Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of the most important tools for improving your company’s standings in search engine results pages (SERP). A well-optimized webpage will appear on the first page of a Google search; excellent SEO will put you in the top three of organic results. Online advertising network Chitika says the No. 1 result on Google SERP gets nearly one-third of all traffic while the No. 10 website will get only 2.4%. If you are new to SEO, the first step is to learn the lingo.
Search Engine – A website devoted to helping Internet users find websites.
Keywords – People type keywords into a search engine to find websites. Keywords for laundry soap might include laundry soap, detergent, clean clothes and washing clothes. Webmasters try to guess which keywords their customers might type into a search engine and then pepper those keywords in strategic places throughout the website. They also use SEO tools from companies such as SEMRush and Moz, to gather data from users and competitors to determine keywords.
SERP – Acronym for search engine results page. A SERP is the page you see when you perform a search on Google or other search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing. Chitika reports that fewer than 6% of users go beyond Page 1.
Backlinks – Rather than finding your website on a search engine, people might also find out about your website from other sites. A link from any website to your website is known as a backlink. The better the quality of the site, the more it helps your site rank higher on SERPs. A backlink improves the credibility of the less popular website.
PageRank –Google ranks websites 0 to 10, with the most authoritative websites ranking 10. In late 2013, Search Engine Watch reported that Google updates page rank less and less because it’s based on the number of links you have to your site. Google and other search engines have been shifting away from links and toward quality content in their algorithms.
Above the fold – Websites that appear at the top of search engines results, visible without having to scroll down the page. A website appearing above the fold gets more clicks than those that appear below it. It’s an old newspaper term that referred to news stories that appear above the fold in racks.
SEM – Stands for search engine marketing. You use SEM to market your goods and services on search engines. There are two main types of SEM: SEO and pay-per-click.
SEO – Any process that increases page rank on a search engine results page.
Clicks – In SEO terminology, a click occurs when an Internet user sees your website on a search engine result then clicks on the link to visit your site.
Click-Through Rate – Sometimes called CTR, click-through rate is the percentage of people who click on your link out of the total number of people who see it on websites. If three out of ten people who see your link click on it, for example, you have a 30 percent CTR.
PPC – In pay-per-click advertising, you pay a set amount of money for every click on your ad. PPC ads usually appear on the right side of search engine results pages. Before you jump into PPC advertising, keep in mind that 70% to 80% of users ignore paid ads, according to Search Engine Journal.
Black Hat SEO – An aggressive approach to SEO using unethical practices, such as keyword stuffing. Many search engines ban websites using black hat SEO practices.
White Hat SEO – Above-the-board SEO practices that result in organic results. Examples include using keywords in permalinks, article headlines and page titles.