SEO in 60 seconds.
Make sure you sign out of Google when you check rankings as they vary. Google rankings is on multiple servers (see map reduce) and they are not always 100% synched all day so results by IP, time of day and other factors also change. What increases ranking most is Links (see pagerank paper) the anchor text for the links determines the keywords links that look like they formed naturally and wouldn’t set off any flags are usually best. Use common sense. Use and understand Google search, Yahoo site explorer, google analytics maybe webmaster tools and light use of some other tools. Get some social media accounts, then have fun with them. Know that www is a subdomain understand this as well as other technical info about servers, html and css.