Posted on: 28.02.2024

A Guide to Deciphering the SEO Terminology

We all know the feeling of stumbling across ANOTHER blog on SEO that’s littered with acronyms and technical jargon. Almost as if it’s been written by robots… for robots?

Time for a clear cut, go-to guide. A comprehensive crib sheet for hopeful SEO experts that offers a what’s what of SEO lingo, and clears up that confusion for good.

(This is where you might want to open up that bookmark tab)

On-page SEO

We’ll start at the start, with on-page SEO.

On-page SEO refers to anything that can be done on a webpage to improve rankings, as opposed to anything that sits outside of a site – think backlinks, PR and social media.

There are a few central components relevant to it, each of which we’ll cover below.

Crawl and index: The search for meaning

Before content makes it onto search, search engines like Google tend to need a bit more information.

That’s where crawling comes in. By crawling through new content, Google downloads all accessible content, before adding it to their database.

From there, Google analyses the content and index the information to be served up when someone searches for something relevant.

Googlebot: It takes two

Googlebot is the generic name for Google’s two types of web crawlers, with the Googlebot Smartphone stimulating users on mobile devices, and the Googlebot Desktop stimulating desktop users.

Robots.txt and Robot Meta Tag: The bouncer of your website

Robot.txt acts as a directive to Googlebot on a site level, informing search engine crawlers which URLs can be accessed on a website level.

Robot meta tag acts as a directive to Googlebot on a page level, providing instructions to search engine crawlers on how to index, crawl and display a page in search results.

Simply put, a robot meta tag will only be discovered when the URL is allowed to be discovered through robot.txt rules.

Canonicalisation: When content goes alpha.

When a set of duplicate pages is found, Google picks the most representative one, known as the canonical URL. It helps Google show only one version of the otherwise duplicate content in its search results.

Or you can tell Google your preferred content:

– Redirects: where the destination of the redirect is canonical.
rel=”canonical” tags: the specified URL is canonical.

Mobile-first indexing: For the mobile generation

Google has been prioritising mobile-friendly website’s since 2015.

For most sites, Google primarily indexes the mobile version of the content. As such, the majority of crawl requests will be made using the Googlebot Mobile.

Meta tags: The subliminal messages for google

These hidden HTML snippets tell search engines what your page is about (metadata). Like the title cards you see in museums.

Meta tags of this blog post for example:

  • <meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow, max-image-preview:large, max-snippet:-1, max-video-preview:-1″>
  • <title>A Guide to Deciphering the SEO Terminology | ilk Agency</title>
  • <meta name=”description” content=”Confused by SEO jargon? This guide cracks the code on common SEO terms & acronyms, making you SEO jargon-savvy in no time!“>
  • <link rel=”canonical” href=”“>


Sitemap: A Googlebot’s Google maps

A sitemap is like a map for Googlebot, categorising pages, images and other files on your website and the relationship between them.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page): Aim for the top spot

Short for Search Engine Results Page, what you see when you search something on Google.

Schema markup (structured data): It’s more than just keywords

Structured data is used to communicate both the meaning of your content and how users should see it in Google Search, in a language that the search engine can understand (JSON-LD or Microdata).

KD (Keyword Difficulty): Not your nemesis, just a metric

Keyword Difficulty measures how difficult it is to rank for a certain keyword, on a scale from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the harder the competition (but the sweeter the victory).

CTR (Click-through Rate): Are people clicking your site?

Click-through rate (CTR) is a common performance metric, used to gauge how well your keywords are performing. To obtain the CTR, divide the number of clicks on your landing page by the overall impressions.

Alt attribute: Beyond the pretty pictures

As Googlebots can’t see images like a human, alt attribute, recommended for image SEO best practices, allows you to describe your images in words, helping both SEO and accessibility.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages): Speeding passage for mobile users

Consider AMP a lightweight version of your website. AMP provides a faster and more reliable user experience on mobile devices, keeping mobile users from clicking away.

Core Web Vitals: The user experience trio

These are the three things that make or break your website’s user experience: loading speed, responsiveness, and visual stability. It includes:

  • – LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): Measures loading performance.
  • – FID (First Input Delay): Measures interactivity. And from March 12th, INP will take over as the    key metric for website interactivity.
  • – CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): Measures visual stability.

Link equity: Popularity points

Link equity, or “link juice”, is a level of value passed from a linking page to the page it links to. That value depends on several factors, such as the topical relevance and authority of the linking page and the authority of the site that the linking page is on.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to activities completed outside of a site to improve rankings. It might include actions such as backlink building, and works to boost your site’s reputation.

Backlinks: Votes of confidence

Backlinks (same as inbound links) are links to a page from other web pages. The quality, quantity, relevance, authority, and anchor text of the backlinks is one of the many ranking factors for Google, and the best way to earn them is by creating high-quality content that people naturally want to link to.

Anchor text: Ditch the “Click Here”

Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Making it as descriptive as possible benefits both the user’s experience and SEO, helping users and search engines understand the context behind the linked resource.

Link attribute: A secret handshake between website’s

Webmasters use link attributes to tell Google the relationship with the linked page.

rel=”follow”: to pass on your link juice.

rel=”sponsored”: for advertisements or paid placements (commonly called paid links).

rel=”ugc”: for user-generated content (UGC) links, such as comments and forum posts.

rel=”nofollow”: for website’s that you’d rather Google not associate your site with, or crawl the linked page from, your site.

DA (Domain Authority) and PA (Page Authority): Popular, but unofficial

Domain Authority indicates the overall strength of a website’s backlink profile. As Google doesn’t quantify a website’s authority as of yet, we’d recommend focusing on creating informative, people-first content – the numbers will follow. 

GMB (Google Manage My Business): Your digital storefront

If you have a local business, GMB is your (free!) golden ticket to boosting local audience engagement. It allows you to influence how your business appears on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Shopping.

NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number): Your business’s fingerprint

Make sure your NAP is consistent everywhere online. Google hates inconsistency, and it rewards authority when your information on other local directives matches the data in their indexes.

SEO is a journey, not a destination. Building good SEO takes time, effort and a strategic approach. And at the end of the day, what matters most is creating valuable content for your audience.

If you need help implementing your SEO strategy, we can support businesses of all sizes to achieve their online goals. Reach out today to discover how we can tailor a strategy to your specific industry and target audience.

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