NamesCoI was somewhat surprised recently when I clicked a link in a marketing email sent to me by a client. The email was from NamesCo, a well-known domain name registrar and web host, offering their “Hyper Submit” packages for SEO. These packages range from £19.95 to £115 a year (no, I won’t be making a link to the page!)

As I read through the list of what you get from each package, I felt like I was in a timewarp – these were the same historic “search engine submission” packages that I read on numerous websites before the turn of the millennium! The strong odour of mothballs and dust is even backed up by references to search engines that have long since departed. LookSmart is now a PPC network, iWon is a gaming website and Overture became Yahoo Search Marketing years ago…

What is so wrong with all this, I hear you cry? Well, what NamesCo are essentially offering customers is a complete waste of time. For starters, each package provides “12 Monthly Resubmissions” – presumably to a bunch of search engines that no longer exist or were last used circa 1999. More importantly, such “resubmission” is a completely pointless exercise – once you’re in the search engines, you’re in, unless you get deindexed as a penalty and then the only way you’ll be getting back is by fixing the problems and submitting a reinclusion request. NamesCo make reference to “400 search engines and directories”, but I think we all know there are three anyone cares about: Google, Bing and Yahoo (which of course is Bing anyway).

Then there is the “Meta Tags Generator” – you’ll still find plenty of these (free) on the web. You’re much better off writing your own meta description tags (think keywords, benefits and call to action) than allowing a machine to do it. Meanwhile, Google has never made use of the meta keywords tag, so spending time “optimising” that will get you precisely nowhere.

I love the “Guaranteed listing in Google” too – um, you mean you’ll guarantee my website gets indexed by the world’s most pervasive search engine? Really!? Wow! I’m loving the fact you don’t get that on the cheapest package either… Submit your site to Google for free in 10 seconds flat. You will be “listed” by Google. Trust me. 🙂

The higher packages go on to talk about “Personal keywords research”, “Ranking Performance” and “Link Popularity”. I would love to know what “keywords research” involves when its part of a package costing £94.95 – my guess is a quick scan of the AdWords Keyword Tool is all you’ll get. Ranking performance and link popularity? Lots of free tools for those too.

All in all, the whole thing just looks like a scam to fleece unsuspecting new website owners of a bit more cash for something that will do precisely nothing to “get them found in Google”. The most expensive package does list “Optimisation instructions” and “Competitive analysis” as part of the deal, but the rest of it doesn’t inspire confidence that you’ll be getting up-to-date expert help to optimise your site and generate plenty of links to it. How likely is a service still using the logos of defunct search engines to market its wares to provide sensible SEO advice?

Well, here’s some sensible SEO advice – stay away from Hyper Submit and anything that looks or sounds similar! Save your money for some real search engine optimisation.