New to SEO? Understand the lingo with this fundamental search engine terminology.
If you’re new to SEO, you’ll find that the terminology is a language all on its own. Improve your SEO vocabulary and knowledge with these 10 essential and basic SEO terms.
Anchor text – Anchor text is the SEO industry’s term for hyperlinked text, being that it is the anchor to the link. Anchor text is prevalent because SEO’s found that by using keyword rich anchor text, it could help enhance rankings. While it is okay to optimize anchor text internally (as long as it’s relevant and isn’t excessive) optimizing anchor text for articles and press releases that will be distributed at larger scales could be considered a link scheme. Best practice is to keep anchor text natural in any articles or press releases.
Title tag – A title tag, or page title is a tag in the .html denoted by <title>. The title tag represents the page’s title and can be seen on the tabs in your browser or in the headline of a search result. Title tags help both the search engines and internet users identify what your pages are about. Best practice for title tags is to create unique, relevant titles for each one of your pages.
Meta description – A meta description is another .html tag, but its purpose is to describe the page. While meta descriptions do not have any effect on rankings, they can help increase click-through rates since they do show up in the search results. Like title tags, it’s important to have unique, relevant descriptions for each page and make sure to include a call-to-action!
301 redirect – When you delete pages or change URLs, they don’t just dissipate into the digital universe. So when users try to search for a URL that no longer exists, they receive a 404 error, or ‘Not Found’ page. To avoid confusing users and to pass on any ranking authority from retired pages, it is best practice to use a 301 redirect. 301 redirects will redirect users and search engines from the old URL to another active page that you specify.
SERP – SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. A SERP is what is returned to you after typing in a search query. In essence, it’s a page of results after you search. SERP is a coined SEO term that you’ll hear frequently.
Keyword – Keyword is another SEO term that is frequently used. A keyword or keyword phrase is a word or set of words that exemplify the brand, its services, or products. Keywords are important because they help users and the search engines better identify what your web pages are about. Using relevant keywords in your title tags, headlines and throughout your content can help to give the search engines a better idea of what your page is about. Just be careful not to overuse keywords, or it can actually hurt your rankings.
Indexing – Indexing is the search engines’ process for collecting and storing data across the web. The search engines are constantly scouring the web for updated and new pages to add to their massive databases of information. When the search engines to find new pages, they ‘index’ it, meaning they add a copy of it to their database, so that they can retrieve it during searches.
Links – There are two types of links that you will hear SEO’s talk about. Internal and external. Internal links are links that occur between pages inside of your website. For example, all links on the navigation bar of your website are internal links. External links are links coming or going from your website, either someone has linked to your website or yours to theirs.
Both link structures are important, although links coming to your website are seen as more of an authority signal. Best practice for links is to have an organized and convenient internal link structure so that both users and search engines can easily find your pages. A good rule of thumb to follow is that every page should be at most two clicks away from the homepage. For external links, it’s important to create great content that users would want to link to. Any unnatural links or link schemes could end up in a penalty.
Rel=”author” – Google’s Authorship Markup, also known as rel=”author” is a tag that is used to associate authors with their Google+ profiles. This helps to put a face behind your brand, can help increase click-through rates in the search engines, promote thought leadership and can be seen as a ranking signal to Google. Rel=”author” is a great tool for any author that creates content online and has many benefits.
Canonical URL – Canonical URLs are used in cases where there is duplicate content. Say you sell a product that comes in several different colors, and you have a page for each of those colors. The search engines wouldn’t be sure which one to index since they’re all the same, so by using a canonical link you are able to specify which page should take precedence in the search engines. While it is not a guarantee, it is the best practice when you have multiple pages with very similar or identical content.
While that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SEO terms, these terms give a general understanding of some of the fundamentals of SEO. Still have some unanswered SEO questions? We’d be happy to clear them up. Contact us anytime and pick our brains!
Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth