Is Semalt Really Worth It?


You are probably reading this because you have questions regarding Semalt and would love to know whether or not they can be trusted in taking care of your SEO problems for your blogs or sites.

To be fair, ‘trust’ is a really big word, particularly on SEO issues. A cascade of mishaps and your blog or website is faulted or penalized, never to be found on Google’s SERP as envisaged. So, can a total stranger be trusted? Is it really wise to put all your hopes on an SEO company promising almost instant presence on Google’s search engine result pages with 15% visibility?

To answer your question, I’d walk you through my journey, experiences, and discoveries about Semalt. But first, let’s do a rundown of what Semalt entails.

What is Semalt?

Semalt is an SEO company that offers automated SEO tools and marketing services. They are popular for making your site rank higher on Google within a very short period of time, which is quite magical.

Semalt’s Services

Semalt offers various services and not only SEO alone. Since this is not the goal of this post, we shall rush through the services that Semalt offers:

  • Website SEO promotion

Semalt offers full website optimization which would no doubt boost your site, visitors’ attendance, and sales. Others are:

  • Explainer video
  • Website analytics
  • Web Development

What is Semalt Auto SEO?

Semalt’s auto SEO is claimed to be a ‘unique whitehat technology’ for website promotion on Google search engine. According to Semalt, the auto SEO service allows natural links placing on the niche-related web resources relevant to your website content. Links placed are integrated into ‘unique content’ which allows achieving perfect results. Semalt claims to have a base of more than 50,000 high-quality partner sites of various subjects. Sites are carefully selected according to domain age and Google Trust Rank.

Semalt claims they are distributed according to the ratio:

  • 40% – anchor links;
  • 50% – non-anchor links;
  • 10% – brand name links.

How Semalt’s Auto SEO Works

Semalt claims their AutoSEO strategy allows them to add 750 high-quality backlinks (25 backlinks per day) to your website every month. For the FullSEO campaign, the amount of added links is 100 backlinks per day. Semalt claims all of their backlinks are from selected, trusted partner websites that meet all SEO standard criteria.

Successful ranking growth is expected between day 7 and 14. Great, yeah?

How True is Semalt’s Auto SEO Claim?

Somehow, we can confirm that Semalt’s auto SEO works wonders as we have used their platform on two various occasions and the result was phenomenal. The first month, which is often the trial month is billed at $0.99, which is quite unbelievable. A screenshot of a running campaign as seen below shows an astronomical growth on Google’s SERP.

A gaze at how our keywords ranked in just two weeks of running Semalt's auto SEO campaign
A peek at how our keywords ranked in just two weeks of running Semalt’s auto SEO campaign

And to be fair, it got better with each passing day. Semalt does make good on their promise to help rank your website immediately.

The backlinks added to the site can be viewed or monitored within the dashboard. Below is what ours revealed:

Semalt TLD

Above, you can see Semalt claims to have added 280 backlinks to our site and they are all referred by 40 domains. The chart on the right tells about the distribution of those backlinks and which Top-Level Domains (TLDs) take the larger share. Semalt seems to truly have many ‘partner’ websites. The entire backlinks (280) to the site were added in 10 days!

While Semalt claims that they send ‘an SEO specialist’ to analyze your site upon choosing and paying for a campaign, it seems they in fact, use some sort of bot or automated method in adding these backlinks. Of course, there is the possibility that the dashboard is only returning what it is being fed with to convince their clients that their campaign is paying off. But it is, isn’t it? The results are truly there on Google SERP.  Or how best do we explain how Semalt adds 280 backlinks from 40 domains to a client’s website in 10 days?

Is Semalt Legit?

How the backlinks are added doesn’t really worry us so long we are getting the desired result, right? Results are what matters the most when you as a client pay for a performance-based service and Semalt just about does that. However, we have our reservations about Semalt. We strongly recommend you should not use them for your SEO services. They are in business, no doubt but there are so many things about their operations, approach and customer services that tell a whole lot about their brand. It is not enough to just condemn them, is it? Below is why we advise you should never use Semalt.

Why You Should Never Use Semalt

This is not about trying to ruin a business. Infosecurity published an article about how Semalt hijacked hundreds of thousands of PCs for massive BotNet in 2014. Well, that was a long time ago and Semalt claims that they have changed and are no longer in that business. Unfortunately, Semalt’s review on Trustpilot is a great eye-opener. You sure should take a look if you don’t find this convincing enough.

Here’s why we believe you should never use Semalt.

Spammy backlinks:

While Semalt claims they have ‘trusted’ website partners who observe standard SEO practices, the first website we signed up with on Semalt, after about six months, picked up this blog as a backlink to our site. Upon checking, we discovered that our link was never on the said link but seems it must have been taken down when we stopped our campaign.

Bot Hurt: Semalt’s response to a client who had the same experience as me (Trustpilot)

Semalt’s crawlers simulate browsers and leave fake referrer headers on publicly available website logs. This means that their process is entirely automated, but very poor quality. Your website will be at risk of penalization if Google finds out you’re attempting to artificially boost your SEO. The links are on scammy sites, porn sites, and empty or malicious sites.

On my part, I would never spam any website with my links, let alone know anything about .fr extensions.

The most interesting of all is that Semalt never mentions how they place your links on those websites. All they tell you is that they have a ‘technology’ in place that protects their links from being detected by backlinks resource checkers. Spammy links have negative SEO impact on websites and blogs and you sure don’t want to be a victim before you know painful this can be. Those spammy links will ruin your website.

All Backlinks are removed the moment your campaign ends:

What Semalt’s clients don’t know before signing up is that the added backlinks to their websites are temporal. The day you stop paying is the day Semalt removes them from your site and your site goes back to its original position on Google’s SERP. Semalt cleverly never tell their clients about this. Where it all comes to light is when your designated account manager tries to upsell you and you don’t heed, you are told almost immediately that all added backlinks to your site by Semalt would be removed. So what happens when I pay hundreds of Dollars to Semalt and fail to renew after my service lapse? The end!

See it this way, Semalt is like a luxury place you can use so long you have the money. You have no access to enjoy the rights you and your website once did if you fail to pay afterward. I would advise you to look for good SEO companies who sell permanent backlinks and SEO services to take care of your SEO issues. Semalt is not just the place for you if you are looking for permanent backlinks to your website!

Flagrant Disregard for Privacy

Perhaps one of the most notorious things Semalt is known for! I have read about how Semalt violate users’ privacies by digging up their details from wherever just because they want you to commit to their services by upselling you. They never stopped calling my phone. I received calls from Semalt or my account manager over 25 times on a Saturday during this time! I deliberately missed them and they never stopped calling.

I had my fair share of experience with them recently. I signed up a cousin’s blog for a trial SEO. He is a greenhorn with SEO related issues and has no idea how it works. Towards the end of his campaign, he sent me a screenshot of an email from ‘his account manager’, asking that his trial period was almost over. Note that he never signed up on Semalt let alone used his email address on their website.

A day after, he sent WhatsApp screenshots of a Daniel Carter from Semalt, asking him to pay $99 for a month so as to ‘enjoy their auto SEO’. I signed up his blog for the service using my Semalt account and nowhere on his blog was his phone number or personal details made available. They found it somehow and reached out to him. Worse still was the fact that he was being harassed continuously.

I mailed the said account manager and threatened to put up a review about them for their lack of respect for privacy. He never apologized nor responded!

Referrer Spam Bots

As far as the internet is concerned, Semalt is one of the most notorious spambots users out there! One of my blogs last year (2018) got targeted severally by Semalt’s bots. My Analytics got thrashed pretty bad until I had to replace my SEO plugin from Yoast to AIOSEOP and activated the latter’s ‘Bad Bot Blocker’ feature.

Know this is Semalt’s when you see the below in your analytics:

Prior to switching plugins, I mailed them to raise alarm about their abuse but they claimed their bots are harmless. They always do that; tell people that their bots are totally harmless and incapable of hurting your site. But make no mistake those bots hurt pretty bad. My website’s bounce rate jumped from 41% to 83%, with over 95 referrals. It was a trying moment in time for me as I had no idea what to do. They denied their bots were responsible until I found a way out.

Bot Hurt: Semalt defends its bots
Bot Hurt: Semalt defends its bots

Rude Customer Service

You know how some talk down a child? Yup, that is how Semalt talk down and threaten their clients. I have been a victim of this. While trying to upsell me, my then account manager threatened me that my site ‘will suffer’ and the only way it won’t is for Semalt to take care of my SEO activities. Perhaps, they are not good communicators, but it can’t be just me alone. Everyone says the same about them based on personal experiences they had. Some even claimed to have been trolled on the phone.

Semalt also threatens Publishers who write ‘negative’ reviews about them. I have read on several blogs where publishers claimed they got threatened via emails to take down their experience-based reviews. Make no mistake, I’ll gladly publish their emails when I get them.

Blackhat SEO

Does Semalt use blackhat SEO practices? While I have no proof, my answer would be ‘yes’! SEO takes hard work and effort and time. If any company is offering an instant presence on Google’s SERP, know that it is never genuine or at best, a blackhat practice which could greatly hurt your website in the nearest future. Semalt’s SEO practice looks automated, from getting backlinks for your site to removing them when you stop paying. Seems like a ‘plug-in-remove-the-plugin’ kind of thing.

Would I recommend Semalt?

Wrapping up, Semalt is a really great, short-term SEO boost for any website. They have mastered whatever magic there is to get your blog to be noticed and even compete on Google’s 1-20 pages within a very short period of time. However, their practice is dangerous and unhealthy. If you truly want to buy a good SEO service, Semalt isn’t the answer. There is no such as ‘instant’ with SEO. It takes time and patience. I would not even recommend them to an enemy.

Perhaps you have one or two experiences you would like to share about Semalt, kindly drop a comment. I would be glad to get your feedback.


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