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.