SEO Acronyms, Terms, and Frequently Asked Questions

SEO acronyms

SEO, CTA, WTF? I know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) acronyms and abbreviations can be confusing. We’ve listened to the request made in our Make Traffic Happen Facebook group (it’s free, come join us). Here is the ever-growing list of SEO-related acronyms and frequently asked questions you might have about traffic generation.   

What have we missed? Tell us in the comments below.

Acronyms Related to SEO

  • AMP- Accelerated Mobile Pages (simplified version of mobile that loads quickly).
  • CTA – Call To Action (clear statements urging reader to do something – ‘read next’).
  • CTR – Click-Through Rate.
  • CSV (export option in Keysearch) – comma-separated values (compatible with Excel and Mac Numbers).
  • DESC (in Keysearch) – Meta desctription.
  • DA – Domain Authority (see related FAQ below).
  • EAT – Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.
  • H1, H2, H3 etc – HTML header tags (H1 for headlines, H2 and H3 for subheadings).
  • KD – Keyword Difficulty (Ahrefs competition measurement).
  • PPC – Pay Per Click (advertisers pay a fee when you click their ad on Google).
  • PR – PageRank – authority of a webpage (not full site).
  • RPM – Revenue Per Mile (ads term – the earnings accrued for every 1000 units – definition by Mediavine).
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimization.
  • SEM – Search Engine Marketing.  
  • SERPS – Search Engine Results Page (like page one of Google etc).
  • URL – Uniform (or universal) resource locator (weblink).
  • UX – User Experience.
  • YMYL – Your Money Or Your Life (post/sites that could potentially negative impact on a person’s life, income, or happiness – definition by SEMrush).

SEO FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What does SEO stand for?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a combination of techniques and ranking signals you can add to a webpage to help it be found and ranked highly on search engine results pages (SERPs).

What is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO includes all of the techniques you can apply to an individual post or page to help it rank better in search engine results. It includes things like keyword research, adding keywords to the content, meeting the user intent, and optimizing your content for good user experience.

What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO includes all of the techniques you can apply to your website, in general, to help it rank better in search engine results. It also includes things you can do outside of your website to help boost your rankings, such as social media engagement, building a solid brand, and (most importantly) gaining backlinks.

What is a target keyword?

Choosing a target keyword is necessary to help you define the question that is being asked, so you can fulfill the user’s intent. In order to avoid writing content no one sees, you must first make sure there is demand for what you’re writing and that the subject doesn’t already have too much competition. A target keyword allows you to do that, with keyword research.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research helps you determine if your chosen target keyword has enough search volume and that it isn’t too competitive before you write it.

What is Keysearch? 

Keysearch is the keyword research tool that we, and many other site owners, use to find keywords. You can find out how to use it here.

What is keyword stuffing?

Keyword stuffing is where you add too many keywords to your content in the hopes of ranking well for all of these keywords, even though they don’t fit naturally in the content. Keyword stuffing can have a negative impact on your rankings. 

What does niche mean? 

Niche refers to a specific topic, subject or category. In this competitive market, it is better to focus on a niche than to have a very broad general blog. 

What are backlinks?

Backlinks represent a vote of confidence from one site to another. The more quality backlinks your page earns, the more value it has in the eyes of the search engines, and the more likely it is to achieve a high ranking.

What is the difference between follow and nofollow links?

Follow and nofollow are attributes that can be given to a link inside the HTML. This attribute tells a search engine whether to follow the link or to stop crawling. A follow link from your site to another shows you trust and approve the linked content, thus it carries with it link juice that it bestows on the site you linked to. A nofollow link carries no link juice. It’s akin to giving a no-confidence vote for that site.

What is link juice?

Link juice is the amount of clout a link transfers from one page to another. Every website and webpage has a differing amount of link juice available to pass along. Sites that have been around longer and have more authority have more link juice to pass. New sites with very little authority don’t have much link juice to pass.

Link juice coming from a site can also be diluted by the number of follow links included on the page. For instance, a page containing only one link will pass the entirety of its link juice to the linked page. But a page containing 14 links will pass only a portion of its link juice on to each of those links.

What is domain authority?

Domain authority was created by Moz.com as a way to gauge a site’s ability to rank well. It takes into consideration many measures that are said to be Google’s ranking factors in order to come up with this number.

What is link building?

Link building is an SEO strategy where you gain links to your content in order to boost its authority and, in turn, its ranking. Both internal and external link building can help boost page authority. But backlinks from other sites to yours are more powerful.

Internal vs. external links: What’s the difference?

Internal links are links within your own domain when you link from one of your posts to another. External links are links to another domain when you link out to another authority website. 

Inbound vs. outbound links: What’s the difference?

Inbound links are links that point from another site to your site. Also known as a backlink (above). Outbound links redirect you away from the article – also known as external links (above).

What is anchor text?

This is anchor text. It is the clickable text of a hyperlink that tells search engines what the linked-to page is about. You can have two types of anchor text: exact match and non-exact match.

Exact match anchor text matches the target keyword of the page it links to. Non-exact match text is when other words are used, such as a website name or “click here”.

Exact match anchor text is more valuable, but too many can appear spammy and have a negative SEO impact. Aim for a mix of the two. 

What’s the difference between Black hat v white hat SEO?  

Black hat SEO is techniques used to manipulate the search results and fool Google. Examples include keyword stuffing, cloaking, private link networks and buying links. It’s always risky to employ black hat SEO. Why risk a Google penalty.

White hat SEO refers to actions that do not violate the search engine guidelines for proper website behavior. Examples include writing quality content, optimising posts with our 8-step on-page strategy and having a fast loading website. You will not be penalized for using white hat SEO.

Is SEO Dead?

No, SEO is not dead, and neither is keyword research. SEO is and will likely always be a vital way to get your content seen by a larger audience. Search engines rely on a website’s SEO efforts to find great content to deliver to their users.

Even as search engines are becoming smarter and more able to understand the content without the aid of intentionally added keywords, SEO will always have a place in helping the process along. The important thing is to think of SEO as a combination of things you can do to boost your rankings. The combination of things might change, but the concept won’t.

How is SEO changing?

Google updates their search algorithm hundreds of times per year. Each time they update it, SEO changes slightly. It’s an ever-evolving thing. While the concept of SEO does not change, the combination of techniques used to implement SEO do. It’s important to stay on top of current trends because what works today will inevitably be different in six months.

Will switching to HTTPS affect my SEO?

Switching your site to https should not have a negative impact on your rankings. If anything, maintaining an unsecured site will have a great negative impact. It is very important to secure your website, and it leads to less hassle for the user, faster page speeds, more confidence in your site. All of these things can impact Google’s decision about how to rank your content.

Do categories and tags help with SEO?

Categories and tags are not a direct ranking signal for Google. If you don’t have categories and tags, Google will not penalize you. However, strategic categories and tags can help you define the structure of your content and make it easier for users to find the content they seek. Thus, using categories and tags wisely can have an indirect impact on your rankings when users have a better experience and staying on your site longer because of them.

Do redirects affect SEO?

Redirects are a natural part of building and maintaining a website. It’s impossible to avoid them.

However, their impact on SEO differs by situation. 301 redirects, where a page is moved permanently, are the most SEO-friendly redirects, passing along between 90-99% of link juice to the redirected page. If you redirect content once, you will likely retain most or all of its SEO power. If you moved it several times, and the previous redirects are still in place, you might sacrifice load speed/link equity.

For this reason, you want to avoid long-redirect chains. Other types of redirects can have a greater impact on SEO, so stick with 301.

What is a meta description and is it still necessary?

Meta descriptions still matter. Their main job is to compel and attract users to click on your link in the search results. A good meta description can increase click-throughs, which will lead to better rankings over time.

How many keywords should I use?

We can’t tell you an exact “right” number of keywords to use on a page.

However, it’s always better to use caution and restraint with keywords than to risk keyword stuffing. Search engines no longer need you to include a keyword in the text for you to rank for it. They determine rankings based on the context of the entire post. So use keywords when natural opportunities arise to define a section of text. We aim for around 10 related keywords in a 2,000-word post.

Where do I put my target keywords?

There are a few strategic spots throughout your content where you can add keywords to help define your content. You want to use one target keyword and a few additional keywords in these locations. But the most important thing is to only add keywords where they sound natural and genuine. Find out more here.

What is a sitemap?

A sitemap file is an index of all the pages on your site. It’s a quick reference for search engines that helps your content be discovered and crawled regularly.

What is the difference between indexed and crawled?

When search engines look through the content on your website, they are crawling your site.

As they crawl your site, they index content to appear in the search engine. However, an important thing to remember is that not all content is indexed. Search engines pick what content they will and won’t index as they go through the crawling process. 

How can I see what pages are indexed?

To find what pages are being indexed from your site, type “site:www.YOURDOMAIN.com” into a browser window.

Why do you need alt text on your images?

Search engines cannot read images, but they can read text. Alt text helps them figure out the context of the images. Alt text has another purpose, however. It can be read by screen readers used for visually impaired persons who cannot see the images themselves. For this reason, alt text should clearly explain what is included in the image.

For SEO purposes, it is wise to include your target keyword in one image alt text near the top of the page, where it makes natural sense to add it.

How long does it take to see results from SEO?

It is impossible to determine how long it will take a particular piece of content to achieve results from SEO efforts. Many factors need to be considered, such as the quality and optimization of the website and the content, whether there is high demand for the content, if you already have an established website or if you’re new, and if you have other technical liabilities on your site that would have a negative impact.

Generally, after you’ve employed a solid SEO strategy, it will take anywhere from two weeks to six months to start ranking well. The more high-ranking content you amass, the easier it will become. → Why not start reviving your old content today!

It’s easy to become frustrated with SEO and give up, but no one has ever succeeded by doing that. Maintain your strategy, continue to create great content, and it will eventually pay off.

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a free resource which helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search. It was previously called Google Webmaster Tools. Read our guide to Google Analytics and Search Console [with video].

What is a Google Manual Penalty? 

Google’s official term is ‘manual action’. Websites can receive them when Google has determined that a page or post has not met Google’s webmaster quality guidelines. You can follow Google’s instructions on how to disavow here. 

Important SEO Terms

Algorithm – A formula used by search engines to determine which pages to display on SERPs.

ALT Tag – A description of an image that gets placed in the HTML of your site and is read by search engines to determine the content of the images on your site.

AMP – AMP stands for accelerated mobile pages. It is a system you can implement on your site to increase the speed of your pages on a mobile device, but it severely limits the design and capability of your mobile pages.

Anchor Text – The clickable text of a link to a web page. Anchor text helps search engines understand what the linked to page is about.

Backlink – A link back to your site from another site. Google sees backlinks as a vote of confidence for your site. They can help you gain authority.

Black hat – A term used to describe someone who uses nefarious methods to market and grow their site.

Bounce rate – The percentage of users who leave your site without navigating to a second page.

Cornerstone content – The most important content on your site. You should be linking to your cornerstone articles from all other related content to show its importance.

Domain – The main web address of a site ( www.example.com).

Domain Authority – Domain authority is a score developed by Moz that predicts your rankability in the SERPs, based on more than 40 important criteria, including your link profile, link popularity, and the trustworthiness of sites linking to you.

E.A.T – Google’s term for how they rank the quality of a website. It stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.

Follow Link – A follow link is one that passes link juice on to the hyperlinked website.

Headings & Subheadings – Headings and subheadings are used to define the sections of content on a page, providing a better user experience, and is placed inside a heading tag, such as an H1 or H2.

Internal Link – A link from one page to another on the same website.

Indexed Pages – The pages of your website that are stored and crawled by search engines.

Keyword – Specific words or phrases used by a searcher looking for something in a search engine.

Keyword Density – The keyword density is the percentage of times you use your keyword in the text of a page or post compared to the rest of the words.

Keyword Stuffing – Overuse of keywords in your page or post.

Link Building – The process of getting more backlinks to your website to improve search engine rankings.

Link Juice – Also called link equity, link juice is how the authority and klout of your site is passed on to a linked site. You can also pass link juice between internal pages.

Longtail Keyword – A lower-competition keyword, typically two or more words long, that searchers use to look for something specific. Bloggers can use longtail keywords to target specific user intent. The word longtail isn’t used much anymore – replaced by keyword phrases.

Metadata – Data that tells search engines what your website is about.

Meta Description – A description of less than 160 characters that is shown on search engine results pages below the title to tell searchers what the content is about.

Nofollow Link – An html attribution tag that tells the search engines not to pass link juice on to the linked page. It can be used on external links you don’t wish to endorse.

Pogo Sticking – When a user clicks a search result, views the content only briefly and then clicks out and into a different search result. This typically means the user was not satisfied with the content.

RankBrain – a new tool being used by Google to enhance their current algorithm by relating unknown search terms with previously discovered terms. It also measures the effectiveness of the search results it delivers and makes adjustments based on the satisfaction of the user.

Ranking Factor – One piece of a search engine’s algorithm that is used to determine how it will rank a certain page.

SERP (Search Engine Ranking Page) – The page of results you receive after performing a search. There are typically 10 results given per page.

Sitemap – An electronic map of all the pages on a website to can be submitted to search engine to help them discover and crawl your content.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) – Website or brand promotion through social media

Spider – A program that crawls the internet and collects information about websites.

Traffic – The visitors to your website. Traffic is often calculated in page views per month.

User Intent – The reason a searcher uses a specific keyword phrases to search. Determining user intent can help you write content that searchers are looking for.

White hat – A term used to describe someone who uses only search engine approved methods to market and grow their site.

Final Words 

Now you are down with the SEO lingo, get down with our SEO strategy! Click here for free resources, this link to check out our guides and sign up for free SEO lessons and tips.

SEO Acronyms and Frequently Asked Questions

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4 thoughts on “SEO Acronyms, Terms, and Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Seo Auditor says:

    Thank you very much! All useful terminology is collected in one place! I’ve been looking for some terms definitions (connected to links such as nofollow link and internal link) and this actucle came really handy!

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