SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of increasing the online visibility of a website in a search engine’s results, to make sure your site, page, blog or business receives the attention it deserves. It’s the bread and butter of internet marketing and is a vital means of being heard and seen on the internet. Good SEO practice will lead not only to a higher volume of traffic but also high-intent and repeat traffic.
To practice good SEO, there is a specific (and often confusing) language of search engine optimization terms which you need to familiarise yourself with. To cut through the jargon, we’ve provided an SEO glossary of terms and SEO explanation with concise definitions for words, terms and acronyms you’re likely to find in the field.
Otherwise known as an alt tag, an alt attribute is an HTML attribute which is applied to images, offering a text description/alternative that represents the picture in search engines. Not only does this practice help increase the quality of traffic, but it also allows users to mentally visualise an image when devices do not process pictures. For the best effect, alt descriptions need to be kept short and succinct.
An anchor text is a text used in a clickable hyperlink. They need to be relevant and reliable in order to guide specific traffic. The words used within anchor texts are utilised by most search engines to determine a page’s ranking. When making an anchor text, avoid generic descriptions.
Also known as an incoming link, the name for a link into a page from an external page. If a site provided a link to this glossary, that would be a backlink.
Branded keywords are search terms that specifically include a company’s name (i.e. branded), either in relation to their service or not.
A canonical URL is the referenced URL of a page. In SEO usage, this is used to specify a preferred URL for search engines to index a page under. This is particularly useful when your site has multiple and different URLs.
Do-follow links are all links which search engine crawlers follow and rank. They are the opposite of no-follow links, which tell search engines not to follow or count them. Unless manually specified, all links are do-follow links by default.
Domain authority is a score assigned to domains based on their ability to appear/rank on search engines. The score is afforded out of 100, with 100 being the highest rating. Developed by Moz.com, it is a good indicator of SEO quality.
Duplicate content is a page which seemingly has exact — or incredibly similar — content to another page, either externally on another site, or internally on the same website.
Like a backlink, this is a link which points to a webpage not found on the same website or domain. I.e. a link to an external page.
Featured snippets are chunks of featured text from a webpage displayed in a search results page. It is used in question and answer formats, providing a snapshot of an answer for a typed search engine question without the user having to click through for the information.
Google Search Console
This is a no-charge web service for sites provided by Google, allowing webmasters to check their site’s indexing status and optimise their visibility.
These are tags considered important for search engines to target, appearing in a large, bold format. They are essentially page and content titles.
An acronym for Hypertext Markup Language, HTML is the technical language used to write and create webpages.
An inbound link is an incoming link. In SEO terms, links from reliable and popular sources are considered a quality source of page rank.
This is both a database of web pages used by search engines (noun) and the process of adding a page to a database (verb).
An IP address is a unique set of numbers used by a computer to communicate with a network. Otherwise known as a network address.
This is the phrase/word typed by users into a search engine.
The means of highlighting the most appropriate keywords for maximum visibility/to reach your targeted audience.
The clickable means of reaching another site or a desired portion of the same site.
Building and cultivating more incoming links to your site.
These are longer and much more specified/detailed keywords that are often less targeted.
A more detailed description of a web page not usually taken into account by search engines. Nevertheless, they are important for improving the quality of click-through rates as they are displayed in search results.
Inputting keywords into a page’s code. It is now largely useless to SEO as search engines do not take meta keywords into account.
The information contained within the head of each page to describe its content.
Designed to reduce webspam, used in a hyperlink to prevent the link’s destination from being crawled by search engines.
Technique taken outside of your webpage to improve its site position in search results (e.g. through social media, forums and blogging).
SEO techniques used by a webpage internally via optimised HTML source code.
Search engine results sorted by relevance to search queries without advertisements, filtering out pay-per-click results.
A measure of how fast content loads on a page. Faster page speeds are more prone to be effective for SEO.
The position in which your page is returned for a search term.
A program used to search for results either in a database or on the internet. Often used synonymously with big brands like Google or Bing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The process of increasing a site’s rank and visibility in search engines. The higher the rank, the greater the chance of it being seen and visited.
Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
The results page displaying ranked sites in response to a search term.
A page used as a map or index with a link to every accessible page on a website. A good root directory helps search engines find all of a site’s pages for ranking.
A title tag describes a web page’s content. It is usually the first place a keyword is inserted and often the first text seen in search engine results.
Acronym for Uniform Resource Locator, a web address.