34 SEO Terms You Need to Know

Every business has its own acronyms, terms, and jargon that, if heard by someone outside the business, would make zero sense. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is no different.

We’ve produced a list of key acronyms, terms, and phrases that you’ll need to know as you embark on your SEO journey.

  1. Algorithm: A set of rules used by search engines to determine how websites are ranked and displayed in search results.
  2. Alt Text: Descriptive text added to an image to provide context for search engines and visually impaired users.
  3. Anchor Text: The clickable text within a hyperlink, which provides context and helps search engines understand the linked page’s content.
  4. Backlink: A link from another website to your website, considered as a vote of confidence and can positively impact search engine rankings.
  5. Black Hat SEO: Unethical techniques used to manipulate search engine rankings, violating search engine guidelines.
  6. Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors who leave a website without interacting with any other pages, indicating low engagement.
  7. Canonical URL: The preferred URL of a web page when there are multiple versions with similar content, used to prevent duplicate content issues.
  8. CTR (Click-Through Rate): The percentage of users who click on a search result or advertisement after seeing it.
  9. Conversion Rate: The percentage of website visitors who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form.
  10. Crawling: The process in which search engines discover and analyze web pages by following links on websites.
  11. Domain Authority (DA): A metric that predicts the authority of a website on a scale from 1 to 100, indicating its ranking potential.
  12. Google Analytics: A free web analytics tool that provides insights into website traffic, user behavior, and performance.
  13. Header Tags: HTML tags (H1, H2, etc.) used to structure the content hierarchy on a web page and indicate the importance of headings.
  14. Indexing: The process by which search engines collect, analyze, and store web page information to make it available in search results.
  15. Internal Linking: Adding hyperlinks within a website’s content to connect different pages, improving navigation and user experience.
  16. Keyword Density: The percentage of times a keyword appears within a web page’s content in relation to the total word count.
  17. Keyword Research: The practice of identifying and analyzing the search terms that users enter into search engines to optimize content accordingly.
  18. Long-Tail Keywords: Specific and less competitive keyword phrases that target a more niche audience.
  19. Meta Description: A concise summary displayed in search results that describes the content of a web page.
  20. Mobile Optimization: The process of adapting a website to ensure it functions well and provides a good user experience on mobile devices.
  21. Nofollow: An attribute added to a link that tells search engines not to pass authority or follow the linked page.
  22. Organic Traffic: Website visitors who arrive through unpaid search engine results rather than paid advertisements.
  23. PageRank: Google’s algorithmic calculation of a web page’s authority based on the quantity and quality of backlinks it receives.
  24. Robots.txt: A text file that provides instructions to search engine crawlers on which pages or directories to crawl or exclude from crawling.
  25. SERP (Search Engine Results Page): The page displayed by a search engine that shows the results for a specific search query.
  26. Site Map: A file or page that lists and provides a hierarchical structure of all the pages on a website for search engines to crawl.
  27. Social Signals: The impact of social media engagement (likes, shares, comments) on search engine rankings.
  28. SSL Certificate: A security certificate that enables secure, encrypted communication between a web browser and a web server, enhancing user trust.
  29. Title Tag: An HTML element that specifies the title of a web page.
  30. User Experience (UX): The overall experience that a visitor has when interacting with a website, encompassing design, navigation, and usability.
  31. XML Sitemap: A file that lists all the URLs of a website, helping search engines crawl and index the site’s pages more efficiently.
  32. White Hat SEO: Ethical and legitimate techniques used to optimize websites and improve search engine rankings while following search engine guidelines.
  33. 301 Redirect: A permanent redirect from one URL to another, indicating to search engines that the original page has been permanently moved.
  34. 404 Error: A status code that appears when a web page is not found, typically due to a broken link or removed content.

Writer and digital media professional based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is most often found contributing to San Francisco Download on technology and business news.