It’s very common for SEO agencies to promote geographic exclusivity as if it’s in your firm’s best interests. It’s easy to see why: the promise of exclusive access seems very reassuring. It’s designed to make you feel as if you’re protecting your investment.
However, what you’re really protecting is their investment, not yours.
Let me explain why that is:
Geographic exclusivity restricts an SEO agency’s ability to expand. A certain revenue threshold needs to be met to make it worthwhile for an agency to give up all prospects in a geographic area. While we want to say that the United States has unlimited potential, the reality is that there’s a higher demand for SEO expertise in major metropolitan areas. Areas with higher populations and consumer demand, as well as more competition, are valuable territories…and the reality is that the demand in these areas outstrips the supply.
If you’re in a small city, there may only be a few firms; by nature of simply existing, you will automatically receive visibility and be in demand.
So what does this mean? An SEO agency has to either:
- Append a premium to the contract being offered or
- Accept that the likelihood of success is limited.
Internally, we call these “churn and burn” agencies. They throw out exclusivity freely, because the agreement doesn’t hold any water.
If you’re going to pay a premium, do you want to pay for air? Or do you want to pay for productivity?
SEO is a productivity game and, by its very nature, productivity creates a gap. You need links, content, and reviews. Paying for productivity creates a barrier that your competition must overcome, in much the same manner as what you were hoping to create through an exclusivity agreement. The difference is that paying for productivity actually generates assets for your firm; paying for exclusivity is simply paying a premium for a premium’s sake.
In order to have a true geographic exclusivity agreement, it must be accompanied by a long-term agreement. If it’s month-to-month, then there is no true exclusivity: there is an out built into the contract, so the exclusivity isn’t all that “exclusive.”
In this way, a long-term contract accompanying geographic exclusivity puts more risk on the firm, not the SEO agency. You are tied to a long-term agreement, so it doesn’t matter if results are commensurate with promises or investment.
This is why we offer month-to-month contracts. We are accountable for the results that we produce. Simply put, if we don’t generate an ROI, we expect you to fire us…but we aren’t scared of that, because we’ve proven it repeatedly in the most competitive metros in the country.
As a law firm, it’s your job to work with the best partners to help you reach your objectives. If you had been playing in the NBA in the ‘90s, would you sign with the Knicks just because the Bulls already had Jordan? Scottie Pippen has just as many championship rings as Jordan, after all; Patrick Ewing has none.