You stare at the blank screen, and the cursor blinks back. You start to wonder if it's not gently mocking you.

Yup, writing a good SEO proposal can be tricky.

Creating a winning sales proposal is more than just technical terms and keywords. Your proposal is your chance to show potential clients you're the SEO firm they need. The challenge here is how to pack all your know-how into an informative and engaging offer. Show them the value your SEO services deliver and the results they bring inside an offer they can't refuse.

In this article, we'll walk you through the essentials of an SEO proposal and break down the complexity into clear, manageable steps. We'll explain how to understand and match your client's needs with effective SEO strategies that Google loves as much as they do.

What is an SEO proposal?

There is an old marketing joke: “Where is the best place to hide a dead body?”

“The second page of Google”.

Well, I never said it was funny, but you get the point! Search engines can be huge drivers of traffic and custom, but only if you can be found. There are no prizes for the snazziest hotel in the desert.

An SEO proposal shows potential clients how you can improve the visibility of their website in these search engine results. Customized SEO solutions highlight your approach, strategies, and the unique value you bring to their online presence.

But it's not just about listing services and quoting prices. It's your chance to tell a compelling story about taking the company's website from an unseen position in search results to a standout page. It clearly explains how you're going to make their website stand out to both the search engine's algorithms and the target audience.

You can see our SEO proposal template for a visual example below:

Steps to write an SEO proposal

Writing an SEO proposal can be as easy as following a well-marked trail. It's about turning your expertise into a clear, engaging plan that lights the way for your potential customers. We'll simplify this process in clear steps so you can create a proposal that combines the technical side of search engine optimization with a story that speaks directly to your prospective client's needs.

1. Conduct a thorough client evaluation and initial audit

Start with a detailed evaluation of their current website. Your typical SEO discovery involves an audit of their existing setup: What keywords do they rank for, how user-friendly is their website, and the quality of their backlink profile? This is a kind of health check for the current SEO status, highlighting their strengths and improvement areas.

In addition to gaining a deep understanding of their current technical SEO and on-page SEO, it's just as important here to get a good understanding of your client's business goals. Have a conversation with them. Do they want to increase their online sales, boost their brand visibility, or something else? If you know their goals, you can create a perfectly tailored proposal to their needs.

2. Identify SEO objectives

This is not about setting fluffy goals but determining your client's specific SEO objectives. Each objective should be specific and measurable.

For example, if the goal is to boost traffic, How Much? And, By When?

If the goal is to rank better for certain search terms, determine What these keywords are.

These goals aren't just numbers but milestones that show how your SEO efforts contribute to your client's broader business goals, such as increased sales or brand visibility. When it comes to SEO, no one knows the exact algorithm that search engines use, so be conservative when sharing any specific numbers and don't promise specific ranking for specific keywords. To ensure clarity, use a dedicated rank tracker such as SE Ranking to determine the specific metrics range you aim to monitor with your client. This approach allows you to showcase the dynamic nature of your progress and demonstrate how your SEO strategies are moving in the right direction.

3. Create a tailored SEO strategy specifically for your client

Once you know your client's goals and needs, the next step is to develop an SEO strategy tailored to your client's needs. Whether you focus on content, on-page optimization, or link building, each part of your strategy should directly align with your client's goals and appeal to their target audience.

This is where you show your client how your SEO analysis and expertise will turn their objectives into reality. You should provide a clear, personalized roadmap for improving your client's online presence and achieving their business goals.

4. Utilize SEO templates for efficiency

Efficiency is key when writing an SEO proposal. And this is where using an SEO proposal template can make all the difference. Don't think of these templates as shortcuts but as a guide for experts. They provide a solid structure for your proposal and ensure you consistently cover all the essential elements. The real magic of an SEO template lies in its flexibility. While the basic structure remains the same, you have the freedom to tailor the details to each client's specific needs.

Using proposal software or a template will enable you to save time and maintain quality so you can focus on customizing your offering. If you're looking for a reliable place to start, check out Qwilr's SEO template. It balances structure and customization perfectly, making your proposal writing process smoother and more effective.

5. Write an engaging executive summary

The summary in your SEO proposal is your chance to make a good first impression. This is where you capture your client's interest right from the start.

Here, you explain what you know about the client's needs, what specific goals you want to achieve, and how you intend to achieve them. Facts and figures are good but it's also about weaving a narrative that resonates with your customer: 'I understand you, I've got a plan, and here's why you should listen.'

This forms the core of most effective sales methodologies.

When writing this summary, you should be compelling yet concise, detailed but not overwhelming. Emphasize your unique approach, but keep it easily digestible. It can be a fine line to skate, admittedly!

6. Outline the scope of work and deliverables

In this section, you define exactly what you'll do and what your client can expect in return. It shows specific steps you'll take, e.g., keyword research, content gap analysis, or content optimization, and what results these measures will bring.

This isn't just about listing tasks but also about setting clear expectations. Explain what each part of the project involves, what milestones you want to achieve, and what specific results your client will see, e.g., a better search ranking or more visitors to their website.

You create trust and transparency by clearly defining the scope of the work and the results. Your client knows what they're getting, and you have a defined plan to guide your SEO efforts.

7. Set clear timelines

In your SEO proposal, it is important to create a clear schedule. This is where you outline when the individual parts of the SEO project will begin and end.

These schedules are about keeping track of tasks and showing your client that you're organized and committed to timely results. Remember that SEO is a gradual process, a long-term play for long-term gains, so include time for regular updates and adjustments to your strategy.

Be realistic with your timelines. Take into account the amount of work involved and any external factors that could affect the schedule. Clear timelines will help manage client expectations while ensuring everyone knows when to expect progress and results.

8. List pricing options

Make sure your pricing is easy to understand. Explain each pricing tier and option with a clear explanation of what it entails and the benefits it brings to your business. Whether to increase website visibility or drive traffic, show how each pricing tier adds value to them.

In this part of the proposal, you help your client make an informed decision. You give them the flexibility to choose a service that meets their needs and budget, making it clear what they can expect from their investment.

Example of an SEO proposal templates

In our SEO proposal template, you will find a clear example of structuring a compelling SEO offer.

It’s a straightforward guide that covers everything you need to include in your proposal:

  • The Challenge/Needs: Here, we identify the client's specific SEO challenges and needs, setting the context for your proposal.
  • The Process: This is where you outline the methodology and the step-by-step path you want to take with your client’s website. It’s about showing a clear path from problem to solution, from current challenges to future successes.
  • Project Scope: Here, you'll describe the specific measures and tasks you'll carry out. From on-page optimization to content strategy, you'll find a comprehensive overview of the nuts & bolts of your plan here.
  • Project Investment: This is not just a price list but a clear, value-oriented presentation of your pricing options. You need to make it easy for customers to understand what they're getting at each price point and align investments with expected outcomes.
  • Recent Client Wins: Here, you can show off your track record. You can demonstrate your expertise, showcase your success stories, and show how you’ve helped other clients achieve their SEO goals.
  • Next Steps: This is where you guide the client on how to proceed. It’s a call to action that encourages them to take the leap to better SEO with your help.
  • Conclusion: End the proposal on a high note. You should emphasize the potential benefits and positive outcomes of choosing your services.

Our template guides you through all the crucial components and ensures your proposal is comprehensive and appealing. With this template, you're offering more than just a strategy; you're presenting a path to success. The best proposal templates share this trait.

Alternatively, you can try our AI proposal generator for free and create your own professional looking proposal in minutes.


What’s the best format for an SEO proposal?

The best format for an SEO proposal is clear and simple. It should lay out the strategy, scope, timeline, and cost in an easy-to-understand and engaging way so the client can follow your plan and recognize the value of your proposal.

Should I use a free SEO proposal template?

A free SEO proposal template can be a good starting point, especially if you're new to creating such documents. It provides a structured framework that ensures you cover all the critical aspects. Make sure you tailor it to your client's needs for a more personal touch.

Key takeaways

Writing a winning SEO proposal involves understanding your client’s needs, setting clear goals, crafting a customized strategy, and being transparent with pricing. It’s about creating a proposal that outlines your plan and aligns with your client's goals.

Want to give yourself a head start? Check out Qwilr’s SEO proposal template. It’s the perfect tool for creating professional, customizable proposals and getting right to the heart of your client's needs. And- if we don’t say so ourselves- it doesn’t look too shabby either….

About the author

Brendan Connaughton, Head of Growth Marketing

Brendan Connaughton|Head of Growth Marketing

Brendan heads up growth marketing and demand generation at Qwilr, overseeing performance marketing, SEO, and lifecycle initiatives. Brendan has been instrumental in developing go-to-market functions for a number of high-growth startups and challenger brands.