SEO Glossary, Marketing & Web Design Terms
SEO Resources, Definitions & Best Practices (Updating for 2017)
Digital marketing is a constantly evolving organism. This ever-changing landscape continues to grow — shifting and adapting as we do.
Times have changed.
SEO is part of our language now.
A 301 Redirect tells search engines that a webpage no longer exists and has been moved permanently to a new location.
This is the preferred method of redirecting links if you are updating your website, restructuring the URLs, or adding a Content Management System for example.
If you are planning on redesigning an existing website, make sure to take an “inventory” of the current site’s URL structure. Then use 301 Redirects to tell the search engines the page has moved, rather than it being brand new, so you don’t lose out on old rankings.
Many business owners think that just by redesigning their website, they’ll increase traffic and sales. But if they don’t implement 301 redirects, the exact opposite will happen. Traffic and rankings will plummet.
302 Temporary Redirect
The file has been found, but is temporarily located at another URI.
This is a common way of performing a redirection, but as it relates to SEO, it is typically best to avoid using 302 redirects (or use them temporarily).
Some search engines struggle with redirect handling and due to poor processing of these 302 redirects, some search engines have allowed competing businesses to hijack the listings of competitors.
404 File Not Found Error
The server was unable to locate the URL. Sometimes this can be caused by a typo in the link or address bar, but sometimes content management systems send 404 status codes when documents actually do exist, so make sure you set up Google Webmaster Tools to see what crawl errors you do have, if any.
You may also want to create a custom 404 error page to make it easy for your visitors to search what they were looking for, or report the error to you so you can fix it.
A method in marketing research, mainly applied to website design nowadays, aimed at increasing your conversion rate.
You have a variable (such as the color of a Buy Now button), and everything else on the webpage remains the same. You show half your visitors Version A, and the other half Version B.
Let it run for a month (or some predetermined time), and take a look at the results afterwards.
Whichever version got the best results, i.e. higher clicks, conversions, etc. is the winner. You can also test things like button placement, button text, image alignment, image size, headline copy, etc.
This is a great way to quickly improve the effectiveness of each web page. You learn what works with your visitors, and therefore continually provide a good user experience, which in turn increases your conversions and sales.
Above the fold
Newspapers usually are displayed folded in half.
The stories that appear above that fold are ones the editors believe will entice people to pick up and purchase the paper. (To put it plainly).
They have well-written, attention-grabbing headlines.
Similarly, on your website, it’s ideal to have your most important content displayed above the fold. Better yet, make sure to have your call-to-action visible “above-the-fold”.
In terms of websites, the area of content initially viewable to the user without having to scroll down, is known as “above-the-fold”.
Nowadays, with people on desktops, laptops, mobile phones, etc., the varying screen sizes are almost as unique as the individuals using them.
Therefore, not only should we take into account what content is displayed above the fold, but also what device our visitors are using.
Affiliate marketing is a way to make money by promoting other people’s products. Affiliates will usually write an in-depth review of the product on their blog, for example, and use a unique URL to track the amount of click-throughs. They get paid a percentage of the purchase price when a visitor completes a transaction that initiated through that unique URL.
Some search engines may take the age of the domain into account when determining how much to trust that website. Therefore it may affect search engine rankings. Some even consider when a domain is set to expire, or related historical data, when making these determinations. A domain that has been registered a while in the past (and isn’t expiring soon) will usually be considered as more reputable (think seniority). Similarly, a domain that’s newly registered (or set to expire soon) will need to “prove” itself to the search engines that it’s not just a “fly-by-night” project.
Alexa Rank is the traffic rank of a website compared with all other websites. The lower the number, the more “popular” your website it.
While it may not be a particularly reliable metric (due to the fact that it’s based solely upon users with the Alexa toolbar installed), it can be useful for identifying and analyzing traffic trends.
Alexa is owned by Amazon.
Blind persons and most major search engines are not able to easily distinguish what is contained in an image. Using the image alt attribute allows you to help screen readers and search engines understand the function of an image by providing a text equivalent for the object.
HTML example: <img alt=”” src=”http://example.com/images/DSC1237.jpg” width=”120″ height=”140″ alt=”Downtown Ann Arbor Street Festival Holiday Lights” />
Tracking and monitoring this type of data is very important in determining what’s working (and not working) in your online marketing efforts.
An application programming interface (API) specifies how some software components should interact with each other. APIs grant access to certain software functions, databases or computer hardware. Most major search products have an API program.
The words or text that a user would click on to follow a link. If the link is an image, then the image alt attribute may act in the place of anchor text.
Search engines assume that your page is authoritative for the words that people include in links pointing at your site. When links occur naturally they typically have a wide array of anchor text combinations. Too much similar anchor text may be a considered a sign of manipulation, and thus discounted or filtered. Make sure when you are building links that you control that you try to mix up your anchor text.
HTML example of anchor text:
<a href=”http://www.tarungehani.com/”>SEO Consultant Tarun Gehani</a>
Outside of your core brand terms if you are targeting Google you probably do not want any more than 10% to 20% of your anchor text to be the same. You can use a free tool below to compare the anchor text profile of other top ranked competing sites.
See also these tools:
Author Rank (or Google Authorship) enables people to link the content they write on their site (or other sites) to their Google Plus account via rich snippets.
Google is able to credit the author with her content, and she as an individual publisher, can be seen as an authority on a particular subject based on what she writes about (and who links to her, and other ranking factors).
People who have set up rel=author will get a small profile image next to their article in the search results, which can make it more enticing for searchers to click.
An authority page is a web page that has many high quality domains linking to it, that are specifically related to the same subject matter. The higher the Page Authority, the more likely it is to rank well in search engines.
Some factors that are associated with site and page authority are site age, site history, link equity, and unique and quality content. Authority pages are well trusted and well cited by experts within their topical community.
An autoresponder is a sequence of emails that are automatically sent to your subscribers in a set order and frequency.
Autoresponders can be a great email marketing tool if set up properly. Your very first subscriber and your 1,000th subscriber will get the same exact sequence of emails, so you want to make sure you provide exceptionally valuable content. It’s also a good idea to review your autoresponders every once in a while (maybe once per quarter, or at least once per year) to make sure that the information and resources you provide within the emails are up-to-date and accurate.
Examples of email marketing software with autoresponder ability:
A backlink is an incoming link from a web page to another website. Search engines rank their results based on the number and quality of backlinks pointing to a site (among many other factors).
It is not enough to build a ton of links to your website, they must be from relevant and authoritative sources if you expect to rank near the top for competitive keywords.
Backlinks are important, so it is crucial you select someone or some company who has your best interests in mind for the longterm. Nowadays, spammy backlinks to your site can get your penalized or banned by Google.
To see a sampling of links pointing to a web page, search using “link:www.example.com” – obviously replace “www.example.com” with your website or homepage.
There, of course, will probably be other backlinks pointing to most sites besides the ones that show up when you do a “link:” search on Google (they can’t give away all their data so openly (for free)).
As people get more and more web-savvy, many banner advertisements are not as effective as they once were.
During the dot-com era, many online businesses were based on eyeballs rather than building up real value.
As a result, banner ads were mostly irrelevant to what the web user was reading, and people learned to ignore these types of ads.
Black Hat SEO
Aaron Wall of SEOBook states it quite well:
Search engines set up guidelines that help them extract billions of dollars of ad revenue from the work of publishers and the attention of searchers. Within that highly profitable framework search engines consider certain marketing techniques deceptive in nature, and label them as black hat SEO. Those which are considered within their guidelines are called white hat SEO techniques. The search guidelines are not a static set of rules, and things that may be considered legitimate one day may be considered deceptive the next.Search engines are not without flaws in their business models, but there is nothing immoral or illegal about testing search algorithms to understand how search engines work.People who have extensively tested search algorithms are probably more competent and more knowledgeable search marketers than those who give themselves the arbitrary label of white hat SEOs while calling others black hat SEOs.
When making large investments in processes that are not entirely clear trust is important. Rather than looking for reasons to not work with an SEO it is best to look for signs of trust in a person you would like to work with.
A blog, formerly known as a “web log”, is a periodically updated journal that you publish on a website. It can be for personal, for business, or even for pure entertainment.
Many blogs not only archive and categorize information, but also provide a feed to which you can subscribe, and allows for simple user interaction like leaving comments on the posts.
Blogs can grow to be quite authoritative in nature, with heavy link equity, because they give people a reason to frequently come back to their site, read their content, and link to whatever they think is interesting.
The most popular blogging platforms are WordPress and Blogger.
Some examples of “micro-blogging” include Tumblr and Twitter, and some even refer to Instagram and Pinterest as “photo-blogs.”
A blogger is the person who writes and/or updates article posts on a blog.
Blogger also refers to Google free blogging platform. It allows you to create a site on a subdomain of Blogspot.com, or to FTP content to your own domain.
If you are serious about building a brand or making money online you should publish your content to your own domain. It can be difficult to reclaim a website’s link equity and age-related-trust if you have built years of link equity into a subdomain on someone else’s website. Blogger is probably the easiest blogging software tool to use, but it lacks many some features present in other blog platforms.
WordPress is a great alternative if you visit WordPress.org (not .com). This way you can download it and use it on your own servers (instead of wordpress.com which is similar in nature to blogspot.com, as outlined above).
Many search engines allow you to perform searches that contain mathematical formulas such as AND, OR, or NOT. By default most search engines include AND with your query, requiring results to be relevant for all the words in your query.
- A Google search for SEO Consultant will return results for SEO AND Consultant.
- A Google search for “SEO Consultant” will return results for the phrase SEO Consultant.
- A Google search for SEO Consultant -India will return results containing SEO AND Consultant but NOT India.
- A Google search for intitle:”Wordpress SEO Consultant” will return containing WordPress SEO Consultant in the Title.
- A Google search for inurl:”Wordpress SEO Consultant” will return containing WordPress SEO Consultant in the URL.
Some say: Marketing is what you do, branding is what you are.
Branding is the emotion response associated with your company and/or its products. It’s what people remain about you, what sets you apart, what makes you unique.
A brand is built through consistency, setting expectations for your customers and the social interactions between customers. Building a brand is what allows you to move away from commodity based pricing and move toward higher margin value based pricing.
A Breadcrumb is a navigational technique used to help search engines and website users understand the relationship between pages.
Whatever page the user is on is unlinked, but the pages above it within the site structure are linked to, and organized starting with the home page, right on down through the site structure.
A broken link is a hyperlink which is not functioning. A link which does not lead to the desired location. Links may broken for a number of reason, but four of the most common reasons are
- a website going offline
- linking to content which is temporary in nature
- moving a page’s location
- changing a domain’s content management system
Most large websites have some broken links, but if too many of a site’s links are broken it may be an indication of outdated content, and it may provide website users with a poor user experience. Both of which may cause search engines to rank a page as being less relevant.
Before making large purchases consumers typically research what brands and products fit their needs and wants. Keyword-based search marketing allows you to reach consumers at any point in the buying cycle.
The buying cycle may consist of the following stages
- Problem Discovery: prospect discovers a need or want.
- Search: after discovering a problem look for ways to solve the need or want. These searches may contain words which revolve around the core problem the prospect is trying to solve or words associated with their identity.
- Evaluate: may do comparison searches to compare different models, and also search for negative information like product sucks, etc.
- Decide: look for information which reinforces your view of product or service you decided upon.
- Purchase: may search for shipping related information or other price related searches. Purchases may also occur offline.
- Reevaluate: some people leave feedback on their purchases. If a person is enthusiastic about your brand they may cut your marketing costs by providing free highly trusted word of mouth marketing.
Many webmasters use inconsistent link structures throughout their site that cause the exact same content to get indexed under multiple URLs.
Examples of URLs which may contain the same information, in spite of being at different web addresses:
The canonical version of any URL is the single most authoritative version indexed by major search engines. Search engines typically use PageRank or a similar measure to determine which version of a URL is the canonical URL.
Webmasters should use consistent linking structures throughout their sites to ensure that they funnel the maximum amount of PageRank at the URLs they want indexed.
Content Management System. Tool used to help make it easy to update and add information to a website.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems currently used on the web.
With WordPress, you can easily add new pages and blog posts to your site even if you don’t know how to code. (To customize it to your liking and/or business needs, you might want to hire a professional).
A conversion is reached when a desired goal is completed.
Here are a few examples:
- a product sale
- completing a lead form
- a phone call
- capturing an email
- filling out a survey
- getting a person to pay attention to you
- getting feedback
- having a site visitor share your website on their social networks
- having a site visitor link to your site
Many forms of online advertising are easy to track. Bid management, affiliate tracking, and web analytics programs make it easy to track conversion sources.
Most offline ads have generally been much harder to track than online ads. Some marketers use custom phone numbers or coupon codes to tie offline activity to online marketing.
CPA – Cost Per Action
An action may be anything from an filling out a lead form to buying a product. The Cost Per Action is determined by taking the ad spend divided by the percentage of conversions.
For example, let’s say you purchased $1000 in ads and received 1000 clicks, of which 10 people turned into customers. The Cost Per Action would be $100. ($1000 total spend / 10 customers).
CPC – Cost Per Click
Many search ads are sold in auctions where the advertiser is charged a certain price per click.
You, as the advertiser, can bid your maximum cost-per-click (for example, $5 per click), and that number will determine where your ad is placed. (In theory, the higher CPC bid for a certain keyword, the higher your advertisement will be placed, but there are other variables as well).
The crawl depth is how deeply a website is crawled and indexed by the search engines. Search queries which are longer in length tend to be more targeted in nature, so it is important to try to get most or all of a site indexed such that the deeper pages have the ability to rank for relevant long tail keywords. A large site needs adequate link equity in order to get deeply indexed.
CTA – Call to Action
A call-to-action, or CTA, is a line of text, a button or an image that prompts your visitors to perform a desired action.
The CTA is the part of a marketing message that attempts to persuade a person to take action, so it should directly relate to the information on the page and the problem or pain-points that the visitor has.
Delisting is when a web page or website is removed from the search engine index, usually for violating the search engine terms of service. This can be a temporary delisting, or permanent, depending on the severity of the infraction.
Delisting may be due to any of the following:
- Engaging in Black Hat SEO or spamming techniques
- Duplicate content
- Thin content, or sites with relatively low value-add
- Pages which have changed location and are not properly redirected may be temporarily de-indexed
- Pages which are down when a search engine attempts to crawl them may be temporarily de-indexed
- Pages on brand new websites (or with low link authority) may be temporarily de-indexed until the search engine does a deep spidering and re-caching of the website
It’s also good to keep in mind:
- During some algorithm updates search engines readjust their crawl priorities.
- You need a significant number of high quality links to get a large website well indexed and keep it well indexed.
- If a website is editorially removed by a human you may need to contact the search engine directly to request reinclusion.
A dedicated server is a single server which is devoted to serving one website (or a small collection of sites) owned by a single person. A dedicated server is usually needed for a website (or set of related company sites) that garner a significant amount of traffic (millions of visits per day). Dedicated servers tend to be more reliable than shared servers, though may be unnecessary for your common website.
Dedicated servers usually cost about $500 per month, whereas virtual servers typically run from about $5 – $50 per month.
Deep linking refers to a link which points to an internal page of a website. Another way of saying it is any page on your site which is not the home page. Traditionally it is thought that the deeper link is more valuable, as long as the page it is linked from is similar in topic.
When you request links from other websites it makes sense to request a link from their most targeted relevant page to your most targeted relevant page. When links grow naturally typically most high quality websites have many links pointing at interior pages.
Directories are categorized catalogs of websites, typically manually organized by topical editorial experts. If a directory does not exercise editorial control over listings search engines will not be likely to trust their links at all.
Directories used to be a much more significant ranking factor than they are today. You’ll still get good link juice if you get listed in a long-established directory such as DMOZ, the Yahoo! Directory or Best of The Web but that can be hard for new websites these days.
Some directories cater to specific niche topics, while others are more comprehensive in nature. Smaller and less established general directories likely pull less weight.
Domain Name System is a hierarchical naming mechanism used to help resolve a domain name / host name to a specific TCP/IP Address.
It works transparently in the background, converting human-readable website names into computer-readable numerical IP addresses.
A DoFollow link is one which has the “rel=nofollow” attribute removed. This type of link will pass link juice/equity to another website or page on a website.
Conversely, a NoFollow link tells the search engines not to pass link equity from one web page to another, but still links these pages so that a human visitor can click through for related information.
Domain Authority is determined in part by the number of root domains which link to different pages on your website (rather than getting all links pointing directly to your homepage).
A domain name (for example, “tarungehani.com”) is used to identify one or more IP addresses. They are used in URLs to identify particular web pages.
Every domain name has a suffix that indicates which top level domain (TLD) it belongs to.
.gov – Government agencies
.edu – Educational institutions
.org – Organizations
.com – Commercial business
Content which is duplicate or near duplicate in nature. Search engines do not want to index multiple versions of the same content, so they may “hide” or push down in the results certain pages.
Though this is not technically a penalty, it still could negatively effect your website as searchers may not come across your site if they can’t find you in the search results. Always think about how you can add value for your visitors, instead of rehashing the same material as other websites.
Also keep in mind that certain CMS platforms will serve up the same content on multiple pages (for example, a blog post that is in two different categories — such as “Events” and “Updates” — may be accessible in three different ways: the original blog post permalink, the events category (example.com/category/events) and the updates category).
Did you know that roughly 25% of the entire web’s content is duplicate?
An editorial link is one that results form having good quality content. A website owner or a content writer will link to another site or web page as a resource for the article they are writing, therefore dubbed an editorial link. It is placed within the body of content and occurs naturally.
As search engines count links as “votes” of quality, they primarily want to count editorial links that were earned, versus links that were paid for or bartered for.
An email client, email reader, or more formally mail user agent, is a computer program used to access and manage a user’s email.
In addition, a web application that provides message management, composition, and reception functions is sometimes also considered an email client, but more commonly referred to as webmail.
Popular locally installed email clients include Microsoft Outlook, IBM Lotus Notes, and Apple’s Mail.
Popular web-based email clients include: Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.
Email marketing is the promotion of products or services via email, with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current, past or potential customers. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It usually involves sending helpful articles or blog posts to build trust, loyalty, or brand awareness, and can also be used to directly solicit sales or donations.
Also during holiday season you’ll find an increase in email marketing offering exclusive sales or discounts in hopes of converting sales immediately.
The page which a user enters your site. If you are buying pay per click ads it is important to send visitors to the most appropriate and targeted page associated with the keyword they searched for. If you are doing link building it is important to point links at your most appropriate page when possible such that
- if anyone clicks the link they are sent to the most appropriate and relevant page
- you help search engines understand what the pages on your site are associated with
An external link is one that points to a website other than the one you are currently viewing. Linking out to other related resources is a good way to help search engines understand what your site is about. If you link out to lots of low quality sites or primarily rely on low quality reciprocal links some search engines may not rank your site very well. Search engines are more likely to trust high-quality editorial links (both to and from your site).
Flash is a vector graphic based multimedia animation software which makes it easier for websites to appear interactive and rich in nature.
There are a few problems using flash on your website nowadays. For one, the search engines have a hard time properly indexing and ranking flash websites because flash typically contains so little relevant content.
Number Two, flash websites do not display on Apple devices such as iPhone and iPad and therefore perform a bad user experience.
Google and other search engines put some prevalence on websites that produce fresh content. And by this we mean, updating your blog with new posts, and continually working toward adding new research, case studies and other resources to your site and for its user base.
This type of content (that which is dynamic in nature) gives people a reason to pay attention to you (and keep coming back for more).
The benefits of fresh content, according to Aaron Wall:
- Maintain and grow mindshare: If you keep giving people a reason to pay attention to you more and more people will pay attention to you, and link to your site.
- Faster idea spreading: If many people pay attention to your site, when you come out with good ideas they will spread quickly.
- Growing archives: If you are a content producer then owning more content means you have more chances to rank. If you keep building additional fresh content eventually that gives you a large catalog of relevant content.
- Frequent crawling: Frequently updated websites are more likely to be crawled frequently.
File Transfer Protocol is a protocol for transferring data between computers.
Many content management systems (such as blogging platforms) include FTP capabilities.
Web development software such as Dreamweaver also comes with FTP capabilities.
There are also a number of free or cheap FTP programs such as FileZilla.
Google AdSense is an advertising program whereby website publishers can display text, image or video advertisements from advertisers in the network, and share the profits from those ad clicks with Google.
AdSense can be a great monetization tactic for your website, given you have a large amount of consistent, highly-targeted traffic that would be interested in the ads displayed on your site.
Google AdWords is an advertisement and link auction network. Most of Google’s ads are keyword targeted and sold on a cost per click basis in an auction which factors in ad clickthrough rate as well as landing page design and quality score.
AdWords is Google’s primary source of revenue, and accounted for 97% of revenue in 2010-2011 (or over $32 billion)!
Google Keyword Research Tool
Keyword research tool provided by Google (now reworked into the Keyword Planner) which estimates the competition for a keyword, recommends related keywords, and will tell you what keywords Google thinks are relevant to your site or a page on your site.
A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the hash or pound sign (#) used to identify similar messages on a specific topic.
It started on Twitter in 2009 when all hashtags in tweets were hyperlinked to Twitter search results for the hashtagged word, and in 2010 Twitter introduced “Trending Topics” on the front page, displaying the most popular hashtags in real-time. Soon Facebook adopted the practice as well, and you can now use hashtags from within your status updates (as well as on Instagram and other social networks).
Headings – Header Tags – H1 – H6
On a web page, the heading element briefly describes the subject of the section it introduces. Heading elements go from H1 to H6 with the lower numbered headings being most important. You should only use a single H1 element on each page, and may want to use multiple other heading elements to structure a document.
The main page on your website, which is largely responsible for helping develop your brand and setting up the navigational schemes that will be used to help users and search engines navigate your website.
As far as SEO goes, a home page is typically going to be one of the easier pages to rank for some of your more competitive terms, largely because it is easy to build links at a home page. You should ensure your homepage stays focused and reinforces your brand though, and do not assume that most of your visitors will come to your site via the home page. If your site is well structured and offers valuable content, many other pages on your site will likely be far more popular and rank better than your home page for relevant queries.
HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. It is the coding language in which pages on the World Wide Web are created.
HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol and is the foremost used protocol to communicate between servers and web browsers. Hypertext transfer protocol is the means by which data is transferred from its residing location on a server to an active browser.
Designing, categorizing, organizing, and structuring content in a useful and meaningful way. Good information architecture considers how both humans and search engines access the website. Information architecture suggestions:
- focus each page on a specific topic
- use descriptive page titles and meta descriptions which describe the content of the page
- use clean (few or no variables) descriptive file names and folder names
- use headings to help break up text and semantically structure a document
- use breadcrumb navigation to show page relationships
- use descriptive link anchor text
- link to related information from within the content area of your web pages
- improve conversion rates by making it easy for people to take desired actions
- avoid feeding search engines duplicate or near-duplicate content
An inbound link is an incoming link from another website to a webpage on yours. It’s also referred to as a backlink.
Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content (through blogs, podcasts, videos, ebooks, newsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media, etc.> that pulls people towards your company and products, instead of “push” marketing (such as TV, radio, newspaper ads).
Inbound marketing highly effective for doing business online mainly because people have become more and more savvy to the old advertising techniques. People don’t want to be interrupted with your message. Rather, they will find it on their own terms when they’re searching Google, asking their friends for recommendations on social networks, etc. The more in tune you can get with their needs and desires, the better chance you’ll have at reaching them in the most important stage: when they’re looking for the exact product or service that you offer.
By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.
One definition of index refers to the root of a folder on a web server.
The other definition refers to the collection of data stored in a catalog. The search engines, for example, have billions of documents in their catalogs and are constantly evolving their algorithm to determine the best results to display when a user performs a search.
An internal link is a link from one page on a site to another page on the same site. It is preferential to use descriptive internal linking to make it easy for search engines to understand what your website is about. Use consistent navigational anchor text for each section of your site, emphasizing other pages within that section. Place links to relevant related pages within the content area of your site to help further show the relationship between pages and improve the usability of your website.
A keyword is the word or phrase that someone using a search engine types in to find your website.
Long tail and brand related keywords are typically worth more than shorter and vague keywords because they typically occur later in the buying cycle and are associated with a greater level of implied intent.
An old measure of search engine relevancy based on how prominent keywords appeared within the content of a page. Keyword density is no longer a valid measure of relevancy over a broad open search index though. When people use keyword stuffed copy it tends to read mechanically (and thus does not convert well and is not link worthy), plus some pages that are crafted with just the core keyword in mind often lack semantically related words and modifiers from the related vocabulary (and that causes the pages to rank poorly as well).
Example keyword discovery methods:
- using keyword research tools
- looking at analytics data or your server logs
- looking at page copy on competing sites
- reading customer feedback
- placing a search box on your site and seeing what people are looking for
- talking to customers to ask how and why they found and chose your business
Keyword Research Tools
Tools which help you discover potential keywords based on past search volumes, search trends, bid prices, and page content from related websites.
Short list of the most popular keyword research tools:
In the old days, people used to try and rank websites (sometimes successfully) by stuffing their targeted keyword into their headings, meta descriptions and content a bunch of times. This not only makes for a poor user experience, it is horrible for conversions. It begs the question: what’s the point of ranking high on the SERPs if you aren’t converting any of your traffic into customers?
Instead of writing copy that uses your primary keyword an excessive amount of time, you’d probably be better off concentrating on solving your users’ problems and showing them the benefits of your products or services.
Some people define a landing page as any page on which a visitor arrives to your site after clicking a link or an advertisement. I like to categorize those pages as just regular “web pages.”
I prefer to use the term “landing page” as to describe a page in which has a little more strategy behind it. Usually when paying for Google AdWords or taking the time to promote a particular product or service, you want to steer prospects to a specific landing page, in which you can either capture contact information (a lead) or convert them into a customer.
Typically, a landing page should be very relevant to the keyword or search phrase someone used to find your ad (or relevant to the content it was linked from). It will highlight some benefits or address some pain points a prospect has, and then can have a lead capturing form.
What makes a landing page effective? Traditionally the following:
- Limit Navigation
- Deliver Value
- Enable Sharing
- Keep It Short
- Test, Test, Test
A link is a reference to another document (or another position in the same document). Most search engines consider links as “votes” of trust, and use them along with other factors to determine the ordering of search engine results.
Not to be confused with link building, Link Baiting is a term used to describe the art of creating, formatting and promoting information to provoke or encourage other people to link to your website.
Most recently, there has been an influx of infographic design to do just this. If you search online for infographics, you will see that many of them are really poor quality, so therefore are not effective as a link baiting technique. Before they became so popular, they may have been more effective because of their newness. They can still be very effective, as long as the data is compelling and the design is stellar.
Link Building is the process of building high quality links that search engines will evaluate to trust your website as authoritative, relevant, and trustworthy.
A few general link building tips:
- create high-quality, value-added, link-worthy, unique content
- reach out to bloggers, journalists, and other highly-influencial people in your industry before you need them
- give away your best content for free
- do good work
- focus your efforts on getting high quality editorial links
- create link bait
- get deep links
- mix up your anchor text
- a majority of your links should point to internal pages, not your home page
- do things that people would naturally want to talk about
- make it easy for them to link to you
Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases composed of three or more words that collectively are more specific than a single keyword. They are more likely to convert to sales than shorter, more generic keywords because there is traditionally less competition for them, therefore they are highly cost-effective and high-performing for both paid and organic search.
An Internet Meme (pronounced with a long “E”, rhymes with “scream”) is an idea or piece of content that spreads from person to person, changing or evolving along the way as it gains traction.
“Marketers have realized that traditional advertising isn’t working … It’s not just how many people saw your ad on TV; it’s how many views and shares it got online,” says Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger.
A piece of content that spreads but does not change, is loosely known as viral content.
The meta description tag is usually a sentence or two, which aims to describe the content of a web page. It is displayed as part of the search result, and helps add context to the title tag.
When you perform a search online, the results are listed with the title in blue, black text underneath (which is the meta description), and the page’s URL in green below.
While the meta description may not affect the ranking of your web page, it is highly influential to a user in determining the relevancy to their search query, and therefore significantly affects your click-through rate.
If the website owner has not specified a meta description for that page, the search engines will display a description of the page by extracting content that it deems as relevant to the particular search query.
A good meta description should:
- be relevant and unique to the page
- reinforce the page’s title
- include secondary keywords
- entice users to click-through to your site
A method in marketing research where multiple variables in a control scenario are simultaneously changed and the ensuing alternate strategies tested, in order to improve the effectiveness of the final marketing strategy.
Natural Language Processing
Of course, this is an on-going process in which the search engine algorithms are constantly being updated to reflect advances in natural language processing, understanding, and human-computer interaction.
The navigation of your website should help visitors understand where they are and what you do in a moment’s notice.
It is best to keep it simple and use regular HTML so that the search engines can read and index it as well.
Also consider using your main keywords instead of blanket terms such as “Products” or “Services”.
The NoFollow Link is an attribute attached to a link to prevent it from passing link authority. It is commonly used on sites with user-generated content, such as blog comments, though also may be used in a robots meta tag to prevent search engines from counting any outbound links on a page.
Open source software is software which is distributed with its source code available so that developers can modify or add on to it as they see fit. On the web, open source is a great strategy for quickly building immense exposure and mindshare.
Organic Search Results
Search engines return results that consist of paid ads and unpaid listings. The unpaid listings are called the organic search results, and are based upon link data, page content, usage data, and historical domain and trust related data. Most clicks on search results are on the organic search results. Some studies have shown that around 75% of clicks (or more) are on the organic search results versus the paid ads.
An outbound link is a link from one website pointing out to another (external) website.
Linking out to useful, relevant, related documents is an easy way to help search engines understand what your website is about. If you reference other resources it also helps you build credibility and leverage the work of others without having to do everything yourself. Some webmasters track where their traffic comes from, so if you link to related websites they may be more likely to link back to your site.
Page Rank (PR)
PageRank is a link analysis algorithm, named after Google co-founder Larry Page, which estimates the importance of web documents.
It assigns a numerical weight or value to each element of a hyper-linked set of documents, with the purpose of measuring its relative importance within the set.
Personalized search is showing different search results to different people based on a person’s location, search history, content they recently viewed, or other factors relevant to them on a personal level.
Personalized search uses each searcher’s past behavior to try to understand intent and what is relevant to them.
A measure of how close words are to one another in context of content on a page. A page which has words near one another may be deemed to be more likely to satisfy a search query containing both terms. If keyword phrases are repeated an excessive number of times, and the proximity is close on all the occurrences of both words it may also be a sign of unnatural (and thus potentially low quality) content.
A quality link is simply one in which the search engines trust more, or apply more weight to. This can be for a number of factors including:
- If the link is from a highly trustworthy page or website (i.e. .edu, .gov, or established, authoritative site)
- If the link is hard to get, a search engine may trust it more, and your competitor will have a difficult time trying to gain a similar valued link
- If the link comes from an aged domain (some search engines may trust links from older resources, or links that have existed for a long time vs. brand new links or links from newer resources)
- If there are links to other, topically-related authoritative websites on the same page as the link to your webpage, the search engines may associate these links together, and use this “co-citation” as a ranking factor
- If the link is from a related page or related website, it will count more than links from unrelated sites
- If the link is from within the content of a page (vs. a sidebar or “links page”), it will count more
Some searchers may refine their search query if they deemed the results as being irrelevant. Similarly, most search engines suggest other related search queries if they deem them relevant to the goals of the searcher.
Query refinement is therefore both a manual and an automated process.
Search engines may also automatically refine queries using the following techniques:
- Google OneBox: promotes a vertical search database near the top of the search result. For example, if image search is relevant to your search query images may be placed near the top of the search results.
- Spell Correction: offers a did you mean link with the correct spelling near the top of the results.
- Inline Suggest: offers related search results in the search results. Some engines also suggest a variety of related search queries.
Some search toolbars also aim to help searchers auto complete their search queries by offering a list of most popular queries which match the starting letters that a searcher enters into the search box.
A reciprocal link is a mutual link exchange between two websites (“I’ll link to you if you link to me.”)
This won’t really help your rankings if that is its sole purpose. When websites link naturally, there is going to be some amount of cross-linking within a topic community, but if most of your links are reciprocal in nature, the search engines will catch on and assume it a sign of ranking manipulation.
Really, these types of links probably don’t pass much link authority, and often add more risk than reward.
Quality reciprocal link exchanges may not be a bad thing, if done with value-add as its purpose, but most reciprocal link offers are of low quality.
Reputation management is the act of ensuring your brand related keywords display results which reinforce your brand.
The concept was initially intended to broaden public relations outside of media relations, but as the Internet and social media became more popular, the meaning has shifted to focus not only on media-generated PR, but also user-generated content on review sites, social media, and other sites that show up top in the search results when someone searches for your brand.
Good practice is to openly respond to customer complaints to try and make it right, and use online feedback (or user-generated content) to influence product development.
SEM – Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing includes everything you do to market your website in the search engines, though sometimes it refers to strictly the paid inclusion efforts, such as PPC ads. In this case, Search Engine Marketing includes paid ads, and Search Engine Optimization refers to all your efforts besides buying ads (such as creating content, building links, optimizing on-page elements, etc.).
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is the art and science of publishing information and marketing it in a manner that helps search engines understand your information is relevant to relevant search queries. SEO consists largely of keyword research, SEO copywriting, information architecture, link building, brand building, building mindshare, and reputation management.
SEO Copywriting is writing and formatting copy in a way that will help your webpage appear relevant to your targeted keywords. This may include incorporating your targeted keyword in your Title, Header, and Meta Tags, as well as using it in elements such as Image Alt Text and from within your body copy.
But make no mistake: arguably the most important aspect of writing for the web is engaging your readers. Giving the valuable information and satisfying their need for answers to their questions. After all, the search engines are tasked with returning the most relevant results for a user’s search query. If your web page satisfies their need, addresses their need, you will have a much easier time getting a better search position.
Write exceptional headlines. Encourage people to share. If enough people link to your pages it will rank for many relevant queries even if the keywords are not in the page titles.
SERP – Search Engine Results Page
The Search Engine Results Page is a list of links to web pages that’s displayed after you type in a search query. It’s generally a list of the top 10 web pages, ranked from most popular to least popular, according to the search algorithm’s relevancy ranking.
Most times it will also include a few paid ads above the organic listings, as well as more ads on the right-hand sidebar.
Depending on the context of the search, the SERP will have other listings besides plain text links. These can include images, videos, products, maps, reviews, local listings, etc.
A site map is a list of pages of a website, typically organized in hierarchical fashion. It serves two main purposes: one, to act as an alternative route for users to navigate through your site, and two, to help search engines properly crawl and index your site. (A site map can also be a sketch or planning tool in web design for laying out your website’s pages or site structure).
- On large websites the on page navigation should help search engines find all applicable web pages.
- On large websites it does not make sense to list every page on the site map, just the most important pages.
- Site maps can be used to help redistribute internal link authority toward important pages or sections, or sections of your site that are seasonally important.
- Site maps can use slightly different or more descriptive anchor text than other portions of your site to help search engines understand what your pages are about.
- Site maps should be created such that they are useful to humans, not just search engines.
Most browsers come with the ability to bookmark your favorite pages. Many web based services have also been created to allow you to bookmark and share your favorite resources. The popularity of a document (as measured in terms of link equity, number of bookmarks, or usage data) is a signal for the quality of the information. Some search engines may use bookmarks to help aid their search relevancy.
Feature rich or elegantly designed beautiful web page which typically offers poor usability and does not offer search engines much content to index. Make sure your home page has relevant content on it if possible.
Content which does not change frequently. May also refer to content that does not have any social elements to it and does not use dynamic programming languages.
- If you keep building content every day (or week) you eventually build a huge archive of content
- By frequently updating your content you keep building mindshare, brand equity, and give people fresh content worth linking to
The title element is used to describe the contents of a document.
The title is one of the most important aspects of doing SEO on a web page. Each page title should be:
- Unique to that page
- 65 Characters or less
- Include most important words first
Page titles appear in search results as the links searchers click on. In addition many people link to documents using the official document title as the link anchor text. Thus, by using a descriptive page title you are likely to gain descriptive anchor text and are more likely to have your listing clicked on.
TrustRank is a link analysis technique described in a paper by Stanford University and Yahoo! researchers for semi-automatically separating useful webpages from spam. This search relevancy algorithm places additional weight on links from trusted websites that are run by major corporations, educational institutions, or governmental institutions.
Usability is how easy it is for visitors to perform the desired actions on your website (or web app).
The structure and formatting of text and hyperlink based calls to action can drastically increase your website usability, and thus your conversion rates.
UX – User Experience
User experience is the overall experience of a person using a product such as a website or computer application, esp. in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use.
Moreover, UX encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.
Viral marketing is a method of product promotion that relies on getting customers to market an idea, product, or service for you. Usually the idea spreads on by them telling their friends about it via email, blogging, word-of-mouth, social media, etc. and as the idea spreads, it helps market your business or cause with relatively little effort on your part (besides the initial effort of ideation or creation).
A server which allows multiple domains to be hosted from a single computer. Using a virtual server can save money for smaller applications, but dedicated hosting should be used for large commercial platforms. Most domains are hosted on virtual servers, but using a dedicated server on your most important domains should add server reliability, and could be seen as a sign of quality. Dedicated servers usually run from $100 to $500 a month. Virtual servers typically run from $5 to $50 per month.
A web browser, also commonly referred to as a “browser”, is a software application for retrieving and presenting information on the world wide web.
The most popular browsers are Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome and Opera.
White Hat SEO
Search engines set up guidelines that help them extract billions of dollars of ad revenue from the work of publishers and the attention of searchers. Within that highly profitable framework search engines consider certain marketing techniques deceptive in nature, and label them as black hat SEO. Those which are considered within their guidelines are called white hat SEO techniques. The search guidelines are not a static set of rules, and things that may be considered legitimate one day may be considered deceptive the next.
WordPress is the world’s most popular open source blogging software platform, powering roughly 20% of websites worldwide.
It is made up of a core framework, of which Themes and Plugins can be built upon it. Many site owners enjoy using WordPress because of its ease of set up, relatively quick and painless updates, and easy-of-use (without having to know any coding/programming or much design).
If you are serious about building a brand or making money online you should publish your content to your own domain (use WordPress.org to download the software instead of using the hosted version at WordPress.com). It can be hard to reclaim a website’s link equity and age related trust if you have built years of link equity into a subdomain on someone else’s website. Plus, you may be limited in ability or resources if your website is built on a subdomain on someone else’s website. (This is the same reason why I don’t recommend using a free site builder and/or free hosting).
There are many limitations to hosting with WordPress.com:
- Limited to WordPress.com themes
- No custom plugins
- Storage Space limit: 3GB and no videos (unless you pay more)
- Limited control of content – unless you pay to remove ads
- You cannot use any custom plugins or custom themes
- No FTP access to your files for security reasons
I would highly recommend instead, you set up a WordPress site on your own server, (meaning, download the free software and pay a hosting provider, versus using the free hosting at wordpress.com) because you’ll have the freedom to do whatever you want with it.
- Use any free or commercial plugin you want
- Add and edit files via FTP
- Tweak WordPress and server settings to improve performance
- Full control of your content – no ads