seo request for proposal concept

53% of U.S. buyers research products using a search engine before making a purchase decision. Being found on Google and other popular search engines like Bing or Yahoo is vital for the success of your business.

To put your business on the map or, in this case, at the top of search results, drafting an SEO request for proposal (RFP) to outsource professional SEO services is your best chance to hit this goal.

Properly writing down your requirements, timeline, budget, etc., in a well-organized SEO RFP will allow your company to make a well-informed hiring decision.

If you’re new to RFPs, we discussed its meaning, process and response in previous articles. Now, we’re continuing our discussion with the request for proposal for SEO services.

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What Is an SEO RFP?

An SEO request for proposal (RFP) is an official document that a procuring firm has to draft in order to find the SEO vendor that can meet their unique project needs and business goals.

This elaborate solicitation includes every detail about an upcoming SEO project — the specific requests, timeline and deliverables, contact information and more (you will see the essential components of RFP for SEO below).

Potential SEO providers can then submit their bids and offerings based on the RFP. This enables the procuring company to objectively examine and evaluate each agency’s capabilities and expertise against its project needs.

Why Do You Need a Proposal for SEO Services?

An SEO RFP will help you eliminate the agencies that distance away from your demands and shortlist the ones that adjust their responses to your liking.

Allow us to elaborate on the reasons an RFP for SEO is truly important for the success of your online business:

Reason #1: Streamlines the Selection Process

Issuing an RFP for SEO streamlines the research for the search engine optimization agency and the selection process in general. It provides you with a head-to-head comparison of each vendor’s offerings, experience and abilities to deliver successful results.

A well-written proposal for SEO services will improve the odds of receiving valid responses tailored to your particular needs. It also gives you an objective standpoint when comparing and evaluating how the various SEO strategies might fit your goals.

Reason #2: Refines Your SEO Needs

The rigorous structure of RFPs will help you clarify your SEO needs and provide you with the bigger picture of your digital marketing strategy. This way, you will understand how search engine optimization will align with your overall online business goals.

Clearly identifying the purpose of improving your SEO will steer your company towards an agency partner that comprehends your unique needs.

Reason #3: Saves Time With Onboarding an SEO Agency Partner

Thanks to the RFPs template and detailed project information, your future collaborator is not only well-briefed on your SEO needs but also your website, market, competitors, team and all the elements required for being up to date with your business.

What to Include When Creating a Search Engine Optimization Proposal?

These are the salient points to include when creating your SEO services request for proposal:

  • Company information
  • Business outlook
  • Industry and market
  • Competitive landscape
  • Website’s audience
  • Current SEO situation and online rankings
  • Focus on organic or paid search results
  • Project goals and KPIs
  • Project timeline and deadlines
  • Budget
  • Vendor questions

A good rule of thumb is to prepare in advance and understand as much as you possibly can about search engine optimization. This will help you better define your specific needs and infuse more clarity into your RFP.

Bear in mind that, especially in the case of a proposal for SEO services, your procurement in-house team needs to provide concise and clear-cut information, avoiding ambiguity at any point in the presentation.

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How to Draft an Effective SEO Services Proposal in 5 Steps

An effective SEO RFP that yields punctual and fitting proposals starts with supplying a coherent, concise and understandable summary of your SEO project and needs.

Following these key steps for drafting your proposal for SEO services will result in a successful outcome, i.e. finding the best agency for your business.

Step #1: Share Your Company Information and Project Overview

Provide a brief description of your company as a whole. Refer to things like:

  • Short company history
  • Location
  • Products/services
  • Business forecast
  • Market and vertical
  • List of competitors
  • Current business value
  • The size of your company
  • Main stakeholders
  • Links to your website and social media platforms
  • And more

In this first section, couple your business information with a high-level overview of your SEO project.

Try to clearly explain why your company needs to procure professional SEO services. Insert the core reasons for your request like a new product launch, loss in organic traffic, Google penalties, etc.

Step #2: Detail Your Existing SEO Performance

Discuss the current situation of your SEO, what off-page and on-page issues your website is experiencing and the other reasons you seek SEO assistance.

Your prospective SEO vendors need to understand the problems you are struggling with. List them based on their priority so that they know what needs to be fixed right away.

Aim to be as explanatory as you can in describing your current SEO strategy. Include details about:

  • The list of targeted and high-value keywords for your business
  • The target audience
  • The current SEO ranking
  • The organic and paid traffic - the breakdown of channels and sessions generating website traffic
  • The results of your SEO efforts so far
  • The existing content strategy
  • The state of your backlinking strategy
  • The SEO budget to date
  • And more

Step #3: Provide Your SEO Goals

By all means, specify once again why your company decided to procure third-party SEO services and how professional providers can help you achieve your goals.

List your SEO objectives, including:

  • Your primary desired outcome, followed by secondary/tertiary goals. These may be:
    • Increasing website traffic by X%
    • Maximizing your page speed
    • Optimizing your internal linking structure
    • Improving your local SEO
    • Boosting your domain authority
    • And more
  • Your specific KPIs — the metrics used to measure the success of SEO campaigns

Of course, your future agency partner will perform a thorough SEO audit and devise a strategy based on their findings and your goals. However, if you have a deep understanding of SEO basics, you may also include the following deliverables which give your prospective service provider a better grasp of the project scope:

  • In-depth keyword research
  • Mapping for on-page SEO
  • Exhaustive keyword ranking analysis
  • Link cleanup
  • Duplicate content removal
  • And more

Step #4: Add Your Project and RFP Timeline

One of the key components of any other RFP is including your project timelines.

This means you should include the dates for:

  • The ideal start date of your search engine optimization project
  • The set project milestones
  • The duration of your SEO project
  • The date of your RFP distribution to potential agencies
  • The period in which you accept qualified proposals
  • The date when you decide on the most qualified providers
  • The date when you pick and announce the winning vendor

Step #5: Submit Your Budget

To submit an accurate budget in your RFP, you first need to determine how much you are willing to invest in SEO based on your business goals.

Sending a realistic view of your budget will help competing vendors submit proposals that best fit the allotted resources.

Moreover, don’t be shy in outlining your financial concerns or constraints. This way, you will ensure that you receive useful proposals.

10 Questions to Pose in Your RFP for SEO

Aside from drafting each section of your SEO RFP in detail, you should pose punctual questions to prospective specialized agencies. This will be yet another factor in deciding which SEO agency you should start a partnership with.

  1. What are our missed SEO opportunities?
  2. What SEO tactics do you suggest that will be the most helpful for us and why?
  3. What does your keyword research process entail?
  4. What type of tools do you use for competitive analysis, keyword research and audience targeting?
  5. How will you tailor your strategy to our brand and niche?
  6. Do you include content marketing services in your SEO package?
  7. Can you run us through your link-building process and strategies?
  8. How do you track the success of your SEO campaigns?
  9. How can our in-house team contribute to the campaigns?
  10. How does your team stay abreast of the latest SEO and digital marketing trends?

Takeaways on SEO RFP

When seeking to procure a third-party provider to perform search engine optimization for your website, you draft a request for proposal for SEO services and distribute it to specialized vendors.

A well-structured SEO RFP will help you connect with the SEO agency that:

  • Meets your project needs, business goals and budget
  • Demonstrates transparency in terms of deadlines, planning and costs
  • Shares the same values, company culture and motivation
  • Brings you the highest ROI

The above template may as well be used for drafting RFPs requiring other types of services and industries, such as:

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