SEO Terminology 101: Key Words for Your Keywords

what does seo stand for

The emergence of digital marketing has revolutionized the industry, creating entire new sectors that can be harnessed for exposure. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most essential tools for digital marketing. SEO entails adapting your online content in order to improve your ranking in internet search engines like Google and Bing. The better your ranking, the closer your website will be to the top of internet search results.

SEO is a marketing strategy within the relatively young sphere of digital marketing. And, as with any emerging industry, there’s a ton of technical jargon involved. We’re sharing some of our SEO expertise to get you up to speed on many of the terms you’ll see thrown around the internet.

301 redirect: If you change the original address of a web page, a 301 redirect allows you to redirect the old link to the new one. Users who have the old link saved will still be directed to the new page.

Algorithm: These are programs and sets of rules followed by computers to solve a problem. In the case of SEO, algorithms are how search engines decide which results to report and how to rank them.

Alt text: Alt text is a description of an image on your website that is buried in the code and not usually visible to users. The computer programs searching for your website read alt text instead of seeing the actual image, making accurate and descriptive alt text essential.

Anchor text: This is the visible text of a link. Anchor text is usually displayed in a different color than the rest of the text, or is underlined, to indicate it is a clickable link.

Authority: Also called trust or pagerank, this is a function of how many incoming links from other trusted websites point to yours. Higher authority means a more reputable site places you higher on search engine listings, lower rankings indicate spam websites. Authority can also be broken down into page authority, the ranking of a single web page, or domain authority, which includes the top-level domain and all of its web pages.

Backlink: Also called inbound links, these are links to your website from other websites. More back links from high authority sites increases your authority.

CMS (Content Management System): Everything on the internet is made up of code. Content management systems are website creation tools like WordPress that allow you to publish content, like a blog post, to the internet without having to code every page from scratch.

Directory: Directories are big lists of websites, just like a phone or email directory. Being in directories is helpful because many users utilize certain trusted directories like Yahoo! in order to find information. 

Heading Tags: Headings are text on your website displayed in predetermined format to assign a hierarchy to the content on a web page. These are usually placed within special size and style tags ranging from h1 to h6.

Hit: “Hit” is a mostly outdated slang term that describes a measurement of web traffic. The naming convention has since shifted to more concrete terms like pageviews or impressions, which is a single instance of someone viewing a page. A hit was generally considered anytime a server sent an object (a photo, file, etc) to a user and a single pageview or impression can generate multiple hits.

Index: When used as a verb, “index,” means to add a page to a search engine’s index. Those pages are then considered “indexed.”

Internal link: These are links within a website that point to other pages of the same website. 

Keyword: A keyword is a word entered into a search engine by a user. Optimizing your pages for specific keywords is one of the most important elements of SEO.

Link: Links are parts of a web page that can be clicked to direct you to another page.

Long-tail keyword: This is a less common type of keyword that is usually a phrase of multiple words. A long tail keyword like “how to write a press release” is less common and will point to fewer pages than a keyword like “press release,” so optimizing for long tail keywords is an important strategy for niche websites and companies trying to avoid competition with giant internet websites.

Metadata: If data is the information your site contains (for example, specific marketing research data), metadata is the information your site contains about your website (“this website is about marketing research”). Metadata is usually hidden from users within the code and tells search engines what your website is about.

Page title: This is the name given to a web page, seen at the very top of the page. Search engine algorithms weight words at the top of a web page more than those at the bottom and essential keywords should be featured in your header.

Ranking factor: A single element of the total algorithm that search engines use to determine authority or pagerank. The number of back links to and how credible a page is are examples of ranking factors. 

Social media: Any online content produced by and shared among individual users. The most popular social media websites include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.

Stickiness: Stickiness is a term that describes how much a website encourages users to stay on its domain instead of leaving for other websites. The longer users view the site and move between pages within the domain, the higher the stickiness.

URL: URL officially stands for “Uniform Resource Locator.” It refers to the unique link of a web page. For example, for, “” is the domain and “” is the entire URL.

Get involved with the agency that has the tools and the terminology to keep your marketing campaigns current. Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service Orlando marketing firm that specializes in search engine optimization. Appleton works with local, national and international clients to deliver inbound marketing strategies that put your website ahead of the competition. At Appleton, we want to learn about your business, empower your marketing team and be your creative resource. Your SEO goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or

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