Getting to be the first free listing for a Google search - left hand side takes a lot of stamina.
First one must work with Webmaster Tools. This allows us to optimize a site: install good "title tags", highlight the content, create "snippets" for each page, and insert a valid site map (to show all pages at the website).
The effort enhances the keyword list, making sure they reflect what your site needs. This makes queries, or searches, much more relevant to what would be found on the page. It is an essential foundation for Google's searches.
There are extra factors which boosts a sites' ranking:
1. Google looks at links to your site.
How many people find your site of interest and make a link from their social page (eg., Facebook) or website to your site?
2. The number of visitors which go to the site each day is important. Pages with more visitors are normally ranked higher for the same keyword.
3. If the content (text and images) at the website is periodically changed, the ranking will be boosted. Don't let your site go stale. Revise it every few months.
This takes work and time. It can not occur overnight. (Once upon a time, SEO businesses created web pages with limited content. On those pages, they provided listings to your page/site. This significantly boosted the number of links to your site, and lifted your sites' ranking. Firms with high budgets could spend $$$$ and see their site quickly moved into prime rankings. Google has finally removed this bogus practice.)
In our opinion, the best situation is to have a first page ranking - hopefully around the middle of the page - combined with an AdWord also around the same area on the right hand side. This shows your business, or organization, is well established, and serious. It leads to more clicks and positive visitor experience.
AdWords can help with page rankings - for new websites, as well as established ones. With a good advertising plan, traffic is directed to the new website. The higher traffic helps boost the site's ranking for the same keywords in regular queries/searches.