SEO Fight Club – Episode 155 – SEO Sabotage

SEO Fight Club / By 

“The Dark Side Of SEO: Avoiding Sabotage”

– Welcome to another episode of SEO Fight Club, where I will be discussing the issue of SEO sabotage.

– In many cases, a small business may hire a junior SEO who does not work out for whatever reason, leading to hard feelings between the two sides.

– The departing SEO may then carry out an act of sabotage as “a farewell present” which is often illegal and could result in getting sued.

– Over the course of my career I have come into contact with several instances of this issue, so if you have any experiences you would like to share please do!

– When dealing with these issues it’s important to ensure that there is some kind of backup system in place such as using GitHub; having a secure way to store your website’s source code can help immensely when recovering from hacks or other forms of damage.


“SEO Sabotage: Cracking The Code”

– The standard SEO saboteur playbook usually starts with attacking the business through the htaccess.

– Common tactics also include messing with DNS entries, hidden meta robots directives in posts/pages and Apache/Nginx configuration files.

– When cleaning up after a saboteur’s activities, it is necessary to look into other accounts such as tag manager, search console, etc. to clean out any unwanted permissions and logins.

– It is important when working with outside vendors to create company emails for them rather than allow them access using their personal account so that you have visibility on who has been in your system and are able to remove those individuals if necessary.


The Hidden Side Of SEO: Dealing With Sabotage

– I have encountered situations where SEOs will remove any links that were created for a client upon the end of their contract.

– This type of sabotage could be avoided by ensuring clients are aware up front that this is how it works and authorizing them to use the network should they part ways.

– In most cases, people do not tell clients they can take these measures in advance, so it becomes an issue after they are gone.

– I have heard instances of other types of SEO sabotage but never experienced it myself

– mainly hearing about indexed sites being removed as well as link networks being shut down when contracts ended.


“Unmasking The Darker Side Of SEO Sabotage”

– Most cases of SEO sabotage are pretty basic

– someone got mad and left.

– However, there is a more sophisticated level of sabotage which needs to be monitored for.

– Firewall permissions and Favicon misuse could get you banned from Google, resources need to be checked for misuse such as piracy servers set up by former employees.

– Cross linking between clients has been known to happen; using client sites as a network can have its advantages if they are niched down in the same area or service.


“Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind: The Dark Side Of SEO”

– I discussed how damaging it is to have a client removed from a list of resources and the difference in intent.

– Carolyn shared her experience of doing SEO work, where 90% of it was preventing self-sabotage.

– Ted mentioned the most common form of sabotage being self sabotage and gave an example that he had encountered when working on SEO.

– Negative SEO can involve other forms than spamming backlinks, with 103 different potential attacks outlined in an incomplete list on

– Negative SEO can take many forms, including writing bad reviews or spitefully clicking ads to waste money spent by companies.


“Business Away From Anger: Protecting Yourself And Your Accounts”

– When dealing with business, anger can manifest itself in many different ways beyond just spammy backlinks.

– It is important to look for signs of potential malicious activity and be aware that it could be more than one thing happening at once.

– As a business owner, take steps ahead of time to insulate yourself from outside people having control over your accounts or servers.

– Make sure to understand the difference between delegation and abdication

– delegating work means assigning certain tasks while still retaining access and control, while abdicating means giving full authority away.

– Be informed enough on the task so as not to be taken advantage of by an outside party like a developer or consultant.

– Remind clients when they leave to make sure they remove you from all their stuff!



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