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SEO employee, do I have rights?

SEO employee rights

12:30 am on Sep 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I was hired a week and a half ago by a web company to do their SEO. They hired me on as part time and on a trial basis at first to make sure I fit the job. I've been giving them suggestions for on-site optimization and they don't always take my advice. Now they want me to bring them a detailed SEO PLAN and strategy, and then that day they will decide to hire me full time or not.

I'm getting the feeling that they are learning all they can from me and then having a programming guy learn SEO on the side so they don't have to hire me, but still use my SEO plan that I would come up with for them. Do I have any rights to my plan? Should I even tell them the plan before they hire me full time or should I demand to be hired first?

Are there any copyrights on SEO strategy? I know that sounds stupid, but I don't want to be taken advantage of and I'm feeling like they COULD do that. Any comments/suggestions are welcome!
3:10 am on Sept 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member httpwebwitch is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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If you haven't already started looking for something else, start lining up interviews now.

IMHO you should be working as a consultant, and charging an appropriately high fee for such. Your intuition is probably right; they want to suck as much knowledge out of you as they can, then leave you unemployed while they implement all your suggestions.

Intellectual property created while under the employ of a company belongs to the company, and that includes a plan for fixing their SEO problems. If you make something for them, it's theirs... and those plans aren't transferable so I can't imagine what you'd gain by holding out on them. There is NO LACK of companies wanting SEO advice.

You might feel that you're being exploited. To protect your self-esteem (and further your career), you should just see this as a contract position, a step on your journey; get what you can from it, offer what they need and - if they decide not to hire you - leave with a smile and warm wishes. Don't hold a grudge, keep in touch with their webmasters and HR staff, and let them spread through word of mouth what an awesome SEO expert you are, such a great and knowledgeable chap who gave them magic advice during your short stay; isn't it too bad they couldn't afford to have you on staff permanently! yadda yadda yadda.

Plant a good seed and it may bear fruit later in your career.

Then next time they want to "hire" you, inform them of your consultancy rates (which should be significantly higher than an employment salary)
3:16 am on Sept 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Now they want me to bring them a detailed SEO PLAN and strategy

That looks like work to me. Since you already have reservations regarding their honesty, I would suggest that you tread carefully.

If you 'need' the project and you have time to spare, I would give them just enough rope to hang themselves: e.g. write an action plan that is just vague enough for someone to completely mess it up. If not, then wish them all the best and move on...
3:52 am on Oct 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Do what they want. You need to 'kiss their ass' since you need a job and they are the one who will provide your salary. But make it so limited, just be wise. :)
7:49 am on Oct 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If you are an employee then they own the strategy that you write. That is pretty standard regarless of what jurisdiction you are in.
If you are a self employed contractor then it depends on the terms of the contract.

I would agree with caribguy on possible next steps.