Have you ever listened to a conversation at a networking event but understood virtually none of the words being used?
Specialized industries often create a particular language set and jargon pattern that can be almost unrecognizable to outsiders, leaving you both scratching your head and sitting out of the conversation.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is no different.
There is a long list of SEO-specific terminology, definitions, and abbreviations that can be difficult to understand and keep track of.
However, it’s essential as a digital marketer to be able to comprehend SEO content and keep on top of new terms.
This article will help you master SEO language and stay at the top of your online marketing game by explaining 18 SEO terms that every marketer from beginners to experts should know.
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#1: 301 Redirect
A 301 redirect refers to a way to make a web page redirect visitors to a different page.
For example, if you change a web address, you need to redirect the old pages to new ones so anyone typing in the old address or who has it saved as a bookmark or link will automatically go to the right section.
A 301 redirect will also ensure that search engines update their index of your pages and don’t negatively impact your score.
#2: 404 Error Page
Like a 301 redirect, a 404 error page is a type of page code.
A 404 error specifically refers to pages that someone is trying to access but can’t reach. This can happen because of website mistakes or a lack of 301 redirects.
Too many 404 error pages will have severe negative impacts on your site’s ranking as the algorithm will find your pages unreliable and deindex them.
#3: Alt Tag
An alt tag is a part of an IMG tag, which is responsible for displaying images.
The alt tag is a short description of an image in your site’s HTML code. While this isn’t a tag that is seen by any website visitor, it is seen by the search engine.
It helps the search engine understand the image since it can only read code, not look at images.
#4: Anchor Text
Anchor text is the text that serves as a link on a web page.
The anchor text is a different color from the main text — usually blue. It is also underlined to further help it stand out from the main text.
Anchor text not only serves as a clickable link on a page for web visitors, but it helps the search engine understand the context behind the link.
Anchor text works best when it is a keyword or relevant phrase to increase your search engine rankings.
#5: Black Hat SEO
SEO terms aren’t always good things to try and add to your SEO strategy.
For example, black hat SEO refers to practices that go against guidelines and policies.
In the past, many black hat SEO tactics were used to try and trick search engines into ranking pages higher by skirting the rules.
Examples of black hat SEO include keyword stuffing, hiding text on a web page, spam links, and cloaking.
Search engine algorithms have evolved to the point where they recognize and penalize black hat practices.
#6: Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is a type of metric that measures how many people come to your site on a single page and leave without navigating to any other pages or taking conversion actions.
You’ve likely bounced before during your own web surfing when you reach a site and the page you first land on doesn’t entice you to search around for longer.
High bounce rates can negatively impact your site’s SEO and lower your authority in search engine rankings.
Backlinks are links on a different site that point back to your site.
They are very important in an SEO strategy as they boost your brand’s authority and provide proof to search engines that your site is a thought leader in your space.
#8: Conversions & Conversion Rate
A conversion is an action that a website visitor takes like making a purchase, completing a form, downloading an ebook, watching a video, subscribing to a podcast, or adding items to a cart.
Your conversion rate tracks how often a visitor takes a desired action.
Optimizing your conversions and improving your conversion rate helps search engines know that people find your content or offers valuable enough to take actions, which in turn will help increase your search engine rankings.
Crawling is a term used to describe the algorithm or robots that read through the textual and visual content on your web pages.
Crawlers will go through billions of pages to update, add, rank, and organize them within a search engine database.
#10: Domain Authority
Domain authority is a measure of the overall strength of your website developed by the software company, Moz.
The higher your domain authority is, the more likely you are to rank high on search engine results.
The domain authority evaluates several different factors to calculate a score from 1 to 100.
#11: Featured Snippet
A featured snippet is a SERP feature that displays the top-ranking web page’s content in special formats at the top of a search result page.
These allow users who have entered a search query to read the results of their search without having to click on any hyperlinks.
Featured snippets appear in one of four forms:
Your site’s headings are the HTML structure used to structure the content within your web pages to help both users and search engines understand the context behind your content organization.
Starting with H1s for titles and going down with H2s, H3s, and even H4s-H6s, these tags help to structure your content in hierarchies.
This makes content more readable with subheadings and category titles as well as helping search engines understand the levels of importance in your content.
Keywords are the word, words, or phrases that users type into search engines.
These are the building blocks of content strategy, as these are the terms and words you want your pages to rank for on search engine results pages.
Optimizing each page of your site with different keywords will help you be found for multiple topics and gain a wide range of authority in the eyes of the algorithms.
#14: Meta Description
A meta description is a short summary of the content of a page.
It is often displayed as a subtitle under the H1 tag on search engines.
Meta descriptions can include important keywords and work as additional tools to attract the attention of visitors and draw them to your site.
#15: PPC Advertising
Pay-per-click, or PPC, advertising is a method of digital advertising that uses an auction-type format to help improve ad visibility.
When placing a PPC ad, you compete against your competitors to have your ads appear higher on search results.
They are called pay-per-click since you only pay for the ad when a user clicks on it.
#16: RSS Feed
RSS is an SEO term that stands for “really simple syndication”.
Most commonly found as an RSS feed, it is a subscription-based format for receiving new content.
For example, an RSS feed for your blog or newsletter will automatically update your subscribers when new posts are published.
SERP, or search engine results page, is the page that populates after you’ve entered a search query into a search engine.
The page will display the top-ranking results for your search term as well as other helpful information like featured snippets, related images, related searches, shopping results, and advertisements.
A sitemap is a list of all the pages of a website.
This document can be submitted to search engines to make it easier for the search algorithms to index and map all the pages on your site.
An updated sitemap lets search engines know about new pages and any updates to your internal website structure.
Wrap Up: Recognizing SEO Terms is an Essential part of Being a Digital Marketer
After all, a strong SEO strategy is necessary to be found online and ensure that your brand isn’t being left at the bottom of the search results page.
If you are a digital marketer who wants to improve your SEO strategy, look no further.
Our interactive SEO maturity assessment will help you see where your SEO currently stands on the maturity scale and help you understand how to grow and take your SEO plan — and your brand — to the next level.