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SEO Terminology Glossary

As an SEO, I sometimes throw out complex SEO terminology in the middle of a conversation with a client. While I am cognizant of the reality that most people don’t understand these terms, my irrational human tendencies cause me to sometimes use them (without an explanation) anyway. Fortunately, I’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing the puzzled look on their faces, stopping, and either defining the term I just used or making some kind of analogy. In other words, I’ve gotten pretty decent at explaining SEO in a way that the average person can understand. This has helped 417 Marketing immeasurably.

seo terminology glossary

But what happens if you are in a meeting (or just had a meeting) with an SEO that struggles (or struggled) to explain what they do? In an effort to give a little clarity, we’ve prepared an SEO terminology glossary to help you understand some commonly-used SEO terms for 2013.

NOTE: This is not a complete SEO terminology glossary. Far from it, actually. This is merely a list of 20 important, commonly-used terms that I wanted to define for you, the reader.

Keyword: a particular word or phrase that a search engine user searches for that describes the contents of a web page.

Backlink: a relationship in which one domain includes a backlink on a webpage that points to another webpage on a different domain.

Domain authority: a score (out of 100) that establishes the authority of a domain as a whole. A metric created by Moz . The higher the score, the higher the authority.

Page authority: a score (out of 100) that establishes the authority of a web page. Another metric created by Moz. The higher the score, the higher the authority. Page authority of the Home page of a website is very important.

Trust Flow: a score (out of 100) from MajesticSEO, which is weighted by the number of clicks from a seed set of trusted sites to a given URL, or Domain. The higher the score, the higher the trust.

Citation Flow: another score (out of 100) from MajesticSEO, which is weighted by the number citations to a given URL, or Domain. The higher the score, the higher the trust.

PageRank: PageRank is an algorithm used by the Google web search engine to rank websites (with scores between 0-10, with 10 being the highest) in their search engine results. PageRank was named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google. PageRank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages. PageRank has not been updated in quite a while and is quickly becoming obsolete (some would argue it is already). Domain and Page authority are now far more important metrics.

Anchor text: the text that is embedded in a backlink. This is anchor text that randomly points to google.com.

Meta data: data about data. In our context, information about a web page. Meta data is stored in meta tags that are hidden in the <head> of an HTML document.

Meta tags: data used to provide information to a search engine about a page. Examples of Meta tags include title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, alt tags, meta robots, and more. Meta tags are important for on-page search engine optimization (SEO).

Blog: a collection of web pages (referred to as “posts”) used to convey valuable information, interests, opinions and more. You’re currently reading a post 417 Marketing’s blog.

Google Analytics: a free service from Google that provides detailed information about traffic to a website

Google Webmaster Tools: a free service from Google that creates a platform for open communication between webmasters and Google. A place to submit XML sitemaps to Googlebot, find problems with a website, and communicate with Google. A valuable source of feedback from the largest search engine in the world.

Rank Tracker: a tool that scrapes search engine results and reports current serps (search engine rank positions) back to the user for a pre-defined set of keywords.

Web Traffic: traffic to a website.

Search Referral: a referral from a search engine to a website. For example, someone uses google.com to search “coffee”, finds starbucks.com among the listings, and clicks on the listing. This is a search referral.

Panda: A set of spam filters from Google that dramatically changed the way google evaluates and ranks websites. Updated frequently, this originally launched in February 2011 and was most recently updated in September 2013. Many SEO’s will make a claim that their services are “Panda-proof”. Such statements should generally be met with skepticism.

Penguin: A set of spam filters from Google that dramatically changed the way google evaluates and ranks websites. Updated frequently, this originally launched in April 2012 and was most recently updated in October 2013. Many SEO’s will make a claim that their services are “Penguin-proof”. Such statements should also be met with skepticism.

Google Hummingbird: a new algorithm from Google. Launched on September 27, 2013. A more efficient way to sort through all the information it has when you search and come back with answers. Learn all about Google Hummingbird here. Separate misconceptions from truth as it relates to Google Hummingbird here.

Semantic Web: an extension of the current web in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation. Click the following link to get an answer to a common question when I bring up this term: what is the semantic web?

That’s it for now. I hope this SEO terminology glossary has been helpful. Depending on the response we get from this post (in terms of traffic, comments, links, etc.), we may or may not add to it in the future. Thanks for reading!

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