Q. Do the so called "gurus" who advertise systems that can give you a guarnateed #1 Google position in 1-3 months really work, or are these just bs?
It takes at least 6 months to even show up on Google, usually a year or more to get a good position using all of the tricks. I have never seen a site go to #1 in Google in 1-3 months. Their are some services who advertise fast listing, one to try is ineedhits.com.
As far as what works in my experience:
Most important is your email list, we get most of our email addresses from sales on eBay, Amazon, and our other outlets. With an email list you can do some direct marketing. But even with that our email campaigns are just bonus income, they never come close to the income we get from our regular sales outlets.
Articles are very successful on helping your Google position. But they need to be well written and you need to submit them all over the place. I write several articles a year and submit them to about 20 article distributing sites. The way these work is if the article is interesting enough people will put the article on their site and with the link back to your site at the end of the article it will create those needed back links.
What I have found more successful though is using internal links and making sure you use the correct alt tags in your document. Google seemed to like internal links as much as external links. But, I say seemed to since Google changed their algorithm at the beginning of the year and it is back to square one on figuring out what is going to work this year. Last year I had the #1 position for the search term Photoshop Tutorial Training, our web site home page was optimized for that. As soon as Google did their algorithm update (in the industry called the Google Dance as all the listings shift around) our page position dropped to #20 (bottom of second page). So it looks like the internal links and alt tags are no longer working this year.
Make sure the code on your site is up to date with good quality content.
Use this service to optimize your site for Google: http://www.ibusinesspromoter.com/ This is the best tool on the market for optimizing your site. What it does is deeply analyse your site compared to the top 5 positions on Google, then gives you a list of recommendations. Up to you to do the actual optimizing.
Write articles and submit them to these main sites:
You can find more by doing a Google search for Article Submission Service or similar search term.
Only optimize for one keyword or keyword set on a page. It is extremely difficult to optimize for more than one keyword set.
Take a very careful look at the sites that are at positions 1-5, whatever they are doing is working. This means carefully examining their content at the code level (Google robots look at the code, not at the page visually). (Use the tool listed above)
Keep in mind that everyone is trying for that #1 position, so it is a race that never ends, no way to guarantee that #1 position (unless you optimize for a keyword no one has thought of, but then again if no one thought of it no one would search for it either).
Don't try to go for #1 position on extreamly popular keywords, I would never try to get #1 position on the keyword "photoshop". Too much work competing against companies like Adobe who have who teams of people who do nothing else but work on their Google position.
Google likes sites that have been around for a while, so get your site up immediately to get the clock started. Sites that have been on Google for a few years will always get a boost in position.
Keep in mind that there are thousands of people trying to do the same thing you are doing, so you need to do it better. If everyone used the same info from the same marketing gurus and aimed at the same keyword, there would still only be one #1 spot on Google. So whatever you do you have to do it better than your competitors.
The more of an exclusive niche you can aim at the better your chances. For me it is much easier to get a good placement for "photoshop tutorial training" than it is to even get listed for "photoshop". And of course Google changes things every year. Last year we had the #1 position for this term, this January we are back to #20 (back to a new round of page optimization).
With all that said, who knows you may get lucky.
Hope all this helps.