Hey, Welcome to DaniWeb! Google does not share details about it's search algorithm and ranking methods. Nonetheless, they continually evolve and adapt to how users are searching. Just yesterday - Google announced that they are personalizing search for EVERYONE.
If you are looking to optimize your website to better appear in Google Search Results, than you have to employ some basic SEO techniques. We were just discussing a few over on this thread... http://www.daniweb.com/forums/thread240925.html
In simple term, Google keeps its algorithms a secret. So no one knows what it is. People with experience in this field, come to know of these with the results they are obtaining for the keyword. Hence, knowing Google Algorithms fully is next to impossible. You may know some of them with Google Webmaster Blogs.
As far as updating your site to Google Algorithms is concerned, you may include rich and unique contents in your website with updation happening more frequently.
Hey uniquesofts2009, like everyone has pointed out, it requires experience crafting web pages to really get the feel of what the search engine is looking to reward. Rich content seems to be of utmost value, meaning, content that is intelligent, important, authentic and meaningful. The stuff the search engine wants to provide an Internet searcher as the best results for a search.
Like Jay suggests, read up on recent SEO discussions. Take a half-day and read the search engines' own quality content guidelines. They point out fairly clearly what type of webpages they want to reward.
Keyword targeting is important. Figure out your important ones and any secondary ones. Do search frequency tests using Google tools to find a good mix of heavily searched and lightly searched relevant keywords. Some words with low search frequencies will have a high click-through rate because they are very specific. Sprinkle the keyword phrases and any other relevant keyphrases in the content. Vary the words by altering suffixes and prefixes or pluralizing or any number of other word variations so as not to continuously repeat the same ones and to broaden your qualified visitor net. Learn how to emphasize your important keyphrases using Heading tags (Hx) or bold or italic ... Name your images and webpages logically, throwing keyphrases in them when applicable. You'll have to learn how to write a good Title, a meta description and a meta keywords tag.
Write your paragraphs well.
Another thing you'll have to learn is how to create internal anchor links (textual links) in a way that clearly indicates what webpages are most important to you.
The search engines want fresh content. Don't stagnate for too long. Build a new webpage once in a while or often. Make sure your new stuff fits into the established internal linking strategy. In other words, craft new content and merge it into the existing performance. Don't just throw it in some other sub-domain or bury it deep into a sub-level all by itself. Your web site promotion is one big evolving thing not a bunch of splattered, self-sufficient pieces.
As always, whether it is link building schemes, trying to overcome the google dance or anyother get higher ranking scheme, it all comes down to superior content, updated regularly to deliver the best SEO results.