Legalizing and Closing Your SEO Contract

  • 16 min read
Legalizing and Closing Your SEO Contract

Table of Contents

Intro

Making sure that you maintain your contracts with clients will allow your SEO firm to flourish. However, many agencies make the mistake of thinking that contracts aren’t quite as important as they are. By using this strategy, an agency is essentially shooting itself in the foot.

Your job isn’t only to successfully market your clients and to create content for them. Even though doing this will generate leads for your clients, you will need to ensure that your clients see your results and decide to keep working with you. A deal is never finalized until you have a contract that has been signed.

You’ll need to make sure that your contracts are ironclad so that your clients won’t be able to discover any loopholes that could negatively affect your business. You can use templates to create your contracts, but the contracts will still need to feature core pillars that can’t be circumvented.

You will have to come up with contracts that benefit both parties involved in the arrangement when you come up with them. If the contract benefits one side over the other, then one of the sides won’t want to sign. While this is a challenge when you’re first starting off, it becomes a bit easier with the right advice.

It’s often a challenge to come up with SEO contracts because of how much the industry can change in a short time. By following the right template, you can ensure that your contracts are always in order to benefit both you and your client, no matter how much the SEO landscape changes.

Today, we’re going to discuss how you should create your SEO contracts. We’ll start by addressing how you can convince your clients they need you and then we’ll address more detailed matters.

What You Need to Know About SEO Agency Contracts

There are four steps involved in coming up with an SEO contract, and as long as you follow them, you shouldn’t have much trouble coming up with any future contracts.

The four steps will need to be backed up by work on your part, of course. A contract doesn’t guarantee you free money. You’ll also need to work on your SEO agency’s image. For example, you’ll have to market your agency by creating content for yourself. This will allow you to get the best clients and leads.

When you’re done marketing your business, you can make leads fill out forms about what they need. This will allow you to filter out your clients and ensure that you have people who understand what you’re providing and who will be reasonable.

After this, you can go ahead and get in contact with them, either over the phone or through email. Some firms like to schedule video calls with clients to ensure that they’re on the same wavelength, but this isn’t always necessary.

When all of this is done, you can go ahead and start using the four steps involved in putting together a quality contract. Let’s get right into them:

Convincing Your Leads

The first step is to convince a lead that you’re worth working with. There are five sub-steps involved in convincing your leads that you’re going to do a good job for them.

Building Rapport

While your client may like your business, there’s no guarantee that they will like you too. You will need to show your client that you’re trustworthy and that they can approach you whenever they want to. As soon as you get into contact with your client, you need to show them that you’re on the up and up.

If you’re going to get in touch with your client and build rapport with them, you can talk to them over the phone, you can video chat with them, or you can even text chat with them. Don’t try to convince yourself that one medium is better than another. Use the one in which you communicate best.

Don’t immediately start off by discussing business with your clients. Ask them some questions about themselves to get to know each other. This will allow you to branch off the conversation more naturally.

You can also talk to them about the place that they come from, as this will allow you to direct the conversation if you have any experience with that place. Even something like sports can help spark a bond or even a friendly rivalry between you and your client, based on where each of your favorite teams are located.

Also, be sure to study your client’s company and what the client has accomplished for them. Be sure to show that you’re impressed with all of the hard work they’ve put into the company and they might end up liking you more for the things that you noticed.

Be sure to be specific to show that you’ve done your homework. For example, refer to a particular project that your client spearheaded. Try to flatter your client but don’t overdo it because your strategy may end up backfiring.

Leading Questions

When you’ve established a basic level of rapport with your client, you’ll be ready to start talking business with them. By asking the right questions at this point, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re the one controlling the conversation.

Start off by inquiring about the client’s company and the main problems that the company is currently trying to solve. While your client may have already filled out a form, it’s often a good idea to hear what they have to say in person.

However, don’t repeat all of the questions that you asked them in the form. Gloss over ones that had a clear answer and then address the questions that were not addressed satisfactorily. You need to figure out your clients’ problems so that you can come up with solutions for them.

Keep in mind that this isn’t an opportunity to market yourself. The client has already expressed that they’re interested in you. Instead, focus entirely on making sure that you know as much as possible about the problems that your client is currently facing. This will allow you to come up with a bulletproof proposal.

Your questions will also convince the client that they’re taking the initiative and hiring you. You don’t want your client to think that you strongarmed them into hiring you. If you take the illusion of control away from a client, it’s very likely that they’ll react negatively.

Elevator Pitch

At this point, you’ll need to switch the focus over to your agency because you’ll already know quite a bit about what the client’s business needs. Start off by asking your client about what they’ve heard about your firm so you have a jumping off point.

For example, if your client learned about your business through one of your marketing materials, they likely won’t know much about your business. However, if they were referred to you by a friend or another worker in their industry, they may know more about you.

Start off by asking them how they discovered you and how much they know about your business. You can then start changing up your pitch based on how the client reacts. Start by describing what the client doesn’t know about your SEO agency. The length of this part will depend on how much the client knows in the first place.

Issues You’ve Discovered

Once you know how much your client knows about you, it’s time to show them what you know about their business. By making sure that your client knows that you know about them, they’ll be a lot more likely to decide that it’s worth asking you for a proposal. You should have done your research by this point to ensure that you can find any issues with your client’s business.

At this point, don’t let the client know all of the problems that you’ve discovered. You don’t want to disclose what you’re about to do because your client can then go ahead and opt for another firm that will do it for cheaper. Just let them know that you know what you’re doing, so give them a trail of breadcrumbs to follow.

Remember that any existing issues don’t have to be impossible to find or extremely severe. You can start by addressing simple issues like poor content, broken links, and more. In most cases, unless your client has SEO expertise of their own, this is enough to convince them that they need you.

Setting Up the Close

At this point, the meeting is probably coming to a close but don’t give up right away. This will send the message to the client that you only cared about the business part of the call. Let things wind down a little bit by returning to a few more general questions. Make sure that your client is in a place where they’ll ask you for a proposal.

Start by asking a prospective client if they want to retain your services. See if they’re currently considering some of your competitors or if they’re accepting proposals from SEO agencies. Answers to these questions will allow you to tell if it’s actually worth working with a client.

Start off by addressing your pricing before you even give the client a proposal. Keep in mind that the proposal doesn’t have to be extremely detailed, but give the client a ballpark figure of how much they can expect to pay. This will ensure that your client won’t waste their time if they don’t have the money to invest in your services.

Closing Your Leads

The next part of making sure that the contract goes through is closing the client, which shouldn’t be difficult if you followed the previous step and set it up properly. If all of your follow ups went well, you should be ready to start doing business with your clients. Here’s how you get started with closing them.

First, you’ll need to come up with an SEO proposal that you’re going to use to approach your client when you start closing the deal. You’ll first need to do your research so that the proposal contains what your client needs. However, this is only the first step of coming up with a good proposal.

Let’s go over how you can do this.

Researching Your Proposals

If you’re going to pitch a proposal, you’re going to need to know what you’re talking about in the first place. Start by doing your homework and figuring out everything you need to know about a client’s business. Knowing what to pitch is just as important as knowing what to pitch when working with a client.

First, you’ll want to make sure that you addressed everything that we covered up above when you were having your initial communications with your clients. You’ll want to make sure that you noted down your client’s issues and that you’ve addressed many of their concerns. Knowing how the client feels will make it easier to start fixing their issues.

At this point, you’ll want to learn more about the client and what’s motivating them and what’s causing them trouble.

A good practice is to figure out ten places where they can enhance their business’s operations. These might be simple issues but the sheer number of them will catch the client’s eye. Don’t make it seem like these are problems caused by the client, focus on how they’re opportunities for improvement.

This will allow you to show the client that you’re there to fix any troubles that they may be experiencing instead of being there to nag at them for having problems in the first place. Keep in mind that this might take you some time, but it will be worth it if you end up getting the contract.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to limit yourself to finding ten issues. This is just a baseline number that you can work with. If it’s easy to find problems, you can approach your client with fifteen or twenty issues. Just don’t inundate them with problems that you may not have a solution to.

Make sure that you create a folder or a sheet on which you’ll keep track of all of the issues that you discover. This will ensure that your work is as organized as possible. You should also cover how these issues will be improved in the first place. Make sure that the document can be presented to the client and that it’s not overly cluttered.

You will want to ensure that you show the client the issues that you found but don’t give them ways to solve them right away. You will want to use specific SEO tools like the ones that we offer here at Rank Tracker to find the problems in the first place.

You’ll need to use our suite of tools to find out what isn’t working well with a client’s site, so let’s go over some of the most useful ones that you can use to check out the inner workings of the site and decide what needs fixing.

Ranktracker Website Audit

The Ranktracker web audit tool will allow you to see what’s going wrong with a client’s site on a technical level. This versatile tool is your one-stop-shop for discovering these issues as well as cataloging them.

For example, the website audit tool will allow you to find broken links, errors, poor content, and thin pages. This tool is also effective because of how easy it is to use compared to competing resources that can help you uncover similar issues.

Using these two tools together, you’ll be able to uncover everything else you need to know about a client’s site, including the strength and competitiveness of the keywords that they’re targeting. You may find that your client is trying to go after keywords that they don’t have a chance of ranking for.

Using this info, you can formulate a plan of action that will boost your client’s search rankings. Speaking of search rankings, the rank tracking tool that we’re named for will allow you to figure out whether the client’s site is ranking poorly in the first place and it will also allow you to track your results.

You can put all of this info together to develop a content creation strategy for your client that will allow them to target relevant keywords that aren’t inundated with competition. You can also advise your client on properly using H1, H2, and H3 tags as well as meta descriptions on their content.

Be sure to check the DR and UR of the page to see how much work you’ll need to do so that your client can succeed. If these ratings are too low, you’ll probably need to do a bunch of work.

Visual and Topical Analysis, UX, On-page SEO, and Content Structure

By analyzing these things, you’ll be able to determine how well the client is using their resources. It’s also essential to check the UX and the content of the site to ensure that the client is doing everything they can do to keep themselves relevant.

Go over how much the client has invested in their site so you can determine how much they’ll be willing to spend on your project. This will make it a lot easier to come up with a budget for your client.

Go through the site’s pages and see which problems you notice on them. Keep in mind that these problems can be large or small. Make sure not to note down any issues that you don’t know how to solve because this will make you look bad in the eyes of your client. At this point, you’re trying to make your agency look good.

Pricing

Putting together a proposal can take a lot of time, so be sure that your client is willing to play ball with you before you start working on it. Address your pricing first and foremost to ensure that your client is ready to pay what they need to pay to make their SEO dream a reality.

Start off by letting your client know how much you typically bill your clients for. Before creating your proposal, you can address how you’ll help them in broad strokes and then give them an idea of how much it’s going to cost them.

Giving them this info, they should be able to decide whether or not they want to invest in what you have to offer. By putting together a pricing template, it will be easier for you to do this with future clients, saving you quite a bit of time in the future.

Here’s what you’ll want to address in your pricing template:

  • Broken links

  • SEO

  • On- and off-page SEo

  • Consultation

  • Content overlooks

Also, mention why you came up with the pricing that you did. Address how many hours the work is going to take you and what you will expend the most energy on.

You’ll need to determine what kind of business your client is running so that you’ll know more about how you can address them and their proposals. Here are the two categories:

B2B Companies

B2B (Business to Business) clients tend to be some of the most important ones you’ll have. These clients tend to work with larger companies and have larger projects because of that. Keep in mind that these clients rarely need technical SEO. Instead, you’ll want to drive traffic to pages that already have good content on them.

When working with a B2B client, you need to remember that you’ll make the most money for them by working on pages at the bottom of the funnel. Make sure that you put an emphasis on their content creation so that you can get them to profit from additional traffic. You should also put an extra bit of focus on their landing pages.

eCommerce Businesses

When working with an eCommerce business, your priorities are inverted compared to a B2B business. Technical SEO is the name of the game with eCommerce businesses, though content marketing is also a big part of why eCommerce businesses succeed. Also, links are crucial for businesses like these.

Be sure that their sites feature plenty of external links. If you’re going to adopt a content marketing strategy for one of these clients, it will be a lot easier because of how easy their products tend to be to write about.

If you’re going to work with an eCommerce business, you’ll need to send them some emails so that you can include the proposal and the pricing sheet. This will allow the client to make better decisions about retaining your services.

You’ll want to make sure that your emails look engaging and friendly when you send them over. Being courteous will always get you further than being curt.

Creating a Proposal

Coming up with a proposal is often a challenge because you have to make it as simple as possible for your client while also including key details. Don’t overcomplicate the proposal, though it takes a bit of experience to learn what fits and what doesn’t.

Presentations are an excellent medium for submitting a proposal to a client. You can make them on PowerPoint or your presentation software of choice. Be sure to include images so that your presentation doesn’t look stale. You’ll make it a lot easier for your client to understand it like that.

Here are some of the details that you’ll need to make sure are featured in your proposal:

Intro

This is the simplest slide in the presentation. It should just feature the title of the presentation and potentially an image or a logo to capture the client’s attention. You may even wish to feature your client’s business logo to make them feel like they’re already a part of things. Also, be sure to include any contact info on this slide.

Table of Contents

This slide will allow your client to go back through the presentation with ease. You should link to each of the major sections of your presentation here so that it’s easier to navigate through it. Keep in mind that this slide is optional and can be omitted for shorter proposals.

Overview

At this point, you’ll need to go into detail about some of the things that you discussed with your client. Go over all of the points that you brought up to the client in the conversations that you’ve had with them up until this point.

This will allow you to ensure that your client remembers everything that was discussed and it will show the client that you’re on point. This will impress your client and ensure that you set a tone that will endure throughout the rest of the presentation.

Keep in mind that the overview should be relatively short and it should go over any suggestions and issues. Be sure to put an emphasis on the points of pain that you can help alleviate for your client.

Analysis

This should be one of the biggest parts of your presentation, and it’s where you’ll start going over issues and presenting your analysis of them. Start by mentioning what you’ve discussed with the client before and then go over exactly what you can do for the client in detail.

When you’re coming up with an analysis, you’ll need to strike a fine balancing act between giving out the info that the client needs and not giving away the tricks of the trade. Let’s provide you with some examples of slides that you can include in the analysis portion of your presentation.

  • Website cleanup: The info that you glean from our website audit will allow you to fill out this part of your presentation. Be sure to include screenshots in this part of the guide so that you can clearly outline what needs to be done.

  • Content: Remember that creating quality content will allow you to enhance your client’s SEO. Go over how keywords are used as well as pages that need fixing.

  • Landing pages: You’ll also want to go over how a business can enhance their landing pages. Don’t forget to mention keywords here!

  • Link acquisition: This should be in almost all of your presentations, so be sure to have a template ready for it so that you can easily slot it into future proposals.

You will need to demonstrate to your clients that everything you’ve included in your proposal is absolutely necessary. By including proof with what you’ve presented, you’ll hammer the point home that you’ll come through for your client.

Remember that your proposal is more than just a presentation of what you’ll accomplish for the client. It will also show the client that you’re able to handle their issues better than the next agency.

Remember that you don’t want to set the bar too high in this initial proposal. If you promise your clients the moon, they’ll expect more from you. Always make promises that are less than what you can do and then over-deliver so that it looks like you’re able to do more for your client and get future contracts.

Campaign Goals

Your campaign goals will outline what you intend to accomplish by the time your contract comes to an end. Discuss the issues and then go over how you can benefit the client by fixing them.

Also, go over your goals in both the long-term and the short-term. Keep in mind that a client’s goals will change depending on who you’re working with, so a template won’t work for this one.

Deliverables

This is where you elaborate on what you’re going to do for your client. In this section of your presentation, you’ll determine your strategy for solving the problems.

You should also outline each step that you’re going to accomplish in this section so that it’s clear to your client what you intend to do. Here are a few of the strategies you may wish to outline in this section:

  • Competitive analysis

  • Rank Tracker audit results

  • On-page SEO adjustments

  • URL mapping

  • Funnel model for keywords

  • Reports

Team

This part of your presentation will allow your client to get acquainted with the team that will be working on the project. This slide is typically optional but it helps instill trust in the client.

Timeline

In this part of the presentation, you’ll go over the planned timeline for the work to be accomplished. If you covered the timeline in a previous slide, you can feel free to skip this part.

Pricing

This will complement the pricing document that you sent the client and ensure that they know what they’ll be paying for your services.

Reviews and Testimonials

Finally, you can add details about your previous clients, reviews and testimonials from people you’ve worked with before, and things along those lines. This will give your clients faith that you’ll get the job done right.

Making a Proposal Legal

Finally, you’ll need to come up with a contract to ensure that the arrangement between you and a client is legally binding. This will ensure that you get paid for your services as well as that the client gets the results that they’re looking for.

By making sure that you have a legally-binding contract, you can also ensure that you don’t end up getting sued if the client has a complete change of heart and decides to start making your life difficult.

Whether you use a template or a lawyer to come up with your contract, always be sure to review it thoroughly to make sure that there are no errors.

Learning more about contracts will allow you to save money on lawyer fees in the long run, and many SEO agencies employ people who specialize in writing their contracts out.

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