As an agency owner, you know how crucial it is to have an SEO proposal communicating your value and convincing prospects to become clients. This guide will help you create SEO proposals that impress and convert.

Why Your Agency Needs a Strong SEO Proposal

  • Win new business by showcasing your SEO expertise
  • Provide a roadmap to guide your client’s strategy
  • Set appropriate expectations upfront
  • Highlight the concrete results you can deliver


Understanding the Client’s Needs

Before drafting, dedicate time to understanding your client:

  1. Research their industry – Familiarize yourself with industry trends, competitors, and market demands.
  2. Assess their SEO status – Use SEO tools to check their site’s current performance, backlink status, and overall health.
  3. Consult – Engage in meaningful conversations. Client insights often reveal hidden challenges and aspirations.

Setting Clear Objectives

Every client is unique. Thus, the objectives must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound):

  • Improve organic traffic by 20% in six months.
  • Increase conversion rates by 10% in a year.

Proposal Structure

Structure matters. A clear, concise proposal ensures understanding and minimizes doubts:

  1. Executive Summary – Provide a snapshot of your proposal.
  2. Background – Summarize their current SEO landscape.
  3. Objectives – State your goals.
  4. Strategy – Detail your approach.
  5. Timeline – Project milestones and expected completion dates.
  6. Budget – Comprehensive cost breakdown.
  7. Expected Results – Predicted outcomes based on your plan.
  8. Case Studies – Showcase your past successes.
  9. Terms & Conditions – Define working agreements.

Strategy Breakdown

Your strategy should encompass every facet of SEO:

  • On-Page SEO Tactics
    • Keyword research for high ROI.
    • Content optimization to engage readers.
    • Perfecting meta tags, URL structures, and internal linking.
  • Off-Page SEO Tactics
    • Building high-quality backlinks.
    • Harnessing social media’s power.
    • Collaborating with influencers.
  • Technical SEO
    • Ensuring fast website performance.
    • Making sites mobile-friendly.
    • Utilizing XML sitemaps, robots.txt, and structured data.
  • Content Strategy
    • Developing a content calendar.
    • Using blogging and guest posting.
    • Creating evergreen content that always stays relevant.


SEO Proposal Writing Tips

When putting together an SEO proposal, there are some critical best practices to keep in mind:

  • Highlight the long-term ROI potential. Don’t just focus on short-term gains. Explain how your ongoing optimization and maintenance will lead to sustained growth over months and years.
  • Use data-driven language and statistics. Back up your recommendations with numbers. For example, share projections for increased organic traffic, conversions, and revenues based on actual client results we’ve achieved.
  • Avoid using technical jargon. Explain even complex SEO concepts and clearly. Don’t assume the client is familiar with industry jargon.
  • Provide detailed analytics and reporting. Outline the KPIs you’ll track and include specifics on the monthly reports they’ll receive. Data visibility is vital.
  • Define the next steps. Propose a roadmap for kicking off optimization, conducting further audits, migrating to new platforms, etc.
  • Emphasize continuous improvement. Explain that you’ll constantly optimize and evolve strategies over time, not just deliver a one-time solution.
  • Customize for the client. Tailor your recommendations to their specific business goals, industry, competition, and challenges. Don’t use a boilerplate proposal.

Measurement and Reporting

What gets measured gets managed:

  • Define KPIs such as organic traffic, bounce rates, and conversion rates.
  • Employ tools like Google Analytics and SEMrush.
  • Commit to periodic reporting to keep the client informed.

Pricing and Payment Terms

Transparent financial discussions foster trust:

  • Choose between fixed or hourly pricing.
  • Establish clear payment milestones.
  • Anticipate and clarify potential additional costs.

Including Testimonials and Case Studies

Leverage the power of social proof:

  • Use client testimonials to build trust.
  • Display past results through graphs, charts, and narratives.
  • Ensure case studies resonate with potential client needs.

Addressing Potential Concerns

Preemptively tackle doubts:

  • Address concerns about pricing, deliverables, and timeframe.
  • Emphasize your unique selling points.
  • Propose tailored solutions that can be adjusted based on budget.


Conclusion and Call to Action

Reiterate the proposal’s essentials and motivate action:

  • Summarize key offerings.
  • Invite queries and open a line of communication.
  • Clearly state the next steps for collaboration.

Additional Tips

To elevate your proposal:

  • Keep your language accessible. Avoid industry jargon.
  • Prioritize visual appeal with a clean design.
  • Customize every bid, reflecting the client’s specific challenges and aspirations.


Overcoming Proposal Objections

Presenting an SEO proposal to a prospect often has its share of challenges. Prospects may have reservations due to past experiences, budget constraints, or simply a lack of understanding about SEO’s benefits. Here’s how you can gracefully overcome those objections and win their trust:

1. “I’ve tried SEO before, and it didn’t work.”

Response: Every SEO strategy is unique. While past experiences might not have been fruitful, our approach is tailored specifically to your business, using updated techniques and deep industry analysis. Let’s discuss what went wrong previously and how we can make it right this time.

2. “SEO is too expensive.”

Response: Understandably, budget is a crucial factor. However, consider SEO as an investment rather than an expense. With the right strategy, the ROI of increased traffic leads and conversions can far outweigh the initial costs. Plus, we offer scalable solutions to match your budget and desired outcomes.

3. “I can’t wait for months to see results.”

Response: SEO is a long-term strategy. While some tactics like PPC can give quick results, the sustained growth and organic reach from SEO have lasting benefits. Patience pays off, and we’ll keep you in the loop with regular updates on our progress and milestones.

4. “We’re already doing well without SEO.”

Response: That’s great to hear! However, SEO is about maintaining and growing that success. As the digital landscape evolves and competition increases, SEO ensures you stay ahead, continue attracting new customers, and don’t lose ground to competitors.

5. “SEO is all about tricks and not real marketing.”

Response: While there were ‘tricks’ in the early days of SEO, today’s SEO is about genuine content, user experience, and building trust with search engines. We prioritize ethical, white-hat techniques that genuinely benefit your users and improve your online presence.

6. “Why can’t I just do it in-house?”

Response: You absolutely can. However, SEO is multifaceted and constantly evolving. Our dedicated team stays updated on the latest trends, has access to advanced tools, and can devote the required time to ensure your strategy is optimal. This allows your team to focus on core business functions while we handle the complexities of SEO.

Closing Thought:

Remember, at the core of every objection is a need for reassurance. Your prospect is looking for confidence in investing in your services. By listening actively, responding empathetically, and providing informative answers, you’ll address their concerns and establish yourself as a trusted partner in their growth journey.


A potent SEO strategy is indispensable in today’s digital age.

As you embrace this guide, remember an effective SEO proposal is a blend of technical expertise, clear communication, and a client-centric approach.

Embody these principles, and you’ll be well on your way to securing more clients and driving impactful results.

Have you got questions or insights about SEO proposals? We’d love to hear from you. Please drop a comment below or reach out to our team!

Frequently Asked Questions

An SEO proposal is a document or presentation that outlines how a service provider plans to optimize a client’s website to improve its search engine rankings. It typically includes strategies, timelines, budgets, expected results, and other relevant details.

By understanding the client’s needs, SEO professionals can craft a tailored strategy that addresses specific challenges and goals, resulting in a more effective and successful campaign.

SMART objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These criteria ensure that goals are clear, actionable, and trackable.

While not mandatory, case studies provide evidence of your expertise and past successes. They can build trust and showcase how your strategies have benefitted previous clients.

Reporting frequency should match client preferences and the nature of the project. Monthly reports are typically standard, but some clients may request bi-weekly or weekly updates.

While the proposal outlines a clear plan, it’s essential to remain adaptable. SEO landscapes change, and strategies may need adjustments based on data and results.

Several tools are available, such as Google Analytics, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz. The choice depends on the specific metrics you want to track and your familiarity with the platform.

Address budget concerns by breaking down costs, explaining the ROI of each activity, offering scalable solutions, or highlighting the long-term benefits of SEO.

While the proposal isn’t a binding contract, including a section with terms and conditions is advisable. A more detailed agreement can be drafted separately if the bid is accepted.

Personalization is key. Tailor your proposal to the client’s specific needs, highlight your unique selling points, use clear visuals, and showcase accurate results from past campaigns.

We hope these FAQs have provided more clarity on crafting an effective SEO proposal. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!


1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Improving a website’s visibility on search engines through organic (non-paid) means.

2. Organic Traffic: Website visitors who arrive on a page through non-paid search results.

3. Keyword Research: Identifying and analyzing specific words or phrases users enter into search engines.

4. On-Page SEO: Optimization techniques applied directly within the website, including content, meta tags, and internal linking.

5. Off-Page SEO: Tactics employed outside the website to improve its search engine rankings, such as link-building and social media marketing.

6. Technical SEO: Optimization of the website and server that helps search engine spiders crawl and index a site more effectively.

7. Backlink: An incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website. Quality backlinks can improve a site’s credibility and ranking.

8. KPI (Key Performance Indicator): A measurable value demonstrating how effectively a company achieves its key objectives.

9. Google Analytics: A web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.

10. SEMrush: A software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that provides intelligence data, including website traffic, keywords, and backlinks.

11. Ahrefs: An SEO tool that allows users to audit their websites, explore competitors, and research keywords.

12. Moz: A software company that sells inbound marketing and marketing analytics software subscriptions, known for its tools relating to SEO.

13. SMART Goals: A set of criteria for setting objectives that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

14. Content Calendar: A scheduling document or tool that helps organize and plan content creation and publishing.

15. Evergreen Content: Content that remains relevant and doesn’t become outdated, providing consistent value over time.

16. XML Sitemap: A list of URLs for a website, allowing search engines to crawl the site more intelligently.

17. Robots.txt: A text file web admins create to instruct search engine robots on crawling and indexing pages on their website.

18. Structured Data: A standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content.

19. ROI (Return on Investment): A measure used to evaluate the profitability of an investment or compare the profitability of different investments.

20. Social Proof: Psychological phenomenon where people mirror the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior in a given situation.

This glossary should give readers a better understanding of the key terms and concepts used throughout the article. If there are additional terms you’d like to know more about, please let us know!


Additional Resources for Agency Owners

In addition to this comprehensive guide, our experienced cofounder Matt LaClear has created many other helpful resources for agencies looking to start and grow a successful SEO business.

Matt LaClear, who has run over 13,277 SEO campaigns for clients since starting his agency in 2009, is also the author of:

With over a decade of extensive SEO experience, Matt LaClear has created these comprehensive resources to help other agencies structure, position, and sell their services successfully. Check them out to further grow your SEO business.

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