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Search engine optimization


In this lesson on using search engine optimization to drive traffic, students will be introduced to SEO terminology and learn several strategies for increasing a site’s rank on major search engines.


  • Students will learn the importance of search engine optimization.
  • Students will learn how to format tags to increase a site’s rank among search engine results.
  • Students will learn how to write SEO-friendly headlines.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.


65 minutes


Slideshow: Search Engine Optimization

Class set: SEO exercise

Lesson step-by-step

1. Slideshow — 30 minutes

Walk through the SEO slideshow with students, discussing and answering questions as they arise.

2. Student research and sharing — 20 minutes

Allow students to go on the Web individually or as groups to look at headlines from national news publications such as and Tell them to find examples of headlines that are written SEO-friendly and headlines that are not SEO-friendly. How did they know?

Instruct students to visit several Web site homepages and find the meta description for that site. Which sites have good descriptions? Which sites have bad descriptions?

To find the meta description, students will need to view the source of an individual page. To do this in:

Internet Explorer

View >> Source


Tools >> Web Developer >> Page Source


View >> Developer >> View Source


Safari >> Preferences > Advanced >> Check “Show Develop menu in menu bar”

Develop >> Show Page Source

3. SEO exercise — 15 minutes
At your next class meeting, or if there is time today, pass out the handout “SEO exercise” and have students complete this short formative assessment to evaluate students’ retention of the information.