Essential SEO Terms and Definitions
A list of essential Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Terms You Need to Know
*Note: This page is work in progress and new terms are added frequently
- Alt Text – Short for alternative text. Alt text is a textual element that provides search engines with information about your images. Google and other search engines can’t see images like we do, this is why it’s necessary to add text to help them understand what’s on photos, graphs and other pics. As a result, adding alt text makes it possible for your images to be found on Google Images Search – which can help bring more traffic to your website. Make sure you check this guide if you want to be an alt text pro.
- Anchor Text – Anchor text is the clickable text that is used to link to a different page, on your website or an external web address. Most of the time, the anchor text appears blue and underlined.
- Backlinks – also known as incoming links, inbound links or inward links, are links that point towards your website, from other websites. Backlinks are like votes of confidence; the more votes you have – from quality websites – the better your site appears to search engines. A smart way to start collecting backlinks is by trying these outreach techniques.
- Bounce Rate – The rate of visitors that enter your website and choose to leave after viewing only one page, and ‘bounce’ away. A high bounce rate will negatively impact your SEO.
- Bot – A bot or robot is any type of programmed application that is able to run automated tasks. Search engines bots, (also known as spiders or crawlers like Googlebot) are tasked with scouring the web and scanning websites’ pages. From there on, a massive database or index is generated of all sites that have been crawled. These catalogs are then consulted when compiling search engine results.
- Crawling – Crawling is what a search engine bot does when it reads the code of a website’s page. Once a web page is ‘crawled’, the information is kept in a massive index that is then used to bring up search engine results.
- CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) – is the practice of increasing the percentage of users who perform a desired action on a website. The best way to increase website conversion rate is to understand your visitors, users, and customers, and give them what they need. Desired actions can include purchasing a product, clicking ‘add to cart’, signing up for a service, filling out a form, or clicking on a link.
- Content – In SEO, content refers to any type of meaningful piece of information displayed on your website. This can either be copy, images, videos, infographics, etc. High-quality content is one of the main factors that will positively impact your ranking. To evaluate the quality, search engines look at specific criteria. To be well-ranked, your content has to be:
- informative and useful to the reader
- unique (which means that duplicating text from another site is a no-no)
- fresh (that is to say new, or regularly updated)
- E-A-T – Expertise-Authority-Trustworthiness (the characteristics of Page Quality) are some of the most important Google’s ranking factors. Every page must have a purpose, and that purpose must be accomplished to benefit the user. Every page needs the right expertise behind it. Some pages require higher levels of E-A-T than others due to their subject matter importance.
- Image SEO – This refers to the practice of optimizing everything that is related to your images, photos or other types of graphics. How to improve it? Fill in your alt text, add more textual elements around your images such as captions, and don’t forget to make sure your images are optimized to load quickly on your website.
- Index – Verb – One of the automated tasks of a search engine bot, in which a copy of a website’s page is saved in a massive database or library.
- Noun – A search engine database which includes all URLs and the files within them. A search engine will first crawl your site, and then index it.
- Google Index – Determine whether your site is in Google’s index – Do a site: search for your site’s home URL. If you see results, you’re in the index.
- Google Search Console (former Google Webmaster’s Tools) – How do I get my site on Google? Inclusion in Google’s search results is free and easy. Google is a fully automated search engine that uses web crawlers to explore the web constantly, looking for sites to add to our index. Google Search Console provides tools to help you submit your content to Google and monitor how you’re doing in Google Search. If you want, Search Console can even send you alerts on critical issues that Google encounters with your site. Sign up for Search Console.
- Keyword – Keywords are two to five-word phrases that your potential clients would type into a search engine when looking for you (or a business like yours). Choosing the right keywords for your web pages is essential if you wish to obtain more organic traffic from an audience with a specific intent. You’re in luck as we’ve got a guide on how to find the right keywords for your website. Identify the specific keywords you want to ‘rank’ for on Google. What is your business? Which one of your services do you want to provide the most? You can rank for more than one keyword; we’d recommend finding and tracking 50 as a good place to start.
Why is Local SEO so important for small business?
- Local SEO – refers to specific actions you can take to make sure that your site appears in search results when someone is looking for a business in your area. Read this post if you’re looking to boost your local SEO and increase your foot traffic.
- Meta tags – Meta tags are invisible tags that provide data about your page to search engines and website visitors. They offer more details about your site to search engines and website visitors who encounter your site in the SERP. Description meta tags, Title tags, Header tags (H1 – H6), and Alt text tags can be optimized to highlight the most important elements of your content and make your website stand out in search results.
- NAP – Name/Address/Phone Number of your business. Make sure that your NAP information is accurate and consistent throughout all your Social Media accounts, header/footer, Contact page and About Us page.
- On Page SEO Optimization – Improving elements on your actual site that have an effect on ranking in natural search results. There are a number of ways you can do this, such as through content, internal links and metadata. Over time, this has become one of the most important factors in SEO. As with keywords, on-page SEO isn’t something that you do once and then move on from. You should try to review your on-page SEO on a fairly regular basis to ensure it is up to date with your content, keywords and internal links across your site.
- Off Page SEO Optimization – Increasing the authority of your website (see Ranking) through building quality links to it from trusted sources. The clue is in the name – this is SEO that you do away from the page’s website. It signals to search engines that they should rank you more highly not based on what is on your website, but because of what others think about your site. This is an area that some people struggle with more than others. Some businesses don’t like to do anything that isn’t on their website, or they don’t see it as such a priority as on-page SEO. However, it is important not to neglect this.
- Organic Traffic – Traffic that comes to your website as a result of unpaid search results. The main purpose of optimizing a website for search engines (SEO) is to drive as much free traffic to a website as possible.
- Optimization – The process of strategizing and tweaking your website so that the content and structure is best suited for search engine crawlers with the objective of getting listed and ranked well by the search engines.
- Position or Ranking – In SEO, a position refers to a website’s rank in the search engine results page. A page’s position is dependent on more than 200 ranking factors like content relevance to the search term, or the quality of links pointing to the page.
- SERP – Stands for Search Engine Results Page. A list of pages that shows up when searching for a certain keyword.
- Searcher intent – In SEO, searcher intent refers to the original purpose or reason why someone entered a query in a search box. Understanding searcher intent will help you form a clear SEO strategy and create better content for your website. Have a gander at this if you’d like to know more about searcher intent.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization means everything you can do in order for your website to appear in a good position in search engines’ (like Google) results. SEO encompasses in particular (but not limited to): adding title and descriptions to your pages, adding alt text to your images, starting a blog, and so much more. SEO is the process of making your site better for search engines. Also SEO is the job title of a person who does this for a living: We just hired a new SEO to improve our presence on the web.
- SEO title – A title tag is technically a piece of HTML code used to tell search engines what’s the ‘name’ of your page. An SEO title can be up to 70 characters long (when optimizing for Google). It can be viewed at the very top of your web page (in a browser’s tab), in your website’s source code, as well as any time your website shows up in a SERP.
- SEM – Search Engine Marketing is a type of Internet marketing that involves paying for advertisements in order to increase your visibility on search results. As opposed to SEO, which is free.
- Sitemap – A sitemap is in simple terms a plan of your website. It shows how your different pages are connected to one another. Sitemaps tell Google about pages on your site that may otherwise not be discovered. It appears as a list of all your site’s links, and can be accessed by adding sitemap.xml to the end of your site’s URL.
- Spider – The search engine ‘crawler’ or ‘spider’ which scans your website pages in order to index it. An example of a spider is a Googlebot.
- URL – This stands for “Uniform Resource Locator”. A URL is the address of a specific web page or file on the Internet.
- Website speed – The time it takes for your website’s page to load. Having a quicker website speed will better the user experience of your site, which can positively impact your SEO.
- Website Growth Hacking – a SEO phrase describing techniques to help startups achieve accelerated growth. Growth Hacking is the concept of focusing entirely on the growth/rise/scaling of a startup. Growth hacking doesn’t have roles assigned to people, even a programmer can be a growth hacker. Growth Hacker is the new VP of Marketing
- White Hat SEO – The opposite of a black hat technique. White hat SEO refers to the usage of SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus on a human audience opposed to search engines and completely follows search engine rules and policies.
- Page status (most common server status numbers) –
- 200 OK – A server response code that indicates all is A-OK with a web page.
- 301 Moved Permanently or 301 Redirect – A server response that automatically redirects a user who attempts to visit a certain web address to another one (the one it is redirected to.)
- 404 Not Found – A 404 is an error message displayed by a browser which lets you know that an Internet address cannot be found (page has been deleted, there is a mistake in the URL, etc.)
Google Core Updates – several times per year Google will “make significant, broad changes to [their] search algorithms”. The goal of these updates is to “deliver on [Google’s] mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers.”
While past core updates have seemed to focus heavily on trust, and protecting the safety of searchers, the main advancement Google made with the May 2020 core update is in understanding what it is the searcher is looking for (Search Intent), and presenting them with helpful results. In other words, Google got better at determining relevance of users search intent. That will have significant influence on SERP and can either put your site on first page of SERP, or drop it out, depending how well is your site optimized for those intents.
BERT – a neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, models that process words in relation to all the other words in a sentence, rather than one-by-one in order.