If you’re embarking on your journey into search engine optimization (SEO), you may find yourself bogged down with all the different terms related to SEO. If you need all this SEO jargon explained, then you’ve come to the right place! On this page, we’ll cover 30 must-know SEO terminology marketers use when talking about this strategy.
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1. Alt text
This is SEO jargon for alternative text. Alt text allows you to add a description to elements like images. When images don’t load, alt text serves as a way for users to understand the picture, even if they can’t see it.
Additionally, alt text helps users who use screen readers. The reader will read the alt text, so users understand what’s on the page. With alt text, you make your site more accessible to everyone.
2. Anchor text
Anchor text refers to the text for hyperlinks, which direct users to other pages on the Internet. When you include links on your website, the anchor text must match the subject of the link. For example, if you link to a page about how to improve your credit score, your sentence may look like: “There are many ways for you to improve your credit score (anchor text) so you can get approved for a loan.”
When learning about SEO terms for beginners, backlink is a term you will hear repeatedly. Backlinks refer to links you receive from other websites. That means another website links to your site from their site.
As an example, let’s say you wrote a blog post about best practices for boosting your credit score. A bank, like Wells Fargo, could link back to that blog post in their article about how to obtain a car loan when talking about maintaining a good credit score. By linking to your page, they have given you a backlink.
4. Black-hat SEO
Black-hat SEO is one of the critical SEO terms for beginners to know. This term refers to unethical strategies used to boost rankings in search results. People use these strategies, which go against Google’s Terms of Service, to try and obtain a quick increase in their search engine results page (SERPs) ranking.
Prevalent black-hat SEO techniques include:
- Keyword stuffing
- Link farms
While some people still use black-hat SEO, search engines like Google have quickly fixed many of the methods used, like keyword stuffing. So, if you’re starting your SEO adventure, stay away from these tactics!
5. Bounce rate
Bounce rate is a Google SEO term you need to know. A metric, bounce rate, looks at how many people visit your site and leave without viewing any other pages or reading the information on your website. When you have a high bounce rate, it signals to Google that your site isn’t relevant to a user’s search.
A high bounce rate will hurt your rankings in search results, so you must create relevant, user-focused pages and use the right keywords for those pages.
6. Canonical tag
A canonical tag is an HTML link element that lets companies inform search engines about duplicate pages. The canonical URL tells Google which page is the original — or the page that you want Google to show in the SERPs. You can even (and probably should) place a canonical URL on the original page, not just pages that are copies.
The tag looks like this: <link rel= “canonical” href=http://website.com/” />
This tag allows businesses to guide search engines to the original page — where they want the rankings to count — instead of a duplicate or copy page.
7. Conversion rate
Conversion rate is a crucial piece of SEO jargon for beginners to know. When you calculate the conversion rate, you take the number of conversions divided by the number of people who visit your site. Conversions can include numerous actions, from signing up for an email list to buying a product.
Crawling is the process where search engines comb your pages to index them later. This process helps search engines index and rank your pages in search results. It’s an essential part of SEO because if search engines can’t crawl your site, you will have an impossible time ranking in search results.
9. Dofollow link
A dofollow link is a valuable link in SEO. With these links, bots that crawl your site follow the links to the source. Dofollow links are functional backlinks that allow crawlers to visit the source page for a link.
10. Domain Authority
Domain Authority (DA) is a comparative metric (created by Moz) to predict a domain’s ability to rank in search results. While it isn’t an official ranking metric, DA offers insight into how well you will rank in search results compared to other companies, like your competitors.
11. Dwell time
Dwell time is the length of time someone spends looking at a page after they clicked on it. This time measures from when a user clicks on a link until they go back to the search results or leave the page. This metric is essential to SEO because it helps Google determine if your page is relevant to a search.
12. Featured snippet
The featured snippet is must-know SEO jargon because it’s what every marketer aims for when trying to rank. Also known as Position 0, a featured snippet is a box you see at the top of search results that answers the user’s search or question quickly. This term is one of the most critical SEO terms for beginners because you’ll want to earn the featured snippet so that you can gain more real estate in search results, as well as decrease traffic to competitor sites.
13. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a valuable tool for helping you monitor and analyze your SEO campaign. This tool provides businesses with insight into how people engage with their website. You can track metrics, like dwell time and conversion rate, to help you understand what’s working on your site and where you can improve.
Crawling and indexing are two SEO terms that go together. When a search engine crawls your website, it indexes the information it finds and stores it in its database. Based on the data indexed, Google will rank your website in search results.
Keep in mind that your site cannot rank in search results unless it’s indexed.
15. Internal links
Internal links are links to different pages within your site. When you create a new page or piece of content, you link to other relevant pages on your website to keep traffic on your page longer. Internal linking also helps search engines crawl and index pages.
Anchor text and internal links work together to help crawlers understand your page’s context. With anchor text, you help search engines recognize which keywords you’re trying to target on the internally linked page. It helps search engines identify new pages and rank them properly in the search results.
16. Key performance indicator (KPI)
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are measurable values that show how effectively you achieve your objectives. These metrics help you evaluate your success and see if you’re reaching your goals. A KPI can be anything from sales to traffic on your website.
For example, if you set an objective to increase sales by 20%, you would use conversion rate and revenue as your KPIs to see if you achieved your goal.
17. Keyword research
One of the most critical SEO terms for beginners is keyword research. Keyword research is the process of searching for keywords and phrases to target on your website. Your keyword selection determines who you reach in search results, so conducting keyword research is vital for helping you attract the right people to your site.
18. Keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing refers to the overuse of keywords on a page. If you use keywords too often on your page, it will hurt your ranking in search results, and search engines like Google will penalize your site. This tactic is a black-hat SEO strategy you’ll want to avoid.
19. Lazy loading
Lazy loading is SEO jargon for a tactic that businesses use to improve page speed on their site. Page speed is an important ranking factor in SEO because Google wants to deliver pages that load quickly. If your page loads too slow, users will bounce from your site, which hurts your ranking.
With lazy loading, elements don’t load on your page until needed. Your website won’t load these parts of your site, like images, until the user scrolls to them, making it easier for your pages to load faster for readers.
20. Local SEO 3-pack
When you’re looking at local SEO key terms, you’ll often hear local SEO 3-pack come up. A local SEO 3-pack is a list of three relevant businesses that appear at the top of local search results. The 3-pack contains a preview of a map, along with three Google My Business profiles that fit the search query best.
21. Long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are keywords that contain three or more words, like “carpet cleaners in Harrisburg, PA.” These keywords help you reach more interested leads because they are specific and come with less competition than short-tail keywords.
22. Meta description
The meta description is the small paragraph of text that appears below your title tag in your search result listing. This short paragraph gives your audience a preview of what to expect when they click on your page. Even though your meta description isn’t a ranking factor, Google will bold relevant keywords that appear in your meta description in the search results.
This feature helps users identify if your page matches their search query.
23. Nofollow links
When someone uses a nofollow link, it sends a clickable link to your site, but search engines cannot crawl or visit your website using that link — at least they’re not supposed to, though SEOs debate this feature. Nofollow links tell search engines not to follow the link and that they shouldn’t pay attention to it. These links have no link juice or value passed from one site to the other.
However, they still play a fundamental role in helping you rank in search results. While nofollow links may seem bad, it’s good to have them in your backlink profile. It makes your link profile look more natural to search engines like Google, which helps when you’re trying to rank in search results.
24. On-page SEO
With on-page SEO, you optimize your website to help it rank better in search results and drive more relevant traffic. Some on-page SEO tactics include optimizing your title tag, using your keywords in content, and improving page load time.
25. Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO includes the actions you take outside of your site to help improve your ranking in search results. Some off-page SEO strategies include link building, guest blogging, and influencer marketing.
26. Responsive design
Responsive design allows your site to adapt to whatever device your audience uses. This term is a must-know Google SEO term because it allows you to provide a positive experience for everyone who visits your site. Your site will adapt for mobile and tablet users so they can use a version of your site scaled to their device.
Also, mobile-friendliness is an important ranking factor for Google. By integrating responsive design into your website, you’ll create a more mobile-friendly site, which helps you rank in search results.
Robots.txt tells search engines which pages it can’t crawl on your site. It does not keep your website from appearing in Google search results. Instead, it helps businesses prevent sensitive pages, like a login portal, from appearing in search results.
28. Search engine results page (SERP)
One of the most used SEO terms for beginners is the search engine results page (SERP). This frequently referenced term refers to the pages that appear in the search results after a search. SERP applies to any search you conduct on a search engine.
29. Title tag
One of the most common SEO terms you will see is title tag. Title tag refers to the heading you see for your page in the search results. It’s an essential part of SEO because it helps crawlers understand the context of your page and rank it in search results.
The title tag plays a fundamental role in driving leads to your site, too. If you don’t have an engaging and informative title tag, you will struggle to get clicks on your pages and drive leads for your business.
30. White-hat SEO
White-hat SEO is a Google SEO term that refers to optimization practices that comply with Google’s guidelines. This technique includes practices like natural keyword integration, fast page speed, and valuable content.
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