Now, I built this website almost four years ago, for a house-sitting side business that I had at the time. (The original version of this post was made 9/12/2009.) I took the layout from a free online template, nothing fancy, and then I SEO engineered (Search Engine Optimized) every other aspect of it.
I haven’t tinkered with or refined the optimization for years (which typically needs to be done frequently to keep ahead of the competition), because the site has always ranked well for my selected search terms (“House Sitter” or “House Sitting” combined with the geographic regions I served). I closed down my house-sitting business last year, but left the site live on the net (with a note saying I’m not doing this anymore) because it’s a good example of SEO done well.
Back in the Fall of 2009, after the SEO had had a chance to “soak in” for a while (it often can take weeks, even months, for site optimization to have an effect), my site, for my desired search term “House Sitting Menlo Park,” not only was at the top of the first page of Google results, but actually took positions 1, 2 AND 3: