Search engines are the most important source of traffic for any article because when people want information, 98% use a search engine, so if you are not on the top of the search engines, you are missing 98% of all the traffic you could be getting.
1. Links are everything. Search engines are not smart, far from it, they are so dumb that the only thing they know how to read to see if an article is worth ranking higher or not are the links it has from other pages. Make sure you have lots of blogs, forums, and other articles linking to your main article. You can easily do that by starting ten blogs, each one about a topic you love, then make ten links from other pages to each of those ten blogs, then link all these ten blogs to your latest articles with a widget and enjoy having your article a little higher. The more the links you get, the higher the article will rank. There is no limit to how many links you should get. Manually is really hard so the best way is to write high quality articles that people love, share them on some sites and hope that your readers will link to them.
2. Keywords are also important, actually they are so important than you can miss the best positions if you use the wrong keywords. Your keyword density should be between 1-3% which means that if you are not in that average keyword density, search engines will either mark your article as spam or not rank it for the most important keywords since the keyword density is so little that search engines think that your article could be about something else with a small mention for the targeted keyword and rank it higher for the keywords you are not interested in.