what is technical seo

Is an SEO company worth the money?


Small business owners wonder if an SEO company is worth the money. They question the value of  SEO services for smaller businesses in light of the effort and money required to see results. In this article, we’re going to explain in detail why it is worth the investment in SEO and why hiring an SEO agency can save you headaches and get you results quickly.

Why small businesses question the value of SEO

Frankly, business owners have good reason to be skeptical about the value of SEO. With modest marketing budgets and so many demands on their time, they cannot afford risking valuable resources on SEO services that fail to deliver value. And many do. But if you understand the pitfalls, then you put yourself in a better position to pick the right SEO company and avoid the mistakes others have made.

Stepping into SEO can seem overwhelming and how to prioritize relevant SEO activities can be confusing to a business owner not trained or familiar with SEO practices.

SEO is one of the most powerful activities that can be carried on a website, and in this article we’re going to unpack why SEO is very much worth the investment.

One area rife with misunderstanding is the price-value relationship. There are many low cost SEO options that are available to small business. But cheap SEO comes with pitfalls, and many small business owners have learned the hard way that cheap SEO doesn’t work. Disheartening tales of wasted time, money, and effort with the wrong SEO agency partner can deter even the most determined from taking the plunge with SEO.

The dilemma is not just cost; it’s about understanding the right metrics to gauge success. Often very little reporting is provided. Much SEO reporting is not helpful. Confusing reports and lack of progress in Google search results can make people lose trust in the SEO provider.

When reports focus on vanity metrics such as impressions and clicks, they are focusing on the wrong thing.

SEO is measured by ROI

The true measure of SEO is the ROI – the return on the investment that is realized. Good reporting should clearly show the progress being made.

Despite these challenges, SEO remains an essential tool to online growth. When done well, it can be the lynchpin to unlocking untapped markets, nurturing brand recognition, and fostering sustainable growth. Clearly it is worth the commitment. When small business owners are successful with their SEO decisions, they see the dollars allocated to digital marketing are working as hard for their business as they do.

How to value SEO? 

SEO should deliver a return on what you are spending. However, it’s possible to not spend enough, especially if there is little to no marketing budget.

If your business operates in a highly competitive industry with many players using SEO strategies to generate leads, this means you’re competing against their efforts. A modest budget can produce gentle increases in organic traffic when set against a backdrop of such intense competition. You may want to see leads.

If you’re getting the growth in organic traffic, but not seeing leads, and your SEO budget is modest (say less than $1000/month), you may well consider upping your monthly spend. The result of spending more is making your on-line presence more competitive.

What is the right amount to spend? (link to article). Let’s look at the SEO spend within the context of your other options which would be PPC or online advertising on Google, Bing or on the social media networks. Below is a chart that tracks the cost per lead by industry as a guide to evaluate your organic work in generating leads.

Now let’s look at a method for valuing SEO for your small business. If you are not generating many sales from your current website traffic, then there is no helpful data for you there. You’ll have to make some reasonable assumptions. 

  1. What is your average deal size? For our example let’s say it’s $25K. 
  2. What is your revenue target for the budget period you’re planning for.  For the example, let’s say it’s $1million. 
  3. With this data, you need 40 deals ($1M/$25K=40). Your sales team has a 15% close rate for a quality lead, so you will need a 267 deal pipeline to reach your revenue target. 
  4. Let’s say your industry is consumer products, which have an average CPL of $182, from the chart above. This is 2017 data and today’s actual CPL will be much more expensive due to inflation. But let’s use that number for this exercise. 
  5. To generate $1 million in new leads, an investment of $48,594 (182×267= 48,594) is a reasonable starting point. 

In this example with an annual budget of about $49K you are in a reasonable range to start generating leads for your website. But how quickly can your website start to see leads, and ultimately get to the $1M in SEO generated revenue? 

If traffic to the website is low and of poor quality, that issue must be resolved first by your SEO agency partner. In other words, the search engines must be able to crawl and rank your website. 

Your Google Analytics account should show strong positive website visitor behaviour. Your website traffic must be healthy. You cannot get quality leads from crappy website traffic. If we’re the coach training the athlete (your website), the athlete must be in good health before they can start scoring goals (leads). 


If an investment of $50K seems a lot, let’s look at this from another perspective. Consider the option of using online paid ads to generate leads for your business. In the world of PPC, a 50% ROI is common for PPC advertising campaigns. In other words, paid channels would cost you $500K to generate the $1m revenue. By comparison, investing in SEO is a much better value proposition by a long shot. 

Key Benefits of Hiring an SEO Agency

The online world opens vast new opportunities for small business to compete locally or globally. An effective SEO strategy can allow a smaller business to catch up and surpass much larger competitors.

As another thought experiment, Google your business’s main product or services. Do you come up on page one of the search result? If you do not, then that is the task at hand. Small businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to rapidly expand their business with online SEO strategies. 

There are many benefits that can be gained through SEO work on your website. We will quantify these benefits so you can see more clearly the measurable impact. 

More Brand Awareness

Brand awareness can be measured by how easy it is to find your business online. If you do a search for each your company’s products, do you come up in the search results? If the answer is no, SEO can get you there.

In the table below are the latest click through rates for both PPC and SEO organic search. 

The number one search result will accrue 39.8% of the clicks and the top 3 results grab almost 70% of the clicks. The value of these top positions is considerable. Here are some ways we measure the brand awareness in SEO.

Enhanced visibility for your business

SEO helps small businesses rank higher for relevant keywords in search engine results pages (SERPs). Greater visibility means that users are able to find you in top search results when they search for services and products like yours. This consistent online presence can significantly boost brand recognition.

Strengthened trust and credibility of your business

Websites that appear on the first page of Google are generally perceived as more trustworthy by consumers. Implementing good SEO practices builds organic traffic to the website and this helps search engines deem the site as high-quality. When users find your website and get value from your content, they will return to your website. You are building the business’s credibility in the eyes of potential customers and thus increases brand awareness.

Small business local SEO 

For small businesses who rely on a local customer base, local business SEO is vital because it tailors their visibility to the geographic area they serve. By optimizing for local search queries and appearing in Google’s local pack, businesses enhance their visibility within the local community, contributing to heightened brand awareness and establishing a strong local reputation.

The purple line measures the frequency of their website appearing in searches. The blue line below it shows the frequency that these searches resulted in a visit to that client’s website. Here are some ways we measure the organic traffic in SEO.

Keyword optimization for high value search phrases 

Our job in researching and utilizing the right keywords, is measured in the chart above by the growth this client has seen. SEO for small businesses can drive more traffic to their website. SEO involves targeting relevant keywords which have a good search volume (but are not so competitive that ranking for them is unattainable). This targeted approach leads to more qualified traffic visiting the website.

Content marketing

Producing valuable, relevant content is integral to SEO. One of the pitfalls of the SEO industry has been the churning out of weak content. The search engine algorithms no longer recognize this content, and it won’t fool your potential customers either.

In line with Google’s E.E.A.T. guideline for helpful content, our job as a top quality SEO company is to provide readers with excellent content in the form of blog posts, guides, how-tos and articles.

As a small business you will attract potential customers because they are looking for information related to their questions or needs, and they find your content. This content strategy increases the chances of capturing traffic across various stages of the customer journey.

Mobile optimization

With the rising use of mobile devices for internet searches, particularly since the pandemic, having a mobile-optimized website is crucial for SEO. Mobile optimization ensures that the user experience is seamless across all devices, making it more likely that visitors will stay on the site and browse, thereby increasing traffic.

More Leads and Sales

Hopefully you’re starting to see how SEO is very much worth it for your small business. The starting point is in understanding where your website lies in its journey of growing awareness, and in helping you understand what is your current online market share.

Your ambitious goals and a great SEO company partner will put into action a growth plan that leads to more leads and sales for your company generated from the website. Here are some ways we measure more leads in SEO.

Higher Conversion Rates: 

SEO attracts users who are actively searching for specific products or services, meaning they are already considering a purchase. A well-optimized site can improve user experience, making it easier for visitors to navigate and find what they want, leading to higher conversion rates.

When you have great quality traffic coming to your website, even if the volume of monthly organic visits is not high, business leads will be generated. High traffic does not translate into high number of leads. Quality traffic produces leads.

Long-Tail Keywords

These are more specific phrases that users are likely to use when they are closer to a point-of-purchase. By ranking for long-tail keywords, small businesses can attract customers who have a clear intent to buy, which can directly increase sales.

Analytics and Adaptation

SEO allows businesses to analyze traffic and user behavior through tools like Google Analytics. This data is vital for understanding what works and what doesn’t. Businesses can improve sales by using real data to adjust their strategy, attracting more visitors and turning them into customers.

By committing to an ongoing SEO strategy, small businesses stand to not only expand their online presence but also establish their brand as a credible authority, attract more traffic, and ultimately convert that traffic into sales—securing a larger share of the market and paving the way for sustained growth.


Best SEO Company Toronto

Below we share some case studies of our recent SEO work with small businesses who hired us to strengthen their online presence.

A Fire Safety Consultancy 

This well-established industrial consulting specialized in fire safety had been doing SEO for a few years without seeing much benefit. They’d lost confidence in SEO, but also needed more sources of new growth to meet ambitious growth goals. They decided to try a new SEO agency and asked for our help.

Our website audit revealed a very large website, confusing to navigate. There were many pages that were old, no longer relevant, but still being crawled by the search engines. It was no surprise to us that the site was generating a very low quality traffic and was not generating leads. Our team got to work on a 6-month mission to solve the most pressing SEO issues and prove to them that competent SEO services will produce valuable results.

This is what we did:

  • Developed focused strategy tailored to solve major SEO issues
  • Optimized 9 web pages (out of a total of 1001 URLs)
  • Carried out technical SEO
  • Wrote beautiful, expert page copy, redesigned some key web pages

Here are the results:

  • Growth in search engine queries grew 184% in first 180 days
  • Website visits grew 145% over same period
  • Bounce rate dropped by half
  • Organic traffic (new users) growth of 137%
  • Growth seen across all key search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo & DuckDuckGo)
  • A whopping 24 brand new requests for quotes, attributed to our SEO work

Toronto Psychotherapy Clinic SEO Case Study

A thriving psychotherapy clinic had a website that did not showcase the business effectively. Traffic to the website was lacklustre and organic website enquiries were zero. Numerous technical SEO, UX (user experience) and content issues were problems for this business. The Asset Digital Team got to work!

Within the six months we:

  • Resolved all the UX and technical SEO issues
  • Launched a monthly SEO content program
  • Established steady growth in organic traffic and a leads program

Here are the results:

  • 700% growth in search engine appearances
  • 362% increase organic traffic to the website
  • 1st lead ever came in month 5 of SEO work
  • 300% increase in enquiries year over year

Industrial Manufacturing SEO Case Study

A precision CNC manufacturer, with 35 years experience and over 150 employees at their Mississauga facility hired Asset Digital to improve their brand, and generate leads from the website.

Within the first year here’s what we did:

  • Created a fresh brand presence with a new website
  • Implemented a rigorous competitive SEO strategy
  • Produced monthly blog articles to reach valuable target audiences
  • Designed and managed an email nurture campaign

Here are the results:

  • 178% growth in website traffic in first 6 months
  • 320% increase in US based traffic to the website
  • 1st lead ever came in month 2 of SEO work
  • 200% growth in leads year over year

Are SEO companies worth the money?

By now you understand how important SEO is to your overall business. But why pay for an SEO agency?

Perhaps you can do it yourself. Another option is to hire an SEO expert as an employee to your business. We’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of each of these options.

Do SEO yourself

There is so much information online about SEO. If you have the time and inclination, why not do it yourself? Here are some benefits with this approach.

The Cost Savings

One of the most immediate benefits of taking SEO into your own hands is the potential for significant cost savings. Hiring a professional SEO agency or consultant can be expensive, and for a small business or individual just starting out, these costs might be prohibitive.

By learning and applying SEO techniques yourself, you can save money that would otherwise be spent on outsourcing, allowing you to allocate those funds to other areas of your business.

In-Depth Understanding of Your Business

Performing SEO on your own gives you the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of your online presence and how your specific business operates in the digital landscape. This intimate knowledge allows you to tailor your SEO strategy more precisely to your brand’s unique strengths, goals, and audience.

As the business owner, no one understands your business better than you, and this insight can be invaluable when creating and optimizing content, choosing keywords, and crafting a user experience that perfectly aligns with your brand’s message.

Full Control and Flexibility

Managing SEO by yourself grants you full control over the pace and direction of your efforts. You can quickly implement changes, experiment with strategies in real-time, and pivot your tactics without the need to communicate with a third party.

Additionally, you have the flexibility to prioritize certain SEO tasks that you believe will be most effective for your business at any given time, rather than relying on a pre-packaged service or recommendations that may not fully align with your immediate objectives. This agile approach to SEO can be a significant advantage in the fast-evolving world of search engine rankings.

Taking on the SEO for your company is a significant undertaking. There are some drawbacks to making that type of commitment which should be considered.

Steep Learning Curve

SEO is a complex and multifaceted discipline that encompasses a vast range of ever-evolving tactics and best practices. For someone new to SEO, the learning curve can be steep and challenging.

Keeping up with the latest search engine algorithms, understanding keyword research, mastering on-page and off-page optimization, and staying informed about the nuances of technical SEO require a significant investment of time and effort.

This can be overwhelming for business owners who already have a full plate running their company’s day-to-day operations.

Time Consumption

Effective SEO is not a one-time task; it requires continuous monitoring, tweaking, and updating to maintain and improve search engine rankings. For individuals taking the DIY route, the time invested in learning and implementing SEO strategies could detract from other critical business activities, such as product development, customer service, and sales.

Allocating sufficient time to do SEO properly can be a challenge, and neglecting other aspects of the business to focus on SEO can have unintended negative consequences. As the CEO, becoming a subject matter expert in SEO can cost you in missed opportunities to scale the business.

Potential for Errors

Without a solid grasp of SEO best practices, DIY efforts might lead to mistakes that can hinder a website’s performance or even incur penalties from search engines. Common errors include keyword stuffing, bad link-building practices, creating poor quality content, or neglecting mobile optimization and page load speeds.

Such missteps can result in a drop in rankings or a loss of organic traffic, which can be difficult and time-consuming to recover from. The risk of errors can be especially detrimental for small businesses that rely heavily on their online visibility for success.

Hire an in-house SEO specialist

Hiring or nominating an employee to work on your SEO is a viable option and may be the right one for you. There are some benefits with having your own in-house SEO specialist.

Dedicated Focus on Your Business

One of the primary benefits of hiring an in-house SEO specialist is that they will work exclusively on your website and digital marketing initiatives. With a sole focus on your business objectives, in-house SEO experts can tailor their strategies closely to the specific needs, nuances, and goals of your business.

This dedicated attention can lead to a coherent SEO strategy that aligns seamlessly with your brand’s message. And it can be effectively integrated with your overall marketing and business development plans.

Prompt and Agile Implementation

With an in-house SEO professional, you have the advantage of quick implementation and the ability to make rapid adjustments to your SEO strategy. They are readily available to respond to changes in search engine algorithms, market trends, or shifts in company direction.

This level of agility ensures that your SEO efforts can adapt and evolve as fast as the digital landscape does, which can be crucial for maintaining and improving search engine rankings.

Better Integration and Collaboration

An in-house SEO specialist can collaborate closely with the rest of your team, ensuring that SEO considerations are integrated to reflect your priorities, from product development and content creation to customer service and other marketing such as social media.

This integrated approach ensures that SEO is not an isolated activity but a key element embedded in the business culture and workflow, which can increase the effectiveness and consistency of your SEO initiatives.

Hiring your own in-house SEO has some drawbacks which should be weighed against the benefits:

High Cost

Hiring an in-house SEO specialist can entail significant costs for a business, particularly for small to medium-sized enterprises. These costs include not just the salary of the SEO professional, but also the accompanying expenses such as taxes, benefits, training, and potential recruitment fees.

Don’t forget to add in the expensive paid SEO tools required to get the work done. For some businesses, the total investment in an in-house SEO could exceed the budget or the potential return on investment. You should be looking at a minimum annual cost of $100,000 for doing SEO in-house.

Limited Skill Set

SEO encompasses a broad range of skills including technical SEO, website development expertise, content creation, and link building strategies. SEO trends and best practice evolves continuously and so that in-house SEO must commit to staying up to date with all the algorithm changes or digital marketing trends. They are doing this in somewhat of a vacuum as your in-house SEO specialist as compared to being part of a team.

An in-house SEO may be very proficient in some aspects of SEO but it is extremely rare that they possess the comprehensive skill set to address all facets effectively.

This could lead to gaps in the business’s SEO strategy, and potentially necessitate hiring additional staff or outsourcing specific tasks to cover the deficiencies.

Challenge of Keeping Skills Updated

The field of SEO is dynamic, with search engines constantly updating their algorithms and best practices evolving regularly. An in-house SEO professional needs to be committed to continuous learning and staying current with these changes to ensure effective strategies are applied.

However, it can be challenging to stay on the cutting edge within the constraints of a single organization.

There is a risk that an in-house SEO may fall behind the latest tactics and trends. This not only reduces their effectiveness but will slow progress in gaining market share, capturing a greater share of online business leads. If unforeseen challenges are encountered these can lead the business to fall behind competitors, rather than advancing on them.

Hire an SEO Agency Partner

Another option is finding a competent SEO agency partner for your small business. We’ve explored many of the risks and setbacks in making a wrong decision. While it is difficult to find a good SEO agency, when you have found them, you are tapping into some important benefits that set this option apart from the others.

Expertise and Experience

SEO agencies bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from working with a variety of clients and industries. They are adept at formulating and executing SEO strategies that are proven to work. Agencies stay at the forefront of SEO trends and algorithm changes, offering a level of expertise that can be hard to match with an in-house team or by doing SEO yourself.

Full-Service Solutions

Top SEO agencies offer a comprehensive suite of services that cover all aspects of SEO, from keyword research and content creation to technical SEO and analytics. Some agencies have a range of other services, in addition to SEO. This full service agency possesses an outstanding SEO team and also provides services across a whole spectrum of digital marketing offerings for small business.

This holistic approach ensures that every part of your SEO campaign is aligned and working towards the same goals. This integrated approach can be aligned with other digital marketing strategies like PPC, social media, and email marketing for a stronger overall impact.

Resource Efficiency

By outsourcing to an SEO agency, businesses can save on the costs and resources associated with hiring and training an in-house team. This includes not only salary and benefits but also ongoing training and development. Agencies also come equipped with their own advanced tools and resources, further saving businesses from having to invest in their own SEO tools and technology.


As your business grows and your SEO needs change, an agency can easily scale up their services to match. Whether it’s expanding into new markets, tackling more competitive keywords, or enhancing your content marketing efforts, agencies have the capacity and flexibility to adjust the scope of work accordingly.

Measurable Results and Reporting

SEO agencies have the tools and know-how to track the performance of your SEO campaign meticulously. They provide detailed analytics and reports that not only demonstrate the value of their work but also offer actionable insights for continued improvement. With clear reporting, businesses can see the direct impact of their SEO investment on their bottom line.

When is the right time to stop SEO?

If you’ve been doing SEO for a while, it can be tempting to stop or pause the work. As a small business, you may be tempted to divert that budget elsewhere. There are some important considerations that you should include in the question of when is the right time to stop or pause SEO.

SEO is an Ongoing Process

Search engine algorithms are continuously evolving, and competitors are always trying to enhance their SEO strategies. Pausing SEO work can lead to a decline in rankings as the website may become less relevant or fall behind in adhering to the latest best practices.

Loss of Momentum

SEO builds upon itself over time. Consistency is critical – it can take months to see the fruit of SEO efforts, and halting work means losing the progress made. This could result in a significant setback and require even more effort and resources to regain lost ground.

Competitors Keep Moving

While your SEO efforts are on pause, competitors will continue to optimize their sites and may overtake your rankings. This could result in a loss of market share and make it more difficult to regain your position once SEO efforts are resumed.

Evolving Consumer Behaviour

Search trends and user behavior can change rapidly. Continuous SEO work allows you to adapt your content and strategies to meet these changes, ensuring your website remains relevant and can meet the needs of the target audience.

Fresh Content is Essential

Regularly updated content is favoured by search engines and seen as a signal of a site’s relevancy. Pausing SEO could also mean a pause in content creation and updates, leading to a stale website that drops in rankings.

Technical Issues and Updates

The technical health of a website is a fundamental component of SEO. Regular audits and updates are necessary to maintain performance. Without ongoing attention, issues such as broken links, slow page speeds, and mobile-unfriendliness can arise, harming your search rankings.

Ultimately, SEO is a long-term investment that requires ongoing attention to maintain and improve search visibility, drive traffic, and generate leads and sales. Pausing SEO work can compromise these goals and may result in long-term detrimental effects on your online presence. Pausing SEO work is generally not advised for these reasons.

Where are you in your journey to tap the power of SEO to advance your business’s online presence? We’re here to help you clarify your best SEO strategy, and then work with you in mobilizing the plan that sees your business realize growth with SEO.