Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a very complex, but integral part of your digital strategy. Because SEO has an ever-changing nature, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or seasoned pro – it can be hard to keep up with all the SEO terms out there…and be able to keep them straight.
I’ve made a list of the top 25 SEO terms that you need to know – and you’re going to get the whole package. Definitions, synonyms, antonyms and specific uses, all wrapped up in one comprehensive guide.
THE TOP 25 SEO TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW
BLACK HAT SEO:
Synonyms: Unethical SEO
Antonyms: White Hat SEO, Ethical SEO
Examples: Keyword Stuffing, Invisible Text, Invisible Links, Cloaking, Link Farming, Comment Spamming
Definition: This is the name for all unethical, manipulative or spam-like SEO practices. Utilising these tactics can hurt your site – potentially being the cause of resulting penalizations from search engines or even being banned.
Find out more about Black Hat SEO’s positive counterpart, White Hat SEO.
Synonyms: Spiders, Bots, Robots, Googlebots
Definition: A crawler is a type of software that finds new websites and adds them to a search engine’s index. Crawlers can also be called spiders, bots, robots or Googlebots.
Definition: When crawlers find new websites, they are added to a search engine’s index. This index (action: indexing) stores and organizes the content found whilst crawling.
Types: List Snippets, Paragraph Snippets, Table Snippets
Definition: Can also be called featured cards, these are boxes that appear organically at the top of the search engine results page for certain queries. Featured snippets can take the form of paragraphs, lists or tables of information.
Types: Transactional, Informational, Navigational
Definition: This is what a specific user is looking for by entering a query into a search engine. It takes keywords in a query one step further, by trying to understand the intent and context surrounding the specific search.
Synonyms: Browser, Web Directory
Examples: Google, Bing, Yahoo, MSN
Definition: Search engines are also a type of software; except their role is to search the internet for a certain phrase – otherwise known as a user query. They have complex algorithms for deciding the rank of every page that is kept top secret.
This is why SEO is one of the most intense guessing games ever created. Because no one other than the creators of it know the algorithm details, SEO specialists can only guess at what can improve site rankings.
Definition: When you, as a user, enter a query into a search engine – you’re given a list of results. This is known as the S.E.R.P, or search engine results page.
TRAFFIC (ORGANIC, DIRECT, SEARCH):
Definition: This is the name for the number of visits to a website. Traffic can be organic, direct or a result of paid-for ads. If you track your analytics, most software should break down your traffic and give you the numbers from every source.
Definition: A URL is the address of a webpage. Not the title, but what you would type out in order to reach a certain page.
Here is an example of a URL: https://www.gretchenreesedigital.com
Definition: A set of guidelines published and enforced by Google and other search engines with the goal to help site owners create websites and content that can be found, easily indexed and rank well on a search engine’s S.E.R.P.
Definition: Also called a “Secure Sockets Layer” – an SSL certificate provides the https:// in front of a domain address rather than the standard http://, and it is used to encrypt data that is passed between the web server and a user’s browser.
Definition: This number is a representation of the percentage of total visits to your webpage that did not result in taking a secondary action on your site. For example, if someone enters your site via a blog post link on a social platform or to your home page from an S.E.R.P without navigating to any other page, it becomes a bounced session.
Definition: User experience (UX) relates to the process site owners use to create content that is relevant and meaningful to its users. The primary aspects of UX are branding, usability and functionality.
Definition: A meta description is a short description of webpages or content primarily used by search engines. This description is not displayed anywhere on your webpage or content piece.
Google and other search engines display the meta description or a small excerpt of copy from your page that contains a specific keyphrase entered in by a user.
Definition: This is text in the HTML code (the skeleton of a webpage), that describes or “writes” the images on webpages.
Examples: H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6
Definition: Heading tags are an HTML element used to designate headings in your content or on your webpage. They aid in structuring your post, creating a natural break for the reader, and can be used as a framework for highlighting your content in a featured snippet on an S.E.R.P.
Definition: Similar to a heading tag, but with a different purpose – a title tag designates the title of a specific webpage and is the text you see in the tab on your web browser.
Definition: One of the most important aspects of an SEO strategy – link building refers to the practice of getting backlinks to your site.
As of June 2019, Google released an algorithm update that appears to prefer a strong link structure, as demonstrated by the majority of webpages that rank highly on its S.E.R.P. Link building and getting solid backlinks are key components of ranking well in search engines.
Definition: Internal links connect the pages of a website together. Creating an internal linking structure helps users navigate a site, and if the links are relevant, they can have a positive effect on a site’s bounce rate – meaning, people are spending more time on the webpage.
Definition: Different from internal links, an external link leads to a domain that is different from the domain on which the link exists. For example, a link to a source you’ve cited is considered an external link.
Many sites will choose to have external links open in a new tab or window, so as not to take traffic away from their site.
Definition: In order to index your site faster, search engine crawlers need a map – a sitemap, actually. The sitemap creates a map of all URLs that your domain contains – allowing for easy, quick indexing of your site.
Are you a WordPress user? Google XML sitemaps and Yoast SEO are both great plugin options that can create an XML sitemap for you.
Synonyms: Keyphrases, Focus Keyword, Long-tail Keyword, Head Term
Definition: Keywords are single words or phrases of great importance for SEO concerning a specific website or piece of content. A keyword is what a user may enter into a search engine. Copywriters and SEO specialists often need to place themselves in the minds of users to try and understand the context and intent behind certain keywords or phrases.
Examples: 201, 301, 401
Definition: Redirection is the process of visiting a specific URL or webpage, and having it automatically transfer to another page with a separate URL. This could mean that the webpage has changed, or even perhaps that the page has permanently moved to another domain address.
In SEO terms, there are two types of redirection. It can either be permanent (like a 301 redirect), or it can be temporary. Whilst this may not have a direct effect on you, the user, it is of great importance to search engines. Where they are concerned, it deals with the transferring (or not) of the re-directed rankings to the new destination URL or keeping them with the original domain.
Definition: Two separate pages within your website that share the same or have very similar content are known to search engines to have duplicate content. Google, and other search engines for that matter, don’t appear to like when websites use the same content over and over again. For that reason, sites that have duplicate content (intentionally or otherwise), are often penalized.
Antonyms: Off-Page SEO
Examples: Keyword Strategy, Content Creation, Meta Tags, Link Building
Definition: On-page SEO refers to the practice of doing things on your site to improve your rankings in search engines.
For example, on-page SEO could be changing and improving your keyword strategy, improving and building your internal linking structure, increasing page speed, finetuning your HTML or updating meta descriptions.
I know this can be a lot of information – especially if you’re bookmarking and trying to remember everything you read. Because of this, I’ve turned this post into a downloadable, comprehensive guide that you can take with you anywhere, anytime.