What is SEO - How to Optimize an Article With SEO Techniques

What is SEO – How to Optimize an Article With SEO Techniques

Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to strategies, techniques, and best practices for improving the organic visibility and ranking of web pages in search engines like Google. Properly optimizing content with SEO helps make it more findable, visible, and valuable to searchers.

This comprehensive guide will explain everything a beginner needs to know about optimizing online content and web pages for search engines using proven SEO principles and methods.

An Introduction to Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the process of optimizing web pages and online content to rank better for relevant keyword phrases in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The goal is to improve visibility and traffic from organic search results, rather than paid methods like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

By properly optimizing articles, web pages, videos, product listings, and other content with SEO best practices, the content becomes more easily discovered by searchers on engines like Google searching for related topics. Higher visibility in search engines translates to increased qualified organic traffic to websites.

SEO focuses on multiple areas, including:

  • On-page optimization – Optimizing individual web pages with relevant titles, headers, content, etc.
  • Technical SEO – Ensuring proper site architecture, speed, security.
  • Link building – Earning backlinks from other domains to improve ranking signals.

Mastering even basic SEO techniques can notably boost a site’s position in search rankings. Consistently applying SEO best practices across all website content is key for the best results over time.

Benefits of SEO Content Optimization

Optimizing online content for search engines provides a range of meaningful benefits:

  • Increased organic traffic – Better rankings and visibility leads to more qualified visitors.
  • Improved brand visibility & awareness – More people discover your brand via search engines.
  • More conversions and sales – Higher traffic and visibility drives more leads and customers.
  • Better user experience – Optimized content better aids and informs searchers.
  • Topical trust and authority – High ER domains are seen as industry authorities.
  • ** Lower marketing costs** – Free organic traffic reduces paid advertising costs.

The ultimate goal is to improve search visibility in order to connect with more interested searchers and convert them into leads and customers for your business or organization.

Key SEO Optimization Elements

Comprehensive SEO requires optimizing many elements to build visibility and authority site-wide. However, certain on-page factors have an especially notable influence.


Identifying and properly utilizing relevant keyword phrases is critical in SEO. Keywords and key phrases refer to the actual search terms and queries entered by searchers.

Ranking for these key phrases that are closely relevant to the content focus and topics requires strategic keyword implementation through:

  • Keyword research
  • Keyword mapping and targeting
  • Natural keyword usage in content
  • Optimization of key SEO elements with selected keywords

This ensures search engines can understand the topic relevance of the content for each key phrase.

See the keyword section below for more techniques.

Page Titles & Meta Descriptions

The title tag and meta description provide critical on-page clues for search engines to understand the topic of pages for ranking purposes.

Page titles should:

  • Accurately reflect the topic and subtopics covered
  • Utilize target primary keywords when possible
  • Be 60 characters or less

Keep titles scannable, descriptive, and focused on primary search intents.

Meta descriptions summarize page content in 155-160 characters. Well-written descriptions improve click-through-rates by making the results snippet compelling.

Headings & Subheadings

Heading tags (H1 to H6) help structure content into clear, scannable sections, making pages more readable. They also emphasize important keywords and topics to search engines.

  • Use descriptive headings summarizing section content
  • Work in relevant secondary keywords when possible

Image Optimization

Optimizing images comes down to:

  • Descriptive file names with primary and secondary keywords
  • Quality alt text summarizing the image purpose/content
  • Strong contextual integration in surrounding content

Outbound Linking

Links to external authoritative, trustworthy resources strengthen page authority and topical relevance. However:

  • Links must contextually relate to page content
  • Avoid over-optimization with excessive links
  • Prioritize sites with high domain authority when possible

Structured Data Markup

Adding schema.org structured data markup provides additional metadata to search engines regarding page content. Implement markup for relevant page types, such as:

  • Articles
  • Local businesses
  • Events
  • Products
  • Videos

Common forms of schema include JSON-LD, Microdata and RDFa.

Keyword Optimization Techniques

Thorough keyword research and analysis informs an effective keyword strategy – what terms and phrases to target for each content piece and page.

Within content, keywords usage balance between:

  • Natural writing for users – Content reads naturally without awkward phrasing.
  • Optimized for search engines – Keywords woven in strategically throughout the content without going overboard on volume/density.

Here are key practices for optimizing keyword placement and usage:

Identify Primary and Secondary Keywords

Determine 2-3 primary keywords or key phrases that summarize the core focus of content. These will receive the highest targeting priority.

Identify 5-10 secondary keywords and key phrases relevant to discussion topics in the content as well. These receive secondary emphasis.

Headline & Title Optimization

Craft compelling SEO headlines and titles using primary keywords when possible while keeping them under 60 characters.

These set initial keyword targeting and topic relevance.

Introduction Paragraph

Work your primary keywords into the opening paragraph naturally, which signals keyword relevance upfront.

Content Keywords Density

Aim for a 1% to 2% keyword density target by word count for primary keywords/phrases. Use these core terms multiple times throughout the post’s body copy across headings, paragraphs, and sentences.

LSI Keywords

Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI refers to words and phrases closely related on a topical level to your core keywords. These help search engines make contextual connections.

Optimizing for LSI expands beyond just primary terms. Brainstorm closely related terms and work these in as well.

Alternative Keyword Phrases

Include synonymous keyword phrases, long-tail variations, and other semantic iterations to cover all relevant bases.

Bold Keywords

Bold 1-2 main keyword appearances to strongly emphasize relevance. Avoid bolding more to prevent looking spammy.

Link relevant keywords to internal pages using anchor text descriptive of the linked page.

Technical SEO Optimization

Beyond creating optimized content, websites must provide a search engine-friendly infrastructure. Core elements of technical SEO include:

Mobile Responsiveness

With mobile search growing, Google factors mobile-friendliness and responsiveness into ranking algorithms. Ensure site content adapts smoothly cross-device.

Page Speed

Page Speed

Faster page speeds improve user experience and rank better. Test site speed and optimize pages for maximum performance.

SSL Security

An SSL certificate activates HTTPS protocol and encrypts data. This adds critical security and trust signals, boosting SEO.


Improve site accessibility through alt text, ARIA labels, keyboard compatibility, and more so engines can fully crawl and understand content.

XML Sitemaps

An XML sitemap helps search bots crawl pages more efficiently by providing a roadmap of all site content.

robots.txt File

robots.txt file gives instructions about what pages or files search engines can & can’t access while crawling.

Structured Data

As referenced earlier, implement structured data markup using JSON-LD or other schemas to enhance meaning and visibility in results.

Mastering technical SEO factors provides the infrastructure for optimized content to truly thrive. Treat them as checkpoints to continually evaluate.

Link building refers to the process of acquiring backlinks – links from external sites pointing back to pages on your domain. These provide signals of popularity and authority to pages and domains that positively influence rankings.

However, low-quality links can actually damage site authority and penalize rankings. Link building strategies should focus on earning links from reputable industry websites through:

  • Content promotion
  • Guest posting
  • Link inserts

Aim for site-wide links together with page and content specific linking. Contextually relevant links integrated naturally typically offer the most SEO value.

SEO Content Guidelines & Checklist

Use this SEO checklist to optimize any piece of online content:

  • Conduct keyword research
  • Include primary and secondary keywords
  • Descriptive SEO meta title under 60 characters
  • Compelling meta description 155-160 characters
  • Header tags with strong keywords
  • Quality images with alt text and keywords
  • Link out to authority domains appropriately
  • Bold 1-2 main keywords
  • Clear, scannable content sections and formatting
  • Mobile responsive design
  • 1-2% target keyword density
  • LSI keywords for semantic richness
  • XML sitemap submitted
  • Structured data markup added
  • Compelling call to action
  • Social sharing buttons

Tracking SEO Rankings and Performance

Continually track keyword rankings and overall SEO visibility using both free and paid tools:

Google Search Console

Google Search Console

This free Google tool reports indexed and backlinked pages, provides crawl insights, shows top performing content, flags errors, and more.

Google Analytics

Integrate Google Analytics tracking code to view and analyze site traffic sources, page visit durations, bounce rates, conversions and other vital statistics to measure SEO success.

SEO Audit Tools

Services like Moz, Ahrefs and SemRush provide extensive SEO-specific data regarding rankings, keyword usage, links and link metrics, page factors, etc. for comprehensive performance tracking.

Consistently monitoring your SEO results informs data-driven optimization efforts for continuously better results over time following these proven best practices.


I hope this thorough beginner’s guide provided a helpful introduction explaining what is SEO along with outlining effective techniques for optimizing website content and pages for search engines based on the latest best practices.

The key is applying an “SEO mindset” where visibility and discoverability are built into creation process for long-term gains.

Focus on providing value to searchers through authority building and user experience using the checklist, which ultimately leads more interested visitors to your content and site for conversions.

Optimizing for search is an ongoing process, but the results are worth the investment for significant organic growth, web visibility and lower marketing costs over time.

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