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Sneha J

February 20, 2020

How to Write The Winning SEO Proposal – Ultimate Guide

There are already a lot of digital marketing agencies that almost offer the same SEO services as you. In such a scenario, having to absolutely amaze someone can really put a lot of pressure on any company. Only an SEO proposal that is relevant, comprehensive and impressive will have a higher chance of converting, getting your prospect’s approval and landing a deal.

And now if you are wondering how to create such proposal, then congratulations! You just found an amazing resource packed with must-have sections in your SEO proposal, common potential SEO solutions, key factors for styling your SEO proposal and a free SEO proposal template that converts like a charm.  

Not enough time to read the article and watch a video guide instead? We have created one for you.

So just sit back, pour yourself a coffee and let’s start!

SEO Proposal Guide: Basics to Best Practices & Mistakes to Avoid

What is an SEO Proposal? How to Write The SEO Proposal That Converts?

In simple words, think of your SEO proposal as a job interview on paper. You need to explain why you are the best person (or an agency) for this job and actually sell yourself or a business. 

It’s a key document for presenting your client’s obstacles and then giving a pitch on how your SEO services can improve their website’s traffic and help them build the brand.

Never over dramatize things in your proposal and commit on getting “x time” traffic or make promises about “Number 1” ranking. Instead make use of some examples to help your clients understand how things can get better in the future. 

SEO is definitely a looooooong-term commitment and your SEO proposal should be able to reassure your clients that you’ll be around to get them what they want.

To start with here’s how SEO proposal looks like from both the parties (mondovo),

 

Don’t Fall For These Traps While Writing An SEO Proposal

 

Offering a guarantee

No SEO firm/company can offer an honest guarantee of ranking on the 1st page. The guaranteed result behind the ranking is not in the hands of any agencies. A good SEO proposal will always have a detailed plan talking about how you’ll work to help your client increase their ranking and the timeline to help them understand how work is progressing.

Promise to bring in specific number of new website users

Good SEO proposals will increase website visits but there is no way of giving accurate forecasting for traffic growth. A good SEO proposal will promise to focus on increasing visitors eventually instead of promising a fast growth in users.

Measuring success by rankings

This may seem illogical since the whole aim of SEO is to boost the ranking. A successful SEO campaign must include several KPI’s (key performance indicators) such as ratings, traffic, time-on-site, conversions, ROI, and many other factors.

Offering only link development

An SEO proposal that offers only link development is a big sign of a bad proposal. Although links are an essential part of improving ranking, but they will not provide consistent and permanent ranking improvements without the help of an SEO friendly content strategy. 

 

An Overview Of Your SEO Proposal

An overview section is the first thing your prospect will go through before they read your proposal. That’s why you need to make sure that you set your expectations from the start. 

Here are a few tips when writing the Overview section:

Be brief

Don’t scare off your clients at the start with too many facts, you’ll get plenty of chances in your proposal further to clarify your SEO services. The key to your overview is to make every word count. Trim down all the fat and you’ll have a stronger and more convincing overview of your proposal.

Be clear

In some cases you’re sending proposals to such clients who might not have heard of SEO; that’s to ensure that your writing is effective and keep your recipient engaged  be sure to avoid jargon and replace it with easy-to-understand terms and phrases.

Substitute every word

While writing the overview of your SEO proposal it’s good to write to an audience with a 9th-grade reading level. To do this, skim through your writing and hunt for words that could be harder to understand without a dictionary. Then replace such words with those that the average person would understand. 

 

Start Off On The Right Foot

When you know about your client’s expectations you’ll be able to create a much more accurate and detailed proposal. That’s why before even you start creating a proposal, set up a meet with your client on the phone or in person. Many people lose it already at this stage. They fail to understand why client actually needs an SEO to their business. It’s only when you understood the problem very well can make everything else fall into place.

The ultimate goal here to figure out what they want so that you can give them what they need. Click To Tweet

Dig deep into their core and then just like in medicine you can prescribe the treatment as soon as you know the diagnosis.

do your own research

Use the following questions to get to know your clients:

  1. What does client’s business do?
  2. Who are their decision-makers?
  3. Which industry do they belong to?
  4. What’s their ultimate goal to accomplish?
  5. What is a proposed timeline?
  6. What would be their available budget?

Let’s check one by one!

What does client’s business do?

First of all, you need to know what your prospective client does. Do your own research regarding what services or products they are providing. Don’t just discover about the offerings, dig deep to find out more about how their offerings solve problems for their customers.

Who are their decision-makers?

Identify the decision-makers and the decision-making process before you set up a meet. Once you’ve identified the decision-makers, you can then decide your approach for engaging them.

Which industry do they belong to and who are their competitors?

Knowing your prospect’s industry and the competitors will help you with your research. This information will give insights about what your prospect’s competitors are doing and then with the same data you can tell what your client will need to do in order to compete with others in the industry.

What’s their ultimate goal to accomplish?

Discuss your client’s goals with them in the meeting. If they can’t define the clear project goal, guide them. Give them examples of how your SEO services can help them achieve their ultimate goal.

Here are a few examples of goals you could help them achieve:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Improving brand perception
  • Lead generation
  • Building relationships and engagement
  • Building brand loyalty
  • Increasing sales and revenue

What is a proposed timeline?

Another area that you need to know about is their timescales. Find out the number of weeks or months or years within which the prospect would like to see the final results. This will help you create an outline and a plan to help the client see that you are the right match for them.

What would be their available budget?

Another big question to answer before you start creating your client’s proposal is pricing. During the meeting process, find out at least a rough range of the budget your client has for an SEO project. If the client can’t match your pricing requirement, you don’t want to waste your time on a proposal.

If the prospect isn’t even close to what you hoping to get paid, then don’t go ahead with the client proposal.

Why Should Your Prospect Invest In SEO?

After gathering all the comprehensive details about your prospect, now it’s time to tell them why they should invest in SEO. You can do this by presenting a few reasons to prove that incorporating SEO to their business is a decision they’ll hardly regret.

Here are a few reasons to include in your SEO proposal. These reasons will surely make your prospect believe that SEO to their business is not just a nice addition- but it’s a necessity.

Reasons why your prospect should invest in SEO,

  1. Increased Sales
  2. Improved Traffic
  3. Greater Visibilty
  4. Rise in Leads 
  5. Cost-effective

Increased Sales

You can include some statistics on online shopping to help them understand that the search engines certainly affect consumer’s buying decisions. 

For example, “96% of the American’s shop online and admit that search engines undoubtedly influence them”.

Improved Traffic

Every marketer’s wish is to have “more customers” to their business. More traffic means more customers and organic search is most often the primary source of website traffic. That’s why include the statistics about traffic that drives from organic search to prove the worth.

Greater Visibility

A well thought out and carefully implemented SEO campaign can bring many benefits to a company. And when used effectively it helps boost brand visibility. For example, “content marketing. Stats says that 70% of the visibility increases due to content marketing.

More Inbound Leads

Do you know 57% of the B2B marketers confirmed that SEO has a great impact on lead generation? Tell them that they shouldn’t let go of this opportunity.

Cost-effective

It’s important to remind your prospect that SEO is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies because it always targets the user who is actively looking for your products or services. Gather the data to prove that there are already thousands of people out there searching for their brand and your prospect just needs a right SEO agency like you to help those people find your client’s brand.

 

9 Sections You Must Include In An SEO Proposal That Converts

important sections in an SEO proposal
  1. Proposal Cover Page
  2. Introductory Pitch
  3. Show’em The Target Keyword Ranking
  4. Provide a backlink analysis
  5. SWOT analysis
  6. Show’em why you are the right person
  7. Timeline
  8. Cost and Budget
  9. Terms And Conditions

Download Professionally Designed SEO Proposal Template

Proposal Cover Page

You only get one chance to make a first impression and the cover page of your proposal is your only chance. One should always include a cover page for the proposals that are five pages or longer. 

A cover page should look neat and should be easy to read. You can include the pictures as well but ensure not to include too many pictures or heavy graphic design. A good SEO cover page should typically include,

  • Name of applying organization and logo
  • Project title
  • Date
  • Contact Information (personal contact name, address, country, phone, email, website)
  • Name of the client you are applying to

Pro Tip: The cover page of your SEO proposal doesn’t have to be glamorous, simple is always better than better, but it needs to be well-designed.

Introductory pitch 

Fact: The proposal is won and lost in the introduction.

The introduction in your proposal sets the tone for the rest. The best practice of writing an impressive pitch is using your prospective client’s words to them. This means simply describe the problem they are facing. By doing so will quickly paint a picture for them of a familiar scenario and they will be able to connect with you.

Write value your potential clients will obtain through your services. An offer a summary of the work stated in the proposal.

The goal of this section is to create enough curiosity to make the reader want to read your full business proposal.

Just remember one thing do not talk about yourself because the introduction isn’t the right place for that.

Related Article: A Critical Review of SEO Proposal Cover Letter

Show’em the target keyword ranking

You could use a Google keyword planner to pull up a list of keywords that prospect is ranking for. And then present the report of few keywords along with the search traffic they bring in, list of the other websites ranking for the similar keywords, whether or not prospect should rank for those keywords.

I know this may take some effort but it’ll all be worth it especially if this becomes a long term client.

Provide a backlink analysis

Now by this point, your prospect will surely know that you understand their situation. This means you can dive a little deeper to get them fully involved with your process.

How? By providing a backlink analysis.

This is the best way to prove your worth and show them that you are capable of getting into detailed strategies where other agencies may not be able to or willing to do so.

Your backlink report should include,

  • Individual backlink details so that actions can be taken on any spam backlinks.
  • Follow vs no-follow backlink details
  • Details of the placed anchor texts.

SWOT analysis

In Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat analysis, you will identify everything working in their current plan, the problems, and issues as you see them, areas to expand their keyword focus (where their competitors are falling short, ) and the areas to invest more time and effort (where their competitors are beating them).

Show’em why you are the right person

You know you have skills and abilities. Now is the time to show off.

Here’s your chance to make a genuine relation. You can fill out this section with the expertise you have, the awards you won, the big list of your happy clients.

This is where great storytelling really comes into play. Make your clients visualize themselves working with you by telling the past clients success stories with similar issues.

Do your best to make them feel secure if they decide to hire you.

Timeline

Break down all the key steps and the timeline for your client. Providing an accurate timeline with deliverables allows you to set the client’s expectations early.

To go beyond the standard timeline, you can also include a separate client-side dependency timeline that outlines what you’ll need from the client’s side and when. This will show the client that you have a very in-depth understanding of your work. And plus outlining the client’s deliverables will also make them aware of what you will need from them and can make them put things in place from the beginning.

Cost and Budget

Now is the time to include the detailed breakdown of the SEO project expense and how this relates to the client’s budget. Make it clear that what is included in the quoted price, what services are chargeable extras if requested.

Keep things short and to the point and use a pricing table with a range of options that let your prospect or customer edit the quantities, select the SEO services that best fit their needs, and allowing them to customize your solution.

Terms And Conditions

Always keep the contract and your terms and conditions part of your proposal and get them signed together to avoid future conflict.

9 Potential SEO Solutions

potential SEO solutions
  1. Full website audit
  2. Keyword Research
  3. Content quality review and content building exercise
  4. Link Outreach
  5. Accessibility
  6. Indexability
  7. On-page analysis
  8. Off-page analysis
  9. Competitive analysis

Now is the time to give the potential solution to your client. The following are the most common SEO solutions you must include in your proposal.

Full website audit

The very first thing you need to include in your SEO proposal is a full audit of your client’s website. Your website audit should include every aspect of SEO like,

  • Their current search ranking
  • On-page SEO
  • Technical SEO
  • Google penalties
  • Social media audit
  • Backlink analysis
  • Content analysis

Through the website audit, show them what’s working and where you can help them improve their performance. Support your claims and opinions with proof and stats provided by your audit.

Keyword Research

Explain your process for keyword research analysis and tools you use for keyword research. This will help your client find the best opportunity to connect with their target audience.

Watch the below video to know more about free keyword research tools,

Content quality review and content building exercise

This review is again divided into two parts:

On-site: A review of all the on-site content including blogs, product pages, infographics, landing pages.

Off-site: An analysis of how and where the content is used on other sites and how it is being linked back to the client’s website.

If needed you can outline the approach that you will suggest to revamp the client’s web content to make it more SEO friendly.

Link Outreach

Outreach and link building are some of the most crucial aspects of search engine optimization. It brings greater traffic to a website and improves search ranking.

Explain how’ll help your client generate external quality links to their website.

Accessibility

This will involve the audit of the accessibility to each page of your client’s website. You could do this manually by reviewing,

  • robots.txt
  • robots meta tags
  • XML sitemaps
  • Redirects

Indexability

After accessibility, you can now tell them about the test you will run to check if those pages are presented in the search engine or not through the process of indexing. Briefly explain the process of indexability.

On-page analysis

You can explain the items you’ll look into for on-page analysis such as

  • Content: Review of the effectiveness of all the on-site content
  • Keyword cannibalisation: Briefly you can explain what is keyword cannibalisation and how will you review it.
  • Duplicate content: You can explain about an in-depth analysis of all the on-site content to find out the duplicate content.

Off-page analysis

After all the technical and on-page analysis, you can describe off-page analysis. You can explain how off-page analysis will help you determine

  • how popular your client’s website is
  • whether people are linking to it
  • how’s the social buzz

Competitive analysis

You can describe the steps here that you will carry out to find the client’s competition and their strategies.

5 Essential Factors For Styling 

essential factors for a design
  1. Layouts
  2. Font
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Visuals
  5. Brand Logo

You may have the best SEO services proposal but if you fail to present it well you won’t be able to catch the client’s attention. Always keep one thing in mind that you have to make your proposal dynamic and memorable.

A well-designed SEO proposal will not only sell your business but also help you win more deals.

 

Layouts

  • If the layouts are not mandated then you get complete freedom to design a proposal to stand out from the crowd.
  • The layout of your proposal should represent a relationship between various ideas. Headings can reflect a hierarchical relationship between your ideas – like from major ideas to minor ones.

Font

  • 10-12 point fonts are most commonly used.
  • Make sure your proposal does not have those funky or non-standard fonts. What if your client won’t be able to read the proposal because he doesn’t have that font?

Table of Contents

  • It is often neglected but it’s still an important part of the design.
  • All proposal templates must have a table of content to help readers where to find key information.

Visuals

  • As per the saying ” show, don’t tell”. To enhance your text incorporate visuals like charts, graphs, infographics, screenshots, photos.
  • Video testimonial from a satisfied customer in a proposal can turn the tables for you.

Brand Logo

  • A logo is the best representation of any product or company.
  • It’s not just an image. It establishes identity, awareness. That’s why you must include a logo in your proposal design.

Tips For Closing Your SEO Proposal

  • Address potential objections
  • Summarize of key points
  • Make the call-to-action clear and concise
  • Make it easy for a recipient to communicate

An SEO proposal without a close is definitely a missed opportunity. Closing a proposal means summing up all the main points, resolving challenges, and finishing with a flourish. Just like closing a sales proposal, your SEO proposal should also include calling for a specific response or an action.

Address potential objections

Effectively closing a winning SEO proposal involves addressing and rejecting all reasonable challenges. The closing of the proposal should be about quickly outlining the approaches to the main areas of concern. 

Summarization of key points

This should focus on why the action is needed and highlight the benefits of your SEO services to your client’s company. Indeed, these issues were likely covered in your proposal but the closing should include the bullet points or visual examples of your key benefits.

Make the call-to-action clear and concise

The purpose of your SEO proposal is to get your reader to take the next action. Your prospect won’t be able to take action if you don’t give them a clear and concise call to action. A good call-to-action might be suggesting a day or time for lunch, setting up a meeting at your or their office, or arranging a meeting to finalize the contract.

Make it easy for a recipient to communicate

Whichever type of communication you choose, make sure you list all in the close out: email, phone, address, are usual. In certain cases, website addresses and social media accounts will also work. 

Don’t expect to submit your proposal and assume your work is done. Take the initiative to indicate you’ll be in touch to discuss the proposal further 

SEO Proposal Template

Now you have a firm understanding of what it takes to create a winning SEO proposal, now it’s time to actually start to put one together.

Creating your first SEO proposal can be overwhelming. And I understand how challenging it is for any digital marketing agency or a freelancer to manage SEO proposals. Therefore we’ve prepared a detailed template that breaks down and explains all the sections above in a simple and effective format that you can re-use and customize to fit your own needs.

And it’s absolutely free…
Get your free SEO proposal template now.

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