When you’re just getting started with SEO, understanding all the SEO jargon out there can be nothing short of overwhelming. And on top of that you need to understand it well enough to be able to explain some common terms to your clients.
This SEO glossary can serve as your resource for getting familiar with the most common SEO jargon you’ll come across.
– A –
- Algorithm is a set of rules, criteria or standards that search engines follow to rank websites accordingly in a given search query.
- ALT Tag tells search engines what the image is about since search engines cannot read images. The text placed within the ALT tag appears when the image does not load or is not displayed so viewers know what the image is. The Alt tag can be edited in the HTML code or edited without coding in most of the popular content management systems when the image is uploaded.The HTML code for the alt tag is as follows:<img src=”image-filename.jpg” alt=”image description” />
- Analytics refers to the collection and analysis of data regarding a website’s usage. Analytics are often used to gather data about website traffic, visitors information, page views and more which help webmasters to better optimize and improve their websites for greater conversion.
- Anchor text is the visible and clickable text of a link. Search engines also use anchor text to determine the type of content on the website and the value of the website. Anchor text is one of many factors taken into consideration by search engines when ranking a website.
– B –
- Back link refers to a link located on another website that links back to your website. Backlinks are incoming links.
- Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that visit a page of a website and then immediately leave.
- Bread crumbs are mainly used for website navigation. These are typically seen on the horizontal bar just above a site’s main content and they help users better navigate a site’s structure. Breadcrumbs are also helpful for search engines. Breadcrumbs may appear as follows:Home > Clothing > Kid’s Clothes > Boys
– C –
- Canonicalization refers to single webpages that can be loaded from multiple URLs. Many popular CMS’ cause this problem and the canonical tag helps developer specify which page they would like for Google to display. For example, the following pages: www.yourwebsite.com, yourwebsite.com, and www.yourwebsite.com/index.html may all appear the same to the visitor, however, search engines display see that as three separate pages.This is how it would appear in HTML code:<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.yourwebsite.com/blog”>
- Cloak or Cloaking is a black hat SEO tactic that delivers different content to search engine spiders and users. Cloaking is intentionally done so if you don’t know how to cloak, you have already avoided it!
- Conversion, also known as goal, is the measurement of achieving certain quantifiable goals on a website. Conversion happens when a website’s visitor takes a desired action as defined by the website owner such as signing up for an e-mail list or buying a product.
- Crawler is a bot or a piece of software that follows links on a specific website or across the internet to collect data and create an index of all the gathered data. Crawlers analyze websites and catalog the content of a particular website.
– D –
- Directory refers to a website that is devoted to listing websites into relevant categories so these can be easily searched by users. Some directories are used for building backlinks and the quality of these backlinks can vary widely. One high authority directory example is DMOZ.
- Domain Authority (DA) is the measurement of a website’s strength against a 100-point scale. Domain Authority gauges a specific website’s chances to rank in search engine results.
- Duplicate Content is when two webpages display the same content. This content can be found on one website or different websites. Duplicate content can automatically be created by a CMS without the webmaster realizing it (see canonicalization for more information on this). Duplicate content can cause a website to be ranked lower and search engines may not know which is the correct page to display in search results.
– F –
- A Feed is a subscription-based tool that allows users to receive the latest content from a particular website either through email, an RSS feed or a news aggregator. A feed helps webmasters update their readers whenever they release new content.
- Frames is a webpage where two or more documents appear on the same screen. As each document is loaded in it’s own frame, this is bad for SEO as search engines cannot always navigate the pages and visitors cannot see all the information.
– H –
- Header tags are HTML tags used in a webpage’s header that describe the content on the page. Including your main keyword in a header tag will help to better optimize the webpage for ranking. Header tags range from H1 to H6 tags and look like this in the code:<h1>Descriptive title of webpage</h1>
<h2>Descriptive title of subsection</h2>
- The htaccess file controls many aspects of how a website displays. Small mistakes can cause websites to not display correctly. This file is used for redirecting pages, browser caching and enabling compression.
– I –
- Inbound link is a term used to describe a link that directs users to your website from an external source. Search engines use and analyze inbound links to determine a website’s authority. Having inbound links coming from reputable and trustworthy websites can help improve a websites search engine ranking.
- Indexed pages refers webpages that search engines have found and included in their index of pages so they can appear in search results.
- Internal link refers to a link that redirects from one webpage to another webpage on the same website. Internal links help search engines better understand and index the website’s content. Internal linking is considered a white hat SEO practice together with inbound linking.
– K –
- Keyword Density is the number of times a specific keyword or keyphrase has been used on a single web page. This means the keyword or keyphrase should ideally not make up more than 3 to 5% of the webpage’s content. Search engines may or may not tag a particular web page for keyword stuffing if keywords go beyond 5% density.
- Keyword Research is the process that webmasters and web owners go through to determine which keywords or keyphrases will best target their intended audience and are the most profitable to be found for in search results. This is typically the first step for any successful SEO campaign.
- Keyword stuffing is a black hat SEO technique that places excessive keywords inside a webpage’s content or code. Keyword stuffing reduces page usability and is primarily meant to improve search engine ranking and visibility without considering quality for the site visitor.
- Knowledge Graph is used to enhance search engine results by providing visitors with additional information about their search query without the visitor having to actually visit a webpage to view the information. The knowledge graph will appear to the right of search engine results.
– L –
- Landing page refers to the webpage a visitor “lands” on after clicking a link on a search engine results page or advertisement. Landing pages are typically used as a standalone page that have one specific purpose like lead generation. Landing pages can be used for webinar registrations, downloads, sales page, consultation, etc.
- Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is an algorithm used by search engines to better understand a webpage’s content by identifying patterns of closely related keywords. This is why search engines may return search results that contain a related keyword and not the keyword used in the search itself.
- Link bait refers to a webpage that attracts attention which encourages others to link to the particular webpage. This is a technique often used to increase backlinks to a website. Examples of link bait include in-depth content, go-to resources, list content, and infographics.
- Link juice is used to describe the amount of SEO benefit a website gains from a particular internal or external link. The more link juice, the better. This is one of the most important ranking factors Google considers when ranking a website.
- Local pack (also known as the snack pack or 3-pack) is a set of search result listings that show 3 local business listings which include a map, the company names, reviews, and websites. These search results appear above organic search results which make them valuable online real estate for local businesses.
- Local SEO is focused on using SEO techniques to rank local business websites in organic search results and / or in the local pack. Basic keywords for local SEO are ‘service + location’ or ‘product + location’ which makes it easier to rank these websites than national websites (see National SEO) as there is less competition.
– M –
- Meta description is an HTML element that contains a short description of the content found on a webpage. Search engine’s often display the information found in the meta description to searchers. Meta descriptions should be no longer than 160 characters. This description can be entered manually into a webpage’s code or it can be added without code using a content management system and a plugin. The code for a meta description looks like this:<meta name=”description” content=”your webpage description”>
- Meta tags are used to provide search engines additional information about a website as well as how the the webmaster would like search engines to display the website to searchers. These tags are included in the header section of a website. There are several meta tags that Google recognizes.
- Metric (or web metric) is a standard of measurement that is used by analytics programs to gauge website performance. Metrics are often used to gather baseline data and assist webmasters in developing more savvy campaigns and improve authority and search engine ranking.
– N –
- National SEO refers to the act of optimizing websites so they target and appear in search engine results for keywords that have a national or even global audience. National SEO is more competitive than local SEO and typically takes more time to rank.
- Nofollow is a tag or line of code that is included in a link to instruct search engines not to give a particular link any juice (see link juice) or authority when calculating for ranking. The nofollow tag is most commonly inserted in paid or affiliate links. Links with a nofollow tag look like this:<a rel=”nofollow” href=”website.com/blog-post”>
– O –
- Off-page optimization (also known as off-site optimization) refers to SEO ranking techniques that are not performed on the actual website itself. The most common form of off-page optimization is link building (see link building).
- On-page optimization (also known as on-site optimization) refers to all SEO techniques that are completed directly on an individual webpage in order to increase rankings. Examples of on-page optimization include: internal linking, optimizing pages for specific keywords and decreasing page load time.
- Outbound link is a link found on your website that directs visitors to an external website. Including some outbound links to high authority and relevant websites can boost your credibility and relevancy with search engines which can help with rankings.
– P –
- Page authority (PA) refers to a specific webpage’s ability to rank in search engine results and like domain authority, it is also based on a 100-point scale. Page authority score is calculated based on a number of metrics including the number of quality backlinks a webpage has.
- Page Rank is a Google-based metric that is based on a scale of 10 with 10 being the most authoritative. The score is based on a website’s importance and authority as seen by Google. Page Rank is currently no longer updated and page authority is now the score that is followed.
– R –
- Reciprocal links (or reciprocal linking) is when two websites agree to link to each other. Reciprocal links were previously used to acquire easy to obtain backlinks, however, these days reciprocal links do not hold much value. One-way links are more natural and valuable in the eyes of search engines.
- Redirect is when a visitor clicks on a link or enters a URL and they are redirected to a different URL. There are a number of different redirects with a 301 redirect being the most common. This is typically used to redirect visitors to your new website, a new webpage when the old one has been deleted or when using a new URL.
- Robots.txt is a text file that is usually placed in the root of the website. This file tells search engine crawlers which files and directories you would like them to crawl or not crawl.
– S –
- Schema markup is a code that can be added to a website to give search engines more specific information about the website. This helps search engines give users more relevant search results and can help websites appear in search results differently such as displaying reviews, ratings, events or sitelinks.
- Sitemap is a page that tells search engine crawlers about all the website’s pages (as well as images and videos) to help search engines discover and index more site. Sitemaps created for search engines are XML sitemaps. Likewise an HTML sitemap can be added to a website to help users find content and navigate the site.
- Spider (also known as crawler or bot) is an automated computer program systematically browses the internet to find new websites and pages to include in the search engine’s index. The spider also helps to analyze the data of a particular site to determine where the site will appear in search results.
- A Static page is a webpage containing content that does not change, is delivered as stored and does not contain any dynamic variables.
– W –
- Web 2.0 Websites are more dynamic websites that encourage interaction, sharing and user generated content. Web 2.0 websites are often used as a source for generating backlinks. Examples of popular web 2.0 sites include WordPress.com, Tumblr, YouTube and Wikipedia.
- White hat SEO refers to using search engine optimization practices that focus on user experience and abide by search engine guidelines to organically increase a website’s authority and ranking. Examples of white hat SEO techniques include quality content creation, site optimization and internal linking.