SEO is a very small part of running a website, so small that it can be argued, that your webmaster should be able to take care of it. It does not involve linkbuilding, which is now considered to belong to the blackhat department.
The problem we face as bloggers and businesses, and other website owners, is that it increasingly becomes more difficult to attract visitors. Some will be devastated when faced with the reality of their competition.
There are two ways to overcome your competition in the search engines, one is to try and do it better then them. Write about the same topics, only do it better and comprehensively. Lean back in your chair, wait, and hope you will eventually outrank them.
The second way is to cheat, use blackhat techniques such as linkbuilding, and risk that your site will be penalized by the search engines.
These two options are not very attractive, mostly because they are not very effective in the long run. If you still want to focus on these competitive topics on your site, try to at least supplement it with some originality and uniqueness.
Claim an uninhabited area of web-real estate
Consider the web as this huge unclaimed landmass, people are slowly starting to move in. The web is just starting to blossom with barber shops, grocery stores, and pizza bars. And so on!
The point is, there are still a lot of unclaimed search terms, and you should consider building your site around those, rather than try to compete with a million other pizzerias.
You can still host a pizzeria, but you have to lay out some bait for people, before they start using yours in place of the multitudes of other similar sites.
Originality in SEO
Offering a unique service, also means that you will gain all of the available costumers who wants that service. And when it comes to this fact, there is still a huge profit to be made, simply by tapping into one of these areas.
Therefor, i recommend you stop wasting time on linkbuilding, and start focusing on what can trigger a real boost in traffic for your site. After all, it can also be argued that linkbuilding is unfair to the competing sites.