The Ultimate SEO Glossary of SEO Jargon

decode seo jargon

A

Above the fold – The term ‘above the fold’ is the technical term for the percentage of a web page that is visible on your monitor before you scroll. As your above the fold content is what the user first sees when your page first loads, it is important that this is optimised to keep the user’s attention. Your website should be built with responsive design techniques in place as your audience will not all have the same screen size so it may look different to each user.

Algorithm – A Google Algorithm is a selection of formulas and processes that are used to distinguish which sites should be ranking in the SERPs. With millions of websites online, Google uses these formulas to calculate which websites are relevant to a specific search query and are of high quality so the chance of a spammy site ranking on page 1 of the SERPs is slim. Some of the most well-known Google algorithms are: Google Panda, Google Penguin, Google Pigeon and Google Hummingbird.

Alt tag – An alt tag is alternative text for an image that is shown in case the image cannot be loaded or visually impaired users have software that reads the webpage aloud to them. Each image should have an <alt> attribute which accurately describes the image. Optimising images for SEO is an essential part of fully optimising your website.

Anchor textAnchor text is a clickable hyperlink in text form that can be found of a webpage within content. Anchor text is commonly used to cite a resource or link the reader to additional information.

B

Below the fold – Below the fold is the technical term for the lower half of a web page that is not visible without scrolling. Whilst your above the fold content is to entice users to stay on the page and convert, below the fold is where your keyword rich content will be placed alongside images and other relevant information.

Black hat SEO – Google have cracked down on webmasters using spammy techniques to manipulate their rankings by putting their algorithms in place. Black hat SEO involves the use of aggressive SEO strategies which are against Google’s guidelines, such as keyword stuffing, to write webpages purely for search engines instead of users.

Bounce rate – Bounce rate is the percentage of users that leave your website after only viewing one page. An average bounce rate is around 50% but can be improved with a few tweaks to your website.

Breadcrumb – In order to categorise your content so that all relevant content is linked, breadcrumb navigation is used. Breadcrumb navigation categorises your site into sequential categories and subcategories i.e. the text based navigation shows you a clear path of how you got to the current page.

Broken link – A broken link, otherwise known as a broken hyperlink, is a missing file or page that cannot be found on the sites server. When a link is broken, a 404 error is returned.

C

Cache – Caching is the process of improving application performance by temporarily storing data about a website you have visited so that the next time you load the webpage it loads quicker. As your browser can retrieve most of the information from the cache, it isn’t necessary to request access to the website again.

Call to actions – If a new customer has landed on your website and is looking for a product or service you offer, what is going to convince them to choose you over your competitor? A call to action is something that will encourage a user to do what you want them to do, whether that is to sign up for your newsletter or to book a ticket to your event.

Canonical URL – Canonical URLs are used to prevent duplicate content. By assigning the rel=”canonical” attribute, you are telling Google which page is the URL that you want to be associated with a specific category or product. Other URLs that contain the same content should be redirected or noindexed to prevent link weight dilution.

CMS – A content management system is a web application that enables users without a lot of technical knowledge to build, edit and maintain a website. CMS is a highly effective method of building a quality website without having coding experience. A common CMS system is WordPress.

Conversion pointsConversion points are where your customers can convert on your website. Depending on what you are tracking as goals on Google Analytics in line with your business goals, a conversion could be a social media icon click or an enquiry through a ‘mailto’ click email address.

Crawl – Crawlers such as Google and other search engine robots visit all the pages on your website to access their quality. Your site can also be crawled by malicious robots that are looking for vulnerabilities on your site that they can manipulate. Google crawling is a regular occurrence that is initiated by an algorithm:

“Our crawl process is algorithmic; computer programs determine which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site. We don’t accept payment to crawl a site more frequently.” – Google

D

Disavow – Disavow is the process of sending a list of URLs to Google that your site is on that you do not want to be on because they are low quality and potentially damaging to your rankings. The process can take up to a number of weeks as Google needs to recrawl the web and identify the URLs for removal.

DMOZ – The Open Directory is the largest directory on the Web that can help your search engine rankings as this is one of the avenues where Google downloads its data from. All submitted listings are monitored by actual people instead of computers so it can be a very slow process to get listed.

Duplicate content – Content that can be found internally on your website or externally elsewhere on the Web that is extremely similar to yours is called duplicate content. Duplicate content is extremely damaging for search engine rankings as Google has no ability to distinguish who was the original author which means your site could get a penalty.

E

External link – An external link, also known as a backlink, is a link to your site from another website that Google classes as ‘vote’ for your website within the Google algorithms that can positively affect your rankings. It is good in terms of SEO to have more high quality backlinks to your site than your competitor as Google will deem your website more authoritative.

F

Favicon – A favicon is an image that appears in the tab next to your title tag that represents your website. It is usually a company logo or imagery that is used to represent a company. Your favicon is also used in the Bookmark Bar in a user’s browser if they bookmark your site.

Follow link – As external links to your site are seen as votes for your site, a follow link enables link juice to push through to your site and boost your rankings whereas a nofollow link does not. A follow link tells Google that your website is trusted and that the external link source is happy to be associated with you.

G

Google AdWords – Google AdWords is an advertising platform supplied by Google which enables webmasters to advertise on Google search and other Google partners’ websites. On Google AdWords you are able to create ads in different formats such as text ads, image ads and video ads to target your chosen keywords.

Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is an analysis tool supplied by Google which enables you to monitor and report your website traffic, conversions and other important metrics such as bounce rate and conversion rate.

Google bot – Google bot is a web crawling spider/bot that is used by Google to discover new webpages and updated webpages so they can update their index of websites.

Grey hat SEO – Grey hat SEO are SEO techniques that may be your website in danger but may not result in a penalty against your domain. Grey hat SEO techniques are not a recommended strategy which is why In Front Digital abides by all white hat SEO techniques.

H

HTTPS – HTTPS is short for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, this is the protocol which enables data to be sent between a browser and a website securely. The connection is secure because all communications are encrypted which prevents information being stolen and used maliciously.

HummingbirdGoogle Hummingbird is an algorithm that enables Google to understand the context that search queries are written so that they can ensure the most relevant content is shown to the user in the SERPs.

K

Keyword – Keywords are terms that are relevant to your business which you want to be found for. The three main keyword types are: short tail, long tail and location. Short tail keywords are short keywords such as ‘search engine optimisation’, long tail keywords are longer keywords that can contain questions such as ‘why do I need search engine optimisation?’ and location keywords such as ‘Birmingham online marketing agency’. Keywords should be used naturally throughout body text on your website to avoid keyword stuffing.

Keyword Planner – Google’s Keyword Tool, also known as Keyword Planner, is a tool created by Google that enables webmasters to get monthly search volume estimates for keywords they want to rank for and new keyword ideas. Keyword Planner also suggests ad group categorisation for PPC campaigns.

Knowledge graph – The large area on the right of the search results is called the Knowledge Graph. When you search for a term in Google, Google decides which search result is most relevant to the term and pulls this information from Google Plus. The principle of the knowledge graph is to give the user an answer to their question in the shortest amount of time.

L

Link building – Link building is the process of contacting other high quality and relevant sites with the aim to gain a backlink to your site. Common link building strategies are guest post hosting and competitions.

Load time – Load time is the amount of time it takes for all elements of a webpage to load. These elements include images, CSS files and render blocking scripts.

M

Meta description – A Meta description appears on the search engine result pages and is used to describe what a page is about as well as entice users to click through to the website to find out more. Meta descriptions can be a powerful advertising technique as it can influence whether a user clicks on your website or your competitors.

Meta title – Also known as a title tag, a meta title is used to define what is on the page and also appears in search results. A common SEO technique is to optimise the title tag so that the user can find the most relevant information on what they are searching for.

N

No follow link – A no follow link is a link to your website that passes through little to no link juice to which will not boost your rankings. If Google comes across a lot of nofollow links to your website, this will tell the search engine that your site is not trustworthy as other websites are essentially saying they don’t want to be associated with any of the content or opinions on your site.

(404) Not Found Error PageA 404 error page which returns the message “Page not found” is displayed when a user tries to access a page on your site that cannot be found. For SEO purposes it is best practice to create a custom 404 error page to apologise for the error and give the user alternative options to find their desired answer such as a link to your sitemap, a link to your homepage and links to other pages they may be interested in.

O

Organic – Organic is another term for natural traffic that occurs from search engines such as Google and Bing.

P

Page rank – Page rank is an old Google algorithm used to rank websites in Google search results. Page rank was ranked between 0-10, a website with a page rank of 0 being poor and a website with a page rank of 10 being important. Some of the few websites that achieved the Page Rank of 10 are Apple, Google and NASA. There has been no indication whether Google will be using Page Rank as a factor of website quality scoring in the future.

Panda algorithmGoogle Panda is an algorithm that ensures websites with poor content do not rank well and are possibly penalized whilst high quality websites with relevant content are rewarded with higher rankings. Google Panda was the first Google algorithm to highlight the importance of high quality content for SEO.

Penalty – Website penalties cause websites to drop in the search results or disappear from the search results altogether. Penalties are often caused by algorithmic updates or manual reviews done by Google to prevent websites using black hat SEO techniques from achieving page 1 rankings. If your site has been hit with a penalty it can be a long and in depth task to climb back up the search results.

Penguin algorithm – Google Penguin is an algorithm that primarily targets webmasters that use black hat SEO techniques to manipulate rankings. Google Penguin changed the SEO industry and forced webmasters to gain knowledge in white hat techniques to gain back their rankings.

Pigeon algorithmGoogle Pigeon is an algorithm that works to show the most relevant local search results to any user in any given location. By improving their location ranking signals, Google was able to help local businesses reach their target audience easier. (Link to A Guide to the Pigeon Update blog post)

Pirate algorithmGoogle Pirate is an algorithm put in place to remove any copyrighted material from displaying in search results by penalizing sites that had multiple DMCA requests. This resulted in many popular torrent sites being penalized.

Robots.txtA Robot exclusion protocol file enables webmasters to define what pages robots can access on their website and give the robots instructions on what pages to crawl and index.

R

ROI – Return on investment is the profit a webmaster makes in comparison to how much investment they have put into a resource such as internet marketing or social media.

S

SEM – Also known as Search Engine Marketing, SEM is the process of promoting a website by using paid advertising techniques to increase a site’s rankings and visibility.

SEOSearch engine optimisation is the process of optimising a website to appear higher in the search results which will ultimately increase search engine visibility, organic traffic and brand awareness. The higher up the search results, the more likely the chance a potential customer will click through to your site rather than your competitors’.

Sitemap – A sitemap is an XML document that is usually found at www.example.com/sitemap.xml that contains a every URL on your site you want to be crawled by Google.

T

Traffic – Traffic is the number of new and returning visitors that visit your site and how many pages each visitor users. Traffic data can help you determine the performance of your pages and see where improvements are necessary.

W

Webmaster Tools – Google Search Console, previously known as Webmaster Tools, is a free Google Entity that allows you to see deeper into your site performance. Data you can find out from Search Console includes search terms you are being found for, crawl errors, site errors and sites that are linking to your site.

White hat SEO – White hat SEO is the term used to describe website optimisation techniques that follow search engine rules whilst focusing on user experience rather than manipulating rankings.

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