SEO Agreements: 3 Things You Ought To Know

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SEO AgreementsBefore we discuss SEO agreements, understand that search engine optimization is essential to online marketing. And, as a business website owner, you can’t avoid it.

  • You want your website to be the first thing your clients see in a Web search.
  • You want your content at the forefront of your client’s minds so that they keep coming back.
  • But, if you’re not an SEO expert (or you simply don’t have the time to optimize your content), you will probably need to work with an SEO professional.

To get the best possible contract (and possibly develop a continuing relationship) with your SEO professional, it helps to know what to include in SEO agreements.

What makes a solid SEO Agreement?

All good SEO agreements start with an honest Q & A session. Know which questions to ask the online marketing professional about their services. Then, make sure you commit your terms to writing.

Ideally, you will be able to structure your contract to lead to a positive, continuing relationship-because SEO isn’t a “one and done” task that you can check off your marketing list after one project. After all, SEO is a way to keep your ideal clients coming in, and this is something you will want to continue (and improve upon) to help your business grow.

1. Key Questions to Ask Your SEO Professional

Before you jump right into a contract, you’ll want to make sure you work with an SEO professional that gets your business and has the bandwidth to meet your needs. Understand that Search Engine Optimization is a marketing strategy, so don’t hesitate to ask your professionals what their process is and exactly how they are going to help optimize your content.

Ask to see proof of past results and examples of their work, to see if you can take their claims seriously. Ask about the tools they use and how they will show you proof of the work they perform (however be wary of “guarantees that you will be the #1 result on Google”). Be very clear that you are looking for someone that complies with Google’s best practices and isn’t just a “spammer.” Spammers abound in the SEO world, and they’ll gladly send tons of spam contact emails or bogus leads to your site (that do NOT result in a single dollar in sales).

Tons of website traffic isn’t helpful if you are not reaching potential clients and seeing a positive return on your investment.

2. Issues to Address in Your SEO Agreement

a. Scope of Work, Deadlines & Term

Clarify deliverables and when you expect the deliverables to be completed or reported (the milestones). Also determine whether this project will be ongoing (for how long?) and if the contract will automatically renew. Or if you will need to take some action to renew the agreement.

b. Payment Structure

Payment structures vary among SEO agreements, but typically there are set monthly fees. Be careful to look for pay increase clauses and try to negotiate a cap on the amount your fees can increase.

c. How You Will Handle Change Orders

Changes are possible (and even likely) in all business contracts, including SEO agreements. Enable flexibility by including a procedure for handling change orders in your contract. Perhaps you will want to increase services down the road when you start seeing positive results…you will want to have a way to change the scope of deliverables without renegotiating a new contract every time.

d. Cancellation & Default

One of the worst mistakes you can make with contracting with an outside professional is forgetting to discuss how you will handle cancellations or breach of contract issues. This procedure is best determined when the relationship is in good standing…before problems arise.

e. IP Ownership

As always, consider who will own the work product. SEO professionals will generate strategies, reporting accounts, ads, and content, so be sure to discuss whether you own the work product or your SEO professional. If you want to prevent the SEO provider from using any of your content for other clients, clearly state this within your contract.

3. Set Yourself Up for Success: Create a Continuing Relationship with Your SEO Professional

Search engine optimization is merely one part of your marketing strategy, but in today’s internet-driven market: it’s an essential part of business marketing. Most clients search, discover, and choose whom they will work with online.

To keep bringing in clients, you will want to continue enhancing your SEO-which likely means continuing your relationship with the SEO professional of your choice. After you’ve asked the right questions, entered a solid agreement, you’ll want to continue track your SEO progress and results to make sure everything is working as planned.

At least monthly you will want to discuss SEO metrics, specifically: your search rankings, search traffic, conversions, and a summary of all SEO activities your SEO professional has completed. Track these metrics against your other marketing activities in order to keep an eye on your ROI. You may even discover that you can shift money toward higher-ROI activities, saving you money and bringing in more clientele.

Negotiating and drafting business agreements that protect your best interest are crucial to your business’s success. Getting informed is the first step, but ensuring you’re covering all the bases (repeatedly) can become exhausting really fast. An experienced business and technology lawyer can help set you on the right path and keep you there.

We offer seasoned advice for flat fees, so there are never any surprise bills. If you need a professional SEO services agreement, check out our Business Contract Legal Protection Package.

Set Up A Texas Business? Have A Legal Consultation First

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I recently identified the “Top 10 Things To Do When You Set Up A Texas Business.” The first thing to do is to talk with an experienced Texas business lawyer.

Why?

Because the Texas business attorney will give you advice that can save you time and money.

For example, you may learn that it makes more sense to form a Texas limited liability company instead of a Subchapter S corporation…or vice versa.

Or you’ll learn that business equity ownership should be structured differently than you originally intended because it will protect your interests, save you a fortune in taxes, etc.

Plus, you’ll discover the essential business contracts needed to protect your new venture.

In short, your legal consultation with the Texas attorney is an excellent opportunity to review and revise your business plans in a way to maximize your chances for long-term success.

On the flip side, entrepreneurs who ignore the legal aspects of a startup (in the Lone Star State or elsewhere), risk losing everything through the shortsightedness of believing messes can be cleaned up easily after the fact.

Wise business owners know that it’s easier to prevent legal problems than fix them later.

Are you’re ready to set up a Texas business? Schedule a phone consultation with Texas Business Lawyer Mike Young today.

Texas Personal Trainer Contract: Employee Or Independent Contractor?

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Texas Personal Trainer Contract: Employee Or Independent Contractor?In addition to meeting the requirements of the Texas Health Spa Act, fitness center owners in the Lone Star State need to make sure they’re using the right Texas personal trainer contract.

Related Article: Does A Texas Martial Arts Studio Have To Comply With The Texas Health Spa Act?

It may appear simple to treat all of your trainers as independent contractors. However, that’s not the case.

Why?

Because if you disguise an employee as an independent contractor in your Texas personal trainer contract, you’re assuming costly legal risks that could bankrupt your fitness business.

The Label You Use Isn’t Enough To Protect You

You’ve probably heard the expression, “If it looks, walks, and acts like a duck, it’s probably a duck.” That’s true even if you call the duck a “flamingo.”

The same is true for a Texas gym personal trainer. If you’re treating a trainer as an employee, calling him or her a “contractor” won’t change that fact.

How Much Control Do You Have In The Texas Personal Trainer Contract?

The key issue is control.

For example, if you’re telling your fitness workers they must train your gym members at certain hours, attend staff meetings, take set lunch times, 15-minute work breaks, and two weeks of annual vacation, chances are you’ve got an employee instead of an independent contractor.

Related Article: 3 Texas Gym Membership Agreements Every Owner Needs

Micromanaging the work done, providing the equipment to do it, and referring to “hiring” and “firing” personal trainers are also factors that can be considered when determining whether you’ve got an employee who is improperly classified as a contractor.

What If You’ve Misclassified Your Personal Trainers?

So, what can happen if your Texas personal trainer contract misclassifies a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee?

You can be liable for many things, including…

  • Back taxes and penalties
  • Contributions to Social Security and Medicare
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Death or injury caused by the worker in the scope of employment

And you’ll likely find your business being audited by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

What’s The Solution?

Have an experienced Texas business contracts lawyer review what your fitness trainers do for your gym. Based on the facts, the right Texas personal trainer contract can be prepared for each of your workers….either an employment agreement or an independent contractor agreement can be prepared to protect you and your gym.

Business Sale Agreement: What You Can Learn From A Cannabis Shop Lawsuit

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A cannabis shop owner sold the business to Oregon weed retailer Nectar. The deal has gone to pot. See “Major Weed Retailer Nectar Hit With $4 Million Breach of Contract Lawsuit.” There are two important business sale agreement lessons to take from this dispute.

Related Article: 3 Early Warning Signs To Run Away From A Business Deal

  1. If you’re the seller, make sure you get paid enough up front that the deal is worthwhile even if it falls apart later. An agreement where you chase the bulk of the money often means you don’t get paid what you want. Or you’re working for free to keep the business afloat as part of damage control post-purchase.
  2. If you’re the buyer of a venture, be sure you’re ready to perform post-closing per the business sale agreement. In this instance, it appears both parties underestimated how long it would take for state government approval of the ownership transfer.

Related Article: How To Sell An Internet Business

An experienced business contracts lawyer can help you reduce the risk of these and other pitfalls in your business sale agreement…whether you’re the buyer or the seller.

Reputation Management: How To Avoid Scandal Because Of Breach Of Contract

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Reputation Management: How To Avoid Scandal When There’s A Breach Of ContractA professionally prepared agreement is essential to reputation management. Because it can help you avoid a PR disaster when there’s a breach of contract.

How bad can it get?

As an example, look at the lawsuit by the National Rifle Association (NRA)* against its ad agency for breach of contract. Among other things, the NRA is seeking $40 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages. The lawsuit and related news stories will do nothing to help either party protect its reputation.

So, how do you prevent bad publicity? Here are 4 important reputation management tactics…

1. Pre-Agreement Due Diligence

Before signing a business contract, research the other party. Check to see if there is a history of lawsuits or the other party using social media to hurt another company’s reputation online. Walk away from the potential deal if there is such a history.

2. Confidentiality

The written agreement should contain confidentiality/non-disclosure provisions to protect important data.

3. Non-Disparagement

Your contract should provide that neither party will disparage the other during and after performance of the agreement. In some instances, it may make sense to include a large liquidated damages amount to be paid by a party if they do decide to denigrate the other party in violation of the agreement.

4. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Rather than publicly airing the dispute with nasty claims and counterclaims in a lawsuit, it often makes sense for a contract to provide for confidential alternative dispute resolution. This can include mediation and binding arbitration using JAMS or AAA rules and procedures.

Other Reputation Management Contract Terms

Of course, there are other provisions that an experienced business contracts lawyer will include in your agreement for reputation management. Just make sure you put the right contract in place that protects your good name in case the relationship between the parties deteriorates. Because you can’t afford to leave business reputation management to chance.

* Disclosure – Business Lawyer Mike Young is a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and strong supporter of Second Amendment rights. However, he does not represent the NRA as legal counsel in this lawsuit or other matters.