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35 Basic SEO Terms Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know

Understanding These Basic SEO Terms Can Help Your Small Business!

Keep reading this post to find out:

  • The most important basic SEO terms for small business owners
  • How these SEO terms can help users find your website
  • Why these SEO terms impact your small business

Do you ever feel lost as you wade through a sea of SEO terms and online lingo? Getting through all the jargon online to really see what you should be doing can be a chore. Where do you even start?

Right here! This blog is a great place to begin your journey to SEO mastery!

In this post, we’ve collected all the basic SEO terms every small business owner should know and defined them as simply as possible! The definitions also feature answers to your burning questions about how SEO can help your business!

1. What is Alt Text?

Alt text is a description given for any images you publish. Search engines, like Google, don’t see images as we do. Instead, they read the descriptions you’ve written. They will give the image value based on the quality of the description and its relevance to your content.

2. What is an Authority Site?

An authority site is a website that consumers and experts within the industry trust. You can build up site authority through high quality and valuable content. If you publish trustworthy information, your site will gain a better reputation. Site authority also comes from how many other sites use your site. If more sites link to your site, then search engines see it as a valuable place to send web searchers.

3. What is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO is when web designers try to improve your page rankings by using methods search engines frown upon. When you use black hat SEO tactics, you generate content for search engines, not people. SEO is all about the user experience, and not following the rules and guidelines can hurt your site’s ranking.

4. What is a Blog?

A blog is a place on a website to publish educational content. A blog post can be anything from industry news to helpful information about your services or products. Whatever you choose to write about, the content should always be relevant and helpful to your target audience.

5. What Does Bounce Rate Mean?

A visitor “bounces” from a site when they go there and then immediately leave. A bounce rate is the frequency at which visitors bounce from the site. Therefore, a high bounce rate is not ideal. Search engines will punish websites that have high bounce rates by listing them lower on the search results page.

6. What is a Call to Action in Marketing?

A call to action (CTA) is either text or a button on a website, prompting the user to do something. Some examples of a CTA include prompting users to buy a product, calling a phone number, or sign up for a newsletter. The goal of a CTA is to receive immediate action from your visitors.

7. What Does Click-Through Rate Mean?

A click-through rate (CTR) shows how frequently people clicked on a link. Every time someone clicks on the link, the rate improves. Many search and social analytics tools include CTR as one of their stats.

8. What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing focuses on creating and publishing valuable information online. The most popular forms of online content are blogs, web pages, email newsletters, social media posts, and videos. All content creators should have a content marketing strategy. After all, high-quality content improves your search ranking score.

An image showing the words “content marketing” and then different icons representing what goes into content marketing.
Content marketing includes everything from emails to social media to blogs to podcasts to advertising.

9. What Does Conversion Mean in Marketing?

A conversion occurs when a website visitor responds to a call to action. Once the visitor has sought out more information, made a purchase, signed up, or called, they convert into a lead. Hence, your conversion rate is how many of your total visitors take you up on a CTA.

10. What is Direct Traffic?

Consumers go to a site through several different channels, such as referral links, emails, or social media. However, direct traffic is when a visitor finds your website organically through a search engine.

11. What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is the main web address of a website. The name should ideally be the name of your business. After all, by keeping your domain name simple and recognizable, it will help people easily find you online.

12. What is a Featured Snippet?

A featured snippet is an answer to a search query on Google. When you ask Google a question, the featured snippet will show up in a white box near the top of the search results page. Google pulls information from a top-performing site to list it as a featured snippet. It takes a lot to be placed as a featured snippet, and you can optimize pages for it. Following the best SEO practices helps to achieve that goal.

13. What are Headings on Web Pages?

Headings are the title and subtitles on a page. They organize a page and display it in a way that’s easier for people to consume. Think of headings like book chapters. The main heading is like the book title. The subheadings, on the other hand, are like the chapter titles. They guide the reader through a page.

14. What is an Inbound Link?

An inbound link, or backlink, is when another website links to your site. Inbound links from authority sites add credibility to your site because they are trustworthy sources.

15. What is an Internal Link?

An internal link is when you link to another page on your own site. Adding internal links to your pages helps to keep readers engaged by offering them more information on a subject. Therefore, including quality internal links decreases the likelihood that visitors will bounce away from your site quickly.

16. What is a Keyword?

Keywords are popular terms or phrases people search for online. When you optimize for a keyword, you tell a search engine that when people search for the word, your site should come up. However, if you overload your page with too many keywords, search engines recognize that as “keyword stuffing” and will penalize you.

An image showing someone working on a smartphone and tablet while his laptop shows a keyword search.
If your page or post is optimized with keywords, search engines will pick up those keywords and display your page in their search results.

17. What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is a special page on a website that is optimized for conversions. You want your landing page to be clean and easy to navigate once the user is there. Otherwise, they could end up bouncing away. Therefore, landing pages are crucial to a marketing strategy for small business owners.

18. What are Long Tail Keywords?

Long tail keywords are common phrases people use to search online. While long tail keywords have previously been viewed not as beneficial as specific keywords, that is changing. The advances in voice search have changed how we search. More people are using phrases or questions rather than specific terms.

19. What is Metadata?

Metadata informs search engines about a website. Search engines pull information from the metadata and rank a website accordingly.

20. What is a Meta Description?

A meta description is a brief summary of a web page or blog that shows up in search results. The description should inform searchers of what your site or page is about while also enticing them to click and read.

21. What Does Organic Traffic Mean?

Organic traffic is the group of people who visit a page through search results. When your site shows up in search results, and someone clicks on it, that person becomes part of the organic traffic to your site.

22. What is the PageRank Algorithm?

The PageRank algorithm determines the position of a website in Google’s search results. The first page of Google results ranks from 0-10, with the zero-position reserved for featured snippets. The algorithm considers several factors, including the trustworthiness of the site to determine where a site will show up in search results. A quick note: Google changed their display for searches recently. In this modification, a lot of searches only display seven results on the first page.

23. What is Pay-Per-Click Marketing?

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing is when advertisers pay every time a visitor clicks on their advertisement. This method allows a small business owner to keep track of their spending and only spend money on ads that work.

An image showing a computer mouse leading to money.
Advertisers use pay-per-click ads that cost money only when a user clicks on them.

24. What Does Query Deserves Freshness Mean?

Query Deserves Freshness (QDF) is the part of Google’s PageRank algorithm that describes how out-of-date a website might be. It means a page or site needs more up-to-date results and content. If information becomes outdated, Google picks up on that and penalizes a page for it.

25. What is a Ranking Factor in SEO?

A ranking factor is one of the items that search engines use to decide where to place a website in their search results. Search engines consider many different factors, such as the number of links and how reputable they are. Search engines also look at if a page is using keywords, titles, and headings properly. As a result, search engines rank for content that is of high quality and value to the consumer.

26. What is an RSS Feed?

An RSS Feed stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is a way for visitors to get updates on content from a website through a subscription. These subscriptions alert visitors about when the site has posted new content.

27. What is SERP in SEO?

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. It is the search display that appears after you type a query into the search bar.

28. What is Sitemap.xml?

Sitemap.xml is a map of all the pages on a website developed by your webmaster. It shows where all the pages on your site are and how they relate to one another. A well-organized sitemap helps the search engines index your site to better understand what information you’re presenting.

29. What are Social Media Metrics?

Social media metrics are units used to measure how well social media posts are performing. Metrics include areas such as engagements, link clicks, shares, and conversions.

30. What is Traffic?

Traffic refers to every visitor who goes to a website. Traffic looks at who went to the site, no matter where they came from or how long they stayed. You can break down your traffic into those categories later. After all, there are many different sources of traffic, including organic search results, social media, and referrals.

31. What is a Unique Visitor?

Unique visitors are people who visit a website one or more times during a tracked period. Even if the visitor has returned to your site multiple times during that period, the tracking software will only count them once. This stat is handy for gauging how many people your website is reaching.

32. What is a URL?

The URL is a web address of a page. Each page gets a unique URL address that coincides with your main page. The front end of the URL indicates the name of the website. The back end of the URL indicates where a page is located on the website.

33. What is Viral Content?

Viral content is a piece of media that gains a wide following shortly after it’s published. The media can be anything from articles to videos to images. A piece of content goes viral through many people sharing it online. Therefore, generating viral content gives your brand more exposure to more people.

An image showing a laptop sharing content with one person who then shares it to many people.
Going viral is something every small business owner should strive for because, while it is rare, it does give your brand a lot of exposure.

34. What is Website Quality?

Website quality is what search engines look for when ranking a website. The search engine bots scour the site looking at relevance, page length, visitor engagement, backlinks, inbound links, and content readability. Based on these measurements and others, the search engine bot determines if a site has a high enough quality to rank on its first page.

35. What is White Hat SEO?

White hat SEO is when web designers use good SEO practices on their website. If black hat SEO tactics go against SEO best practices, then the white hat techniques follow those rules. In order to maintain a white hat SEO status, site owners should keep up with the latest trends and changes in search engine optimization.

Do You Want to Learn More About Basic SEO Terms?

Hopefully, these basic SEO terms sparked your interest in search engine optimization and digital marketing! If it did and you want to know more about SEO search terms, feel free to give us a call or send us a message on Facebook! Frontier Marketing works with local businesses in the McHenry, IL, and Chicago area on content creation and website optimization!