What to Include in a Winning SEO Proposal (Plus, A Free Template)
Want to win more new clients? Put some extra effort into your SEO proposals!
An SEO proposal is essentially your sales pitch -- it's your chance to convince a new client that your agency is the perfect fit for them.
Your prospective client is likely reaching out to multiple SEO agencies. A clear, actionable proposal is your chance to stand out from the pack.
An easy-to-understand proposal is also going to save you a lot of headache down the road. The client will know exactly what they can expect from you, and when they should expect it.
However, you don't need to spend hours crafting the perfect proposal. Use our template (or create your own) for a starting point. Then add customization for every client, so that it really speaks to their business goals.
Keep reading to learn everything that you should include in an SEO proposal that will win you clients every time.
Everything You Should Include in Your SEO Proposal
This list provides a general breakdown of the information your SEO proposal should contain.
Use it as more of a starting point than a set of hard-and-fast rules. As you customize your proposals, you may want to add additional sections or cut others, depending on the prospective client.
1. Introduction & Summary
Kick off your proposal by introducing your agency. Let the client know what makes your agency the best fit!
Remember: a proposal is essentially a sales pitch. Here is where you'll be selling your agency and building credibility. Later in the SEO proposal, you'll dive more into the exact deliverables and pricing.
A great introduction should:
Show what differentiates your agency: What services do you offer? What's your mission statement? Why should the client choose you?
Highlight your agency's experience: Show your clients that you have what it takes to deliver results. Mention past clients or link to any case studies. If you've won awards or have certifications, mention those in the proposal.
Introduce the Team: Let the client know who they'll be working with and what makes them a qualified account manager.
The introduction should only take up a couple slides. While it's one of the most important parts of the proposal, you don't want to steal the spotlight! The client ultimately wants to know exactly how you'll help their business.
2. Pitch Specific SEO Insights
This section contains the bulk of the personalization to your proposal, and likely where you'll spend the most time.
Here you want to show specific insights you've gathered about their current SEO performance.
This builds a lot of initial trust and credibility with the client as they see that you've taken the time to:
Understand their business problems and goals
Researched their website
Personalize the proposal
It doesn't take much time to gather a few SEO insights to include in the proposal.
Two insights to include are:
The client's current keyword rankings
Site Audit of the client's website
Quickly enter a few target keywords in a rank tracker, like AgencyAnalytics. If you're not sure of what keywords to target, use our keyword suggestion tool.
We'll then show where the website currently ranks and the search volume. Include this data in your SEO proposal, as well as insights on which keywords you plan to target.
Additionally, consider including keywords their competitors are ranking for, but they are not. Shed insights on to what opportunities they're missing out on and your agency's plan to address it.
You should also run a site audit on your client's site to uncover opportunities for on-site improvements. Are they missing meta descriptions? Does their website load at a crawl? Or are they suffering from duplicate content?
Include a high level overview of current issues, and your agency's plans to fix them. You can run a site audit with AgencyAnalytics' free trial.
Here's an example of an insights page from our SEO proposal template:
3. Solutions & Deliverables
In this section of your proposal you'll dive into what tasks and projects you'll actually be doing.
Are you offering link building services? How many links would you build a month? Will you add new content to their website?
Outline the deliverables so your client knows what to expect from you on a monthly basis. These should be specific and quantifiable.
For example, if you're going to be creating new content for their website, let them know how many pages or blog posts they should expect each month.
Also include what kind of SEO reporting they should expect each month. If you're giving them access to a live SEO dashboard to monitor results, mention this in the deliverable section of your proposal.
Set SMART goals that your agency will strive to achieve. Some examples of goals you may include are:
Increase organic traffic 40% YoY
Generate 30 organic signups per month
Build 30 new backlinks over 3 months
To set these type of goals, you'll want to have a general idea of what you know you can achieve based off past clients you've worked with. Don't grab numbers and goals out of thin air!
It is also helpful to get access to their Google Analytics account or have a rough estimate of their current traffic prior to sending the proposal. This will give you a benchmark to set the goals.
SEO takes time, but many people don't know that. Include a timeline in your proposal so the client knows when they can expect to see results.
Break each of your proposed solutions down into specific, measurable milestones. That way, the client will be able to keep tabs on your progress, even if it takes a while for traffic and other metrics to improve.
Some clients expect a lot of work done up-front immediately. Setting a realistic timeline will save a lot of headache down the road. (And help you avoid having to end a client relationship.)
Once you've made your case for how you can help the client, it's time to talk about money.
The investment section of your proposal includes all pricing for your services.
I always prefer referring to the pricing section as an "investment". Your SEO services will help their business grow and generate more revenue. It's important to remind the client of that. The fees you charge should be viewed as an investment into their business.
You may choose to to give the client several pricing options to choose from. This reduces sticker shock by giving the client a sense of control over the buying process.
Introduce your standard package, which covers all the services you've talked about in your proposal. Then give the client two other options to choose from: a pared-down, less expensive package, and a deluxe package that involves a few extra services.
6. Call to Action
This is one of the most important sections of your SEO proposal that is too often forgotten!
End your proposal with a strong call to action that lets the clients know the next steps to get started. It should include your contact information and the next steps in the process.
General Tips for Writing a SEO Proposal
First and foremost, personalize all your SEO proposals.
It's okay to use a template for the overall structure of the proposal, but the content in each section of the proposal should be personalized for every client.
It's usually obvious when a proposal has been copy-and-pasted, and while that approach might save you some time, it won't impress customers.
Remember, your potential clients are probably considering other agencies besides your own, and tailoring your proposals is a powerful way to stand out from the competition.
Many proposal templates out there include Terms & Conditions for your client to sign. While you can include this, I avoid this in a proposal.
This is a sales pitch tool. Once the client has decided to come onboard, send the invoice and Terms & Conditions to get signed. It isn't necessary to include in the initial proposal.
Appearances matter, so pay close attention to your formatting. If your proposal looks cheap, clients will get a negative impression of your agency, regardless of how well-written the proposal itself is. See our sample proposal as an example.
Aim for an organized, elegant layout, and incorporate plenty of white space on each page -- this will help you avoid the "wall of text" effect.
Lastly, your client probably isn't an SEO expert, so make your writing as clear and easy to follow as possible. Use a professional but down-to-earth tone, and avoid using too much technical language where you can avoid it.
If you get stuck, think about how you would explain something to the client in person.
Mastering the art of writing a killer SEO proposal is well worth the time and effort it takes. You'll land more clients when all your proposals are personal, detailed, and well-thought-out.
If you want to start improving your proposals today, focus on addressing your client's pain points, clearly communicating how you can help, and building trust.
Get started crafting winning SEO proposals with our free template here.
Written by Joe Kindness
Joe is the CEO of AgencyAnalytics, but often spends his day programming, designing or executing marketing tasks. And like most Canadians, he can be found playing or watching hockey!