To rank well for chosen keywords, things need to be occur externally to the website and to take place on the website itself.
1) The website needs relevant content.
2) Backlinks from other websites need to accumulate naturally.
3) There needs to be activity, in the form of recent updates to the website, and people visiting it.
Google is the top search engine because it provides such incredible search results. It does it by being 100% relevant.
Each main keyword phrase the website is being ranked for needs to have it's own page on the website. Research is needed to locate terms with high search volumes that the website has best chance of appearing on page one for.
The keyword needs to be a part of the page-address. ie: www.business.com/keyword.
The title of the page needs to contain it and
the page itself needs about 500 words about the subject. It needs to be original. Real people will be reading it, and as well Google updated their searches in March 2011 to penalize duplicate content. From a conversion viewpoint there should be a call to action as part of it to either contact you, or make a sale.
Back-links are links from other websites, that when clicked take you to the website being ranked.
They are built up using comments on other websites, building other sites, submitting online press releases, submitting articles to article directories, publishing videos, podcasts, PDFs and a bunch of other things. It needs to appear natural and gets done on a gradient, so the first several weeks start off getting a low number of good-quality links, then the next month moving into several hundred, and on from there. These links will generate traffic in themselves, as well as helping to move the site up in the search results.
Google completed it's 2nd most recent server update in June 2010. It's called "Caffeine" and as well as running searches really fast, it takes into account website activity. The way that's working best for marketers at present is to maintain a blog on the site. This also builds up the number of pages and amount of content, which is another ranking factor.