Don’t know your SERPs from your URLs? Our SEO jargon buster will help you navigate the complex world of search engine optimisation with ease.
This is the permanent redirect of one web address to another – so for example, if you changed your domain from johnsmith.co.uk to smiths.co.uk, you’d want to put a 301 redirect in place so that if someone types in the old address, they get sent straight to the new one.
This one’s a temporary redirect of one web address to another. These aren’t used as frequently as 301 redirects, but can be useful if you have a webpage under construction, or a promotional page that will be removed in time.
A 404 page is what appears when a page on your website can’t be found, either because the link has been removed or because someone’s entered the link incorrectly.
All search engines use algorithms – these complex computer programs are what determines which pages get to rise to the top of the rankings. They determine how content is read and indexed, and changes to algorithms can have huge impacts on your position – for better or worse.
This is the visible text that’s used to display a link – for example, if you click on the pink words in this sentence, they’re anchor text for a blog all about hashtags and whether they actually work.
Alt text is used primarily with images. The purpose of alt text comes from the early days of the internet when images could take a long time to load, or simply fail to load – if this happened, the alt text would describe what the image was. These days, alt text is useful for search engines to identify what an image is of, and also for screen reader software to describe an image to a visually impaired person.
Every website has a certain level of authority, according to search engines – this is the trust the search engine has in your website. Google doesn’t necessarily tell you how much authority your website has, but other SEO tools have developed ways of representing your website’s authority.
When another website links to yours, this is called a backlink. Backlinks are an extremely important part of SEO, as they help search engines to determine how relevant and trusted your website is. The more relevant backlinks you have, the higher you’re likely to appear.
This is what’s used to represent how many people visit just one page on your website before backing out.
If you have a lot of similar, but not the same, pages on your website – for example, if you are a clothing brand and you have a page for each colour of a garment – you can set one page as the ‘canonical’ page. This helps search engines to understand that you aren’t just copying and pasting content onto multiple pages to try and rank better, but that you have similar pages and to treat the canonical page as the default.
CMS stands for Content Management System, and this is usually the building block behind your website, allowing you to use templates to create different pages. Systems include WordPress, Umbraco, Joomla, Perch, Drupal and many more.
Content covers a huge variety of things – text, images, video and more. Check out our blog about content marketing for a full breakdown.
This is a new initiative brought in by Google to guarantee speed and stability of websites. Read more about it in our blog on Core Web Vitals.
All search engines use programs known as crawlers to visit websites, read them and index them, which then allows the search engine to recall them later as needed.
Standing for Cascading Style Sheet, CSS is what makes your website look the way it does by defining an overall style for it.
Duplicate content is typically bad news for websites – it’s considered to be the reposting of the same content on your own website, or ripped off from another website and posted on yours. Google and other search engines don’t like duplicate content and can penalise websites that feature it heavily, but you may have legitimate reasons for having duplicate pages – see our entry on canonicalization for more information.
This is the name of Google’s own crawler! Other search engines have different names for theirs – Bing’s is called Bingbot and Baidu, the Chinese search engine, calls theirs Baiduspider.
H1 and H2 tags are the tags you use to assign text as a Heading 1 or Heading 2 style. H1 and H2 styles (as well as H3 and H4) are helpful for search engines as they enable them to better understand the hierarchy of content on a website.
This is the process that search engines use to add your website to their database, or ‘index’.
A keyword is a word or phrase that someone types into a search engine to find what they’re looking for. There are short-tail (1-3 words) and long-tail keywords (3 words or more).
This is the page that people ‘land’ on when they click on a link via a search engine or other source. Typically, landing pages are either important pages on your website or they’re specific pages you’ve constructed for people to ‘land’ on first.
Links are elements on a web page that allow you to click and be taken to another page. This could be an internal link – a page on your own website – or an external link, which goes to someone else’s website.
Meta tags are little snippets of code that sit in the header of your website and provide information for search engines. The two most important ones are the meta title, which provides the link title on Google or other search engines, and the meta description, which gives a short description of the page.
Sometimes, search engines generate these themselves depending on what will be most relevant to the searcher, but by adding a meta title and description, you can steer them in the right direction.
Nofollow is an attribute you can add to a link to make sure no authority is passed on from your website to another. It’s often used by bloggers or newspaper websites.
Noindex is a command you can include in the robots.txt document to stop search engines from indexing a specific page. There aren’t many pages you won’t want indexed, but things like shopping baskets or application pages shouldn’t be indexed.
This one does what it says on the tin – page speed is how fast a page on your website loads. Not to be confused with site speed, which is how long it takes a collection of pages to load.
Your robots.txt document contains important information that tells search engine crawlers what to index and what not to index. This little document is vital to your SEO success and if it’s set up incorrectly, can cause a lot of problems. Some CMS platforms like WordPress will sort this out for you, but it’s worth double-checking any solution that’s been put in place.
Schema markup is similar to meta tags, in that schemas are little snippets of code that tell search engines more about a page. Schema markup goes a bit deeper than your meta title and description tags however, and provides rich content details – like star ratings or reading time – to search engines and social media platforms to help enhance your links.
Search engine optimisation is the collective name for the techniques and methods people use to make their website as search engine friendly as possible.
SEM stands for search engine marketing, a blanket term covering pay-per-click advertising on search engines and SEO.
Search engine results pages, or SERPs, are the listings that come up whenever you search for something.
A sitemap is effectively a catalogue of all the pages on your website, with each link listed out. Having a sitemap can help search engines to crawl your site more effectively.
Another name for a crawler.
A static page never changes – so this could be a piece of standard information on your website, rather than a blog or a homepage that gets updated frequently.
This stands for Uniform Resource Locator – or, in other words, the technical name for a website address.
We hope our jargon buster has been helpful but if you’re still struggling to make heads or tails of the expansive world of SEO, have a chat to our experts. We’ll develop a strategy that works – visit our digital marketing services page to find out more.
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