It is very important for agencies to bag an SEO contract from clients to stay afloat. Most agencies see contracts as a secondary or tertiary requirement for their business. This approach is completely wrong and will not be fruitful in the future.
Creating content and successfully marketing it is not where your job ends. You will generate ample leads with the help of these processes. However, you need to keep convincing these leads to give you business. Until you have a signed SEO agency contract in your possession, the deal is never final.
You need to create contracts meticulously so that you minimize the chances of people finding loopholes in them. These SEO contracts template needs to have concrete ideas and principles that cannot be wavered easily.
As an SEO agency, it is your responsibility to draft up contracts that are favorable to both parties. These contracts need to benefit you and your client equally. This may sound tricky at first, but with proper consultation, you should have no trouble drafting up the perfect contract.
One of the biggest problems faced by SEO agencies is that their job is very dynamic. How can you draft a fixed contract for a job that is ever-changing? There are many ways to tackle this problem. One of them is following a very simple template that can change your life.
Continue reading to learn more about how you can create SEO contracts for agencies. From convincing your clients to closing the deals, you can brush up on all your skills here.
Everything you need to know about contracts as an SEO agency
There are 4 major steps to creating the perfect SEO agency contract for any SEO agency. Think of these steps as your holy grail to reaching new heights of success.
These four steps are only followed by the initial work you put into your agency. You first start by creating relevant content for your agency and marketing it to the world. This will help you generate leads that are highly beneficial for you.
After this, you make the prospective fill out a general form on your platform. You sieve through prospective clients in this way. In the end, you will only be left with people who are actually interested in your services.
You then get on a sales call with them or try to reach them through other methods. You must schedule a video call with them after the first sales call. This video call will allow you to understand if this client is worth your time and energy.
Then you can start using these techniques on them to convince them. Here are the 4 essentials that you absolutely need to know about.
1. Convincing leads
You begin by convincing the leads that you generated through your marketing ventures. Convincing them to provide you with business is the first and the most important step for your agency.
This process is generally carried out in 5 steps. These steps include.
A. Rapport building:
You need your client to like you and not just your business. You want them to think of you as an approachable person and someone they can trust. You need to start building trust in your clients right from the beginning and not just through your business.
The best way to do this is to get your client on a video call. A regular zoom or google meets call is also great for such meetings. When you are face to face with your client, it is easier for them to understand you and get a slight idea of what your intentions are and vice versa.
You can begin by asking them a few personal questions to break the ice. Ask them where they are from. You can take this conversation further and mention any experience you have had at their place of origin.
The key is to connect with your prospective client on factors you both can relate to. You can also talk to them about sports teams from where they are. Ask them if they like their sports team and which sports league they follow. This will make your client feel comfortable around you.
Further, you must do your homework on their company well. Know who you are talking to and the position they hold in the company. Find out their personal contributions to the company before this call too. You should give them compliments about their work in the company.
Talk about a particular project that was headed by them, which you really liked. This is the last thing you should do before you jump right into business. Start on a happy note by incorporating a little bit of flattery into your conversation.
B. Leading question:
Once you are done breaking the ice and making your client feel comfortable around you, it is time for business. You need to start asking relevant questions now. These questions will help you steer the conversation into a direction you please.
Ask them questions about their company and the issues you think they are facing. They have already filled out a form that has details of these questions. So, make sure you do not repeat the same things on the form.
Let them know that you went through their questions and have a few more to ask them. Talk to them about their issues and don’t mention your company at all. This is about their problems, and your job is to dig them out and assist them with solutions.
You don’t need to self-promote on such calls. This client is already interested in your services. That’s why they filled out the form and were interested in getting on a video call with you. So, focus on getting their perspective on problems so you can create an immaculate proposal for them in the future.
These questions will make your clients think that hiring you is their idea. Let them think that you didn’t force them into hiring you. They should believe it came to them organically. Clients generally like being in control, and if you are too pushy with your proposal, they might cancel it.
C. Elevator pitch
After talking about their business at a stretch, it is time for you to tell them what your agency is all about. Make this elevator pitch short and comprehensive. You can begin by asking them how much they already know about you.
It is possible that they came across your platform through a video and so they probably know a little bit about you. However, if it was through referrals or online ads, chances are they don’t know much.
Ask them how much they know about you and how did they come across your platform. Then edit your elevator pitch according to your needs. Give them a very brief description of yourself and the agency if they already know about it. You can make it longer if they are clueless about your agency.
D. Discovered issues
Once you hear them out, you need to show them how much you know about them. If your client thinks you know about their company, they are more likely to ask for a proposal upfront. By this point, you probably have done enough research about their company and the flaws you found.
You need to tell them about the things you discovered in your research. However, you can’t let off too much. You don’t want your client to know about your game plan. You just want them to know you are thorough with research and capable enough to solve the issues you found.
These issues don’t have to be severe and very difficult to find. Look for generic problems like broken links, thin pages, etc. This should be enough for your client to consider you a good prospect for the job.
E. The close
You have now reached the end of the video meeting. You need to greet them kindly and still ask them a few questions to be sure about this client. You don’t want to present them with a proposal right away. In fact, you shouldn’t even ask them if they want one from you. Let them ask you first.
You need to ask these prospects if they are genuinely interested in your services. Ask them if they are looking at other agencies and if they are accepting SEO agency proposals. Their answers should be able to convince you if they are worth your time and effort.
Before giving them an SEO proposal, you can mention your pricing. This doesn’t have to be detailed yet but give them an idea as to how much you charge clients. This way, if they cannot afford your services, they will back off instantly, and that will save you a lot of time making a proposal.
2. Closing the leads
The second step of this process is closing leads. You attracted a good number of clients to your agency through your marketing ventures. You followed up their requests with a sales call and then a video call. Now is the time to close these clients. Convincing them was a very important task, but closing them is the final deal.
You need to create SEO proposals to give to your clients as you close the deal. There are two major aspects that you need to be proficient in while creating an SEO proposal. The first is research. Your SEO agency proposals need to be well researched and should contain everything your client is looking for.
Here is how you can approach this part of the proposal making process.
A. Researching proposals
As mentioned earlier, you should know what you are talking about when you pitch the proposal to your clients. You need to do ample research about their business before you ask them to hire you. Pitching the right things to your prospective clients is a very important part of closing SEO contracts with prospective clients.
You asked them questions in the first sales call, you spoke to them about their company in the video calls, and you even went through their concerns. Now you know what their perspective is and how they wish to approach their problems.
This is the first step of research where you learn about them and what they think.
After this, you need to come up with 10 opportunities where they can approve. These are just the problems you found on their website. However, you will word it like they are opportunities for them to improve and not just problems that need fixing.
This is a great way to show your clients that you are not here to point out issues, but you are there to improve their SEO agency performance. This kind of research will take you a little bit of time, but it is essential. Spend a few hours on the prospective client’s website and figure out the top 10 places they need improvement in.
This number doesn’t necessarily have to be 10. There could be as many problems as you could find. However, 10 areas of opportunities show the client how dedicated you are to their company and are ready to help them personally.
You will need a folder where you put all your research into a client. This makes your work very organized. Create a separate file that has these 10 opportunities for improvement too. You can edit it and make it look presentable before you send it to your prospective client, along with the pricing and proposal documents.
Your job is to present them with the problems you found but not all of the solutions. Make use of SEO tools online to find these problems. There are three steps that you can follow to point out all the weak spots on your client’s website.
Clearly, you will not be focusing on only one tool. You will simultaneously go through many issues at once, and the deeper you get into their site, the more problems will surface. Here is how you can uncover these issues easily.
DeepCrawl is a very popular website that allows you to find technical issues with a client’s website. You can use the various tools available on their platform to go through a target website and assess it properly.
This platform is great for when you want to look for problems like thin pages, weak content, broken links, and 4xx errors on the website. You can also use this platform to look for duplicate content that is responsible for low rankings on Google searches.
Ahrefs and SEMrush
You already know how important Ahrefs and SEMrush are for an online entity to prosper. You must put the website through these tools to assess their content, keywords, and linking opportunities.
This type of assessment will let you come up with better opportunities for content creation. You can also look for relevant keywords and how accessible the landing pages are. Make sure the client uses keywords for meta descriptions and all the H1, H2, and H3 titles wherever necessary.
The best way to find out how relevant and helpful the content is for the platform is by checking the UR and DR of the website. A low DR and UR indicate that a lot of work will need to be put into this platform.
Topical and visual analysis, content structure, UX on-page SEO
This is where you assess the external linking and internal linking of the website. The depth of the platform and how well the company is using its resources online. You need to check their content and the UX.
Check how much they spent on their website too. This will give you an idea as to how much they are willing to splurge on their SEO needs too. Accordingly, you can create a budget for them.
Flip through the pages of the website and note down all the issues you come across. These could be anything, and as long as you know how to fix them, list them down in the opportunity list. Your client needs to see your dedication and thoroughness through your research.
Making SEO agency proposals is a time consuming and meticulous task. Before you invest so much time in it, you need to be sure your client means business. Ask them if they want a proposal and then only go ahead with the research and pricing.
Let your prospective clients know a little bit about how much you charge for your services. This should be done prior to proposal creation. You can tell them about how you will help them and give them a ballpark figure.
This should be enough for your clients to decide whether they want your services or not. Create a pricing template that can be used for multiple clients. It makes your work easier, and this process exponentially faster.
Here are a few details that you can mention.
- Broken link fixing
- On-page and Off-page SEO
- Content analysis
Mention the basis on which you charge too. How many hours you will put in and which area you will be focusing on.
You need to learn how to segregate your clients into two broad groups. These clients will be treated differently because they have very different needs and requirements. These two groups can be.
- Business-to-Business company
Business to business clients is very important for your agency. They, as a business, deal with other big corporations and have big projects. However, they do not need a lot of technical SEO. You need to work on getting traffic on pages that have a lot of essential content that will help them make money.
The key is that for B2B companies, bottom-funnel pages make them more money than anything. So, focus on their content creation and try to drive the traffic to these pages that will get them the money they need. You can drastically improve their performance by hyper-focusing on their important landing pages.
- eCommerce businesses
You need to focus on a lot of technical SEO for eCommerce businesses. Content marketing is essential for this type of business too. However, it is not as important as it is for B2B clients. You can create a great interface for such clients by interlinking their webpages properly.
You can also use a lot of external linking to create a good flowing website. Additionally, writing content for eCommerce professionals is significantly easier because their content is straightforward.
Now you need to start sending them emails. You send them the proposal along with the pricing document and the top 10 areas of opportunities. This will give them a better insight into what they are in for.
Additionally, make your emails friendly and engaging. Ask them how they are and if they want to catch up soon once they go through your proposal. This way, they will be under a social obligation to get back to you as soon as they possibly can.
3. Creating your proposal
The proposal has to be simple and easy to understand. However, you need to add all the essential details that your client will need to know about before you draft up a contract. It doesn’t have to be too complicated.
One of the easiest ways to make a proposal is through a presentation. All the slides could have information along with screenshots and images to make them more descriptive. This makes difficult understanding processes very easy for your client.
Given below are the important details that must be included in your proposal.
a. Introductory slide
This slide will have nothing but the title and a few logos. Make it very simple and don’t add anything too complex on this slide. You should, however, add your logo along with the logo of the client you are catering to. After this, add a few other essential details like the date and your contact information.
b. Table of contents:
This is an optional slide. However, adding a table of contents before your proposal makes it easier for your clients to navigate through your proposal. You can link specific slides to the content and add subheadings if your proposal is too descriptive. This is completely up to you, but it is important that you make the slides easy to understand.
c. An executive overview of your consultation
Now you need to add a few details that you spoke to your clients about. You need to add all the points that were previously discussed in the video calls and the consultation that took place before you were hired.
Starting by writing down all the things you have already spoken about is a great way to set the tone of the proposal. It shows how thorough you are, and it also helps jog your client’s memory. This way, no one can throw around false acquisitions in the future, and you can also go ahead and add it to your contract later.
This section is brief, and it only lists out the problems faced by your client and what your suggestions are for them. You will write about these issues and your solution suggestions in the other slides in detail. Don’t forget to specify the points you can help with.
This is where you deeply analyze the issues and give your inputs. After the discussions you have had with your client in the past, they already have an idea of your capabilities. Build on those interactions and elaborate on your plans regarding the SEO of the company.
You still do not need to let out too much. Keep it concise, but don’t miss out on details that could cost you your job. Here are a few slides that you can add to your PPT proposals. These are merely examples, but they are commonly found in most SEO agency proposals so they can be of great help.
Here are a few things that you can analyze
- Website cleanup: Your research on DeepCrawl can be put to use here. Mention how your services can be very helpful when it comes to website cleanups. Make sure you add relevant screenshots to make it easier for your client to understand.
- Landing page optimization: You can mention how you will improve their landing pages. Mention how the use of keywords can be extremely beneficial in this case.
- Content: Content creation could be a great help to your client’s SEO optimization. You can talk about any low hanging fruit pages, improper use of keywords, and add there how you plan on changing it too.
- Link acquisition: This is a very generic part of SEO agency proposals that you will add in almost all proposals. You can create a basic template for this slide and use it in almost all of your proposals in the future without a lot of changes.
You need to show your clients that everything you do for them is completely required. When you back your services up with proof, it makes it easier for your clients to make a decision. They want to know where their money is going and if it is worth it.
Your proposal is not just a document that shows how much work you are ready to put in for your client. It is also a very important document that convinces your client that you are the best person for the job with every slide.
You need to show your clients that hiring an SEO agency is an investment that they need to make. It takes a lot of time for the results to be seen, but they need to trust the process. This proposal needs to be able to instill a sense of trust in your clients too.
Don’t guarantee any sort of performance on your end, though. You don’t want your clients to get their expectations too high. SEO is a gamble, and it’s not always possible to guarantee concrete results. So, make sure you imply success, but don’t mention it literally.
e. Campaign goals:
These are your campaign goals. Where you plan on reaching by the end of your SEO contract with the client. You write about the solutions to the problems you found and then mention how they will benefit the company.
You can mention short-term and long-term goals, too, so that the clients know what they can expect. These goals could vary from one client to another, so be sure not to use the same slide for multiple clients.
The campaign goals talk about what you are planning to do. Whereas the deliverables you talk about how you plan on giving it to them. This is where you define your game plan and your course of action.
You tell the client what you will be tackling, and when you will do that. This will be a step by step procedure of everything you intend on doing to boost your client’s website quality. Here are a few methods you can use as they are quite general.
- Google search audit and course of action
- Competitive analysis of the business
- URL mapping
- On-page SEO improvement for landing pages
- Monthly reports
- Funnel model for keyword usage on the website (bottom level keywords used for sales pages and the mid and top ones used for blogs)
You can add a slide where you mention who all will be working on this project. A description of the team makes it very convenient for the client to approach employees who are responsible for certain tasks. This will also help avoid any confusion regarding the project in the future.
h. Timeline for results
This is completely optional. However, if you want, you can also add an approximate timeline that suggests when you plan on accomplishing a few landmarks in this process. It doesn’t have to be accurate and make sure you mention that.
i. Pricing breakdown
Aside from the actual pricing document, make sure you also add a pricing breakdown. Your client needs to know where all he is spending his money on. This breakdown will make the transactions very transparent.
j. Social proof, clients you have helped, client reviews, case studies
In the end, you can add the logos of the clients you have worked for in the past. Even if your client knows about your history, it is always safer to give them a few client reviews to look at. It will be like reassurance to them and a testament to your quality of work.
4. Legalizing your proposal
As mentioned earlier, most companies try to skip out on the SEO agency contracts when they get into new business. However, it is not something you can overlook so easily. You need a contract to avoid any legal discrepancies with your clients.
It is not very likely that your clients will make a decision to involve the authorities. However, there is still a chance that you might get sued for any issue with your services. So, it is wise to make sure that you always have something in writing and also something that is legally binding.
You can use an SEO agency contract template online and customize it as you please. It is advised that you get it double checked by an attorney before you sign it.
Now that you know how important SEO contracts are, you should prioritize them in your business functions too. Make sure you customize all the contracts you send to different clients and learn everything about them. You need to know the rules inside and out to play by them and avoid any potential legal problems that come with running an SEO agency.