For the beginning Webmaster, SE Optimization is is shrouded in smoke and mirrors. As a Guaranteed SEO in Houston, I believe part of this misunderstanding is the result of all the crap taught by many so called SEO's. For some, this is because they don't know any better while some others do it to justify the ongoing fees they charge their Clients. Search Engine Optimization isn't rocket science folks. It's as simple as following a few instructions each time you build a website.
You want to get off to a good start. To begin with, you should make certain your main keywords are used in the URL if it's possible. All things being equal, a Website with your keywords in the URL will outrank one without the keywords in the web address.
Next, the keyword or keyword phrase should be used in the Title of your Website. What this does is help the search engines determine what your Website is about.
It's important to make certain keywords are a part of the Title of every page on your site, or at the very least, you should use some keywords in the title of the page or article. This too helps the search engines determine what the subject of the page is, what it's about and how relevant it is to the search term being searched for. As an added benefit, the Website or Blog should be designed so that the Page Title is in the H1 tag. Search engines give a lot of value to the H1 tag and so it's important in good SEO practices. If you're using a Houston web design company, make certain they know how to do this one little thing.
You should now have those three things taken care of. Now that you do, it's crucial that the keywords you want to rank for show up in the content of the page. For best results, you should place the main keyword of the page somewhere in the first paragraph and several more times througout the article depending on the length. It's also important to put it near the end of the page or article. A few more times between the first and last paragraph won't hurt, whatever you do, make certain to use them in the first part of the page and again at the end.
Lastly, probably the most important thing of SE Optimization actually takes place off site. In my opinion, the most important thing in obtaining a higher ranking is backlinks going back to your Website. And it's not enough to just get backlinks, these backward links need to have your keywords as the Anchor text of the links back to your site.
How important are links back to your site? I have ranked quite a few Websites that didn't have the keywords in the URL, plus I can rank one that doesn't have keywords in the Website Title, Page Title and in the Content (although it's much, much harder to do), but without targeted backlinks leading back to your site, it is almost impossible to to get higher rankings in the search engines for any terms that are the least bit competitive.