Okay, we get it. Someone told you to start using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to increase your website traffic, but you have no idea what any of this stuff means. The good news, you’re not alone! We’re glad that you want to know more about this digital field and how it can best serve your business efforts. In this article, we’ve included several commonly used SEO terms that should help you start to wrap your brain around what it all means.
First, let’s get the obvious one out of the way. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is used by search engines, most commonly Google, to help users accurately find the information they need by using the keywords entered into the search engine.
For example, Mary is looking for a seamstress to alter her wedding dress. She types in “wedding dress alteration” and she’s immediately faced with a number of business websites that provide that exact service. Even better, the websites are from businesses that exist in her area. She isn’t faced with out-of-state business locations or random websites because of how Google’s search algorithm operates, however, Google needs help from the websites themselves so it can better understand what is relevant to a user and what isn’t when they make a search. That’s where SEO comes in.
When you engage in tackling SEO, you need to understand the language. This is true whether you are working with any agency or trying to tackle the SEO beastie on your own. With that in mind, we’d like to give you a leg up
Here’s a glossary of some common SEO terms.
301 Redirect Definition
A 301 redirect is a permanent way to redirect one webpage to another. This will effectively redirect a visitor and a search engine bot. When you change the URL of a page, apply a 301 redirect to point the old address to the new one. This ensures that people who have linked to or bookmarked the old address will automatically get to the new one, and search engines can update their index. It’s important for SEO because unlike other redirects that are available (like 302 temporary), the 301 redirect transfers close to all page authority.
404 Page Definition
A 404 page is a page that displays when a user tries to access a page that no longer exists or types in a URL incorrectly. It is important for you to create a custom 404 page on your site as these are important for usability. Experiencing a 404 page can leave a user frustrated and if they cannot find what they want the competition is only a click away.
ALT Text/Tag (Image Attribute) Definition
Alt text and alt tag are descriptions of an image in your site’s HTML. Unlike humans, search engines read only the ALT text of images. Googlebot can’t read images, so it relies on the Alt text to determine what the image file is about. Add descriptive, SEO optimized ALT text to images whenever possible.
Anchor Text Definition
Anchor text is the user-visible text of a link to another webpage. Anchor text helps users and search engines understand what the destination page is about. Anchor text describes what you will see if you click through on the link. Relevant keyword use in an anchor text link is an important SEO consideration.
Bounce Rate Definition
The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors on your site who leave after only viewing one page. A high bounce rate is an indication that your site does not match the visitors’ search queries or it contains poor content or weak calls to action.
Canonical Issues (Duplicate Content) Definition
Canon means the legitimate or official version. It is often very difficult to completely avoid duplicate content. However, these issues can be dealt with effectively in several ways including – using the ‘noindex’ meta tag in the non-canonical copies, 301 server redirects to the canon, and the ‘rel=canonical’ meta tag to point search engines to the canon, the source of truth.
CPC stands for cost per click and relates to pay per click (PPC) advertising traffic where bid prices are set for each keyword.
External Links Definition
External links are links from other websites to your own website. Building quality external links to your website is an essential part of SEO. It is important to focus on quality rather than quantity.
The Fold Definition
The “fold” is the point on your website where the page gets cut off by the bottom of a user’s monitor or browser window. Anything below the fold can be scrolled to but isn’t seen right away. Search engines place some priority on content above the fold since it will be seen right away by new visitors. Website code should be optimized to load above the fold content first.
Google Analytics Definition
Google Analytics is the industry-leading website statistics package for understanding all elements of your website’s performance. Google Analytics can help you interpret what is happening on your website, from the most visited pages to measure the impact of advertising and email marketing on the volume of traffic, inquiries, and sales generated by your site.
Google Keywords Definition
Keyword Planner is like a workshop for building new search network campaigns or expanding existing ones. You can search for keyword and ad group ideas, get historical statistics, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several lists of keywords together. A free AdWords tool, Keyword Planner can also help you choose competitive bids and budgets to use with your campaigns.
Google My Business is (as of this writing) a free and easy way for businesses, products, brands, artists, and organizations to manage their online presence with Google. Using the Google My Business dashboard, you can create and maintain up-to-date business information listing on Google. Your listing can also appear on the SERP in rich snippets or branded sidebars. Google+ users can review your business. Positive reviews help enhance your business’s Local SEO having an impact on search engine results and improving the click-through rate of your listing.
“Structured data markup” is a standard way to annotate your content so machines can understand it. When your web pages include structured data markup, Google (and other search engines) can use that data to index your content better, present it more prominently in search results, and surface it in new experiences like voice answers, maps, and Google Now. For more on this, please see “schema” which is listed below.
Headings are a standard of HTML code that applies to the formatting of text. A heading style can be applied to text on a website to make it bolder and larger than other text on the page. The most common heading codes are H1, H2, H3 up to H6. The placement of keywords within headings is a ranking factor, H1 being the most important. The H1 tag should be used only once to title the page and H2 tags used where relevant to title page sections. In most cases, following a hierarchical structure starting at H1 is preferable.
HTML is the language of the web and forms the building blocks on which all web pages are founded? It is important to write clean HTML code so that the pages load quickly, are compatible with all browsers, and most importantly can be understood by Google.
Inbound Link (Incoming Link, Inlink) Definition
An inbound link is a link from one site to another. A link from another site will improve your SEO, especially if that site has a genuine reason to link to yours and a high PageRank.
Indexed is what your site is when it appears in the search engine results. Submitting a sitemap to Google using Google Webmaster tools helps Google to index your website more effectively.
Keyword Cannibalization Definition
Keyword cannibalization is the excessive reuse of the same keyword on too many web pages within the same site. This practice makes it difficult for the users and the search engines to determine which page is most relevant for the keyword.
Keyword Density Definition
Keywords density is the percentage of words on a web page that are a particular keyword. A helpful keyword density target is between 1% and 3% (keyword to whole text on the page). Any more than that will see diminishing returns and if this value is unnaturally high the page may be penalized by search engines. More important than a percentage value is how naturally you use keywords in your copy. Keyword use needs to be relevant and add value for the user.
Lead Magnet Definition
A lead magnet is a piece of particularly valuable content that is shared on a website in return for a user’s contact information. In a successful content marketing campaign, users will sign up to receive the lead magnet content and the website owner gets the users’ details for future follow up.
Meta Description Definition
The Meta Description Tag is an HTML element devised to provide a summary of the content of a web page. It presently has no bearing on where your site appears in the Google search engine results, but it is important that you pay close attention to them as the descriptions you write will appear below the Meta Title Tag in the search engine results and can be used to help increase the click-through rate to your website.
Meta Title Definition
Part of a page’s metadata is its meta title. The meta title is HTML code embedded at the header of a web page, above the meta description. The meta title appears too in SERPs and the use of relevant keywords in the meta title is a search engine ranking factor.
Non-reciprocal Link Definition
If site A links to site B, but site B does not link back to site A, then the link is considered nonreciprocal. Search engines tend to give more value to non-reciprocal links than to reciprocal ones because they are less likely to be the result of collusion between sites.
PPC is the name given to methods of online advertising that charge when a user clicks on a text, picture, or another advertising medium. PPC advertising providers include LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, and Bing.
The Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is the page that you are sent to after you run a query in a search engine. Results are based on relevancy, user history, and 100+ other ranking factors. It typically lists ten results per page, but this may vary depending on the query and search engine in question. As well as organic results, the SERP may include local organic results, local map results, rich text snippets, and sponsored search ads.
Schema is a type of microdata that makes it easier for search engines to parse and interpret the information on your web pages more effectively so they can serve relevant results to users based on search queries.
Generally, the hierarchy of pages of a website is what defines the sitemap. Technically, a special document created by a webmaster or a piece of software that provides a map of all the pages on a website to make it easier for a search engine to index that website.
User Experience (UX) Definition
UX is how the user feels when they browse and try to navigate your website, visit a page to buy something, etc. A good user experience is very important and will result in positive behavioral data (something Google cares about). Examples of positive behavioral data are increased session duration, the user viewing pages that are deeper in the site’s sitemap (page depth), and increased time on page. Such behavior encourages website conversion and can be beneficial for SEO.
We hope this helps you out with your SEO efforts. Be sure to read our other articles: What You Really Mean When You Ask for SEO, and Five Things You Can Do To Help Your SEO. If you would like more information about SEO and what it can do for your business then please contact us and let’s have a chat!