Here are some SEO advices for beginners i can say.
First of all i am in this field for over 3 years. I can say that i don't like the time spent and that's why i hired someone. But before that here is what i have manage to learn:
1. Link Directories - Good only for PR (google case)
Example: I paid about 300$ for links on many directories, on PR3-5 pages. All good. When google crawled some of them the PR went to 1 or 2.
Conclusion - Don't waist your time too much and especially the money on those.
2. Social Bookmarking - 100 digs for some pages
Example: I had a Web 2.0 Design Tutorial website and got about 100 digs for some articles, technorati, del.icio.us and so on.
When checking backlinks digg.com showed only 5 of them.
Conclusion - Pretty good but make sure your article is 110% original.
3. Article Submission - 20 articles on "famous" article directories
Example: As i was writing the tutorials i thought "let's publish them".
Backlinks - very few after so much work
4. Link Exchange websites - Paid about 50$/monthly for 3 link exchange websites.
Example: I added my website to this websites and received about 400 links every month. I added a link exchange script with the "nofollow" attribute ON. I even added the disallow rule in .htaccess. All good so far.
After 3 months i got about 10 emails from different people asking me to remove their links because their sites were banned from Google.
Conclusion: Don't do this kind of link exchange.REALLY DON'T. Your link will end on a 100 link page which of course will end to banning from Google and who knows others too.
5. Paid Traffic - About 50$/monthly for as they said " 3000 unique visitors"
Example - Because i did not had the time to surf other websites i paid for this services.
Conclusion: Google Analytics was telling me that from 3000 visitors/monthly i got only 200 from that site.
Alexa was the only one who showed that i had heavy traffic. But if you don't pay for 1 month the Alexa rank will go down too. Don't waist your time with this.
Some SEO Techniques
Nice explanation about Search engine optimization. But as per my opinion it is always better to have unpaid traffic than paid.
Let's say you are trying to pajamas online and your targeted keyword would be buy pajamas online but if you run a PPC campaign you would know what kind of conversion these keyword gets and then compare it with say some other keyword and understand what would be more beneficial as SEO terms and where you can have better ROI.
Yes for content network these may not sound very feasible because you may not be able to track lot of things like ad and conversions