Working with many website and business owners its obvious there is a learning curve when it comes to SEO and online marketing. If you are unfamiliar with the industry you will often find yourself confused and looking for definitions, so I have started compiling a definitive list of SEO terms, acronyms and abbreviations which small business owners can use at a quick glance.
Many of these are phrases or terms you may have heard from us during meetings or campaign reviews, or you may have seen them on our reports.
Please be aware this is only part 1, we will be following up with more advanced phrases as we go so if there is anything you are un-sure of then leave us a comment and we can look at including it in a future post.
This is often used to refer to the word or phrase which is used as part of the search engine query. So when planning out a campaign you should always have a well researched set of target keywords, it is these phrases that are used as the basis of the whole campaign.
Each website will have a domain name, and is often the homepage or web address used for the site itself. For example JoesPlumbing.com, Amazon.com and even LogicalJack.com
You will often find the term sub-domain used when talking about domain names and this is the pre-fix – for example Fresh.Amazon.com is a sub-domain of Amazon.com
Continuing on from the Domain Name, the URL is often the full address you will give someone to reach your website, or even a particular product/category or page on the website.
The URL can contain many parts which are used to give different instructions to the host, a quick URL anatomy would be:
HTML / CSS
Both are a type of website code which is easily read and understood by browsers and search engines. HTML is the original programming language used on the internet and is still widely used today. CSS is mainly used for the design elements of the page though as it dictates the font styles, graphical layouts, colours etc.
Often seen as one of the core on-site elements which needs optimisation you would probably have heard of image ALT tags, or ALT text, before. Simply put, this is a HTML property for any Images on the website which allows you to enter a descriptive alternative. Because search engines have a hard time reading the Image itself they often use this property to determine what image is being show – it is also used for people with a visual impairment to ensure that no information or functionality is lost.
Commonly referred to as your META tags, the keywords and description are another HTML property of your website pages. Historically the keywords were used to help search engines identify the theme of the webpage and therefore improve their search results, however as a result of people abusing the tag many search engines had decided to stop using them – http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/keywords-meta-tag-in-web-search/
Unlike the META keywords, the META description has always been a key element to have on the page for optimisation, and for driving traffic from Google and other Search Engines. The META description is often used as part of the summary snippet displayed in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
For example, when you search for ‘amazon’ in Google, you will see a small description under their heading before you click onto the site – this is actually pulled from their META description:
<meta name="description" content="Low prices on digital cameras, MP3, sports equipment, books, music, DVDs, video games, home & garden and much more. Free UK delivery on millions of eligible products."/>
Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is used to refer to the page displayed by Google when searching for a specific keyword. Simply put its the page containing a list of organic website results, as well as paid advertisements, shopping results, images, videos, news or other media that matches the search query.
The database of websites and URLs held by Google is often referred to as their Index. So when a website is created and launched Google will then crawl the site and if worthy, will include it in their Index to be used as part of their results.
To find new pages for their index, Search Engines will have bots that crawl the web and collect information from sites. So this can include new pages being launched or old pages being updated, Google won’t be able to show these changes until they have been crawled.
This is a reference to data that a user can directly follow, often by clicking the link itself. In common situations you will find hyperlinks allow you to navigate around a website, directing you from one page to the next. Hyperlinks can also be used for other media such as downloading videos, loading images, viewing PDF documents etc.
This is a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperlink">hyperlink</a>
In SEO terms a backlink is very similar to a hyperlink, but applies to a certain scenario where an external webpage has a hyperlink to you website. Traditionally seen as ‘votes’, Google counts these backlinks and uses it as part of their search algorithm so you will find a well established, authoritive site has a lot more backlinks when compared to new, or more specialised website.
Many will refer to the anchor text used when looking at a hyperlink and applies to all text based links. When looking at a hyperlink, the text which has been linked is often referred to as the anchor text. For example, in the following sentence the anchor text is ‘SEO services’
As an internet marketing company, we have many SEO services available.
Not used as much anymore, this is a phrase you still may come across when looking at the overall strength of a website or webpage. Introduced as part of the Google Toolbar, PageRank was a numerical value between 1-10 that was assigned to a webpage.
For example you will find websites like Facebook.com or Twitter.com have a PageRank of 10, whereas newer or less established websites will have a PageRank closer to 1. (Note. PageRank is calculated on a page-by-page basis, so the Facebook homepage may be a 10, but your own Facebook profile page would be much lower).
Because of the inaccuracy and delay in PageRank updates many have moved to alternative metrics such as Moz.com Page Authority & Domain Authority, or Majestic SEO TrustFlow and CitationFlow – these give a more accurate, up-to-date representation of a website or webpage.