Many claims are made that the age of Search Engine Optimization is over. Perform a web search for “SEO is dead” and you will see what I’m talking about. But I would disagree: Search Engine Optimization is not dead but actually thriving. SEO is still an excellent internet marketing method and well worth the return on investment for driving targeted traffic to your website.
When people are looking for answers and solutions, more often than not they’ll open their favourite browser to search for information. The internet is an information portal and there’s no better way to find the answers you are looking for than by typing your question into a search engine.
Search engines are constantly updating their search algorithm to give their users the best results. So how do you make sure you are always on the first page? With an optimized SEO campaign. But are you familiar with the basic SEO terminology digital marketers use? Here are a couple of our favorite SEO terms every beginner should memorize.
Basic Search Engine Optimization terms to know:
1. Search engine optimization – In plain English, it means the processes that help a website achieve higher organic rankings on the search engines for specific keywords and phrases.
2. SERP (Search Engine Ranking Page) – The resulting output page after you run a query in a search engine. It typically has 10 results on it, but this may vary depending on the query and search engine in question.
3. Search engine algorithm – Google’s search algorithm is the engine that is used to find the most trusted and relevant website pages for any search query.
4. Doorway pages – This is a black-hat SEO method that involves creating a fake website page that users will never see. Doorway pages can be used to trick the search engine spiders into indexing a website page higher. If you get caught your website keyword rankings will get clobbered or your entire website may be banned from search engine results pages. DO NOT TRY!
5. Keyword – A word that a user enters in search. Each web page should be optimized with the goal of drawing in visitors who have searched specific keywords.
6. Long Tail Keyword – An uncommon or infrequently searched keyword, typically with two or more words in the phrase. Small businesses should consider targeting long tail keywords, as they are lower difficulty and often have more qualified searchers. Common keywords such as ‘software’ are more competitive, and very hard to rank high for them in search.
7. Keyword stuffing – Because keyword density plays an important role in the indexing of your website, some webmasters try to trick search engines by artificially stuffing all the website content with keywords. It does not work and will get your website penalized. This is Black Hat SEO and is explained below.
8. Page Title or Title tag – The name you give your web page, which is seen at the top your browser window or browser tab. The title tag is coded within the head section of the web page. Page titles should contain keywords related to your business and the web page content. Words at the beginning of your page title are more highly weighted than words at the end.
9. Headings – Text on your website that is placed inside of a heading tag, such as an H1 or H2. This text is often presented in a larger and stronger font than other text on the page.
10. Anchor text – This is the text that will link to another website page or document within the current website.
11. Inbound Link – A link from one site into another. A link from another site will improve your SEO, especially if that site has a high PageRank.
12. Internal Link – A link from one page to another on the same website, such as from your homepage to your products page.
13. Nofollow link – A nofollow link does not carry over any PageRank (PR) value to the page it is linking to. These are mostly used when you want to cut down irrelevant links to content to improve the overall value of your website. By default, if you don’t specify that a link should be “nofollow”, it will automatically be “dofollow”, which will carry value over to the destination page.
14. Metadata – Data that tells search engines what your website is about. Use elements to specify a description, keywords, author, and character set of a document.
15. Meta Description – A brief description of fewer than 160 characters about the contents of a web page and why someone would want to visit it. This is often displayed on search engine results pages (SERP) below the page title as a sample of the content on the page.
16. PageRank or PR – This is part of the algorithm that Google uses to estimate the importance of pages. The idea is that a link from a page with a high PR is seen as a vote of trust to the page it is linking to. PageRank was named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google.
17. Ranking Factor – One element of how a search engine determines where to rank a certain page, such as the number of inbound links to a page or the contents of the title tag on that page.
18. Alt text – This is a tag that you can place on links and images for SEO purposes. It is the text that is displayed when you hover your mouse over the object.
19. Bot (spider) – These are programs used by search engines to crawl your website.
20 Indexed Pages – The pages of your website that are stored by search engines.
21. Canonical URL – The canonical URL is the best address on which a user can find a piece of information. Sometimes you might have a situation where the same page content can be accessed at more than one address. Specifying the canonical URL helps search engines understand which address for a piece of content is the best one.
22. Link Building – The activity and process of getting more inbound links to your website for improved search engine rankings.
23. White hat search engine optimization – White hat SEO is the body of approved (ethical) search engine optimization tactics designed to increase a website’s position on a search engine results page (SERP).
24. Black hat search engine optimization – This is the under-the-table, unethical method of gaining rankings on search engines. If you practice black-hat SEO and you’re caught, your website can be heavily penalized by the search engines.
25: Cloaking – This is another black-hat method to show a one website page to search engines and a different one to users. The purpose of cloaking is to get ranked for specific keyword phrases, and then redirect the incoming traffic to another page.
26. Link farm – A link farm is a website or directory that groups websites together and links to each one with the sole purpose of increasing PR and gaining top organic rankings. Link farms used to work back in the day, but are now considered black hat by the search engines.
27. Citation / NAP – The acronym NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. This citation is extremely important because it is considered one of the major ranking factors for ranking locally. If you’re running a local business, it is very important to verify that you have such NAP consistency across all your local listings within directories. This is a crucial sign of telling search engines that your business listing is legitimate and will actually improve on your local ranking.
28. 301 Redirect – This directive is also known as a permanent redirect. Use a 301 redirect to direct your visitors to the new page or website that has been moved permanently. This is to tell Google or other search engines that your original web page is no longer valid and you would like them to de-index the page so that it can pass all the link juice to your newly redirected page or site.
29. 302 Redirect – Unlike a 301 redirect, a 302 redirect is a temporary redirect. In other words, if your content is temporarily moved to a new page or site, you can implement a 302 redirect to tell the search engines to redirect your visitors to this new location. This ensures that search engines do not pass the link juice and the anchor text over to this new place because your original page or website will resume back to its original state.