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What makes a good SEO agency?

Last update : 23 November 2020

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The SEO agency market in Montreal (and around the world) has certain features and we think this topic is worth addressing for people who are looking for the rare gem for their SEO strategy in Montreal or elsewhere. Before starting this article, a short disclaimer: we are an SEO agency in Montreal (and we even think we are one of the good agencies) so our discussion will inevitably be a little biased but we still think we are in a good position to advise you.

After all, we are directly concerned by the subject insofar as we often meet companies that want to entrust their SEO strategy to an agency but have no idea how to choose. In this article, we will explain what an SEO agency is (so that everyone is on the same page), our opinion on the features of a reputable SEO agency and finally our advice so that you can choose the right SEO agency based on YOUR needs. Have a good read!

Our definition of an SEO agency

An SEO agency is a group of people, often employees of the same company or a group of consultants, who are dedicated to helping companies better rank organically in search results. In other words, an SEO agency wants to help its clients position themselves on the first page (mainly on Google) for specific terms.

Here is an example of a search that My Little Big Web managed to place one of its clients on the first page of Google (the client’s name will not be specified for privacy reasons):

position-seo-avocat-affaire-montréal

Our client, a law firm located in Montreal, wanted to position itself on the first page of Google for the “Montreal business lawyer” query (in French) because they know that this will generate visibility and interesting business opportunities (“leads”) for their company. So they typed in terms like “SEO agency” or “Montreal SEO agency” on Google and came across our web agency. Although we are an SEO agency in Montreal, we also work with other regions in Quebec, Canada, the United States and Europe. We have even been contacted on several occasions by clients located in Dubai who told us that they simply typed “SEO agency” on Google and found us (yeah!!!!).

As you can see, the goal of an SEO agency is to improve your ranking on search engines. We mentioned Google but this type of agency can also position you on search engines like Bing, Yahoo and even less popular search engines in North America. We will now look at what we think defines a good SEO agency in Montreal or elsewhere.

Our opinion on the features of a good SEO agency

The technical skills of the SEO agency

A good SEO agency needs to have the technical skills to perform a complete SEO audit of your website and identify the factors that need to be improved. It has a wide range of tools at its disposal that enable it to crawl your site and highlight technical issues, whether in terms of programming, semantic field, duplicated content, internal linking, broken links, Sitemap or even the robot.txt file. A good SEO agency will be able to tell you what tools it uses and will even be able, if you ask it, to show you an extract or the entirety of an example of an SEO audit it has already performed for one of its clients.

The SEO agency’s programming skills

A good SEO agency clearly understands that the way a website is coded has a direct impact on its SEO. Therefore, it should have programmers (backend and frontend) on its team who have been trained in SEO and can therefore implement the recommendations in the audit performed by the SEO expert in charge of your website. In our opinion, this factor is extremely important.

Many SEO agencies in Montreal and around the world only focus on doing audits but lack the internal resources to implement all the recommendations they make. Clients therefore find themselves having to hire, in addition to their SEO agency, a programming agency, which may not have the knowledge and skills to implement the optimizations designed to properly rank their website.

To add a bit of nuance to the idea that a good SEO agency should have all the resources in-house, let’s say that it should at least (in our opinion) work with a team of trusted web developers that it can delegate these technical tasks to so that the client is not forced to play project manager between the SEO agency and the programming agency.

In any case, even if it outsources this aspect, the SEO agency has to work with the programming team to make sure that nothing is overlooked and that all recommendations are implemented. This may seem obvious, but we can assure you that unfortunately many SEO agencies are not aware of this and the client often finds out too late.

The SEO Agency’s copywriting skills

This is also stating the obvious but it is important to remember that SEO consists largely of creating content for website visitors and optimizing it for search engine robots. Therefore, a good SEO agency needs a team of copywriters that is trained in SEO if it wants to support you in the long term.

Again, we think that a good SEO agency has a strong interest in having this writing done in-house, if only to enable you to communicate directly with the copywriting team that writes your blog articles or service pages. An SEO agency that outsources this task (which is common in the world of SEO agencies) will often be reluctant to put you in touch with the copywriter or even to simply admit that the task is entrusted to a service provider that increases the cost of their service. This brings us to the next point.

The transparency of the SEO agency

It goes without saying that a good SEO agency has to be transparent with its clients. Moreover, this concerns not only web marketing agencies but all companies in general. You can’t be good at everything or always offer all the services that clients expect. We ourselves have evolved over time and expanded our teams and their digital skills to offer additional services, but in the meantime, we always want to be upfront with our clients about our limitations.

The transparency that a good SEO agency should have also involves sharing its work methods. Your agency shouldn’t hide its tools and methods for fear that a client will decide to continue the work on their own or give the contract to another team of SEO experts. Naturally, each web agency has its own tools and work methods and it is obviously never fun to learn that the client is going to work with a competing SEO agency, likely handing over the audits and reports done etc.

However, it is important to understand that even if the SEO agency has been providing work to its client for a while, the documents sold are not the property of the SEO agency and the client is free to show them to anyone (yes, it is frustrating but it is a reality). A good SEO agency needs to understand this and accept it. If this is not the case, the client must be informed at the beginning of the contract that certain actions will not be disclosed to them for reasons of intellectual property protection and the client is then free to grant the contract or to choose another SEO agency to work with.

The SEO agency’s pedagogy

When you entrust a SEO agency with a contract worth several thousand dollars, you are entitled to understand what it is doing and ask it to bring you up to speed. Again, the SEO agency you work with is free to share all of its practices with you, but we believe that a good SEO agency should provide you with a minimum of training.

At My Little Big Web, we believe that if you don’t understand what we do, you can’t be sure we’re a good SEO agency and worse: you can’t refer us to people that you know who are looking for a digital marketing agency!

Normally, a good SEO team will be happy to answer your questions, provide training so that you can contribute to your SEO strategy and even help you perform some of the tasks in-house if that’s what you want. A good SEO agency is well aware that some tasks are complex to internalize, even for a large company, because you often need several experts (programmers, developers, designers, web analysts) and this need is often ad hoc. It is therefore pointless to re-allocate your internal resources.

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Choose the right SEO agency for you

The factors listed above are subjective. As an SEO agency in Montreal, we are constantly being asked to take over contracts from other SEO agencies. The SEO agency community in Montreal is a small world and we sometimes wonder why the client wants to change SEO agencies when the one they are currently working with is, in our opinion, a good SEO agency.

In any case, the choice of your SEO team is a purely subjective one and you have to ask yourself what factors are important to you before signing an SEO contract. We believe that it is best to take the time to ask all your questions, see if a connection is made, if you feel confident and if you think you will have fun working with your SEO agency.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this article about the features of a good SEO agency. The fact that you are taking the time to learn about the factors that determine which SEO agency is the right one shows that you are looking for an honest and transparent collaborative process, so we can only encourage you to continue along this path. Of course, we also encourage you to contact us if you think that My Little Big Web may be the right SEO agency for you.

Eugénie
Eugénie

Co-founder and SEO-SEM Specialist

Eugénie began her web marketing career at Microsoft with partners that included Hewlett-Packard and Dell. In 2013, she co-founded My Little Big Web with Maxence to help SMBs optimize their web marketing. Her SEO, online advertising and user experience skills help My Little Big Web's clients quickly and lastingly rank at the top of search results. Since she is committed to sharing knowledge, she teaches many internal and external workshops and gives talks on various topics related to digital marketing.

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