How do I get my website found by potential customers? How do I get a first page Google ranking?

I get this a lot in my web design business, and you have 2 choices.

1) Optimize your web site more than your competition.

How Google decides on website rank is complicated and a top Google ranking is not hard to do.
Getting on the first page of a Google search for words and phrases people are actually looking for is a different story.
Beware of companies that guarantee a first page Google ranking. Your best bet for a first page listing people see on Google is to pay Google and even then it is not a sure thing. Natural listing (unpaid listing) take some work and time before you see results. The competition for your keys words will be a huge factor on how much work and how long before you see results.
The main factors in ranking websites are:

2) Pay Google or other services to list your website.

This can cost a lot of money but if done right it can have almost instant results.
Google is not your only choice, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yahoo can be a great advertising option.
For example, with Facebook not only can you target a geography region, but target a person’s age and the user’s interests. Like music, blues music, country music, classical.

Years ago you could stuff hundreds of key words into your website, pay to have thousands of unrelated back links to your website and get a great ranking. Using these kind of tactics today will get you de-listed from Google, so you have to be careful and play by Googles rules or it can be disastrous for your internet presence.

Make sure your website is optimized and think about Pay per click and other online advertising. If done right they can have great results, results your can track.