How To Write an SEO Proposal: The Ultimate Guide

If you are an SEO service provider, your focus should be to acquire clients at the right speed whenever you respond to a request for proposals (RFPs). However, when multiple companies are responding to an RFP, you need to show potential clients something more than just the basics. Fortunately, there’s a tried and tested way to convince clients to work with you by sending an SEO proposal.

In this article, you can find out everything that you need to know about writing an effective SEO proposal. Here we take you through the ins and outs of SEO proposal writing that will bring more RFPs and clients to you.

We will start with defining an SEO proposal and what clients expect from it. After that, we will discuss eight things that must be present in your proposal. You can refer to the table of contents below to skip to a particular point.

Table of Contents

  1. What is an SEO Proposal?
  2. Client’s Expectation From an SEO Proposal
  3. 8 Things That You Must Include in Your SEO Proposal

What is an SEO Proposal?

A sales pitch that you present in front of clients to impress them about services and convince them to partner with you is called an SEO proposal. In your SEO proposal, you can define how your strategies are different from your competitors. You can also mention how you aim to help your prospective clients drive search engine results, gain consistent online traffic, and improve the conversion rate.

Client’s Expectation From An SEO Proposal

It is quite challenging to create an online proposal that can win over the hearts and minds of your targeted clients. And it is even tougher when they perform independent research and get tons of competitive proposals every time they issue an RFP.

You need to ensure that the SEO proposal you are sending meets the expectations of the client. But how do you do this?

One of the simplest and most effective ways to offer the best possible SEO proposal is by focusing entirely on the client. You have to be aware of these things before you do this:

  • The purpose and aim of the business
  • Areas of specialty that suit the project 
  • Project budget and timeline
  • The target audience of the client

When you focus on the things that matter to your prospective clients, they will find the proposal relevant and might even prioritize it over others. The speed, accuracy, and efficiency of your responses will also help you.

8 Things That You Must Include in Your SEO Proposal

Now that we know what clients expect from your SEO proposal, let’s look at eight of the most important things that you must include in your proposal.

1. Proposal Cover Page

First impressions cannot be created again. Once you have formed an image of yourself in someone’s mind, you need to do miraculously well to change it. And the only chance you have to do this is with the cover page of your proposal. If your proposal is five pages or longer, be sure to create a cover page for it.

The design of the cover page should be clean, and the page should be easy to read. If you want to, you can add a relevant cover photo. However, avoid using too many heavy graphic design elements as the viewer judges your design in around 50 milliseconds. This study was done for websites mainly but held true for almost all sorts of designs. Basically, a good SEO proposal cover includes:

  • Name of applying organization with their logo at the top
  • Title of the project
  • Day and Date
  • Basic contact details (name, address, country, phone, business email, website)
  • Name of the client you’re applying to

Side Note: Remember that you are not there to show off the design. You are there for your SEO expertise. Make your proposal simple but well-designed. It does not have to be glamorous.

2. Introduction and Summary

Once your cover is sorted, start off with an introduction to your company. If we look at it, a proposal is just a detailed sales pitch. In the introduction part, present yourself to be credible as you sell your SEO services. As we move further into the proposal, we will include the exact deliverables and pricing.

A great introduction should:

  • Show what separates you from your competitors
  • Show the experience you have as an agency
  • Introduce the team that is working on the project

Stay humble in your introduction section. You do not have to show off. Try not to take more than a couple of slides for this part. The client will lose interest if there’s too much information about you. Ultimately, they just want to know how you can solve their problem.

3. SWOT Analysis

In SWOT (strength-weakness-opportunity-threat) analysis, you will deeply analyze everything that’s working in their current business plans. You need to find problems, hidden issues, areas where you can expand their keyword focus (where their competitors do not have a robust hold), and areas that need more time and effort (where their competitors are ahead of them).

Image Source

Let’s consider an example of an imaginary company called ProTool Shop. Now, the ProTool Shop has been serving in the local market for more than a decade, but last year they decided to scale their business digitally.

ProTool Shop, however, does not appear for relevant searches done with local intent. They are publishing good quality content that’s nowhere near the top of the first page. What’s even worse for them is that their competitor’s content, which lacks quality, is ranking on top.

Moreover, ProTool shop’s site is not completely optimized. Other than the home page and major service pages, most of the pages have some issues. The reporting software reports the presence of duplicate content on the site.

ProTool Shop consistently works on ranking their sites for the most relevant keywords they have identified, but they are still placed at the bottom of page two. Their top three competitors have occupied the top five positions, and the remaining space is filled by sites like Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay, etc.

Some other sites have occupied the featured snippets and “people also ask” section. Despite being in the industry for such a long time, far newer businesses are capturing the top positions.

Strength Weakness
  • Industry expertise.
  • Expert content.
  • Poor rankings for primary commercial keywords.
  • The site is not well-optimized.
  • Some duplicate content.
  • Not showing up for local queries
Opportunity Threats
  • Rank in the top five results.
  • Improve the ranking of existing useful and informational content.
  • Target featured snippets and “people also ask” results.
  • The gap between the major competitors is growing.
  • Competitors have gained far more authority.
  • Newer competitors are gaining top positions.

You should quantify these insights and present numbers in the proposal. Let’s discuss it more in the next section.

4. Give Them Numbers

This section of your proposal requires maximum personalization. It will consume most of the time you spend drafting the proposal. This section should show all the SEO insights you have gathered about a prospective client’s website. This makes you look like a reliable, credible, and trustable agency for taking the time to monitor the performance and draft a suitable SEO strategy for the target audience of the client. 

You can gather data about a client’s current SEO positioning via SEO management tools like SE Ranking and receive valuable insights about keywords rankings history, identify website areas that need improvement with a website SEO audit, and reveal rival’s backlink strategies with competitor research. It is essential to include all this data in your SEO proposal in the report form. 

Below is an example of an SEO report generated by the SE Ranking SEO tool that includes ranking charts, competitor overview, website audit report, and marketing plan. 

To get more details, simply use a keyword rank tracker to get all the major metrics like current ranking, organic search volume, etc. You can include the current keyword data in the proposal and compare it with the set of keywords that you plan to use. You should also consider including the keywords for which the client’s competitors are ranking, but the client is not.

Moreover, running a complete website technical SEO audit is crucial for clients to see opportunities for on-site improvements. There are plenty of website auditing tools out there on the market. By auditing the website, you can find every crucial and minor issue holding your site back from top-ranking spots. It also allows you to compare audit reports to learn what worked and what did not.

Spend more time making a list of essential metrics in the SEO proposal – keyword rank tracking, technical SEO auditing, backlink strategies, on-page SEO check, and competitor analysis. This research will help you build a robust action plan in the SEO proposal. 

5. Solutions and Deliverables

This section is also quite specific. Here, you will mention all the tasks and projects that you will do as part of the SEO campaigns and what the client can expect from them.

If you offer link-building services, you have to specify the number of links you are going to build in a month to boost the ranking on the major search engines. You should lay it all out initially if your website ranking efforts include creating a content strategy for the website. Will you also be responsible for social media SEO? Will you be optimizing the site for the sole purpose of higher ranking, or will you also work to get more email subscribers? 

All the deliverables should be outlined in a precise and quantifiable manner so that the clients can know what to expect from you every month. It also allows them to track your performance.

For example, if you are going to improve the user experience (UX) of their website, there should be clarity on how many web pages you are going to correct. And how can your clients measure the performance of the conversion rate?

This section also includes how you are going to do the SEO reporting, which means if you are going to provide your clients with a real-time tracking dashboard or report the performance on a weekly/monthly basis. The point is each deliverable should be mentioned in this section.

6. Project Timeline

Breaking down the SEO project timeline is one of the most significant things that you should put in your SEO proposal. It helps you set up the client’s expectations in the initial stage by providing a timeline with deliverables.

A standard project timeline says what you will deliver and when. You can go beyond this and set up a separate client’s side timeline, which will outline what you need from your client and when. This also makes you look more professional, and your client will see that you have an in-depth understanding of what you do. Moreover, when the client’s side timeline is in place, they will know what you will need in the future. This allows them to arrange everything beforehand. 

7. Cost and Budget

This is the section where the real deal happens. Here, you should include a comprehensive breakdown of the entire SEO project expense. You have to break it down in a way that the clients can relate to their budget. You must be clear upfront – what processes are included in the quoted price and what is available for additional charges. 

Keep the cost and budget section short and crisp so that it is easy for the clients to understand it. You can consider using a pricing table to make things more structured. Using this table, your prospective clients can self-calculate the price of the services they need. You can assist them in selecting the SEO services they need the most, which allows them to customize the solution you are providing.

8. CTA With T&C

It is essential to ensure that your contract and terms and conditions for operating are always a part of the proposal. And if the client is ready to move forward with you, get all of these things signed together to avoid any future conflict.

Let’s move on to the final part of an SEO proposal– CTA (call to action). As important as this is, most companies do not emphasize it enough. When you end your SEO proposal with a strong call to action, your prospective clients know the next step that they are supposed to take. It should include all your basic contact information so that they can reach out to you easily. 

Ready to Write Your SEO Proposal?

It requires a lot of focus and attention to detail to develop an SEO proposal that suits the needs of your prospective clients. In this article, we included almost everything your blog must have to create a winning SEO proposal. It can be overwhelming to look at everything once, but the sooner you learn, the better the outcome.

To create professional proposals with ease, you can use a proposal management software Prospero. It has a collection of customizable templates so you won’t create everything from scratch. Sign up to Prospero today!

Author Bio: Alina Tytarenko is part of the marketing team at SE Ranking and has worked in the SEO sphere for three years. She shares her experience in marketing techniques, SEO, creating professional SEO proposals with the help of SE Ranking’s advanced Report Builder tool.


She is the Marketing Manager of Prospero. She specializes in content writing, marketing, and SEO.