SEO, EXPLAINED

SEO jargon can be confusing. We feel your pain!

As a small business, we know you’re busy doing your craft, so finding the time to decode all of this jargon isn’t easy.

To help, we thought we’d break down the terminology in a simple, easy-to-understand dictionary. This resource will explain SEO in layman’s terms that the average Joe (and Jane) can understand.

Algorithm & Algorithm Updates

The algorithm is the formula for how search engines rank web pages. Google uses a lot of things to decide what the best page is and it changes often to continuously improve how it delivers “the most relevant and reliable information”. These changes are called...

Above The Fold

Once a term in newspapers, "above the fold" now refers to the top half of your website that is visible without scrolling. From a user experience perspective, try to include your most important information here so that when site visitors land on your page, they know...

Backlinks

Hyperlinks from external websites back to yours is a huge ranking component in the Google algorithm. Most commonly known as “backlinks,” earning these mentions in the form of links from authoritative sites like your local newspaper, chamber of commerce, industry...

Conversions

Online marketing essentially boils down to two things – website traffic and conversions. Conversions are the actions someone takes when interacting with your website, such as a phone call, form submission, or PDF download. Conversions are just as important, if not...

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Google Reviews

One of the most important factors to getting your Google business listing ranking in the top three spots in the local maps pack (maps listings) is the amount of reviews your business listing has. Simply search your industry plus your city on Google and you’ll most...

Heading 1

Not to get too technical, but there are various formatting options available for your website text that can impact your rankings. You should always have one Heading 1 (more commonly known as an H1) on each page or post of your site. Most often, this is the headline or...

Image Alt Text

Ever wonder how Google can tell what the image on your site is? To be honest, the search engine really can’t unless you tell it. “Image alternative text” allows you to describe your image to Google. In the media library on your website, you can add these descriptions...

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Keywords

Most commonly called “keywords”, these are just the words or phrases you want your website to show up for when searched on Google. You can use free or inexpensive tools like Ubersuggest and Google’s Keyword Planner to help determine which words/phrases get searched...

Local Citations

Often referred to as “local citations,” these are web-based listings for your business, most often in online directories like Yelp, yellowpages.com, and Nextdoor. These listings are the foundation for your local SEO because they create your business’s initial online...

Mobile Usability

Your website needs to be mobile friendly! Roughly 60% of your website’s traffic will be from a mobile device and that number is likely only to increase. Google also puts more priority on your website’s mobile version versus the desktop version. Make sure your site...

Meta Descriptions

These are the brief descriptions that show up in the Google results. They are usually 120-155 characters long. These help Internet users decide whether to click on your site or move onto the next one. Just like title tags, you can and should create a unique title tag...

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Other Headings

These are your sub-titles or sub-headlines. Since you should only ever have one H1 on your page or post, all other headlines should be in sequential formatting – H2, H3, H4. By adding these heading “tags” you’re creating a hierarchy within your content with H1...

Organic Results

This refers to the websites that show up naturally in search results on Google, Bing or other search engines. The better your SEO, the higher you will appear in the organic results. The traffic your website gets from showing up in organic results is free, compared to...

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Social Shares

While these are not as big of a ranking factor, they do signal to Google that your website content is relevant. Social signals are likes, shares, retweets, votes, and pins that other people place on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media sites. NOTE: Most...

Site Speed

Google cares how fast your website loads. And so do your customers. The slower your site loads, the more likely you are to lose viewers. Keep your website fast by keeping your image sizes low and using a cache tool on your site. A cache tool will help store...

SEM = Paid Traffic

Short for “search engine marketing,” SEM refers to online traffic you are generating through some form of paid online advertising (eg. Google Ads). The term “pay-per-click” (PPC) goes hand-in-hand with this term since most online advertising is charged on a per click...

Search Engine Optimization

More commonly known as SEO, this is the act of improving your website’s ranking on Google. For example, if you operate a landscaping business, but a search for local landscapers on Google puts you on the 3rd page from the top result, stepping up your efforts to...

Title Tags

These are the titles of your pages or blog posts. These are valuable because these are the titles that appear in the Google results. They are also what shows up at the top of a browser when you visit a webpage. Title tags help Internet users determine which page...

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Get the PDF Version!

Finding the time to decode search engine optimization terminology is not easy. To help, I thought I’d break down SEO in a simple, easy-to-understand ebook. Download it now!