SEO Glossary: Essential Terms You Need to Know
If you’ve arrived on this page you probably know what the acronym SEO stands for (don’t worry if you don’t, you’re sure to find out below). However, there’s a lot of technical lingo out there that you may not be familiar with, that can be helpful in understanding search engine optimization. Whether you’re new to the field or trying to brush up on your skills, mastering these must-know SEO terms is crucial for the success of your website. Don’t worry, as after reading this SEO dictionary you’ll be as wise as the SEO Wiz himself.
Note: words that are bolded in the text mean they are defined somewhere else in the glossary.
Without further ado, let us present you with the ultimate SEO glossary filled with the essential terms you need to know:
Accelerated Mobile Pages
AMP (for the cool kids) is a mechanism that allows your blog pages to load super fast on mobile devices, when clicked on from Google search results, thanks notably to a ‘lighter’ HTML. Implementing AMP on your blog is an SEO best practice, and actually really easy to do if you have a blog on Wix. See how it’s done here.
Adwords is an online advertising service developed by Google. It enables anyone to place paid ads on Google’s search results by bidding on certain keywords. It also includes a handy tool, called Keyword Planner that lets you understand how popular keywords are by discovering their average monthly searches.
Essentially, an algorithm is a specific set of rules defined in order to solve problems in an automated way. Search engines use algorithms to discover pages on the web and rank them in the most relevant way for the searchers. It’s known that Google’s algorithm includes over 200 signals or ‘rules’ that are taken into account when deciding a web page’s fate in search results (such as your SEO title, backlinks to your website, and more).
Short for alternative text. Alt text is a textual element that provides search engines with information about your images. Google and other search engines can’t see images like we do, this is why it’s necessary to add text to help them understand what’s on photos, graphs and other pics. As a result, adding alt text makes it possible for your images to be found on Google Images Search – which can help bring more traffic to your website. Make sure you check this guide if you want to be an alt text pro.
Anchor text is the clickable text that is used to link to a different page, on your website or an external web address. Most of the time, the anchor text appears blue and underlined.
Backlinks (also known as incoming links, inbound links and inward links) are links that point towards your website, from other websites. Backlinks are like votes of confidence; the more votes you have – from quality websites – the better your site appears to search engines. A smart way to start collecting backlinks is by trying these outreach techniques.
Black hat technique
In SEO, a black hat technique involves any way of trying to improve your ranking that is not aligned with search engines’ guidelines. These may include keyword stuffing, link schemes and more. Are you an SEO sinner? Don’t be.
A blog can be either a whole website or a section of a website in which articles are published on a regular basis within a certain topic or theme. It’s usually a place where individuals or small companies share tips and observations, along with related images and links. Starting a blog is a great way to continuously publish content in order to get crawled more frequently by search engines and stay fresh as an SEO daisy.
The rate of visitors that enter your website and choose to leave after viewing only one page, and ‘bounce’ away. A high bounce rate will negatively impact your SEO.
A bot or robot is any type of programmed application that is able to run automated tasks. Search engines bots, (also known as spiders or crawlers for example, Googlebot) are tasked with scouring the web and scanning websites’ pages. From there on, a massive database or index is generated of all sites that have been crawled. These catalogs are then consulted when compiling search engine results.
Click Through Rate
The click through rate (CTR) is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions. Usually referred to in SEO when talking about the number of clicks a page gets over the impressions the same page receives on the search engine results page (SERP). For example, if your last blog article appeared 1,200 times on Google and was clicked 40 times, its CTR is 40/1,200 = 0.03, that is 3%.
In SEO, content refers to any type of meaningful piece of information displayed on your website. This can either be copy, images, videos, infographics, etc. High-quality content is one of the main factors that will positively impact your ranking. To evaluate the quality, search engines look at specific criteria.
To be well-ranked, your content has to be:
1. informative and useful to the reader
2. unique (which means that duplicating text from another site is a no-no)
3. fresh (that is to say new, or regularly updated)
Check this out to get some more concrete content ideas for your website or blog.
When referring to your website, conversion means that the defined goal of a website is accomplished by the visitor. A goal can be defined as: a purchase made, an enquiry email sent, an email list subscription, etc. Conversion is the ultimate goal behind an SEO strategy. The more SEO optimized your website is, the more organic traffic you’ll get, and the more people will convert.
Crawling is what a search engine bot does when it reads the code of a website’s page. Once a web page is ‘crawled’, the information is kept in a massive index that is then used to bring up search engine results.
An online categorization and listing of websites compiled by humans. In local SEO, online directories such Yelp, Google My Business, etc. are used to promote businesses in their respective local communities.
The domain of your website is basically your address on the Web – you know, yoursite.com. Having the right domain name can have a strong impact on your SEO. Here’s a guide to choosing the perfect domain name for your website. Remember that the domain is without the ‘www’, while a URL is written with the ‘www’.
A metric developed by Moz that is used to give a score to a website’s SEO ranking ability. The factors that make up Domain Authority are popularity, links, trust rank and more.
Identical content that appears in more than one place on the web, which causes search engines to show only one of the links with this content. The question is debatable, but some SEO experts tend to believe that search engines can penalize your website for duplicate content, so it’s extremely important that all content is original, relevant and of quality.
A hyperlink from one domain that points to an external domain. For example, you create an external link everytime that you refer to a Wikipedia article on your website.
Fetch as Google
A feature in Google Search Console in which you can simulate what a Googlebot actually ‘sees’ or crawls on your page. Extremely convenient to spot bugs or errors that might affect your website’s SEO.
A SERP feature in which a result is shown at the top of the page in a special dedicated box which includes more text and visual elements. Also known as result 0, because they appear before any other organic results. These types of results tend to get more clicks than others, because of the prime real estate and eye-catching format. Featured snippets are one of the most prominent SEO trends of 2018.
Like you really need an explanation for this one.
Verb – To google something means to search for information about something or someone on the Internet, using the Google search engine. Noun –A multinational technology company, specializing in Internet-related services and products. It’s most known product is the Google Search.
A software developed by Google that enables you to track all sorts of information on your website, such as the traffic your receive, its sources, the behavior of visitors, their bounce rate and more. It also lets you compare past data to present, so you can assess your website’s growth, strengths and weaknesses. Not sure where to start? Luckily, we created a guide on how to use Google Analytics like a boss.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools) is a free service provided by Google for website owners. Verifying your website with GSC is considered an SEO best practice. Once you claim ownership, you’ll get access to a plethora of tools to help you optimize your website (crawl reports, ability to submit a sitemap, etc.). It will also provide you with valuable information, such as the amount of impressions on search results, amount of clicks and your position for certain keywords.
Google Webmaster Guidelines
Kind of like the bible of SEO. The Webmaster Guidelines by Google is a support doc in which all the best, as well as illicit practices for optimizing a website, are outlined. It states that following their guidelines will help Google find, index and rank your site.
Heading tags (from H1 to H6) are the “SEO terms” for titles and headlines. They are great for giving your pages structure and hierarchy. Adding heading tags makes your content easily readable by site visitors as well as by Google’s bots – which means better SEO for your website.
Or simply a link, is a connection from one web page, document or element to another web page.
This refers to the practice of optimizing everything that is related to your images, photos or other types of graphics. How to improve it? Fill in your alt text, add more textual elements around your images such as captions, and don’t forget to make sure your images are optimized to load quickly on your website. Or just use the Wix Pro Gallery.
A hyperlink from an external source/website that is directed to your website. Synonymous with a backlink.
Verb – One of the automated tasks of a search engine bot, in which a copy of a website’s page is saved in a massive database or library. Noun – A search engine database which includes all URLs and the files within them. A search engine will first crawl your site, and then index it.
The links that are located within the same site or domain. They are hyperlinks that can be used to improve a site’s usability and improve navigation between pages and sections.
The number of people that see an item. In SEO, impressions often refer to the number of people that see your web page in the search results.
Not your regular O.J. The kind of juice we are talking is of the SEO variety. SEO juice refers to the ranking ability or SEO ‘power’ that a web page contains, and that it can pass on to other websites with the help of links.
Keywords are two to five-word phrases that your potential clients would type into a search engine when looking for you (or a business like yours). Choosing the right keywords for your web pages is essential if you wish to obtain more organic traffic from an audience with a specific intent. You’re in luck as we’ve got a guide on how to find the right keywords for your website.
A percentage that is calculated by taking the amount of keywords that appear on a web page divided by the total number of words on the page. Although widespread, this notion is not an accurate metric to define quality or uniqueness of a piece of content. Which means that for keywords too, you should aim at quality rather than quantity.
Not what an SEO has for Thanksgiving dinner, but keyword stuffing is a practice of loading a web page with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose). Filling pages with keywords results in a negative user experience and can harm your site’s ranking.
The process of obtaining quality incoming links or backlinks in an effort to encourage the search engines to trust your website and increase its ranking and importance.
A group of highly interlinked sites with an agenda of inflating the popularity of the websites. This is considered an illegitimate technique and spamming of the search engine index process.
Local SEO refers to specific actions you can take to make sure that your site appears in search results when someone is looking for a business in your area. Read this post if you’re looking to boost your local SEO and increase your foot traffic.
Long tail keyword
A phrase (or keyword) that contains a combination of four words or more that is used in order to describe something in a more accurate way. Long tail keywords are less competitive and help target a more defined audience, which can help improve your conversion.
An accurate description of a web page that’s about 300 characters long. The meta description is not visible on the actual website but appears on a SERP – it’s the black line under the green web address. You can find it in the source code of your website as well.
A list of keywords that you fill in that is only visible to the search engine, or by viewing the source of your website. Filling in your meta keywords is an outdated SEO technique. In the past, the meta keywords were used to inform search engines what the topic of the web page was, but nowadays search engines are much better at understanding content. Thus, the filling in of meta keywords is redundant.
See SEO title.
Mobile first index
An algorithm update (rumored to start in early 2018), in which Google will rank websites based on their mobile version – even when results are displayed on a desktop.
An algorithm update by Google (April 2015) in which websites that have a mobile-friendly version have a better chance of being displayed in search results.
A noindex tag is a piece of HTML code that prevents a page’s contents from being listed in the Google web index even if other sites link to it.
Traffic that comes to your website as a result of unpaid search results. The main purpose of optimizing a website for search engines (SEO) is to drive as much free traffic to a website as possible.
The process of strategizing and tweaking your website so that the content and structure is best suited for search engine crawlers with the objective of getting listed and ranked well by the search engines.
Links pointing to external URLs outside the website. Synonymous with an external link.
A type of marketing in which bloggers and online influencers are approached with the objective of obtaining recognition, in the form of either links or a social media share. We’ve got a great guide full of tips and techniques if you want to get ahead in the world of outreach marketing.
One of Google’s algorithm updates (from 2011). Panda was introduced in order to combat poor quality websites making their way in the search results.
One of Google’s algorithm updates (from 2012). Penguin was brought about to fight against spammy websites appearing in search results, as a result of link schemes, i.e. buying links or link exchange. This is highly frowned upon, and against Webmaster Guidelines.
Yep, the whole zoo is here. Pigeon is one of Google’s algorithm updates (from 2014) in which the focus was put on local search results. The algorithm improvements provide more accurate and location-based results to searchers in surrounding areas.
Short for Pay-Per-Click, is a model of Internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked on. Get your beginner’s guide to PPC advertising over here.
A web analytics metric defined as the total number of pages viewed on a website within a given amount of time. This metric may indicate whether your website visitors are engaged enough with the content to explore it further than the homepage. The higher your Pageviews number is, the better.
In SEO, a position refers to a website’s rank in the search engine results page. A page’s position is dependant on more than 200 factors like content relevance to the search term, or the quality of links pointing to the page.
We had to get a ‘Q’ in this list. A query is basically the word or phrase that is entered into a search box when someone is looking for something or someone.
An artificial intelligence program developed by Google that is used to process queries. In addition to being able to understand user SERP behavior, they have a mechanism for understanding semantics, and relationships between topics and queries.
This is a file that is added in order to restrict access to a site by search engine robots that crawl the web. It is currently not possible to edit the robots.txt file of your Wix site. However, you can add a noindex tag to an individual page of your Wix site, preventing it from appearing in search engines. To learn how to do this, click here.
Special search formats that are used to narrow down or get more specific results for a certain query. Here you can find all of Google’s advanced search operators.
In SEO, searcher intent refers to the original purpose or reason why someone entered a query in a search box. Understanding searcher intent will help you form a clear SEO strategy and create better content for your website. Have a gander at this if you’d like to know more about searcher intent.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization means everything you can do in order for your website to appear in a good position in search engines’ (like Google) results. SEO encompasses in particular (but not limited to): adding title and descriptions to your pages, adding alt text to your images, starting a blog, and so much more.
A title tag is technically a piece of HTML code used to tell search engines what’s the ‘name’ of your page. An SEO title can be up to 70 characters long (when optimizing for Google). It can be viewed at the very top of your web page (in a browser’s tab), in your website’s source code, as well as any time your website shows up in a SERP.
Search Engine Marketing is a type of Internet marketing that involves paying for advertisements in order to increase your visibility on search results. As opposed to SEO, which is free.
Stands for Search Engine Results Page. A list of pages that shows up when searching for a certain keyword.
A sitemap is in simple terms a plan of your website. It shows how your different pages are connected to one another. Sitemaps tell Google about pages on your site that may otherwise not be discovered. It appears as a list of all your site’s links, and can be accessed by adding sitemap.xml to the end of your site’s URL.
The search engine ‘crawler’ or ‘spider’ which scans your website pages in order to index it. An example of a spider is a Googlebot.
Time on page
This metric can be found on the Google Analytics’ software. It indicates the time visitors spend on one web page. A higher time on page is associated with a better ranking.
See SEO title.
This stands for “Uniform Resource Locator”. A URL is the address of a specific web page or file on the Internet.
A type of search in which a person asks a question out loud. A voice recognition software will then register the question and pull up a response either on search results, or will voice out the answer (just like Siri). Wanna know more about voice search? You are so welcome.
The time it takes for your website’s page to load. Having a quicker website speed will better the user experience of your site, which can positively impact your SEO.
White hat SEO
The opposite of a black hat technique. White hat SEO refers to the usage of SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus on a human audience opposed to search engines and completely follows search engine rules and policies.
Wix SEO Wiz
The ultimate tool for improving your website’s ranking, developed by Wix. The free tool generates a personalized checklist, with all the steps you need to take to be SEO ready and improve your ranking in the long run. Trust us, it’s totally worth it. And if you don’t trust us, trust Google: “For the Wix users, this [Wix SEO Wiz] is a pretty cool experience because they can see their page in the search results immediately after they have created it. There is no waiting, there is no wondering, ‘Am I on search or not?’ Within seconds, they’re on Google.”
A server response code that indicates all is A-OK with a web page. Phew.
301 Moved Permanently or 301 Redirect
A server response that automatically redirects a user who attempts to visit a certain web address to another one (the one it is redirected to.)
404 Not Found
A 404 is an error message displayed by a browser which lets you know that an Internet address cannot be found (page has been deleted, there is a mistake in the URL, etc.)
Congratulations! If you’ve read through this whole SEO glossary you can now call yourself a true SEO Wiz! Stay tuned for the pop quiz…
By Ruth Eschenheimer
SEO Content Specialist