As a small-business owner with a Web site, you know that one of the most important things you can do is get your site ranked high on a search-results page at Google, MSN and Yahoo!. But how to achieve that high ranking?

You've learned all about keywords, link building and unique page titles. The question is, how do you do it? And should you go it alone or call in the hired guns?

"The right answer is somewhere in between," says Gord Hotchkiss, CEO and president of Enquiro, a search marketing agency, and the chairman of SEMPO, a nonprofit organization serving the search-engine marketing industry. According to Hotchkiss, outsourcing every aspect of search-engine optimization would mean giving up complete control of your Web site - something most small-business owners would, and should, be unwilling to do. "It needs to be a partnership," he says. "You don't want to lose control."

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