It’s easy when you are an SEO geek like me to get a bit carried away and forget that most people don’t have a clue what I’m talking about when I start speaking SEO terminology at them.
So, to help you navigate the world of SEO I have put together this handy post to help you understand what SEO stands for and all of the other key SEO terms you are likely to come across to help you feel empowered to up your SEO game and get your website ranked on google… or to just be able to understand your SEO specialist when they start talking geek speak at you.
As a business owner, you probably get multiple emails a day from companies promising you that they can wave their magical technological wand and PUFF there your website is at the top of Google. They will deliberately be mysterious about how they are going to do this dark magic so they don’t really want you to understand what they are talking about if you did you might not want to hand over hundreds of $$ a month to them.
Well, that’s just not how I roll as an SEO professional, sure I can work my SEO magic on your website. But I’m also happy to help you to find the magic sauce yourself.
If you are technically challenged now is the time to grab a cut of tea, a pen, and paper, and take a deep breath, we are going in… Oh and once you have read this and downloaded the PDF version then you need to read my blog post on how you can improve your SEO here and this one to learn about some SEO tools that will make mastering SEO a LOT easier.
SEO terminology you need to know
The first thing question you will likely have is: What does SEO stand for?
SEO means Search Engin Optimization. It is the practice of making your web content optimized for search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. So how does one optimize web content or Google? Take a read of this post, it’s a lot more straight forward than you may think.
You will likely hear the term H1 used in regards to SEO optimization. H1 stands for heading 1 and what it refers to is the main heading of your webpage. This is generally the title, but sometimes you may find pages with additional H1’s.
Why are H1’s important to SEO? All you really need to know is that you should only ever have 1 H1 on a webpage. The H1 should be the name of that page if you can slip a keyword in there great, but it’s not essential.
Most webpages will have the following H1’s
If you have a blog then the H1 will be the title of the post. It’s important to try and get a longtail keyword in this H1 if you can. For example, this post is called “ “ and the keyword here is “ “
H2 is a heading 2. Think of H2’s as your subheadings. They are very important in SEO and each webpage or post should have several H2’s the more keywords you can slip into your H2’s the better. H2’s also help with readability and it breaks up the copy on your webpage and makes it easier for the reader to navigate.
The SEO title functions like your main H1, if you are writing a blog post it may even be the same. But the difference is that this won’t appear on the page, it will only appear as the title on the search engine.
If you are using YOAST you can enter an SEO title there, WIX and Squarespace also give you a built-in option for this. Or you can code it directly into the page or post.
Important things to know is that you want to get your main keyword in here but most importantly you need to make sure your title makes someone want to click your post over others. So always keep in mind you are writing this for an actual human, not just a google crawler.
A meta description is a short 140 character max explanation of what your page or post is about. Google will them (most of the time) take that meta description and use it to show to people searching Google for things so they have a mini description of your site/ webpage/ post what it’s all about. It’s better to see visually so here is a picture.
That description is the meta description. If you are using WordPress.org you can add in your meta description to YOAST, if not then you can either add it into the code directly or WIX and Squarespace both have a place you can add it in.
Why is this important? It’s twofold, Firstly you want to put a keyword or two in there to help google know what the post is about. But the most important thing (in my opinion) is that the description makes someone want to click your link above the millions of other links offering the same thing. So always keep that in mind when writing meta descriptions.
So you have heard that Keyword Research (KWR) is essential for SEO. You aren’t wrong. But what the hell does that even mean? To put as simply as possible. A keyword is a keyword that someone is searching for. So to do keyword research you are searching for the keywords that others are searching for, so you can make sure you are adding them into the webpage you are writing.
For example, for this post on SEO terminology, I spent time searching on different SEO tools (link to article) researching the kind of things that people are searching the web for in relation to this topic.
This is more of a paid search term thing so unless you are planning to run Google ads you don’t need to worry about it. But it means Cost Per Click ie the average price an advertiser will need to pay for a single click of their ad.
Impressions refer to the number of people who your webpage has been shown to.
CTR stands for Click Through Rate. It relates to impressions in that the search engine will show your webpage to say, 1000 people, that is your impressions. Now if you have 1000 impressions and 100 people click your link then your CTR will be 10%
A backlink is an incoming link to your website. In other words, another webpage that has a link on their webpage to you. Why is this important? Because the more websites that link to you, the more trusted Google sees your website has.
An internal link is a link from a page or post on your website to another page or post on your website. As a rule, each post or page needs to have at least 2 internal links pointing to it.
DA stands for Domain Authority and it is a number given to each website by a company called MOZ. MOZ scores each site from 1-100, the higher the DA the more trustworthy the site. A higher score reflects how much Google likes you.
Similar to DA a Page Authority is a number given to each page or post on your website by MOZ and it reflects how trustworthy each individual page on your website is.
An Alexa rank is a score given to each website that measures its popularity. To get the score it uses your site’s estimated traffic and visitor engagement over a three months period.
A URL redirect is a technique for making a web page redirect to a different webpage. You might want to use a URL redirect if you change the URL of a webpage to make sure you don’t lose any traffic.
A broken link is what happens if you don’t use a URL redirect! So if you change a URL on your website be sure to set up a redirect to avoid broken links. You can also have broken external links on your site. If you have a link on your website to an external website and that website goes down it will show up on your site as a broken link. This is bad for your website’s SEO as google doesn’t like broken links and will knock a few SEO points off you for having them.
A URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and it is basically the address you type into your browser window to get to a page on a website.
A long-tail keyword is essentially a keyword but with more detail. So, for example, a keyword might be backpack whereas a long-tail keyword would be the best backpack for Thailand or backpack for hiking. Long-tail keywords tend to have more than 3 words in them.
Indexing is something that Google does to read your site.
For example, when I publish a new blog post or website page, or when I make changes to one I will go to Google Search Consult and request that Google index or re-index the post or page so I know that Google knows it exists. Now you don’t need to do this, as Google will automatically do it eventually, but you can speed up the process by asking it to do it sooner.
This is a term often used by SEO experts to describe how much ‘power’ a link has. To put this into context. If you are writing a post and adding in some backlinks the links at the top of the post will have more ‘link juice’ than those at the bottom. And A link with a ‘dofollow’ attribute will have more ‘link juice’ than one with a ‘sponsored’ attribute.
A Web crawler otherwise known as a spider, is basically an Internet bot that ‘crawls’ through the World Wide Web systematically to index websites.
A search term is what someone will type into Google or any other search engine when they are searching for something. For example, a search term could be something like:
How do I get my website to rank on google
White hat SEO
White hat SEO is what I do. It’s SEO practices that comply with Google’s terms of service.
Black hat SEO
Black hat SEO is the stuff that you can do that goes against Google’s terms of service. This includes paying for ‘dofollow’ backlinks. If you are a blogger then you will likely have a lot of people emailing you each day to ask for you to link to them in exchange for payment… this is black hat SEO.
This is a practice often used by bloggers to help build backlinks to their websites. It is when you make a deal with another website owner to add a link from your blog to theirs in exchange for them adding a link to your blog from theirs. It’s a good way of building backlinks, but technically it is in the gray area of SEO practices.
Content marketing is the practice of writing, publishing, and distributing content for a very targeted audience. It is why most businesses now have a blog on their website as a way of casting their marketing net a little wider and attracting new visitors tho their site.
A sponsored post is a post that a company has paid someone to post on their website as part of their content marketing strategy.
A guest post is a post that is written by a guest author and published on a site without any money or service exchange.
A collaborative post is a post written by multiple people and posted on the editor’s website. This is a tactic for building backlinks often used by bloggers.
A dofollow link is an external link that has the attribute ‘dofollow’ in it to let Google know that you should follow it. This is the attribute that will give it the most ‘link juice’ from Google.
A nofollow link is an external link that has the attribute ‘nofollow’ in it to let Google know that it should ignore it and not index it. This is the attribute that will give it the very little ‘link juice’ from Google.
A sponsored link is an external link that has the attribute ‘sponsored’ in it to let Google know that there has either been an exchange of money or service for the link. Google has recently announced this new attribute and that it will treat links with a sponsored attribute as a ‘hint’ and they will still index the links but it won’t have as much ‘link juice’ from Google as a link with ‘dofollow’.
A ugc link is an external link that has the attribute ‘ugc’ in it to let Google know that it is user-generated content. This is the attribute that will give it the very some ‘link juice’ from Google. Although when the new changes come in to play it is now being thought of as more of a ‘hint’.
To learn more about all of the attribute changes that Google recently announced this post-MOZ wrote is a great resource to learn more.
Final thoughts on SEO terminologies
Okay, so I know this is a LOT to take in. But don’t worry, I made this handy PDF download that you can save or print and refer back to at any time. Remember if you have any questions or would like me to do an SEO audit of your website then just use the form below to get in touch and I’ll be happy to help in any way I can.