When I get emails like this, they may very well be legit, but several things make me believe they're spam.
From: Mark Peterson [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Hope you are well. As part of our client research, we've come across your website online "Earth.com" and noticed your site is not on the top ranking for most important search engine like Google Yahoo.& Bing I am wondering if you would be interested in Search engine optimization done for your website at a very low cost.
Search engine optimization will increase your brand recognition and your sales, which is why you have a web site to begin with right?
We can make your website on 1st page placement on Google, Yahoo, or Bing in three to six months guaranteed with our “National SEO” package! Three to six months is typical for all our SEO packages!
So let me know if you would be interested or like me to mail you more details or schedule a call. We would love to work with you!
I look forward to your reply.
Business Development Manager
The first flag is that this email is from a gmail account and not a business account.
There are no links in the email to direct me to Mark's company, his linkedin profile, or any other online business profile.
Grammatical errors. I'm not the best when it comes to writing proper English, but Mark's English and his spelling should definitely be more professional.
Last, but certainly not least,
When someone offers this guarantee, they're most likely doing black hat methods that will eventually get found out by Google and other search engines. When you're found doing black hat methods, you've gotta do a ton of digging to get out of the hole search engines will put you in. See, I ended that last sentence in a preposition. A big no-no, but you get the point. : )
I've been developing sites, doing SEO, and going to conferences to further my education for many years. Using good white hat methods, we've had a lot of good success with getting our sites ranked favorably. #1 in several cases, but certainly not all cases. However, even using those same good methods on certain sites, for whatever reason, those sites either lose their ranking quickly, or never get favorably ranked. We use to spend a lot of time scratching our heads as to why. Several consultants later, we learned that Google simply didn't like the domain. We made reconsideration request after reconsideration request and finally came to realize we needed to move on to another domain/project. Trust me when I say, it's not as easy as these 'SEO Experts' make it out to be. So when you're considering SEO, you're going to get what you pay for. The best thing you can do is spend the time to educate yourself on best practices and methods. These practices and methods are always changing so you will have to do some continuing education. Knowing about SEO will save you a lot of time and money so when the right 'Mark Peterson' comes along, you'll be able to know if they're full of it or legit.