Tom Coates wrote an article that says people don’t need Search Engine Optimization companies to help them get good rankings in Search Engines. I’d say that I disagree with such a blanket statement.
A lot of companies do need SEO consultants as long as those consultants are trustworthy and will help those company’s build good sites built on those basic principles that Tom tells his readers about. Search Engine Optimzation consultants are what companies that want good search referrals need, not those kinds of companies that sell you a bunch of inter-client links, or one that just submits you to 1,000 search engines… just a good old fashioned consultant to teach their client how to do things better.
I can’t point you to a great SEO firm off the top of my head, but I can tell you that my buddies at MarketingFix (soon to be Up2Speed) are experts at search engine ranking.
Also, keep in mind that Search Engine Optimization is quite different than Search Engine Marketing.