Why asking for a proposal won’t help you to make a better decision

People love to have more options to make a better choice. It’s in our nature to compare, analyze, and decide what is best for us. But the question is: Does the proposal make the decision better and more relevant? What does an offer mean in general? How do we recognize if it’s good or not, and how does it help us choose with whom we need to collaborate on our projects?

As an agency owner, potential clients often ask me for a quote or a proposal. They often want to know more about the price without even talking about the possible solution or if they indeed need us. Focusing on price is normal and expected, but SEO and web development aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. I can’t promise equal growth for each client with a same proposal for a website, or for an offer of six blog posts, ten guest posts, and 20 top-10 keywords. And even if I do that, can I be sure to deliver the same result for everyone?

So, I wanted to address this challenge properly so everyone can be aware of the fact that a pre-made offer is not always the best choice. Or better said, it’s never a good choice.


There are several reasons, including:

  • Every business has a different needs, different target audience and goals
  • Websites have the potential to rank for more keywords than the offer includes
  • Some clients need more optimizations and less new content (and vice versa)
  • For some clients, we need to fix the website first before implementing any aspect of SEO
  • …and so on, hope you got my point.

So, in this article, I want to address some of the most common problems that may arise when asking for a proposal. After that, you will be able to answer the main question: Will the proposal help you make a better decision on whether to cooperate with a particular company or not?

How I Learned This Lesson?

When SmartClick was in the early stages, we tried to offer a few service packages. I had plenty of meetings that seemed great until the potential client asked for a pre-defined proposal so they could decide. And yes, we worked so hard to create those proposals, but as time went by, my team and I realized that it’s not the most beneficial option for the client.

That led us to the next important question: How they will compare our proposal with others, and how will they decide what is best for them just based on a paper with a bunch of activities, especially after we had a great meeting and they have access to our case studies, testimonials, and real use cases? Probably we missed something on the call since they weren’t able to make a decision. 

So, let’s turn for a moment on the client’s side. 

Imagine, you’ve received a proposal for a website development project: $10,000 for ten unique pages e.g. Homepage, About, Services etc., then some specific functionalities, staging and production environment, and a live launch. Sounds tempting, right? But is this information enough for you? Will focusing on price bring the benefits you expect from your website? At the end of the day, we all have some goals – WHY we are making a website? Is it for selling something? Is it just for sharing some useful information on it? And that should be communicated on a call. 

Defining your needs before considering any proposal can help you communicate them better with the company which you want to work with. Basic features for a lower price tag may seem like a nice start, but what about the architecture, design, scalability, and ongoing support? 

Your website is an investment, not an expense, so sticking to some generic proposal won’t do much for your business. Still, it’s not only how the website looks but also how it works, its loading speed, design, optimization, and functionality. And how can you determine that from a price proposal? 

At the end of the day, the most important thing is for the website to bring profit or benefit to the client. And usually, clients are not open to discuss money goals on the call. 

The same happens with the SEO services. Most of the proposals  look almost identical, no matter the agency, and they contain:

  • Estimated number of keywords to rank in the top 10 results
  • Number of blog posts to be published on the website
  • Number of backlinks to be obtained during a month
  • Number of monthly on-page optimizations
  • And the list goes on and on…

So, if you receive some similar proposals, my question for you is, how you will choose the best one? How do you estimate that the agency that writes six blog posts monthly is better than the one that offers five? If one agency offers a top ranking for 20 keywords, and another for 25 keywords, does it tell anything about the quality of the collaboration?

For example, check out these proposals which I got on my email:

They’ve never asked me if I need link-building services. And even if I need them, how would they know if they’re the relevant resources I need my brand name mentioned on?

Let’s now look at this in more detail:

Suppose you get two proposals from Agency A and Agency B; how do you know which one to choose? Let’s say Agency A offers a top ranking for 20 keywords, while Agency B offers 30 keywords for the same price. 

My question is, how can anyone prevent Google from ranking for even 30-40 more related queries in the top positions? So, what makes the one better than the other?

Also, can we bring traffic to your website with related keywords that weren’t a part of the offer? Of course, that is possible. So, would the cooperation be considered unsuccessful if rankings are achieved, for other words? 

To give you a real example, we worked with our client on ranking “hire a Laravel developer” as the target query. And besides that keyword, Google ranked them for hundreds of related keywords with the same root, even though they weren’t a part of the initial strategy.

It’s the same with the article and blog writing. What if an agency offers 50 articles per month, but they’re all AI-generated, unclear, and offer no value at all? And what if another agency offers five blogs per month, but they’re well-researched, aligned with your business strategy, and dedicated to the ideal client?

Does the quantity overvalue the quality? Are 50 blog posts that doesn’t have any strategic goal in behind are better than five blog posts that bring ten conversions per month? What if you have 5-6 blog posts with concise and direct targeting and a well-defined purpose? Is that really not good enough compared to 50 general blog posts with no strategic purpose at all?

A great blog post on your website is based on audience research, keyword research, and the awareness stage of your buyer. That way, your content is not only entertaining and informative but valuable for the audience.

Before writing an article, there is a brief that explains the purpose, the goals, expectations, and, surely, the audience. By adding SEO details and structure, you ensure the final piece will not only attract an audience but encourage them to convert to potential customers.

This is only a part of our detailed writing brief, that ensures you’re always on the right path:

As a result, you grab the exact attention you want, increasing the chances for the customers to recognize your worth and stay loyal to you. 

What about backlinks?

Is it worth spending a small amount on plenty of PBN links that may cause more harm than benefit? How beneficial is it for your brand to appear on suspicious websites with a history of harmful activities? 

What if I tell you that it’s better to choose an agency that will ensure one or two quality backlinks by proposing guest posting on relevant websites? Or maybe the on-site content can attract mentions and natural backlinks if it’s quality and citable enough.

Or maybe the website audits?

Imagine visiting your doctor and getting a therapy prescription with no prior examination. How do they know you need antibiotics with no blood analysis or swab tests at all? 

It’s the same with the companies that offer services and strategies without knowing what happens to your website or the whole company. How can they know what to execute without prior analysis, audits, and technical checks?

What does an audit included in the offer mean if you don’t know what’s in those audits? 

How do you trust an offer that doesn’t include a complete technical SEO audit on your website? Or content analysis? Or maybe an audit on current SEO strategy? Can you really expect better ranking, more traffic, more leads, and an increased number of conversions if your website loads slowly? 

What if there are too many error pages with no resolved redirects? Or thin content with no purpose at all? Or maybe keyword cannibalization that ruins the ranking for important pages? Can a unified offer resolve all your issues and take your website to the top 10 results on search engines? 

What I Learned From My Experience?

Asking for a proposal should come after a detailed meeting. Every business is different, and a predetermined strategy surely won’t bring the benefits we all expect, nor will it boost the client’s online presence. 

The contract is a result of a detailed discussion, and we use it as a starting point for our collaboration. That’s why prices may vary depending on factors like:

  • The industry our client belongs in
  • Their current ranking and performance
  • Their goals and estimated expectations
  • How large is the covered market
  • The current number of their customers/clients
  • How the website performs right now

We need this information so we can come up with a strategy that is tailored to your business. So, before approaching, try to answer these questions:

  • Is the website or the SEO strategy some strategic move for you? If not, do you really need it?
  • What do you expect from our collaboration?
  • What should your website bring?
  • Why do you need SEO?
  • How it goes now, and what do you want to accomplish?
  • and so on…

Maybe your business doesn’t need these channels at all, especially if your audience is somewhere else, like social media or direct email communication. 

A package of a few blog posts, some promised rankings, and several backlinks won’t bring much benefit if your target audience doesn’t use search engines to discover brands and companies. 

On the other hand, if you indeed need a website and SEO, you need to think about tailored strategies, not some predefined offers that are less likely to work for you.

In the end, it’s always good to decide if it’s worth saving money on solutions with little to no results or investing in strategies that will surely show growth and improvements. It’s all about your perception of things. 

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