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As with all marketing consultancy services contracts are commonplace in SEO related and other freelance agreements. However, most freelance consultants tend to find contracts, including SEO agreements, quite daunting to deal with. Preparing any agreements, however, need not be a major challenge for an SEO consultant. It is simply a documented mutual understanding between the consultant and the client over how SEO services will be offered. A good agreement sets expectations and keeps them clear.

However, SEO services tend to change regularly, owing to the ever-changing internet marketing dynamics and search engine algorithms. Understandably, it may difficult to commit to delivering specific results in an unpredictable environment. Nevertheless, you need an agreement to be in place. There are critical aspects of an SEO agreement that will be discussed in this article, and they will handle this issue caused by the constant changes in the blogosphere.

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1. Keep it broad

As an SEO consultant, it would be best to avoid using specific tasks and terminologies within the SEO agreement. SEO environments change almost daily. Chances are, if you use particular language to specify a function, you may be staring at a redundant clause in the near future. Regardless of what most people are projecting about SEO being obsolete, it is still one of the most internet marketing strategies available today, regardless of the ever-changing search engine rules and algorithms (and the uptake is set to rise in the B2B environment). Therefore, you are advised to use more encompassing approaches, such as "on-page elements" instead of zeroing in on specific approaches like "Google authorship." However, remember to be reasonable even when avoiding pre-set terminologies. Being too vague can leave the client with more questions than answers, and they may not agree to the contract. Therefore, find a balance and stick to it.

2. Length of the contract's term

When you are preparing an SEO agreement, take into account that the contract can be a finite one or an auto-renewed contract. You should also consider the type of SEO services you are offering. In essence, SEO services are more of an on-going effort rather than a finite project. Thus, you may opt to go for a contract that is automatically renewed after each set period. Auto-renewable agreements save you the tonnes of paperwork involved in drafting a new one every so often. However, as mentioned, SEO is an ever-changing environment. Therefore, you will have to be careful what aspects you foresee to change in the course of time. Costs of service go up all the time, and this is one factor you will have to address when negotiating the contract with your client. Another facet is the tasks and strategies that are used to achieve results. If you cannot keep on consulting these aspects with the client, then it would be better to go for a finite contract with clearly defined goals per milestone.

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3. Consider annual price increases

The cost of doing business is continuously rising. There are small price and cost increases that will impact on your total cost of doing business, and this will affect your pricing. This is a challenge since most clients tend to adopt a pre-set budget that is set by the first price quotation for SEO services. Things like annual software subscription costs are ever on the rise. For those who employ additional help, the wages and benefits are also on the rise regardless of the economy. Unless you transfer these costs to the client, you may be staring at zero returns for your efforts. While discussing the agreement with your client, be categorical that prices will change annually. Indicate the projected increase in percentage.

4. Be candid about subcontracting

If part of your services will require you to sub-contract other companies, be very frank about it. It is a breach of trust to make it seem like you are the only service provider yet you plan to sub-contract. Make sure that the agreement touches on the services that you will outsource from other service providers and also discuss how this aspect may influence service delivery. You may have to reassure your client that it is part of your stellar services. Be candid about tasks you cannot handle on your own. To be clear, you do have a right to sub-contract some SEO services if you believe it will go a long way in achieving satisfactory results. It is nevertheless prudent to let your client know in the SEO agreement.

In essence

This short list is not conclusive, but it profoundly touches on communication with the client. The point is that the client should be aware that it is possible for tactics, approaches, and prices to change. As long as you keep your client in the loop about such dynamic aspects of SEO marketing services, you will have a smooth working relationship during the term of the contract.