Fire Your SEO Firm? Be Careful They Don't Take Revenge

Jul 19, 2011 • 8:26 am | comments (34) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEM / SEO Companies

Dr EvilI spotted an upsetting thread at the Google Webmaster Help forums where one website owner claims the same day after he fired his SEO firm, his site went missing from Google - completely missing.

He said:

I gave 2 months notice to a SEO company that I was moving my services to another provider. They were obviously not very happy and I was sent an email today saying they have stopped all work and have cancelled the contract immediately. Two hours later I can't find my site in Google, when it was there this morning. This isn't fair as I was indexed before working with them. Can they do this? Could they have de-indexed my site? How can I cancel that request? My business relies on the internet for clients... I am desperate!

Can you imagine?

What did the SEO firm do to get this guy's site out of the index so quickly? Well, it depends on what access they have. They could have blocked spiders and issues a removal request via Google Webmaster Tools.

If you are firing your SEO firm, you need to make sure they do not have access to your site, your webmaster tools login or anything that can harm you. The SEO firm that the website owner switched to, should have warned the client that this can technically happen - although, not everyone thinks how evil people can be.

We've seen some SEO firms threaten to ban your site if you leave them or don't hire them. And we've seen SEOs take revenge when their clients scam them.

Let this be a lesson for both website owners and SEOs, be careful and tell your new clients to be careful.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Update: The support from the SEO community to help this person has been tremendous and I hope the site becomes relisted shortly.

Previous story: Google Shrink The AdSense Interface Font?


Dan Whitehouse

07/19/2011 12:46 pm

How terrible! Reminds me of the story of the girl who got dumped by her boyfriend. A few days later there were pictures all over the net related to some quite nasty terms relating to him. I'd hire either person to be honest!

Get Ranked

07/19/2011 12:47 pm

If the company was indexed before, their new SEO company should be able to fix it easily. I had to remake a site from scratch for a client that lost their site (didn't have ownership of the domain or files) and got it back in the rankings in less than 2 weeks.


07/19/2011 12:47 pm

Ever think that maybe they were buying links for the client and then just removed them?

franz enzenhofer

07/19/2011 12:52 pm

well, had they still access to the site? then just robot.txt, if not: google webmaster tools, you can easily butcher ones traffic with a few simple clicks in the settings panel (i.e. country setting). 

Kevin Mullett

07/19/2011 12:54 pm

It is all too common that new clients come to us quaking in fear of what the current or past web development, SEO, or Marketing firm may do. In many of these situations it is based on one simple and key point; they have allowed the hired help to setup and hold information in a way that cannot easily be remedied. a) Always have key accounts created with your information via neutral email addresses (like gmail). Webmasters consoles, analytics, places, etc.  b) Keep a known list of all usernames/emails and passwords c) Set expectations and reinforce their understanding that these are your accounts that they may be performing tasks on and get that in writing or at least have email trails to that end. d) Consider hosting with a company that does not do your website and then give them access. (can be a considerable pain) e) Always maintain your domain names through a third party system and grant them access to it. If you leave you can at least point your domain wherever you want. My two cents having dealt with this for over 13 years.

Earl Grey

07/19/2011 01:35 pm

Or They were buying adwords ads and saying that was a real listing (happens more than you think) and as soon as he stopped paying them the stopped the ads.

David Eaves

07/19/2011 01:42 pm

 It happens. I run a web directory that offers permanent  website listings and I have had SEO companies come back to me and ask me to remove listings - probably in an attempt to sabotage a former client's rankings.

Tim Dineen

07/19/2011 01:47 pm

As a community we should work to fight against this type of thing. We could do some serious damage to whoever that SEO provider is in terms of negative ORM.  

Michael J. Kovis

07/19/2011 02:04 pm

Like every industry, there are always some "bad eggs" out there... Very sad to read stories like this one.

Nick Stamoulis

07/19/2011 02:24 pm

While I don't condone the actions of the SEO firm, a site owner has got to be aware of who has access to their site. I've heard of disgruntled employees going in and messing with site because their boss forgot to remove their admin privileges. It's your site! You have got to keep it protected from everyone who isn't you.

Aidah AB

07/19/2011 03:46 pm

I think that SEO has become really competitive, therefore if one of your clients decide to go, it means that he or she wasn't satisfied with your services so instead of having such a shameless reaction the best thing to do is to try and analyse what was wrong with the services you offered him or her.

Daniel Deceuster

07/19/2011 03:50 pm

One of my SEO clients fired their programmer/designer who had worked on their site a long time. Cited slow turnaround time or something. Either way, I was asked to do a site audit the following week, and what did I see at the top of their home page source code immediately after the tag? This: < ! --Attention designers and programmers. Do not work for these people. You will be asked to do impossible things and will have impossible expectations placed upon you. You've been warned.-- > There it was, commented out. I couldn't believe it. Just goes to show you, be very, very careful about who has access to what. Good thing I caught that or it might still be there.


07/19/2011 04:35 pm

in back in the .CA index,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=d16b931e6122699a&biw=1280&bih=675

Michael Martinez

07/19/2011 05:36 pm

And once again a Google Bionic Poster has started a flame war.  It's unbelievable how shamelessly they can behave on occasion.

Matt Storms

07/19/2011 06:28 pm

Well I will say that just like there are bad car sales people there are bad SEO people out there. I end up working with people all of the time that have had problems. When I do SEO for clients and they leave I understand and I do not take it personal and if they want to go elsewhere then you need to let them go. Do not take links down and if you try to do that to sites then you deserve to but outed as a bad firm. 

David Burdon

07/19/2011 09:35 pm

This sort of behaviour is unethical, will give SEO a bad name and is probably illegal under many jurisdictions.

seo firms

07/19/2011 09:57 pm

Fail to work of these people. You'll be requested to complete impossible things and can have impossible anticipation placed upon you. You have been cautioned.


07/19/2011 11:05 pm

Did the person mention the company name?..also in order for this to happen does the company has to have access to your website?

James Holden

07/19/2011 11:14 pm

I've seen something similar first hand. One of my (current, happy :-) customer's previous SEO deleted their Google local listing in revenge for terminating their contract. They claimed that because they created it, they owned it and were entitled to yank it if they stopped getting a monthly fee. Seriously, they were renting a local listing to my client.


07/19/2011 11:15 pm

iI notice that b4 I sign up with them I was getting index very little. A friend of my mine owed me a he redid my site...the next couple of days my site was index over 1300times..Is this something the seo company should of did from the start


07/20/2011 06:23 am

The company have been named but not by the original poster.


07/20/2011 08:33 am

Yes, do remember to block all access to your account before firing an seo company. 


07/20/2011 12:31 pm

oh those true words! agree with each word!

Sasha Hanau

07/20/2011 12:41 pm

Horrific stories here, it puts the industry to shame - as if SEO wasn't tricky enough for businesses to get their heads around without people damaging client's confidence. Ethical SEO agencies do exist but are few and far between. There are always going to be crash and burn SEO agencies out there, who will use unethical techniques to get quick wins for clients. Good agencies will not buy links for you or for themselves, and certainly wont take them back at the end of a contract - those links should belong to the client regardless of who obtained them and how. Always check your contract. If no mention is made of who owns the links then beware! What happened here was highly unprofessional and is not a reflection of what all reputable agencies would do if their clients wanted to leave!


07/20/2011 03:34 pm

thats very painful for web site owners... i think google/bing/yahoo must establish a mechanism to answer such penalty related questions of webmasters as quickly as possible and clarify them what went wrong. 

SEO Services

07/21/2011 01:43 am

Sorry to hear about that...I agree, when changing a provider don't gave anymore an access to them because they might give a downfall to our site. This is a lesson for everybody, we must be careful on it. A firm like that is not a good example and they must be warned about that.


07/21/2011 02:18 am

I hate to hear it but I know it happens. I found it on a client website two weeks ago, no index tags on every page but the home page. At least they left that! Funny thing was, it was a law firm. I told them they should sue. I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see that happen soon. It really is criminal.


07/21/2011 11:46 am

Wow, totally law-suit territory... That is basically criminal damage.

Ben from SEO Barcelona

07/21/2011 01:05 pm

Absolutely unbelievable that poeople can be so petty as to do something like this.

SEO Services

07/22/2011 12:39 am

I agree with you Ben...for me they don't have any right to do that. They should not take any revenge.


07/22/2011 07:05 pm

What SEO firm did this? I think the public should know how they operate.

seo india

08/05/2011 07:32 am

It is a trouble to you and painful also,Some Seo firm are do like this but not all. This type of firm is not a good Example in field of seo

Internet Marketing Company

08/17/2011 12:22 pm

Now there are many companies provide many SEO services as now every person choose SEO for promoting business online fast. But there are certain risks of providing SEO services. And here is nice information provided  for all who doing SEO. article submission service

Paul Simon

08/22/2011 10:31 am

It is sometime difficult to choose reliable SEO company. However, a little effort can help in hiring best seo company. Here are some suggestion to follow during selecting a reliable seo company. 1) Company should provide efficient seo services like link wheel. Advance seo services should be provided by company like social media marketing and other 2)Time taken by SEO firm for optimizing a website is very crucial in search engine optimization. It's better to select SEO firm like zigseoservices which give guarantee for optimizing the website. seo packages

blog comments powered by Disqus