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The title might be a little tricky, so I'll elaborate.

I finished a website for a client, got it in Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools and is showing up fine and dandy in search results. When you google the company name, their site is the first result you'll get. However, the second result is a page in my portfolio site about this project. They googled themselves and don't like my site being the second result, because "people may end up in your site instead of ours". The page in my site simply describes my work in this project and offers a direct link to their site.

They've asked me to get my site out of the Google Results. Should I comply? On one hand, I want to keep a good relationship with the client; on the other one, this is a website I developed and I'm proud of. What should I do?

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I would not want to upset the client but a counter proposal might be appropriate where you can offer to do some more SEO work on the website to strengthen their position and add additional entries that will push down your own search result for the website!

It might also be a temporary problem that fixes itself after a few weeks once the new website has more credibility. You could ask the client to adopt a wait and see attitude for a month or so and if the issue is still present, then offer to remove the link in the meantime.

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    Thanks a lot. I will propose a wait time for things to settle down. Hopefully their site will take over in the next few days. – Eduardo Rivas Feb 22 '14 at 21:38
  • Hi Neil, that sounds like you're suggesting creating a problem for the client and then offering to fix it. I'm sure that's not what you intend that to mean, so perhaps there's a better way to reword that? – jmort253 Feb 23 '14 at 2:18
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    Thanks @jmort253! I certainly wouldn't hold the client to ransom, but there's no harm in finding a mutually beneficial solution to a problem. – Neil Robertson Feb 23 '14 at 22:48
  • Hey @jmort253, I just wanted to add that I went with the "wait for a while" route because the search results page is very volatile right now. In a couple of days my site has dropped several positions already without intervention, so it seems a little patience will go a long way with newly created sites. – Eduardo Rivas Feb 24 '14 at 3:00
  • @JERivas - Still, many people pay advertisers money to help promote their business. There's no reason for you to want SEO on keywords you don't compete in. Just add in the rel=nofollow. It's easy, and it's the right thing to do. :) – jmort253 Feb 24 '14 at 3:05
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Do not talk about working with the client on their own SEO until you've fixed this problem. This is something you caused. Instead, tweak your own SEO so that a search for the client's website doesn't turn up your site. You don't have to remove the website from your portfolio, but there is something very simple you can do to avoid stealing SEO traffic from your client.

Besides, if people are searching for "example", they aren't looking for a website. Consider whether this could have a negative impact on your own SEO by Google ranking you lower for terms such as "website design" or "website development". Good SEO is about target marketing, not mass marketing.

If your client is example.com and folks search "example" and find your site, which has nothing to do about "example" but is instead about building websites, then something is wrong with your SEO. Folks should only find your site if they are searching for terms that represent business you compete in.

The simple solution to this problem is to use the NoFollow attribute on links on your website that lead to the client's site. This tells search engine bots not to let the content from the linked site affect SEO results.

For example, if your client's website is www.example.com, then here is what the link on your own website would look like:

<a href="http://www.example.com/" rel="nofollow">Link text</a>

As for offering to handle the client's SEO, I wouldn't suggest doing that until after you've fixed this problem. If you were to bring up the subject of tweaking my site's SEO when part of the problem was caused by you, I'd be really hesitant to deal with you in the future. I wouldn't be mean about it, but it would definitely affect our business relationship and my desire to give you more money.

What's more, if I saw a review about such an issue, I would steer clear of doing business with you. This isn't to say you have bad intentions, just that I tend to be extremely conservative in who I do business with; I pay close attention to potential red flags, and something like this would heavily influence my decision.

  • Thanks for your answer. I just wanted to say I've kept my SEO as targeted as possible. My page title and tags include only the client's website name, not other keywords associated with their market. The page content is largely technical and related to web development. I can assure you I'm not interested in phishing people into my site. – Eduardo Rivas Feb 24 '14 at 3:04
  • I pressed Enter to create a new paragraph in the previous comment but it was submitted. Anyways, I wanted to finish saying Google crawled my site from my sitemap.xml, not any inbound links from the client's site. – Eduardo Rivas Feb 24 '14 at 3:06
  • @JERivas That's great your own SEO is targeted, but it's obvious you're also targeting stuff you didn't intend to target. With the rel=nofollow, searches for your client (i.e. example.com in this case) won't pull up your site. Hope this helps! – jmort253 Feb 24 '14 at 3:25
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You should definitely comply. I would simply remove the website or set untraceable URL for Google SEO. If I were the client, I would like that as well.

Just put yourself in the client's perspective and you would probably react the same way.

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