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The Language of Optimization

 By Hector Cisneros

Image courtesy Pixabay

If you’ve ever had a conversation with an SEO expert you might come away thinking that you just heard a foreign language.  That’s because search engine optimization comes with a lexicon all its own.  While this may help an optimization pro do his or her job, what it neglects to do is give you a sense of what is being done to your online assets.  To help you make sense of the process, I’ve come up with a basic dictionary of SEO terms that I’ll translate for you below.

Alt Text is what web designers are supposed to type in to designate any images on a web page.  Search engine bots can’t see pictures but they can read text.  The rub is if your web designer refrains from entering descriptions for images as Alt Text your web ranking will suffer.

Anchor text refers to text that is linked to another page or website.  To be relevant it must be specific.  Therefore, “Get your free Miami travel guide” is going to rank higher as anchor text than “Click here.”

B2B & B2C – Business-to-Business & Business-to-Consumer

Black Hat – Just like the bad cowboys of the silver screen, web bandits wear black hats. Black hat techniques are underhanded optimization practices that once discovered could get your website sandboxed or delisted.

Bot – Software that automatically run tasks online are referred to as bots, crawlers or spiders.  For SEO purposes they are used to refer to search bots that discover and rank content on search engines.

Cookies aren’t something sweet to eat online, they’re snippets of code sent from a website to a user’s browser designed to gather data about a user before displaying relevant ads whenever a user returns to the site.

Crawling - While you may feel that your efforts to generate a page-1 search engine listing is crawling along, the term is meant to denote the process that search engines use to analyze your web properties.

Image courtesy Pixabay

De-Listed is what can happen to your website or landing page if the code violates Google’s permitted policies. 

Doorway Pages are designed to attract SEO traffic without providing much in the way of relevant information to website visitors. Many doorway pages are used to display ads or redirect visitors to other urls.

Entry Page is what a user sees when they first visit a website.  It’s also called the home page.

Feed may be what farmers give to chickens.  Online they’re used to allow users to subscribe to receive updates. Subscribers then receive an email or ping to notify them of new content.  An RSS feed is one such method of subscribing using Really Simple Syndication.

Google My Business is a free local listing service offered by Google.  To receive it you or your webmaster must register and verify your location.  If your business isn’t listed on Google My Business the likelihood of your being found in a local search is nil.

Hawk Update isn’t used by birdwatchers.   It’s used by Google to deal with local businesses.  In the past, if two competing businesses of the same industry were located too close together, they could be eliminated from local searches.  The reason this happened was that Google was trying to prevent single businesses from monopolizing page one by spawning multiple listings. As a result, some businesses were mistakenly filtered out in search.  The Hawk Update corrected this in 2017 by reducing the size of the geographic size of the area used by the filter.

Indexing is how search engines refer to the process of ranking listings.

KPI refers to a key performance indicator, which is search engine speak for how well certain ranking criteria are performing on a webpage.  Google has hundreds of KPIs that is uses to determine who ranks where.

Image courtesy Pixabay

JavaScript doesn’t refer to the message written on the side of a coffee cup.  It’s a computer language that is embedded into web pages to enhance page dynamics.  If you’ve ever made a purchase online, you’ve encountered JavaScript that’s used to validate the information you entered without taking you to another website to conduct the transaction.

Keywords are used to define your content.  As such there are long-tailed and short-tailed keywords.  If you’re a printer, using this word in your homepage’s title would be an example of a short-tailed keyword.  Using the term Jacksonville, Florida Printer would be an example of a long-tailed keyword.

Local Pack doesn’t refer to wolves, it is used to denote the group of businesses that appear on the map at the top of many local searches.

Meta Tags are keyword-sensitive code placed at the top of webpage that provides more information to search engine spiders.  While the code isn’t visible to visitors, it can provide search bots with vital information such as the title, description, and keywords that best delineate the page.  If the meta tags aren’t filled in, you will lose SEO points.

Noindex is a meta tag that can be added to the top of a webpage to let the search engine know the page isn’t meant to appear in any search engine results page.  Nofollow tells a crawler not to follow any links contained on the webpage.

Organic may refer to pesticide-free produce in the supermarket.  What it refers to online are rankings achieved without payment online.

PPC – Pay-Per-Click results are those listings found on a web search that have been bought by auction with the highest bidder getting the top ranking.

Ping isn’t the first half of a table tennis game when used online.  The term PING stands for Packet Inter-Network Groper.  When one computer pings another, it’s either trying to determine if the second computer is ready to receive data or it’s measuring how long it will take the other computer to receive the data. 

Query – A question typed into a search engine is known as a query.

Redirect is a hyperlink that’s used to automatically send a visitor from one page to another. 

SERP – While you may put syrup on your pancakes, once you type a query into a search engine, the sweet result produced is called a Search Engine Response Page, otherwise known as a SERP.

Traffic refers to visits to a website, landing page, blog or another post.

URLs or Uniform Research Locators are a fancy way of describing the web address of website content.

Vertical Search Engines focus on specific content rather than general content. Travelocity and Skyscanner are two examples of travel-based vertical search engines.

White Hat denote SEO techniques that are approved by search engines.

If you found this article to be useful, share it with your friends, family, and co-workers. If you feel you have something to add or just want to leave a comment do so below.  If you would like a free copy of our book Internet Marketing Tips for the 21 Century click here and fill in the form on the page. It has been my pleasure sharing with you our view of the current state of search engine marketing. I look forward to reading your comments. Thanks again for reading and sharing.   

1 comment:

  1. If your SEO guru sounds like he's speaking Greek, it's time to find one who knows how to speak English.