If you’re going to hire someone to handle search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM) for your company’s website, there are some legal risks that can be easily avoided.
Mistake #1 – The everything-but-the-kitchen-sink SEO contract.
If an SEO services provider isn’t willing to invest to have a quality contract template prepared by a competent Internet business lawyer, run the other way instead of doing business.
The person who will cut corners putting to together a binding legal SEO services contract is the same type of clown who will use SEO strategies and tactics that will end up getting your site slapped by Google and Bing. There’s a high probability your web presence will be hurt by hiring this type of amateur.
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These types of contracts are pretty easy to identify because they have legalese from different types of agreements thrown together, rarely make sense, and often have contradictory provisions. In addition, the lazy person who put the agreement together will frequently include references to providing goods or services that have nothing to do with search engine optimization or search engine marketing.
Mistake #2 – Accepting the SEO agreement at face value.
Just because an SEO services contract template is used by an SEO services provider doesn’t mean your company has to accept everything as-is. If the provider insists the contract’s terms are take-it-or-leave-it, decline and move on.
True professional service providers recognize many items are negotiable.
Mistake #3 – Paying too much up front under an SEO services agreement.
Ideally, you’ll want to break out the payments by milestones achieved or monthly payments in situations where you can terminate the contract without penalty. The SEO services provider who insists on the bulk of payment up front on a long-term contract will invariably cheat you before the end of the term.
Mistake #4 – Failing to clearly define the scope of work in the SEO contract.
It’s important to ensure you’re on the same page with your SEO services provider as to both what is to be delivered and what will not be done. This prevents misunderstandings and related lawsuits. If you truly know what you’re getting, instead of a vague reference to “SEO” or “SEM,” you’re likelier to be happier with the results.
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Your provider will also not feel put upon when you ask for work to be performed that isn’t specifically identified in the contract. Either it’s in the scope of work or it isn’t.
Mistake #5 – Farming out your SEO to a spammer.
If you’re already getting decent web traffic, chances are you’re also receiving unsolicited commercial emails (spam) from people who claim to be SEO or SEM professionals. Most of these emails are written in broken English and come from India or the Philippines, even if they use an American name as sender and pretend to be from the United States or Canada.
Although there’s nothing wrong with outsourcing search engine marketing or search engine optimization overseas to qualified professionals, don’t sign a contract with a spammer. The person willing to spam you for services is blindly sending out millions of emails trying to get work.
Most SEO professionals are in high demand, and may even have a waiting list. Many of the best do the work for their own websites and occasionally take on clients to fill gaps in their schedules.
By avoiding the above contract mistakes, you’re more likely to get what you want from a provider of search engine marketing or search engine optimization services.
If you need a professional SEO services agreement, check out our Business Contract Legal Protection Package.