While often treated as a mere formality, an SEO proposal is, in fact, one of the most critical documents you present to a potential client.

It serves not just as a pitch but as a clear blueprint of how you plan to elevate their website’s performance. A strong proposal can secure a client, even if you’re the only agency they’re considering. Conversely, a weak proposal can undermine even the most qualified agency’s chance.

In this article, we’ll share what a winning SEO proposal should include, how to customize an SEO proposal step-by-step, and offer templates that you can use as a starting point.

Why Does a Strong SEO Proposal Matter?

For agencies targeting other businesses, an SEO proposal isn’t just about listing services. It’s about demonstrating a deep understanding of the client’s needs, the specific challenges they face, and how your unique services can solve these problems.

Incorporating elements like reporting dashboards can further emphasize your commitment to transparency and results, making your proposal more compelling.

SEO Proposal Template (Download For Free)

You can download our free SEO proposal template using the following links:

Google Docs


What to Include in Your SEO Proposal?

Summary / Overview

Start with a succinct overview that encapsulates the essence of your proposal — what you aim to achieve and why your agency is the best choice for the job.

Plan of Action

Outline your strategy in phases:

Short-term Goals

Quick wins. If the client’s website is established, suggest immediate optimizations that could yield rapid results, such as:

  • Blog post optimization (you can highlight a few underperforming pages and a plan to improve their performance)
  • Technical optimization (tools like Ahrefs and Semrush offer quick technical audit that will show broken links, orphan pages, cannibalization, and many other issues that can be quickly fixed in the first few weeks and provides performance boost)
  • User experience adjustments. Keeping users on page is vastly important in 2024. Suggestions that improve site-wide readability (e.g. article bigger fonts or easier to reader headers) won’t take much time to implement but can lead to great results. 

Long-term Strategy

Broaden the scope to include ongoing SEO tactics like link-building, technical SEO improvements, and content strategy adjustments based on performance data.

  • Content strategy. Outline your traffic goals, content formats that you think will generate the most value for a client, and topic clusters you want to rank for.
  • Link building. If your SEO proposal includes link building services, cover what kind of links you are going to generate and link targets. Explain why these links will generate the most positive outcomes and instruct clients what kind of links will be detrimental to their website.
  • Technical SEO. If you are working with enterprise SEO clients, often technical SEO will be an ongoing effort, so plan out how much time you will devote to technical optimization each month and what issues you are going to solve (website performance, crawlability, ecommerce SEO, etc). 


Detail what the client will receive monthly, including types of content, reports, and any other services.

Prop Tip. Add more details. Don’t just write “x4 blog posts”, outline what each blog post includes (research, keyword optimization, proofreading, etc.). More on that in the “Advanced” section of this article. 

Sometimes, if you don’t have a specific deliverable for a service, include an approximate number of hours that you plan to devote. For example, “2 hours weekly allocated for  technical SEO analysis and optimization”

Onboarding Preview / Call-to-Action

Give a brief preview of the onboarding process to set expectations about how the relationship will begin and evolve.

This part is important to proceed from the SEO proposal to signing on the client and starting your work. Make sure clients understand when your work starts and answer any questions they have about the process.

It’s a good idea to follow up your SEO proposal presentation with an email that contains a summary of your meeting and a call-to-action.

Terms of Service

Wrap up SEO proposals with essential terms such as payment conditions, cancellation policy, confidentiality clauses, liability limitations, and a service level agreement (SLA).

Our SEO proposal template contains a demo Terms of Service section that you can use to better understand how to structure this section. 

How to Create Perfect SEO Proposal: Step-by-Step

  1. Research Client

A common mistake is to craft an SEO proposal without first learning what your clients tried in the past.

For example, if a potential client was publishing a lot of guides on their blog with no results, suggesting even more blog content without any clarification will lead to pushback and loss of trust.

You can research a lot about potential clients and use that information to make your SEO proposal more convincing and attractive:

  • Blog. Study how often they publish blog content and how many articles are generating traffic. If a client invests too much into blog content without results, propose content optimization or more focused keyword strategy.
  • Social Media. Evaluate the social media presence of your clients for two main reasons: 1) understand if they make SMM their priority and why
    2) consider what social media content can be repurposed for SEO, such as podcasts, videos, and so on.
  • Use SEO analysis tools. SEO tools can tell you a lot about a client even when you don’t have access to their Google Search Console: top performing content formats, competitors, traffic history. Use that information to understand better what works and what doesn’t. 

Pro Tip: try requesting for limited access to the Google Search Console or ask to export some data to make your proposition even more rooted in data, as even the most advanced SEO tools won’t show you the full picture.

  1. Research Client’s Competition

Client’s business competitors and client’s SEO competitors can be completely different companies.

For example, a client might think about the local company that offers the same services as they do as their main competitor, while in reality most of their traffic is taken up by a trade  publication or an ecommerce global brand. 

Explain to your client the difference and make sure to add a few explanations on how you’re going to outrank and outgrow their SEO competitors. 

  1. Manage Expectations

SEO is a long game, and explaining that to a client is the main basis for a fruitful long-term partnership.

Never promise quick results, and instead focus on different stages of your SEO output. 

If necessary, include the following diagram as part of your SEO proposal: 

You can describe each phase in more detail, specifying what deliverables you will offer at every stage:

  • Foundation. Don’t expect major traffic changes in the first 3 months. Publish content, optimize existing pages, and spot early positive results.
  • Early positive results. Include in your reports successful optimizations, newly indexed content, and growing impressions in search results.
  • Compound effects. More stable reports on improving keyword rankings, growing traffic, and search traffic composition analysis (branded vs non-branded traffic, local SEO traffic, country-specific and device specific traffic, and so on).

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Use white label SEO reporting templates to communicate to your clients both early results and long-term improvement in a professional manner to gain more trust and secure further commitment.

Advice to Take Your SEO Proposals To The Next Step

Diversify Strategies

Avoid overcommitting to a single tactic. Explain how your approach will adapt over time based on data and results.

Highlight And Detail Value

Detail the comprehensive effort behind each deliverable. For instance, each blog post includes hours of competitive research, keyword analysis, creation of visual assets, and a detailed plan for publication and post-publication optimization.

Outline that each blog post contains in your deliverable section:

  • uncheckedX hours competitive research
  • uncheckedKeyword analysis
  • uncheckedImagery / visual assets creation
  • uncheckedRepurpose into social media assets
  • uncheckedPublishing and post-publishing optimization plan

Do the same for any other deliverable. 

For example, monthly SEO reports are one of your deliverables. Make sure to mention they are updated in real-time and are customized to a specific client, especially when you’re using professional SEO report templates.  

Customize To Client

Tailor the proposal to showcase how your strategies will leverage proprietary data to improve outcomes significantly, potentially increasing conversions dramatically within a targeted time frame.

For example, if you have access to proprietary data (organic traffic, conversions), use it as part of a proposal: “Currently you have X conversions per month. Our SEO efforts are projected to increase conversions to x3 conversion within 6-8 months”

Pro tip: avoid overly optimistic commitments (see Manage Expectations section). You can’t control a lot of things in SEO, but your client needs to understand that you’re flexible and will adapt to anything to make them successful. 

Add Results From Similar Niches

Include case studies or examples from similar niches to demonstrate your agency’s success and expertise.

Even when you don’t have client cases from this specific niche, demonstrating positive results for any of your previous clients (traffic growth, conversions, etc.) as part of your SEO proposal can have a huge positive effect on your client’s commitment.

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