Search Engine Optimization can be a cryptic and confusing process. The rules the search engines live by are constantly changing, and they’re kind of a black box. It’s not difficult to imagine nerds in a four color Google tower rubbing their hands together and laughing at the rest of us just trying to figure out what they’re up to. We know some things though, and we’re here to help. The following is a list of common SEO terms that will at least make it easier to follow along when you’re listening to a conversation on SEO.
301 Redirect – Your business will use a 301 redirect when you have to move content to a new web address, merge two websites together, or move your website entirely. This will ensure that the search engines can update their index, and that your audience will automatically be directed from the old address to the new one.
ALT Text, ALT Tag, ALT Attribute – This is a description of an image in your company’s website code. It’s important to note that while search engines do index images, they do not read and catalog them well without adding appropriate image names and ALT text. So be sure to use ALT text for all appropriate images on your website.
Anchor Text – This is the text of a hyperlink to another web page. The text should usually be a keyword or key phrase that your audience might search for, and also describe what they are going to see once they click on the link.
Authority – Also called link juice, or trust. This is the amount of clout that a website has with the search engines. It is derived from the quality of incoming links from other websites along with a variety of other factors.
Canonical URL – Canon means legitimate or official, so in this sense, a canonical URL is the “official” address of a page.
Crawler – Also called a bot or spider, this software program gathers data for the search engines by following the link structures of websites. They are responsible for indexing and caching your website and all of its pages.
Duplicate Content – Digital content that has been copied from one web page and placed on another. Search engines have specific algorithms that they use to determine what duplicate content is between websites. The simplest rule of thumb to follow is this: do not copy content from other websites. If you need to, then be sure to add a reference and or link attributing the content to its source or use the Canonical tag. If your company needs to duplicate content between its own website, then either re-write the content or use the canonical URL tag.
External Link –Web pages or websites that your company has linked to from its own website or web pages.
Inbound Link – A link from one website leading TO your business’ website. Inbound links can help improve your company’s search engine rankings, especially if the linking website has a lot of authority.
Internal Link – A link between two of your company’s web pages. For example, a link from one of your business’ blog posts to your business’ contact page.
Keyword – A word or phrase that a web user will search for. Your business should organize its web pages and content around certain keywords to improve its search engine traffic.
Long Tail Keyword – Keywords that are made up of phrases that are more uncommon in the search results. They are however, more specific queries that have more targeted searchers. Your business should incorporate long tail keywords into its content and overall SEM strategy.
MetaTags – Data that tells the search engines what your company’s web page is all about. The three most important types to know about are:
- Description – A description of your company’s web page in 160 characters or less. This is often displayed as a sample of the content on the search engine results pages, below the page title.
- Keywords – An antiquated search engine practice that used keywords to determine what a web page was about. Google, Bing, and Yahoo no longer use Meta keywords in their algorithms.
- Noindex – A meta tag that is used when your business wants to keep a web page hidden from the search engines. Crawlers will find the web page, acknowledge the noindex tag, and they should move on without indexing the page. Do not use this without seriously considering the impact of making a page “invisible” to search engines.
Nofollow – An attribute that is sometimes used when your business wants to link to another website, but does not want the crawlers to follow the link to that external website or web page. Do not use these internally between your business’ web pages unless directed to do so by professionals.
PageRank – It used to mean a number between 0-10 that represented the quality of your web page. Today, it is represented by the number and quality of inbound links to your web pages. So focus on receiving quality inbound links and your business’ page ranks will improve.
PageTitle – The title that you give to your company’s web page, which appears in the search engine results page. Your business should remember to use relevant keywords in its titles as they will help improve your SERP placements.
SERP – Search Engine Results Page. This is the page you are directed to after searching for a keyword on a search engine. Results vary on the keywords used in the query, and how relevant the search engine thinks the pages are to your query.
Sitemap – A web page that presents links to most or all site pages within your business’ website. It can also be a document in extensible markup language (XML) that is kept in the root directory of a website so that crawlers can index the site faster.
Traffic – Visitors to your business’ website. Your company should focus on human visitors rather than robots, which is why your company should create quality content.
URL – Uniform Resource Locator. Also known as a web address, which appears in the address bar of a user’s web browser.
Understanding these important terms will help your business develop a clearer picture of SEO and how it fits into your overall marketing strategy. Search Engine Optimization is one of our specialties here at New Perspective, and we take great pride in our ability to help businesses connect with their customers. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you with your SEM strategy. Search engine optimization can be a way to grow your business on a large scale, and we’d be delighted to discuss how we can help your business leverage SEO to its maximum utility.