6 Common SEO Terms Defined

Understanding SEO terms to conquer digital marketing initiatives

Marketers rely on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to increase the visibility of their websites and grow their audiences. The higher a web page ranks on a search engine like Google, the more likely searchers will click your link and the more opportunities you have to convert a lead into a customer.

As you start your marketing efforts, chances are you will come across many SEO terms you haven’t heard of before. Given how vast SEO techniques are, it’s entirely understandable. But if you want to master SEO, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of the terminology to help set you up for success. We’re defining six of the most popular SEO terms to get you started.

Table of contents

    1. Keywords
    2. SERP
    3. Featured Snippet
    4. Semantics
    5. Meta Description
    6. Alt Text
    7. Avoid Common Mistakes

Keywords

Nearly every aspect of on-page SEO is connected to your keywords. They are the focus points of your content and impact how your pages rank among the rest. To help determine what your keywords will be, you first need to know what your audience is looking for or what questions they may need answered. Tools such as Semrush can help you identify keywords performing well and how difficult it is to rank with them. Keep in mind that you’ll want to have some long-tail keywords in the mix. These are phrases like “best practices for blog writing” that could have fewer searches but a more targeted audience, making them easier to rank for.

Another tip to keep in mind is that keywords don’t just belong in your body copy. Use them in titles, URLs, headings, and metadata to ensure your blog gets the most exposure possible. 

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SERP

We’re sure you’ve searched for an answer to a problem using Google and gotten pages of different links staring you in the face as a result. As a user, we might not think too much about the makeup or hierarchy of this, but as a marketer, the search engine results page, or SERP, is like a scoreboard for your marketing efforts. Where your site falls on this page is dependent upon your ranking. The higher your page ranks, the more apt people are to click on it. When your page appears on the SERP, it will include your page title, URL, and meta description (which we’ll get to a little later), so it’s vital that they include all information a potential customer might be looking for in a concise, engaging way. Keep in mind that there are a few ways to be featured on the SERP, whether as a paid or organic result, or in the Knowledge Box. You’ll want to target your efforts toward these listings rather than taking a shot in the dark and hoping for the best.

In this fast-paced world, people are looking for the answers to their searches as quickly as possible. Featured snippets automatically pull information from a high-ranking site and create a box on the top of the SERP page. As a result, these featured snippets rank higher than the first position. The featured snippet box usually contains a definition, a list, steps, or a table and is tied to long-tail keywords (which is why they’re such an important part of your SEO efforts).

Semantics

You’ve all heard the phrase, “it’s just semantics.” But when it comes to SEO, semantics are very important to get the most out of your keywords. These are words or phrases closely related to the original keyword you’re trying to rank for. By using semantics, search engine robots analyze the content more effectively, and ranking algorithms are more accurate. This also helps boost the user experience because they can find answers to any follow-up questions they may have in the same post or resource. 

Meta Description

Meta descriptions are like the first impression for potential customers, so you’ll always want to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward. When your link is posted on the SERP, the meta description is shown in the results so that users can see what information your page provides and if it is relevant to their inquiry. To attract more visitors, you can write a concise, informative blurb that features the keyword or phrase you’re trying to rank for. A word to the wise: if you leave yours blank, Google pulls a description in at random, putting you at risk of missing out on a new customer.

Alt Text

Alternative text, known as alt text, is used to describe the image posted within your content. First developed for the visually impaired, the text is picked up by screen readers to let the person know what the image is about. For SEO purposes, the text is picked up by the search engine crawlers and analyzed along with your page’s written content. Without alt text, search engines won’t be able to parse out images in your text and might skip past your content. Alt texts also work as a backup in cases where pages do not load correctly. Readers will know what the image was supposed to be, keeping your page operational even when page load errors arise.

How to Avoid Common SEO Mistakes

With these new SEO terms in mind, it’s important to make sure you’re following best practices. We shared some of the common mistakes that you may unknowingly make on your blog and developed our SEO white paper to ensure your content is being shared and found online. But if you’re looking for any additional guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to help!


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