Strategic Internet Marketing
No other internet based business is as tactical as Internet Marketing. It at first seems like chess then all of a sudden, the pieces and board change, from the many updates (penguin & panda) that Google incorporates year after year. Those updates have mostly affected unhealthy, spam blogs, but it also has rocked the healthy SEO community. A lot of SEO companies now operate out of fear of being penalized. Rolling with the punches has been one of the characteristics of effective marketers since the beginning of western civilization.
SEO Tactics - A brief history
The original way that pages would rank on Google was backlinks; this is still the main way, but it has become very, very complicated, and once you have it figured out, it will probably change. You used to be able to put a 1000 anchor text links on a website, and it used to work very effectively, until Matt Cutts and his team slapped the crap out of sites that had this kind of SEO profile. Then it was more about diversity and reference links, and now it's about SEO quality.
What is this quality? Links that are natural, or, at least, seem natural to the naked/digital eye. No cheap directories. No sketchy links from India. Just plain web 2.0 sites that have a reason to be linking to you. The reason? Relevance.
Google has stressed over and over that quality content is the key to PageRank, so it is vital that you not only have good content on your website, but that your backlinks have good, quality content that is relevant as well. You can use a SEO services or press release service, or you can save money and do it yourself, but doing this yourself costs more money than it may be worth. You have to weigh what you would pay yourself for the time spent on an SEO strategies. So, one of the best tactics is to use a SEO service that is effective--easier said than done, I know.
How to sift through SEO Crap Services to find good ones
Note: No matter what, it's silly to think that hiring a service, or doing it yourself, will not become a risk to penalization. Remember, that's the nature of this art or business, or any art, for that matter. Life is short, take a risk!