What does it all really mean?

Here are a few of the terms used regularly in SEO practices.

Algorithms: a process or set of instructions to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations.

Backlinks: an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website.

Black-Hat SEO: computer hacker who violates computer security – in this case, Search Engine Optimization – for maliciousness or for personal gain. A simple example of this would be to exploit meta tags.

Click Through Rate (CTR): the ratio of visitors to a webpage who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement.

Conversion Rate: the percentage of visitors to a website who proceed to go beyond casual content viewing or a website visit, as a result of subtle or direct requests from marketers, advertisers, and content creators.

Canonical Link Element: is an HTML element that helps prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the “canonical” or “preferred” version of a web page as part of search engine optimization.

HTTP Redirect: A redirect is a way to send both users and search engines to a different URL from the one they originally requested. Three commonly used redirects are 301 (“Moved Permanently” – recommended for SEO), 302 (“Found” or “Moved Temporarily”), and Meta Refresh.

HTTP 301 (301 redirects): This is a permanent redirect between URLs. 301 redirects send search engines and site visitors to different URLs than originally searched.

Keywords: a word or phrase that describes the content on your page or post. It’s the search term that you want to rank for with a certain page. When the word or phrase is searched for, the results should include your site.

Keyword Density: the ratio of keywords or phrases to non-declared keywords or phrases on a page. In SEO, keyword density helps to determine whether a web page is relevant to a specified keyword or keyword phrase.

Link Building (aka Cross-Linking): In SEO, Link Building is the practice of increasing the amount and quality of inbound links (links from other websites or pages) to a webpage with the goal of improving search rankings for that particular page.

Meta Tag: tags used in HTML and XHTML documents to provide structured self-referential data about a Web page, included between the head tags of a webpage. Multiple Meta elements with different attributes can be used on the same page.

Meta Tag Description: Used to specify additional metadata about a page, such as its author, publication date, expiration date, page description, keywords, or other information not provided through the other header elements and HTML attributes.

Responsive Web Design: the technique of building web pages that will render well on various devices, window or screen sizes. As content, design, and performance are necessary across all devices, this practice is to ensure usability and satisfaction.

Robots Exclusion Standard (robots.txt): Web files used by websites to communicate with web crawlers and web robots. The practice specifies in which ways to inform the web robot about pages or areas of the website that should not be processed or scanned. Search engines use Robots to categorize websites.

Root directory: The first or top-most directory in computer filing systems.

Search Engine Indexing: collects, parses, and stores data to facilitate fast and accurate information retrieval. Index design involves concepts from linguistics, cognitive psychology, mathematics, informatics, and computer science.

Search Engine Results Pages (SERP): Search results displaying web pages that best support the keywords or phrases search for.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):  The practice of manipulating or affecting a website or webpages to improve “natural”, organic”, or “earned” unpaid results. SEO stands in contrast to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) in that SEM is designed to improve web presence via advertising, which are paid results.

Sitemap: A hierarchical overview of all pages of a website. A sitemap, much like the directory of a shopping mall which helps visitors find stores, is intended to help visitors find specific pages. They are also used by web-crawlers. Sitemaps differ from Site Indexes in that Site Indexes are arranged alphabetically and are designed for a different purpose.

Spamdexing: intentional manipulation of search engine indexes for malicious or exploitative purposes. Employed by a number of methods such as link building and repeating unrelated keywords or search terms & phrases in an effort to manipulate the relevance or prominence of indexed resources in a manner not consistent with the indexing system.

Title Tag: Specifies the site title in the browser tab as well as affects ranking potential through web crawlers. Though not having this element in a non-SEO focused website will not affect the execution of a website, it is recommended. As for SEO, this is a requirement.

URL Normalization: The process by which URLs are modified and standardized in a consistent manner. The goal of the normalization process is to transform a URL into a normalized URL so it is possible to determine if two syntactically different URLs may be equivalent.

Examples include:

HTTP://www.Example.com to lowercase: http://www.example.com
http://www.example.com:80 removal of a port to http://www.example.com
http://www.example.com/index.html removal of index.html extension.
replacing IP address 123.45.678.90 with actual domain name http://www.example.com

Vertical Search: Search engines that target specific online content such as the automotive industry, clothing, shopping, legal information, medical information, and travel, to name a few. Once such example of this is Yelp.

Web Crawler (Spider): Use of web-implemented software in an effort to index web content. Web crawlers download pages for user-desired efficiency.