Common SEO Terms and How To Use Them

hands typing on a keyboard with a search engine display open

If you’re currently running an SEO campaign to help you boost your organic traffic and rank better on search engines, you might run into a few terms that are new to you. But don’t worry, once you understand the vocabulary, running an SEO campaign will become much more simple. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common SEO terms that all beginners should know.

11 SEO Terms for Beginners

Here are 11 SEO terms that every beginner should know:

1. Long Tail Keyword

Long tail keywords are keywords that generally contain three to four words. These words make up common queries that people type into a search engine. Some long tail keyword examples might be, “how to sell a tractor”, “the best place to purchase heavy equipment”, and “how much does it cost to repair a semi truck”.

These keywords are beneficial for an SEO campaign and are often better targets for your content marketing efforts. That’s because they’re more niche and specific, which makes them easier to rank for. Short keywords, like “heavy equipment” or “tractor” have a lot of competition because they’re so broad. If you’re just starting a content marketing campaign, these keywords would be almost impossible to rank for.

2. Keyword Density

Keyword density refers to how many times a keyword appears on a page or piece of content. The more times a keyword appears, the higher the keyword density. Though it’s important to include the keyword you’re targeting in certain areas of your content, like the headings and introduction, it’s important that you don’t have a super high keyword density. That’s because your content might look like it’s keyword stuffing, which can decrease your reader’s user experience. If your content has a low-enough user experience, it can affect your search engine ranking.

3. Domain Authority

Domain authority is a term developed by Moz that refers to how well a domain will rank on search engines. The score is out of 100 and the higher the score, the more likely the domain’s content will rank well. Domain authority uses dozens of factors in its calculations, but mostly, it determines how often Google uses that domain in its search results. It’s not an actual ranking factor, but it can tell you a website’s ranking strength over time and how its brand awareness, popularity, or content development has changed over time.

Learn more about your domain’s current authority and how it’s performing using Moz’s link explorer.

4. Anchor Text

As shown in the example above, anchor text is the text that hosts a hyperlink. To make sure it’s benefiting your SEO efforts, it’s helpful to make your anchor text relevant to the link you’re including. This helps people and search engines know what the link might pertain to before clicking on it or following it. 

Using words or calls-to-action like “Click Here” or “Read This Article” as your anchor text might seem more attractive and engaging to your readers, but it’s much less helpful to search engines. When anchor text is beneficial to search engines, it’s believed to have a more positive effect on your content’s search engine ranking.

5. Rich Snippet

Rich snippets are Google search results with additional displayed information. Google pulls the extra information from the webpage’s or content’s structured data. This structured data tells Google what information to display and what rich snippet section it best fits with. For instance, along with the snippets in the example above, the “People Also Ask” section and the recipes section of Google results are examples of rich snippets. The structured data tells Google where those rich snippets belong and what information to display.

Though there’s no way to ensure your content is displayed as a rich snippet, adding structured data provides Google with the opportunity to do so. Without that structured data there, you can still rank in the top 10 search results, but you’ll be missing out on a number of clicks. That’s because users click on rich results 58% of the time versus normal results, which are clicked 41% of the time.

6. XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap documents your website’s essential pages so Google can find and crawl them more easily. Generally, Google looks through your pages by eventually crawling your website and discovering any new pages or pieces of content you’ve created. But if your site doesn’t have enough internal links pointing to the new pages, Google might not find everything you want it to. That’s why Google gives you the option of submitting your XML sitemap, so all of your pages can be indexed and found on Google’s search results.

There are tools and other ways of creating a sitemap for Google. But most of the time, if your website has less than 100 webpages, you often don’t need one.

7. Link Building

Link building is the process of gathering hyperlinks that direct people from other websites to your own. Essentially, it’s the act of creating backlinks, so you can spread the awareness of your site and business more easily. 

For SEO, there’s no quick and easy solution to link building because you can’t control when or how other people link to your site. But it can be helpful to build up your business and brand to make it into something that people and other businesses want to link to. It’s also helpful to build relationships with your audience and the public, so your brand becomes more well known and authoritative in your industry.

8. 301 Redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. This allows the previous URL to remain on the search engine results page (SERP) where it was currently ranking while automatically directing people to where the new URL is located. Basically, it allows you to change locations for your webpages and content without ruining your current search engine ranking and destroying the SEO you’ve already built.

9. Dofollow and Nofollow

Dofollow and nofollow refer to two different types of backlinks you can generate for your website. 

  • Dofollow Links: Links that pass on authority to another website. This authority helps your content ranks better for certain keywords. The more dofollow links you have, the better your SEO will be. Essentially, it’s the type of backlink that all websites should strive for.
  • Nofollow Links: Links that do NOT pass authority from one website to another. Basically, it links to webpage while telling search engines to not count it as an SEO-boosting backlink. To do this, you simply add rel=”nofollow” to your hyperlink code when linking to another website. As shown below:

There’s benefits to using dofollow links over nofollow links and vice versa. For instance, if you decide to link to a competitor in your content, you can use a nofollow link to ensure their website doesn’t receive SEO benefits from the link. Other websites also add automatic nofollow code to links people put in the comments. This ensures people can’t spam links to their site in the comments and generate their own backlinks.

10. Alt Text

Alt text is information you can add to images and videos, which describes what the image or video depicts. Not only can it help you rank for certain keywords on image searches, but it’s also very important for accessibility. Alt text allows users who might be vision-impaired to better enjoy your website and content. That’s especially true when using a text-to-voice program or application which reads the alt text aloud.

11. Title Tag

Title tags, also known as SEO titles, are an HTML code tag that allows you to give your webpage and content a title that people can see on the SERP. These title tags play an essential role in SEO because they help you rank for certain keywords included in the tag and also encourage people to click on your link. 

That’s why it’s important for these title tags to be engaging, informative, and short. If they’re larger than a certain number of pixels, the search engine will cut them off and replace the ending with an ellipses. This can significantly reduce your SEO efforts and deter people from clicking on your site.

You Don’t Have To Memorize It All

Performing effective SEO strategies doesn’t have to be a one-man job. And you don’t have to memorize all of these terms to have a successful marketing campaign. Start by talking with experts at Randall Reilly. We have a dedicated marketing team that’s happy to boost your content marketing efforts for industries in agriculture, construction, trucking, and more. Contact us today to learn more about what we offer and how we can help your business and its SEO efforts flourish.

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