That being said, Google has given out some clues on things you can do help your ranking. The first thing is that Google wants everything to look natural and organic. They want it to be content driven. For example if you are an online university they want to see content and natural links pointing in your direction. This online university could do something like start an education blog and post on it every week to keep fresh content moving.
Another key area for Google is a social media presence because they feel it is more natural than the old method of spinning and spamming. The more links from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook the more likely you are to get ranked. In theory companies would do things on Foursquare, Twitter and other sites and be ranked for it.
This, of course, is all in theory. The truth is rank building does not happen naturally and most companies are too busy to keep consistent social media going. Not to mention everyone is trying to stay a step ahead of Google (good luck with that.)
There are some things you can do however. One, you can subscribe to a blog or article service to get articles for your blog. Sometimes you pay a subscription fee for these articles and sometimes they are free if you leave a link to a specific business in them. Granted you might not want to advertise for somebody else on your blog, but that is usually how it goes.
Google Plus is another huge thing you can do. Everybody wants to know if Google Plus is important. The answer is yes and no. It is not important to the average person because Facebook dominates that market and people aren’t making the switch. It is important for SEO because Google would not have created it if they weren’t going to use it. Their hope is that SEO will force more people into using Google Plus. So that online college we mentioned early should make sure they have a Google Plus page. Look for Google Plus to become more and more important to SEO in the future.
The other thing you can do is make sure your Google Plus/Places is up to date. For instance a used car dealership would want to make sure their name, address anc contact into are all correct. I am amazed at how many businesses don’t have this done. Make sure Google maps has your right address and contact information. This will at least put you on their radar.
You will still need to do backend stuff like keywords in the header and footer. You will also still need to build links through blogs and social media. On the flip side, you don’t want to do to many as to look obvious or manipulative because Google will penalize your rankings if it looks suspicious. SEO is a tightrope that must be walked but Google is holding the balancing rod.