6 Key Things Every Good SEO Contract Must Include (Don’t Get Caught Out!)
The first crucial part of a successful SEO campaign actually begins before you even sign on the dotted line. A good SEO contract is a primary sign that your perspective company actually knows what they’re doing – and that they are going to use that knowledge to help your business succeed.
Unfortunately with the amazing amount of smooth-talkers, shady online cowboys and spammers constantly cascading around the world of digital marketing it can often be difficult for businesses to know exactly what a good SEO contract actually looks like.
For example: One of our clients had been dealing with a company that promised the world and in the end actually decreased their rankings. Even though they had seemingly done due-diligence this was the last thing they needed. That’s why it’s ultra important to go through these steps and ensure that your business is secure.
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And while there are a lot of things to consider in an SEO contract (including basics like: price, invoicing schedules and cancelation policies) our top 6 key aspects your contract should included are:
1. Research About Your Company
Ok, this inclusion may seem a little weird (I mean, you know everything there is to know about your company right?). And to put it at number 1 may strike you as even more odd.
But believe it or not, a completely personalised report focused directly on your business is an inclusion that you should definitely be expecting from an SEO agency. Especially before you start your campaign.
In fact, we’d put it down as a deal breaker.
And that’s because including this information proves your perspective SEO agency has done research and is taking the time to know you and your business. This in turn indicates that they are searching for gaps in your marketing and your market – 2 key factors in being able to strengthen your position and boost your sales.
2. Clear and Achievable Outcomes
If it sounds too good to be true, the chances are it is.
It may be a tried and tested saying, but it’s one that works. In the world of SEO there are an awful amount of cowboys and people looking to make a quick buck. The easiest way to make this quick cash? Promise the world.
So, unfortunately this means that a good SEO contract will never promise you something like:
“We’ll get you to position number #1 in less than 2 weeks.”
The truth is that SEO is a long term investment. And this means that desired results (like first page for a converting keyword) often take anywhere from 6 months to a year. It can be even more than this before they really bear fruit. Your SEO contract should reflect this.
In fact, if your perspective contract promises you number one spot at all our advice is to smile politely, promise to call and move toward the nearest exit.
Number 3 on the list is a key indicator of how your future SEO agency actually operates. It’s all good to provide you a list of expected outcomes and fancy KPIs, but it’s also vital to know how things are going to get done on a practical front.
Transparency through this part of a contract shows that the SEO agency is happy to lay out a measurable action plan you can actually monitor. This is a sign you can trust them to be upfront with you, as well as guiding you through any difficulties that may arise during your campaign. This is something that our client Persona Homes were very interested in.
Any agency that refuses to disclose how they expect to achieve any outcomes they’ve outlined are almost certainly looking to use quick, dodgy, blackhat techniques. Employing any of these strategies could result in you and your business being punished by Google – a fate that can be irreversible in terms of SEO.
4. Team Outline
One of the most overlooked areas in any SEO contract is an introduction to the team that will actually be handling your campaign.
And that’s because many agencies have various people that work over a number of campaigns – which is great. Until it comes to making contact, then it can be downright impossible to know who to talk to.
Which is an absolute headache should anything go wrong.
This infuriating phenomenon is often referred to as ‘Ghosting’, and is a pain point that we’ve heard a lot from businesses in generally, and especially in the digital marketing field.
In your contract you should expect an outline of the team who will be running your campaign and who you will be point of correspondence whenever you want any information. This is usually an account manager (or even personal Digital Marketing Coach) and the one who knows how and where your money is being spent and what results are being garnered.
An absence of this in your contract is an immediate red flag and you could find yourself doing the run around every single time you want any information.
5. Case Studies
Yes it may be difficult to include a 1500 word article in a contract, but one aspect to look out for in your SEO contract is case studies – otherwise known as proof.
While it’s obvious, of course, that you would need to have some form of evidence before hiring any perspective SEO agency, a formalised case study (or links to case studies) is an ultra strong sign that things are going well behind the scenes.
Not only because they have achieved notable results in the field of SEO, but because creating a case study means ticking a lot of boxes in terms of campaign management. They have had the resources to track the results, the progress, the methods and then the ability to distill this volume of information (via a content writer) into a succinct and readable package.
6. Reporting Schedules
Another pain point we find Perth businesses have all too often is getting information regarding their campaigns. It’s either is provided sporadically, sparingly or not at all. This leads to feeling ‘in the dark’ about what’s happening with your contract and your money.
Luckily, a good SEO contract will include reporting schedules so that you know exactly when you can respect data about your campaign to be delivered.
How often should I expect to be provided reports?
While reporting schedules vary widely from agency to agency, you should expect to be updated on your campaign at a minimum once every month (but we’d recommend going for an SEO agency that provides weekly updates).
While reporting may seem like an obvious (almost automated) process, you’d be surprised how long some SEO agencies can go without contacting you.
As you can see, an SEO contract is a lot more revealing than you would initially imagine. And that’s precisely how a lot of people fall into a trap. But now that you’re armed with insider knowledge you and your business will be able to make the right choice when selecting the right agency for you SEO campaign.
Want to know more?
At Summit Web our door is always open for Perth business owners that need information, training, advice or help when it comes to anything digital. We’re passionate about making your business grow online and have a team of SEO professionals that can get you started today.
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