Sep 27, 2012
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Well, I'm a slightly embarrassed to say that I am a little lost when it comes to this as it's never happened to me before.

The business I was managing is being sold in the next week or so. The current owner, whom I've worked with, is asking me to remove the site from Google. Organically, I know what to do but I'm not sure how much is necessary on the local side. The new owners are changing the business name, URL and services. They are not interested in doing any SEO at the moment.

What do you normally do in this situation? What areas do you cover? How much do you offer to do if you aren't getting paid for it? I wouldn't want to "jam up" the new business owner in any way so I don't know if I need to un-claim every listing I've created, only the listings in the big 3 or what.

Your advice is greatly appreciated as I'm fairly ignorant with this side of the coin.
Aug 7, 2013
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Hmmm, This sounds like a nice little niche to have for a business. Never thought to have a company that just destroyed a brands online.

There are a lot of questions to ask. Not sure what your business relationship has been with your current client, but you might be able to help the new business transition smoothly on a lower budget in order to protect their own brand. This really isn't about the new owners budgeting for SEO. Its more about making a good business decision. You can help them understand the downfalls of not cleaning things up. You shouldn't have to bite the bullet because the seller and buyer have a horrible contract.

The bottom line is it takes time to De-Index, delete social media accounts and delete citations. It really depends on what your relationship is with your current client. De-indexing is one thing, but cleaning citations and social media accounts is another. Again, it also depends on the sale agreement between them. Sometimes businesses don't take into considerations the domain, citations , social accounts etc...I would ask if this is part of the sale. You shouldn't have to clean up everything for the new owners.

You might be able to spin this in a new way. If I was in your position ( not knowing the details) I would offer to De-Index the current owners website and even though the new owners are not interested in SEO, pitch them the idea of making sure their brand is protected. This isn't about optimizing. Its about protecting your brand and saving money down the road. They would be fools to ignore all this.

You could go a number of other directions, but one if them is not doing it for free. Do you have any more details you can share? This is a nice topic as we do run into this from time to time. I'm sure others have some great ideas.


Sep 27, 2012
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Thanks for the thought out reply Dusty. You've brought up several good points that are definitely worth consideration. Grab a beer...... :D

My relationship with the current business owner is good. No bad blood, never an issue with any work. They pay on-time, are fairly receptive and have delegated a lot of work to me. I have no complaints. What I don't know is what terms were discussed when turning over the business. I do know that I was asked to remove the URL from Google and take the URL off of the domain. We are going to redirect the URL to another page on the site for now. I forgot to mention this is a multi-location business and it's only one location that is changing hands.

To this point, I have not spoken to or been contacted by the new company. I have every intention to at least reach out to them (or try) to see if I can help them re-align the current listings or offer some sort of service. I was lead to believe they are not interested in dealing with me and may already have someone to work with. I have not gotten as far as to mention re-branding the existing listings.

One of the people from the old company is remaining on staff with the new company and unfortunately, the person is a complete moron. It looks as if they quickly Googled what they should do in this situation and relayed it to the business owner I'm dealing with and made a few requests. One of them was questioning why the current company name was still showing up in Google. Meanwhile, the transition has not taken place yet and they are expecting the current site to be out of the listings overnight. I did highlight that a manual submission will be made to remove the URL from the indexes once I'm giving the go ahead. I have not responded with any great details b/c I was kinda lost on how to proceed on the local front.

I do not have any intention on visiting every citation I created and unclaiming them or anything of the sort. I was going to hit the big 3 and maybe 1 or 2 seed NAPS and call it a day. Once I got a few ideas from this awesome community, I was going to analyze and get back to the business owner. I can tell you that although I'm a nice guy and have gone way beyond my scope of work for my client, I will not be going into any great lengths for free. I just needed some help with thoughts and ideas as to what and how much I should be doing for my current client to remove their name from citations and the internet. Also, some guidance on what kind of questions I should be asking.

Again, many thanks for taking the time to respond. I was hoping this would be a good topic as I have not had much success finding information on this type of situation. It's certainly a first for me but I'm excited to see how others would handle it and be more prepared in the future should I be in this position.
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