How to Draft a Perfect Request For Proposal (RFP) For Acquiring SEO Service

Posted by Hiren Vaghela

July 17, 2014

SEO 14 min read

It is vital to prepare a well-written Request for Proposal (RFP) as it helps the SEO agency in understanding and defining the needs and scope of your project along with determining the price. A miserable RFP will discourage 1the SEO firm in all ways and thus disconnect the contact between both parties.

Although companies know what they want, they are structurally challenged to ask in a clear manner. A properly written RFP will ensure that the communication between both parties is clear and everyone understands the purpose of the project.

Here are a few steps for companies to prepare an RPF to hire an SEO agency.

Step #1: Appoint A Person

In order to satisfy the voices of all the departments of a large company, and to ensure that the voices are communicated well, every successful project will need a dedicated person. The person will communicate in the right language and is responsible for the success of the project. The project will struggle without a dedicated person. The dedicated person for the project will be the point of contact for the SEO firm and will ensure a steady flow of information.

Matt Cutts

Step #2: Define Your Needs and Wants

Always accept the fact that the RFP recipient will know more than what you do. Just be open with your objectives. In addition to giving out your objectives, target audience, pain points, and more, you will also need to clearly define what you expect for the SEO firm and how you will evaluate their suitability.

Quantitative and Qualitative criteria for judging will bring objectivity into the process, which helps in managing the expectations internally.

Matt Cutts

Step #3: Define how you will measure success

Now that you know what kind of SEO firm you are looking for, it is important to let the firm know what your expectations are and how are you going to measure the success of their efforts. There are certain key performance indicators (KPI’s) like the conversion that are simply not in the hands of the SEO firm. If you are not sure which KPI, you should be measuring, it is better that you state the same in your RFP in the following way:

“Do you provide monthly program performance review that shows the growth of our campaign? If so, kindly explain the same in detail as to which metrics will be delivered.”

Step #4: Prepare to reveal the inside factors

When seeking the services of an SEO firm, you should be ready to disclose all the factors related to your website to gauge the scope of the project. In addition to the on-page factors, you will also need to enlighten the RFP recipient with other information in case your company has other domain names, sub-domains, or microsites. Are you planning a major redesigning of your site? Who is managing the website? By revealing as much information as possible, you spare the SEO firm from some of the daunting tasks so that they could remain focused on the major efforts that would be implemented on the website.

Matt Cutts

Step #5: Provide an Estimated Time and Budget

One of the biggest draw-back in the RFP is the question of when should a project be completed and how much would it cost. Every company has its own set of goals and thus they have to work on certain timelines. Some internal matters may want the project to yield results at the earliest, and it doesn’t really matter to them how much time it takes. If it is an e-commerce site, you may want to schedule a product launch at a particular time or season. Be sure to mention the time frame in your SEO proposal.

Budgets may often correspond to the project deadline depending on how your company is conducting the business. Instead of giving a certain figure, you could say that your company is willing to spend within a range of $X to $X. You may or may not include the budget in your RFP.


RFP’s could be a pretty tedious task. However, there are several benefits of creating an RFP. It will enable the company to identify potential barriers, facilitate great internal communication, and generate better ROI.


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