What Makes an Article SEO Friendly?

Introduction: SEO Online Marketing Strategy

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an acronym that has definitely channeled the moods of countless managers and writers and is regarded by virtually everyone as an enchanted route to success. To write an article that is assured of being favored by SEO is a glorious prize indeed. But first a little background on SEO.


SEO: A Basic Understanding of the Term.

There are billions of articles, posts and blogs residing on the internet that are periodically crawled by Google’s search engines. It is extraordinarily important to give them a ranking and give this glorious macrocosm of words and ideas some kind of order. Google will deploy a search engine soon after a post or article is written and it will ‘crawl’ the article that will  subsequently then be categorized on the pages of the internet. I used the term ‘billions of articles…’ perhaps speculatively, but it is based on the figures from Google that in 2019 there were 4.39 billion internet users and 5.11 billion mobile users. Billions, in the words of my grandson – ‘that’s…nine zeros!’.


For anyone interested in SEO, making use of Google’s Search Console, is an imperative. And it is not difficult to become a member. Once you have done this I suggest you read, at your earliest opportunity, ‘How Google Search Works‘.


SEO is so all-embracing, so central to our success, that I must convince you, before you think about the lofty realms of a better relationship with Google – you should first ensure the basics are attended to:

  • Root out duplicate content.
  • See all plug-ins are up-to-date.
  • Use alt-tags in your images.
  • Look for broken links and misdirection in external and internal links.
  • Are your Meta titles and Meta descriptions relevant? You will find the word relevance frequently used in SEO.



Keywords (Long and Medium Tailed) in SEO


Every single internet marketer on earth knows that SEO runs on keywords, so we once believed that all you needed to do was find a relevant keyword, add it to the title and a few other places and boom! Easy-peasy, this would demonstrate to Google the substance of your piece and what you wished to be ranked for. It was called keyword density by some practitioners and was the yellow brick road to success.


Keywords remain important but not nearly numero uno as they once were. Long-tailed keywords and medium-tailed (some refer to them as keyword phrases) should always be used and most importantly, written in a conversational style. This then blends the keywords, with relevant content producing eye-catching posts that could propel your stuff to the very top of the tree!

Algorithms: the indispensable beasts of the SEO world


Let us now discuss the indispensable beasts of the SEO world – algorithms. Not only the indispensable beasts of SEO but the entire corporate world it would seem.  Later, I shall offer a few thoughts on Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Evolution very definitely occurs in the world of algorithms and it can be very swift. Think about algorithms for a moment. They are unquestionably, sequential and finite and at a basic level, this can be very quickly demonstrated. But their purpose, at the level Google operates, will always be profoundly over-arching – indeed searching for the holy grail, in fact, the infinite subtlety and complexity of the human mind.


Leonard Cohen: god of poetry and song

This in summary is what makes programming so romantic, for many otherwise dour and shackled programmers who may have the mental agility, but lack the soaring imagination of the artist. Here then for you people – presented with the hope that this great poet may embolden your search to penetrate the interminable reaches of consciousness: a few bars from Hallelujah, sung by the Master.



Managers and writers and the smart marketers will now all know of Googles SEO direction, because this was forecast on September 26, 2013 when Hummingbird, Googles strategic move to make SEO more inclusive, and, even human perhaps.


Google: RankBrain & A Vision for the Future  

To give you, perhaps some historic stuff on Googles direction in those ‘early’ years, here is what the CEO, Sundai Pichai had to say, “Machine learning is a core, transformative way by which we’re rethinking how we’re doing everything. We are thoughtfully applying it across all our products, be it search, ads, YouTube, or Play. And we’re in early days, but you will see us — in a systematic way — apply machine learning in all these areas.” Sundai was referring here to what Google, in search, has named ‘RankBrain’ and He said this in 2015 – five years ago! Just think of the advances that have now been made and yet some marketers are still mired in the old ways.


Machine Learning in SEO

Sundai introduced us to machine learning above, so tell us more. Briefly what is AI? All the major corporates use, or would like to use, algorithms in their strategy planning, for instance AI is the logical conclusion to this development where the programmers – and there are large teams of engineers and mathematicians involved who have been developing algorithms, now want to take the next step.


Just take a moment to think about the relevancy of AI and SEO. You must accept that the amount of machine learning by RankBrain (RB) must, in the five years, be now pretty extensive. I wouldn’t be surprised if RB is enjoying a zesty cup of espresso with his team of programmers every morning as they discuss the day’s plans.


Long gone are the days when Google would announce a change in the direction of SEO. RB will by now be a smooth and efficient operation, tweaking this and that, to produce the maximum benefit for the users of the internet.


Picture the scene: (It may help if you can recall the days of comics – you may then retain the intensity of a visual memory). RB lies peacefully in quiet repose in a hammock. In the background, Mozart’s Horn Concerto is playing, a flute of chilled prosecco sits within easy reach (showing he is a man of the people and not a spendthrift). He has by now taken on the appearance of the great geniuses of the comic-era, wraith-like with whispy long hair and an enormous forehead. On his ears are extravagant cordless cans. He is wireless of course. And that is the story – you must adjust to a new reality!


When reading about machine learning I came across this short article “80% of all machine learning engineers work at Google or Facebook” written by Aaron Edel in May 2018. I thought this was a pretty droll statement, but his article is very informative too.


The man in the street will not be seeking the holy grail and Aaron gives really practical advice on learning about machine learning. I urge you to give it a whirl!


Relevance + Excellence is the new SEO

So if Hummingbird was a major algorithmic update in 2013, what should we be doing now? Just to add to that statement: don’t ever believe that RB and Google are sparing about making changes to their search algorithm. They make thousands a year!


All aboard – Googalleon!

Keep in mind Relevance + Excellence: because RB and Google have seen how human behaviour has changed and of course evolved. Questions are now 50% more likely to be posed verbally, and in a much more informal and matter-of-fact way. Relevance and excellence are conceptually long-held Google-goals. Whether writing posts and essays or contributing to their own responses to questions – they are cherished Googalleon ideals. Quite honestly, I looked at that word, which could have been spelled Googolion, or even Googilian but being a loyal sailor, I chose Googalleon!


Keywords are still influential as described above, but  not one single one – rather a basket of relevant keyword phrases, all derived from research by Google into the changing quality and focus of searches on the internet.


Use SERP Purposefully

These pages are shown by the search engines of Google, Yahoo and Bing in reply to questions by users, and are mostly based on responses to a keyword(s). Smart marketers already know this and use SERP to try and keep in touch with Google, Yahoo and Bing and of course they derive extremely important information about their sites and performance here.


Basically, this comes in two forms: (a) obtained from the search engines algorithm, and (b) from sponsors advertisements.


In SERP the results are now always derived realistically and relevantly and ranked as such. Keep that in the forefront of your brain.


What I find so astonishing is the sophistication of the algorithm that intertwines the search and the result. The ‘user search string’ is the source, but so is the enquirer’s commitment to, their ‘sneaking suspicion’ even, stuff picked up from their other portable devices: like income level, ethnicity, character and mood; what country are they from – and from their accents,  even from what part of a state or county or province?



But then feelings, motivations and values can also be determined by algorithms which will then bring with it a whole rich new study, that of User Experience (UX). Does Google employ UX – it is a human-system interaction, so of course it does. In fact that is a jolly silly question considering our conversation.


Conclusion (a) & the Pivotal Question: What Makes an Article SEO Friendly?


We have covered many interesting areas in this essay and consequently we need resolution. But you must concede that RB has introduced a new dimension, the world of SEO has now become much more subtle but, I think, more human. It now seeks out the very best in writing – quality is paramount, not as say, the old way of just adding a few keywords at strategic points in the essay.


What is most important then? So proceeding and ranking in a Googalleon way:


In third place has to be keyword phrases.


In second place I put links. I know I have said nothing about them but it is something even the thickos among us know about. How very important they are. Obviously, they bind us, our site, and the internet all together. They can give the most modestly gifted writer’s essay some significance by linking his words to that of an expert. Plus so many marketers are lazy about using them. Then there is the ‘backlink’ – and paradoxically, so many marketers seem to be quite oblivious about the backlinks massive influence and how it can guide SEO to your very door! You should ensure that it becomes second-nature to you, creating backlinks on the internet pointing directly to your website. Additionally, if you are able, why not also ad something from YouTube. It definitely adds a certain style to the whole presentation.


So finally, what do I say is Google’s No.1 choice? It is of course relevance plus excellence and what will always be self-evident, quality of the writing. Compelling writing expressed with style and grace, will forever be prized, above all, by Google (and RB of course!).


Conclusion (b)

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Best wishes to you all,



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