Everyone wants "organic" or "free" traffic, but it's a full time job to try to keep on top of the search engines changing rules. Instead, if you build a good content-rich site and do the things on this list, you'll get traffic and help your ranking at the same time.
1. Use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) - Get traffic in an hour with PPC. Google and Overture (now Yahoo). Don't bother with others until you make these two work. The key to this is to know your visitor value, bid on hundreds of key words and phrases and split test your ads and track each keyword, phrase or ad separately
2. Distribute Your Content - write articles of value to your target market. Distribute that content for other webmasters to use on their sites as long as they keep the link back to you in a "resource box" at the end of each article. Distribute your articles through article directories, ezines, and distribution services. The key to make this work is valuable content.
3. Submit Press Releases - submit electronic press releases frequently with news of interest to the media and your target market. Since press releases are news, if they get picked up, it will be quickly and you may get hundreds of links back to your site this way. Key to make this work: write 300 - 500 word releases, include a link back to you, and have them written and distributed by experts who know how to optimize each release for key words (not typical PR firms).
4. Set Up a Blog with RSS - to be effective, blogs must have frequently updated content. Base yours on information helpful to your customers, not sales pitches. Don't do it unless you can commit some ongoing time to it. Seth Godin says the keys to a successful blog are: Candor, Urgency, Timeliness, Pithiness (short & to the point), and Controversy. The key to making this work is to make it interesting to your visitors, submit to blog directories, ping the search engines when you post and distribute your content with RSS.
5. Get One-Way Incoming Links - All the previous tips will create incoming, one-way links but you can also buy links from other sites from text link brokers. Don't do reciprocal linking, it's dead. Make sure you get links from pages with a Google Page Rank higher than "0". A site Google rates as "0" may be because they are penalizing it for some reason. If you link to it, you'll get penalized too.
The key to making this work: Make sure links have your keywords in the anchor text and make sure they are text, not graphical links. Make sure they are from other relevant sites, not link farms or FFA (Free for All) sites. The ideal is links from relevant pages without many other links.
6. Give Other Sites Your Testimonial - let them publish it on their web site as long as they link back to you. This can get you a one-way link from a site that would otherwise not give it to you. The key to make this work: keep it short and to the point.
7. Email Promotions - Advertise in Ezines, place ads in someone else's email newsletters that reach your target market. The key to make this work: track everything carefully.
8. Joint Ventures - Get promoted to your JV partner's customer database by your JV partner. John Reese sold over $1 Million of his information product in 24 hours exclusively by using joint venture promotions from his partners sending his offer to their customer lists. He paid his partners commissions on sales. The key to make this work: know your visitor value and have a tested and proven sales page that converts well BEFORE you contact JV prospects.
9. Get Affiliates - If selling a product, offer a commission to affiliates to sell for you. Each affiliate's link to your sales letter conversion page will bring you traffic and a better search engine rank too. The key to making this work is to make it financially attractive to your affiliates and give them everything they need to promote your product or service. Make it brain dead easy for them to do.
10. Buy Other Web Sites - Find web sites that already rank high on your keywords and verify their traffic with the site owner and independent tools. Make sure you get ownership of the domain - you can let them still use their content elsewhere. Check deleteddomains.com to see what domains you can register for a few dollars that their owners have let expire. The key to making this work: Check Google page rank, Alexa rank and the number of back links for any site before you buy a web site.
One marketer I know challenged some SEO experts to see who could get ranked highest on a given term in 24 hours. He won, the techies did a lot of slick things, but the marketer just bought the site that was already # 1.