Donald, welcome to WebmasterWorld. Here is a link to the best article you can find on optimizing web sites. It's a good starting place. There are several other articles there with some of basics you need, well worth reading.
There are a couple of threads here with excellent basic information on search engine optimization:
One size fits all SEO:
Thou shalt not:
It's well worth going to the printer-friendly version (bottom left of your screen) and printing it all out for reference.
The tags you need in the head section are title, meta description, meta keywords, and robots (index,follow). Any others are extraneous.
Choosing the right keywords is foundational - you'll want to put yourself in the searcher's place to figure what they'll be looking for to find your site. Then make certain the phrase is in page title, top of page, etc.
You'll find these materials very helpful for a good start, and then you'll find ready answers here to further questions you'll have about specifics.
There's a search feature (upper right on your screen)that will lead you to threads here on specific topics. Once you've become familiar with the basic terminology, you'll find searching on specific topics a great help. You'll find extensive materials on page tites, keywords, submission frequency, keyword density, reciprocal linking, etc.