of an exclusive right that is allegedly violated.
Have I violated a copyright?
No you haven’t. As realistic as this spam message may seem, it is automated and designed to shock you into clicking on the link so that they can install nasties onto your device. Don’t do it.
The Bitcoin Band Wagon
Relatively new to the spam scene is this piece of bitcoin spam. It is sent by people looking to cash in on crypto FOMO. While we haven’t tried it, the links possibly do take you to legitimate crypto exchanges and training courses, providing someone with referral income if you sign up and hand over your money.
By now most people have heard of Bitcoin.
Unlike traditional stock markets, Bitcoin has its own cycles of ups and downs. There is a model called “Stock to Flow” price predication model by PlanB (an anonymous Dutch hedge fund manager).
Forbes calls this model one of the most accurate price predication model of Bitcoin. [insert link]
According to this model, Bitcoin can hit a price USD$150,000 to USD$300,000 by Dec 2021 or Jan 2022. You can follow this legend’s twitter account here: [insert link]
Currently Bitcoin trades around USD$30,000, if PlanB is correct, we can expect a 5 to 10 times gain in Bitcoin in the next 6 to 9 months!
Don’t have enough money to buy a whole Bitcoin? No worries, anyone can buy a fraction of Bitcoin. For example, if you have $350, you can buy 1/00 (1%) of a Bitcoin!
To get started, you can buy your first Bitcoin (or a small fraction of it) below:
Go to this url and simply sign up with your email and password and enjoy 10% off your trading fees for life! ->[insert link]
[insert link] (biggest crypto exchange in the world).
[insert link] -> Use this link to sign up at Binance for free and get 10% off ALL your trades in Binance forever!
The Random Russian Spam
Next on our list is the random Russian spam, instantly recognisable by characters you wont recognise. It comes in all shapes and sizes. Here is a sample of the copy:
Готовы предложить быстрый и эффективный вариант для “убийства” веб-сайта вашего конкурента.
We ran this through Google Translate and it said this:
We are ready to offer a quick and effective option for “killing” your competitor’s website.
So there you go. It’s important to note that just because you get these strange looking characters through a contact form, it does not mean you have been hacked or your computer has a virus. It is simply an email in Russian.
The $99 SEO Service
Last but not least on our list is another SEO pitch. This one is simple and to the point.
We are providing very cost effective and quality pact google ranking & website development services.
Google Ranking @ $99/ Month
Website Design & Development Starting @ $299
If interested, please respond with your requirement, so that I can send detailed proposal.
Thanks & Regards
[insert name and number]
At least these guys are up front. They are not trying to scare you into an SEO service or lie about how they have checked your website. They are just trying to sell you a cheap SEO service.
On that note I have yet to seen an SEO service at this price that is actually effective. Over the years we have worked on some projects that previously used cheap offshore SEO. Ironically, these projects had spammy automated links built which were harming their rankings more than helping.
Stopping Website Spam
Over the years there has been many efforts to reduce and prevent website spam. We can all remember those annoying little captchas where you type out a semi disguised sequence of words and letters. Interestingly, some sites such as the Australian domain lookup tool, still use it:
A few years back, Google created a tool called recaptcha which works pretty well. You probably know it best as the pop up that asks you to select certain squares like the pictures of mountains etc. There are several versions of the tool as spamming tools have learnt to break the recaptcha tool and get the enquiry through.
What We Use
On the websites we build we use Akismet, an industry leading tool built by the people behind WordPress. It works by “combining information about spam captured on all participating sites, and then using those spam rules to block future spam.”
Hopefully seeing all these spam examples has helped you realise you are not alone. If you are getting copious amounts of spam through your contact forms, then you need some sort of spam protection installed. Most importantly never ever respond to website spam or click on any of those links in it.