Glossary

A file or collection of files that contains all the pages of a website, including important information such as the page URLs, when these pages were last updated, and how often they are updated. An XML sitemap can be submitted to search engines for indexing purposes. Today’s content management systems (CMS) typically generate and update XML sitemaps automatically.

SEO

301 Redirect

The HTTP status code which automatically redirects users and search engines from loading one URL to another URL. It is mainly used when the original page no longer exists and its contents have been moved to another URL. The process happens so quickly that users rarely notice the transition.

SEO

404 Error

A 404 error is part of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) standard response code and indicates that a given webpage URL cannot be found on the server. Usually this means that the page either no longer exists or the URL has changed (see Broken Link). Most web servers will generate a standard 404 Not Found Webpage but it’s not uncommon for websites to redesign their own bespoke 404 pages.

SEO

Anchor Text

The clickable text that appears on a hyperlink, directing the user to another page on the website (internal link) or another website entirely (external link). It is useful for inserting links into sentences without having to type out the entire URL of the page being linked to. Anchor text is also a ranking influence to search engines as it gives context to the page being linked to.

Link Building, SEO

Backlink

From the perspective of one website, a backlink is a link that originates from another website pointing to that website. For example, Wikipedia having a link to Superb Digital is a backlink from the perspective of Superb Digital. Superb Digital having a link to Wikipedia is a backlink from the perspective of Wikipedia. Also known as an inbound link.

SEO

Black Hat SEO

SEO techniques that don’t follow search engine guidelines and seek to manipulate search results to gain high rankings. Black hat SEO practices are generally considered to be spammy tactics, such as participating in link schemes, doorway pages or spinning out poor-quality content. Websites caught employing black hat SEO are usually penalised.

Link Building, SEO

Broken Link

A link to a webpage or website that is not working correctly. Clicking a broken link usually leads to a 404 “Not Found” webpage. Broken links can happen for a number of reasons. It could be because the page that is being linked to no longer exists, there is a typo in the HTML, or the website owner hasn’t implemented a 301 redirect after removing the page or changing its URL.

Link Building, SEO

Business Directories

Dating back to the early days of the internet, directories are websites dedicated to listing business websites, which can then be sorted by category. Some allow businesses to be listed for free and others require payment. Links from directories no longer provide much value for improving search rankings as they once did, but the business name, address and phone number information are extremely important for local SEO.

PPC, SEO

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The percentage of users that click on a link. The term is most often used in SEO circles to refer to the rate at which people click on a search result, whether it’s paid or organic. The higher up the search results the higher the CTR is likely to be. CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks a link gets by the number of times it was seen (impressions) and multiplying that figure by 100.

SEO

Competitor Research

A deep dive into your online competitors websites, in order to gain a competitive advantage and understanding of the current market, so you can better craft your own SEO strategy by emulating and improving on what others have done and avoiding their mistakes. The process involves analysing the keywords your competitors are targeting, where they are ranking for those keywords, the content they’re creating and who they are reaching out to for link building.

Content Marketing

Content Audit

The process of inspecting and keeping an inventory of all the online content created by an individual or organisation. It involves analysing each piece of content, to understand it’s search performance and user engagement. Insights gained from a content audit can then help plan for future content creation as well as update existing content. Content audits can also identify content that isn’t performing or is irrelevant so it can be removed, making the site more lean and crawlable.

Content Marketing, SEO

Content Optimisation

A vital part of SEO, content optimisation is about improving the content produced on a website to help with its search rankings. This includes targeted keyword usage, multimedia integration, internal linking, and the creation of valuable, in-depth content. The idea is to provide users the topics and services they are looking for—all while structured in a search engine-friendly way.

SEO

Crawl Error

Search engines add websites to and update their database or Index by “crawling” through a website’s pages with “bots”. Crawl errors occur when search engine bots fail to crawl a page. This could be due to connectivity issues with the server hosting the website or if a website does not have the resources that allow bots to crawl it properly. See Indexing.

SEO

Domain Authority

How well a website is perceived to be authoritative, relevant, and credible. Domain Authority (DA) was created by SEO company Moz. It is represented as a logarithmic score on a 100-point scale, with 100 being the highest. A website with a high DA score generally means its webpages are likely to rank high in search engines, even for pages that are new and have yet to gain a lot of traffic or backlinks themselves.

Content Marketing, SEO

Duplicate Content

Text-based content that is significantly similar or identical to content on the same website or a completely different website. Google does not penalise websites strictly for having duplicate content, unless it sees it as blatantly trying to manipulate ranking results. However, it can still cause problems with pages not being indexed properly and keyword cannibalisation. All of which can be avoided with proper SEO.

SEO, Web Design

Dwell Time

Refers to how long a user stays on a webpage after clicking on a search result before going back to the search result page. If the dwell time on a search result is low, that’s generally an indication that the content is not what the user is looking for or it’s of poor quality. It could also indicate a technical or UX issue, such as the page not loading fast enough or it not being formatted properly for the user’s device.

SEO

Ecommerce SEO

These are SEO strategies aimed to boost traffic and sales for websites that sell products online. Specific techniques include writing unique product descriptions, implementing schema markup, and reaching out to manufacturers and relevant directories. Ecommerce SEO strategies are often a lot more work intensive because of the number of individual pages on an ecommerce website compared to other business websites.

SEO

Google Analytics

Google’s website analytics tool that tracks your website visitor data. Users can access a diverse and comprehensive array of metrics, including site traffic, demographics, traffic sources and visitor behaviour including pages visitors go to and how long they spend on these pages. Google Analytics is one of the most important tools in any SEO’s toolbox, as it is the most accurate way of gauging campaign success.

SEO

Google My Business

Organisations that want to appear on Google as a genuine business need to create a Business Profile. With Google My Business, users can control how their Business Profiles will look on the search engine results pages, including their logo, address, phone number, customer reviews, opening hours, and photos. This can also be used for local search SEO and customer engagement.

SEO

Google Penalty

Websites that do not follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines can find themselves with a Google Penalty. It results in either a reduced ranking for Google search results or a complete removal from search results, depending on the severity of the infraction. Penalties can either be algorithmic (assigned automatically by Google’s algorithm) or manually when a human Google reviewer determines a site is violating Google’s guidelines.

SEO

Google Search Console

Google’s main webmaster platform. With Google Search Console set up, users can submit sitemaps, run site maintenance, as well as check on analytics and searcher behaviour of their websites. Google Search Console also gives data on what search terms a site is ranking for and as such is one of the most important tools in an SEO’s toolbox. Was previously called Google Webmaster Tools.

SEO

Google Tag Manager

Google’s official tool that lets users easily manage tags on their website or mobile app. Tag management is done through a web-based user interface, allowing users to add and update tags without having to do any editing at the code level. It can be used with Google tags for Google Ads, Google Analytics, and non-Google tags.

SEO

Grey Hat SEO

Grey hat SEO refers to the blurry line between black hat and white hat SEO. It can be thought of as bending the law instead of breaking it. A grey hat tactic is something you wouldn’t inform Google you were doing but which won’t automatically get you penalised. Because Google’s algorithm is constantly updating, the space that grey hat occupies is prone to shifting.

Content Marketing, Link Building

Guest Blogging

The process of creating thought leadership content for websites other than one’s own website. The goal is to get exposure from new relevant audiences, forge relationships with influencers, and often gain backlinks to your own website’s content. Also known as guest posting, it is a staple link building tactic.

SEO

Indexing

The process where a search engine crawls a website’s pages to add new ones to its database or update information regarding that website. A website has to be indexed by a search engine before it can show up as a result on that particular search engine. The frequency with which websites are crawled and new pages indexed varies from a few hours to a few days or even weeks, depending on how regularly they publish fresh content.

SEO

Keyword Cannibalisation

This happens when more than one page on the same website is optimised to rank for the same keyword. Search engines will then have a problem deciding which page to show as a result for searches using the keyword in question. Keyword cannibalisation can lead to lower click-through and conversion rates as a result of the wrong page appearing in search. It is better for a landing page to focus on a unique keyword or very closely related set of keywords.

PPC, SEO

Keyword Research

The vital process of establishing which keywords need to be targeted for an SEO campaign. It involves determining relevant search queries your target audience type into search engines, how many searches are made with these keywords over a given timeframe, and how many other sites come above yours for these keywords. Various tools and techniques can be employed in this strategic exercise, including using Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and Google Search Console.

SEO

Link Bait

Content that has been created with the intention of getting as many backlinks possible. While all content is generally made to gain links, link bait achieves this by making the content as attention grabbing as possible. This could mean tackling a contentious topic, creating highly visual content or producing well-researched studies that your target audience would be interested in.

Link Building

Link Building

The process of getting credible and relevant websites to link to pages on your website. This can be accomplished using a variety of tactics, such as reaching out to online publications and webmasters, forming relationships with fellow bloggers or content creators, sponsored content, or attracting them naturally through quality content. Link building done right increases a website’s authority, which then results in higher organic search rankings.

SEO

Local Pack

A Google Maps listing of the first three businesses shown by Google based on the search term used and the user’s location or a specified location. It lists information submitted via your Google My Business listing, such as business name, an aggregate of user reviews, physical address, business type. It is accompanied by a Google Maps snippet showing where each is located. Also known as the 3 Pack.

SEO

Local SEO

SEO focused on optimising a website to appear higher in local organic search results and local packs. Because Google will serve up local businesses in its search results on relevant searches, a lot of SEO is done with the relevant location in mind, such as targeting a specific city during keyword research or building links with websites of local businesses. Local SEO also makes sure that a business’s name will rank properly if searched for, as it is associated with that business’s Google My Business page.

SEO

Mobile First Index

When Google indexes a website, it prioritises that site’s mobile version over its desktop version. Google started mobile first indexing in 2016 as it was pivoting to better cater to the growing majority of its users searching on mobile devices, and the process is still ongoing. It is automatically applied to websites created on 1st July, 2019 and onward. Google states it is best for websites to present similar experiences to users for both their mobile and desktop versions.

SEO

NAP Information

NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. NAP information is a unique identifier for a business or organisation for search engines. Having consistent NAP information across multiple sites (often directories), as well as your Google My Business page, factors into ranking for local searches. It is important, therefore, to list these details consistently to establish presence in a specific location that search engines can easily recognise.

Link Building

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO covers any activities taking place outside a target website that creates or optimises ranking signals to improve that target website’s rankings. Off-page SEO is usually a byword for link building as links are how Google establishes trust in your website from other websites. Off-page SEO can include indirect tactics to help boost these signals though, like social media marketing, influencer marketing and non-linking brand mentions.

SEO

On-Page SEO

A broad term that encapsulates all optimisation work for elements that can be found on the webpages of a website. On-page SEO centres around creating quality content and optimising existing content but also includes improving a website’s technical performance, optimising metadata, and streamlining site structure, among a host of other activities. Sometimes called On-Site SEO.

SEO

Page Load Speed

The amount of time it takes for a webpage to load completely for users. Page load speed is an integral part of the user experience, but it is also a ranking factor for Google, so it is important to optimise a website’s technical aspects to ensure it loads quickly. Poor page load speed can occur for a number of reasons, from poor server response time to uncompressed on-page images.

Content Marketing, Link Building

Private Blog Network (PBN)

A group of websites created for the sole purpose of generating links to boost search rankings. The majority of PBNs contain poor quality content, as they are primarily designed to build links to other websites, which are often sold to third parties, leading to a broad range of content and a lack of relevancy. Links from PBNs are often disregarded as Google considers them spam and websites involved in PBNs are penalised.

SEO

Ranking Signals

Also known as ranking factors, these are the individual elements, both onsite and offsite, that search engine algorithms consider when deciding how well a webpage will rank in its organic search results for a given search term. It’s often stated that Google’s algorithm factors in over 200 unique signals in order to serve up its users the best possible results. Two of the most important sets of ranking signals revolve around backlinks and on-page content.

PPC

Return on Investment (ROI)

The monetary measurement of how well implemented SEO methods perform. The basic formula for ROI is dividing the additional revenue gained through a specific marketing activity by the amount of money invested into applying it and then multiplying that value by 100. For many marketing activities, return on investment can be hard to measure, but because organic SEO and PPC are data driven, they can be fairly well measured if enquiries and leads are properly tracked.

SEO

Schema

A type of markup language for annotating a webpage’s source code. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Yandex worked together to develop Schema so that it can be used as the standard markup language for structured data and that all four of their search engines can recognise when websites use it. It is useful for labelling elements on a webpage so that they are displayed properly on search results pages, such as product prices, event dates, and aggregate user ratings.

SEO

SEO Audit

An SEO audit involves a comprehensive analysis of a website’s individual pages, structure, search rankings, traffic, visitor behaviour and backlinks. It should be thorough, resulting in a comprehensive report that provides insights on what can be improved with actionable steps. An SEO audit is the first step in establishing an SEO strategy and will help uncover any technical issues that may be holding the site back.

SEO

SEO Tools

The tools SEO specialists use to implement and track SEO campaigns. There is a huge assortment of tools out there and every SEO expert or agency will have their preferences. Third party tools vary from free apps with limited functionality, paid programmes with full feature suites, and open-source DIY kits. Two of the most important tools in any SEO’s armoury though – Google Analytics and Google Search Console – are free.

SEO

Structured Data

Website data that has been organised to let search engines easily identify a website’s contents and display relevant information on search results pages. In practice, the source code of a webpage is annotated with the proper labels associated with a particular markup language. See Schema.

SEO

Thin Content

Content that has little to no value to the user. Quantity is not a determining factor on whether or not content is thin. An article that is over a thousand words long but does not have any real value can still be considered thin content. Whilst Google cannot ‘read’ in the traditional sense of the word, it has become very good at distinguishing good content from thin content.

SEO

User Reviews

Reviews of products or services written by actual customers. As well as on-page, reviews can be displayed in the search results as rich snippets using structured data. They help promote products, as consumers typically read reviews before making purchasing decisions. Positive reviews won’t directly improve a site’s search rankings but they will encourage higher click through rate, which is a ranking signal.

SEO

Voice Search

A method of conducting searches on search engines using a voice-activated device, with the user speaking into the device. The device will then say the top result out loud. Voice search is typically used with mobile devices to give users a hands off experience. There are limits to voice search compared to traditional typed search, such as not being able to use search operators.

Web Design

Website Structure

How a website and its pages are organised. Website structure should be designed so that users can easily navigate a website and find exactly what they are looking for through an intuitive interface. They should also account for search engines being able to naturally crawl a website and easily distinguish various areas or topics across that site. Creating a URL structure that does this is called content siloing.

SEO

White Hat SEO

SEO techniques that follow search engine guidelines. Examples of white hat SEO are designing a user and search-friendly site structure and creating fresh, high-quality content. Websites that practice white hat SEO set a solid foundation for improving their organic search rankings.

SEO

XML Sitemap

A file or collection of files that contains all the pages of a website, including important information such as the page URLs, when these pages were last updated, and how often they are updated. An XML sitemap can be submitted to search engines for indexing purposes. Today’s content management systems (CMS) typically generate and update XML sitemaps automatically.