I see many posts on BHW asking for what is the best paid service. Basically, these are people just like myself, when I just started. I was looking at SEO merely as another promotional tool and wanted to find THE ONE service that could help me reach No.1! I was naive and wanted a shortcut to my SEO needs. Sounds familiar? I hope this thread can help or at least be a reference for newbies just starting out. This is probably geared more towards those who are here to promote their existing business using SEO. If you are a business owner and a SEO newbie, you would most likely ask the below if you have just stumbled on to BHW: There are so many services on BHW who claims to work wonders. Which one is the BEST and which one should I use? I'm afraid no one can give a straight answer on this. When I first started out, I was also looking for the ONE service that would solve all my problems. It simply does not exist. If it was that easy, your competitors would do the same thing. There are basically 2 main methods if you ask me. Firstly, hire a right person/ company to outsource all your SEO. This is a good idea when you weigh the opportunity costs well. If you can easily convince yourself that spending more time on your business can earn you MUCH more money, then this is the best way to go. This requires some effort in the beginning, as many people are out to make a quick buck out of you. There are also those who knows next to nothing but poses as SEO gurus. The worst are real knowledgeable people who are only interested in scamming you instead of providing you what you need. You need to have some basic knowledge to at least understand what people are offering. The right service should offer you very good link diversity, velocity, consistency, authority, quality and perhaps even quantity. Sounds difficult? Well, it IS if you really want whats best. There is no shortcut unless you are lucky enough to meet good providers at a good price at first glance. Regardless, it would be a good idea to not be lazy and learn some knowledge from the forums before spending your hard earned cash on promises that sounds too good to be true. Money down the drain is one thing, but the time wasted can never be recovered. The second method is what I am doing. Note that you would need to be patient and begin by doing some learning before you jump in. If you have a good amount of budget, then you can learn while you do it. I find that this suits me best. You can modify my method to suit you if you wish. I do 30% of my own SEO and outsource another 70% of it. Of course, I could easily outsource 100% but I want to be a little hands on myself solely for educational purposes. I like SEO and I want to learn it. I buy tools and learn whenever/ wherever I can simply because I like it. I spent countless nights not sleeping cos I was immersed in the amount of knowledge that I had not acquired yet. Doing my own SEO also allows me to understand/ put myself in the shoes of the providers. This helps me to understand how easy/ difficult it is to perform a particular service. It also helps me understand the value of a particular service. For instance, a 100k backlink package may sound amazing to a newbie until you realise what you can do with Scrapebox, some proxies and an AA list. Similarly, a newbie may not appreciate 10 contextual backlinks on high PR sites, using unique and original content. SEO is not something easy. It is not like a production process where everything is static. It does not necessarily mean that if you spend $100, you get $200 back. Backlinks are like your investment portfolio. Not every cent you put in is aimed at providing you with an ROI. Big G is something like the government in this case. We do some grey area investment sometimes and will need to beautify our investment portfolio to get the government off our asses (taxes, regulations etc.). This "beautifying" does not provide any returns at all but can go a long way. But I digress... You should also create a log for your SEO activities. How you organise this info is up to you. The organised info can be very simple or complicated but should at least tell you the when, what, how much and keywords that you targeted. Do not be lazy and keep this updated at all times. This information would be the most valuable for obvious reasons. If you did radio advertising for 3 months and it brought you ZERO sales, and you did newspaper advertising for another 3 months and it brought you tons of sales, how would you spend your next advertising budget? The gist of what I am trying to say is this: 1) Read, Read and Read. Of course, do not just gobble up any information and take it as it is. As adults, we know how to constructively analyze information. I cannot stress this enough. Like everything you do in life, you need to know what you are doing. If you start a business, you are gonna conduct market research and base your business decisions on it. You are not gonna blindly throw money into a business and hope for it to succeed, just because someone said its gonna work! Use the same mentality for SEO! 2) Experiment, Experiment and Experiment (within reason). After you know what you are doing, feel free to experiment. Thats how SEO gurus become the guru that they are. SEO is ever changing. The FACT is that no one knows the Google algorithm for sure. Through the research of others and common sense, there are some SEO truths that has reached general consensus. Take those into mind and experiment with logic. There is no need to go berserk with an SB and Xrummer blast to see what it will do! Some useful tips that has worked for me: 1) Diversity seems to be the key. I think that its common sense for any SEO practitioner to look at things from Big G's perspective. We have a mission to rank our site(s). Big G has a mission to provide good quality search results for its users. Any underhanded methods we use is supposedly frowned upon, as it messes with their mission. Thus, we see multiple algorithm updates from Big G. What has this got to do with diversity? To me, it means that I should not go berserk with one or two types of link building/ keywords and put all my eggs in one basket. Lets face it, I cannot afford to go all white hat since its super difficult and I want faster results. But I also don't want to get bitch slapped by Big G. Back to the portfolio example, I spread out my investments to all areas but see which ones gives me the best returns. I then focus more on those cash cow investments. That way, I will not get burned when my all my cash cows dies from mad cow disease. This also helps to look more natural. I hope this makes sense. I rank much higher than competitors that have 10 times more backlinks than me. 2) Ask, and thy shalt receive (at least most of the time, you will). You have no idea how cool some of the people on BHW are! There are some awesome members with legit know hows and skills, who are willing to help and give advice. But don't be an ass and ask for handouts and spoon feeding. You would be annoyed if I did that on you too. Conclusion: Back to the topic of buying services. I have purchased 40+ services and stuff on BHW in only 3-4 months of being a member. I had 30+ keywords ranging from 1000+ to 200,000+ exact searches and most of them were no where to be found in the Top 100. 95% of those keywords are now in the 1st page. About 60% of them in Top 5 and 40% of them in Top 3. I am still working on improving them. There are some services that I would not recommend to anyone but there are also some very good ones. In my opinion, BHW has much better quality control in screening services/providers compared to any other forums. There are quite a few black sheep that slips in but this is no fault of the admins, as there is only so much they can do. Without me realizing, I have written quite a lot and I know how long posts bores me. I can go on and on but its perhaps not a good idea to make this post too long. If there are any further interest, lets discuss on the thread! BHW rocks!