|Format of SEO Proposal|
Please help with a professional SEO Proposal
I am in the SEO business for the past one year. I have always quoted my clients with my self made proposal. I am not very sure whether I have been using a professional format. Can anyone suggest a format to write a professional SEO proposal.
Search Engine Optimization and Positioning
(SEOP) PROPOSAL FOR Example Company INC. Date:06/09/03 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction Web site analysis and recommendations Top 10 home page ranking Search engine optimization tasks Achieving top ten rankings Rates & terms INTRODUCTION
Between 85% to 90% of all web site traffic comes from the search engines and directories, use of those handy-dandy submission services that will submit your site to 980 search engines for a mere $19.95 won’t take care of this traffic. Just because your site is listed in the search engines won’t mean that your customers can find it. But only “search engine optimization and positioning” strategies that are designed to give the engines what they want and need in order to find your site among your competitors and other sites related to your category.
Search engine optimization and positioning is challenging at best. It’s not a simple matter of adding a few tags that contain your important keywords. It is an art-and a science-since its is applying creative techniques to an in-depth study of the search engines and directories.
SEO Company is committed to meeting the search engine optimization & positioning needs of your web site and proposes a campaign plan. Our goal will be to meet your SEOP outsourcing needs thoroughly and professionally.
Included within this proposal is a detailed Scope of Work outlining specific proposed activities and fees for your review. The Scope of Work will include site optimization and allied web promotion & development activities, SE-friendly content writing, and submission and tracking to over all major and support Search Engines and Directories.
On project completion your web site will be more accessible on the Internet in terms of Top rankings for specific keywords across the major search engines. WEB SITE ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Analysis: SE-friendly Content
The web page can offer far more SE optimized content specifically related to its category. Spider–Food (SE-friendly content writing); Extensive keyword-rich content will need to be added to individual pages to improve rankings. Search Engine friendly, keyword rich content in line with Meta tags to be implemented as appropriate on the site to achieve high traffic and rankings. Text has to be added on the home page as well as inner pages.
Our recommendation is use of two or three-word phrases instead of single words, pair general keyword with more specific ones. Also, use of combination keywords that are distantly related, common misspelled related terms, service region specific keywords and long variation of keywords.
Analysis:Site Meat tags
Create page-wise Meta tags with a view to re-writing page-wise content to incorporate these - without allowing the body text to lose ‘marketing appeal’.
Analysis:Web site uses frames
Frames are roadblock for search engines. Very few top-ten ranked sites use frames. Keeping that in mind it’s very difficult to get framed site into the top-ten rankings. Frames increase the file size and the total number of words that make up a web site. Therefore, they also decrease the overall keyword weight, which can put you at a disadvantage to your competition. We strongly recommend against use of frames.
Analysis:Web site URL is not static
The main page should be at www.domainname.com and NOT redirected to a different directory. If it must redirect, it should be at the server level. Be sure that the redirect doesn't show up in the lynx browser (You can view pages through a Lynx viewer here [delorie.com]. Generally, it's safer to avoid refreshes and redirects all together. Redirects can also impact your directory listings, because directory editors may want to use the redirected URL as opposed to your root domain. If they do this, it can affect the link popularity of your main page. Redirection to a different directory on the site; e.g., www.designcompanydomain.com redirected to www.designcompanydomain.com/main/default.asp accomplished through a Meta refresh that which looks like this:
<META HTTP-EQUIV="REFRESH" CONTENT="0; URL=main/default.asp">
This is just the kind of thing that search engines might consider to be spam, due to the abuse of Meta refreshes by porn sites and the like. (They serve up one page to the engines and then redirect it to another page.)
Analysis:Web site directory structure
All web site pages should be as close to the root directory as possible, as pages closer to the root directory are often given more weight with the engines; e.g., www.domainname.com/page1.htm as opposed to www.domainname.com/directory/page1.htm. AltaVista [altavista.com] mentions this in their FAQ for Webmasters. Pages closer to the root also seem to have higher PageRanks in Google. (This is probably due more to the internal linking structure to those pages, but it's something to consider.)
Analysis:Web site serves dynamically generated pages
Ideally, dynamic pages should not have equal signs or question marks and other query strings in them. Query string pages are starting to get indexed by most of the search engines, however we still recommend against their usage.
Analysis:Web site uses splash page
We recommend against the use of splash page - A site needs to be content rich with carefully placed keyword phrases, especially the main page.
Since splash pages and Flash intros may have very little (or no) HTML text, they are not helpful for search engines and could potentially inhibit indexing. If your main page has little or no text, there's very little content that the crawler will index... which means your site won't rank high when people do searches.
There are also search engines that only index your main page, so if it happens to be a splash page with very little text, your site has little-to-no chance of popping up in any search results. META tags can help for search engines that recognize them, but without rich content, your odds of getting listed at all, much less achieving top rankings, are tremendously reduced.
Other recommendations: Any folder should not have more than 30 files in it
All images to be in a folder called images
Page to be named after the top keyword, which is being targeted for that page.
Targeted keyword should occur 3-4 times in the body, in alt, one image to be renamed after that keyword, with same keyword in alt tag
Keeping the header clean so that keywords can be found as early as possible in the body
Use of unique title tag (8-10 words), Meta description (less than 200 characters), Meta keywords (make sure you do include spaces between each keyword) for each page.
The only META tags that you MUST have are the "description" and "keyword" tags
Use of sitemap is important, and should be linked from each page of the site
Use of robots.txt file
Remember that each search engine has a different ranking algorithm. This means that one may consider a particular factor to be important whereas another search engine may consider the same factor of no importance of whatsoever. Thereby we have listed more general analysis and recommendations above, that work on vide variety of search engines. We cannot provide search engine specific information for your site at the proposal state. Though as a sample we provide you one google search engine specific factor for your site:
Website homepage Page Rank – $$/10
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."
Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.
Directories and search engine status: Yahoo [yahoo.com], ODP [dmoz.org], LOOKSMART [looksmart.com] listings are not done, paid submissions to Inktomi [inktomi.com], Teoma [teoma.com] and Altavista [altavista.com] not done.
We strongly recommend these listings and paid submissions.
If you still use doorway page technique
Doorway Pages/ Information Pages:
The doorway page technique is highly popular, not only for its effectiveness, but because it allows to optimize a page for am important keyword without having to work within the design constraints of an existing web page. Sometimes, it is simply eaiser to build a set of doorway pages than it is to redesign what you’ve already got.
Like many other effective search engine positioning techniques, doorway pages have been abused. Spammers have used them to create hundreds of entry pages to their site, and the search engines have retaliated by implementing tactics to stop the spammers.
The result is that doorway pages have gotten a bad name, in a sense, and many are almost afraid to use them for the fear of getting on the wrong side of the search engines.
However, if followed the guidelines as outlined by the search engines from time to time, getting in trouble with the search engines can be avoided for using doorway pages and a huge amount of success can be achived with them. Keeping in mind, that abuse or overuse of doorway pages can risk of getting in trouble and possibly even banned from the search engines.
We takes a step futher by calling our doorway pages as information pages. We create content-rich information pages leading in to your site (hosted on your site as a important part of your site) that will boost web site traffic, greatly benifit your site rankings, and doing nothing that could possibly get you in trouble with the search engines. TOP 10 HOME PAGE RANKING
Four month plan for your home page that uses key phrases and assures Top 10 Rankings in the Google.
The foundation for any successful Internet marketing campaign is high Search Engine Ranking. MediaMetrix [jup.com], a third-party traffic-monitoring firm, reports that over 90% of all Search Engine traffic comes from the major engines. Our SEOP service gives your site a better chance to be found when people are searching.
This service enables a client to meet a respectable level of placement within the first four months.
Maintenance and Follow-up: Date submitted
We will create a series of descriptions and titles based off the clients key phrase list that will ensure solid placement within these locations once established. After submission to search engine, we will engage in a process of inclusion verification and follow-up submissions where needed (not to exceed 3 total submits for any search engine or directory).
We will provide an Excel document which summarizes the following items:
4-month follow-up date
Final follow-up date
URL of verified link (when attainable)
Monthy Ranking Reports: The site URL
We will provide an Excel document which summarizes the following items:
Page Number on which rank is achived
To better understand the attention to detail provided in the promotional strategy, it is helpful for you to understand the process. During the course of the promotional campaign, we update you weekly with an email on the progress of your campaign.
Will also include the following tasks: Utilizing the best methods of “Net Copywriting” so that your site description persuades web users to visit your site and, more importantly, appeals to the computer logic employed by the engines which influences the sort order of the site’s placement in a query list. Modifying, editing, eliminating, and augmenting your suggested keywords, taking advantage of the best use of keywords to direct searches to your website. Writing different site descriptions, complete with character and word counts, to allow us to submit the maximum entry that an engine allows. Writing descriptive site titles of varying length, one of the most important elements of effective promotion, to maximize the space allotted in these fields. Modification of the site pages HTML to include Meta Tags, revised Site Title and Alt Statements with site images where applicable.
Sample List of Keywords:
---- Start of keywords list -----
---- End of keywords list ----- SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION TASKS
Benchmark current traffic and search engine positioning
Analyze current traffic trends through log analysis software. If not feasible, the web site will have to install any industry standard server log analyzing software.
Create Baseline Search engine visibility index.
Analyze search engine positioning before submission. Objective here is to carry out a thorough study on current search engine positions and current effective keywords/ key phrases where the web site has achieved consistent, respectable rankings across submitted-to search engines.
Collection of new Keywords & Analysis
Analyze popular keywords in category across major search engines. Study top 20 position holders in major search engines.
Create versions of Meta tags and keywords for different search engines
Create site-wide Meta tags according to requirement and specifications of different search engines and directories.
Optimize the pages for search engines (Site Re-engineering)
Site re engineering to optimize the entire site with site content/navigation with appropriate keyword weight age.
Implement new content and meta tags
New keyword rich content and Tags have to be implemented.
Methodical hand submission to google adhering to their submission cycles.
Monthly reports in excel sheets.
Link popularity building campaign ACHIEVING TOP TEN RANKINGS
To achieve high PageRank [google.com] (link popularity)
Methods to Improve Rankings Changing Meta tags - 61%
Changing page titles - 44%
Reciprocal linking - 32%
Purchasing multiple domains - 28%
Multiple home pages - 21%
Hiding keywords in background - 18%
Pay-per-click - 13%
Listing Methods Used Manual submission - 71%
Automated submission - 52%
Paid for faster submission - 20%
Paid for directory listing - 20%
None of the above - 16%
We use the following techniques to achieving top ten rankings – tweaking meta tags, page titles, page content, manual submission, select paid submissions and paid directory listings, reciprocal linking and Pay-per-click campaign.
We have a content focus approach to search engine optimization and positioning, which involves SE friendly content writing to match with Meta tags and page titles to maximize web site rankings.
Because Google [google.com] bases site popularity on the number of in-bound links, reciprocal linking is gaining in significance. Not as strongly as Google but other spider-based search engines use link popularity as an important aspect to in their algorithm to rank websites. To ensure that the site achieve top ten ranking we recommend a link Promotion campaign.
Major directory like Yahoo [yahoo.com], LookSmart [looksmart.com] and ODP [dmoz.org] uses title, description and category to which the site belongs to rank web sites, We focuses on title, description and researches web site category to achieve top rankings. RATES & TERMS
---- Start of rates and terms -----
---- End of rates and terms ----- - Umesh Gholap 2003
[edited by: shaadi at 11:17 am (utc) on June 9, 2003]
Oh boy! that is some thing.
Very well done.
Excellent post, Umesh. Thanks.
You're doing it all wrong! :) Just joking. It's great of you to post this but I wanted to say that my proposals have varied from a 10-line email through a 2 page Word document, each customised to the client. I focus on what they can expect and not expect. I leave the assessment to the paid phase because I have found some clients go shopping and often get a fair idea of how to do it themselves.
I just wasted time on a UK company that told me they didn't know what to do next, so I sent a proposal, and they told me they had a "reputable" UK SEO already working for them.
For small or unknown clients I ask for 50% in advance then switch to direct credit.
|I wanted to say that my proposals have varied from a 10-line email through a 2 page Word document, each customised to the client. I focus on what they can expect and not expect. |
Since asomani is from west bengal, India and mostly serving clients in English speaking nations UK, US, Aussie or for that matter any part of the world, the proposal should be full blow with focus on entire campaign, process and methodology rather just “we will bah bah bah….
When you do business without a hand sake, overseas - the more information you give about your company, work and process the more trust you will win of the clients. Its not that every client will go through the entire proposal but information provided upfront will always be welcome.
Also in most of the cases of overseas outsourcing, there is no legal agreement done prior to the project – in that case the proposal stands as a legal agreement document in case of a issue. Therefore a complete process of page optimization with specification and risk factors going along with the proposal is also recommended, if you only handle outsourcing projects.
[edited by: shaadi at 7:01 am (utc) on June 10, 2003]
Excellent Post Umesh. Very thorough and professional (as you are). :)
Good post > but be very careful with explicit descriptions.
There are three types of business people out there and you lose two of these groups with this from of documentation
1. The do-it-yourself type > now that you have provided all the ingredients the entrepreneur type can quickly search for relevant "how to" stuff.
2. Non-techno savvy group > their eyes will most certainly glance over > they will not read past the title page and your time is wasted. This group need business and marketing info only > not the details. They need > price, point form deliverables, expected returns and time to fruition, plus clauses for confidentiality, privacy, any warranty/guarantees (if any) and limitations.
3. I'm Busy running my business type > obviously the proposal denotes credibility through knowledge and skill and level of understanding thus the "I'm busy type" is the target for something along this line.
Be sure you know which group is the target... 1. and 2. are almost always a "NO SALE" with something like the above.
The do-it-yourself type will find more info than in this proposal if he just logs on to SE-watch or for that matter any other SEO resource site. The recommendations, which are given in the proposal, actually help you to close the client.
Recommendations will contain the following in that format. With means you made yourself clear to the client that I am going to remove the frame of your page whether you like it or not.
Sample list of keywords:
Will have only 10-12 basic keywords all mixed up. By which you made yourself clear that buddy I am no "viagra", "hotels", "book tickets", "online dating" keywords optimizer...
Please note that one has to submit this proposal to not in the first shot - its not for sales email message in reply to an inquiry. It’s to be submitted once your inquiry converts into a client and also you have given the client a fair idea of whats its going to cost him.
Also, I DO NOT recommend this proposal for a $300-$900 deal.... but 3k-11k, 4 months to annual SEO campaign :) - outlines scope of work, deliverables, definition of tasks etc.
For "Non-techno savvy group" I will delete "Web site analysis and recommendations" section if I am so sure.
Its a Basic format of a professional SEO Proposal so be free to add subtract any thing according to the needs... I have just made an attempt to get some where close to it.
|Also, I DO NOT recommend this proposal for a $300-$900 deal.... but 3k-11k, 4 months to annual SEO campaign - outlines scope of work, deliverables, definition of tasks etc. |
Understand perfectly! Now-a-days I promote the price range first no paperwork (solicited RFPs the exception).
If their next response is something to the effect of... WHAT!
I walk away.
Fathom hit the nail on the head with the 3 types of buyer post. The explicit descriptions is a poisoned chalice in (at least) 2 regards; giving too much to the diy types and also locking yourself in to a very rigid plan. A load of the crapola in forum 3 just now arises from Google doing something different and immediately people are crying out, "My clients are ..."
I find that general statements of principle are better, show that you
a) know what the client wants
b) know what the 'web can deliver
c) drawing on a and b, will be realistic in your plans
d) adhere to an ethical 'code' which will not harm them
Learn to recognise a good potential client who takes their site seriously enough to reward you well and defer to your judgement. Give them all a chance to retain you but give up as soon as they indicate that they seriously think they know better.
This leads to fewer clients, people thinking you are arrogant and whatever else but it also means that
a) the clients you do get are paying you enough to make a profit
b) you will spend less time on spurious RFP's so can do a good job on the enlightened ones
c) you can execute the job the way you know is best
It comes down to you then, if you are good they will be clients for a long long time.
>>For "Non-techno savvy group" I will delete "Web site analysis and recommendations" section if I am so sure.
That site analysis is always included in the initial evaluation - which comes *after,* it's part of the service - and I'm just now fully reaping the benefit of that and appreciating having done it. It takes precious little time to check out things as simple as file sizes and download time, check for sideways scrolling at different resolutions, etc. Not for free, they still take time.
But if a year later a client is whining about wanting better conversion in spite of rankings that couldn't be better, you can point back to those emails with the reports about the 175K to 275K pages that take two minutes to load, run the same current reports, and there you have it. No explanations needed - your bases were covered going in the gate.
The point being, that we have to be careful to make it clear that we "make recommendations" and that terminology clearly implies that implementing the recommendations is on their end. We might not always be too popular or loved by web designers who thrive on bloat in the name of art, but business is business and it's all about conversion in the long run, and that extra measure taken of evaluating design elements in the initial analysis (and follow-ups) is no more than ensuring that we're being responsible in looking out for the welfare of the client, whether their web designers like it or not. It's called CYA.
Specifics on keywords take research and are foundational - that's part of the job. And there absolutely are some who try to get, to be blunt about it, free consulting under the guise of getting a proposal. It takes time and practice to develop the ability to inform about what you intend to do without actually giving away the store and letting them get out of you what they should be paying for.
Sure, some get lost quickly by not telling but I chalk it up to them wanting a DIY deal in the first place. Some are window shopping and trying to get freebies along the way. Some find the bargain basement and come back with a new attitude. They would have been a problem client the first time around, they aren't the second.
It's not a new phenomenon; we all go through it and always will. The last thing we want to do is deal with people who don't recognize our value, and if we have value we need and deserve to be compensated and respected for it.
It's something we all need wisdom about, and that's not always easy to come by. It was through the counsel imparted in this discussion that I caught the vision of what WebmasterWorld was all about, and what we would come to mean for the webmaster community, which is awesome if you envison it from a global perspective:
Need wise counsel not found anyplace else [webmasterworld.com]
From October, 2000 and that's priceless, timeless wisdom that holds as true today as it did then.
Well I guess we have gone way off-track!
The question was about a Format of a professional SEO Proposal - Not closing a client and doing sales.
This is a sample agreement that's just a bare outline that does not give details, but can be converted into language appropriate for a proposal:
Barebones Sample Website Contract / Agreement [webmasterworld.com]
A lot that's in there can be left out of a proposal, it wouldn't be necessary or even good to include all of it, like legal stuff.
|Well I guess we have gone way off-track! |
The question was about a Format of a professional SEO Proposal - Not closing a client and doing sales.
I'm not sure we have gone off topic. The trick, for me, is how to tell the client what you're going to do without telling the client what you're going to do. And that affects what a proposal is.
I feel that the excellent document shaadi posted should be part of a paid-for deliverable. There's a recent post on another thread (that I can't locate right now) that suggests that this be a paid-for document that the client can use to do it himself or to solicit competitive bids.
If that's the case, what is the proposal itself? By this I mean the original document that gets the prospect to part with enough money to make producing this document worthwhile.
Inevitably, though, I've found that prospects want to know what will be involved... what the cost will be... before they even commit to the exploratory phase. In some areas, giving a good answer to this question can involve doing a day or two of competitive research and analysis, or laying out how you're going to change page content and design, and that's giving a lot away.
So, it ends up for me being chicken and egg all over the place, with a bunch of dancing involved. I've regretted too many times doing a detailed proposal for free, or even at cut rates. I feel that closing a client is a big part of the question of what the format of a proposal is... because format follows content.
But I still don't have a good answer about what to send when a prospect says, "OK, send me a proposal." Partially, I think, that's because "proposal" can mean different things to different people.
this MAY or may not help. We wrote a guide months ago geared for site owners (non-techies) for Search Engines. It's geared more for small-medium businesses but I give it to all our customers so they understand what can be done and what can't.
NOt sure if I can put this here- but feel free to use it.
<snipped URL.. sorry Jennij, better that you take this up directly in stickymail. thanks>
[edited by: Travoli at 12:56 pm (utc) on June 12, 2003]
I guess its time for "paid proposal" method in SEO industry. It does happen in brick n motor industry, companies get paid for submitting proposals :)
If one takes his time out and make a proposal customize for a client with final quote upto $10-11k, I guess there is no harm in charging $300-350 for the proposal upfront.
As Umesh has kindly shown his, I'll show mine. :) Mine are very customised to the situation and some discussion has already taken place by phone or email before I write a proposal. This example is easiest for me to edit out the specifics (and has given me more work than I can handle):
Proposal for Web Site Optimisation (WSO)
Thank you for allowing me to present this proposal for the WSO of your web site.
I understand that you would like your web site to achieve the following objectives:
- Easy to find in Google
- Increased visibility on other search engines and directories
- Google positioning is a combination of visitors using appropriate search terms and your pages being optimised to contain such text. You rank #232 for the term "blue widgeting" today but without the quote marks, you rank #611. Only 18 pages from your site have been picked up by Google.
- Apart from a short-lived boost when your sites are on the first page for 2-3 days, it takes a full calendar month (sometimes more) before a more permanent parking position is allocated by Google.
- Your site is not under a penalty. There is some talk of a “semi penalty” but I don’t see the kinds of controversial tactics in use on your site that would merit this semi penalty. Your previous situation with duplicate content is no longer a concern.
I can work with you as follows:
- Correspond with you to understand your needs better.
- You will need to provide me with the search terms that your paying customers (as opposed to casual visitors) tend to use to find you. These are in your server logs.
- Although I can give general direction, you may need to rewrite minor portions of your pages because you know your industry and its jargon.
- You will need to make periodic additions to your sites, by way of new pages over the course of a year. Most of these can be press releases and generic articles that give advice to customers. The latter are more likely to be linked by other sites if they don’t contain overt self promotion.
- Make strong recommendations that will improve your ranking. I only make ethical recommendations because shady practices can get you banned from Google sooner or later.
- Supervise your webmaster to rework your web pages and images and make them Google friendly. I would explain the methodology so that you understand the implications and continue to follow best practices for ongoing updates.
- Give you a 6-7 page report that gives recommendations for “immediate implementation” and some that will take longer for you to implement.
I can turn this around within two or three days, depending on my workload. My fee for this would be US$xxx payable by direct deposit to my bank in Australia. (for a small player I ask for 50% in advance via PayPal)
Once I give you my report, your webmaster may be in a position to run with it completely but other clients have found it worthwhile to pay me a retainer of $xxx a week to monitor progress and conduct regular correspondence about the gradual improvements and suggestions for new tactics. One client also chose to hire me for two weeks full-time so that I could give them a detailed, page-by-page list of “Before” and “After” instructions for their webmaster, and a campaign strategy for increasing incoming links.
I look forward to working with CompanyName.
Good one anallawalla :)
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