35+ Search Engine Optimization Terms

Search engine optimization or SEO is a process of improving the ranking your site has on search engines. It’s important to have an understanding of some common terms so you can “optimize” your blog posts for better rankings. Examples include: meta tags, keyword density, link building, and page titles. One way you can learn more about these two concepts is by reading this blog post where we’ll cover some common SEO terms including page rank, link building and keyword research.

  • Algorithm: The systematic process for solving a mathematical problem, typically via a set of rules.
  • Alt Text/Tag: The ALT text (or alternate text) is the textual equivalent to an image and provides additional information that can be seen by those with disabilities or no access to images on your site. The alt tag has the added benefit as being SEO friendly because it will usually display in Google search results if there’s not an image available for that particular keyword phrase you’re optimizing for.
  • Analytics: Analytics are essentially statistics and data about usage collected from users who have agreed to allow their usage activity to be tracked so websites can more easily see where visitors go while browsing content-rich sites such as ecommerce platforms, blogs, news outlets etc. It is especially important to note that analytics is a broad term and can also be used in relation to things like SEO, PPC marketing, etc.
  • Anchor Text: Anchor text is the hypertext or underlined words which link from one location on a page to another (usually indicated by brackets) and most search engine optimization efforts are focused on ranking well for specific keyword phrases so anchor texts will often contain those keywords as an attempt at getting them higher up the SERPs when someone searches for these terms online. For example, if you want your blog post about “seo” linked with this article you would include the phrase “search engine optimization” in your article title tags, alt tags and other places where it might appear throughout the content.
  • Black Hat SEO: Black hat SEO is a term that refers to techniques which are designed with the goal of ranking higher in search engine results pages but can result in penalties or other negative repercussions once discovered by Google, Bing etc. These types of methods include keyword stuffing and link manipulation for instance and while they may initially generate better rankings as an immediate response it will most likely be short-lived if at all permanent depending on how much effort these practices take up.
  • Branded Keywords: Branded keywords refer to words used within your company’s marketing materials, social media channels and more where you’re able to brand certain phrases so when someone sees them elsewhere they’ll know precisely who created this information/content even though there might not be a mention of your brand name.
  • Citation: A citation is the act of providing credit to someone else’s work or contribution in an academic, scholarly way and this often also includes citations for journal articles which are published as part of a bibliography at the end of one’s own paper. The goal with referencing other people’s research is to give them some acknowledgement while still retaining full ownership over one’s own ideas/opinions etc.
  • Competitor Analysis: Competitors analysis refers to doing deeper research on businesses that are most similar to yours so you can find what they’re currently using when it comes to keywords, marketing materials and more so you can gain insight into how others have been able to successfully compete against you.
  • Crawl: A crawl is really just a search query that’s being performed by Googlebot/Bingbot and usually this will happen automatically without any human interference. As a result, the term crawl can also be used to refer to an instance where Googlebot/Bingbot is doing research within your site and going through all of its pages in order.
  • Dead Link: A dead link refers to hypertext that’s no longer active or working correctly because it either points back somewhere else on the same page (in which case this would only show up if you had clicked on another link) or it goes nowhere at all. A result of these “dead links” might not rank as well for certain keywords when someone searches online because they’re essentially missing content – meaning there isn’t anything tangible happening with them so Google doesn’t know what do with the information found in those spots.
  • Disavow: A disavow is a way of telling Google that certain links which have been pointed to your site from other websites are no longer relevant or accurate and you want them excluded. This term can also be used to refer to the act of pulling back on any marketing efforts where someone might link out from their website in order not to give off an automated signal for some specific terms such as “black hat SEO” etc.
  • Duplicate Content: Duplicate content refers to instances where there’s more than one page with the same information provided – so while it may seem like two different web pages, they’re really displaying duplicates because both pieces contain the exact same text blocks/paragraphs etc. The best practice when dealing with duplicate content is to consolidate all of the information into a single page while adding in links from each of those pages so that there’s an easy way for visitors/users to see what you’ve done.
  • Fresh Content: Fresh content refers to new webpages with unique content on them and it usually relates back to websites who have been “out-of-date” or haven’t had any edits made within recent weeks, months etc. A site which has fresh pages will rank higher than one where there are only duplicates because Googlebot likes the variety and something different rather than seeing more of the same thing time after time again.
  • GoogleBot: This term can relate back to how search engines crawl through your website looking at its contents in order to assess it for relevance – but can also refer to a browser which is used by people who are trying to find information online.
  • Google Analytics: Google analytics is a free web analysis service that provides detailed statistics about website traffic, popular content and more. The information it provides is logged anonymously which means you can’t see any personally identifiable info like IP addresses etc but the data available to your company on this platform can be anything from page views to bounce rates and location of visitors etc.
  • Inbound Link: Inbound links are hyperlinks coming into an existing webpage or site from other places on the internet so in theory if someone does link back to one of your articles for instance (giving credit where they might mention “I found this article at examplewebsite.com”) then you should get a boost in search engine rankings because those new links will essentially show up as votes for your content.
  • Google Search Console: Google search console is a free tool that allows website owners to check the status of their site as Google sees it, including things like crawl errors and other tools which provide detailed data. This way you can find out what’s going on with your platform so then you can take steps accordingly in order to fix any problems or issues.
  • Internal Link: An internal link refers to links within one webpage/website – for example if an article mentions another specific page (perhaps even just throwing in “read more at this URL”) then there will be some text saying something like “more information here” etc because people know how to navigate around websites these days and would want access right away without having to go through all sorts of extra steps first. Internal links can be used to make it easier for people who are already on one page of your site that they like and want more information about another topic.
  • Keyword Research: Keyword research is a process by which you find out what terms or phrases might have the most traffic potential – so in other words, when someone does a search, you want them to come across yours as an option (provided all other factors such as quality content etc line up with expectations). This type of exercise will often start off with some brainstorming sessions where team members sit down and throw out ideas/keywords but there’s also software available that has this function built into it. Google offers its own keyword tool called “AdWords” which can be accessed by anyone for free and it offers a few different options to narrow down the search topic. For example, you might want to start with broad searches first like “health” (to see what pops up) but then try narrowing that down with various other terms like “cure cancer.”
  • Keyword Stuffing: Keyword stuffing is when someone will repeat or overuse certain keywords in order to rank higher on Google – so for instance if someone wanted their article about shoes ranking high because they sell them and wanted people searching online specifically for those words, then there’s a chance this person would do things such as mention these phrases in both titles/headers of the webpage or even at paragraph breaks where content should technically begin a new thought instead.
  • Landing Page: Landing pages are a specific page on your website that’s meant specifically for visitors who click one of those inbound links (or keywords). This way you can make sure they get directed to the webpage where their query might be answered or have the information they’re looking for ready and waiting. For example, if someone was searching online about “SEO” then they would come across an article with this title and find out more about SEO best practices.” So there should be a strategy behind what landing pages offer – not just lots of random options like some sites have so people end up clicking around aimlessly without really getting anything done.
  • Link Building: Links basically refer to hyperlinks which allow people to quickly back-and-forth between two or more points (pages) on the internet. This is how content can be shared among different sites – so for instance if someone’s article was about “search engine optimization” and they had a paragraph break that led them, in order, to five other articles/blog posts discussing this topic from various perspectives but written by other individuals with their own unique voices etc then it would count as link building because those are all the outbound links which direct readers elsewhere when they’re done reading.
  • Meta Description: Meta descriptions are short blurbs found near titles of web pages that offer quick summaries of what you’ll find at each one. If you encounter some text like “Find out more about my blog post on Search Engine Optimization” then that’s the meta description.
  • Meta Keywords: These are keywords which you can add to your site in order to help them rank higher on Google for various queries. The key is balancing out what words or phrases will make it seem like those topics were actually talked about on the page with related content without keyword stuffing and diluting their effectiveness by overdoing it (which would just have a negative effect).
  • Nofollow: Websites sometimes mark certain links as “nofollow” in order to prevent them from passing on any of their PageRank when someone clicks on it. So for instance if an article about SEO was mentioning a few other useful articles and they wanted people who clicked through those outbound links to continue reading the rest of that person’s blog post instead then this would be something worth doing because nofollow prevents Google (or another search engine) from thinking you’re trying to game the system by offering backlinks which are not truly reflective of what’s being discussed at your site.
  • Not Found: Not found errors are generated when an attempted access is not successful because it points to a location that does not exist (either due to input error) or more commonly for URLs that have been deleted and therefore remove any record of them having ever existed at all. This will generate a 404 – File Not Found error message once again indicating “the requested file was not found.
  • Organic Search Results: When searching online without using any keywords, these results are called organic – meaning there is no manipulation or control over how content ranks on page one in the SERPS. This is typically the case with popular sites where people could just type “news” and then it would show a list of results that were published by different companies or individuals all over the world – so for instance if someone looked up this article about SEO from The Guardian, then they would see these organic search results at the top because there are several other articles on their site which mention keywords related to SEO in some way (but not too specifically).
  • Outbound Link: These refer to hyperlinks within content which direct readers elsewhere when they’re done reading an article/blog post etc. So for instance if someone’s article was about “search engine optimization” and they had a paragraph break that led them, in order, to five other articles/blog posts discussing this topic from various perspectives but written by other individuals with their own unique voices etc then it would count as link building because those are all the outbound links which direct readers elsewhere when they’re done reading. Link building is an important aspect of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) because it allows content creators to share their work while also making sure that if people follow those links, they’ll find something relevant and not just lots of random options like some sites have so people end up clicking around aimlessly without really getting anything done
  • PageRank: This measures how well a page ranks on Google – or another search engine for that matter. It’s based on factors such as quality of inbound links (links on other sites pointing to your site), the quality of content at each page, and how many people are clicking through outbound links from a given web page. PageRank is used as a metric for judging which pages should rank higher in search engine results because it’s considered an indicator of what might be the most important or best-written articles/pages about that topic
  • Panda: This was Google’s big update to their algorithm – basically they wanted to see if there were some websites who weren’t providing good enough content so they began penalizing them by ranking them lower than before
  • Penguin: A recent update by Google Penguin wants to make sure link building efforts aren’t being abused with blackhat techniques like keyword stuffing. Penguin penalizes sites which have too many links coming from automated websites, spamming forums or blog comments.
  • Redirection: A redirection is a server-side method of sending traffic from one URL to another. For example, if your company website has moved but you still want people visiting the old address to be redirected automatically to the new page on your site, we can set up this type of redirect in advance with Google Analytics or other tools.
  • Search Query: This refers to any term that someone might use when searching online – so things like “cheap shoes” or even something as broad as “SEO.” When you see these, they’ll often show up at the beginning of titles/headings which are then followed by some form of text to explain what that term means. Search queries can be something more specific like “how does SEO work” or something broader like “graphic design.” Search queries are often used as SEO keywords for search engine optimization.
  • SERP: This is an acronym for Search Engine Results Page – which refers to the first page of results that any given search engine returns when someone inputs a query.
  • Sitemap: This is basically like a map or list and it shows the different pages on your site in order from newest content/pages at top, to oldest content/pages at bottom. In SEO terms, this can be used as a way to organize web links so people don’t miss anything important about your company’s services etc. A well-organized sitemap also helps with keyword research because you’ll have a better idea of what keywords are already being mentioned across all those specific pages (which might not show up if you only look through individual articles). It’s also helpful for search engine crawlers that visit your site because it makes their job easier by showing them a list of links to everything they need. Sitemap files are usually something like index.html and you’ll find the link in the footer or sidebar on most websites
  • Title Tag: This is one of those things which might not seem important but it can actually make a big difference when someone decides whether or not they want to learn more about what you’re talking about – so think of this as an introduction paragraph at the top (or near the top) of any given webpage. The title tag should include keywords, be short enough to fit into Google’s character limit, and stand out against other bits of text. The title tag is also called the “title” in coding
  • URL: The URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, which basically means that this is a unique address or web link to any given webpage on your site. It’s always going to start with “web.” (ex: web.com) and then it’ll have pieces of information like what website you’re linking too, from where you are sending people (usually written as either an IP address or domain name), etc. For SEO purposes, try not to use things like numbers in URLs because they won’t be indexed properly by search engines when someone inputs them into their browser instead of typing the full keyword phrase
  • Usability: This refers to how easily someone can use a website, which is always important because if they’re not able to find what they need quickly enough then there’s no point in them sticking around. This also refers to the design of your site – so things like navigation should be intuitive and easy for people who are visiting from different devices (phones, tablets).
  • White Hat SEO: This term actually has two meanings – one meaning relates specifically to using only ethical methods while trying to rank higher on search engines… but the other meaning is more about how you present yourself as an expert online with that specific keyword phrase. In this sense, it means providing high quality articles/pages or videos where you talk about why your company deserves being at top spot when people search for that keyword phrase. 

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