A guide to writing a winning SEO proposal

This guest post, exploring how to write an SEO proposal was written by Lidia Hovhan of OmnicoreAgency, a leading digital marketing and SEO agency specializing in Healthcare.

If you respond to digital marketing requests for proposals (RFPs), acquiring the right clients at the right pace is your lifeline. However, when there are dozens of agencies guaranteed to respond to a single RFP, it takes more than the basics to emerge as a winner. Luckily, there’s a tried-and-true method for proving that you can deliver the most value to a potential customer ⁠— by sending out a high-quality SEO proposal.

So, if you want to master the art of writing successful SEO proposals for your agency, start here. This guide shows you how — taking you through the ins and outs of developing tailored SEO proposals that help win more RFPs.

To begin, I’ll discuss the definition of an SEO proposal as well as what exactly clients are looking for when they issue an SEO RFP. Next, you’ll read a how-to guide for delivering the right message for your potential client. Finally, I’ll offer common mistakes to look out for as well as a quick tip for faster, more effective SEO proposals.

What is an SEO proposal?

An SEO proposal can be simply defined as a written, detailed pitch that you send to a targeted client intending to win an SEO contract. Often, SEO proposals are provided in response to a request for proposal (RFP) issued by a potential client.

What do clients look for in an SEO proposal?

Creating an SEO proposal that will quickly win over the hearts of targeted clients is no easy feat. It has become tougher as most of your potential clients perform independent research and are accustomed to receiving numerous, competitive proposals for every RFP they issue.

So, how do you ensure your SEO proposal meets the RFP response expectations?

The simplest way to offer the best RFP response is to wholly focus your SEO proposal on the client. To do this, you need to be aware of the following details:

  • Goals and objectives of the client’s business
  • Areas of specialty that suit the project
  • Timeline for the project
  • Project budget
  • The client’s target audience

This is why it is critical to know the RFP proposal process, as it is a foolproof method for focusing on what matters. Most importantly, it will improve the speed, efficiency and accuracy of your responses.

How to write a winning SEO proposal

Now that you are aware of what clients want in response to an issued RFP, here is the best way to craft a high-quality SEO proposal.

1. Present the business goals you want to achieve with SEO

The secret to a good proposal is making the best impression with your opening lines. Having the best introductory pitch hinges on making business goals clear — starting with how you can help the client make SEO gains. Your approach should not be an empty promise but a unique selling proposition. Be sure to back up your statements with case studies and evaluations of similar past projects you have worked on.

A simple strategy is to use the client’s own words. This does not mean you copy and paste the demands of the clients in your proposal. Instead, echo their concerns and needs in your RFP response with a positive spin.

When presenting the business goals achievable with SEO, a rule of the thumb is to include the metrics and powerful results your team has achieved in the proposal introduction and RFP executive summary.

2. List the key services offered and what problems they will aim to solve

A powerful introduction to your SEO proposal and RFP cover letter opens the path for deeper details as the client quickly reviews the benefits of your offer. Succinctly outline the specifics of the SEO services you will provide and how they will solve current problems for the client. To do this, you will need to conduct a complete website audit to understand current performance and areas that need improvements.

RFP360 SEO tips

Once you have this information, create a problem-and-solution outline based on your services. A suitable way to go about this is to:

  • Provide a step-by-step guide on how on page optimization services will boost the SEO effectiveness of the site
  • Explore areas of technical SEO that will make the site friendly for better search engine rankings
  • Show how off-page services will make the site popular and attract more traffic

3. Understand your target audience and the keywords they search the most

Next, to keep the client’s spirits high, you need to clearly demonstrate your understanding of their target audience.

Once again, here you need facts, and the best way to provide them is to:

  • Show understanding of industry insights and customer behavior: Back up these facts by explaining how you can help the company keep up with these trends
  • Perform keyword research and prepare a presentation of your findings: Research the best performing keywords in their industry and clarify why you chose them and how you will use them
  • Conduct competitor research and SWOT analysis on the company: This is an important pillar for your RFP response as it allows you to show your clients how you can help them keep up with their top competition. Use the different visibility scores to outline how specific changes are required to attain better rankings.

4. Create a timeline

Finally, you need to ensure your RFP response includes a timeline that shows when you plan to meet the deliverables. This means that you will first need to set your project expectations and align them with the customer’s projections. The right approach is to ensure you use the SMART framework to create goals for the project.

Note: Your SEO proposal is only as good as its language and messaging, because that is what keeps the client engaged. Do not forget to have fun and be flexible in portraying your agency as the best bet for the project.

For more tips on writing messaging that wins proposals, explore this infographic: 7 step to creating winning RFP responses.

Common mistakes to avoid when writing a proposal for SEO

There are many mistakes that agencies make when creating an SEO proposal. Here are the common mistakes to avoid:

  • Providing a solid promise of first-page search engine rankings
  • Overselling your agency by providing a guarantee of a specific number of new clients within a fixed period
  • Failure to offer a comprehensive proposal by only providing a single SEO service as the remedy for the client’s problems
  • Focusing on only a single metric (mostly search engine rankings) over other equally important KPIs

Make creating SEO proposals easier

It takes a lot of focus and attention on the details in an RFP to come up with an equally good SEO proposal. An advanced formula for avoiding missing out on the important details required to craft a killer proposal is to invest in RFP response software.

Using RFP software as a hub for creating, reviewing, managing and automating your responses gives you an advantage. Indeed, it eliminates hurdles in creating a properly tailored and effective SEO proposal. In addition, the icing on the cake is that it provides a single, online proposal platform that enables you to interact better with RFPs and your team. Ultimately, RFP software improves the quality, consistency and speed you need to your proposals, so more often than not, you come out on top.

Wendy Gittleson

Wendy has more than 10 years experience as a B2B and B2C copywriter. She developed a passion for writing about tech from living in the San Francisco Bay Area and working for a technology school. From there, she transitioned to writing about everything from SaaS to hardware and cloud migration. She is excited to be part of the wonderful team at Responsive and looks forward to playing her part in building the future. Connect with Wendy on LinkedIn.

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