Usually, a few times a month, I receive a “Please send me an SEO proposal” request from someone looking for search engine optimization help. At first glance, I could feel honored that I am being asked
for business, but when you really think about what is being asked for, the client thinks that SEO is a commodity—and its anything but that. A doctor would not create a treatment plan for a patient without an examination, and a lawyer would not create a court defense strategy without first meeting the client and truly understanding their problem. SEO is related to the aforementioned practice areas in the fact that you don’t want anybody prescribing you snake oil, or creating a serious plan for you without first knowing what is going on. What am I getting at? The optimizer should talk to the client, understand their challenges and then create a plan of action to meet their goals.
At minimum, quality SEO must include analysis, implementation, tracking, reporting, etc… just to name a few. Basically, every client needs to be treated with a custom approach because marketing goals need to be considered and the budget needs to match the provided labor allocation.
Most businesses will typically have 6-18 main keyword phrases where the majority of their SEO traffic will come from. Notice I said “most.” Some niche business models have fewer than six phrases and I have seen some with over 100. Usually, targeted keywords are identified and the plan is ultimately based off the number of keywords. Some SEO firms base their approach from website visitor traffic, others from sales revenue, or a mixture of both… but I prefer to use the number keywords. There are no right or wrong answers to how you price as long as the client’s business increases and the work is done ethically.
I like to utilize a ‘hybrid’ approach to the proposal writing process. Essentially, I use a standard template with deliverables/verbiage and I customize certain areas to fit the client’s needs.
For Reference, I do some of the following on an introductory level plan:
1. Target phrases that have less than 10 million competitors (# of search results)
a. Example: Faux Alligator Bags and Imitation Alligator Handbags are preferred to target. In the short term, stay away from Fake Alligator Bags and Fake Crocodile Handbags. *Get the first two and any other related terms with under 10m results, then go after the big dogs later, once you have developed a “footprint” across the search engines!
2. Only be concerned with Google, Bing and Yahoo (over 95% of all searches)
3. The ultimate goal is a 1st page ranking for the keyword for the above.
4. 12 month contract (to ensure client commitment and ability to show results)
5. Price is set according to increments of (6) keywords. *Each plan includes relatively the same number of management and reporting hours, which is why the price gets cheaper when more work is done.
a. Example 1: Six keywords cost 800/month
b. Example 2: Twelve keywords cost 1200/month
c. Example 3: Eighteen keywords cost 1500/month
In summary, I like to meet with the client and understand their business and marketing goals. Then, I use a standardized proposal template and modify it to meet their needs. I hope this helped!
About the Author: Rhett DeMille, the owner of PalmettoSoft, is a leading search engine optimization consultant located in the Charlotte NC and Charleston SC areas.