19 replies
So I will try and keep emotion out of this post as I am really trying to get opinions from the more seasoned Warriors on the forum.
I have a very close friend whose family owns a local business in the area and they were approached by a web design company to re-do their website, because his family owns the company he told me that the website cost them $10k+ and to be honest looking at the site, knowing what I know, I would laugh if you told me this site cost $10k, it is not a Wordpress site, its very much flash based and the text on the site is very poorly written. I also found out that this company does not allow its customers to modify any text whatsoever on their sites without going to them to make that change.

Anyway my point of this post is, this same company came back and offered SEO service to them, and locked them in to a 5 year contract, I do not know the cost of this contract, but I feel like a 5 year contract is excessive. I understand that the goal is to get recurring income but is this something that is typical in this business?

I'm not trying to bad mouth this company by any means, really trying to get a feel for what is normal practice and keep and eye on the competition.

Curious to see what your opinions on this!

Thanks!
#contract #seo
  • Profile picture of the author kcom
    Most companies are not naive enough to sign a 5 yr contract, I think I would do no more than 6 mos, 1 yr at max. Currently, I have a month to month with 30 days notice for cancellations.
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    • Profile picture of the author volit
      Sounds like there's some stuff you could sell them too, if they are naive enough to sign that big of a contract and pay 10k for a website. I'd get on that.
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  • Profile picture of the author windelsolutions
    I think it is not a good business ethics to push clients for 5 years contract. You dont know what will be market position in 5 years. It is better to stick with 6months to 1 year contract at most.
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  • Profile picture of the author CollegeCEO
    I have never heard of a company doing 5 year SEO contracts. I'm wondering why your friend would even agree to such a thing. Like others have mentioned, the norm is to offer 3/6/12 month contracts. It sounds like your friend got taken advantage of horribly. I'd advise them to see if they could get out of that contract especially if the work is mediocre.
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  • Profile picture of the author mayankgangwal
    I would say no to these type of contract. 5 Years is a loads of time and if they are charging 10k for a website i guess they are charging $500 to $1000 a month and it is very nasty. Try to convence your friend and say no to them.
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  • Profile picture of the author pmmorris
    Thank you for confirming my suspicion and informing me how SEO should be billed. The unfortunate part of this story is they already signed the contract, I was told afterwards that it was a five year deal. My wife works for my friends company during the summer (she's a teacher) and she said it was three guys in full on suits who came in to sell them this service... didn't think it took three guys to sell SEO.
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  • We don't even know what search engines will exist in 5 years time, so that's a bit excessive.

    I'd consider anything up to 18 months to be reasonable, 8-10 months is the sweet spot for both provider and customer. You do need to allow leeway for SEO efforts to start making a difference.
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  • Profile picture of the author EnzoBlaque
    5 Years is highly unusual.. The longest contract I offer my clients is 12 Months.

    You can't predict the way Google or other search engines will operate in the future, so anything over a years contract is risky in my books.
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  • Profile picture of the author pmmorris
    All of this makes sense and I appreciate your responses! I had a feeling that something did not seem right about a 5 year contract, and the fact that he is a friend puts an even more bitter taste in my mouth. Curious if there is a termination clause in their contract.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    There has to be a way out of that contract. Five years is silly. I do one year contract for my clients, but the only thing I lock in is the price for those 12 months. They can back out at any point with 30 days notice.

    Five years in this industry is just silly. As an SEO, I wouldn't want to lock myself into a service for five years. I don't know how the search engines may change. Five years from now it may cost me far more to do what I do now. A five year contract could lose me money. Just a bad decision on both sides.

    Five years ago, did you even know what Facebook was?
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  • Profile picture of the author Lopaca
    You might want to tell your friend to look at renegotiating the contract. If they won't work with them they can contact the FTC. The fear for most Internet thieves is the threat of the FTC looking into their operations. If they are legit and are offering legitimate services for the industry standard pricing then there probably isn't much that can be done but if it is beyond standards then perhaps they can say they were defrauded. Also the new requirements the FTC has put in place are very clear about what an Internet service must abide by. Those three little letters might get their attention and bring them back to the negotiation table.

    My 2 cents
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  • Profile picture of the author AshleyScott
    5 year is nearly a mistaken contract I hope so. I am afraid why they haven't investigated in detail before signing up the agreement. SEO process simply takes no more than 8 months to position if done properly. I don't know what they would be doing in the next four years & four months.
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    • Profile picture of the author anjumohan
      Only by seeing the website we can discuss about the SEO contract sometimes within months we can bring the website to a better position, 1st we have to do on page optimisation for this we have to create fresh content for the website which is seo friendly and also user friendly, also if a website is user friendly it will be seo friendly too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Nguyen
    Ask you friend, what was the expectations of the contract. Contract doesn't mean anything if they're not able to deliver. In the contract what has been promised? Was it rankings, and in what time frame? etc
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary Zaydman
    wow 5 years?! wow I want to see what they are selling department looks like. If they good a job ok but 5 years is a very long time!
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  • Profile picture of the author therealtiger
    I will not sign any contract which makes me feel like i m in jail.
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    • Profile picture of the author ConnorMarc
      Originally Posted by pmmorris View Post

      So I will try and keep emotion out of this post as I am really trying to get opinions from the more seasoned Warriors on the forum.
      I have a very close friend whose family owns a local business in the area and they were approached by a web design company to re-do their website, because his family owns the company he told me that the website cost them $10k+ and to be honest looking at the site, knowing what I know, I would laugh if you told me this site cost $10k, it is not a Wordpress site, its very much flash based and the text on the site is very poorly written. I also found out that this company does not allow its customers to modify any text whatsoever on their sites without going to them to make that change.

      Anyway my point of this post is, this same company came back and offered SEO service to them, and locked them in to a 5 year contract, I do not know the cost of this contract, but I feel like a 5 year contract is excessive. I understand that the goal is to get recurring income but is this something that is typical in this business?

      I'm not trying to bad mouth this company by any means, really trying to get a feel for what is normal practice and keep and eye on the competition.

      Curious to see what your opinions on this!

      Thanks!
      Really? Tell your friend there's a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell him.

      Originally Posted by pmmorris View Post

      Thank you for confirming my suspicion and informing me how SEO should be billed. The unfortunate part of this story is they already signed the contract, I was told afterwards that it was a five year deal. My wife works for my friends company during the summer (she's a teacher) and she said it was three guys in full on suits who came in to sell them this service... didn't think it took three guys to sell SEO.
      Ahhhh...the old three-guys-in-a-suit stiff. What a racket. Seems like your friend fell for the old flim-flam hook, line and sinker.

      As other posters have suggested, there must be a way out of that contract. I'll be the one to say it outright...he's getting ripped off. Any company that would go that far beyond the pale is unethical. Tell your friend to get out of that deal...like yesterday.
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  • Profile picture of the author ubaid12j
    I think that company is cheating with them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Roncone
      That's all a load a garbage. How often do you hear about five year contracts?

      In fact I've maybe heard of two, that being car loans and one business I know leased out their office (in the heart of Chicago, so it's a little more reasonable) for five years. But even then, there were safety clauses out the crack on how they could reasonably get out if need be.

      Seriously, a five year contract for SEO? You don't even know your business will be relevant to the SEO that they're doing for (any of us, really). I would advise your friend to possibly consult a lawyer on how to get out of this and to seek someone that isn't trying to suck the air out of their lungs.

      Best of luck to them,
      -Mike
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      Founder & Web Strategist at Grae Web Strategies

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