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Demystifying Digital Marketing – You must know these SEO terms

In our introductory post (Part 1), we covered the basics of SEO. This post is aimed at helping you take charge of your business’ SEO practices and help you understand;

  • Part 2 – Commonly used SEO jargon and their definitions
  • Part 3 – How to build an SEO-friendly site
  • Part 4 – The importance of content in SEO

Commonly used SEO jargon and their definitions

The list of SEO jargon is never ending. However, we are hand-picking the top terms a business founder needs to be familiar with.

a) Title Tag

To jump right in, the title tag of the page you’re on at this moment is called: “Demystifying Digital Marketing – SEO in depth “. It is as important and SEO parameter as any. It is as good as landing lights for an aeroplane in the night sky. It literally tells the search engines what the page is about. That’s why some thought must go into coming up with a good title tag.

From the user’s perspective, there is only one place you can see the title tag, that’s on the browser’s tab.

b) On-Page SEO

SEO has two major elements: “On-page” and “Off-page”.

On-page is simply everything you do on your website/page to improve its search rankings.

Some examples of on-page SEO are making your site load faster, Keeping tabs on keyword usages, tuning the HTML structure, improving title tags and descriptions, improving the internal linking structure (this is the way your pages are connected/linked to each other), etc.

c) Off-Page SEO

Off-page in particular comprise any action you do outside your website to optimise or better your website’s rankings in search results.

In off-page SEO, the most important action one could take would be link building.

d) Link Building

Simply put, link building is the process of getting genuine and worthy backlinks to your page. For instance, if you reach out to someone who publishes articles and they agree to mention the link to your website or any link from your website, then you’re link building.

e) Organic Search

When you visit any search engine, for instance, www.google.com, type in a search phrase and click search, you are indulging in an organic search.

That is because, neither did you click on an ad to get to a certain website nor did you navigate to that website through a backlink on another site, instead you directly typed it in the search bar, saw the search results and ended up on the webpage. By doing this, you just conducted an organic search and ended up on that website. You are part of the organic traffic for that website.

f) Organic Search Results

When you conduct a search on any search engine, often you see the results in two columns. The column on the right displays the paid results (meaning, someone has paid the search engine to be shown there. In Google, its AdWords). The left column displays the organic search results.

The SEO game is all about appearing on top of this left column. The organic search results column.

g) Backlinks

Might have a negative ring to it but is one of the most important ways to increase your quality score. But tread carefully.

Backlink is basically a link present on another site/portal, other than yours, that points back to your site. Backlinks are one of the most important factors for SEO. Getting a lot of backlinks with relevant anchor texts is the most effective and shortest way of improving your search engine rankings.

Warning: Do not try to force fit backlinks, search engines can see right through you. They have to be genuinely placed by someone who likes your content or offerings. Spamming other portals with backlinks could negatively affect your SEO rankings.

h) Page Rank

Page Rank or PR is an algorithm created by Google to calculate the relevance of a given website. How it actually works is rather a mystery but one of the key deciding factors is the number of backlinks a site has and the Page Ranks of the sites that mention the backlink. So technically, the more backlinks you have from websites that have a high Page Rank, the better your Page Rank will be.

i) Natural Links

Any link, in this case we mean, any other website or publication that mentions a link to any or your articles or website without you having to ask them to do it).

For instance, say you wrote a blog post about a topic that went viral and a lot of readers end up linking to that post because they really like it. All those links qualify to be termed as natural links.

j) Alt Tag

Search engines, at the moment, are not capable of deciphering what is on an image unless it is told by the uploader.

So, we use an Alt Tag. It is nothing but a simple image description that stays hidden so the search engines know what your image is about.  It makes it easier for them to fetch that image and display it to users searching for it. The alt tag is also the text that’s displayed in case the image cannot be loaded due a corrupted/missing file.

So always remember, every image on your website needs to have a few words describing what it is. Helps with SEO more than you know.

k) Anchor Text

Imagine you have your favourite book sitting on your book shelf. And you wish to point it out to someone. You would say, “[Insert book name], is my favourite book”, and point to it. The same way, every link has two parts to it, what it is (a.k.a Anchor text) and where it is (a.k.a Destination link).

For example, we would say, here is the link to “Demystifying Digital Marketing” https://www.tatopo.com/general/demystifying-digital-marketing-seo/  

You guessed it right,

Anchor Text: Demystifying Digital Marketing
Destination link: https://www.tatopo.com/general/demystifying-digital-marketing-seo/

Anchor texts help when you are trying to get a link back to your website. So always use relevant keyword(s) as the anchor text.

l) Meta Description

This is a short description of a post/blog/page mainly used by search engines but not displayed anywhere on the post/page/blog.

Here’s how it works on Google. Whenever a user searches for a particular key phrase, Google decides which website results are to be displayed, in order of priority. For each result, Google displays a title and a short description. Google has two ways of putting this description together:

While adding the meta description in your website, if it contains the keyphrase used by the user, then Google will display the meta description.

On the other hand if it doesn’t contain the keyphrase, then Google displays only a fragment of the website’s content that contains it.

m) Meta Keywords

This is a list of keywords and keyphrases for each post or blog or page used mostly by search engines. Including your main keyword in the meta keywords list might be a great practice.

n) Meta Tags

Meta tags comprise two main parameters: meta description and meta keywords. This is again only meant for search engines to know what the page is about and not for the end user. Thus, it’s advised to do it manually.

Meta tags are placed in the HEAD section of the HTML structure of your page.

o) Bounce Rate

As the name suggests, bounce rate is the rate at which users land on your site and “bounces” away without performing any actions soon after landing. There are various reasons for this. The ad could’ve been misleading, page took too long to load, substandard content and UI, a mistaken click (very seldom), too many ads, they didn’t find what they were looking for on the landing page, your page wasn’t attractive, terrible UX, and a plethora of other reasons.

The lower the bounce rate, the better. A bounce rate of over 70% is a red flag and has to be attended to immediately.

p) Duplicate Content

Duplicate content, as the terms suggests, refers to two or more pages on your website with the exact or very similar content. It’s believed to be a bad practice for SEO. Search engines don’t like sites that use the same piece of content over and over again. And in many cases penalise the sites for it by reducing their overall quality score.

q) Breadcrumb Navigation (Breadcrumb Trail)

Borrowed from the famous children’s fairy tale Hansel & Gretel, a breadcrumb navigation refers to an indicator so the user can figure out which part/page of the website they are in. These links appear one after the other creating a sort of a trail to the previous page, making it easier for the user to know how far down the rabbit hole they have come.

Example: Home > Services > Digital Marketing > SEO

This is not only beneficial for the user but for crawling purposes as well and SEO as it furnishes a much better version of the internal link structure for sites with 10s and 100s of pages.

r) Broken Link (Dead Link)

A link that takes the user nowhere or a link that doesn’t work. This can be due to a wrongly mentioned URL, a page that was deleted or a page that was moved or renamed.

As common and probable this sounds, one must remember that this can greatly affect your SEO and drop your search engine rankings as it ideally hinders crawlers from indexing your website.

s) Call To Action (CTA)

Whenever you see an ad, an article, a post, a page, if it consist of a button that urges you to take an action immediately or otherwise, it is called a Call To Action.

This is a common SEO term as in the digital world, it is all about urging the customer to take and action when a campaign is run. The usual suspects are Buy Now, Register, Write Now, Call, Learn More, Sign Up, Enquire etc.

A clear and effective Call To Action on your landing page improves SEO by allowing visitors to dwell on the site longer by visiting more internal pages, thus reducing bounce rates.

t) Dwell Time (Time Spent on Page)

The time a visitor spends on a particular page or website post navigating from the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). No points for guessing, but the longer they spend, the better. If visitors spend a credible amount of time on a page or website, it shows that the content or UI/UX is relevant and useful to the visitors. This then should be replicated across all the communication.

On the other hand, if the dwell time is too short, it would be considered a bounce and would add up to your bounce rate.

u) Keyword Density

This phrase typically refers to the number of times a specific keyword appears in a piece of text. To calculate the density, you have to divide the number of times your keyword appears in a piece of text by the total number of words in that piece of text. Then multiply the result by 100. The final result will be a percentage.

The higher the keyword density the better, but beware of force fitting it. If you do so, then it will be penalized as it will be considered keyword stuffing.

v) Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing refers to when you take a word or phrase and repeat it unnecessarily in a piece of text to increase your keyword density score.

Stuffing your text with keywords can have really bad repercussions on your SEO tankings. So a word of advice, don’t force it.

w) 301 Redirect

Let’s look at the simplest of instances. In the case of you migrating your site to a new domain name that is more relevant to your business, but do not want to lose your SEO ranking, a 301 redirect is the best possible solution.

What it does is, inform the search engines that users searching for your old domain has changed its address permanently and have to be sent to the new one. This also means that, whatever rankings the page had, just before the migration, should be transferred to the new address.

x) Black Hat SEO

The dark side of SEO. Any SEO practice that is considered unethical, off the books, misleading or manipulative is known as Black Hat SEO. Continuous indulgance in Balck Hat SEO can greatly affect your website in the lonr run by reducing your quality score or even worse, get completely banned by search engines.

As you guessed, the opposite of Black Hat SEO where all the practices are by the book and ethical is known as White Hat SEO.

y) Click Through Rate (CTR)

A metric that shows the percentage of people clicking on your ad/website after it has been displayed in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). This can be calculated by dividing the number of clicks your ad received by the number of ad impressions (total number of times your ad was shown to users).

z) Spider (Crawler, Bot, Robot)

They are a special piece of software that browses the web, at unimaginable speeds, looks for new sites, learn what they are about (the effectiveness of this search depends on whether the page/website/blog owners has done the above SEO practices), and sends data back to the search engine algorithm to index and finally rank them.

Some honourable mentions

i) Competitor Analysis

As the phrase suggests, a competitor analysis will help you be up to date with what your competition is up to from a marketing strategy perspective. You can figure out their ranks for the same keywords you intend to work with and tweak your strategy accordingly to get an edge.

By doing this, you can:

  • discover keywords you could adopt
  • discover new backlink opportunities
  • get content ideas
  • ideas for optimizing your search result title and description

ii) SEM

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. In other words, SEM helps you market your business via search engines.

There are two ways in which you can promote your products/services via search engines.

  • Carry out all necessary SEO practices to receive a very high quality score and naturally appear high in the search results page
  • Pay the search engines to give you better visibility. In this case, you end up being displayed under the “sponsored listings” section.

iii) XML Sitemap

Just for sake of knowledge, this is a file (usually displayed as sitemap.xml). The primary function is to provide search engines with a map of all the different URLs that your page/website/blog contains.

Why? It simply helps them index your blog a lot quicker.

If you’re using WordPress you don’t have to create this file on your own. There’s a plugin for that: Google XML Sitemaps. I you aren’t you can visit a site like XML-Sitemaps.com and get one built there.