I am building a site for a client, and i have noticed that their former web developer has another site that simply redirects to my clients actual site. He purchased this site after losing a domain with same name but different tld, which a competitor got after deletion.

In that page the page title and meta use the domain name he lost not the one it is actually on. That page simply redirects to the clients actual site I have designed by a meta http-equiv refresh if no scripts or a js redirect 3 seconds later. There is only 1 image and a link to the clients main site on this page, And no other content.

Are either of these things harming my clients actual sites rankings? If so, how bad are they regarded? Can I ignore them?

  • Whether it is causing harm may not be determinable. However, this is clearly an inappropriate act. The company should get their lawyer involved to begin the necessary cease and desist. As for other actions, that is up to the company. I would inform them, however, I do warn you not to get too involved once they are informed. This is the companies fight, not yours. Do what you are responsible for. Notify them, then assist in anyway they may require. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Dec 13, 2016 at 3:18
  • BTW- I am really glad you are asking this. Clearly, you have a good heart. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Dec 13, 2016 at 3:18
  • thanks for comment and compliment. I informed the client and advised them to have it removed asap. Or replace with legit content. He was trying to cover up losing the other domain! What would be interesting to know is if search engines penalize that site if any penalty is passed on to the site it is linking to. Only way to find out is if main sites traffic shows a decline i think.
    – Stephen
    Dec 14, 2016 at 12:28

1 Answer 1


If the former developer is just forwarding the domain to the customers existing site and there isn't any valuable content on the former developers site then there is a chance that he could be negatively affecting your clients site as it would be seen as a non-organic and invalid spam type link.

To start with as @closetnoc points out the first step is for the company to get their lawyers involved and to try to have the former developer stop the redirect and linking to the current site. Failing that you can use the Google Disavow tool which is designed for situations like this where a bad backlink you have no control over is affecting the sites ranking. This should be used sparingly as it is only a temporary measure and Google expects that you have tried other ways first to get rid of the back link but it is there in case your clients have no luck having the back link removed. How it is affecting the site there is no real way to know for certain as Google doesn't announce how a certain back link is affecting the ranking of a particular site but as it is not an organic value adding and context reasonable link then it should not be back linking to your clients site and so should be removed as soon as possible.

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