Co-founder & Director of Search at Branded3, setup in 2008 & sold in 2013 for 8 figure sum. Regular conference speaker & renowned expert on growing businesses via SEO/PPC.
We work with one of the big cruise sites in the UK and it's all about making the site deserve to rank higher by continually improving the site via design & content. Google wants to rank popular sites so you need to (as Simon points out) figure out ways of getting influential sites to talk about you and link to you. PR is the only real way to build links these days.