meta tags are a very good thing to have, actually, as you stated they are a MUST. To get ranked well, you need to do just more than meta-tags.
i.e. you need to establish quite a few backlinks. we you get those, get more, repeat over and over
You also have to make sure your site is optimized for the keyword/s you want to have your site visible on. There are many posts on this forum about this. I'd advise checking them out. They are in the marketing section.
Those should help you out quite a bit, and open your mind to many other aspects of SEO