The ABCs of SEO: A Glossary of Must-Know Terms

Understand the basics of SEO! This glossary explains confusing terms like algorithm, backlinks, keywords, and more.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a fascinating world full of strategies and tactics designed to boost your website's visibility on search engines like Google. To become an SEO pro, you need to start by understanding its unique language. Let's break down some essential terms that often trip up beginners:

  • Algorithm:
    Search engines use complex algorithms to rank websites. Think of an algorithm as a top-secret recipe with hundreds of ingredients that's constantly being updated. SEO experts spend a lot of time trying to figure out what's in this recipe so they can help websites create content that aligns with what search engines value.
  • Backlinks:
    Backlinks are like votes of confidence from other websites. When a website links to yours, it signals to search engines that others find your content valuable and relevant. Earning high-quality backlinks is essential – the more reputable sites that link to you, the more search engines will trust you.
  • Bot (or Crawler or Spider):
    Bots, also called crawlers or spiders, are automated programs sent out by search engines. They tirelessly explore the vastness of the internet, discovering new pages, reading content, and updating search engine records. Getting your website crawled is essential for appearing in search results.
  • Index:
    The index is a massive database where search engines store all the web pages they've discovered. It's like a giant digital library. To be included in search results, your website needs to be part of this index.
  • Keywords:
    Keywords are the search terms people type into Google, Bing, and other search engines. Understanding the keywords your potential visitors use is crucial – you'll want to incorporate them seamlessly into your website's content to help search engines understand what your pages are about.
  • Meta Tags:
    These are bits of code within your website that provide search engines with extra information about your pages. Here are the two most important ones:
    • Title Tag: 
      The clickable headline you see in search results. Make it compelling, include your relevant keywords, and accurately summarise what's on the page.
    • Meta Description: 
      The short summary beneath your title tag. Write it like a mini advertisement, enticing searchers to click through to your website.
  • Organic Search Results:
    These are the listings on search engine results pages (SERPs) that websites earn through relevance, not payment. SEO is all about optimizing your website to rank highly in these organic results.
  • SERP:
    Stands for "Search Engine Results Page." It's the page you see after you type a query into a search engine. SERPs often include a mix of organic results, paid advertisements, image packs, featured snippets, and more.
  • Traffic:
    Refers to the visitors coming to your website. SEO aims to increase your organic traffic – people who discover your website through search engines as opposed to social media, direct links, or other channels.

Why Does This Terminology Matter?

SEO may seem overwhelming at first, but knowing these foundational terms will make your learning journey smoother. Think of it like learning the vocabulary of a new language. Once you understand the meaning of the words, you can start putting them together to form sentences – or, in this case, crafting powerful SEO strategies!

Ready for More?

If there are other SEO terms that leave you puzzled, let me know in the comments! In upcoming posts, we'll dive deeper into more complex concepts and how to use this knowledge to make your website shine online.