If you’re not familiar with the search engine optimization industry it can be very difficult keeping up with all the jargon related to the field. Over the years Google and marketers have created terms and acronyms which can be confusing for many people who don’t use the terms daily. The following list of terms is designed to be a reference guide for those learning the terms. Refer back to the list when a term or phrase you’re not familiar with pops up.
301 redirects happens when an old page redirects to a new page related to the older page. This is a simple code that is added to the old page, passing the user on to the new page. This is beneficial when trying to keep users coming from the original post. The original post may rank well, but the URL may have changed, this will keep the rankings, yet take users to the proper page.
This set of number refers to a page that is broken or cannot be reached. A 404 error will be displayed to a user who tries to access a page that does not exist or clicks on a link that goes to a URL that does not exist.
To find if your site has any 404, or broken, pages access your Webmaster Tools account, click Crawl, then Crawl Errors. This report will show any pages that are returning a 404 and where the link to that broken page exists.
Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP)
Google recently released Accelerated Mobile Pages, better known as AMP, to make browsing pages on mobile a better experience. Google has pushed for all sites to become AMP compliant, especially content based sites.
Test your mobile AMP pages to see if they pass the test.
An affiliate site markets a product or service to users, however the items being marketed are sold and typically distributed by another business. A percentage is often paid to the site marketing depending on how many products are sold.
This term refers to the algorithm search engines use to determine where a page ranks. Search engines use a number of different factors to determine where the page will show in the search engine rankings.
Alt tags were originally created to help provide information to users when an image didn’t load or were using a browser that didn’t load images. As time went by search engines utilized these alt tags to help determine where to rank both pages and more importantly images. Search engines cannot determine what an image is without an alt tag telling what it represents.
Example, <img src=”ocean.jpg” alt=”Picture of Pacific Ocean” />
This software helps show metrics of a website. The most common being Google Analytics, a free service provided by the search engine. Analytics is important to marketers to help determine how campaigns are operating, how users interact on the site, how users are reaching the site, and much much more.
This clickable text is a hyperlink to another page, either internal or external, related to the text. These anchor text links often show as blue, compared to the typical black, and don’t let the user know the URL of the link. This helps search engines determine what keywords are related to the page and can influence where the page ranks. When using anchor text always link text that is relevant to the page, don’t be misleading to users.
The first step to any digital marketing campaign is to identify your target audience. This will be specific to what product or services the business offers. Reduce spending on users who may not be ones who want to convert on the site.
These trusted sites rank well, have millions of visitors, many inbound back links, and quality content. Sites like this do not happen overnight and work very hard to maintain the status of an authoritative site, links from these sites are very sought after.
Business to business marketing, where businesses market products and services to other businesses.
Business to consumer websites offer services and products directly to consumers.
One of the biggest factors in SEO, a back link refers to any link embedded in a page, either through text or image, that points to another page. All back links are different and understanding the difference a good and poor quality back link can make or break an SEO campaign.
Spammy tactics used to trick search engines into ranking a site higher in the search results is referred to as ‘Black Hat SEO’. Practicing ‘Black Hat’ strategies can result in a Google SEO penalty resulting in ranking and traffic declines.
This part of the website is where the site owners create additional content related to the theme of the site. Here businesses can promote items and products, share industry news, and answer questions users may have.
Also known as robots or spiders, these are programs that run through websites and collect data. Bots can be positive or negative. Search engines use bots to examine a website for information, gathering data that will help them determine metrics and rankability to the site. Spammers also use bots to steal content and ideas from authoritative sites.
This metric, found within Google Analytics, refers to users who land on a site or page then leave immediately.
A broken link will return a 404 page (See Above), these are links that point to pages that do not exist. This could be a page that was removed, URL changed, or even a URL that was input incorrectly. Broken links can hurt an SEO campaign, it’s important to run site audits to determine if the site has any broken links.
After visiting a page search engines will store the data such as HTML tags and images to give a better user experience when the user visits the page again. The cache helps load the page faster since the images and content is saved.
This piece of code is added to a page and lets search engines know where the original content lives. In other words, instead of copying content and being hit with a duplicate content penalty, the original URL is created with link juice.
This type of tactic is used by bloggers to entice users to click on their article links. Titles of these types of articles are often vague or utilize buzzwords to build intrigue around the article.
The act of showing content to search engines, while displaying another set of content to the user. This is misleading and deceptive to both users and search engines. Practicing cloaking can result in penalties from the search engines.
Search engines will crawl multiple pages, analyze links and content on those pages, and draw correlations between multiple pages. If one site is linking out to two other sites on a page, those two other pages are related because of the original outbound link. See image below for additional information.
Content can be a range of different information including, videos, infographics, blogs, or images. The most common content is basic text that utilizes keywords and provides insight to users.
Content Management System (CMS)
This software allows for users to publish content to a site or page without having much backend knowledge. There are a number of content management systems out there and some businesses create their own. WordPress is an example of a common content management system that is easy for just about anyone to use.
When a user reaches the goal on a site, if that is a form fill out, purchasing an item, or subscribing to a newsletter.
Conversion rate is calculated by taking the percentage of users who convert on the site.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Many businesses lose possible conversions for a number of reasons. By optimizing the conversion process businesses can increase the number of users who convert on the site.
A disavow list is created, and submitted to Google, after a Google Penalty has been implemented against a site. The disavow list tells the search engine to ignore a list of back links that are pointing to the site. These links are often spammy or not related to the site which can have devastating effects on the site’s ability to rank.
Do Follow Link
This is a standard link that does not have the piece of code rel=”nofollow”, which is great for for SEO. In other words, a link with the nofollow tag is not as valuable to a site.
The domain name is the URL address to the homepage of the site, for example www.adficient.com, where Adficient.com is the domain name. Ideally, your domain name should represent your brand or at the very least your products or services.
Duplicate content happens when content is deliberately copied and posted on another page or another site. This can be very hurtful to a site, since Google punishes sites that duplicate content. There are a number of different tools to check for duplicate content to ensure your site is not breaking any guidelines.
These links live on external sites or pages separate to your own.
The powerful search engine has set guidelines which are designed to help marketers build the perfect site. These guidelines are broken into three different sections, content, webmaster, and quality. To rank well within the search results it’s vital for sites to follow these recommendations.
Header Tag (H1 or H2)
Header tags are broken into a few different sub categories. Each page should have only one h1 tag, however can have multiple h2 or h3 tags. H1 tags are a sentence that describes what the page is about, where an h2 tag describes in one sentence what the next section or paragraph is about. Utilize keywords and phrases associated with the page within these tags.
HyperText Markup Language is the code used by search engines, and in most cases websites, to develop websites.
Adding the ‘s’ to the end of http makes the site secure. This is excellent for SEO, as Google has said it will help give a slight boost in rankings if the site is secure. Also, many users will only make purchases from sites that are secure.
This tag is used to tell search engines which language is used on the site. The search engines use this information to help determine which regions the pages should rank within the search results. This helps show pages that are in common languages to users rather than pages users may not be able to read.
<link rel=”alternate” href=”https://www.adficient.com” hreflang=”en-us” />
An indexed page is a page that has been crawled by the search engines and entered into the search results. Once indexed the search engines will begin gathering data on the page through webmaster tools and analytics.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
These are measurable values that show how effective a marketing campaign is achieving their goals. The levels of KPIs can vary from high level such as overall revenue to the business, to low level such as increasing conversions through SEO.
These are the words or phrases the website would like to rank for, they should represent the products or services offered by the company.
This is defined by how often a keyword is used within a page. Years ago marketers would stuff keywords into a page to show search engines the keyword is most related to the page. The approach now is utilize variations of the keyword and to use these keywords about 2-3% of the total content. Overusing the keywords can throw up a red flag to search engines and appear too spammy.
Conducting keyword research can help businesses determine which keywords are worth focusing on. Research will show keyword’s search volume, competitor’s rankings, and number of pages indexed for the term.
When a user runs a query in the search engine, clicks on a link, and the page they are directed to is the landing page. This page is related to the keyword query and provides information to the user about the query phrase.
Long Tail Keyword
These keywords are typically longer in number of words, compared to a focused or main keyword. For example, the keyword may be ‘snowboards’, where a related long term keyword would be ‘all mountain snowboards’. Where the term may have smaller search volume, but is a more targeted term.
There are a few different meta tags, yet the phrase represents a group of tags. These include, header tags (such as h1 and h2), meta descriptions, title tags, alt tags, etc. All meta tags should be properly optimized on each page to help rank the site better.
No Follow Link
A link that is deemed no follow will have a piece of code embedded with it that looks something like <a href=”https://www.adficient.com” rel=”nofollow”>PPC Management</a>. This piece of code tells search engines to stop crawling at this link. This means no link passing juice will be passed to the page where the link goes.
Organic Search Results
When a search term is plugged into a search engine a list of results pops up for the user. These listings are the organic search results, the ones highlighted with “AD” are paid advertisements.
This is a link that takes the user away from the page they are on and to a new domain. These links pass link juice from the page the link is on to another page on a new domain.
Page speed has become a huge factor within the SEO industry. Here’s an example why it’s important. A user runs a query, receives the search results and clicks on a link. Once landing on the page the page loads slowly and the user clicks back to the search results to find a new page. What this tells the search engines is the original page the user clicked on is not related to the query used to get to said page. Search engines will then move that page down in the rankings. Run a site speed test.
The number of times a user visits a page or domain, multiple visits are counted as page views. This is an important metric in measuring activity through Google Analytics.
The Panda updates implemented by Google are algorithms aimed at reducing ranking for sites with lower-quality, thin, or duplicate content on their site. These updates are often unannounced and can be very harmful to sites that are practicing black hat tactics.
Search engines will penalize websites that do not meet their guidelines or practice spammy tactics. Sites who try to manipulate search engine rankings will often be hit with a penalty which can decrease rankings and traffic to the site.
The penguin updates by Google are aimed at penalizing sites that practice in poor backlinking which involves linking to irrelavent websites or buying links.
Query is a search which is done within search engines. Queries to the site can be reviewed within Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI measures the gains, or losses, generated on an investment compared to what was invested. Company’s use this to determine if a marketing campaign has been worth the investment. This is calculated by the following equation.
ROI = (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100
This file is uploaded through Google Search Console and lets the search engine know there are certain pages that should not be crawled. This is important if the site has any admin pages or duplicate content pages. By adding a Robots.txt file these pages won’t be indexed by the search engines.
Giving users the option to subscribe to your blog is where RSS Feeds come into play. Each time new content is added to the site the subscriber is notified, giving them the option to visit the site.
This piece of code is added to pages to provide additional information to users when a search reveals a page. Additional information will help make the user experience much easier and faster. The content is indexed by the search engines and returned within the search results depending on how often the scheme is updated.
Search Engine Results Page (SERPs)
After a query is done in a search engine a page of results will show, these are called the Search Engine Results Page.
A list of pages of a site are added into a sitemap, submitted to search engines, giving the search engines an easy way to crawl all active pages.
Time on Page
This metric helps advertisers examine how users are interacting on their site. Time on page is very simple, it measures how long users are active on a page and averaged out.
Simply put, this is the address of a page, for example, https://www.adficient.com/blog/metrics-show-seo-reports/. The URL should feature keywords and be relevant to what the page is about. Here are the best URL practices to meet Google’s guidelines.
Webmaster Tools (Search Console)
This free tool provided by Google allows for businesses to monitor the performance and health of their site through different metrics. A simple code is added to the header tag of the site, on each page, and soon metrics are tracked. Some of the helpful tools within Search Console include submitting an XML sitemap, testing Google AMP pages, reviewing search queries, and any errors on the site.
The opposite of ‘Black Hat’ SEO, White Hat SEO is where the SEO marketers follow Google Guidelines and tactics approved by Google. White Hat SEO will help sites rank better and avoid Google penalties.