SEO made simple Part 1 – Glossary of SEO Terms
I’m sometimes so enthralled in the search world that I get carried away with terms like “link building” and “organic visibility”, when a person asking me a simple question like “how are you”, really just wanted to know how I am without being bombarded with all these seo terms and search jargon.
To give you more context, I’m a SEO strategist (SEO = Search Engine Optimization). That’s just a fancy way of saying – I help sites gain higher rankings on search engines which leads to higher traffic, hence conversions. Although, in recent years, that job title also encompasses social media optimization, inbound marketing and overall management of all online channels. Frankly, I fear that side of my brain never quite turns off. From chatting with a local gym owner to helping my friend launch her e-commerce consignment shop, I’m always finding ways to better their online presence so more people can find out about them.
What often comes out of those conversations is me explaining away excitedly while intermittently dropping SEO terms that make little sense to most people but me. Hence I present you a glossary of SEO terminology – in laymen’s (or Karen’s) terms.
aka Search Engine Optimization, but you already know that hopefully (from my intro). It means optimizing your site for both search engines and users alike, with increasing traffic as the end goal. There are numerous factors that go into why search engines rank sites the way they do. The reason why I brought up the search engines and users separately is because sometimes that’s where the disconnect happens. What we assume users can read perfectly, sometimes search engines may find hard to read. Optimization efforts aim to do both: making the content on your site very accessible to search engines, but also interesting enough to engage users and maybe entice them to act.
short form for Search Engine Marketing and Paid Search. You often see Paid Ads in the form of shaded yellow right below the search bar and above the organic search results.
Unlike organic search results, you do need to pay to show up in paid ads.
This is surely the most commonly used term tied to SEO. What is often referred to here is organic search rankings, which simply means where your site is placed in organic search results in the form of 1st position, 2nd position etc. Obviously, top positions get the highest visibility and will likely entice the most clicks. In fact, a study done by an online network Chitika confirms that no.1 position in organic search gets as much as 33% of traffic, followed by 18% of traffic in no. 2 position.
Traffic to a site can come from many sources. This is a simple breakdown that Google Analytics also displays (on a side note: any site owner should get access to GA as soon as they can. All GA data is only available the moment you verify the site and the GA tag is in place. )
1) Direct: traffic from a user who types in the URL directly in the browser or assesses the page through a bookmark.
2) Organic: traffic from searching and clicking on organic search results
3) Referral: traffic from referring sites that may have a “clickable link” that takes users from their sites to your site
4) Paid: traffic from paid ad sources
5) Social: traffic from social media sites
I like Moz’s analogy (Moz.com – an authority that has a lot of weight in the SEO industry and a wealth of information ): “links are the streets between pages”. If the internet is a city made up of houses (websites), links connect these houses together, hence search engines can draw up the city’s map in this analogy. Links are passed from one website to the next and that’s how search engines understand the web of sites and their associations.
Links can also convey a ton of other metrics like trust, spam and authority. The web operates a bit like high school. The popular kid (authoritative sites) will get a lot of love from other kids in school (links from other sites). The quality of links do matter in this case. If you’re running an e-commerce site in the UK, getting thousands of links from a random site in the Philippines would’t look very legit. Actually, Google may even find that suspicious and penalize you. That’s only a small portion of what the Penguin algorithm updates hope to do- fight spam and bad link building practice.
These are all the SEO terms I want to get through for now. If you’ve made it to this point, you’re either not turned off by my cheesy analogies or you must be very interested in learning more about SEO. Keep your eyes peeled for part 2!
For the time being, got any cool things to share or any questions you want to ask? Please leave it in the comments below!