Is Google Declaring War by Banning an Agency for Mistakes on Clients Sites?

Again the search industry is once again in uproar. Why? Because somewhere somebody took a wrong turn, someone else saw it and told Google. And now Google is upset.

To be honest, it’s like looking at my kids sometimes, but that’s a different story. What is more interesting at this specific point is Google’s reaction yesterday to the alleged buying of links by search agency iAqcuire: they didn’t kick out the clients for who they may have bought links, they kicked out the agency.

It was smart find by Barry Schwartz at Searchengineland last night when he did a site command search for [] and didn’t get any results back. There was no site there, which usually means either the company has withdrawn itself from Google or has made a mistake (I’ve seen enough ‘no index’ which shouldn’t have been there in robots.txts around the globe over the past few years) or the company has been penalized by Google.

In this case the latter is the case, but something weird is going here. iAqcuire doesn’t seem to be banned because of mistakes on their own site, but on their clients sites, which were left alone by Google.

What is going on here?


Mike King, who spoke to us yesterday, responded to Barry Schwartz question saying they were indeed de-indexed, but for the wrong reasons, what he called a “hissy fit.”

It seems that someone at Google, or more people, were upset by iAquire’s actions, and saw no other way than banning them.

Now this is relatively new to the industry. I know off sites being banned because the owner of these sites was in, let’s put it nicely, ‘a bad relationship with Google’. But entire agencies being banned for what they allegedly (it is not proven!) did elsewhere is yet another level higher. What is happening: is Google trying to set an example, or is there more to it?

Google declaring war with the SEOs?


Google has always stated it does not hate SEOs, but with actions like this they seem to be giving out the opposite message.

Google seems to be setting up agencies against each other, asking them to rat on each other and ‘punishing’ bad content.

I’ve always given Google the benefit of the doubt, that they are seeking for a better web with better search results, but to be honest, I think Google is pushing this too far. If there is ever an example of abusing the dominant position, this is one of them. They should be really careful in the steps they take here. This seems a lot like sending someone to jail without a proper trial.

Yes, Google should act against those not playing by the rules, but the lines are fine and I’m not sure if Google realizes this just seems like an act of war towards SEOs.

Then again, Eric Schmidt was once quoted:

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”

What do you think?

Image sources: Searchengineland (Barry Schwartz) and Mirrorfootball

Bas van den Beld

About Bas van den Beld

Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.

10 thoughts on “Is Google Declaring War by Banning an Agency for Mistakes on Clients Sites?

  1. its just easy to blame Google for doing this and that, but I would like to ask a simple and a common sense question, what would you be doing if you were instead of Google? Would you be allowing the SEO Agency to stay there and continue to do the manipulative tactics which are against the guidelines? Or would you just ban the client?

    I think the best way is to ban the agency which Google did, because Agency is the root cause of this evil(at least in this case)! but my point here is that how can Google make sure that these people wont come up with a new name and continue this business?
    The client is completely innocent here, because they paid money to the SEO Agency because Google itself endorse the SEO and does not call it bad. Now the future of SEO may be questioned, one may doubt what if Google continued to do so, in my opinion, the companies would either be working in low profile, or else people would start working on individual and smaller scale.

  2. I’ve just written a blog on much the same thought. Once it clears the internal checks I’ll share it here, rather than quote great screeds! But I agree that it is a worrying action.

  3. Okay, I can see the makings of a HUGE SEO myth here and elsewhere.  This banning is NOT new to the industry.  It has happened before.  It will happen again.  There is no precedent.  This is not something people need to make a big fuss about.  There is nothing to see here, nothing to rant about, nothing to drum up ill will against Google for.  They took the exact same kind of action against iAcquire that they have taken against other SEO firms on the basis of just as much evidence in the past (and there is probably more evidence Google’s Webspam team compiled than has hit the airwaves anyway).

  4. There is plenty of ammo on both sides of the argument, but JCPenney, whose website was in direct violation, wasn’t even removed from the index – just slapped with a rank penalty. I also hate seeing crap in the SERP, but this move seems overboard. If you agree, please sign the petition ( ) to get this company back in the index – even with a penalty and let them fix whatever Google thinks they did. I personally don’t want this to happen to me or any other firms that don’t deserve it, or at least without a more in-depth investigation.

    1. As someone who’s seen first hand a client spend thousands on optimising a site with an SEO agency who went behind their backs and used spammy tactics which means they’re now almost invisible on Google, I would (genuinely) love know what people think might be a fairer approach.
      To suggest that a company pays the price for something a rogue supplier has done, but the supplier gets off scot free, seems harsh.
      Just the principle, rather than the specifics in this case, which I don’t know anything about 🙂

  5. My opinion may not be very popular, but I see this as perfectly acceptable, IF the evidence points to iAcquire having provided sold links (and the evidence we’ve seen so far, seems to indicate that’s extremely likely).

    Notice that I said “provided sold links”, rather than “bought links on someone else’s behalf”. Why doesn’t anyone get upset about it when the cops bust a fence for possession of stolen property (or attempting to peddle stolen property)? How is this any different, other than the distinction between “illegal” behavior and “against the guidelines”?

    The bottom line is, Google professes to want to clean up spam and its offal. If iAqquire is a reseller (or panderer, if you prefer), then they’re just as guilty of defying the guidelines as the original seller of the link, in my mind.

    Obviously, neither I, nor anyone else here, really knows if they’re guilty of a Google Sin. I’m just saying if they are, they knew the risks, let them pay the fiddler. Personally, I think it at LEAST as fair as penalizing D&BCC, without knowing for certain that they were aware of how the links were being procured.

  6. For sustaining on the top most position in the search engines its highly recommended to follow their specified rules and regulations because if you will not follow them then you will be kicked out so have proper knowledge of rules and have an eye on updates to achieve success in the digital market place.

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