If you’re new to search engine optimization and are just learning the ropes, it can be very daunting, not least because of the new language you need to learn. There are a lot of terms and lingo thrown around in the SEO world, and if you are going to keep up you are going to need to familiarize yourself with them. What follows here is by no means a comprehensive or in-depth exploration of all SEO-related terms, but it’s a good place to start.
AdWords: A Google program designed to allow businesses to advertise online.
Algorithm: A formula or program used by search engines such as Google to rank and filter the sites they return for searches based on certain keywords.
Alt text: Text that describes a graphic that allows the search engine spiders to know what is contained in the picture.
Analytics: The group of data that are collected about a website’s usage, showing things like how many page views a site has, where the site visitors are located geographically, and how long they stay on the site per session.
Anchor text: The visible text portion of a link, which search engines use to determine the relevancy of both the referring site and that of the landing page (the page to which the link leads).
Backlink or incoming link: A link to any website that comes from any other site.
Black Hat Marketing: Marketing techniques used by a company that are nefarious in otherwise in contravention of Google’s established guidelines.
Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors to a site who view only the landing page and don’t view any others. Ideally, a site should have a low bounce rate.
Content Management System (or CMS): Programs used by bloggers and other site owners to create their content without having to know or understand complex coding.
Content: The “meat” of a website. The content is the part of a website that is designed to offer something of value to the user. This could be articles, blog posts, tips and tricks, products for sale, etc.
Conversion rate: The percentage of users to take a specified action, such as placing an order.
Duplicate content: Content that is the same or materially similar to that of another website.
Gateway: A page on a website that is specifically designed to attract the attention of a search engine.
Impressions (also known as page views): Each time a person views a page on a website, that event is called an impression.
Keyword or keyphrase: The search terms a person enters into a search engine when they are looking for something.
Keyword density: The percentage of the total number of words on a website that are a certain keyword. If the keyword density is too high, the website may be penalized by Google.
Keyword stuffing: The practice of having too many instances of a keyword or key phrase on a website.
Landing page: The page that a user “lands on” when they click through to the website from a search engine results page.
Pay per click (or PPC): An advertising program in which advertisers pay Google when a user clicks on their ads. A popular PPC campaign is AdWords.
SEO, or search engine optimization: The process by which a site achieves a high rank in the search engine results.
Whether you take care of your search engine optimization yourself or hire a firm to do it for you, it’s important to be able to talk the talk, so you can play an active role in the process.