When looking for affordable SEO, you need to be careful not to compromise quality too much and render your search optimization campaign useless. On the flip side, paying for top notch professional SEO can be expensive. We have a number of very large Fortune 100 clients who have budgets that medium or small businesses could never match. This is true for direct buyers of SEO or people who want to become an SEO reseller.

But this doesn't mean that SEO can't be affordable. Not at all. We've also run a number of campaigns for small and medium sized business that smaller budgets can accommodate. However, we also see many people falling into the usual traps as they try to save money. Here are things to watch for:

1) Many 'affordable SEO' services are really low-quality link building in India. This does not work. The submission sites that they are using have so many outbound links (like tens of thousands) and so little authority, that they don't help your site.

2) Many affordable SEO packages that guarantee results for you are a scam. Don't believe me? Try asking them what types of phrases they are going to guarantee. We've done this when we've been pitched search optimization services. It always turns out to be a 3 word phrase for which there are under 5,000 pages indexed in Google. This means it's a phase with no search volume, no traffic, and therefore no interest for anybody.

3) Some affordable SEO packages go even further and actually use private label content. This is an extremely bad idea because one key aspect of SEO is unique content. Google loves unique content and is good at spotting it. They can tell you if any sentence has been used anywhere else on the Internet. It's amazing really.

So what should you look for when shopping for an affordable SEO program? I would look for a professional SEO firm that has large Fortune 100 clients but also has a stripped-down offering for smaller clients. This is positive because you know that the firm operates with a high level of integrity and transparency, or they wouldn't be able to attract and retain large customers. This type of environment is likely to permeate down to the lower-level plans, which is positive for you.

I would also look for top notch reporting tools. This is critical so that you know what the professional SEO firm is doing for you. While you need to be ready to accept lower levels of customer service from an affordable SEO plan, you should not have to accept sub-standard reporting and transparency.