A lot of our readers and site visitors get confused about SEO just because there’s so much unfamiliar jargon and terminology – so, we thought we’d put together a quick list. Now, you’ll know what SEO optimization really means and what SEO outsourcing really entails.
Boring – yes! Useful and IMPERATIVE to know – yes, you bet!
- Anchor Text: This is the part of a back-link that people click on a website. Sometimes the anchor text is simply a “Click here” (not a good idea) but search engines actually consider the anchor text as a keyword for your website’s content so it helps to have anchor texts that use keywords you’d like to increase your rankings for.
- Back-links: This is a hyperlink on another website that directs people who click it to your own website. These are important for SEO because, generally, the more back-links to your website, the higher its search ranking.
- Canonicalization: In the SEO world, this refers to the standardization of multiple links or URLs in your website. It is rather important in website optimization as this process eliminates the visible duplications of pages from your site.
- Cloaking: This is the practice of making the same website page appear differently to search engines and users. It’s intended to get a page highly ranked for its keywords and then promoting unrelated products to all the people who go to that page. (Needless to say, this is a serious offence in the search engine world.)
- Keyword Density: This is determined from the number of keywords divided by the number of words in a specific page. While this used to be an important factor in search rankings, it was heavily abused by sites and is no longer given much emphasis.
- Keyword Stuffing: This is the practice of increasing the keyword density to irrational proportions in order to raise a site’s ranking. This was quickly discovered by search engines and now you can get penalized for it.
- Link Farm: This is a group of websites that all link to one another. These are created to increase the PageRank of all of the websites in the Link Farm. While this was useful in increasing your rankings in the past, they are now seen by search engines as spam and actions are being taken to penalize these transgressors.
- Meta Tags: These are HTML codes that are usually found in the header of a web page, just after the title tag. These are not seen by users but are used to give search engine spiders data on various types of information as well as how they should treat certain pages.
- Meta Descriptions: These are descriptions of the page that show up in searches under the title tag. Only snippets are shown so meta descriptions should be kept under 160 characters.
- NoFollow: This is used in links by website owners to show search engines that they don’t support the site they are linking to. When search engines see this, they don’t count the link in PageRank.
- PageRank: This is an algorithm that search engines use to determine the importance of pages in relation to other pages. It was founded initially on the assumption that – among many other criterion – the higher the number of websites that link to your website, the more likely that your website contains important information.
- Robots.txt: This is a file that is placed in a website’s root directory and serves as a guide that enables or prevents bots from crawling over certain areas of a site you don’t want them to crawl.
- RSS feeds: RSS stands for Rich Site Summary but is also often dubbed as Really Simple Syndication. It is a format for delivering updates of regularly changing content, most often automatically.
- Sandbox: Google has a separate index where they keep all new websites. While websites are placed in the Sandbox, they don’t appear in normal searches. However, once Google has verified a website, they move it out of the Sandbox and the website can appear in normal searches.
- SEO Company: SEO Companies are businesses that help websites to produce and, ideally, uphold high web page rankings with different search engines. They will be the one responsible for optimizing your website, and doing SEO services such as keyword analysis, link building and much more.
- SEO Optimization: SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the method used to improve a website’s visibility and ranking in various search engines.
- SEO Outsourcing (aka outsourced SEO): This is the process of delegating your company’s SEO work to an SEO Company or firm, or to an outside company (may be offshore or onshore). As a business owner, especially for start-ups, it is advisable, more often that not, to outsource SEO work so you can concentrate on other aspects of your business.
- SEO Services: These are the services (usually comes in packages) given by SEO companies and firms. SEO services can include off-site or on-site optimization.
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing): This is the practice of marketing services and products using search engines. It is divided into two parts, SEO (search engine optimization) which is the practice of optimizing websites to increase their ranking in search engines, and PPC (pay-per- click) which is the practice of buying clicks from search engines.
- Sitemaps: This is a tool that allows you to give guidance to spiders on how they should crawl over your website. Sitemaps come in 3 varieties: XML, RSS, and TXT files. They each have their pros and cons, but XML is the most widely used format.
- Title Tags: These show up at the top of your browser page and in search results. It’s also what shows up when you bookmark a page and add it to your “Favorites”. They are meant to be accurate descriptions of a page’s content, but they should also contain keywords because they help with searches.
- Web Crawlers: These are also known as spiders and or search bots. They crawl though the web looking for new links and pages.
Thanks for reading! If you have any other definitions or jargon that you think our readers should know, please include them in a comment to this blog.