Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Toronto SEO Agency
If you live in the GTA and want to expand your inbound and content marketing activities, hiring Toronto SEO experts can be a very good idea. You want to stay local, because a lot of SEO is focused on local audience growth, so you need people familiar with the area to put together the best campaigns.
However, there are a lot of Toronto SEO agencies to choose from. How do you know which is best for your business? We’ve got some tips to make the decision easier.
What You Need to Know Before Hiring Toronto SEO Experts
- Do I need a website rebuild?
This is a question to ask yourself as much as them. There’s a big difference between hiring an SEO company to help with your content, and one which is going to attempt to rebuild your entire website. If you or they decide you do need a website design change, you will need to proceed with great caution to be sure you pick an agency which can do it right.
The right agency will have local experience. They should be able to prove their understanding of the local Toronto marketplace and of the strategies required to appeal to a local audience within their design. Another important consideration is your mobile audience. Your company requires a mobile-optimized site designed to appeal to your qualified local buyers. After all, most mobile audiences are purchase ready and represent unique value to your brand. And 72% of consumers who perform local searches visit a store within 5 miles of their current location.[i] Discuss mobile optimization options within your chosen design firm and make sure there’s a clear path for mobile audience engagement.
Consider the example of GTA-based Glen Abbey Physiotherapy, which, after a successful SEO campaign was able to reach the first page of Google for several of their most used keywords. They now have more than one patient per day in additional traffic to their clinic as a result of the campaign.
- How will you go about building links?
Building links to and from your website is one of the backbones of SEO, but there are right ways and wrong ways to do it. Read up on white-hat and black-hat link building strategies, and be sure to pick an SEO firm whose white hat is firmly in place.
Companies with limited SEO experience tend to over-use links throughout their site designs and online content. While this might have been a successful strategy a few years ago, Google now requires more precision. Links should be to your keywords used by your customers when searching for your company. Quality rather than quantity is the key to a successful link-building strategy. Reaching out to trusted firms and ensuring quality linkbacks to your content is currently the most successful strategy for growing brands.
- How much do you know about our industry?
It isn’t strictly necessary for your SEO firm to know your industry, but it helps. Plus, the more obscure or technical your industry, the harder it will be for them to learn about it and produce relevant materials. Try to find an agency with relevant experience. This is particularly important if the SEO company is charged with trying to locate authoritative industry companies as part of backlinking campaigns. The more highly respected the company you receive a link from, the better value the link to your SEO campaigns. Even if the SEO firm doesn’t know a great deal about your industry at the inception of your business relationship, they should learn more about your industry and company as the relationship grows.
A respected firm will review your marketplace, your competitors and the trends within the field. They will use this information to build quality content that helps your local Toronto firm become a leader within the marketplace. And they should work to establish your brand as a trusted authority when it comes to online content.
- What past results can you show me?
Any decent SEO firm will have case studies of past clients, with clear “before” and “after” proofs of their effectiveness. An SEO agency which can’t -or won’t- provide info on past work is not trustworthy. They should be able to point to years of work with past clients and to successful campaigns.
Most important when working with a new company is to find how they achieved the results they’ve achieved. How did they help a past client reach the first page with their campaigns? Which strategies did they find most successful? Have they been able to succeed where others have failed? Rather than asking the company to discuss their results, ask them about the campaigns they’ve been involved in. What research was involved to build the campaign?
Another important consideration is the level of current business the organization has. On the one hand, a large amount of current working projects shows that their work is valued and that other business owners have come to depend on their digital marketing experts for leadership. On the other, the firm might not have the time to dedicate to your particular campaign if their team is overworked on other projects. Make sure they have the resources and the skill to match your campaign objectives and help drive your digital marketing campaigns forward.
- Can you make me #1 on Google?
This is a trick question. SEO can improve your standing on Google, but no marketing company can guarantee a #1 spot. There are just too many complications and semi-random factors at play. An SEO agency which says “Yes!” without reservation is either over-promising, or just plain playing you.
Reaching the first page on Google requires a long-term SEO strategy rather than short term tricks. It requires the guidance of a digital marketing brand than knows your mobile and traditional audience and can build campaigns that attract both to your brand and its content.
Take for example the SEO campaign built for General Fasteners, a Canada-wide warehousing supply company. Over a 9-month period an extensive SEO campaign took place, which involved the updating and optimizing of 100s of pages using SEO best practices. This improved the ranking of many of the company’s keywords, and their site went from the 3rd or 4th page to the 1st page on many high value queries. This helped significantly increase product sales and ensured thousands of repeat visits by loyal customers.
The most effective companies work tirelessly to build comprehensive SEO strategies, which cover social media, web design, content creation and a range of other areas to build a connection with the company’s target audience.
So, let’s look at what we’ve learned through this introduction to SEO for Toronto companies.
- If you need a website rebuild, make sure the company has mobile design experience and understands the value of SEO for web design.
- Over-using links and black-hat linking campaigns can limit your SEO returns. Work with a company that understands the value of linking precision.
- Trusted firms will work to understand your industry; a one-size-fits-all approach is not always effective in a niche marketplace.
- Make sure your chosen Toronto SEO firm has clear results from their past campaigns, and has the insights to explain their working process.
- Qualified SEO companies work in the long-term to learn your audience and your products. They then respond with optimization work crafted to help connect your brand with qualified buyers.