Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the key components of web marketing and an increasing number of companies are taking an active interest in it. As the costs of advertising on Google (Google Ads) continue to rise due to increased competition, SEO has become the digital goldmine for many website owners who want to attract qualified traffic and increase their sales volume. The more competition there is, the more skills are needed to succeed and SEO has grown over the years to become a true discipline around the world. In this article, we will discuss the different points to consider when you are looking to hire an SEO agency in Montreal or elsewhere.
The Montreal SEO agency’s reputation
As with any company, it is important to learn about the SEO agency you are going to contact. All you have to do in most cases is type the name in Google and see what comes out. The first thing that will give you a good overview of the agency is its Google My Business listing.
Clicking on the number of reviews will show you all the reviews left by the company’s customers. You can also do the same thing with the company’s Facebook page if it has one.
Generally speaking, an SEO agency in Montreal that has been in business for some time will inevitably have press coverage, review sites and local directories and you will be able to get an idea of its popularity quite easily.
“The mechanic’s car is leaking”
If there is one thing that an SEO agency can’t cheat, it would be their own Google rankings! For most companies, good or bad SEO is not necessarily representative of the quality of the services offered. However, an SEO agency that claims to help companies to better position themselves on Google but itself does not have good positioning in its area might give you reason to question its credibility.
Also pay attention to the quality of the SEO agency’s website. Ranking well on Google is one thing, but converting visitors into customers is another.
An SEO agency also needs programming and design skills to provide the best user experience. Otherwise, it may well position you on search engines, but you will not necessarily succeed in converting your visitors into customers. If the SEO agency also specializes in website creation/redesign and is able to present you examples of projects, this is a good sign.
The SEO agency’s experience
Even though the SEO agency you deal with is not required to have experience in your industry, it is nevertheless important to check how long it has been around and the results it has achieved. An SEO agency that has only recently been created or has little experience will not have the same methods as an established SEO agency that already has several hundred clients to its name.
You can start by looking at the Registraire des entreprises du Québec to find out how long it has been in business and you can ask them to provide you with case studies to show you their skills.
Your SEO agency’s ethics
What would happen if one of your competitors learned which SEO agency you were dealing with and asked to work with them as well? Does the SEO agency currently work with one or more of your competitors? To find out for sure, you should ask the question directly when you make your prospecting call. In our opinion, an SEO agency should not work with more than two competing companies if it does not want to be in a conflict of interest. It can’t rank everyone first on Google, especially if both companies have ranking goals in Montreal.
Define your expectations with your SEO agency
What is working with an SEO agency? What do you expect from them and what will your SEO agency expect from you? It is important to clearly define the boundaries of each person’s role before starting a collaboration. Some SEO agencies offer packages at $500/month while others start their offers at $1,000/month and above. Don’t assume that these are the same packages and that some SEO agencies are just more or less expensive than others.
Just to be clear, Google doesn’t care if you are a big company, a start-up or a freelancer and Google doesn’t care if you have the budget to invest in your SEO or not. The beauty of search engine optimization is that everyone is on the same page. Therefore, you need to know how much you are willing to pay for your company to be first on Google.
Getting your company to the top of the search results requires work: content writing, translation (if your market is bilingual), optimizing your website user experience, link building (backlinks), etc. Each SEO agency has an hourly rate (don’t forget to ask) that generally varies between $60 and $120. The $120 per hour agency will not necessarily be more efficient than the $60 per hour SEO agency, but the $60 per hour SEO agency will not necessarily be cheaper than the $120 per hour SEO agency. This brings us to our next and final point.
The SEO Agency’s work methods
Each SEO agency has its own work methods and it is important to know what is and isn’t included in your SEO package. For example, some SEO agencies do not write content, build links or do any work on your site. This can be a problem because these actions will still have to be carried out, in one way or another. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that your SEO agency should absolutely include in your package:
- SEO Audit
- Keyword research
- Content writing
- Content translation (if required)
- Link building
- Work on your website
Not all SEO agencies want or can offer all the above services. You will probably have the same problem with a freelancer. There can be many differences between the way a freelancer works and the way an SEO agency works. They will therefore either tell you that they do not do something or subcontract it to external companies. Outsourcing is not necessarily a bad thing, but your SEO agency needs to tell you what it outsources and what it does internally. After all, you pay your SEO agency to represent (partially) your company online and it has to be transparent in its practices. Don’t hesitate to ask them directly about the tasks they subcontract or not. At My Little Big Web, for example, we have a 0 subcontracting policy, which sets us apart from many SEO agencies in Montreal.
You also need to inquire about the right of review you have on the written content, the performance reports you will receive (if the agency offers any) as well as the waiting time before you get the first results. A reputable SEO agency should be able to give you an idea of when you will start seeing the first results.
We hope you enjoyed our article dedicated to the factors to consider before hiring an SEO agency. We also encourage you to visit each SEO agency if you can, to get an idea of the size of the company, the number of employees, the offices, the person who receives you etc. A human contact is often a determining factor because it is important that you enjoy working with your SEO agency.
As you are probably aware, My Little Big Web is an SEO agency located in Montreal that works with local companies and firms from all over the world. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like us to explain how we can support you in your SEO strategy.