If you do a few short tail (most of the time) and long tail (less of the time) variations of the anchor text as you link build you'll be fine.

My "Change Background Image" has been up for a couple of months and is still there by default. I don't use it because I don't want it to look like Bing. I had the same outrage when I first saw it. I don't like "Google Creep" with more links and features creeping onto the homepage. I prefer a clean design now just as I did 10 years ago.

For small websites will less traffic I usually don't use a sitemap because I haven't noticed a difference. In larger sites, I always use a sitemap since I do notice a difference in Google Webmaster tools.

Use long tail keyword phrases and exercise patience. Everybody who puts up a website wants to rank fast, but you can only do your part and let the search engines do the rest.

When I first read the green hat headline I thought it was about SEO's who optimized green (environmental) websites and not green horn SEO's. Anyway, good tips.

Just get some links pointing back to your website from directories, social media, dofollow blog comments, article banks, etc. and the search engine bots will find your webiste. No need to submit.