For so many people SEO seems incredibly complex, confusing and scary and this is possibly due to the fact that there are hundreds, potentially thousands, of terms that are associated with SEO!

So, in an effort to help reduce some of the scary confusion and complexities often associated with good old SEO, here are some of the most important terms you should be familiar with.

  1. SEO – Search Engine Optimization (organic)
  2. SEM – Search Engine Marketing (Google ads and paid traffic)
  3. SMM – Social Media Marketing (traffic from advertising and engagement on the socials)
  4. SERPS – Stands for “search engine results page” — the page you see after conducting a search.
  5. Bounce Rate – when someone “bounces” away from a website without clicking to more pages, taking action or without viewing the site at all due to slow load times.
  6. Domain Authority – This is when a domain has priority over similar or competitor sites because of proper SEO strategies and consistency making Google happy
  7. Schema Markup (Schema) – Code that “wraps around” elements of your web page to provide additional information about it to the search engine. Data using schema.org is referred to as “structured” as opposed to “unstructured” — in other words, organized rather than unorganized.
  8. Redirects (301 redirect) – Redirects are a way to make one web page redirect the visitor to another page. Whenever you change the web address of a page, apply a 301 redirect to make the old address point to the new one. This ensures that people who have linked to or bookmarked the old address will automatically get to the new one, and search engines can update their index. You can use plugins for this like Pretty Links
  9. ALT Text/Tag or Attribute – A description of an image in your site’s HTML. Unlike humans, search engines read only the ALT text of images, not the images themselves. Add ALT text to images whenever possible.
  10. The Fold – The “fold” is the point on your website where the page gets cut off by the bottom of a user’s monitor or browser window. Anything below the fold can be scrolled to, but isn’t seen right away. Search engines place some priority on content above the fold, since it will be seen right away by new visitors. Having too many ads above the fold can be seen as a negative issue, too. (See Panda).
  11. Internal Link – A link from one page to another on the same website, such as from your homepage to your products page.
  12. External Link (Inbound Link) – A link from one site into another. A link from another site will improve your SEO, especially if that site has a high PageRank.
  13. Headings – Text on your website that is placed inside of a heading tag, such as an H1 or H2. This text is often presented in a larger and stronger font than other text on the page.
  14. HTML Structure – The code part of your website that search engines read. Keep your HTML as clean as possible so that search engines read your site easily and often. Put as much layout-related code as possible in your CSS instead of your HTML.
  15. Keyword – A word that a user enters in search. Each web page should be optimized with the goal of drawing in visitors who have searched specific keywords.
  16. Long Tail Keyword (Term or Phrase) – An uncommon or infrequently searched keyword, typically with two or more words in the phrase. Small businesses should consider targeting long tail keywords, as they are lower difficulty and often have more qualified searchers. Common keywords such as ‘software’ are more competitive, and very hard to rank high for them in search.
  17. Metadata (Page Title) – Data that tells search engines what your website is about.
  18. Meta Description (Page Description) – A brief description of fewer than 160 characters of the contents of a page and why someone would want to visit it. This is often displayed on search engine results pages below the page title as a sample of the content on the page.
  19. Sitemap – A special document created by a webmaster or a piece of software that provides a map of all the pages on a website to make it easier for a search engine to index that website.
  20. Snippets – Content that Google displays as a featured “snippet” which are commonly bulleted or numbered lists, sentences or paragraphs that answer a question.