I’ve been at one agency or another since 2007, so I’ve come across my fair share of RFPs. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) RFPs can be tricky, as they tend to blend strategic and tactical. If you’ve been tasked with putting together an RFP, hopefully, this will be a great starting point for you.
FREE SEO RFP TEMPLATE DOWNLOAD
Also, to simplify things, here’s an SEO RFP Template you can download and start from for your organization! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vPpTbcuKkT1uKHLxNdWZvaNRuJIWmqf00MJYprZ2jEY/edit#
All right, before we dive into the nitty-gritty of SEO, let’s start with you! A good RFP should kick off with a friendly introduction to your organization. I’m talking about your brand’s personality, unique selling points, target audience, and the vibe customers get when they experience your brand. The more in-depth you go here, the better!
Also, talk about your competition and any brands you secretly (or not so secretly) admire. Maybe their SEO game is so strong that it gives you all the feels? Go ahead and tell us – it can offer potential partners a great idea of your needs.
Key details to remember to include:
- Company Name
- Website URLS in scope
- Key Company Information
Your SEO Story So Far
Next, let’s chat about your past tryst with SEO. Have your rankings been on a roller coaster ride, or has your SEO team recently had a few new faces? Share the backstory! This helps your potential SEO pals understand where you’re coming from and why you’ve sent an RFP SOS.
Also, let us know who the marketing team will be on this project. Will your SEO agency have in-house support, or do you need to plan to fly solo? Do you have a marketing agency or AOR in the mix that we should know about? These details can help SEO agencies understand your ideal workflow and craft the right strategy for your brand.
What’s the Goal?
Now, it’s time to set your sights on the goalpost. Remember, think about goals linked to actual business goals & metrics rather than obsessing over keywords. A goal like, “Hey, we want our monthly leads to jumping from 3 to 6,” is much more helpful than “We want to be the undisputed ruler of the XYZ keyword kingdom.”
Why? Because the whole keyword ranking thing can be as fickle as a pickle. Google serves up unique SERPS (Search Results Pages) to individual users, so there’s no such thing as a pure #3 ranking or something like that. But let’s keep our eyes on the prize for SEO performance – what matters are getting more potential customers to your site and inspiring them to act.
Sample SEO Goals & KPIs to Pick From
Here are some of the most common goals & KPIS I’ve seen companies identify during the RFP process:
- Increase organic website traffic.
- Improve organic search rankings for specific keywords.
- Increase brand visibility in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
- Improve local search rankings.
- Increase conversions from organic search traffic (leads, signups, sales).
- Enhance mobile search performance.
- Reduce bounce rate and increase time spent on the site.
- Increase the number of pages visited per session.
- Boost traffic for specific website sections (e.g., blog, product pages).
- Organic sessions: The number of organic (unpaid) sessions on your website.
- Keyword rankings: The position of your website on search engines for targeted keywords.
- Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of users who click on your website from SERPs.
- Pages per session: The average number of pages a user visits during a single session.
- Average session duration: The average time users spend on your site.
- Organic conversion rate: The percentage of organic sessions that lead to a conversion.
- Total organic conversions: The total number of conversions coming from organic traffic.
- New organic users: The number of first-time visitors to your site from organic search.
Remember, the goals and KPIs you include in your RFP should align with your overall business objectives and marketing strategy. By specifying your desired outcomes and how you will measure success, you will enable SEO agencies to tailor their responses to your needs better.
The RFP Process
Be sure to share your RFP journey. What’s the roadmap look like? When will you send the RFP, when should agencies respond, and when can they expect discovery calls and presentations? Oh, and how many agencies are you sending your RFP to? These details are super helpful for agencies planning their strategy.
Your Perfect Match
In your RFP, let agencies know how you’ll pick your dream team. What are you looking for in your perfect SEO partner? Be as clear as you can. For instance, mention a soft spot for local Denver agencies upfront if you have a soft spot. Let us know if you want an agency with industry experience. All of these specifics can help agencies self-identify if they are a good fit for you or not.
Your SEO Wishlist
Next, it’s time to make your SEO wish list. If you’re sure that search engines are the path to more sales or leads, but you’re a bit unsure about “the how,” – no big deal, say so. However, if you’re an SEO ninja looking for extra help, feel free to get into the specifics.
Sample SEO Deliverables / SEO Services / Scope of Work to Request
Here’s a starting point you can work from for SEO services if you have an idea of what you want, but please edit/adapt this for your specific organization as well as what you have in mind for your SEO project or SEO campaign:
- Marketing Strategy
- Competitive Analysis
- Gap Analysis
- Social Media Marketing Strategy
- Digital Marketing Analysis
- Website audit and error fixing
- Page speed optimization
- Mobile Optimization
- Schema markup implementation
- XML sitemap creation and submission
- URL structure analysis and optimization
- Internal linking structure optimization
- SSL implementation
- 301 redirect strategy and implementation
- Handling of 404 errors and broken links
- Robots.txt file setup and optimization
Keyword Research and On-Page SEO
- Comprehensive keyword research
- Competitor keyword analysis
- SEO metadata optimization (Title tags, Meta descriptions, H1 tags)
- URL optimization
- Keyword optimization in website copy
- Image alt text optimization
- Content siloing and theme optimization
- Schema markup for specific content types (e.g., articles, products, events)
Content Strategy and Content Marketing
- Content audit
- Content strategy development
- Content calendar creation
- SEO-optimized blog post creation
- Evergreen content development
- Landing page content creation
- Multimedia content creation (Infographics, videos)
Link Building and Off-Page SEO
- Backlink audit
- Disavow file creation and submission
- Backlink strategy development
- Guest blogging strategy and implementation
- Business directory submissions
- PR and media outreach for link building
- Social media link-building strategies
- Google My Business setup and optimization
- Local citation building
- Local keyword optimization
- Local content development
- Online reputation management and review generation strategies
Analytics and Reporting
- Google Analytics setup and customization
- Google Search Console setup
- Monthly SEO reporting and analysis
- Goal tracking setup (Form completions, phone calls, e-commerce sales)
- Conversion rate optimization recommendations
- Ongoing SEO consulting and strategy
Remember, aligning your RFP with your specific SEO needs and business goals is essential. Only some SEO agencies will provide all these services, and only some will necessarily be relevant or needed for your business.
Your SEO Budget…AKA The Money Talk
Talking about money is always awkward, but mentioning your budget in your RFP is essential. Agencies will aim to give you the best bang for your buck, and they’ll break down where each dollar goes. Also, if you let them know that cost matters to you, they’ll give you different pricing levels to help you make the wisest decision possible.
Your Selection Process
Last but not least, make it easy for agencies to respond. Tell them how you’d like your responses formatted, and provide a Word doc of your RFP for easy editing. Also, give us a heads-up if there is a procurement process or unique criteria you are using to evaluate our shortlist.
Be Detailed – What Stuff Do You Need?
For example, do you need a detailed SEO proposal or a high-level executive presentation for stakeholders? Do you want to see bite-sized case studies or pricing for other services like PPC or email marketing?
Also, tell us who our point of contact is for any questions we may have during the RFP process and the “rules” for contacting them. Extra credit if you include their LinkedIn profile as well.
And voila, you’ve got an SEO RFP ready to hit the inboxes of your potential SEO buddies. Remember, it’s okay if you’re unsure about some things – mention it in your RFP.
I hope these tips help you craft an awesome SEO RFP. If you’ve got questions or need a second set of eyes on your RFP draft, give me a shout. I’m here to help!
SEO RFP PItfalls to avoid:
- Setting unrealistic expectations: SEO is a long-term strategy. It’s unrealistic to expect your website to rank first for highly competitive keywords quickly. Be patient and set realistic expectations.
- Focusing too much on rankings: While ranking high on search engines is a common goal, it shouldn’t be the only metric you’re concerned about. Focusing on conversion rate optimization and user experience can bring you better results in the long term.
- Not specifying your business goals: If you don’t mention your business goals, it’s difficult for agencies to suggest an SEO strategy that fits your needs. Always clearly outline what you’re trying to achieve with your SEO efforts.
- Ignoring the importance of content: Great SEO is tied to high-quality content. Remember to emphasize the need for content analysis, optimization, and strategy in your RFP.
- Refrain from asking about reporting and communication: You should ask prospective agencies about their reporting frequency, the metrics they focus on, and their communication processes.
- Not providing a budget range: While it can be tricky to decide on a budget for SEO services, providing a range allows agencies to propose a realistic plan that fits within your financial constraints.
- Not allowing for questions: An RFP begins a conversation between your company and potential SEO providers. Please encourage them to ask questions for a more accurate and tailored response.
- Assuming all SEO agencies offer the same services: SEO agencies can specialize in different areas such as local SEO, e-commerce SEO, B2B SEO, enterprise SEO, etc. Ensure you know what services you need and ask if the agency has expertise.
- Asking for unnecessary information: While it’s essential to ask for what you need, SEO companies have an actual cost for submitting to RFPs. If you ask for too many things or make it too challenging to respond, many SEO companies won’t opt to respond.
Would you like help crafting an RFP for an SEO agency or for us to respond to one? Let us know; we’re happy to help! Reach out today!