“How hard can it be to understand SEO terminologies and implement strategies to drive traffic to your website?”
That’s how it always starts.
But a few read-ups later, you realize that there’s more to SEO than meets the eye.
Learning new tips and tricks is not the only thing; you need to understand basic SEO terminologies and see how they work, and that’s the most confusing part.
This guide will break down the most commonly used terms in the world of search engine optimization (SEO) for your better understanding.
1. Title Tag
The title tag, as the name suggests, is the title of the page. It appears as the clickable title of your website on the search engine results page; therefore, it is essential to keyword-optimize the title tag according to the content of your page.
Other things to consider while choosing a title tag are the placement of the keyword, preferably at the beginning of the title, and the number of characters, which should not exceed 60.
2. Meta Description
The meta description gives an overview of what readers will find on the page. The information in the meta description should be unique, thorough, and compelling enough to attract readers to click the title tag on the search engine results page.
A meta description should contain the main keyword and be between 140 to 160 characters to remain visible on search engines.
I’m sure you must have heard the word “keyword” countless times, but what exactly is it?
To put it simply, keywords are the phrases that users type into the search engine to find the information they’re looking for.
The web pages that show up, as a result, include the exact same phrase.
But you should try to avoid overusing or stuffing the keywords as it may affect your page ranking.
The trick is to include the keywords in the title, meta description, heading tags, alt tags and only once or twice in the body.
4. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
All through this article, you must have read “search engine results page” many times, the abbreviation for which is SERP.
It may seem a difficult term at first glance, but SERP is basically the results page of a search engine.
When you type something in the search bar and hit enter, the page that appears with the list of web pages is SERP.
Getting ranked on the first page of SERP for a given keyword is the ultimate goal of every website.
5. Anchor Text
Another important part of SEO is the inclusion of anchor text in your content. But what is anchor text?
When we add the link of a website into the main text of the write-up, the word to which the link is attached is called the anchor text. Did you see what I did there? The word “link” is the anchor text as our website’s url is attached to it.
Readers can click on that word and be directed to the link attached on it.
Adding authoritative hyperlinks adds quality to your content, and your page is easily sought out by the search engine.
6. Alt Text
Alt text, also known as Alt Attribute Text, describes an image on your web page and tells us what it depicts.
Although alt text is not visible when you view the image, it is helpful in terms of search engine ranking. Based on the description, a search engine finds the image on your website and brings it up on SERP.
Also, if the image fails to load, you can view the alt text and get an idea of what the image shows.
Usually, we use headings in our text to make it easier for the reader to skim through it. But, if we look at headings from an SEO point-of-view, it has a different meaning.
Using headings with keywords makes your content SEO optimized and more accessible for search engines.
Headings can range from H1 to H6, with H1 being the most important. Most SEO experts advise including at least one H1 tag in the content, followed by the others in any volume to structure the page.
8. Keyword Density
Keyword density measures the number of times a keyword appears in the text on a website in comparison to the total words.
As mentioned earlier, stuffing keywords is not a wise idea; therefore, with keyword density, you can check whether a certain keyword has been overused or not.
Authority means power, and in SEO terminology, it refers to the ability of a website to rank high on SERP compared to others.
The authority of a website depends on how old it is, how much traffic it generates, its history, and most importantly, its authenticity.
Here I’d like to mention that websites ending with .edu and .gov are high authority domains compared to those that end with .com or .net, usually because they belong to officially recognized organizations.
10. Inbound Links
Inbound links refer to links on other websites that lead back to your web page. Inbound links play a vital role in determining your website’s authority because they validate the authenticity in a way.
When a search engine notices your website being linked to across the web, it automatically ranks you on SERP.
11. Outbound Links
Outbound links are the opposite of inbound links. They refer to the links on your website that redirect a reader to another website with higher authority.
There are chances that if you link to a website, it might link back to yours, so it’s a trade-off. Even if they don’t link back to you, the number of outbound links to the big fish of the internet helps you rank.
A search engine regularly looks for updated content on the internet to add to its database. This process of storing web pages is called indexing. Once a web page is indexed, it will show up on SERP when a user searches for it.
This process is carried out by search engine bots or crawlers that visit the website, analyze and authenticate the content and add it to the database.
Which brings us to the next SEO terminology.
13. Search Engine Bots or Crawlers
Every search engine owns a search engine bot or crawler. These bots go or crawl, as the name suggests, around the web and collect information about websites by visiting them and checking the validity of the content.
Next, they store the website in their database and based on the information collected, figure out where to display it on SERP.
14. Ranking Factor
A ranking factor is like criteria set by the search engine to see if a website is good enough to rank on SERP or not. The factors that make a web page rank-worthy include inbound link volume from authoritative websites, proper keyword placement, SEO optimized tags, and quality content.
15. Website Traffic
Website traffic is the number of people visiting your website. The amount of traffic your website is getting depends on ads, social media content, and of course, SERP. It determines the success of a website; therefore, the more traffic, the better.
16. Breadcrumb Navigation
Sometimes when you’re scrolling a website, you keep clicking on internal links and reach a point where you have no idea where you are on that website. This is where breadcrumb navigation comes to your rescue.
It helps you understand where you are and how that page is connected to the rest of the website.
17. Click Through Rate (CTR)
Click through rate determines the percentage of people who actually click on your ad after viewing it. So it’s basically:
Impressions (Number of people viewing your ad)/Clicks (Number of clicks) = Click through rate
A higher CTR indicates that a good number of people actually went ahead and clicked on your ad.
18. Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is simply the percentage between how many users visited your website and how many took the desired action or bought a product.
Just like CTR, conversion rate also has a formula:
Number of actions/Number of visitors * 100 = Conversion rate
A higher conversion rate means you are on the right SEO track!
19. Canonical Tag
The internet is all about getting information from one place and using it in another, which often creates ambiguity regarding the original content.
A canonical tag is created to distinguish the original or master content from duplicate or identical one. Adding this tag to your HTML header will tell the search engines that your content is the original preferred one, while every other is a copy.
20. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Ever seen those few websites right at the top of SERP with “Ad” written next to it?
How do you think they got that spot? They paid for it! And that’s what search engine marketing is.
Websites pay search engines to place their websites at the top, to increase visibility. This strategy is also known as paid search advertising and is widely used to increase a company’s reach.
In SEM, advertisers only get to pay for the number of times a user clicks on the ad.
If you’re a startup owner who isn’t ready to jump into SEM at the moment, here are some effective marketing tips to get your message through to your audience effortlessly.
21. Bounce Rate
We visit countless websites each day, but leave without scrolling through it or purchasing something. That’s called bounce rate.
It is the percentage between the number of users who visited the website and the number of users who visited but left without any interaction.
An excellent bounce rate is between 20 to 40%, while anything between 41 to 55% is considered average. 56 to 70%, although not alarming, is an indication that improvements should be made.
A bounce rate above 70%, is usually an alarming sign as it indicates that the users left without any interaction. It could be because of a bad user experience, slow website speed or even if the user didn’t find what they were looking for.
22. Schema Markup
This term is specifically for our fellow developers out there.
Schema markup is a relatively new concept in SEO and refers to the codes you put on your website for the search engine to display more relevant information to the users.
This information could be anything from football match dates to a list of outlets or any other information that you want to provide to the audience to make them click on your website link.
23. Landing Page
The page you are redirected to after clicking on the link on SERP is the landing page. It is a very effective way to improve your SEO.
In fact, 68% of businesses use landing pages to generate leads for future conversion.
However, most people use their website’s home page as the landing page, which is not an effective strategy. The trick is to redirect the customers to a specific page, product, service or anything that persuades them to take the desired action.
24. 301 Redirect
A 301 redirect code is used when you change the domain of your website or move your content to a new location. Adding a 301 redirect code to the old url, automatically directs the users to the new one without any hassle.
25. Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO refers to tactics used by website owners to rank their website by going against the terms and conditions provided by the search engine.
This may include practices like, keyword stuffing, hidden text or links, article spinning, redirects to spam websites, and guest post networks, among others.
Carrying out these tactics may result in the banning of your website from the search engine and other affiliate websites.
26. White Hat SEO
As you must have probably guessed from the name, white hat SEO refers to strategies or techniques that are approved by search engines. Using these tactics helps improve your ranking on SERP.
27. Grey Hat SEO
Grey hat SEO refers to strategies that are neither approved nor disapproved by the search engine. Therefore, using them may or may not get you banned.
In short, they are the unmentioned tactics used by website owners to rank up their website.
Just like every building has a blueprint, similarly every website has a sitemap. It contains all the information about your website, including important pages.
It is for search engine bots to go through, collect information and store it in its database.
29. Robots.txt File
A robots.txt file is basically the code or language through which a website communicates with search engine bots or crawlers. It helps them identify which pages can or cannot be accessed or crawled through.
30. No Follow Links
When a website communicates with web crawlers, it highlights certain links on their website that they can ignore or skip while crawling, as they are not of any importance to the users.
No-Follow links may include the comments section of a blog, links from widgets and press releases, social media or any other information that might be irrelevant for the audience and has no effect on your ranking.
Like we said earlier, there’s a lot more to SEO than just reeling in traffic! The placement of keywords at the right place, hyperlinking other websites, getting backlinks, including alt tags, titles, and optimized meta descriptions, among other things, are all the factors that round up the whole SEO experience.
Not to forget the ever-changing trends that change the way how websites rank! To understand how SEO works, one must know the basic SEO terminologies at their fingertips. If you’re well aware of the standard terms and how they work, well, then your website could be the next in the SERP top 10!