SEO Terms & Definitions You Need to Know [Beginner's Guide to SEO]

If you are new to SEO and found yourself confused by some of the terms you've seen, no worries! We know learning all the ins and outs of SEO vocabulary and jargon can feel like learning another language. To help you get a handle on all the new terms, we've compiled some great SEO glossary with definitions and helpful links. You might want to bookmark this page for future reference

1. 301 redirect

- A way to make one web page redirect the visitor to another page. Whenever you change the web address of a page, apply a 301 redirect to make the old address point 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.

2. Alt tag

- A description of an image in your site's HTML. Unlike humans, search engines read only the ALT text of images, not the images themselves. Add ALT text to images whenever possible.

3. Anchor Text

- The actual text of a link to a web page. On most websites, this text is usually dark blue and underlined, or purple if you’ve visited the link in the past. Anchor text helps search engines understand what the destination page is about; it describes what you will see if you click through.

4. Backlinks

- (inlink, incoming link) Any link into a page or site from any other page or site.

5. Black hat SEO

- Search engine optimization tactics that are counter to best practices such as the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

6. Bounce Rate

- The percentage of users who enter a site and then leave it without viewing any other pages.

7. Bread Crumbs

- Web site navigation in a horizontal bar above the main content which helps the user to understand where they are on the site and how to get back to the root areas.

8. Conversion

- (goal) Achievement of a quantifiable goal on a website. Add clicks, sign ups, and sales are examples of conversions.

9. Conversion Form

- A form through which you collect information about your site visitor. Conversion forms convert traffic into leads. Collecting contact information helps you follow up with these leads.

10. CSS

- (Cascading Style Sheets) The part of your code that defines how different elements of your site look (examples: headers, links)

11. Duplicate content

- Obviously content which is similar or identical to that found on another website or page. A site may not be penalized for serving duplicate content but it will receive little if any Trust from the search engines compared to the content that the SE considers being the original.

12. HTML

- The code part of your website that search engines read. Keep your HTML as clean as possible so that search engines read your site easily and often. Put as much layout-related code as possible in your CSS instead of your HTML.

13. Impression

- (page view) The event where a user views a webpage one time.

14. Indexed Link

- The pages of your website that are stored by search engines.

15. Javascript

- A scripting language that allows website administrators to apply various effects or changes to the content of their website as users browse it. Search engines often have difficulty reading content that is inside of Javascript, but they are getting better at it over time.

16. Keyword

- A word that a user enters in search. Each web page should be optimized with the goal of drawing in visitors who have searched specific keywords.

17. Keyword Density

- The percentage of words on a web page which are a particular keyword. If this value is unnaturally high the page may be penalized.

18. Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

- (LSI) This mouthful just means that the search engines index commonly associated groups of words in a document. SEOs refer to these same groups of words as “Long Tail Searches”. The majority of searches consist of three or more words strung together. See also “long tail”. The significance is that it might be almost impossible to rank well for “mortgage”, but fairly easy to rank for “second mortgage to finance monster truck team”. Go figure.

19. Link building

- The activity and process of getting more inbound links to your website for improved search engine rankings.

20. Long Tail Keyword

- An uncommon or infrequently searched keyword, typically with two or more words in the phrase. Small businesses should consider targeting long tail keywords, as they are lower difficulty and often have more qualified searchers. Common keywords such as 'software' are more competitive, and very hard to rank high for them in search.

21. Meta description

- Meta description is a HTML tag snippet that provides a page summary for search results.

22. mozRank

- A logarithmic ranking provided by SEOmoz from 0-10.0 of the number and quality of inbound links pointing to a certain website or page on that website. A 10.0 is the best linked-to page on the internet, and a 0 has no recognized inbound links.

23. Nofollow

- A no follow link is a link that does not count as a point in the page’s favor, does not boost PageRank, and doesn’t help a page’s placement in the SERPs. The nofollow tag is basically a notice sign for search engines saying don’t count this.

24. PageRank

- A number from 0-10, assigned by Google, indicating how good your overall SEO is. It is technically known as 'Toolbar PageRank.' Note:PageRank relevancy is changing.

25. RSS Feed

- RSS stands for 'really simple syndication.' It is a subscription-based way to get updates on new content from a web source. Set up an RSS feed for your website or blog to help your followers stay updated when you release new content.

26. Robots.txt

- A file in the root directory of a website use to restrict and control the behavior of search engine spiders.

27. SEM

- SEM (Search Engine Marketing) involves the marketing of websites through paid advertising in order to increase their visibility on search engines.

28. SEO

- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a process of ranking first on a web search engine organically.

29. SERP

- (Search Engine Ranking Page) The page that you are sent to after you run a query in a search engine. It typically has 10 results on it, but this may vary depending on the query and search engine in question.

30. Spider

- A computer program that browses the internet and collects information about websites.

31. Title

- The title of a page on your website, which is enclosed in a <title> HTML tag, inside of the head section of the page. It appears in search engine results and at the top of a user’s web browser when they are on that page.

32. White hat SEO

- SEO techniques, which conform to best practice guidelines, and do not attempt to unscrupulously “game” or manipulate SERPs.

33. XML sitemap

- A page or structured group of pages which link to every user accessible page on a website, and hopefully improves site usability by clarifying the data structure of the site for the users. An XML sitemap is often kept in the root directory of a site just to help search engine spiders to find all of the site pages.

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