I've seen far too many people latch on to the idea of Search Engine Optimisation and throw everything else to the wind much to the detriment of their business (or social life!)
SEO is part of Online Marketing which includes:
... and Online Martketing is just a part of Marketing in general!
Consider this graph from Forrester.
It's dated but it shows how people beat a path to a website. Search engines only account for 50% of this. If the question is how do they find your product or service when you are a physical business that number drops further.
(I've written more about this graph on my blog post Does Google really rule the roost when it comes to search?).
Right now you might be thinking "Eek! I can't do all of those things or afford to pay someone else to do them!". You don't need to. I see people run perfectly successful businesses from Amazon and/or Ebay or get all the customers they need just by being on all the respected online and offline directories.
But whatever you do, don't put all your eggs in one basket.
If you still think SEO is the right way forward for you its time to understand exactly How search engines rank pages.
I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimisation and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.
If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.