I have a colleague who owns an SEO company, and he spends his days doing what the SEO specialists do. And to make it more interesting, we each have a client in the same field. My client and his are competitors.
My colleague shared shared that no matter what he did SEO-wise for his client, he was not able to get his client to outrank mine on Google.
My client and I don't spend any time worrying about SEO. Back at the beginning of our relationship I taught him a few basic guidelines about keyword placement, use of images, etc. SInce then he's been diligently blogging about what is important to his clients, and addressing what they want to know (or in many case should want to know).
The Dirty Little Secret
The dirty little secret is that getting ranked highly in Google is easier than ever before if you are a blogger. Google has become much more sophisticated in its understanding of language. It's using a technique known as Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) so that it can better understand what you are writing about and more easily relate it to the search queries people are making. For example, you may use the word 'Labrador'. In the old days Google might me left to wonder if you were writing about dogs or writing about the Canadian province. Today Google is able to easily tell the difference.
The result of all this is that - after keeping a small handful of guiding principles in mind - you should simply write for your audience.