You’ve decided it’s time to start an SEO campaign and get your business in front of your customers. However, the jargon and technical terms used by SEO agencies can often leave you scratching your head and nodding along or having to look up the terms yourself.
Well, you’re in the right place! We’ve put together a handy SEO glossary which explains the most common SEO terms we use when producing an SEO analysis for clients.
Above the fold – Is the area of the web page that can be viewed without having to scroll down the page. The phrase originally comes from the newspaper industry, were the most important items are placed above the fold so people could see it first.
Alexa Rank – A measure based on the traffic to a website. The lower the number the better. For example, Google is ranked number one.
Algorithm – A programme used by Google to determine which websites to show for given search terms.
ALT text – Used to describe images on a web page. Using alt attributes helps Google understand the image and page content, and also users that use screen readers.
Analytics – Google Analytics is the most popular programme for gathering data about website visitors, time spent on your website, demographics, bounces rates etc.
Anchor text – A link within the content of your website.
B2B – Business to Business
B2C – Business to Customer
B2H – Business to Human
Backlink – Any link coming from an external website. Also known as inbound links.
Below the fold – Is the area of the web page that can’t be seen unless the user scrolls down the page.
Black hat – SEO techniques that go against best practice and can result in your website being penalised. Also, see White hat.
Blog – A Blog (Web log) is an online journal where people can share their thoughts and visitors can leave comments.
Bot – A Bot, also known as a spider, robot or crawler, is used by Google to find new web pages and add them to the index making them discoverable in search.
Bounce rate – The percentage of visitors who enter your website and leave without viewing any other pages.
Broken link – A link that no longer links to a working page and produces a 404 error.
Cache – To reduce server load and increase page speed static versions of dynamic web pages are used.
Canonical – Used to select the preferred or main page when multiple pages have similar content.
Clean URLs – All URLs should be descriptive, e.g. website.co.uk/about-us, and not dynamic, e.g. website.co.uk/p=12£4.
CMS (Content management system) – A programme used to build websites allowing the client to edit their own content once the project is finished.
Crawl errors – Errors that appear when a bot comes across an issue when crawling your website. E.g. missing meta data, 404 errors, robots.txt issues, duplicate content etc.
CSS (Cascading style sheets) – Code used to style website elements such as colours, fonts, images.
CTA (Call to action) – A button or link that directs the user to do a certain task e.g. complete a form, call a number, download a PDF.
CTR (Click-through rate) – The percentage of users that viewed your advert compared to how many clicked on it.
Directory – A website which lists other websites organised in categories.
Disavow – Some backlinks can reduce your SEO efforts. Using Google’s disavow tool will inform Google which links to ignore.
DoFollow – A DoFollow backlink will pass on link equity to your website, increasing your overall SEO and domain authority. This is the opposite to a Nofollow link.
Domain authority (DA) – Is a score on a scale of 0-100 that predicts how well your website will rank on Google. DA can be used to compare against other websites or track the strength of your website.
Duplicate content – Two website pages having very similar or the same content will be flagged as duplicate content. This will cause one of the pages to be ranked over the other. This also applies if the content is copied from another website.
eCommerce – A website that has a transactional function.
Email marketing – A form of marketing which uses your email list to promote special offers, news or blog posts, direct to your subscribers inbox.
External link – A link on a website that will direct visitors to an external website.
Googlebot – Google’s programme used to crawl the internet and find new pages to be indexed.
Google dance – The change in SERPs caused by an algorithm update.
Google juice – The trust and authority value that a back link passes on to your website. Also known as link equity.
Hits – Is an old measure of website visitors. If a web page has ten elements on it, one visitor will cause ten hits. This measure has been replaced with unique users.
Hosting – A server used to store your website files and publish them on the internet.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) – Website programming language used to create websites.
Image markup – Images should have appropriate Alt text and Title text, including keywords, were possible.
Impression – When a user views your website or advert it’s classed as an impression. One user can have multiple impressions.
Inbound link – Also known as back links.
Indexed – Website pages need to be indexed in Google to appear in the search results.
Internal linking – A link within your website content which links to another page on your domain.
Keyword – A word or phrase users type into Google Search.
Keyword density – The percentage of keywords on a web page. An unnaturally high keyword density is known as keyword stuffing and can have negative SEO effects.
Keyword research – Research conducted on chosen keywords or phrases to see how many people are using them in search and how competitive they are.
Keyword spam – Unnaturally high keyword density which can have negative SEO effects.
Keyword stuffing – Unnaturally high keyword density which can have negative SEO effects.
Keyword topic (Keyword theme) – The Google algorithm is sophisticated enough to understand the overall topic of your web page. An new SEO technique is to research keywords focussing on key topics rather than just target one keyword.
Landing page – A web page the user visits when clicking on a link in SERPs or advert.
Link – A button, image or text, when clicked on causes the user to visit another page or a different section of the current page.
Link building – Activity of acquiring back links to a website.
Link equity – The trust and authority value that a back link passes on to your website. Also known as Google juice.
Long tail keyword – Longer keywords are more specific and suggest a greater user intent than short tail keywords. Read our article “Short tail vs long tail keywords – which should you use?”
LSI (Latent semantic indexing) – Related to keyword topic, LSI is an indexing method which works out the related keywords. E.g. Google will know that “cars” is related to engines, gears and exhausts.
Meta description – Appears on the search engine results page (SERPs) and is used to improve the click-through rate to your website.
Meta keywords – Used to help Google determine the content of a web page and affected how websites ranked. Meta keywords were dropped by Google in 1998 and are no longer required.
Meta title – The title of the web page that appears on the search engine results page (SERPs) and is the link that you click on to view the website.
NAP – The name, address and phone number details. These should be present on every page, ideally in the footer and/or header. It’s essential that all the details are consistent across the website.
NoFollow – Can be added to links to tell Google not to pass on link equity. Although NoFollow links don’t pass on link equity they can still drive traffic to your website.
Offsite SEO – SEO techniques such as link building, social media signals and guest posting, without making changes to your website.
Onsite SEO – SEO techniques that involves making changes to your website. This can be page titles, meta descriptions, content, images etc.
Organic traffic – Visitors that have arrived at your website naturally through searching on Google.
Outbound link – A link that directs visitors to an external website.
Page headings – These give the content structure and allow Google to understand your page better. Typical page headings are H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6. Every web page should have H1 as a minimum and include your target keyword.
Page title – See Meta title.
Panda – The Google Panda update was introduced in April 2012 and targets duplicate content and low quality sites. If your website is flagged by the Panda update it can receive a penalty and de-rank your website.
Penalty – These are applied by Google if your website goes against recommended best practice.
Penguin – The Google Penguin update was introduced in February 2011 and targets unnatural back linking profiles. If your website is flagged by the Penguin update it can receive a penalty and de-rank your website.
Plugin – A piece of code that adds additional functionality to a website. These can be free or paid.
PPC (Pay per click) – A form of advertising on Google and social media channels were you only pay if someone clicks on your advert.
Redirect – Generally used to redirect visitors from an old web page to a new web page. Redirects avoid visitors arriving at an expired page, causing 404 errors. See 301 and 302 redirects.
Rich snippet – HTML tags are used to highlight specific data, such as business name, address, phone numbers, and can be displayed in Google search results.
Robots.txt – A file that contains instructions for bots crawling your website. If configured incorrectly your website can be blocked by Google’s bots.
ROI (Return on investment) – Is used to quantify the return (profit) receive compared to your spend on marketing activities.
SEO (Search engine optimisation) – The process of increasing the number of visitors to your website by ranking higher in Google. The higher a website appears on the search engine results page, the higher percentage of visits it will receive from visitors searching for particular keywords.
SEM (Search engine marketing) – A term used to group together SEO, PPC, guest posting, and link building activities.
SERP (Search engine results page) – This is the main page of Google that shows the results from the keywords you’ve searched for.
Short tail keywords – Keywords containing only one or two words. These are less specific than searches with more words (long tail) and are generally highly competitive.
Site speed – The measure of how fast your website downloads for the visitor. Faster is better as Google favours fast websites.
Sitemap – A web page that lists all your pages in the style of a simple directory.
Social signals – Your social media presence affects SEO. If a web page is shared it can help determine the popularity of that page.
Split testing – A test which shows different versions of a web page to visitors to determine which page performs better. This is typically used to test colour variations, different layouts and different images.
Target audience – A group of people that are most likely to be interested in your products or services. This can be based on age, gender, job title, location.
Technical SEO – Aspects of SEO which isn’t content related. E.g. robots.txt, errors, XML sitemap, mobile-friendly.
Traffic – Website visitors.
UI (User interface) – This is the design of a website and how elements interact with the user.
Unique content – For a website to rank well in Google it’s important that the content is original and not copied from another source.
URL (Uniform resource locator) – This is your domain name i.e. www.mechanised.co.uk
UX (User experience) – This is how your website performs for the user. It’s important that the user has a good and consistent experience on desktop and mobile devices. A bad user experience can cause visitors to leave your website, increasing the bounce rate which is a ranking factor.
Webmaster tools – Google has it’s own console that allows the submission of websites and the upload of XML sitemaps, helping Google to index your website.
White hat – SEO techniques that are in line with best practice and Google guidelines. Using white hat techniques will reduce the risk of receiving a penalty.
XML sitemaps – A list of pages submitted to Google, allowing them to index your website page faster.
301 redirect – A permanent redirect that informs Google that your web page has moved to another location. These are commonly used to redirect visitors from an old web page to a new one. 301 redirects should be used over 302 as they pass on link equity.
302 redirect – A temporary redirect that informs Google that the move is only temporary. This can cause confusion as Google won’t know if it should display the new page or the old one. 301 redirect are preferred.
404 error – Occurs when a web page cannot be found. This can be fixed with a 301 redirect.
500 error – Occurs due to an internal server error.
Email us or call 0161 791 0100 if you would like to know more about our SEO services.