As I'm sure many of you are aware, there is a lot of smoke and mirrors marketing out there aggressively pursuing business owners to sign up for website SEO services. Many experts will guarantee you top listings on Google. Most of this is, frankly, just hype.
Here's the reality: There are two ways to show up in Google search results. A) pay for ad placement with Google AdWords; and B) build pages of relevant content that include optimized photos and written copy to back them up to show up organically in search results. There really are no shortcuts.
Sometimes, people will get lucky and have high listings for pages that don't comply to Google's criteria, but Google works very hard to make their algorithms produce accurate search results because that encourages people to use their search engine more.
While Google's algorithms are a closely guarded secret, if you want to know what Google is looking for, they have produced a guide. To access it, sign up for an account at developers.google.com and then read the guide under the Documentation menu. If you decide to hire someone to do SEO for you, they have a section in the guide called "Do you need an SEO?" to help you ask the right questions to hire a person or company who knows what they are doing.
If you just want the basics, skip down on the home page to the section where it says "Specific things you can do to improve the SEO of your website," and choose "Business owner or marketer." That will give you everything you need to know to make informed decisions.
And please, ignore the emails and phone calls trying to lure you into expensive SEO contracts. Most of that is spam.