Read Jill Whalen. Religiously. Her newsletter is among the very best resources on search engine optimization available anywhere. Her posts are far too complete to try and summarize, but here is a taste from her latest newsletter:
I recently did a site audit for a client who was wondering why they were having a hard time showing up in Google. … They have a fairly small local company that sells some common but specific types of office furniture. While they have a niche for the type of furniture they sell, for the most part it’s nothing that you can’t buy at most of the large office-supply stores such as Office Depot and Staples.
So how do you compete SEO-wise with the $1 million budgets of Office Depot and Staples. It’s not impossible. But it’s not easy, either. Or fast. Read the whole post.