SEO Terms For Beginners
The Complete SEO Glossary To Improve your Understanding Of Search Engine Optimization In 2022
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complicated process with plenty of moving parts to consider and all of the SEO terminology used can be a bit confusing. Whether you intend to hire a professional or develop your own strategy, it’s vital to understand the meaning and purpose of SEO terms.
It may seem like the experts use certain words and phrases just to throw you off, but each of the commonly used SEO terms below has a unique meaning and placement in SEO practices. Follow along and improve your comprehension of search engine optimization as a whole to gain confidence in the process.
Starting With Search Engine
Before we review SEO terms, let’s recap what search engine optimization is and why it’s vital to your website. SEO is a highly useful form of digital marketing that helps accumulate search traffic from your target audience. With search engine optimization, lead generation is eventually natural and exponential.
To understand why the SEO process is so intricate, think back to the original purpose of search engines. Search engines like google hold an unimaginable amount of information, and their priority is displaying the most relevant, authoritative site to feature on each search engine results page (SERP). SEO leverages the value that you provide to search engines, displaying your website in a technically-optimized format and ensuring that you are an authoritative source.
Organic Search results
The entire motivation for you to be reading this guide is to improve your organic search results, but what does that actually entail? Organic search results include everything you see in the search engine results page for a specific query. Businesses that can prove themselves to be the most relevant for a keyword (or related keyword) earn a spot in organic search results.
While you can buy your way to the top of a page, ads will only get you so far, and the cost for each click adds up rapidly. Using SEO to help your page rank gives you longer-lasting, more natural results.
Types Of SEO
Search engines have set strict parameters detailing practices that should and should not be used to rank a web page. Keep in mind that search engines find new ways to discover who holds the real authority all the time, so the same strategy won’t work forever; unless it matches expectations. There are countless approaches to both eCommerce and local SEO, but they all fall into one of two categories:
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO refers to practices that align with webmaster guidelines. While white hat applications tend to be more tedious and time consuming, they also yield longer-lasting, higher-quality traffic. With white hat strategies, you tend to pick up on a wider search volume and will probably have a higher conversion rate due to on-page optimization, relevant keyword usage, and natural link building.
Search engines and your online audience typically look for similar attributes, so aligning your website with Webmaster guidelines will usually be to your benefit in every way. These strategies also help you avoid massive penalties and pitfalls, which could be detrimental to a growing business.
Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO strategies aim to manipulate search engines to achieve fast, powerful results. While this may seem appealing for a short while, black hat practices will often leave your site into a brick wall. It’s not if search engines will catch onto the tactics you are using, it’s when; and this could lead to penalties that wipe your site clean off the SERP.
When Webmasters find violations to their guidelines. chances are your site is going accrue a penalty, meaning a loss of authority, trust, and rankings. Black hat SEO is often cheaper and promises fast results, but those results have no support from content or natural backlinks. That leaves your website traffic hinging on some pretty unstable factors.
While many people fail to recognize the importance of on-page SEO, it’s a key ranking factor that takes more effort, time, and money than technical or off-page SEO. Search engines want to feature quality sites with the most useful information available, which is where on-page SEO comes into play. Frequently used terms in the On-page SEO process are:
At the beginning of any SEO effort, keyword research is critical. Using the best keywords for your situation is the most effective way to enter your targeted search engine results page, so your research should be impeccable. Exploring keywords that your most successful competitors use will provide a good entry point, but keyword research tools are recommended for best results.
Search engine results page (SERP)
A SERP simply refers to the results search engines provide when users search for a particular keyword. Google and other search engines vary their results based on location and search intent. Analyzing SERPS is an excellent way to see what your competitors are doing to extract common features like content, related keywords, and page structure.
Headings are the elements that provide structure to your website pages and clarity to search engine crawlers (explained later). While an alarming amount of websites use the most aesthetically pleasing option to decide their headings (displayed as H1, H2, H3, etc.), their intended use is to structure the importance of content. An H1 is the most powerful, essentially outlining the primary subject of the webpage; each H-tag (Heading tag) descends in authority after from 1-6.
As you are writing your web pages, it’s helpful to remember that keyword usage must be balanced. If your content’s only objective is to disperse relevant keywords, it may show in an overwhelming keyword density (keyword stuffing). As quickly as under-use of keywords can prevent a web page from ranking, keyword stuffing will give you a spammy image to search engine crawlers and viewers both.
To obtain website traffic for the main search term, you will need supporting content consisting of long-tail keywords. These are descriptive terms that surround your primary topic. Providing additional context and information on related web pages will help you build trust with search engines and target relevant keywords simultaneously.
Creating links internally is one of the simplest, yet most beneficial tactics for boosting a web page. When a search engine crawls your site, it wants to see a combination of outbound site links, inbound links, and internal link building. Internal links provide page-to-page direction and improved navigation while raising the importance of the web page to search engines.
Every page should not be devoted to SEO if you want to remain natural-appearing to viewers and search engines. The homepage may contain your target keyword but what about the rest? To rank for keywords related to your primary topic, a landing page is in order. Depending on the popularity of your topic and value of traffic, you may need a page for every keyword, but sometimes you can target a cluster of terms in one blog or web page.
Successful SEO utilizes a mixture of on-page and off-page tactics to provide search engines with as many signals as possible that you are the authority. Once you have refined your web page content and feel like your site is off to a good start, it’s time to increase your authority.
Ideally, your authority will be increased when website visitors find the content valuable enough to mention on their site or social media platforms. Eventually, your content should be enough to serve as link juice for your site, but sometimes it takes a nudge to get started. Additionally, off-page includes all of those listings that are available throughout the web, as well as your social media platforms and everything else that can be done aside from actual site work. Together, these elements work to support a healthy, active website.
Your domain authority is essentially the amount of trust that search engines will lend your site. The most referenced, informational sites typically have the highest authority and the most selective sites have more sharing power when links are exchanged.
When another website domain finds your site useful, they may choose to mention you in their next post or content update. While there are more unnatural ways that link building can be done, more natural link building will offer the best, most stable results. A purchased link may do well now, but when a search engine’s algorithm goes through an update, your rankings may be affected substantially.
If your business has a storefront address, NAP citations will be extremely helpful for sending local authority signals to search engines. NAP citations consist of the business name, address, number, and other useful information, so they will have the potential to attract viewers as well.
Dofollow site links are mentions of your URL on another domain that let search engines point back to them. This is the natural format for a link, so most sites will offer this type unless they plan to share mentions with numerous domains.
Contrary to dofollow backlinks, nofollow links do not contribute to the growth of your domain authority. Because the issuing site decided to “nofollow”, their link will yield less power. It will, however, still offer a signal to search engines that you are relevant in that category, so nofollow links are a ranking factor.
Another heavily overlooked factor in SEO is the technical portion. The focus of technical SEO is improving the health, speed, mapping, and other variables so that your site can perform unhindered. With proper technical SEO, major search engines will discover page updates faster and recognize your data more clearly. Some commonly heard terms in technical SEO terms are:
Title Tag (HTML Tag)
A title tag is the main headline of a web page. This is the first piece of information that search engines discover (after the URL), so it’s important that text fits search engine parameters and includes the primary focus of that page. Title tags should also be catchy and appealing, as they are used to hook viewers into your web page.
Meta descriptions sit right under the title tag in the normal, slightly smaller text to provide a bit of context to your title. While a lengthy meta description will negatively impact your on-page SEO, so will a description that lacks sustenance. Originality is also key in your title tag and meta description, so be sure to add some variety from page to page.
Search Engine Bot
Search engine bots go by many names (spider, crawler, wanderer) and are vital component in the search engine ranking algorithm. Indexing, and ultimately ranking, are not possible without crawlers, so it’s vital to ensure they can navigate your website.