SEO Terms and Meanings for beginners

A- Z SEO Terms Glossary

301 Redirect: A flag to the search engines that a web page no longer exists. A person attempting to reach the original website will be taken to a new page that is the most similar match.

404 Error: A technical SEO error that signals the website could not be found.

Algorithm: A formula that calculates the rank ability of search engine results. Algorithms change constantly to provide the searcher with the most relevant content based on their keyword search.

Alternative Text: Tags placed on images and pictures that give the search engines a written description. “Alt text” or “alt tags” help the search engines decipher the meanings of the images.

AMP: Most used by publishers of news websites. AMP aka “accelerated mobile pages” make pages load incredibly quick on mobile devices.

Authority: Authority measures a website’s strength which will build up over time due to backlinks. A page with stronger authority will rank more quickly in the eyes of Google and other search engines. 

Backlinks: Links that refer to your website from other websites. These backlinks are important because they act as a vote of confidence and trust between sites. Links from other websites have the capability to pass authority (ranking power) from their website to yours.

Black Hat SEO: Disapproved strategies that try to increase search engine ranking while violating Google’s quality guidelines.

Blog: A section of a website that provides expert content and is frequently updated.

Bots: Automated software that travel the internet and collect information about websites. An alternative name for search engine spiders or web crawlers.

Bounce Rate: A measure of interaction with your website. Bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who leave your web page after clicking on it to view.

Breadcrumb: A navigation aid that helps users on a page easily understand where they are on a website and what section. 

Broken Link: A link on the web universe that leads to a non-existing page. Bots can follow broken links to dead ends which wastes resources.

Cache: A hardware or software component that stores data so that future requests for that data can load faster.

Citations: Business listings which include your company’s information- like Google Map Locations or Yelp. 

Click-Through Rate: The percentage of people who click on your link when they see it listed on Google. Higher click through rates = more clicks to your page.

CMS: Content Management Systems are software platforms that help users create, manage, and update content on a website without the need for a technical software background. 

Competition: Other websites that are trying to reach the same core customers as you are which also means that they will direct traffic from the same keywords your site ranks for.

Content is King: A phrase that pulls from the fact that search engines value content because it provides relevance and expert knowledge to direct customers to your page.

Conversion: A ratio that quantifies how many people complete a pre-determined or desired action on your website like purchasing a product or sharing a social media post.

Crawling: How search engines automatically explore and scan the web with the aim to index the content of web pages so they can be searched.

CSS: Cascading Style Sheets is a sheet language that allows web designers to attach style (like color or font) to HTML documents. CSS can control the appearance of content on a webpage that can make your page SEO friendly.

Deep Link: A link on your own site that directs to another page of content deep within your webpage to engage the customer. 

Domain Name Registrar: A company that manages the reservation of a website domain address to the general public like GoDaddy.

Featured Snippets: Short pieces of text that appear at the top of Google search results in order to quickly answer a search question. 

Google Ads: A powerful advertising platform on Google that can be utilized by paying for a listing space. Advertisements on Google that are sold on cost-per-click terms.

Google Analytics: A free analytics platform tool that runs and tracks website performance.

Google My Business: Google’s free tool for managing your Google Maps listing.

Google Search Console: This tool helps report and measure your site’s search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make it stand out in Google Search results.

H1 – H6: HTML tags that provide structure context to your page such as a header of a page. Headers help in getting a better SEO ranking.

Holistic SEO: Innovative, long-term SEO strategies, and practices which set your website up for success for future continual growth.

HTML: Hypertext Markup Language is the programming code used for documents to be displayed in web browsers.

Image Compression: Minimizing the image file size without sacrificing image quality which helps speed up web page loading. 

Index: A database used by a search engine that contains all the information the search engine could find. 

Internal Links: Any link from one page on your website to another page on your website.

Keyword Research: The process by which you research popular search terms that your target customers may use to search for your business in a search engine.

Keyword Stuffing: Overloading a website with too many keywords on one page to try and manipulate a page’s site ranking in a search engine.

Keywords: Specific words and phrases that users input into a search bar. These search terms will drive results that direct users to your company.

KPI: A Key Performance Indicator is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key objectives. Businesses can have multiple KPIs. 

Landing Page: The initial page on a website that a person will see that is designed to convert visitors into leads.

Local Pack: A group of three Google Maps listings representing local businesses that pull up based on a user’s search query.

Local Search: Anything you do online to promote a business with a physical location that makes in person contact with customers, such as a barber or nail salon. Local search begins with Google Maps.

Long-Tail Keywords: Longer and more specific keyword terms that tend to be more specific. It’s easier to rank and get traffic from long tail keywords as they are often less competitive than general shorter phrases, and they have higher conversion rates. Examples of long-tail keywords: “best hiking shoes for wide feet”.

Meta Descriptions: Short pieces of HTML code written on each web page that helps search engines describe a listing on their results page. Meta descriptions directly influence the probability of a person choosing to click or not click on your link on the search results page. 

Meta Directive: Pieces of code that provide web crawlers instructions for how to index web page content and can be also called “meta tags”. Website viewers will not be able to see the code on each page, but AI is able to detect them in the HTML code.

Mobile-First Indexing: The mobile version of your website becomes the initial starting point for Google to crawl and index your page to determine SEO rankings. 

Organic Search: A natural search that is found via unpaid algorithms rather than found by paid advertisements. 

Page Speed: How quickly a web page takes to load. In general, if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, over 25% of users will click to cancel out. 

Page Titles: These tags create the header code of each web page that search engines use to link to results and are also known as “title tags”. Having accurate page titles tell users and search engines the content of the webpage, and also tell search engines how relevant a page is to a person’s search to pull in a ranking. 

Pay-Per-Click: Also known as PPC, which is a model of marketing in which a business or company pays a fee per click that they receive. PPC is a way of buying visitors to your website to increase website traffic and hopefully conversion.

People Also Ask: A interactive, universal search result that includes a block of questions from Google displayed when searching, in relation to the results that other people have previously searched for. 

Personalization: Customized results displayed in a search engine which are based on specific details like your current location or past search records.

Query: Search terms or phrases input into the search bar.

Rank Brain: A machine learning (AI) algorithm that Google utilizes to sift and organize the search results which helps Google process and interpret search queries.

Ranking: The arrangement of search engine results. The most favorable ranking is being #1 on the top of a listing page. 

Rel=Canonical: A canonical tag is a piece of code in the HTML header of a webpage that tells search engine web crawlers if there is a more important version of the page if there are multiple pages with similar content. 

Relevancy: How applicable the content of your website is to search queries. Higher ranked websites will have more relevant content to what was searched for. 

Responsive Design: An approach to creating websites that suggest that design and development should modify to the user’s behavior as they use different screens like desktops and mobile phones to view the webpage.

Robots.txt: A file on your page that blocks web crawlers from certain URL pages. 

Schema: Code that tags elements of your webpage that will help major search engines become smarter by presenting them data in a structured form. It provides snippets of useful and timely information to potential website visitors. For example, a movie theatre listings scheme markup tells the search engines that the page should rank for “movie theatre listings” as well as show the show times and films titles showing at that specific cinema. 

Search Volume: The number of anticipated searches for a keyword in a month.

SEO: Search engine optimization is the process of attaining and increasing the quantity and quality of web traffic through organic searching. 

SERP: A Search Engine Results Page is a web page that is presented to the user after searching for a keyword on a search engine like Google or Yahoo.

Short-Tail Keywords: Search terms that are made up of no more than 3 words that encompass broad topics rather than specific keywords. About 30% of online searches uses short- tail keywords like “best socks” vs “best socks for hiking” which would be a long-tail keyword.

Site Speed: The measurement of time of how fast your website loads.

Site Structure: How your website’s pages and content are group and structured. The homepage is the most important page which should always be at the top followed by category pages. Having a clear design and site structure will lead to higher SEO and web useability. 

SSL Certificate: Secure Sockets Layer encrypts and secures the data passed between a web server and web browser. This link guarantees that all the data transferred between the web server and browser remains private. 

Structured Data: A standardized format to mark and classify information about different web pages so that search engines can easily scan and organize appropriate web pages in search results. 

Traffic: Web users who click onto your website. 

URL: The address of an individual web page.

White Hat SEO: SEO strategies that are compliant with Google’s quality policies.

XML Sitemap: A file on your website that acts as a roadmap of your website that leads Google to the important pages.


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