Client is not paying for SEO - What Should I do?

Hello all,

I am full time SEO freelancer, was working with Canada based client. Every Month end, I was sending monthly status report and that client was paying me in next 7 days.

I sent report on 1st Jan and from that the client is playing. Ranking is very good and getting est…319% more orders compare to past month (I started). As client wasn’t replying, i used to send reminder on regular interval. Suddenly he came on 23rd day and said they don’t want to continue. I was ok with that and i sent invoice.

Still, i am following up with him. Tried email (no response), tried call (speaking in maxican).

Should i go for negative SEO? Like delete the all links I have created, remove pages from webmaster, etc…ect?

Please suggest your opinion

That sounds to me like sabotaging their site. I really don’t think that is a very wise thing to do. There are more ethical and legal ways to get payment, and if that doesn’t work, just take the loss and chalk it up to a bad experience. “Negative SEO” could ruin your reputation and cause you to lose out on future prospective clients. It’s really not worth it.


These companies ought to be shamed.
I don’t know if its professional, but given the SEO skills you have, its not too difficult to build a board of shame for companies who default on payment.
Would serve as a good resource for other freelancers too when they research their clients.

Did you try threatening them with a lawsuit?

lawsuit isn’t option here. I am freelancer in Australia and my client based in canada.

Don’t know if this article would help you or not.

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I dont think lawsuit is worth it. Most SEO dealing in a different country will have hard time taking legal actions. It will cost more money and effort than the bill that is due. Negative SEO will cost you more money and time to implement too. Keep it as the last resort.

IMHO - Send them a simple mail.
Dear Sir,
If I can make it, I can also break it.
But I am a God fearing ethical professional humbly requesting you to pay my pending dues.
If something was to happen to your site in future and its gets banned and wiped out from google results and your sales drop to absolute zero I swear I won’t be behind any of it.
Wish you roaring success in your business

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A message like that sounds very threatening, @envigodigitaluk. As @WebMachine said earllier about negative SEO,

If I’ve understood the issue correctly, it is just one month’s fee which the client hasn’t paid. Infuriating as that may be, it is not an enormous loss, and the best thing to do at this stage may simply be to mark it down to experience and move on.

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It was meant to threaten. It it works then OP gets his money.
But its a declaration that we are not going to do anything of that sort.
How does it affect other prospective clients? This client who is NOT paying would put efforts into contacting other clients or write about the SEO on public forums? OP is a freelancer not a billion dollar MNC, what can he possibly do? Take legal action? If he had that much money to waste he would better pay a months dues

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That’s not how it reads to me. It reads like a “veiled threat” - “if something bad happens to your site you won’t be able to prove it was me”. Be that as it may, if you send that message to your client, and then something does happen to their site, you will be the first person they suspect, and you’ll have a very hard time proving your innocence.


@TechnoBear well thats one option I suggested to get the money out. In most cases it should work.
But if the OP has good clients and he does not care about one months fee, then don’t follow my suggestion. If you one months fee is important and you don’t have many clients - Do it.

You also need to remember that there are two sides to every story. For all we know, the client was suddenly taken ill or had an accident and has been unable to deal with the e-mails. Perhaps somebody else is standing in for them and doesn’t have the authority to act - or doesn’t have access to that particular e-mail.

Perhaps they’re just a bad client with no conscience about not paying for work done.

The point is, we don’t know either way, and acting on assumptions is not always sound business policy.


That is a good strong rule of the finger. We do that.

There’s nothing ethical or professional in making a threat like that.

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Thanks Guys :slight_smile: for wonderful ideas. Let me try with formal mail like request. If I won’t get reply, I simply add this experience and move on.


It is not clear to me whether they are defaulting on an agreement or if they notified you of the intent to cancel the service and are now not paying for the service they said they don’t want. If they are canceling the service then the thing you should try to get is a good review and appreciation for a good job done.

I’m wondering what might be the reason why your client stopped your services and hasn’t paid your fees. Is it possible that his business isn’t making money and he’s bankrupt? Because if that’s the case, it might be best to not to expect any payment and just chalk it up to experience.

Or are you and your client still willing to negotiate? Just so you can get something instead of getting absolutely nothing. Are you willing to settle for 75% of what was owed to you plus some solid referrals? Maybe he can offer products or services you can use in lieu of payment?

That’s absolutely unprofessional and unfair. I would try to write him few emails explaining him something that his site will go offline as he has probably no knoweldge. Then if I don’t get my money back, I would remove all links possible. I will do everything to show him that this is not the way and such people can treat you that way. I’m pissed when I hear something like that.

Thank you everyone who has contributed to this topic. The OP hasn’t been seen since February and it is becoming repetitive and so the topic is now closed.

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