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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.
Format of SEO Proposal
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.
<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.)
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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
Monthy Ranking Reports:
We will provide an Excel document which summarizes the following items:
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:
Sample List of Keywords:
---- Start of keywords list -----
---- End of keywords list -----
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
To achieve high PageRank [google.com] (link popularity)
Methods to Improve Rankings
Listing Methods Used
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.
---- Start of rates and terms -----
---- End of rates and terms -----
[edited by: shaadi at 11:17 am (utc) on June 9, 2003]
joined:Mar 3, 2003
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
joined:Nov 11, 2000
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]
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 $300-350 for the proposal upfront.
joined:Mar 3, 2003
Thank you for allowing me to present this proposal for the WSO of your web site.
I understand that you would like your web site to achieve the following objectives:
I can work with you as follows:
I can turn this around within two or three days, depending on my workload. My fee for this would be US$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.