The best way to attract web traffic is to have a really good site.
If your content is engaging, the search engines will favor it and the humans will share it with their friends, giving you a lasting page-rank boost that will continue as long as you maintain the quality.
When Google first hit the scene, providing stiff competition for Alta Vista and HotBot, search engines operated in a much simpler manner than they do today. If a webmaster wanted to bring in traffic for the search term ‘widgets,’ it was as simple as cramming keywords into the text as densely as possible.
“We sell widgets. Blue widgets, red widgets, striped widgets, new widgets. Widgets, widgets, widgets. Free shipping on widgety widgets.”
Then, the webmaster could increase the site’s ranking by asking hundreds of other site owners to exchange links, thus creating the illusion of popularity.