Before diving into Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website, you need to understand key terms that are used. This article explains some of the key SEO terms for every beginner in this field:
Average position: It is defined as the ranking of a webpage based on its placement in search engine results. Your aim is to have an average position of 1-10 (the first page of the search engine results).
Clicks: The number of clicks that occurred before taking someone to your page from the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
Impressions: It is defined as the number of times your website pages have been shown up in search engine search results.
Clickthrough rate (CTR): Also known as the click-through ratio, CTR is defined as the percentage of times that users have clicked on your ad in relation to the total impressions it has received. A high clickthrough rate would indicate that your page titles and meta descriptions are matching what people are searching for.
Inbound links: Also known as backlinks, inbound links are hyperlinks from another webpage that points to your webpage. Inbound links are very important for SEO because other websites directing to your site shows search engines that you have a higher authority on the subject. Having an effective backlink strategy helps a lot in SEO.
Internal links: They are the links on your own website, which take users from one section of the website to another.
On-page SEO: It is a set of techniques that you use to improve your webpage’s ranking in Google results through its content. These include meta tags, page titles, ALT tags and keywords.
Off-page SEO: The purpose of off-page SEO is to increase traffic to your website by performing actions outside of your website. Off-page SEO includes obtaining links from another website that point to your own (most effective way is providing quality content that makes people link to your website willingly instead of asking other websites to give you a link). Content marketing is an essential part of off-page SEO.
Technical SEO: It is defined as the technical aspects of a website, such as how search engine crawlers access your site and what content is easier for them to crawl. It also involves the proper use of HTML tags and URLs that go with search engine standards. Technical SEO involves making your website mobile friendly, secure and optimizing website infrastructure.
Anchor text: These are the keywords that you use in the hyperlink that takes users to some other place in your website or to a different website. The anchor text that you use on your web pages can affect how search engines view them, so it’s important that you choose the right keywords to use in the hyperlink.
Alt tag: An alt tag explains search engines what the image on your website is about. Alt tags are also useful for people who use visual search and helps visually impaired people to understand what the image is about.
Canonical tag: A canonical tag lets search engines know which version of multiple URLs should be indexed. It helps search engines avoid indexing duplicate pages, which can happen when you have URLs that point to the same content.
Header tag: They are tags used in HTML to define titles and subtitles on your page. Search engines tend to give titles and headings more importance because they (usually) indicate what a webpage will be about.
Cannibalization: It is defined as when you end up with duplicate content on your website because of multiple URLs. This occurs when the URL structure of your site makes it hard for search engines to know which version to show.
Broken links: They are hyperlinks that cannot be found on the webpage they were originally placed in. Search engines can penalize your website for having a lot of broken links because it leads to a poor user experience.
Visual search: It is a method of conducting a web search using images instead of keywords, as you would typically do. Visual search uses image recognition technology to find the most relevant results on the search engine results page.
Organic search: Organic search is the results that show on a search engine by itself. In other words, organic search is the opposite of paid advertisement.
Semantic keywords: These are words or phrases that describe things related to the main keyword. Using semantic keywords can help when the main keyword has a higher difficulty and is thus difficult to rank.
Latent semantic indexing (LSI): Latent semantic indexing is when one word can have different meanings, depending on the context. When this happens, search engines are able to provide more accurate results for users by associating words with similar meanings. Remember to incorporate LSI in your content but avoid keyword stuffing.
Bounce rate: It refers to the percentage of visitors who land on a page and immediately leave, without looking at any other page content. This is usually indicative of a lack of interest in the page’s content and poor user experience. You can decrease bounce rates by providing more relevant content to users and making website navigation easier.
Average visit duration: It refers to the average amount of time users spend on your website. Your aim is to have a high average visit duration as it is a positive indicator for search engines.
Long-tail keywords: They are very specific keywords that are more specific than the generic keywords you would typically use. These kinds of keywords tend to be easier to rank for and they also drive more targeted traffic. Long-tail keywords include commonly asked questions.
White hat SEO: It refers to a variety of techniques that abide by search engine guidelines. These strategies focus on creating high-quality content and engaging users, rather than aiming to game search engines. White hat SEO uses strategies that target a human audience instead of a search engine.
Black hat SEO: It refers to an array of techniques that go against search engine guidelines in order to artificially alter search engine results. These methods include spamming and using black hat linking strategies, which usually lead to penalties from search engines. In simple words, black hat SEO focuses on search engines instead of a human audience.
Cumulative layout shift: It is a change in the location of an element on a webpage as a result of multiple changes being made to subsequent elements above it. Cumulative layout shift is a problem because Google crawlers use the layout of a webpage to determine the page’s topic and content. It can also cause the same search result to be shown multiple times for the same query. Other causes of poor CLS are: images and ads without dimensions.
Title tag: It is a unique text label for each webpage. It is the first thing your visitors see as they scan a webpage and it also helps search engines understand what the webpage content is about. The title tag should be a clear and concise reflection of the web page’s content.
Header tag: The header tag defines which part is the header of a page and separates headings from subheadings. H1 tag is the most important heading of a webpage. This is followed by H2 tags, H3 tags etc. These tags are used to structure the content of your webpage and they also help search engines understand what is most important.
Featured snippet: A featured snippet is a special type of search result that displays in Google’s search results when it gives an answer to a question. To qualify for the featured snippet, sites must meet high-quality content criteria. High-quality content follows all the best practices that Google recommends for search quality, comprehensiveness, and user satisfaction. This includes following webmaster guidelines, having sufficient high-quality site content, and using markup correctly. Note that Google does not always show the featured snippet for every question. Featured snippets can now include images and other rich content. Answer a question as comprehensively as possible to increase your chances of earning a featured snippet. Remember landing a featured snippet should be the goal as it is an indicator that your SEO is great.
Meta title: This is the most important piece of information in the section of your webpage. It is initially used by search engines to provide a user with a quick synopsis of the webpage’s content. The meta title should be a clear reflection of your web page’s content and it should be under 65 characters. Try to use the primary keyword in the beginning of the meta title.
Meta description: This is a short piece of text that appears below your webpage’s title in the search results. It acts as a snippet of text that gives search engine users an idea about the webpage’s content. It can be used by website owners to describe their web pages in order to increase their click-through rate (CTR). You should keep your meta description relevant to the webpage’s content. The meta description should be under 320 characters and must have both primary & secondary keywords.
Primary keyword: This is a search term that you are targeting in your SEO campaign. It is also known as the main keyword and it should be placed in the <title> tag of webpages. The word density of the primary keyword should be higher than secondary keywords. Aim that your primary keywords appear near the beginning of a webpage’s content.
Secondary keyword: This is a search term that supports or enhances your primary keyword. Remember to keep search intent in mind when thinking of secondary keywords. Keep yourself in the person’s shoes: what am I likely to type on a search engine when searching for a particular thing?
Quality score: It is a numerical score based on the Quality Scores. The Quality Score indicates how relevant a keyword or ad is expected to be for a specific search. It ranges from 1 to 10, where 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest. The number of Quality Score depends on several factors including landing page relevance, ad copy relevance and the historical performance of the keyword in AdWords. The quality score is most likely dependent on these three things, but it’s also done in a secret way that Google does not disclose. The Quality Score is mainly used for AdWords campaign but it is helpful to know it for SEO as well.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): LCP is an indicator of how much time it takes to render the largest text block or image that is visible.
Time To Interactive (TTI): TTI is the time it takes for a browser to become interactive after loading a page.
First Contentful Paint (FCP): FCP is the time taken for the first element to be shown on a webpage. The lower the FCP, the better it is for SEO.