Understanding SEO terminology. If you’ve ever worked into the world of search engine optimisation (SEO), or talked to a website designer or marketer, you’ve likely encountered a plethora of technical terms and jargon that can be overwhelming.
Fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we will demystify the SEO language and help you gain a solid understanding of 30 most communing used SEO phrases.
So, let’s dive in and unlock the meanings behind these essential SEO phrases and what they actually mean.
Table of Contents
1. Search engine optimisation
The practice of optimising a website to improve its visibility and rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the practice of optimising a website to improve its visibility and rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). For example, if you have a bakery business, SEO involves using techniques like keyword research and incorporating relevant keywords into your website’s content.
By providing high-quality content and focusing on user experience, you can attract more organic traffic to your site. This means that when someone searches for related terms like “local bakeries,” your website appears higher in the search results.
As a result, more people discover your bakery, visit your website, and potentially become customers. SEO helps your business stand out and reach a wider audience in the competitive online landscape.
Words or phrases that users enter into search engines when looking for information. SEO involves identifying and targeting relevant keywords to improve visibility in search results.
Keywords are the words or phrases that users type into search engines when they’re looking for information, products, or services. They play a crucial role in SEO because search engines use keywords to understand the content and relevance of webpages. Let’s say you run a fitness blog and want to attract more visitors.
Through keyword research, you discover that many people search for terms like “weight loss tips” and “healthy meal plans.” By strategically incorporating these keywords into your blog posts, meta tags, and headings, you optimise your content to match what users are searching for.
As a result, when someone searches for those keywords, your blog has a higher chance of appearing in the search results. By targeting relevant keywords, you can increase your visibility and attract more organic traffic to your fitness blog, ultimately reaching and helping more people with their health goals.
3. Organic traffic
Visitors who come to a website through unpaid, natural search engine results, as opposed to paid advertisements.
Organic traffic refers to the visitors who land on a website through unpaid, natural search engine results. These are the people who discover a website by clicking on a search result without any direct advertising involved. Let’s say you have an online store selling handmade jewelry.
When someone searches for “unique handmade necklaces” on a search engine like Google, and your website appears in the search results, the visitor who clicks on your link and explores your store is considered organic traffic. This type of traffic is valuable because it indicates that your website is relevant and trustworthy in the eyes of search engines.
By implementing effective SEO strategies, such as optimising your website’s content and structure, you can attract more organic traffic and increase the chances of converting those visitors into customers. The more organic traffic you receive, the higher your website’s visibility and potential for business growth.
4. On-page optimisation
Optimising elements on a webpage, such as content, meta tags, and HTML tags, to improve its visibility and relevance for search engines.
On-page optimisation involves fine-tuning various elements on a webpage to enhance its visibility and relevance in search engine results. Let’s say you have a blog post about “healthy smoothie recipes.” To optimise it on-page, you would focus on several key aspects.
Firstly, you would ensure that the content of the blog post is comprehensive, well-written, and relevant to the topic. This includes incorporating relevant keywords naturally throughout the content. Secondly, you would optimise the meta tags, such as the title tag and meta description, to accurately describe the content and entice search engine users to click on your result.
Additionally, you would optimise HTML tags, such as headings and alt tags for images, to provide context and improve accessibility. By implementing on-page optimisation techniques, you increase the chances of search engines recognising the value of your webpage, resulting in improved rankings and visibility.
5. Off-page optimisation
Strategies and techniques used outside of a website to improve its search engine rankings, such as link building and social media promotion.
Off-page optimisation refers to the tactics employed outside of a website to enhance its search engine rankings. One crucial aspect of off-page optimisation is link building, which involves acquiring high-quality backlinks from reputable websites. Let’s say you run an online clothing store.
To boost your off-page optimisation, you might collaborate with fashion bloggers or influencers who link to your website in their posts or product reviews. This not only drives referral traffic but also signals to search engines that your site is trustworthy and relevant. Another off-page technique is social media promotion.
By actively engaging with your audience on platforms like Instagram or Twitter, sharing valuable content, and encouraging users to share it, you can expand your online presence and attract more visitors to your site. Off-page optimisation complements on-page efforts and plays a significant role in improving your website’s overall visibility and search engine rankings.
6. SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)
The pages displayed by search engines in response to a user’s search query, listing relevant websites and their titles, descriptions, and URLs.
SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages, are the pages that appear after you enter a search query into a search engine like Google. They provide a list of websites that are deemed relevant to your search.
For example, if you’re looking for a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, you would enter that phrase into a search engine, and the resulting SERP would display a list of websites with recipes for chocolate chip cookies.
Each website listing on the SERP includes a title, a brief description, and a URL. These elements help users decide which websites to click on based on the relevance and usefulness of the information provided. Understanding SERPs is important for SEO because it allows website owners to optimise their content to appear prominently on these pages, increasing their visibility and attracting more organic traffic.
7. Meta tags
HTML tags that provide information about a webpage to search engines. Key meta tags include the title tag and meta description.
Meta tags are HTML tags that provide information about a webpage to search engines. They play a crucial role in helping search engines understand the content and relevance of a webpage. Two key meta tags are the title tag and the meta description.
The title tag specifies the title of a webpage and appears as the clickable headline in search engine results. It should be concise, descriptive, and contain relevant keywords. The meta description is a brief summary or description of the webpage’s content. It appears below the title tag in search results and provides users with a preview of what they can expect on the webpage. Crafting compelling and optimised meta tags can improve the click-through rate and attract more visitors to your website.
For example, a well-optimised meta tag might be: “Discover the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes – Easy and Delicious Homemade Cookies for Every Occasion.”
8. Title tag
An HTML tag that specifies the title of a webpage. It appears in search engine results as the clickable headline for a given webpage.
The title tag is an HTML tag that serves as the title of a webpage. It is displayed as the clickable headline in search engine results, making it an important element for attracting clicks and driving traffic to a website.
The title tag should accurately reflect the content of the webpage and be optimised for relevant keywords. It should be compelling and concise, giving users a clear idea of what they can expect when they click on the link.
For example, if you have a blog post about “Top 10 Travel Destinations in Europe,” a well-crafted title tag could be: “Explore the Best Travel Destinations in Europe: Top 10 Must-Visit Places.” This title tag not only conveys the topic but also entices users to click and learn more about the destinations.
9. Meta description
A concise summary or description of a webpage’s content that appears below the title tag in search engine results.
The meta description is a brief summary or description of a webpage’s content that appears below the title tag in search engine results. It provides users with a glimpse of what they can expect to find on the webpage. A well-crafted meta description is important because it can influence whether a user clicks on the link or not. It should be concise, compelling, and accurately represent the content of the page.
For example, let’s say you have an e-commerce website selling organic skincare products. A good meta description for a product page could be: “Discover the power of natural ingredients for healthy, glowing skin. Our organic skincare products are crafted with care to nourish and rejuvenate. Shop now for radiant beauty that’s kind to your skin and the environment.”
This meta description highlights the key benefits of the products and entices users to explore further.
10. Alt tags
HTML attributes used to provide alternative text descriptions for images. Alt tags help search engines understand the content of images and can improve accessibility.
Alt tags, or alternative text descriptions, are HTML attributes used to provide textual descriptions for images on a webpage. They play a crucial role in search engine optimisation and website accessibility.
Alt tags help search engines understand the content of images, as search engines primarily rely on text-based information. By including descriptive alt tags, you provide context and relevance to your images, improving their visibility in search results. Additionally, alt tags enhance the accessibility of your website for visually impaired users who rely on screen readers.
For example, if you have an image of a cute kitten playing with a ball, an appropriate alt tag could be “Adorable kitten playing with a ball.” This alt tag not only helps search engines understand the image but also provides a descriptive experience for visually impaired individuals browsing your website.
Links from other websites that point to a specific webpage. Backlinks are an important ranking factor and can improve a website’s authority and visibility.
Backlinks are like votes of confidence from other websites. They are links that point back to your webpage from external sources. Search engines consider backlinks as an indication of the quality and relevance of your content.
When reputable and authoritative websites link to your page, it signals to search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy. This can have a positive impact on your search engine rankings, improving your website’s authority and visibility.
For example, if a popular industry blog links to your article about the latest fashion trends, it shows that your content is valuable and relevant to the fashion community. Search engines will take note of this endorsement and potentially rank your page higher in search results, driving more organic traffic to your website.
12. Link building
The process of acquiring high-quality backlinks from external websites to improve a website’s search engine rankings.
Link building is the process of strategically acquiring high-quality backlinks from other websites to enhance your website’s search engine rankings. It involves reaching out to relevant websites or creating compelling content that naturally attracts links. By obtaining authoritative and trustworthy backlinks, search engines perceive your website as more valuable and relevant to users.
For example, if you run a travel blog and collaborate with a popular travel website to publish an informative article with a link back to your site, it demonstrates to search engines that your content is reputable and worth promoting. These backlinks not only boost your search engine visibility but also drive referral traffic from the linking websites, expanding your audience and potential customer base.
Effective link building can significantly improve your website’s organic rankings and overall online presence.
13. Anchor text
The clickable text within a hyperlink. Optimising anchor text with relevant keywords can help search engines understand the content of the linked page.
Anchor text refers to the clickable text within a hyperlink, and it plays a crucial role in helping search engines understand the content of the linked page. By optimising anchor text with relevant keywords, you can provide search engines with additional context about the destination page’s content.
For example, suppose you’re writing a blog post about the best hiking trails in a specific region and you include a hyperlink with the anchor text “best hiking trails.” This anchor text tells search engines that the linked page likely contains valuable information about hiking trails.
When search engines crawl your content and encounter this anchor text, they associate it with the linked page’s topic and may rank it higher in search results for related keywords. Optimising anchor text helps improve the visibility and relevance of your linked pages in search engine rankings.
14. Keyword research
The process of identifying and analysing keywords that are relevant to a website’s content and target audience. Keyword research helps optimise content and improve search rankings.
Keyword research is a crucial aspect of SEO that involves identifying and analysing keywords relevant to your website’s content and target audience. By understanding the search terms people use when looking for information, products, or services related to your website, you can strategically optimise your content to align with those keywords.
For instance, if you run a fitness blog and want to write an article about healthy smoothie recipes, conducting keyword research can help you identify popular search terms like “healthy smoothie recipes,” “nutritious smoothies,” or “easy smoothie ideas.” By incorporating these keywords naturally into your content, you increase the chances of your article appearing higher in search engine rankings when people search for those terms.
Keyword research empowers you to create content that resonates with your target audience and attracts organic traffic, ultimately improving your website’s visibility and search rankings.
15. Long-tail keywords
Longer, more specific keyword phrases that typically have lower search volume but higher conversion rates. Targeting long-tail keywords can help attract more targeted traffic.
Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that may not have high search volume compared to broader keywords, but they often have higher conversion rates.
Let’s say you have an online store selling handmade leather wallets. While the keyword “leather wallets” is highly competitive and may attract a lot of general traffic, targeting a long-tail keyword like “handmade leather wallets for men” or “vegetable-tanned leather wallets” can help you reach a more specific audience interested in those particular products.
Although the search volume for these long-tail keywords may be lower, the visitors they bring are more likely to be interested in making a purchase. By focusing on long-tail keywords, you can attract more targeted traffic and increase the chances of converting those visitors into customers, resulting in higher conversion rates for your online store.
16. Keyword density
The percentage of times a keyword appears in relation to the total word count on a webpage. It’s important to maintain a balanced keyword density to avoid keyword stuffing.
Keyword density refers to the proportion of times a specific keyword appears in relation to the total word count on a webpage. It plays a role in optimising content for search engines. While it’s essential to include relevant keywords in your content, it’s equally important to maintain a balanced keyword density. Keyword stuffing, which is excessive and unnatural keyword repetition, can harm your website’s search rankings.
For example, imagine you’re writing a blog post about healthy smoothie recipes. Instead of focusing on providing valuable information and engaging content, if you excessively repeat the keyword “healthy smoothie recipes” in every sentence, it will not only disrupt the flow of the article but also raise red flags for search engines.
Strive for a natural and organic use of keywords that fits naturally within the context of your content, ensuring a pleasant reading experience for your audience while optimising your content for search engines.
17. SEO audit
A comprehensive evaluation of a website’s SEO performance, identifying areas for improvement and optimisation.
An SEO audit is like a thorough check-up for your website’s search engine optimisation. It involves a detailed evaluation of various aspects of your website’s performance to identify areas that need improvement and optimisation.
Think of it as a diagnostic tool that helps you uncover issues and discover opportunities to enhance your website’s visibility and rankings in search results.
For example, during an SEO audit, you may analyse factors such as website structure, content quality, keyword usage, backlink profile, and technical aspects like page load speed and mobile optimisation.
By conducting an SEO audit, you can gain valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your website’s SEO strategy and take actionable steps to improve its overall performance, leading to better search engine rankings and increased organic traffic.
18. Crawling and indexing
The process by which search engine bots (crawlers) discover and analyse webpages, and then index them in their databases for retrieval in search results.
Crawling and indexing are essential processes that search engines use to discover, analyse, and store information from webpages. Imagine search engine bots as little digital spiders that crawl through the vast web, following links and visiting webpages.
During the crawling process, these bots systematically visit webpages, gathering data about their content, structure, and other relevant information. Once crawled, the search engine bots index the webpages, essentially organising them in their databases for future retrieval.
This indexing process allows search engines to quickly deliver relevant search results to users based on their queries.
For example, when you perform a search, search engines retrieve relevant webpages from their indexed database and display them as search results.
Crawling and indexing are fundamental to the functioning of search engines, ensuring that the most relevant and up-to-date information is available to users when they need it.
19. Canonical tags
HTML tags used to indicate the preferred version of a webpage when there are multiple versions with similar content. Canonical tags help avoid duplicate content issues.
Canonical tags are HTML tags that play a crucial role in managing duplicate content on websites. In some cases, you may have multiple versions of a webpage with similar or identical content, which can confuse search engines and potentially harm your search rankings. That’s where canonical tags come into play.
They allow you to specify the preferred version of a webpage, indicating to search engines which version should be considered the primary or original one. By implementing canonical tags, you ensure that search engines understand which version to index and display in search results, avoiding any penalties for duplicate content.
For example, let’s say you have an e-commerce website with different URLs for product variations. By using canonical tags, you can indicate the main product page as the preferred version, consolidating the ranking signals and preventing search engines from considering the variations as separate pages.
A text file placed on a website’s server to instruct search engine crawlers on which pages to crawl or exclude from indexing.
Robots.txt is a file that website owners can place on their server to communicate with search engine crawlers. It serves as a set of instructions, telling search engines which pages or directories they are allowed or not allowed to crawl and index.
This file is particularly useful when you have certain parts of your website that you don’t want search engines to access, such as private areas or duplicate content. For example, let’s say you have a blog with tags or categories that generate duplicate content. By including specific directives in the Robots.txt file, you can instruct search engines not to crawl and index those pages, preventing any negative impact on your search rankings.
It’s important to carefully manage your Robots.txt file to ensure search engines are efficiently crawling and indexing the desired parts of your website.
A file that lists all the pages on a website, helping search engine crawlers understand its structure and index its content more efficiently.
A sitemap is like a roadmap for search engine crawlers. It’s a file that lists all the pages on your website, organized in a hierarchical structure. By providing a sitemap to search engines, you’re making it easier for them to discover and understand the layout of your website.
This can improve the efficiency of their crawling process and ensure that all your important pages are indexed. Imagine you have an e-commerce website with various product categories, subcategories, and individual product pages.
Creating a sitemap that includes all these pages will help search engines navigate through your site, ensuring that each product page is properly indexed and can appear in relevant search results.
A well-structured sitemap can enhance the visibility of your website and make it more accessible to search engines and users alike.
22. Duplicate content
Content that appears in multiple locations on the internet or within the same website. Duplicate content can negatively affect search rankings.
Duplicate content refers to the presence of identical or very similar content in multiple locations, either on different websites or within the same website. Search engines strive to provide users with diverse and relevant search results, so encountering duplicate content can create confusion and diminish the user experience.
From an SEO standpoint, having duplicate content can be detrimental to your search rankings. Search engines may struggle to determine which version of the content is the most relevant and authoritative, leading to lower visibility in search results.
For example, if you copy and paste a blog post from another website onto your own, search engines may recognise it as duplicate content and choose not to display it in search results. To avoid this, it’s important to create unique, original content and properly attribute any external sources to maintain a strong online presence and maximise your search rankings.
23. Page load speed
The time it takes for a webpage to fully load. Fast page load speed is important for a good user experience and can positively impact search rankings.
Page load speed refers to the time it takes for a webpage to load and display its content to visitors. In today’s fast-paced digital world, users have little patience for slow-loading websites.
A fast page load speed is crucial for providing a smooth and enjoyable user experience. It not only keeps visitors engaged but also positively impacts search rankings. Search engines like Google consider page load speed as a ranking factor, as they prioritise delivering fast and relevant results to users.
For instance, if two websites have similar content and relevance, but one loads significantly faster than the other, the faster website is likely to rank higher in search results. To optimise page load speed, website owners can compress images, minify code, leverage caching techniques, and choose reliable hosting providers.
By prioritising page load speed, you can enhance user satisfaction and increase the likelihood of achieving higher search engine rankings.
24. Mobile optimisation
The process of optimising a website for mobile devices, ensuring it is responsive, user-friendly, and compatible with various screen sizes.
Mobile optimisation is the practice of adapting a website to deliver an optimal browsing experience on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
With the increasing number of people accessing the internet through mobile devices, it has become crucial for websites to be mobile-friendly. Mobile optimisation involves making design and functionality adjustments to ensure that the website is responsive, loads quickly, and is easy to navigate on smaller screens.
For example, elements may be resized or repositioned, font sizes may be adjusted, and touch-friendly controls may be implemented. A mobile-optimised website provides a seamless experience for mobile users, allowing them to easily access information, make purchases, or interact with the site’s features.
By prioritising mobile optimisation, businesses can reach and engage a larger audience, improve user satisfaction, and potentially boost their search engine rankings, as search engines like Google now prioritise mobile-friendly websites in their mobile search results.
25. User experience (UX)
The overall experience a user has when interacting with a website, including factors like ease of navigation, content readability, and website performance.
User experience (UX) refers to the overall experience that users have when interacting with a website. It encompasses various factors that contribute to the usability and satisfaction of visitors. One key aspect of UX is ease of navigation, ensuring that users can easily find the information they need and navigate through different pages or sections of the website.
Content readability is another important consideration, as well-written and well-formatted content enhances the user’s ability to consume information. Additionally, website performance plays a crucial role in UX, as slow loading times or technical glitches can frustrate users and drive them away. F
or example, imagine visiting a website that has a clear and intuitive menu, well-organised content with readable fonts, and fast page loading times. This would provide a positive user experience, encouraging visitors to stay longer, engage with the site, and potentially convert into customers.
By prioritising UX, businesses can create a user-friendly and enjoyable website that attracts and retains visitors, ultimately leading to higher engagement and conversions.
26. Local SEO
Optimisation strategies aimed at improving a website’s visibility for location-based searches, typically for businesses targeting local customers.
Local SEO focuses on optimising a website to improve its visibility in location-based searches, particularly for businesses targeting local customers. It involves implementing various strategies to ensure that the website ranks higher in search results when users search for products or services in a specific geographical area.
For example, a local coffee shop in Sydney might optimise its website to appear prominently when users search for “best coffee in Sydney” or “coffee shop near me.” This can be achieved through techniques like creating location-specific landing pages, optimising Google Business Profile listings with accurate business information, obtaining positive online reviews from customers in Sydney, and using local keywords such as “Sydney” or specific neighbourhoods in website content.
By prioritising local SEO, businesses can effectively target their local audience, attract more foot traffic to their physical stores in Australian cities, and increase their online visibility within their specific service areas.
27. Google Business Profile
A free online business listing service by Google that allows businesses to manage their presence in Google search and maps.
A Google Business Profile is a powerful tool for businesses to manage their online presence and attract potential customers. It allows businesses to create a detailed listing that appears in Google search results and maps when users search for relevant products or services.
For instance, let’s consider a restaurant in Melbourne. By claiming and optimising their Google Business Profile, the restaurant can provide essential information like their address, phone number, opening hours, and website link. They can also showcase photos, respond to customer reviews, and even offer special promotions. When someone searches for “restaurants in Melbourne,” the restaurant’s profile may appear with a map location, customer reviews, and a link to their website.
Having an updated and engaging Google Business Profile enhances credibility, improves visibility, and helps businesses connect with their target audience in their specific location, such as Melbourne.
28. Schema markup
A structured data markup language that helps search engines understand the content and context of a webpage, improving its visibility in search results.
Schema markup is a powerful tool that enhances the visibility and understanding of web content by search engines. It uses a structured data markup language to provide additional context and information about different elements on a webpage.
For example, let’s say you have an e-commerce website that sells various products, including electronics. By implementing schema markup, you can specify details like product names, descriptions, prices, availability, and even customer ratings. This structured data helps search engines comprehend the content and purpose of your webpage more accurately.
As a result, your product listings may appear with rich snippets in search results, displaying additional information such as star ratings, prices, and availability. This enhanced presentation can attract more clicks and improve the visibility of your webpages, ultimately driving more targeted traffic to your online store.
29. Content marketing
Creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and informative content to attract and engage a target audience, ultimately driving organic traffic and conversions.
Content marketing is a strategic approach that involves creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and informative content with the aim of attracting and engaging a specific target audience. It goes beyond traditional advertising by providing valuable information and addressing the needs and interests of the audience.
For instance, a fitness equipment company may create blog posts, videos, and infographics about effective workout routines, nutrition tips, and fitness advice. By offering helpful content, they establish themselves as a reliable source of information in the fitness industry, building trust with their audience.
This, in turn, can lead to increased organic traffic to their website, as people seek out their valuable content. Additionally, by consistently delivering high-quality content, they can nurture and convert leads into customers, ultimately driving conversions and business growth.
30. Social signals
Indicators of a website’s popularity and relevance on social media platforms, including likes, shares, comments, and social media mentions. Social signals can indirectly influence search rankings.
Social signals refer to various interactions and engagements that occur on social media platforms, such as likes, shares, comments, and mentions. These activities serve as indicators of a website’s popularity and relevance within the social media community.
When a website’s content receives significant social engagement, it can signal to search engines that the content is valuable and resonates with the audience. This, in turn, can indirectly impact search rankings. For example, if a blog post receives numerous shares and comments on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, search engines may interpret this as a positive signal of its quality and relevance, potentially leading to higher search rankings.
Social signals demonstrate that real people find the content valuable and share-worthy, which can contribute to increased visibility and organic traffic from search engines.
We hope this article has helped you understand 30 of the widely used SEO terms and provided you with valuable insights. These only touch the surface of SEO terms, but by understanding these popular terms, you can navigate the world of search engine optimisation with confidence and make informed decisions to improve your website’s visibility and rankings.
Keywords, backlinks, on-page optimisation, and off-page strategies are just a few pieces of the SEO puzzle.
Stay curious, continue learning, and ask questions if you do not understand terminology.
Remember, No such thing as a stupid question, The only stupid question is the question that is never asked.