An SEO (Search Engine Optimization) retainer agreement is a written contract between a client and the consultant they have hired to provide SEO support. A retainer agreement defines each party’s obligations and ensures the arrangement is mutually beneficial.
The contract outlines what types of services will be performed by the consultant and how much the retainer fee will be. The document also includes details such as the length of the agreement, who is responsible for expenses, whether or not there is a contingency fee, and the consultant’s status as an independent contractor.
The consultant is paid a retainer fee at the start of the term to cover a specific amount of work. Because SEO requires ongoing maintenance, having the consultant on retainer can be beneficial for both the client and contractor. The parties will discuss the client’s objectives for their website and decide how best to move forward to improve their ROI (return on investment).
The retainer amount depends on the website’s size and the stage of its development. Projects could take many months to complete, and often the consultant will receive a retainer fee at the beginning of each month or a new group of tasks.
Any company that relies on web traffic to make a profit will benefit from retaining the services of an SEO consultant. SEO demands constant monitoring and upgrading to achieve a high ROI, and this often means paying a consultant for an extended period of time.
Some businesses choose to hire an expert to fix a number of SEO issues while paying them an hourly rate, but the advantage of hiring a consultant on retainer is their ability to provide an extensive review of a website and improve SEO with long-term solutions.
Due to the advancement of search engines and the big changes in internet usage, an SEO consultant is a valuable asset for anyone with an online presence. Generally speaking, larger websites are more complex and require more hours of consulting, resulting in higher retainer fees.
A client will have to decide whether to hire a freelancer or a consultant from a large agency/firm. This factor, in addition to the consultant’s personal experience in the field, will affect the amount of the retainer fees as well. For example, consultants from an agency may cost more because the overhead at a large firm is often significantly higher.
The amount and type of content vary greatly from one website to the next, so the number of hours and types of tasks performed by the consultant may differ. The following list contains SEO activities that are commonly offered and executed by consultants:
- Review existing website and competitor sites.
- Keyword and semantic search topic research and prioritization; identifying keyword cannibalization.
- Create SEO strategy and keyword plan; technical SEO audit and internal link audit.
- Optimization of existing content and meta titles/descriptions.
- Review templates and provide assistance for SEO best practices, coding support for semantic HTML5 elements, adherence to E-A-T, and accessibility issues.
- Use structured data for schema implementation; follow-up testing and management.
- Use Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to review and manage XML sitemaps.
- NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) maintenance.
- Review and manage 301 redirects.
- Semantic SEO: Web content marketing techniques that improve traffic by providing meaningful language and content relevance.
- Semantic HTML5 Elements: Semantic elements are bits of code whose meaning is clearly defined (e.g., <article>, <header>, <footer>, etc.). (HTML5 is an updated version of HTML, which is a language used to create the structure and layout of webpages.)
- Keyword Cannibalization: The existence of multiple keywords that are similar or identical across pages of a website that can impair organic performance.
- E-A-T: This abbreviation stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, which is a guideline used by Google to determine the value and rank of web content.
- XML Sitemap: An XML sitemap is a file that helps search engines interpret the structure of websites by creating a list of important pages.