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11 expectations to have from a great SEO proposal

  • 54% of consumers find a website through natural search (source: Forrester)
  • 31% click through to the websites in the first position of natural search (source:MOZ)
  • 95% of clicks to a website occur on the first page of nature search (source: MOZ)

This facts indicates, if your business is on the internet, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important part of doing business. SEO is the approach to optimizing a brand’s web presence for organic search including the website, social channels, blogs, articles, and press releases.

Finding a good resource that achieves results is like hiring a good electrician, plumber, or auto mechanic. Find the right one and and you’ve found an invaluable asset.

How do you know? One way is to ask for a proposal. Fortunately, there are ingredients that distinguish great SEO proposals.

What makes a great SEO proposal? Here are 11 expectations to have.

STRATEGY: SEO is a business building activity. So a strategy that spells out how business is built should be spelled out. It should be results-oriented and measurable. Here are key strategy ingredients.

  1. DESIRED RESULTS: An increase in search rank as measured on Search Engine Rank Page (SERP) is usually the #1 result most people expect. But an increase in rank doesn’t translate to an increase in business unless specific increases in web traffic and conversions occur. A good SEO program should take into account how this is going to occur.
  2. SITE AUDIT: To understand how to drive business, the way people use your site now should be examined. In an SEO proposal, a Site Audit should be included that evaluates: 1) Top Keywords, 2) Number of Inbound Links, 3) Unique Visitors, 4) Bounce Rate, 5) Traffic Sources (including percent of Visits from Organic Search), 6) Key Pages and 7) Conversion Activities. A Site Audit also specifies any errors or pages not found, as well as if a site map is available. A Site Audit sets up activities that need to occur and benchmarks what is realistic to expect and when.
  3. KEYWORD RESEARCH: Search engines look for a relevant match to the keywords that a consumer writes in a search query. Words are the most important ingredient in SEO. Keyword Research is a foundation to an SEO proposal. Search volumes, keyword search trends, competitiveness, CPC (Cost Per Click – what others  pay) leading to keyword recommendations are a key phase in an SEO proposal.
  4. COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: Your business isn’t likely to be the only one competing for the same consumer. So an analysis of competitor’s keywords, web traffic, and links should be present. A Competitive Analysis informs keyword decisions and desired results. It’s also a valuable source for ideas.
  5. INBOUND LINK ASSESSMENT: Search engines look for other websites that mention yours for a consumer’s keyword query. These occur by Inbound Links from other websites that reference your website. This has a high value to the search engine because it signals your business is an “authority” on those keywords. A Link Assessment specifies the number of links you currently have and should spell out the plan for securing more. Inbound Links are a timely topic. If done in a disreputable way, your site can get discredited. Authentic or “White Hat” ways are important to understand. HubSpot offer some sound advice.

EXECUTION: With a strategy for building business in hand, here is what should be included in the execution.

  1. SITE ARCHITECTURE: To take advantage of priority keywords, every page should represent one. When search engines crawl your site, Site Architecture ensures a comprehensive overview of what the site is about. Search engines and visitors understand better if you focus on one keyword per page rather than put them all together in “keyword stuffing.”
  2. OPTIMIZATION STRATEGY: There are a number of places search engines go to understand the reason for being for a website. They are: 1) URL, 2) Page Title, 3) Body Copy, 4) Meta Description, and 5) Links. The proposal should specify that this work is going to be performed on every page of your site.
  3. ON-PAGE IMPLEMENTATION: A good SEO person performs these services. However, at some organizations, there is a company webmaster or IT department that oversees website development. How the On-Page Implementation is to occur should be worked out beforehand as it can impact price and timing. There should also be a check of the activities to make sure they have occurred on site as they should.
  4. CONTENT MARKETING PROGRAM: Reputation matters in business and in SEO. In the latter, a good reputation occurs if a website continually put out good content reinforcing the keywords and providing links to other websites (which are ofter reciprocated back). This occurs through a blog, newsletter, PR releases, and social media sharing. It should be specified how this occurs, how often, and who does it.
  5. MEASUREMENT AND REPORTING: Monthly reporting against the desired results should be a part of the program. The impact of SEO generally occurs in the range of 2 to 6 months. Once desired results are achieved, they generally stay with the content marketing program. The reward of a good SEO program are substantial.
  6. PRICING: Pricing for SEO occurs on a: 1) Retained monthly amount, 2) project, or 3) hourly basis. If a retainer is used, the initial months are usually higher as there is strategy and research work involved. According to MOZ in a survey of 600 agencies, Project Pricing was the most commonly used and ranged from $1,000 to $7,500. Hourly costs, which are the common denominator for all types, ranged from $76/hour to $200/hour depending on who did the work and what country it was performed in.

Did this help you understand what makes a great SEO proposal? Would your business benefit from this type of SEO program?

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