In an effort to provide clarity between SEOs and their clients, I created a bill of rights for SEO clients. This post covers the bill of rights for the SEOs.
The SEO has a right to...
Receive payment from the client for entire amount contracted.
A contract is a contract. If you change your business model, rethink SEO or decide to invest in other marketing avenues, you still have an obligation to fulfill your end of the SEO agreement. If you really want out, talk to your SEO about a proper buyout of your SEO contract.
Collect payment from the client on-time.
Nobody likes to get paid late for work performed. The SEO is building profits for you, and the least you can do is not put that in jeopardy by delaying payment for work performed. If payments are delayed, even for a couple days, the SEO has a right to charge a late payment fee.
Not to allow the client to place a "hold" on their account.
The SEO has the same obligations to its employees and other clients as the SEO client does to it's employees and customers. SEOs often hire based on the expected income of all accounts, including yours. If you request a hold due to finances or other restructuring, you may be impacting the employment and performance of your SEO firm, which may impact your performance down the road.
Charge the client for services that fall outside the scope of the contract.
If the SEO client requests work that is above and beyond the strategy outlined in the contract, the client should expect to pay for any additional hours needed to complete that work. SEOs can only do so much with the time and investment they are given. If more is work is requested, more funds are required.
Expect their recommendations get implemented in a timely manner.
SEOs never expect that every
recommendation they make will get implemented or implemented perfectly. However, they have a reasonable expectation that any and all recommendations will be be discussed with them by the client and implemented sooner rather than later. The client cannot hold the SEO accountable for success if there are a number of unfulfilled recommendations on the table.
Not justify every minute spent. (Unless client pays hourly.)
SEO has its highs and lows. Some months require a lot of work and a lot of hours, and other months a lot less. Give the SEO freedom to track hours but not be bound to a certain expectation x hours every month. Let them rest some months and ramp up in others as needed.
Not spend too much time "reporting" to the client.
Providing the client status updates and information critical to the success of their campaign is expected. However, the client cannot demand so much of the SEO's time providing reports and updates that it eats up a significant chunk of the time need to make the account a success.
Revoke deliverable work performed due to client's non-payment.
If SEOs fulfill their end of the contract but the client doesn't pay for work performed, that is theft. The SEO then has a right to undo all work implemented, retract all recommendations and change destinations of links achieved, if necessary, until the client pays in full.
Suspend client's account if needed.
If the SEO client is not keeping payments up to date, an SEO has the right to suspend work being performed on the client's account. The SEO cannot donate their time or effort into a delinquent client when there are other clients making their payments and in need of work to be done.
Cancel client services.
If the client is a problem and eats up too much time and resources, the SEO has the right to cancel services if warranted. This should only be done if the SEO has delivered on everything the client has paid for to date, and there is no expectation without further payment; otherwise, a refund should be provided.
If clients and SEOs agree on these expectations, there should never be a dissatisfied client! You can also read the historical documents from which this post originated.
Follow me at @StoneyD, and @PolePositionMkg.
August 31, 2011
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.