Whether you’re looking to work in search engine optimization(SEO), have a website of your own, or are just curious, it’s extremely useful to be familiar with common terminology in the SEO world.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO for short) is a way to help people find your online platform. All search engines (such as Google and Bing) have algorithms that decide which website pages appear first on their results pages. SEO experts optimize websites to make the site rank higher, and increase traffic for the website.
Why is SEO Important?
Increase Site Traffic: With increased visibility, more people are likely to find and visit your site, leading to more interaction with your products or services.
Better Site Experience: SEO also improves user experience for your visitors by helping the site run faster, tailoring keywords for specific pages, and optimizing page content, among other techniques.
Rank Higher on the Search Engine Results Page: SEO helps increase your site’s ranking, leading to more site and brand visibility.
If any of the words above confused you, don’t worry! Below are 30 common SEO terms that will help you feel more confident talking about SEO.
30 SEO Terms to be Familiar With
1. On Page SEO
On Page SEO refers to the optimization of content on the pages of your site. This includes the optimization of HTML tags, page formatting, or internal link building. It can also mean rewriting content to be relevant, high quality, and read smoothly for your users.
2. Off Page SEO
Off Page SEO includes tasks such as link building, or audience engagement on social platforms. The goal of Off Page SEO is to drive users, increase conversions, and keyword rankings on your website.
3. Technical SEO
This type of optimization refers to any technical improvements to increase a website’s ranking. Technical improvements includes improving website speed or readability to search engines.
Traffic refers to any visits to your website. It is further broken down into traffic channels including paid traffic, organic traffic, direct traffic, and referral traffic.
5. Organic Traffic
Organic Traffic refers to everyone who visits your website from organic search results. The best way to grow your organic traffic is through SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Keywords are important words or phrases that people use to identify the topic of a web page. For example, if you’re looking for someone to design your new website, you could type “web design companies” into the Google search bar.
To learn more about keywords, see our other article: What are keywords and why are they important?
E-A-T is short for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It is a guideline from Google to quickly describe how content is rated in terms of quality. Following E-A-T is the best way to ensure your site is producing great content for your users and SEO Campaign.
8. Content Strategy
A Content Strategy refers to a set list of page topics and types that will be created to target a specific keyword. A team will use a content strategy to organize, create, and implement new content.
A query is another word for “search.” When SEO experts talk about different “queries” they are referring to what users are searching in the search bar. These queries are tracked and can be organized into keywords which an SEO expert can target.
10. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
A Search Engine Results Page, commonly referred to as a SERP, is the page where all the results from a query (search) are displayed. Any time you search something, one of these pages will be displayed to you, completely unique to that search.
11. Web Crawler (Spider)
A Web Crawler, otherwise known as a Spider or Crawler, is a bot that reads through pages on a website. Web crawlers are used to identify ranking factors, gather data, and identify technical or content issues on your website.
12. Ranking Factor
Ranking factors are what search engines use to judge how high a web page should appear on the search engine results page. Some of these include quality content, page experience, and many more. SEO experts work with all of these ranking factors in mind to ensure a page is well optimized.
13. Page Rank (or Page Authority)
This is the value assigned to a web page by a search engine for a certain keyword. The site’s rank describes how high it sits on the Search Engine Results Page. The higher your rank, the more traffic you will get to your website.
14. CTR (Click Through Rate)
Your Click Through Rate is the percentage of the number of people that clicked on your website when it popped up in the search engine results page. A formula to find out your click through rate is the number of clicks (divided by) the number of impressions.
15. User Experience (UX)
User Experience refers to how visitors to your website experience it. Having a site that prioritizes user experience will lead to many more new and returning visitors. A user focused website will also lead to great page ranking.
Indexing is the process of a web page being recognized and stored in the Google index. If a page isn’t indexed, it won’t show up in the search results, and won’t get any traffic. This happens naturally, but can go at a slow pace depending on the site size. It’s a good idea to monitor your website’s indexing in Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools, for example, to know if your web pages are indexed.
17. White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO
SEO practices can be broken down into different categories called White Hat and Black Hat SEO. White Hat SEO focuses on following search engine guidelines to increase ranking, whereas Black Hat SEO focuses on exploiting the search engine’s algorithm.
18. Landing Page
A Landing Page is the page a visitor “lands” on when they click a result from the SERP. Landing pages can be used to target specific groups of people or specific locations.
19. CSS and HTML Programming
HTML and CSS are some of the building blocks of your website. HTML (HyperText Markup Language) provides the framework, and CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) fleshes it out or “styles” it. Other programming languages are used to add dynamic elements and animations to your site.
Backlinks are simply links that go from a website to another website. These links are considered a strong ranking factor as they can indicate that a website page is good enough to be shared to other websites Backlinking is a very powerful SEO strategy if used correctly.
Metadata is a summary of information for a specific page that doesn’t show up on the page itself, but is very important. This includes the meta title and meta description. Metadata provides users and search engine crawlers with quick information about the page. You can view some of the Metadata of a webpage from a SERP page.
22. Title Tag(Meta Title)
A Title Tag is another name for the Meta Title of a web page. This title is listed in blue when your site appears on the search engine results page (right above the meta description). It also appears at the top of the window in the “tab” which helps identify it among other tabs.
23. Meta Description
Meta Descriptions are a type of metadata, and they give a visitor a brief description of what the page is about before they click on it. They appear below the blue highlighted link on the search engine results page. Many people make their decisions about whether or not to click a link based on the meta description, so they are very important.
24. Responsive Design
A website that has Responsive Design changes dynamically when viewed on different screen sizes. This allows for an enjoyable user experience on all screen sizes and mobile devices.
25. Alt Attribute (or Alt Text)
Alt Text is a text description for an image. That description isn’t visible to most people, but will be picked up by a screen reader, and read allowed for those with visual impairments. It’s important to have proper alt text for all of the images on your website so that it is ADA Compliant and well optimized.
26. Canonical URL
According to Google, a Canonical URL is “the URL of the best representative page from a group of duplicate pages.” Canonical URLs can be identified using the
27. Image Compression
Image Compression is important when optimizing the speed of your site. Typically, the larger the file sizes are for your site, the slower it will run. Images are often uploaded in a much bigger size than necessary, so compressing the image files on your site will make the files much smaller. This will help your site run much faster.
Robots.txt refers to a website file that tells a website crawler what to crawl on your website.
A Sitemap provides information about the files on your website (everything from pages to videos, and other files) and how they are related to each other. Search engines use the sitemap to crawl your website more efficiently and get your pages indexed.
30. 301 Redirect
A 301 Redirect is a redirect from one URL to another that is permanent. This is helpful for when you are creating a new page with a different URL, or moving your site to a new domain for example. Using a 301 redirect shifts the ranking power from the old URL to the new one.
Now that you know the top 30 terms in SEO, it is important that any mentioned tasks should be performed by or under the supervision of an experienced SEO Specialist as they can cause serious repercussions if not performed properly. This list will be periodically updated so be sure to check back.