The 20 Most Important SEO Terms and Definitions

The 20 Most Important SEO Terms and Definitions

This article is a brief overview of SEO for beginners, with the 20 most important NEED TO KNOW SEO terms and definitions.

First let me come right out of the gate by answering the most common question that I get as an SEO specialist: 

“What is SEO and how it works?”

  • SEO: is short for “Search Engine Optimization” which simply means that you are implementing practices to climb to a higher position in the search results, to improve your “Google Ranking” for particular keywords and phrases such as “landscaper,” “artist,” “motivational speaker” or “restaurant near me” through various practices such as “Keyword Research,” building “Google Trust,” “Link Building” “WebDesign” and “Online Marketing.”

As an SEO specialist, my job is to listen to what your goals are, and then look at your website to try to determine what specifically I would type into a search engine, if I wanted to find YOU. 

Then I move into “keyword research” where I create a SEO Blueprint using SEO software and keyword research tools, to find out what other people are searching, that matches your business, products, services or content. Next I incorporate those keywords and phrases into your On Page SEO. 

Below I’ve given you the 20 Most Important SEO Terms and Definitions, with additional information, links and examples, to help you get a good grasp on how it all works.


SEO Terms and Definitions

  • Search Engine: is software that searches the internet for a particular word or phrase, when you enter it into their search bar. It then brings up the results of that search in the form of a list containing links and excerpts. Some of the most popular search engines are Google, Bing and AOL. The search engine uses algorithms to determine which links/websites to bring up in the list of results, and in what order.
  • Algorithm: I’ll give you the definition- a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, however for search engines their exact set of rules, or procedure for determining what sites will appear in the results first is kept secret… and always changing.
  • SERP: “Search Engine Results Page” is the page of results displayed by search engines, when you type a word or phrase in the “search bar.”


How It All Works

  • Keyword Research: is the process by which an individual assesses what keywords or phrases best describe a website. For example; when I’m doing “keyword research” I look at a particular page and ask myself “what a person would type into a search engine when looking for that particular business or for the information that is given on a particular webpage.”


  • Google Ranking: This the the rank (number position) you or your business holds, in the search results page (aka SERP) in any given Search Engine like “Google, AOL, Yahoo, Bing, or Ask” for your business name, or a particular word or phrase, like “attorney at law,” “carpet cleaning” or “supermarket.” 


  • Google Trust: Google Trust or Google TrustRank is a term that describes a process currently used by Google and other search engines, (that was initially created by Yahoo and Stanford engineers,) to oppose the use of WEB SPAM. Essentially it assesses “trust signals” which are indicators of whether or not the links and content listed on any particular site are legitimate and valuable. There is actually a patent for this system that ranks websites, according to their level of TRUST.

Search Result Ranking Based on Trust

More SEO Terms and Definitions

  • On Page SEO: are the things you implement on each of the webpages of your website to improve your Google Ranking, such as incorporating keywords and phrases into the meta titles, meta descriptions and content of your website, without KEYWORD STUFFING. The use of legitimate internal and external links, original high quality content with good “readability” and improving the internal linking structure are all examples of on page SEO that will lead to improving your Google Ranking.
  • Hyperlink: also simply referred to as “links” is basically a URL embedded into a word, phrase, image or document that leads to another webpage. They are most commonly highlighted in BLUE, but don’t have to be. Hyperlinks can be either Internal Links (linking to another page on the same website and improving your Internal Linking Structure) or External Links (linking to a webpage on a different website.)
  • Internal Linking Structure: an internal link connects a word, phrase, picture or document through a hyperlink to a different page, on the same website. This structure helps a user navigate through the website.
  • Functionality:  a websites functionality is determined by the difficulty or ease that a person has in navigating through the various pages of that website, and finding the information that they wish to obtain. 
  • KeyWord Stuffing: is the practice of using keywords in an overzealous manner in order to gain an unfair advantage in search results, and traffic people to a website without really offering content that applies to those keywords. The process of implementing keywords really is an art, and proper use of keywords is greatly beneficial to getting hits on your site, however keyword stuffing is counterproductive, and can actually hurt your ranking. 
  • Off Page SEO: also called “off site SEO” are the practices that you implement outside of your own website to help your Google Ranking on any given search engine result page (aka SERPS) such as Backlinks, Social Media Marketing, Guest Blogging, & Brand OR Services Mentions.
  • Backlinks: also called “inbound links” are links that are posted on a website other than your own, or on a social media platform that link back to your website, like when someone is mentioning you, your product, or your business and wishes to direct people to you from their website or social media profile. It is one of the things that greatly improves the value of your website, and your Google Ranking. 
  • Link Building: also referred to as a “Link Building Campaign” is in essence a big part of online marketing. It’s setting goals and having a strategy, then implementing practices that get external links (aka clicks/hits) back to your website, by marketing your “assets” such as content, data, products, people, or services. This is done in many ways, such as posting an excerpt of a blog post, or an offer of some kind on social media. When a person clicks the link and goes to your site, that is an external link. It’s also accomplished when another website mentions your product, content or services, and has a link on their website or social media, that directs people to your website. Connecting with “Online Influencers” to get “Mentions” is very effective for Link Building. 
  • Black Hat SEO: Black Hat SEO is a term used to describe SEO practices that are considered unethical or shady. These practices may help you gain initially, but can eventually cause a lot of harm, or even get your website completely banned from all search engines. 
  • White Hat SEO: in contrast to Black Hat SEO, White Hat SEO is used to describe practices that conform to all the reputable practices of SEO that you are encouraged to use by Google. In order to stay informed, I recommend reading SEO blogs, including the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog. 
  • Meta Titles: also referred to as Title Tag is simply the title of that webpage, found on the top, in the browsers title bar in the form of HTML. From a user standpoint, it is simply a name tag for the page. 
  • Meta Description: is a short description of a webpage in a snippet of about 155 characters, that is used by search engines. It summarizes the content of the page, and is sometimes shown in search results, when the searched for word or phrase is included in the meta description. 

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