If you’ve just started your SEO business, one of the challenges you’ve faced or will be facing in the near future is how to write an SEO proposal. I’ve written down my ideas on what a good SEO proposal should contain.
First of all, by the time I make a proposal, I make sure I’ve communicated with prospective clients over the phone or by email to get a feel of what their expectations are. In that way, I’m able to create a proposal customized to their specific situation.
I begin my proposal with an introduction. Although we’ve had prior communication, I take the time to remind them about myself, my company’s mission and philosophy with regards to SEO. I explain that I use only techniques that conform to search engines’ guidelines and steer away from controversial or dubious tactics. Then I go on to explain why I see SEO as being beneficial to their business objectives. Because I’ve done some research into their business, I try to be as specific as possible in citing these objectives.
After the introduction comes the main body of the proposal.
The first component is a site analysis, in which I report to them the status of their website, citing search engine rankings, an assessment of search engine friendliness, technical issues that can be improved, etc. For example, there might be something that’s blocking search engines from indexing the website. I point this out.
After an analysis of their site, I present an analysis of the competition. I can do this because I’ve done research on their competitors and their market sector. This shows them that I understand their objectives and industry.
I then explain the processes, technology and tools I use and describe how I can employ these to optimize their website. For example, I say something like “I can check for whatever may be preventing search engines from completely crawling your site and create content that is easily accessible to the spiders.” I try to use layman’s terms, avoiding as much technical jargon as I can, although this is not completely doable as SEO is, after all, a technical field.
For further demonstration, I present a keyword analysis of terms that they’ve said they want to rank for. I even throw in some terms that we haven’t discussed but may produce good results for them. It’s good to show clients that you’re willing to go an extra mile or two to get the job done.
Basically, what I’m doing here is letting them know what the site needs and what I can do for them. This is one of the trickiest parts of writing an SEO proposal. As many SEOs have learned, there are many prospective “clients” who are just shopping around for free recommendations that they can take and implement themselves or get someone else to implement for them. My aim is to inform my prospects what they can expect from me without revealing too many specifics. So how do I tell my clients what I’m going to do WITHOUT telling them what I’m going to do? Granted, it takes practice to develop this skill, but it can be mastered. Meanwhile how do I convince potential clients that I know my business, if they’re not so far convinced?
Two ways. Case studies and references.
I normally get a positive response when I provide potential clients with examples of before and after scenarios where I helped a client improve his traffic, which converted to more sales, which put him on top of his competition. Then I provide references so that they can verify for themselves. I encourage them to. I, of course, have gotten prior permission from the clients I’m using as reference to do this.
Then I give my rates and terms. I state what a client can expect to get for a certain amount. If there are services that haven’t been discussed but that I can also perform or may need to perform for them, I list these too. I present them with options but try to keep it simple. I also let them know that monthly maintenance work for a retainer fee is available.
And that’s about it, except to lead them to the last step, which I clearly state at the end: “Contact me to discuss this proposal.”