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SEO Copywriting Services Help: How to Handle SEO Writing Jobs for Clients Who May Be Competitors

Updated on February 16, 2010

SEO Help, Tips & Advice for Content Writers

Recently, I received a long email from an SEO copywriter expressing a few concerns and how to handle them. One of these was how to handle writing for clients who may be competitors. She wrote in part:

I just finished corresponding by e-mail with a potential SEO/SEM client who seemed “surprised” that I wrote for a certain SEO company (I’d submitted samples upon request) and they even went so far as to say “So ——- hired you to write these for them . . .

While it sounded like “hateration” on the potential client’s part to me, after confirming that I am a freelancer for that company, I was left feeling like the potential client was taking a dig at my current client (or myself) for using me as a freelancer, but more importantly that I’d inadvertently done something wrong by revealing this info.

Following is part of my response to her.

For most SEO copywriters, this situation will never come up, so it’s not something you need to stress about. But if it ever does present itself, following is some advice for how to go about it.

When you think about it, as a general rule, if you write for more than one search engine optimization (SEO) company or search engine marketing (SEM) firm, then you’re writing for competitors. So what do you do if a client asks you about it directly?

SEO Copywriters: Should You Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement?

It’s quite simple actually . . . just offer to sign a nondisclosure agreement (an NDA). For those who don’t know what this is, following is how Wikipedia defines it:

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement, confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA), or secrecy agreement, is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to by third parties. It is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement.

Since I started writing SEO content in 2007, I’ve had exactly two companies ask me to sign one. One of them never even used my services.

Most clients assume that you will keep their information to yourself; and you should. I tell clients who seem concerned about this that it is my company policy and that I have no problem signing an NDA.

SEO Copywriters: Among Competitors, Who Should You be Loyal To?

Note: As an SEO copywriter, you are never under no obligation to tell prospective clients who your current clients are. That is, unless it’s covered in your NDA. And even then, you don’t have to name specific companies.

For example, your NDA might say that you can’t work for a prospect’s main competitor in such and such industry. It may even name specific companies. In these cases, of course it’s okay to reveal company names. If you don’t want to however, you can simply decline to work with the new client in question.

Remember, as a professional SEO company, your loyalty should always be to existing clients – not potential clients.

Personally, I have never divulged the names of companies I work with. How do I get around not giving specific company names?

I simply tell prospective clients who want to hire my SEO writing company the types of firms I contract with, eg, internet marketing firms, real estate companies, computer services firms, etc. I also relay the types of SEO content my firm provides, copy for websites, for article marketing campaigns, for niche-specific blogs, etc. This is more than enough info to get them to make a decision about you.

If a firm presses you to divulge names, that should be a red flag. Professional companies know this is a no no. They wouldn’t want someone to do it to them, so they don’t do it to others.

Again, you will probably never have to worry about this as an SEO writer, but if you do, at least you have an idea of how to handle it.

Learn much more on how to handle sticky situations you may come across in your SEO copywriting services business.


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      Teresa 6 years ago

      I am glad I read this, I am having my SEO sign an NDA