Graywlf pretty much nailed the basics on the previous page regarding SEO.
Dallasfbn, our company made the same mistake of hiring an "SEO firm" for a multi-thousand dollar contract last year. Needless to say, after months of meandering keyword-laced articles, a few H1 / H2 modified tags, and several conference calls assuring us it would take lots of time but we'd surely "get there", we continued to sink in Google like a mighty big rock. After educating ourselves to the basics, and keeping up with changes a few hours per week, we're doing much better and saving a lot in the process. There truly is a lot of misinformation (and SEO con-men) floating around out there.