As a web professional, I am often asked by clients how they can appear on the first page of search engines like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing.
Unfortunately there is no single trick, or magic wand that will put your website at the top of a search engine's results page (SERP). Be wary of any web site service that promises you first page results.
Understanding Search Engines
The purpose of a search engine is to provide quality information to people. It does this by finding all the websites in the world and indexing their contents. Try to imagine just how many web pages are in the world today. No amount of people could keep track of all of the web pages, let alone index their results.
Search engines use little computer programs to do this. These programs run like little robots and they require no human intervention. These robot programs are often called crawlers or spiders.
Crawlers visit a website, read the information on the actual site and also follow the links that the site connects to performing indexing on all the linked web sites. The crawler then returns this information to a central repository where the data is indexed.
Whenever you type words into Google/Yahoo!/Bing, you are actually searching through the index that they created. Keep in mind that each search engine has its own method of collecting and indexing web sites. This is why you can key the same words in Yahoo! and Google, and get different results on each page.
To determine what web pages are relevant to the words you just keyed in, an algorithm is used. An algorithm is a set of rules. Each search engine's algorithm is a closely guarded secret.
In a nut shell, that is how a search engine works. You can just imagine if word leaked out about an algorithm's details it would be exploited by some and the search results would soon become valueless to the search engine users.