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I've start SEOing 2 month ago,
from what I've encountered so far, SEO is comprised of mainly 3 "legs":
1. HTML optimizations - title, metas, img's alt tags.
2. Content - Getting the right keyword density, inner-links.
3. Linking - Finding high PRs to link the site, whether by paying or by link exchange or by any other wierd offer.
The things is, that the first 2 items are usually done in less than 10 hours of work per web-site.
The linking takes a lot of time if reciporcal link exchange is required. if not, only finding 2-3 high pr advertising web-sites and linking from there.
1. I know SEO experts that work MONTH on 1 web-site. What do they do all that time?
2. Where can I find more resources except for this web-site and #*$! regarding content and HTML modifications?
Search engines are a means to an end, not a be-all and end-all. Be wary.
I'd say that links are the deciding factor that you should concentrate on once you have a well optimised site.
The key to link building is having a site that people will want to link to. It sounds obvious but many commercial sites will never be suitable to get links from sites which will really benefit them. Try to put yourself in the mind of the person you are asking for the link, if they are non-commercial (where many of the best links come from) you need to research what turns them on before contacting them.
Sorry for going a bit off topic with tips on link building, it just annoys me when people waste time by not thinking about how they should gain good links.
Vanilla SEO is: