SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is more important to marketing than ever before. In short, SEO is the constant process of changing the coding, content, and interaction with other websites in order to increase the probability that it will rank well in search engine results. Some of the top benefits of employing SEO techniques in your marketing strategy include:

  • A cost-effective solution to strengthening your online presence
  • An increase in website traffic
  • A high ROI

Bonus Material: Taking a second look at your audience targeting practices? Use our free guide to help you optimize your strategy: The Pre-Targeting Advantage.

So now you know why SEO is so great, and that you should be doing it, but unless you are an SEO expert and plan to engineer and implement an SEO strategy on your own, you will likely need to contract with a firm specializing in SEO to help you. To do this, you’ll need to know a bit about SEO and the technical jargon that comes with that territory to ensure that you are getting all the services you need—the more technical aspects of monitoring and managing your website visibility and traffic stats—and none of the ones you don’t. To help you talk the talk, we’ve pulled together a list of the most common SEO terms you’re likely to hear.

404 Error: An error message when a page cannot be found on a website.

301 Redirect: A permanent redirect from one URL to another URL, often used to mask affiliate links.

302 Redirect: A temporary redirect from one URL to another URL.

Above the Fold: Refers to a search engine result that is positioned high enough on the web page that a user can see it without having to scroll down.

Alexa Ranking: A measure based on traffic to a website where the lower the number the better the rank.

Algorithm: A set of criteria used to rank websites in search results.

ALT Text/Tag: The ALT text or tag is piece of HTML code that is added to an image and appears when a user holds their mouse over that image.

Analytics: Analytics are statistics on your website’s usage, including how much traffic the site is getting, where the traffic is coming from, what keywords users are entering to reach your site, etc.

Anchor Text: The actual text of a link to a web page. Anchor text gives search engines information about the content of a destination page.

Authority Site: A site that is well established in its niche and that offers a high-quality user experience and excellent content.

Backlink: Links from other websites that link to your website. In general, the more backlinks you have, the more authority search engines will assume your site has, however backlinks from generic directories that are not industry-specific can give no benefit at all.

Black Hat SEO: Black Hat SEO refers to SEO practices that are in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Bounce Rate: An analytics term that refers to someone who visits just one page of a website, and then leaves.

Breadcrumbs: A navigation trail on a website that allows you to see where the current page is in the site’s hierarchy.

CTA or Call To Action: Words or buttons that encourage the user to take action, such as a “Click Here to Buy” button.

Canonical: The preferred page when multiple pages have similar content.

Captcha: A challenge and response test used to reduce spam.

Cloak: When you show different content to search engines than you do to your users.

CPA or Cost per Acquisition: The total amount you would have to pay to acquire a customer.

CPC or Cost per Click: The amount you have to pay each time a user clicks on one of your ad links.

Crawler: A piece of software that crawls the web to extract and create an index of data.

CTR or Click Through Rate: The percentage of users who actually click on your ad.

Deep Linking: When you create a backlink to an inner page of your website.

Footprint: Content or language that is constant across a number of websites.

Hits: A measure of traffic on your website. Every page view is a hit.

Impressions: This can be either the number of times that your website or website content appeared in search engine results OR the number of times a web page was viewed.

Inbound Link: A backlink pointing to your website.

Indexed Pages or Content: Pages on a website that a search engine has explored and stored.

Keywords: Actual words or phrases a user enters into a search engine.

Keyword Density: Google uses keywords during indexing to establish the focus of your content and rank your website. Use a keyword too often and your page could be penalized, but use it too little and Google won’t recognize it as a keyword.

Keyword Stuffing: When a keyword or phrase is excessively used throughout a web page to misleadingly increase keyword density.

Link Bait: A piece of content that is created with the goal of attracting backlinks from other websites.

Longtail Phrases: Search phrases entered into a search engine that include certain keywords as well as a number of additional keywords.

Meta Tags: Keywords and Description tags designed to help search engines better understand and explain to users what a website is about. Meta Tags are invisible to users.

Organic Search Results: Search results as a result of the search engine’s algorithm and not as a result of a paid advertising campaign.

Page Rank: Each page of your website is ranked by search engines. This ranking indicates the authority of that page, taking into account both the likelihood of an action being taken on the page and the level of trust the search engine has in the page’s content.

PPC or Pay per Click: An advertising campaign where a company purchases ads for certain keywords and pays each time an ad is clicked by a user.

Reciprocal Link or Link Exchange: A link that is posted to another website in exchange for that website posting a link to your site.

Sandbox or Google Sandbox: The period of time during which Google lowers the rankings of a brand new website.

SEM or Search Engine Marketing: A marketing technique used to build search engine traffic to a website by combining both SEO and PPC techniques.

SERP or Search Engine Results Page: The pages that a search engine produces listing websites related to a user’s search.

Stickiness: How enticing your site is to users, measured by your site’s ability to keep users on the site and encourage them click through to different areas.

VPS or Virtual Private Server: A virtual server that you can gain remote access to, usually used to run link building software or host websites.

Webmaster: A website’s owner.

White Hat SEO: The use of ethical and Google-approved SEO practices to increase your site’s search engine rank.

XML Sitemap: A list of pages you want search engines to find created in a standard XML format.

Give your audience targeting strategy a tune-up with tips from our free guide: The Pre-Targeting Advantage.

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