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How to Write a Kick-ass SEO Proposal - What to Include And Why
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How to Write a Kick-ass SEO Proposal - What to Include And Why

By
Freelance SEO Consultant, Web Designer and Internet Marketer.

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If ever you’ve been in the position of trying to land a sizeable seo project, you’ll know first hand, that the biggest concern is usually having to prepare a decent seo proposal.

Lets face it, the proposal plays a massive part in the decision making process made by your prospect, and the outcome of that decision will be the contributing factor that sees you either close the deal or blowing it completely.

Put simply, whether you land the job or not, might just come down to a few pieces of paper.

This is why it's essential that your proposal not only looks professional, but also covers every aspect of the project in detail, in a comprehensive manner that doesn’t overwhelm the client.

So how is this possible?

I'm sure if you’ve never written a proposal before, you’ll be asking yourself the following questions…

  • What do I include in the proposal?
  • How long should it be?
  • How detailed should it be?
  • Should I include the price?
  • Am I trying to include too much information?
  • What if I just copy something off the net?

seo questions

All of these questions and more will probably leave you feeling more confused and frustrated than before you decided to pitch for the job. It might be all well and good knowing what you’ll do once you secure the job, but conveying that message to the prospect within your proposal is something else.

What you need to be mindful of is that an seo proposal means so much more than just an opportunity to land a project. It's more than just a piece of paper. In a sense it’s a direct reflection of yourself, your level of professionalism and your attention detail. In a sense, its your business – on paper. So you have to make it count.

This is where presentation is also key. The best proposal in the world won't mean much if it's a hand scribbled mess. By presenting a highly professional looking proposal, you give yourself a major advantage over the competition.

So let's now look at some of the key areas of the proposal itself, and how it should be structured. Please note that whilst a comprehensive proposal might cover much more than the points mentioned below, I feel the following sections are definitely enough to get you started.

Clear heading or coverpage

This might seem obvious, but Ive seen some pretty bad proposals in my time. Some of the worst didn’t even have a cover page or heading. Be sure to include this and make it prominent.

The introduction – purpose of document

I feel its always best to lead the proposal itself with an introduction, that clearly explains the purpose of the document and what it covers. Its pointless handing your proposal to a prospective client, and having them wonder what its for. By having an introduction, your client knows exactly what the document is, and its purpose.

An overview of the project

The project overview provides a brief explanation of why the project has been initiated, and the intended outcomes. I usually keep this section of the proposal relatively brief, and cover the actual project objectives in the next section.

Project objectives and recommendations

This is where I typically break the project down into actual recommendations, and then of course intended strategies required in order to achieve those objectives. This usually means providing the objectives and recommendations in bullet point format. By doing this, it keeps it simple, straight forward and easy for the prospect to digest but also understand.

You should be mindful here that you’re not speaking to an seo expert, so avoid filling your proposal with too much technical jargon. Infact, I highly advise you not to get too technical at all within your proposal. Prospects in most cases are usually much more interested in the result, not the process required in order to achieve it.

So keep it short, to the point and avoid showing off with fancy acronyms and technical jibberish.

Project benefits

I think its always worthwhile outlining the potential benefits of the project and what that means for the prospect. Rather than just promoting your own business skills and experience – tell the customer what’s in it for them. Your prospect will be much more interested in doing business with you, if you explain to them the potential benefits and how those benefits can help towards improving their business as opposed to simply telling them – “We can get you to first spot”. Which really doesn’t mean anything.

The process

Most often than not, the prospect will want to know what they’re paying for. This is where you need to inform them of what’s being done, and more importantly so – why. Remember not to go down geek street here. They probably won’t know anything about rss feeds, backlinking and article marketing, and more importantly, they don’t need to – that’s why they hired you.

So tell them what’s being done, where their money’s going – but don’t talk in acronyms and seo terms. Talking in technical terms might be misinterpreted by your prospect or confuse them, so try your best to avoid it. Talk to them in terms they might understand.

Of course, there will be some technical elements that may need to be covered within the proposal, but always follow up with them to help answer any questions they may have to clarify.

Desired Results

Theres little point telling your prospect that you can rank them to first place, and that once there, they’ll be capturing an endless flood of leads, enquiries and conversions. Always keep the expectations of your efforts realistic and grounded. Avoid anything that might be considered deceptive or misleading. Be honest and truthful with your prospect and be sure to include acheivable goals.

I usually break this section down into clear sections so that the prospect has a clear understanding of what to expect.

Project phase

One of the most frequent questions I get from prospects is, “How long will this take?” It’s important to address project duration within this section of your proposal and clearly outline each phase of the project.

Right through from the onsite stuff, through to the offsite optimisation, this part of your proposal should not only mention what’s being done, but also timelines and measurable milestones expected to be achieved within that period of time.

This is also a great way to prevent ongoing emails and phone calls from your prospect asking “Whats going on, where are things at this week?” By including this in your proposal, they’ll already know.

Client commitment

I usually always include this within my proposal, but also expand on it further within my seo contract. This is such an important part of any project that I feel it’s worth mentioning within both documents – and that is, client commitment.

Clients need to understand that the project will be a joint effort, and unless they fulfill their part of the deal, that the project may be affected in a negative way.

Put simply, this area of the proposal should highlight the clients obligations briefly whilst also highlighting the fact that additional details of this particular section are covered in more detail within the seo contract..

Considerations

This section of the proposal can outline any general areas of the project or considerations that should be taken into account, should the prospect decide to accept the proposal.

I usually cover basic expectations such as stable hosting environment of the prospects website, change requests, project scope and again, touch on client obligations.

The Price

cash register
Without a doubt, the most important part of the proposal, especially from the prospects perspective. Over the years i’ve seen many prospects simply flick straight through to this section of the proposal without reading anything else, so be sure to break it down into detailed sections. It's pointless just having a total price, with no mention of where the individual expenses lie.

I know this might be a little over the top for some, but for myself personally, I like to list individual descriptions of the work, such as keyword research, website audits, onpage optimisation and more. And of course I cover general deliverables such as reference materials and training assistance if required.

By doing this, it will look much more attractive to your prospect, rather than just simply listing a “price”. It’s easy to give a total, but it will mean so much more to your prospect if you give a total, that lists deliverables as well.

Conclusion

Once I’ve listed the price, I typically include my brief noguarantee disclaimer, then finish up with the conclusion. This is a great opportunity to firstly thank the prospect for considering your proposal and cover everything in summary.

I find it’s always good to mention that the proposal is only valid for 28 days and should the prospect wish to proceed, then they can do so, by following the instructions as listed (call or email details provided typically at the very end).

This way, you’re finishing up with a clear call to action which will hopefully have the prospect accepting your offer and you beginning the project.

Of course, if you'd like to save yourself a lot of time and messing around, my SEO Business Startup Kit includes a ready made seo proposal template, that you can have done in just minutes. It's just a matter of filling in the blanks with your business and client details.
 

Video demonstration of my seo proposal template in action
 


 

Author
Gary Ruplinger
Freelance SEO Consultant, Web Designer and Internet Marketer.

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