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How to choose an SEO agency?

Company directors, marketing managers or webmasters,

You want to improve the visibility of your website and increase your ROI, but you don’t know which seo agency you want to work with?

Choosing the right SEO agency to handle the SEO for your e-commerce site or your shop window site is a key factor in your visibility, and therefore your business. So what criteria should you use to find the best SEO agency? How can you get an idea of their expertise? What points should I be looking out for? What are my needs? What will a professional agency never offer?

How can you be sure of an agency’s professionalism?

In 2024, there are many SEO agencies and specialist consultants on the market. Admittedly, from the outside, it may seem difficult to recognise an SEO expert from a charlatan. However, there are ways of identifying a quality company that will do a good job for you and your site.

Before engaging with any SEO agency, including ours, it is essential to :

  • Test your own positioning in search engines;
  • Check its reputation (e-reputation);
  • Check the references it provides on its own website;
  • Check that the company is financially sound;
  • Set up an interview at the company’s offices, by telephone or even via Skype.

All this information provides you with the clues you need to form your own opinion and make a confident selection of the right professional.

Test the positioning of your future agency

Would you like to entrust your online visibility to a web agency? It’s a good idea to check whether the agency itself is well positioned in the search engines for keywords directly related to its activity.
If the agency itself is not able to appear in the top Google results, will it be able to do so for your company?

As for our team’s website,, it appears on the 1st page of Google for legitimate queries such as “SEO” or “SEO agency“.

Check the reputation of a team of SEOs

The online reputation of any organisation is a good indicator of its expertise, particularly in SEO.

To test an agency’s e-reputation, you can check whether it :

  • Has a company blog on which it shares its experience;
  • Participates in or sponsors events;
  • Is active and followed on social networks.

It’s worth pointing out that an absence of activity is not necessarily a bad sign, at least for freelancers. This is less true for agencies.

Testing customer references

It is quite normal for an SEO agency to provide a certain number of references in order to demonstrate its know-how and the results obtained. If this is not the case, you can ask them to provide you with a few references.

Don’t hesitate to contact some of the contractors mentioned for direct feedback on the quality of their services, support and customer relations.

Always keep a certain distance from all the testimonials. Some clients are more difficult to deal with than others, whatever the agency.

Check the financial health of your future partner

Checking the financial health of your future web agency is a much more important step than it might seem. In fact, a natural search engine optimisation service takes place over several months, or even several years.

You are making a commitment to a new partner for a certain period. It is therefore vital to check the solidity of the new partner so that you don’t find yourself without a service provider overnight and lose the investments you have already made.

To check this, go to the site’s legal notices and find the agency on the service.

Mistakes when choosing a web agency

Here are a few mistakes to avoid when choosing an SEO agency:

  • Focus on price alone: choosing an SEO agency should not be based solely on the price offered. An agency offering very low prices may be tempting, but it’s important to make sure of the quality of their services and their expertise in SEO.
  • Not checking references and previous results: before choosing an SEO agency, it’s important to check their past experience and the results they’ve achieved for other clients. This ensures that they have the necessary skills to manage your project.
  • Failing to ensure that the agency is transparent: an SEO agency must be transparent about their working methods and SEO techniques. If the agency refuses to give details of their methods, this could be a warning sign.
  • Not checking their experience in your business sector: each business sector has its own particularities in terms of SEO. It’s important to choose an SEO agency with experience in your business sector to ensure that they understand the specifics of your market.
  • Failure to establish clear communication: clear and transparent communication is essential for a successful SEO project. Before choosing an agency, it’s important to ensure that they communicate clearly and regularly with you to keep you informed of the progress of your project.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that you choose an SEO agency that will meet your needs and help you achieve your SEO objectives.

When looking for a good agency

Find out more about SEO

Before you embark on a thorough search for an SEO company, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the different facets of this profession. Find out in advance about the different techniques for optimising a website from the gurus of the trade. Read Olivier Andrieu’s book “Réussir son référencement web”.

Take a look at Google’s ‘guidelines’, which offer a wealth of information on the best practices to apply to a website. These principles are, of course, laid down by Google itself, the world leader in the search engine market and the source of 90% of web queries in France.

Asking the right questions also means knowing how to analyse your needs, define your objectives and understand the issues surrounding your site. Is it in the process of being created? Are you planning an imminent redesign? What budget do you have? Request a quote on the Internet to find out the SEO rates of the various professionals in the sector and compare the offers.

By doing some serious research at the outset, you’ll be able to understand more about the services offered by the SEO agencies you contact.

Analyze the agencies

Investigate and form your own opinion of agencies. Assess the reputation of your future partner. They are SEO professionals. That’s why they need to be positioned on keywords related to their activity. Type in “search engine optimisation quote”, “seo agency”, “natural search engine optimisation agency” to get an idea of the companies on the market, or at least those that manage to position themselves on competitive keywords in their field of activity.

If you want to find out about the financial health of an SEO agency, you can go to and enter the name of the director or company in the search field. In the “Financial analysis” tab, you can access important data about a company, such as its turnover or net profit.

Organise a call

In short, you’ll be asked a lot of questions, which should give you an idea of the integrity of the person you’re dealing with. Good SEO is generally based on a lasting relationship and trust between the SEO agency and the client. The choice of service provider should therefore not be overlooked if you don’t want to quickly become disappointed and disillusioned with natural search engine optimisation.

  • Does he find out about your business sector and your organisation?
  • Do they listen to your expectations?
  • Are they able to carry out a quick analysis of your site and identify areas for improvement?
  • Can they provide you with references in your sector? Examples of results?
  • What tools do they offer to help you assess the results of their services?
  • Etc…

Finally, ask for a free quotation and, if necessary, an explanation of the quotation.

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What a good agency never offers

In the jungle of SEO agencies, you’ll find all kinds of pitches. Some present themselves as “the best seo agency” and promise to get you to the top of Google in just a few weeks, while others are much more cautious and vague about the results they can deliver.

While it’s essential to be sure of an agency’s professionalism, it’s just as important to know how to distinguish passionate SEOs from those who promise the best. Here are some answers.

Overly tempting promises

Before the roll-out of Google updates such as Panda and Penguin, the massive creation of external links (link building) alone was enough to propel almost any site to the first page of the search engine.
These practices are now a thing of the past. As well as being ineffective, they are dangerous because they are punished by the search engines. Yet some unscrupulous people continue to use them despite the consequences for their customers.

Today, thousands of parameters influence a site’s ranking. Although we know some of them, Google is careful not to reveal the secrets of its algorithm. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is therefore an inexact science, requiring a great deal of expertise and patience to achieve a convincing result and, indeed, a significant return on investment.

Some promises are untenable, so it’s wise not to let yourself be tempted by the siren song:

  • Traffic doubled in a very short space of time;
  • Top spot in Google within a few weeks on competitive queries;
  • Search engine optimisation campaigns without any intervention on your site (so it’s important to understand that this is just netlinking);
  • An explosion in your sales: be careful, good positioning doesn’t necessarily mean conversion!
Using black hat techniques

Black hat” techniques aim to position a site on competitive queries in a very short space of time. To achieve this, they contravene Google’s best practice guidelines.
Like a flash in the pan, they produce results very quickly, but they are also short-lived. Google quickly catches on to the deception and severely punishes the offending site, which is simply removed from the search results.

Some examples of black hat practices:

  • Purchase of hundreds of links from low-quality, non-themed sites;
  • Spammy comments on foreign forums that have nothing to do with the site’s theme;
  • Use of programmes to generate hundreds of pages of no interest to the user;
  • Use of content spinning;
  • Publication of mass content with no added value for the user in order to integrate keywords.

Black hat therefore runs counter to good SEO practice, which offers results that may be slower, but are sustainable and risk-free for your site.

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