It’s the age-old question of internet marketers: How do I generate more traffic for my website?

While search engine ranking algorithms can seem mysterious, there are a few binding principles you need to follow in order to ensure you’re maximizing your search traffic. The good news is: those principles are simple.

Principle #1: When Driving Traffic Your Website Needs To Be Targeted

If you have to ask if your website is targeted, it probably isn’t.

There are a lot of techniques you can use to ensure that your content is targeted to the long tail, but most of them start with either understanding your audience or analyzing keywords.

Google (and other search engines) look for targeted websites and articles because they are trying to provide the best genuine search result to their users. For broad topics, these ‘best results’ are far more likely to be huge industry leaders with whom it is difficult for you, as a webmaster, to compete.

Targeted keywords help you fill in the cracks the big fish overlook, or simply don’t bother with. Yes, you’ll be chasing traffic down a few dozen or few hundred viewers at a time, but those numbers quickly add up.

Additionally, it’s in your best interest to drive targeted traffic to your website, because you’ll be better able to provide that specific reader with exactly what he’s looking for. That will help build trust, and ultimately lead to sales.

Principle #2 When Driving Traffic Your Website Needs To Be Updated

Search engines look for recent updates to determine site health.

Lots of new marketers get frustrated when they see “old” competitor-posts consistently showing at the top of their chosen keywords. The truth is that these older sites have simply had more time to establish themselves, prove a consistent readership, and gain valuable backlinks and authority in the community.

However, while a specific post might be old, I guarantee you the best sites are consistently updated. Search engines look for recent site activity as a sign of site health. This may come from comments, updates to previous posts, or new articles.

This doesn’t mean you have to update your site everyday, but consistent weekly (or even monthly) activity proves to the robots that the site is alive, and thus more likely to be valuable to a reader.

Of course, these two factors alone are not enough to start ranking on your most popular terms, but they do wonders to help out with all of the niche keywords you’ve been developing. If you stick to these rules, along with basic SEO principles, and monitor keyword rankings, over time you’ll start to chip away at the larger keywords as well.