April 23, 2011

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Back to Basics: SEO Terms Explained

Once you understand what SEO is, the next challenge is to make sense of all the new terminology you’ll come across in the world of SEO. Here’s our guide to some of the more commonly used SEO terms:

Natural search results: Also known as unpaid or organic search results, “natural” results are simply those that aren’t advertisements. As we’ve explained before, not everyone can tell the difference between natural results and the paid results that appear around them.

Backlinks/inbound links: These terms refer to any links to a website. Search engines look at the number of backlinks a website has, and where they come from, to measure how authoritative it is. This is one of the factors that influence where a website is placed in search results.

Keyword density: This is a fairly self-explanatory term, referring to the percentage of keywords or phrases that appear on a web page compared to the total number of words on that page.

Indexing and crawling: These two terms refer to the way search engines gather and store websites so that they appear in search results. Google’s Matt Cutts explains it this way: “This job is performed by Googlebot, our ‘spider’, which connects to web servers around the world to fetch documents. The crawling program doesn’t really roam the web; it instead asks a web server to return a specified web page, then scans that web page for hyperlinks, which provide new documents that are fetched the same way. Our spider gives each retrieved page a number so it can refer to the pages it fetched.”

PageRank: PageRank is a system for ranking web pages that was designed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. searchengineland.com’s Danny Sullivan describes it as “Google’s system of counting link votes and determining which pages are most important based on them. These scores are then used along with many other things to determine if a page will rank well in a search.”

Black hat/white hat SEO: Black hat SEO refers to the practice of using unethical means to get a website to the top of search engine results, while white hat SEO focuses on providing website visitors and search engines with clear and honest information about a website. Needless to say, it’s not always easy to get a consensus on whether certain strategies are black hat, white hat, or even grey hat SEO.

Have we missed any crucial SEO terminology? Let us know in our comments and we’ll do our best to explain.


Related posts:

  1. Back to Basics: What is SEO?
  2. Back to Basics: SEM Terms Explained
  3. Back to Basics: What is SEM?
  4. Top 10 Tips for SEO
  5. On-Site Tips for SEO: Part 2
  6. Why Do Internal Links Matter for SEO?
  7. How Re-Posting Content Can Dent Your SEO
  8. Back to Basics: How Will Blogging Help You?
  9. Google Gives SEO Tips

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