Here is the thing. I'm a web developer and have the responsibility for getting a website number one on Google. I can give you the URL if you want to, but I'm seeking some good advice here instead of a cheap link.
There is one specific keyword I want to be number one on, and I definitely think it should be possible. The owner is selling courses in management so it is a pretty local market without too many competitors.
Currently he is number two, but I genuinely think he should be number 1.
His website has a much better source code - with correct H1's, titles, etc (but the competitors are not bad either)
I have taken the time to optimize the site for top marks in most online SEO tools
His pagerank is higher. He gets a pagerank of 3 while the competitor only has 1.
His domain is a spot on match of the keyword he is trying to be number 1 on.
While it is hard for Google to know he gets way better reviews than anyone else. (the real reason he should be number 1)
The problem is that neither of them have any good backlinks since their customers typically doesn't (read: never) go home and blog about them.
So, here is my question. What is the next step from here? I know a lot of you will say link building. That's fine - but can you recommend a good place to buy this service. I don't want to sit and post on forums and yahoo answers all day.
Anything else? I talked with him about creating a blog, but we all know it's a lot of work to keep it up to date, and I'm not sure of the effect.
He once had some social buttons on the site but removed them because nobody clicked them, and they looked ugly in the design.
As a last comment I should say. His business is to offer some small, but very expensive course to people. It is therefore difficult to rely on crowds (natural backlinks, +1 buttons etc) but he makes a very profitable business and is open to spend money on getting to number one.
Currently we have around 400 impressions on Google a day. It doesn't sound like a lot, but I think that all there is in this market.