Anyone who is responsible for their website's SEO knows it's tricky (and important) business. A blogger once wrote that sometimes it feels like the acronym stands for "Something Extremely Obscure." It can definitely seem that way, but SEO shouldn't be a mystery.
Mastering SEO tactics is one half of the battle, but it's hard to get there if you don't understand the lingo. Learning how to improve your site's SEO involves a new vocabulary that can add an additional layer of complication to the task.
To make that task just a little bit easier, here are some of the most important vocabulary terms to get you started:
301 Redirect: A way to direct people to a new page when you've changed the web address for one of your web pages. Using a 301 redirect transfers most of your ranking power from the old page to the new one.
Alt Text: “Alternative text” displayed when an image is unable to load, which also helps people find your image in searches.
Anchor Text: Text on a page that links to another page or website, usually shown in blue and underlined. Anchor text helps search engines understand the content of the link.
Broken Link: A hyperlink that no longer functions. Many websites have some broken links, but having too many can cause search engines to view the pages as less relevant.
Canonical URL: Sometimes the same page information can be found at multiple web page addresses. In this case, specify which address is the best one, or canonical URL, for the given information.
Duplicate Content: Content that is the same, or nearly the same, across more than one webpage. Search engines do not like duplicate content because it makes a site seem less relevant. In this case, creating a canonical URL can help.
External Links: Simply put, inbound links are links from one website to another. They can increase traffic to your site and boost SEO.
Indexed Pages: Pages on your site that search engines have crawled and stored.
Internal Links: A link from one page of a website to another.
Keywords: The words or phrases you want your website to rank for, based on what is most relevant to your buyer personas and your business.
Keyword Optimization: Tactics to effectively use keywords and rank higher in searches.
Keyword Stuffing: A tactic of over-optimizing by unnaturally putting excessive keywords into your website. This will ultimately end in a Google penalty.
Link Building: Increasing the number of inbound links to your site to improve search ranking, often by creating content others want to share.
Metadata: Information that tells search engines what your website or webpage is about.
Meta Description: A brief description (preferably 150 characters or less) about your page that shows up in search results and helps searchers decide if your page is relevant.
Meta Keywords: Metadata previously used to indicate to search engines what a page was about. Meta Keywords are no longer used by major search engines.
On-Page SEO: Optimizing the content of your site for users and search engines.
Off-Page SEO: Tactics that improve your SEO, but are not directly on your site, like link building and social media.
PPC: Stands for "pay-per-click" and refers to the model of paying a website owner each time your ad on their site is clicked.
Page Title: The name of your web page. This shows up in the browser tab and should contain important keywords.
Robots.txt: The file that instructs search engines what they should and should not index or crawl on your site.
SEO: Stands for Search Engine Optimization. It refers to the methods you use to help your website rank higher in search results.
SERP: Stands for "search engine results page." The page you arrive at after submitting a search.
Sitemap: A list of pages on a website available to crawlers or users.
Traffic Rank: The measurement of how much traffic your site gets compared to others.
Do you have any other terms to add to our list?
Photo Credit: Kristina Alexanderson