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Practically, people live their lives on the internet today for several reasons, including shopping. As a result, 40,000 searches take place online every second. No wonder businesses are investing in SEO for a slice of the pie.

What is SEO?

Known as Search Engine Optimization, it refers to increasing quantity and quality of website traffic through enhanced organic search results. It improves website visibility and ranking, generates traffic, creates trust, improves user experience, reduces marketing costs, and increases ROI.

While most businesses care less about how SEO works, they care about the result. Therefore, as an SEO consultant, you need a well-written SEO Agreement to strengthen relationships with your clients.

What is the SEO Agreement?

It is a document that sets out the terms on which an SEO consultant will provide their services to a website owner.

For example, as an SEO Consultant, you help webmasters and businesses optimize their websites’ performance in search engines. The terms of you your SEO strategy are in the SEO Agreement.

What should be in the SEO Agreement?

As a service, you need specific terms and clauses to build proper understanding with your client. Without using the correct provisions, you risk misunderstanding with your client, and you don’t want that to happen.

There are many items to include in an SEO contract, but the following elements are crucial and will suffice for this discussion:

1. Keep the Agreement Broad – We all know that SEO is a movable feast; it changes every moment, which is why you need to capture every possible thing that can happen within the life of the project. Craft your SEO agreement in a way to anticipate changes and that way you will stay covered!

  • For example, Google Authorship was the bride of SEO; now, it’s obsolete! Imagine your SEO contract focused on that Google ‘experiment’.

2. Length of Term of the Agreement – Be specific on which length of the contract term you are adopting; you can choose between finite and auto-renewal. Choose a condition to give you the chance to review and continue or terminate.

  • Important: Given SEO is a continuous exercise that can take months before you even see a result, you should choose a length of term that is appropriate for what you are trying to achieve, i.e. 2 or 3 YEARS, yes you read that right.

3. Subcontracting clause – You should know that SEO is not a one-person game. Outsourcing is integral to the practice and is clear on what you will be outsourcing right from the beginning of the contract.

  • For example, you may want to outsource your content writing to content marketing services. While your client sees you as the main contractor, they will be aware the content is coming from another provider, engaged by you.

4. Non-Solicitation Language – Your SEO agency may work with independent subcontractors in the course of executing your client’s work. The non-solicitation clause will protect you from losing your contract to your subcontractor or staff; it will forbid the client from hiring a former account manager or technician who worked on their project.

  • For example, your content writer did an excellent job; the non-solicitation clause will prevent your client from hiring the writer outside your contract.

5. Penalty for Late Payments – Your business needs a prompt flow of income to survive. Unless you make it clear there will be a penalty for late payment in your SEO Agreement, you risk being taken for granted by the client.

  • Note: Penalty payments can help ensure that your client pays on time.

6. Scope of work and deliverables – Every SEO project should have its scope and expected delivery. It will focus on achieving the client’s goal for the campaign, and you need to include what the client will expect during and after the project ends.

  • For instance, the deliverable may include SEO report, keyword research, competitive analysis report, link building report, and web traffic report, etc.

7. Pricing & Structure – The SEO agreement, should clearly define the price and payment terms (such as weekly, fortnightly or monthly).

  • For example, you could offer a flat rate, blended rate, revenue share, commission, or have a flat rate management fee.

8. Termination Terms – You can not anticipate everything to come in the future; this is why you need the cancellation clause to protect you or your client when the need to terminate the contract arises. The provision should set out a clear procedure to cancel the contract and compensation if necessary.

9. Ownership of New IP – Your client will be interested in who owns the deliverables you submitted during the contract. The ownership that newly created IP (such as creative content, accounts created to execute the campaign, website) should be clearly stated in the contract so that each party is clear. Generally the position is that the client will own any New IP, but only once they have paid for it, which is a fair compromise.

If you need help drafting your SEO contract to protect you and your clients with guaranteed ROI, talk to us today.

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