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SEO Terms Every Marketer Should Know

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SEO Terms Every Marketer Should Know

Are you just getting started in search engine optimization (SEO) for your website? Figuring out how to raise your search rankings is hard enough on its own, but there is also a ton of internet jargon that will come up along your SEO journey. We've prepared this comprehensive list of SEO terminology so that you can get acquainted with the basics before you take a deep dive into SEO.

301 redirect

When you delete pages or change their URLs, if a user then tries to access them, they will be met with the “404 Not Found” error. The best practice is to set up a 301 redirect to automatically send them to the new site, or to guide them back to the homepage.

Alt text/attribute

Short for “alternative text.” This is the written description for an image that appears when the image can’t be loaded for some reason, and is important for SEO.

Anchor text

The clickable, visible text that contains a link. Typically underlined and colored differently from other text.

Black hat SEO

A practice that violates search engine guidelines but nevertheless improves SEO. Examples include hidden text or links, sneaky redirects, and article spinning.


The name for Google’s search index, which processes thousands of webpages simultaneously and is updated on a daily basis.


Serving different content to crawler bots than to human visitors. This is a black hat practice and if caught, the webpage will be taken down from the google search index.

Commercial investigation queries

A search to compare different options of a product/service. Ex. “Best gym in Chicago” or “Amazon fire tablet review”


Sometimes called a spider or spiderbot, a crawler is a bot that systematically visits websites to index their content for search engines.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

The language used for the design aspects of your website.


Refers to when, for whatever reason, a webpage gets removed from the search engine’s index.

Domain trust

The trustworthiness of a website, as determined by a number of factors, but in particular external links from other trusted sites and the content quality.

Google search console

A free program by Google that allows you to monitor your website’s traffic and performance in search rankings.


“Hypertext markup language.” The standard scripting language for creating webpages.

Image carousels

The image results that scroll left to right at the top of Google.

Informational inquiries

A query where the user is seeking an answer to a question. Ex. “Who won the gold medal in judo?” “Why am I sleepy all the time?” Note: it doesn’t have to be phrased like a question either. The point is that they are searching for specific information, like “weather in Tokyo” or “carbonara recipes.”

Internal links

Linking web pages within your own website. Through internal links, web crawlers can better understand the relationships between pages, their relevance to a query, and a page’s overall value.


Abbreviated as JS, Javascript is a programming language that enables you to add dynamic content to otherwise static webpages. By dynamic, this means anything that automatically refreshes or moves on the page without you having to reload the page for it to do so: animations, image slideshows, interactive maps, autocomplete suggestions, and so on.

Keyword density

The number of times a keyword is used throughout a page out of the total words. Repeating the main keywords again and again throughout a webpage used to be a common strategy in SEO, but it has little meaning in the face of the current updated Google algorithm.

Keyword difficulty

How competitive a keyword is. In other words, how difficult it is to rank high in SEO, which is determined by a number of factors such as domain authority, backlinks, and content quality.

Link equity

Also colloquially referred to as “link juice,” link equity describes the authority that is passed between webpages in the form of links. Link equity is a major factor in SERP rankings.

Long-tail SEO

An SEO method in which you target long-tail keywords, which have 3+ words and a smaller search volume and consequently, lower competition.

Meta description

The description for a webpage that appears under the title tag on SERPs.


Also known as “internal link structure,” navigation is the collection of links

Organic Search

Search results that are wholly determined by Google’s algorithm, as opposed to paid advertising.

Paid link

The act of paying an external website to create a backlink to your webpage. This is considered a black hat SEO practice and against Google’s regulations.

Panda Update

The update to Google’s algorithm in 2011 that was intended to drop the SEO ranking of low-quality “content farms.”

Penguin Update

The subsequent update in 2012 which aimed to catch web-spam and sites that were against the Google guidelines, especially sites that were buying backlinks or multiplying them through external link networks that were created just for boosting SEO.


The proper word for a “search” in Google. The words or phrases you type into a search box to find information.

People Also Ask boxes

Suggestions for similar queries you might be meaning to search for, that appear at the bottom of Google’s search results page.

Regional keywords

Adjusting your SEO keywords to the type of words or slang commonly searched in a specific region. With regional keywords you can target a smaller locale through SEO.


A robots.txt file tells crawlers which webpages they can scan on your site, and is intended to avoid an overload of requests from crawlers.

Search intent

The reason behind a search query. Why did they make this specific search?

Search volume

How many times a keyword is searched monthly. This can be checked in many keyword search tools like Ubersuggest, to make sure you’re applying keywords that are actually being searched regularly.

Seasonal trends

The way in which certain keywords start trending depending on the time of year or current events.


Search engine results page - the page that is displayed to users in response to their query.


A file that includes all of your website’s pages, and is used to tell web crawlers how each page is connected (through links) and which pages are most important.

Title tag

What appears as the title for your webpage on SERPs. The optimization of title tags is key in SEO.


The flow of web users to a website, measured by the number of visits.

Transactional queries

A search where the user wants to make an action, like to purchase a product/service. These could be specific brand names like “Dr Martens boots” or generic like “cheap electric cars.”

URL directory

Since a website can contain thousands of files, directories (or folders) are used to organize them. The directory name in a URL is listed after the TLD (“.com”). For example, in “bow-now.com/price/” the current page is under the directory “price,” which is our service’s pricing page.

URL parameters

AKA “query strings,” parameters are a way to filter content and track data on your website. For example, a parameter could be used to track where the web visitor entered the page from - like a facebook ad or an email campaign. You can recognize parameters in URLs as the section that follows a question mark.

Webmaster guidelines

Rules set by search engines like Google or Bing, which provide guidance on how SEO rankings can be improved using approved methods.

White hat SEO

The opposite of black hat; SEO-boosting methods that adhere to the webmaster guidelines.


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