Lisa Coghlan provides part one in this SEO Jargon Buster series: full to the brim with magical terms that come along with the SEO industry and how they apply to a digital marketer’s realm.

In the mystical world of SEO there are terms, abbreviations and buzzwords that crop up, left, right and centre. And it can be difficult to keep abreast of them all, whether you’re just starting out as a digital marketer or you’re an SEO veteran.

That’s where we come in.

Take a look at our SEO Jargon Buster below for an A to Z of technical SEO terms and their accompanying definitions. You never know – they may help you solve your latest SEO mystery.

Algorithm

Green matrix code

Essentially, search engines are built on these complex things called algorithms. They are the computer programs that recognise your search query and return the results that are most relevant to you. Google’s algorithms are constantly updating and evolving in order to bring users a much better online search experience.

Anchor Text

rusty anchor and sea

This is the text that you can click within a hyperlink. Search engines sometimes need guidance, so make sure your anchor text is highly relevant to the page you’re linking to. Choose your anchor text carefully and this can contribute to the SEO performance of the linked-to page.

Anchor text should never be non-descriptive. For example, links with anchor text such as, “click here” or “find out more” do not outline to the user exactly what the content that is being linked to is about, nor does it show search engines the subject of the linked-to page. So keep it relevant and keep it keyword rich.

Alt Attribute

The alt attribute is part of the html of a web page and is attributed to an image tag. It provides an alternative to the image where non-visual browsers are used, so when the image is not displayed the text within the alt attribute is visible instead, helping users to better understand the page where images are disabled.

Optimisation of alt attributes is often overlooked. By adding relevant search terms to them within the html, a search engine will gain a better understanding of your content, potentially giving you a better spot in search results. It’s also worth thinking about image search results in this way too. Image search results will offer another path for users to discover you and your product, but only if you add a relevant alt attribute to your images.

Crawling

spider web

Search engines will crawl your web site. This means that the search engine will move through your site structure, identifying updates, content and links in order to ascertain the quality of your site. How is this done? A program known as a spider or bot will use an algorithm to decide which sites to crawl at which times.

Domain Authority

Commonly referred to as DA, this refers to the power of a web domain, taking into account its popularity with users, its age and its size. The metric known as domain authority was coined by MOZ and is important to SEO because it is a highly sought after search engine ranking factor. But it is also an elusive one.

judge's gavel

Domain authority is particularly difficult to attain as it is something that is earned. A search engine wants to provide its users with sites that can be trusted and provide reliable information. So the age of a domain will inevitably secure its place as a trustworthy source of information. However, the size of the site and its popularity with users will also be a significant part of its DA, due to the quality of its backlinks.

Disavow 

When another site links to yours, it amounts to a virtual high five. To search engines it’s evidence of your authority. But there are times when some links that point to your site do not fall in line with best practice SEO. Google’s Webmaster guidelines dictate that any links that are “artificial or unnatural” cannot be trusted. When this happens to your site there is every chance that Google will detect and potentially penalise you for it. This is where the disavow bit comes in…

When you’re found to have spammy links pointing to your site, you can disavow those links. This means you will be able to ask Google not to take them into account when crawling your site. As long as these bad links are not controlled by you, you can disassociate yourself from them, so you’re not penalised, which could be detrimental for performance.

Faceted Search

Faceted search or faceted navigation refers to changes to a site’s navigation as users select filtering options. This is often seen on e-commerce sites where the colour or size of an item can be selected to aid the user in finding the product they desire.

When different ‘facets’ are selected the URL often changes but the content on the whole tends to stay the same, so the implementation of faceted search should be carefully thought out so that duplicate content does not become an issue.

H Tags

Gift tag

These are html elements that designate section headings on web page. Proper use of h tags, from h1 to h6 can help your web page’s ranking position. Some reports suggest that search engines may add more weight to the h1 tag, so the text used within it should be optimised with relevant keywords. H tags could also be an indicator to search engines as to which content you’re prioritising on the page, helping them to return your page to users in their search result pages for keywords prioritised in the h1 heading tag.

HTML Sitemaps

This is a page of your website that details the entire structure of your site, linking to all of the important pages. Not to be confused with an XML sitemap, which is only understood by search engines, a HTML sitemap is text and provides a useful point of reference for users.

Globe map

Aside from this, a HTML sitemap will also provide effective distribution of link equity. With reciprocal linking from and to the HTML sitemap and a link to your HTML sitemap in your main navigation, it’s an efficient way of distributing some link strength to important pages within your site.

Internal Links

When used wisely internal links can have a positive effect on your site, guiding users and search engines to trustworthy and useful information. So how does all this internal linking stuff work?

Padlock and links

First of all, internal links are links created on your site that link users to another page on your site, guiding them to find more information that they could find useful. Internal links can be used to help pass link strength back into important pages of your site and to allow users to easily navigate through the site, putting you top of the search engines’ class.

Check back again soon for the next chapter in our SEO Jargon Buster series.

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About the author:

Lisa Coghlan is a digital and content coordinator at ClickThrough Marketing. She writes SEO content for many of the company’s larger clients, and assists in the implementation of content strategy. She writes live gig reviews and has a mild obsession with finding new documentary podcasts.