Some of you are looking at the title up there and thinking “Huh? Affordable SEO is, pretty much by definition, a good deal…right?”
You could be forgiven for thinking that thought. It’s because you’re thinking from the perspective of someone who has already bought a service and you know what you got for your money. Sure, if it all works well and you more traffic and thus more sales and mor money in your pocket, it was obviously affordable. But what about before you buy?
Before you buy something, you don’t know if it’s affordable or not — you can only make educated guesses. Furthermore, before you buy something, you are constantly evaluating whether your money is best spent doing X or doing Y. You’re also constantly worried about whether the product or service you want will fit under your budget at all.
So, depending on your exact situation, it may be that ‘affordable’ means ‘I have the cash on hand to buy it without skipping dinner”. It might also mean ‘Of the three options I’m considering, it will give me the most return for my buck.’
So when is ‘affordable’ a bad thing to shoot for? Simple — when it’s going to be more destructive to your business than it is helpful. For example, if you have $350 to spend, you could hire seven different companies to implement seven different social bookmarking plans and get 7,000 backlinks for your money. Or, you could hire one company to use a variety of techniques and only get you 2,000 total backlinks.
If you don’t know SEO, you’ll jump at the chance to get more than three times as many backlinks for your money — but that ‘affordable SEO’ is a horrible deal because of the way Google dislikes repetitive backlinking strategies.
As another example, you might decide that you’re better off hiring a professional writer to write a few hundred really high-quality articles for you and turn them in to the best article directory on the Internet. In order to pay for that, you have to give up the same 2,000 backlinks from up above — the cost is the same. While the cost of $350 for a few hundred high-quality articles is a great deal in the context of articles, it’s crappy SEO — you’re better off with the 2,000 backlinks.
So in short, affordable SEO becomes a bad deal whenever you make the ‘affordable’ part more important than the ‘SEO’ part.