Google's search engine uses a variety of methods to determine which pages are displayed first in the results. Their exact formula is a secret, but there are always a few things you can do to improve your positioning. The term for this is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
These tips may not make your website the first one to appear in the list, but they just may help you move up a little. No matter what you do, make sure you make a site that you want to visit and written the way humans would want to read it. If you're gaming the system, sooner or later Google will figure it out and change their formula. You'll end up plummeting in the search results and wonder why.
Ignore spam and websites that offer to submit your website to hundreds of search engines. At best these are wastes of time or money and at worst they can actually hurt your ranking.
Keyword PhrasesA keyword phrase is, generally speaking, the words you think someone is most likely to put into a search engine to find your content. They should appear in your content. Don't overdo it. If it looks spammy, it probably is. Again, the point here is to speak like a human and just use the words that humans are most likely to use when searching for a page about your topic. If you use obscure words, define them. Otherwise, just use natural language.
If you were searching for your own website, what keyword phrase would you type into Google for each page? Would you look for super fast widgets? Would you look for cooking with widgets? It may be helpful to get a different perspective. Ask someone else to read your page and suggest what they think your keyword phrase might be. You can also check Google Trends to see if one phrase is starting to gain popularity.
Try to stick to one subject per page, and stick to one keyword phrase per page. That doesn't mean you should write stilted text or use odd phrases. Clear writing is both easier to search and easier to read. Don't be afraid to be really long and detailed with that subject. Think Wikipedia.
One of the things Google looks for when it catalogs pages is the density of the keyword usage. In other words, how often the keyword occurs. Use natural phrasing. Don't try to trick the search engine by repeating the same word over and over or making text "invisible." It doesn't work. In fact, some of that behavior even get your website banned.
Give a strong opening paragraph that says what your page is actually about. This is just good practice, but it may help search engines find your page, too.
Name Your Pages
Give your pages a descriptive name with the <title> attribute. This is vital. Google often displays search results as a link using the Web page's title. A link called 'untitled' isn't enticing, and nobody is going to click on it. When appropriate, use the page's keyword phrase in the title.
One of the biggest factors Google looks at is the hyperlink. Google looks at both links to and from your website.
Google looks at the words you use in links to help determine the content of your page. Use links within web pages as a way to emphasize keywords. Rather than saying, "click here to learn more about SEO" you should say: Read more about SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Links from other websites to your website are used to determine PageRank.
You can improve your PageRank by exchanging text links with other relevant websites. Banner exchanges are not effective, and pages that want to charge you for this service are often known spammers that can hurt your rank.
Links are another area where you shouldn't overdo it. A page that is nothing but a list of links is spam.
Social networking sites can be a good way to promote a site, but it is unclear how much it will affect your rank directly. Google+ promotion may have the most impact. That said, you may find that a great deal of your traffic comes from social networks, so be sure to make your content social friendly. Add images and give your content interesting titles.
Make Your Graphics Search Friendly
Give your images <alt> attributes. Not only does it make your website more accessible to the visually impaired, it also gives you another chance to place your keywords where Google can see them. Just don't stuff keywords that don't belong.
Good Design Is Popular Design
In the end, strong, well organized pages are pages that Google tends to rank higher. They're also pages that tend to become more popular, which means Google will rank them even higher. Keep good design in mind as you go, and much of the SEO will design itself.