The world of search engine optimization (SEO) constantly evolves, creating new terminology and industry references that speak to various aspects of a particular campaign.
In order to stay ahead of the competition and to better understand various tactics, review the following list of terms that highlight critical components of any SEO campaign.
ABOVE THE FOLD
The portion of a web page that is visible on screen once the page has loaded, without the need to scroll down.
An affiliate site is one that refers visitors to other websites in exchange for commission based on those referrals.
A complex program used to interpret data and determine an outcome. Google and other search engines use these to determine the ranking of a web page in their search results.
An attribute that is part of the code behind an image in HTML, which describes the image. It isn’t shown to the user except when an image is broken and is used for those with accessibility issues. Search engines use this attribute as part of their algorithm so they can understand what the image is.
A program that compiles and analyses data about a website’s visitors, allowing easy reporting for the user to interpret. Google Analytics is a popular free analytical package used by millions of websites.
The text part of the link visible to the user. This should also be clickable. Search engines use this to help them determine the relevancy of the site it links to.
The amount of trust that a site is given by search engines and is calculated by relevant inbound links from another trusted website.
The people who visit a particular website.
A link to one website from another.
A search engine optimisation tactic frowned upon by search engines and people within the industry. It is a practice that attempts to trick the search engine algorithms into ranking a site higher, using techniques considered dishonourable. They are often caught quickly and the offending site penalized.
A content section which displays posts in chronological order, and is often used for business, company or personal news as a part of their inbound marketing strategy.
See “Search Engine Robots”.
The percentage or number of users that enter and then leave a website without navigating to another page.
A navigation bar (usually horizontal) that allows you to jump to any step you have visited on your way to that page in the format of the site structure.
Refers to duplicate content caused by a page existing under more than one URL. The same page existing under more than one URL can be overcome with 301 redirects or the canonical Meta tag.
A technique used to hide content from users but show it to search engines. This is a black hat technique and is frowned upon, and can result in penalisation of your site.
Stands for “content management system”. Software such as WordPress, Joomla and Magento are used by webmasters to manage websites and content without necessarily having knowledge of HTML or other coding skills.
Posting a comment for the sole purpose of gaining a link to a website. This alone is the main reason sites moderate comments or do not allow links altogether.
The practice of reaching out to bloggers within a particular vertical with the offer of running a competition on their blogs. This involves providing a prize for the blogger to offer to their readers.
The text and images on a website which are intended to have value for the visitor.
Collecting relevant content from various sources to create fresh, interesting and useful content on a particular website. Value is added by commentary or simply by the usefulness of a single information source. Aggregating related content in a single location can help to highlight a connection, chronology or humourous point.
The process of producing informative and engaging content of value to an audience on a regular basis to drive engagement and sales or leads.
Also known as a “goal”, it is the achievement of passing a set of rules. A conversion could be someone submitting a contact form, downloading a white paper or completing a purchase for example.
The percentage or number of people achieving a conversion compared to the number of visitors to the site.
See “Search Engine Robots”.
Lighthearted, non-promotional blogs which usually include images and often take the form of a list.
Data-driven is the practice of accumulating and analysing qualitative and quantitative data for use in the development of strategy.
A website that categorically lists other websites for easy searching.
Used to describe similar or an exact copy of content that exists on another website or page. A site may see a drop in rankings if they duplicate content from another website. Search engines do not always know where the original content comes from however.
A website devoted to selling products.
A link on your website directing users to a third-party site.
Commonly refers to an RSS Feed, which is a specialised file that can be interpreted by news reader software. They are often used to compile content from lots of sites into one place for easy reading.
A page that is set up to display one or more separate pages in a split screen setup.
GENERIC OPTIMIZED BLOG
Generic industry relevant blogs which are not promotional or ‘salesy’ in tone. Usually no more than 500 words and contain at least one target keyword.
GUEST BLOG OUTREACH
The practice of approaching individual bloggers to ask if they would be interested in hosting content that is relevant to their audience. This form of content is created exclusively for use on the targeted blogger’s site.
Describes the action of loading a web page, document, image, etc. One page view can generate many hits.
Stands for “hyper-text mark-up language” and is the code that makes up a website.
This is when a page is returned to a user in search engine results page (SERP’s).
A link on a third-party website that links to a page on your website.
Pages on a website that have been added to the list of pages a search engine has seen and stored.
INDUSTRY NEWS BLOG
A blog on a specific piece of industry-relevant news. Word count depends on the subject matter.
A word (or phrase) that a user wants to search for (when searching) or wants to associate a page or piece of content onto a web page.
The percentage or number of times a keyword has been mentioned on a page.
The practice used by search marketing professionals to identify actual search terms that people enter into search engines.
Also known as keyword spam, is the act of using a keyword a huge number of times on a web page in hope that the search engines notice and associate the content on the page with that keyword. Keyword stuffing can get a page or site penalised.
A page that the user will load when they click on a link in the search engine results.
A page that has been designed with the sole purpose of attracting back links. These pages are often highly useful or fun pages. They often go viral through social media sharing.
The act of gaining links to a web site or web page.
A scheme designed so that webmasters link to each other (reciprocal linking). These types of links are often considered of low value by search engines.
The process of driving geographically-relevant traffic to your website through specifically targeted local pages.
LONG TAIL KEYWORD SEARCH
A more specific search query. These are generally targeted less often than shorter search queries. For example you might search for “hat” which is very broad, but “blue hat with a ribbon” is more specific and is a long tail search query.
Lines of code within the header of a website which tell crawlers information about the page. These include the title, description and the (unused by most crawlers) keywords. It’s important to have this information so the search engines can use it to help them determine what the page is about.
A command that prevents search engines from following a link or an entire page, depending on how it has been used.
A command that prevents search engines from indexing a page.
NON RECIPROCAL LINK
A link that links to one site but that site does not link back. This is a non-reciprocal link and tends to have more value to search engines than a reciprocal link.
Factors that affect a web asset in organic search engine results pages that can be controlled on the pages of a website by the website owner. Examples include HTML code, content, meta tags and keyword density
ORGANIC SEARCH (SEO)
The process of achieving, improving and maintaining the visibility of a web asset (e.g. a website, Facebook page or YouTube video) within the organic or algorithmically determined search results of popular search engines.
The process of building relationships with real people who are considered influential online within the same industry or specialism as a brand.
The strength of an individual page on a website, determined by the number of backlinks to a site, their relevance and other factors.
The act of loading a web page will trigger a single page view. Refreshing the page will trigger another page view.
A method of sending a user from one page to another. These are often used when a page is moved or deleted.
A file in the root of a website that tells search engines what they can and cannot crawl and index. ROI Stands for “return on investment” which shows the increase or decrease in revenue based on an investment.
SEARCH ENGINE RESULTS PAGES (SERPs)
Search engine results which are not paid for advertisements. Paid advertisements generally appear in a (sometimes only slightly) different coloured box at the top, bottom or right hand side of the search results.
SEARCH ENGINE ROBOTS
A piece of software that collects information from websites, including their links, then follows links to other websites and repeats the process. This software is how search engines are able to show you results when you make a search.
Stands for “search engine marketing” and is the combination of search engine optimisation, paid listings/advertising and other related activities used to increase your exposure to search engines and boost traffic to your site.
Stands for “search engine optimisation” which is the process of optimising web pages and link building to them to increase page ranking and overall traffic in and from search engines.
Stands for “search engine results page”, which is the page you see after you have searched for your query.
A page on a website which links to each top level (and sometimes all) pages on a website. These help to improve site access for search engine crawlers and help users who have got lost in the site structure.
A bookmark to a website or page that has been found to be useful and has been posted on social media websites.
Sharing information, opinions and news on blogs, forums, social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and rating sites such as Reddit.
See “Search Engine Robots”.
TIME ON PAGE
The amount of time a user spends on a page before moving to another.
TOOLBAR PAGE RANK
A value between 0 and 10 that has been assigned by Google to primarily describe page importance/trust. This is calculated based on varying factors including link relevancy. The higher this number, the more trust the page is said to have and is normally updated every few months. URL Stands for “uniform resource locator”. It is simply the web address used to view a website.
Stands for “user generated content”. Forums, blog comments, reviews and wiki’s are all examples of user generated content where anybody on the web can make a contribution.