While there are plenty of great articles on the Search Engine Journal website that dissect current SEO best practices and provide excellent recommendations to current webmasters, all the advice in the world won’t make a difference in your website’s success if you don’t understand the terminology that’s being used in the first place!
So if you’re a new webmaster, don’t feel overwhelmed!
Use the following list of SEO lingo to get up to speed or as reference material whenever you encounter a word you don’t understand:
URL – A “URL” (or uniform resource locator) refers to the specific string of characters that lead to an internet resource. In most cases, the word URL is used to describe the letter-based web addressed entered into a browser in order to access a web page.
TLD – “TLD” stands for top-level domain and refers to the extension of a given web address. The most popular TLDs from an SEO perspective include .com, .org and .net, although dozens of other industry/country-specific options are available as well.
SEO / SEM / PPC – Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the on-page and off-page activities designed to help a website appear more prominently in the natural search results, while pay-per-click advertising (PPC) involves bidding for high placements within the sponsored search results provided by the search engines. Search engine marketing (SEM) incorporates both of these techniques to refer to a website’s overall promotional plan.
Links – A link (or backlink) is a connection between two websites that is built using HTML code and enables visitors to move between different web pages.
- Outbound Links – Outbound links refer to those specific backlinks which point away from a site and direct visitors to a page on a different website.
- Internal Links – Internal links are those backlinks that point between pages on a single website. Internal links can be used contextually within articles, as well as in the navigation structure of a site.
- Anchor Text – Anchor text refers to the “clickable” link of an HTML backlink – not the code that enables the link action to occur. Anchor text is often used by the search engines to measure link and content relevance.
- Link Building – Because the quality and quantity of backlinks plays an important role in SEO, link building – or, the process of acquiring more outbound links from other sites – is a big priority for most webmasters.
- Link Profile – A site’s link profile refers to the collection of outbound links from other sites that are pointing in to the site in question. The quality of a site’s link profile can vary widely, according to a number of different parameters.
- Link Juice – “Link juice” refers to the authority that is transmitted from one site to another through a backlink, in accordance with Google’s PageRank measurement system and algorithms.
- No-Follow / Do-Follow – No-follow and do-follow are specific tags webmasters can add to their links to control which links transmit link juice to their link partners and which links reserve this authority for themselves.
- Footer Links – Footer links are those links that appear in the bottom section (or “footer”) of a website.
- Link Bait – Link bait is intentionally provocative content that’s disseminated to encourage viral sharing and result in more backlinks than usual pointing at a site.
- Guest Posting – Guest posting is a popular link building tactic that involves developing content for other websites in exchange for a backlink pointing at your own pages.
Social Signals – Social signals are any factors that demonstrate authority and influence on popular social networking websites. A few examples include a person’s number of Facebook followers, how frequently his Twitter updates are re-tweeted and the number of times articles on his site are shared across the most popular social media sites.
Optimization – “Optimization” refers to the process of intentionally manipulating website content in order to secure higher rankings within the natural search results pages.
White Hat / Grey Hat / Black Hat – These three terms refer to the acceptability of various optimization techniques. “White hat” techniques are wholesome, search engine approved tactics, “black hat” techniques are those that intentionally mislead or subvert the search engines’ indexation processes (and that could lead to future penalties if discovered), and “grey hat” techniques are those that fall into the grey area between acceptable and unacceptable.
Organic Search Results / SERP – A search engine results page (SERP) is the specific set of website listings that appear whenever a user enters a search query into Google, Bing, Yahoo or any of the other lower-tier search engines. To secure maximum traffic and exposure, most webmasters use SEO in order to have their websites appear in the Top 10 results on any given SERP.
- Blended / Universal SERPs – Though past search results pages were composed entirely of links to text-based web pages, the current Google SERPs now contain links to video results, image results, shopping results and more – leading to what is now known as the “blended” or “universal” SERPs.
- Personalized SERPs – Personalized SERPs refer to search results pages that incorporate a user’s personal preferences and relationships (typically pulled from his Google profile) to create a custom results listing page.
Algorithm / Algo – Each of the search engines maintain their own algorithms, which are the sets of calculations that weigh different factors in order to automatically determine which websites should be displayed in the SERPs. Algorithms (frequently abbreviated in the SEO world as “algos”) are constantly being updated, which makes it important for webmasters to stay on top of SEO industry news.
Search Engine Spider / Crawling / Robots – In order to display your website in the SERPs, the search engines must first capture the content that’s stored on your site in order to determine what it’s related to and how it should be ranked – a process that’s referred to as “indexing” or “crawling.” To accomplish this task, the search engines use automated programs known as “spiders” or “robots” to assess and index the text-based content on your website.