I recently spoke at an event, teaching small business owners some of the basics of search engine marketing and optimisation. A few times I used basic industry terminology which created a sea of puzzled faces. Hopefully the following list of the more common terms will help clear up any confusion caused by SEO jargon.
Adwords – The name for Google’s Pay Per Click advertising system. Businesses that use Adwords will find their adverts displayed on the Google search results labelled as “sponsored listings”.
Affiliate – A person or business that doesn’t sell products or services, rather existing to send traffic to retail sites and take a commission or fee for any sales generated.
Alt text – A description given to an image on a webpage. Not often shown to users unless their browser cannot show graphics but important to search engine optimisation as search engines use these tags as a factor in determining keywords.
Anchor text – The blue, underlined text displayed for a hyperlink. Placing your keywords in anchor text of links pointing to your site has a positive impact on SEO.
Black hat SEO – Techniques used to trick and manipulate search engines into ranking a webpage. Examples include cloaking, gateway pages and keyword stuffing. Black hat SEO is frowned upon by search engines and can lead to a site being penalised or banned from search results.
Bounce rate – The number of visitors who leave a site without visiting any pages other than the one they land on. Shown in a percentage in website analytics tools, for the majority of sites the lower the bounce rate the better.
Canonization – Strangely, search engines see http://www.yoursite.com and http://yoursite.com as separate sites, which can lead to duplicate content penalties. Canonizing one of these URLs tells the search engines to only focus on one, and can lead to improved search engine rankings.
Cloaking – To cloak a website is to show one version to the visitors, and another to the search engines. Cloaking is an example of black-hat SEO and if discovered on your site, could lead to a falling out with the search engines.
Content Management System (CMS) – The software that many websites come with which allows people to easily add to, and update, content such as text and images. Blogging systems are a good example of simple, user friendly CMS.
Conversion rate – The percentage of visitors who reach a goal. Conversion goals include signing up to a newsletter, making a purchase, filling in an enquiry form, clicking an advert, etc.
Cost Per Click (CPC) – The amount of money each click costs a Pay Per Click advertiser, which can range from a penny to over £10, depending on the competitiveness of the keyword.
Duplicate content – Content on a website that is a copy, or very similar, to content that search engines have found elsewhere. Web-pages containing duplicate content are less likely to outrank the originals in the search engines.
Ecommerce – Selling products online. Many of the most popular sites on the internet are ecommerce based. Some sell a wide range of products, like traditional department stores, while some stick to one or two specialist lines of product.
Free For All (FFA) – The name given to web pages that allow anyone to place links on them. These pages are not very well respected by the search engines as a lot of the links are low quality and point to spammy websites.
A follow-up post for terminology starting with letters G-N will be made soon.