Search engines take meta information that you provide with your articles. In early days, they would relay highly on these meta information. But people started tricking Google to rank high. So Google made changes to its algorithms and reduced the weightage to meta info that the authors provide.
But providing proper meta data helps. Google shows these meta info in its search results for your articles.
For example: The title, description you give in the meta title, meta description, meta keywords etc are shown in the search result for that article.
To help improve your SEO:
Use this simple plugin High Performance SEO.
This plugin solves most of the problems.