Most of our work comes from referrals, but we are also aware that we could potentially be missing out on new business by being on page 1 or 2 of the results. We currently spend about £120 pm on SEO, but the more I read about it, the more the story changes - google changing their ways of ranking sites for example... SEO companies seem to pray on paranoia - I've recently updated our website which has removed some of the tags the SEO company had added, apparently we are spiralling down google's rankings and we need to spend a load of wedge to get back to where we were. I don't believe them!
I believe your scepticism to be well-founded. My take on it is this: Google spends vast quantities of money and employs extremely clever people to make its algorithms better able to identify useful, original content. There is no point attempting to game Google with the latest SEO tag/keyword/link farm/crystal healing faddery. Trying too hard in that direction makes it worse -- Google is very good at identifying whatever the current gimmick is and penalising the use of it. Sites with valuable stuff on will get found. Make sure everything is in words (no text-as-images), make sure the words actually describe what you do, make sure that keywords that relate to your business are included but not excessively so.
Show us the site, you'll probably get lots of suggestions then. Some of them might even be useful
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