SEO - Snake Oil for 2008?

Posted in SEO by Jon Payne

I got this email from a concerned client today asking if the chap who sent it could actually help my client to optimise her site (advertising her excellent Bristol hypnotherapy clinic). Quite reasonably my client hoped it would be a better investment in search engine marketing than the work she and I have recently started to do together, following these search engine optimisation principals, which are essentially quite a bit of hard graft and this post offers a short cut to effective search engine optimisation!

As with many of my clients Mindscape Therapies is a small concern, so I was particularly upset that it appeared that some shyster (or babbling brook, if you prefer) was trying to pull a fast one.... So in an effort to help others to be forewarned and forearmed, here's the email the business owner received:

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: I visited your website and had a question
From: "Luke Ilech"
Date: Thu, May 8, 2008 12:58 pm


I was looking at websites under the keyword "hypnotherapy bristol" and
came across your site I see that
you're ranked 42 - on page 5.

I'm not sure if you're aware of why you're ranked this low but more
importantly how easily correctable this is.

There's no reason you can't have a top three ranking for this keyword
based on your site structure and content. You have a very nice site.

You need significantly more one way anchor text backlinks. If you're
interested I can help you with this...

I'm talking about getting you ranked for ALL your keywords. Adding new
backlinks on a steady and consistent basis from high PR quality websites
is what produces the rankings you are looking for.

The right kind of links are very critical in getting top ranking....and I
can hand deliver these quality links to you.

My partners and I own 1000's websites and offer discrete, private linking
to hundreds of website owners like yourself.

I didn't send this email out to thousands of people but I am currently
contacting a list of your "keyword competitors".

Important: I will only work with one person for this keyword group.

I have your contact info as: phone 07810 510170. Is it ok if I give you a

I have a very simple way to prove that what I do works and it's risk free
for you to try. Nothing beats seeing the results with your own eyes.

Is it ok if I give you a call? I would love to pursue this further over
the phone with you or should I go somewhere else?

all the best,


Luke Ilech
0845 003 0582

Now - I should point out that we've only just started working on the site in question and it's likely to take a while to creep up the rankings, but it is No 1 on Google (at the time of writing) for hypnotherapy Montpelier and emdr bristol from tiny acorns, mighty oaks, etc etc.

Anyway - here's my opinion on what this unpleasant little man said in his vile little epistle:

What “Luke” is saying is based in truth, but primarily that email is selling Snake Oil 2008.

While back-links are important for search engine optimisation, I don’t think “Luke” is going to do you as good a deal as he proposes to.

Let’s assume that Luke can deliver you a top three ranking for all the keywords you’d ask for (NB. He doesn’t stipulate which search engines, he just lets you assume it’s Google), if his service is sooooo amazing why isn’t there a website at the address “Luke” used to send his email from..... should resolve to as a website right? WRONG.
The domain is actually registered to, a broadband supplier who do not offer the services Luke offers. So..... The person who has sent this email has actually appears to be “spoofing” this email address. Essentially, “spoofing” is using a forged “sent from address” in an email as appears to be the case here. Why this email was sent using a spoofed header I don’t know, but I suspect it’s because the sender isn’t particularly legit and would prefer not to have the many complaints about his unsolicited emails arriving in his email box. While I’m not clear on Email Spoofing’s status as a criminal offence it is certainly morally wrong in my opinion.

One final check. I called Luke’s number. The conversation went like this:

“Luke” – Hello?
Me – Hi. Is um, Bill there?
“Luke” - No, you must have the wrong number.
Me - Oh. Sorry.
“Luke” – What was it about? Maybe there is a Bill here.
Me – Nothing important, bye!
Surely if this wasn’t a scam of some sort Luke would have said “Hello XXXX website promotions, how can I help?” or something similar.

If you have heard from Luke or someone like him promising search engine joy, email Noisy Little Monkey and we'll tell you if you're being conned or not.

Pip pip!

Jon Payne
Jon Payne

Founder and Technical Director of Noisy Little Monkey, Jon blogs about SEO and digital marketing strategy.

Meet Jon Payne

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