Why uploading client websites for reviews on your own website is bad

Are you a web designer who uploads a clients website into a folder on your own website for reviews? If so read on and see how badly this can affect your SEO…

For many years I would build a template, upload it to my website so the client can review a working copy, and then leave it on my site… just in case!

If you’ve ever done that you need to STOP NOW!

I’ll preface this by saying 90% of my new business is word of mouth so I never really cared where my own site sat on Google. I have other sites that absolutely dominate Google for a multitude of very popular phrases. My own site (this one) I never really bothered with.

So the problem is this; even though I never submitted these review sites to Google it still found them… all of them! It appears that even sending the link through gmail is enough to get it picked up and indexed.

This is where the problem starts because Google didn’t really know what my own website was. My site offered my design services, but according to Google, I also offered Titles for sale, a betting shop, a camping site, some free wallpapers and so on. Because Google couldn’t figure out what I was I was dropped way down the search results. Once I started deleting all these websites and Google started removing them from its index it suddenly figured out what I was and started to index me and my services correctly.

I am far from being in the position some of my others websites are in. It was my own fault for not realising sooner that Google has very sneaky-beeky ways of finding pages you didn’t want it to find.

In future I’m going to use a test website. I could put <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”> tag on the pages but if I have a website doing nothing I may as well use it.

How can you check what Google sees on your website?

Thankfully there is a neat trick to check what Google has indexed on your website. Go to Google and type in the bold bit before your domain name, like this:


Don’t forget the colon after site. This will show you all the pages Google has indexed on your website so far.

I have removed over 400 pages of test files, client reviews and really, really old pages. I’m down to 600 or so indexed pages but they now nearly all relate to what I do. Since doing this Google sees me as a web designer, yay!

So be warned, the sneaky little Google is far too good at picking up things you never expected!

Simon Day

If you have a wedding, portrait, event or festival coming up please contact me. Likewise for portraits. Check out my social media channels: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter