SEO Terms Business Owners Need to Know

As a business owner, you know your industry, whatever it may be, has its own jargon. You may have to explain to a client what the pitch of their roof is or what certain acronyms you use all the time mean. It’s the same with search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO terms Defined

You probably have an idea of what SEO is, or you wouldn’t be reading this. Essentially, SEO is both an art and a science that uses several ways to optimize your website for search engines. SEO makes it easier for search engines to know what your website is all about, and thus place it higher in a user’s search results when they are looking for the services you provide.
So that’s the first term and definition. Let’s get to the rest of our SEO Glossary.

Alt Text

Also known as Alt Attribute, this is the text that provides information about images. It helps search engines and screen readers used by visually impaired people understand image content. It can be very helpful to your SEO efforts if each image in your portfolio has image alt text.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the text used in a link to a certain page. For example, you might find our SEO FAQs page helpful. SEO FAQs is the anchor text. Anchor text should be specific and relate directly to what a linked page is about. This helps both the reader and search engines. Avoid phrases like Click Here or Read More.

Backlink

Links to your website from other websites. Google likes these.

Bing

This is Microsoft’s search engine. While it doesn’t have nearly as many users as Google Chrome, Bing is the default search engine on new PCs and laptops. Many older users never change the default search engine. So you want to optimize your site for Bing as well as Google.

Black Hat

Black hat SEO is bad. It uses spammy, deceptive techniques to try and improve page rank. These tactics go against Google’s recommendations and a website can be penalized for using them.

Bounce Rate
A visitor to your website is said to “bounce” if they open a page and immediately leave. Your bounce rate measures how many people visit one page on your website and leave without exploring another page. A high bounce rate can indicate content or website issues.

Broken Link
A link that throws up a 404 page not found (or cutesie message) when a user clicks on a link. This generally happens when a page is removed from your website or moved without using a redirect.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The rate that users click through from organic search results or PPC ads. Can be used as a performance indicator.

CMS
CMS stands for Content Management System. It’s a web application that lets you create, upload, and manage content on your website.

Content
Your web content includes all of the text, images, videos, and sounds a visitor might encounter on your website. It’s one of the most important Google ranking factors. Google rewards websites that have informative, useful, and unique content with higher placement in search results.

Conversion
When a user takes a desired action, such as calling, asking for a quote, signing up for email, etc.

Conversion Rate
The rate at which users take the desired action. Another performance indicator.

Core Web Vitals
Google’s Page Experience metrics that they use to measure user experience (UX).
RELATED READING:
Google Page Experience Explained

Deep Link
A deep link is a link that connects one web page to any page other than your home page.

Domain
A website address, typically ending in .com, .net, .gov, .edu. For instance our domain is https://www.coastalwebmarketing.net/.

Domain Authority
The” authority” or “strength” of your website. Domain authority is built up over time and can help new pages gain traction quickly.

Duplicate Content
This is when a large amount of content on a web page matches, or is very close to, the content on another web page, either on your website or another website. It’s a bad thing and should be avoided.

External Link (aka Outbound Link)
An external link leads a user to a website other than your own. You might do this in a blog or on a Service page if you wanted to link to a manufacturer whose products you use, an industry group to which you belong, or a helpful resource for the reader. You want external links to link to trustworthy, authoritative websites.

Footer Link
A link that appears in the bottom portion, or footer, of your website. It can be a link to a main Services page, but also to a page people don’t frequently go to, such as a Terms and Conditions page.

Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a website analytics program we and you can use to track visitor behavior, how a visitor got to your website, how content is performing, and much more. It informs your SEO decisions.

Google My Business
Now simply known as your Google Business Profile, this is a crucial and free profile you can use for your local search efforts. This is where people see your Reviews and snippets about your company. You can control everything about your profile. When someone searches for your business by name, your business profile appears to the right.

Google Webmaster Guidelines
These are the guidelines Google puts out to help web developers do the best job for you that we possibly can. By following the guidelines, we help Google find and rank your site and make your website useful for the end-user.

Headings
Headings (H1-6) are tags that help divide your content into sections to make it easy to read. H1 is the most important and should tell the reader and Google what the page is all about. For instance, the H1 tag on this page is SEO Terms Business Owners Need to Know. And then the rest of this article goes over those SEO terms.

HTTPS
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It encrypts data that is transferred between a computer server and a web browser. These sites protect a customer’s data. Look for the little padlock in the search For instance, bar. If you try to visit an HTTP site that has not upgraded to HTTPS, your web browser may give you a security warning.

Inbound Link
An inbound link is the opposite of an external link. For instance, when we linked to Google Analytics and the Google Webmaster Guidelines above, those count as inbound links for Google. If Google were to miraculously link back to the Coastal website, that would be an inbound link for us. Most small businesses can get quality inbound links from directories, review sites, and manufacturers for which you are an authorized dealer or installer, for example.

Internal Link
An internal link is a link to another page on your website. (See Deep Link). It can be part of your site navigation or a link to a helpful resource, such as a blog.

Keyword/Keyphrase
Crucial to SEO. These are the words and phrases people type into the search box when looking for your products or services. An SEO company targets these words and phrases to rank for those phrases. They relate to topics or questions relevant to your business.

Keyword Difficulty
How difficult it is to rank for a specific keyword or phrase. The lower the number, the easier it is to rank.

Keyword Research
Before implementing SEO techniques on your website, an SEO agency will perform keyword research to determine what words and phrases would best match with what you do, as well as what phrases might be easier to rank for. Research can include looking at your competitors’ websites. We utilize SEMrush.

Keyword Stuffing
This is when an inexperienced SEO or a black hat SEO “stuffs” a page with a keyword, rather than using the main keyword and relevant related phrases to tell users and Google what a page is all about. Google can penalize you for keyword stuffing.

Keyword Search Volume
Search volume shows you how many people are looking for a keyword or keyphrase monthly. The higher the search volume, the more valuable it is to rank for the phrase. Frequently, high-volume words and phrases also have high-ranking difficulty. Lower volume phrases can be easier to rank for.

Link Building
A process an SEO company will use to get trusted and relevant websites to link to your website. This will improve your search rankings and boost visibility. There are many ways to do this.

Local Pack
Where you want to be in local search results. This is typically three business listings at the top of search results with local intent. For example, for the phrase “SEO agency near me” when input by someone in Harford County, Coastal Web Marketing typically comes up in the local pack.

Long-Tail Keyword
Very specific, multiple-word terms that can match buyer intent. They may also match with research h a buyer is doing before making a purchase or hiring a service firm. Can be in the form of a question.

Meta Description
A tag in the HTML of a web page that describes the page’s content. It’s not a ranking factor, but the meta description may appear as the snippet below a page name in search results.

Meta Tags
This includes title tags and meta descriptions. Meta tags are information included in the source code for a web page that tells search engines what the page is all about.

Organic Search
This is what SEO is all about. Organic search refers to the unpaid, or natural search results that appear with a query. Google analyzes and ranks organic search results based on their relevancy to the query.

Page Speed
Page speed refers to how fast (or slowly) a web page loads. Speed is an important ranking factor.
RELATED READING:
Website Speed and Why It Matters

Paid Search
The opposite of organic search, paid search refers to the pay per click (PPC) ads that can appear above or below organic search results.

Rank
Where your website appears in the search results for a specific query. Ideally, you are in the top 10, and being in the top 3 is the best.

Ranking Factor
Factors that affect your placement in the search results. Google has more than 200 ranking factors, with quality content, mobile-friendliness, page experience, and page speed being among the most important.

Redirect
A web technique that sends a user or a search engine who requested one page to a different but relevant page. This can be temporary or permanent. An example would be if you changed your domain name from your original business name to something more descriptive of what you do. For example, we have a client Broad Creek Manor where the original URL was www.broadcreekmanor.com and it now redirects to www.broadcreekassistedliving.com. That’s a permanent redirect.

Search Engine
The internet program someone uses to type in what they’re looking for and get relevant search results. These include Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Duck Duck Go.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
The page a search engine displays when someone enters a query. Results typically include the Local Pack, Featured Snippet, Images, Videos, Related Questions, and more.

Sitemap
A list of pages on your website. The HTML sitemap helps users navigate your site, while the XML sitemap provides search engines with a map of your site.

Title Tag
This is the meta tag that acts as the title of a page. Search engines display this in the search results pages, so we make a point to include strategic keywords in your title tags. In most situations, title tags should be around 65 characters. For a blog focusing on a long-tail keyword, the character limit may be extended.

User Experience (UX)
Much like customer experience, the user experience is how a visitor to your site feels while navigating the site and after they leave. It’s a big Google ranking factor.

Website Navigation
How your website connects its pages to help a user navigate from place to place. There may be your top navigation, which focuses on the bread and butter of your business. You might also have a secondary navigation on your blog page to help people search for relevant topics. And lastly, many websites have a footer navigation that can include both primary and secondary pages, as well as tertiary pages such as Warranty or Terms of Service.

White Hat
SEO tactics that follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Word Count
The number of words that appear in the text of a page. (Does not include words built into images.) Too little content can flag your website as being low-quality.

WordPress
A popular CMS.

Even More SEO Terms

This is by no means a comprehensive list of SEO terms. If you want to learn even more, we suggest visiting websites such as Ahrefs, Search Engine Journal, and Moz.

RELATED READING

• SEO Statistics You Have to See to Believe
• Small Business SEO: A Beginner’s Guide
• How to Choose the Best Local SEO Agency for Your Business

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Whether you’re building a new website, want to be found more easily in a Google search, or boost your conversion rate, a solid SEO strategy is crucial. We’ve been helping small business clients get more customers through SEO marketing for more than 10 years. Most of our clients are in the greater Baltimore area, including Baltimore County, Harford County, and Cecil County.

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