As a business owner looking for top quality SEO services , I am fascinated by what answers may come forward. SEO's have to sell their services , but overselling , or playing games of " marketing spin " that create failure in the eyes of a client are clearly unacceptable or indeed potentially downright deceptive and therefore indefensible.
Every healthy business relationship starts with a declaration of truth about what the service provider represents to do , what they are capable of and what the customer can reasonably expect from that declaration. Some qualification must follow bearing in mind not everybody is equal in their resource and delivery capability.
So , on a positive light , can i turn this question around a little to give some professional SEO folks some food for thought and btw , I'm no SEO contracts lawyer. But here goes with a few basic that stick out in my mind :
First , let's not start with caveats. They are important , qualifying secondaries. But , let's look at what commitments can be built on to form an SEO contract or expectation ....
1. The contracted task [ SEO ] is to provide services that create traffic from search engine listings [ SERP's ].
Performance measurements / KPI's sit as an agreed set of goals that are reasonable and achievable. Performance [ income , traffic , conversions , yield , time scale , cost [ fixed or estimates ] need to match reasonable expectations.
A due dilligence phase should be used as a means to communicate this between the client and yourself , the service provider. This will really uncover what you both know about the task at hand. I recommend all formal agreements should flow from a process of due dilligence. This in itself would be a formative stage and some beta phase activity may strengthen the agreed estimates for performance.
2. Methods : An outline of the various methods and processes to be used.
3. In my view all SEO services must include a list of " can do's " and a list of " can't do's " . Simply ask the site owner what they want and respond with what you can and can't do. These are your disclaimers and caveats.
Clearly , any SEO does not not fully understand the whims of the SE's plans , nor the competitive elements they are up against.
Any professional will always be respected for statements of limitation. Provided it makes sense.
Equally an SEO must provide some specific scope to the level of their commitment , otherwise they don't deserve to be engaged. Spin should be ignored.