Ah, keywords - the stuff of life on the Web. Understanding keywords and keyword phrases is like learning the alphabet when you're starting to read. What can we say - it's a must-have skill. On the article upload form you'll use them in the title, lede paragraph, subheadings, links, and throughout the article itself, not to mention the tags you'll assign it.
You'll note the "s" for keywords plural - using just one is rarely a good idea. A 3-word phrase is ideal and is likely what you use yourself when sitting there at the Google window trying to figure out how to ask for what you're looking for. You need more than one word to get the level of specificity we're talking about.
You should have keyword phrases in mind when you sit down to write the article, starting with the title. It's a lot to ask we know, but we're a demanding bunch and we're doing it for your own good. In print, someone else writes the headline, here it's all you.
Think of your readers flipping through the great card catalogue in the sky and this is what you put on the tab. They need to get it in a single glance and more importantly the search robots who crawl the site every few minutes need to.
Assigning the article a search-friendly title is one of THE most crucial aspects of this process and it's the hardest thing for print writers to grasp. Choose a title that reflects exactly what someone would enter into a search engine to find it; search engines put priority on titles matching the search phrase. This is no time to be creative, enigmatic, whip up plays on words or otherwise goof around - search is a precision-strike instrument and the more exact you can be, the more appreciative your readers will be when they've landed in the right place.
Titles are very useful for both readers and spiders, so there is no room for "cute" or "vague" titles that don't align directly with the content of the article. As much as we encourage playfulness, search engines are seriously literal beasts, so if it's a review of a movie make sure the movie title, the director, and the names of the stars are in the title and these keywords are also smack in the subheading and first few paragraphs too so that the "aboutness" of the article is crystal clear. Dates aren't searched heavily on their own, but if it's key don't forget to put in the year as well.
If you are writing several articles on the same subject, don't think of it as a numbered series or put "part 1" in the title as this makes no sense to search engines nor readers who likely aren't going to navigate sequentially. It wastes valuable title real estate so instead link related articles together using anchor text in the body of the article. Our system won't allow you to create two identical titles, and why would you want to? This will just get you the same traffic you've already targeted and not new searchers who may have used synonymous terms that widen the field.