Choosing a Manchester SEO Agency

What to ask your prospective SEO Agency

What is an SEO Agency?

A brief intro about SEO Agencies in Manchester

Manchester is widely regarded as the up and coming digital and SEO capital of the United Kingdom. We’re home to hundreds of companies claiming to be the SEO agency in Manchester you must use. They all say similar things on their websites like, “We’re the best SEO agency in Manchester” or “SEO Manchester Experts“; but whenever you’re making a business decision you’ll already know that due diligence is key and you can’t simply believe what you’re told when presented with arbitrary claims of being the best.

Most Manchester SEO Companies offer similar services, such as Pay Per Click management, where they’ll take over your Google advertising and manage your spend for you. They’ll also offer content writing for blogs and articles on both your website and third party websites. And finally, they’ll tell you about the need to build your backlink profile with links from other sites to yours. They’ll explain how the more valuable links you have pointing to your site the higher you’ll rank.

So, if everyone is saying the same thing, why are some better than others and how can you make your decision?

Questions to ask your SEO agency

What should you ask and what answers should you expect from your SEO agency?

Spinningfields in Manchester

What results have you achieved?

Where are your clients ranking, how long and how much did it cost?

It’s an imperative question to ask, as with a lot of technophobes, when an SEO Agency Manchester tells them that they’re great at SEO, they take their word on face value. When you ask them about their results, look out for the following, always remember, this is an investment by you and it needs to see a return, you’re not just doing this for the sake of doing it.

What to do next:

  • Check the results, are their clients actually/still ranking for the search terms they identified?
  • Get onto Google Search Trends and check to see if the search volume is high. If it’s a high number, it’s probably competitive and difficult to achieve. If it’s low anyone with a website and a bit of content could rank for it. 
  • Ask how long it took them to achieve these results and at what cost? Apply the logic to your own business, would the traffic be worth it?
    • Calculate the potential conversions you’ll generate at 0.02% of the total traffic each month – IF you’re in position 1. It’s no use ranking for a keyword with 100 searches per month on a product or service worth £100 when you’ve paid £2000 per month for 8 months to achieve it! 

If the achievements of your Manchester SEO Agency don’t add up with your projections, call it quits and move onto the next agency. Otherwise, move onto the next section below.

River and bridge with Hilton Hotel in background

Does your work stick?

Does the work of your SEO Company stick? What happened to client rankings when they moved on?

Clients will always try other providers and move on or put a stop to their work once they’ve achieved the results they required. However, good work has staying power, poor work has the website disappear off Google within minutes.

If the Manchester SEO Agency tells you that their clients disappeared off Google and you’ll need to stick with them on a monthly retainer if you want to keep your position alarm bells should be ringing. If a painter told you that you need to keep painting your wall every month or it’d deteriorate and wear away you’d assume they were using a knock-off brand of paint, the same applies to SEO.

How do you work with code?

Do you use web developers to improve the site performance?

You need to find out if the SEO Agency Manchester has their own expert web developers. A lot of technical SEO revolves around presenting the best site in the way for search engines to elicit information from them. This includes caching, minification of code, presenting fallback options for failed or slow code and so on. 

A lot of our SEO work begins at the development stage. It’s why we’re so confident we can deliver results. Most SEO Manchester agencies don’t hire their own developers – instead, they outsource it to external providers who don’t understand SEO

If your SEO Agency Manchester does have their own developers, great news, ask them the following to ensure they’re up to scratch.

How do you minify your jQuery, CSS, and HTML?
If they aren’t using preprocessing compilers and have opted for plugins on their sites, chances are you’re dealing with a designer come developer, not a fully qualified web developer.

How do you deliver CSS for structure and for styles?
Google has started promoting sites that deliver style rules for the structure of the site in a separate file to the rest of the code defining font sizes, borders, and fancy colours. This lets the site load faster making for happier users and happier search engines. 

Does your Content Management System generate HTML5 code? Explain how.
99% of websites on the Internet don’t meet the HTML5 Schema recommendations so chances are that the SEO Agency Manchester you’re speaking too won’t do this either – or they’ll say that they do without knowing. 

A quick breakdown is as follows:
Every section on a page is wrapped in its own Section tag, which then has its own Header and Content area. Within the Header you need to have a title and subtitle with strong relevancy to the content.

This is the structure Google is looking for and will use to promote your site. Have a look at the layout of this page and you’ll get the idea.

River shot of Manchester with Hilton in the background

How do you work with design?

Are you designers qualified to work in Conversion Rate Optimisation?

It’s probably best to find out if theManchester SEO Agency has their own designers or bank of designers they use? Most will have some sort of resource they go to for design. However, if the design is outsourced you need to think about the extra cost for incurred by the SEO agency Manchester whenever they want to add a new page, section or layout area into the site.

If this is the case, you need to begin considering whether a) your website growth will suffer when the SEO agency hold back on commissioning small design requests and instead look after it themselves (A quick look at your better-performing Manchester SEO agency websites will quickly show you what we mean), or b) They’ll just opt to update the only the blog on your site instead of actual pages.

In case you didn’t know, our Layout Composer allows us to rapidly create new pages, to brand, without needing a designer to get involved. Its the whole premise of Atomic website design, which means we are capable of implementing best SEO practice sitewide instead of on your blog only