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Old 06-13-2005   #1
Nacho
 
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Suggestions for the ideal SEM/SEO RFP Guide

When seeking to a potential client it's important to know as much as possible about them before actually forming a business relationship. This thread's focus is for members to share suggestions for the IDEAL RFP (Request for Proposal) GUIDE.

Some suggestions for this thread is to mention questions that you currently use in the lines of these topics:
  • Organization’s background (history, business model, etc.)
  • Website's target audience
  • Organization’s primary goal with an SEM/SEO campaign
  • Overall marketing strategy
  • Human Resources: Who's involved or who will be involved?
  • Competitors
  • Alliances or business development opportunities
  • Budgets
  • Deadlines and development schedules
  • Design, creative and content
  • Level of risk
  • Other: __________ [fill in the blank]
These are just some ideas, but feel welcome to use them or come up with anything you want that will help other members when seeking clients for SEM/SEO to ask the right questions.
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Old 06-13-2005   #2
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In general, I like to give a quick summary of the website and goal of the project, and then (if the RFP contains it) address each point that the RFP states as a milestone or goal.

So if they say they want X,Y,Z, then I address X, Y,and Z directly and in order, even though the answer may seem obvious or duplicated.

The reason is that if there are multiple proposals and a committee is going through them, they usually do a side-by-side comparision and remove everyone that doesn't address all of their requests, and then compare the remaining proposals on a point by point basis.

Standard committee stuff.

If you don't clearly address each item, you may find yourself out of the running because they didn't read into your answer somewhere else that covers it. Sometimes the person making the decision knows very little about SEO and cannot be expected to "read into" your other answers, even for things you may consider obvious.

Then I outline a proposed schedule and estimated cost, followed by a description of my company and why I'm qualified to do the work (and hopefully better qualified than the competing proposals!)

Simple, but so far it works pretty well.

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Old 06-13-2005   #3
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any new site updates in the works

technological changes, shifts, & challenges within their marketplace, as well as technological or other advantages they have

are they gaining or losing marketshare off the web

economic health of company

past seo experiences
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Old 06-13-2005   #4
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  • business model
  • current metrics
  • target metrics
  • value of increase
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Old 06-14-2005   #5
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We ask many questions regarding the possibilities of them being involved in spam. Duplicate sites, other SEO they've used, etc.
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Old 06-14-2005   #6
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That's a good point - I don't know how many times I've gone into a site the client told me was "clean" and found all sorts of "interesting" stuff.

THEN suddenly there is this "well, we hired this SEO firm and they..."

This is the type of stuff you need to know before you sign anything.

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Old 06-15-2005   #7
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Quote:
This is the type of stuff you need to know before you sign anything.
Just don't expect to actually find it all out before you sign. We recently had a client that told us all previous spam domains had been cleaned up and disassociated with the site we were optimizing. A few months later they want to know whey they are still penalized on Google (as if we had the magic Google wand), and then we find that those spam domains were still in place, and still linking to the site. sigh.
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Old 06-20-2005   #8
Mal Watlington
 
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Knowing the budget breakdown is critical

It's important to get a fix on the total marketing budget, not just what the prospective client is spending on SEM. Historically, it's not been unusual for organic SEM to be fraction (<15%) of the total marketing budget. Search advertising, however, has changed the game. And, it has brought other players to the table with their own agendas (e.g. advertising agencies, etc.).

The implications of knowing the budget breakdown are clear. Decision rights are usually given to those with a majority interest in the budget. Integration responsibilities may also be vested in those with the largest portion of resources at their disposal. Finally, you can understand who really needs to be in the room when you make your proposal.
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