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33 Common SEO Terms That Every Beginner Needs to Know

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

Common SEO Terms Every Beginner Needs to Know

Search Engine Optimization is the heartbeat of digital marketing. Everyone is aware of this, but only a few understand the most crucial SEO concepts and terms. As a business owner or learner, SEO is easy to master once you have a firm grasp of the terminology.

SEO is essential for a company's visibility to maximize sales and ROI. According to recent research, Google has already received 943 billion searches this year. The higher the search volume, the stronger the visibility of some businesses. Therefore, why not invest in a skill that can help grow your business?

If you find SEO terms daunting, you've come to the right place.

I've been there before, and I understand the feeling of Googling every SEO term I've ever heard. As a result, I've conducted in-depth research on the popular terms you need to begin your SEO journey.

This article explains each term in an easy-to-understand language for everyone. You can learn SEO; all it takes is an effort from you to read.


Let's dive in.

1. Search Engine

A search engine is a web-based application that searches, gathers, and organizes content from the internet. When a user searches the internet for a specific query, search engines scour the internet to find possible solutions to the user's question.

Imagine you are searching for a book about nutrition in a library. What do you assume the librarian will do? Certainly, the librarian must search for the requested book. Indeed, this is exactly what search engines do. They are intended to assist Internet users.

Fortunately, the internet offers a variety of search engines. Examples of popular search engines are Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Yandex, etc.

2. Google

Google, the most popular search engine globally, was created by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1996 as a search project. Since then, Google has dominated the search engine market with a 92.01% market share.

Google is a worldwide brand that primarily provides services in artificial intelligence, search engines, online advertising, cloud computing, computer software, quantum computing, e-commerce, and consumer electronics. Consequently, search engines are only one of the company's services.

Similarly, the popularity of Google has led individuals to use "Google" interchangeably with "Search Engines." Keep in mind that there are various search engines (Internet searchers), but Google is the most prominent.

3. Googlebot

Googlebot is Google's web crawler that searches the web through links. Googlebot follows links on the web to identify and find valuable content on the internet. In simple terms, a Googlebot does the searching of helpful content for a user.

Considering the example mentioned above about a library and a librarian, we can say Google is the library (search engine), while the librarian is the Googlebot. So, a librarian does the job of searching and organizing relevant content that needs to be in the catalog.

Likewise, Googlebot finds content that needs to be in Google's index (Google's brain). Google also has different types of web crawlers which are Googlebot Desktop and Googlebot Mobile.

Every search engine has a unique bot that helps them to crawl the web for searches.

4. Search Query

A search query is a keyword or phrase that an internet user types to find information. When you visit any search engine, e.g., Google, and type a term into the search box, the word you type in your search query.

Obviously, Google will then search the web to provide relevant results.

5. URL (Uniform Resource Locators)

URL, also known as web address, shows where a particular web page can be found on the internet. In simple language, a URL is synonymous with your home address, where people can locate you.

These are the parts of a URL:

Part of a URL using smartcoppie as an illustration.

6. Keywords

Keywords are the primary subject matter of a page, defining what your content is about. From an SEO perspective, keywords are the terms people type into search engines. Keywords are essential for SEO since you must cater to searchers based on their queries.

SEO focuses on driving valuable traffic to your website. Therefore, one of the key factors in achieving valuable traffic is having content that answers searchers' queries. And this is why keyword research is critical in SEO strategies.

Now, let's see what keyword research means in the next section.

7. Keyword Research

Keyword research entails an in-depth analysis of words to choose the most appropriate terms to connect with your target audience. Keyword research is the process of evaluating search queries to generate relevant data, either for content creation or for better serving clients. You will learn about the keyword's popularity, relevance, ranking difficulty, search intents, and other useful information during keyword research.

You can achieve keyword research by using free or paid tools or talking directly to your customers. The main idea is to serve your audience and potential customers based on their needs. This will help you generate valuable traffic to your website for higher conversion.

8. Meta Description

Meta description consists of the first 1-2 sentences that describe a website's content. While meta description is not a direct ranking factor, it is one of the best on-page SEO practices for boosting click-through rates. Meta description must be unique, relevant, and meaningful to the user's search query.

Essentially, a meta description is one of the first pieces of information a searcher sees on the search engine results page about your content. Therefore, we can refer to it as the initial impression a searcher has of your page among the competition. However, ensure that you write a compelling description with a clear call to action that will persuade users to visit your page.

Screenshot of a webpage on SERP with meta description.

9. Title Tag

A title tag is one of the ranking factors you need to pay close attention to. It is sometimes referred to as the page title, meta title, or SEO title. Every web page must have an optimized title tag to aid both users and search engines in rapidly understanding the page's content.

10. Anchor Text

Anchor text is text on a page in which a hyperlink is embedded. Typically, an anchor text appears in a distinct color, and a link displays when your mouse hovers on the text. From an SEO perspective, anchor text must be relevant to the website it links to.

For instance, SEO best practices that link to a page on VPN usage send mixed messages to search engines. It has no semantic relationship with it. Consequently, anchor text is vital for the SEO performance of a page.

11. Links

Links are significant ranking criteria in SEO. Search engines crawl web pages by following links to provide relevant results to Internet users. The relevance and significance of a website page are determined by the quality of the links leading to it. Links could be external or internal.

External links, also known as outbound links, are links on your site that point to another website. For example, if you publish a blog post and decide to mention a source by including links, that is an external link from your website to another website.

Internal links are hyperlinks that point to another page on your website. Relevancy and the usage of descriptive anchor text are best practices for linking.

Above all, a link is a strong signal that search engines value to determine a page's authority. The greater the number of links your site receives from authoritative domains, the higher its SEO performance.

12. Backlinks

Backlinks are inbound links from one website to another. Inbound links are the strongest linking signal that Search Engines value. It is tough to generate an inbound link most of the time due to factors that are beyond your authority. It is essential to acquire authoritative and high-quality links in SEO, not just links from any external web.

Note: Do not buy links or engage in link spamming. It's a bad SEO practice to buy links.

Quality inbound links from a reputable and authoritative website are considered votes of confidence. This indicates to search engine crawlers that the page may be trusted and that its content is valuable to users.

13. Link Building

Link Building is one of the most important SEO strategies. Since inbound links validate, approve a website, and send powerful ranking signals to search engines, link building is worthwhile. Creating inbound connections is typically an arduous process that requires dedication to yield the desired results.

There are numerous link building tactics you may employ to improve the SEO performance of your website. Among the methods for generating helpful links include guest blogging, broken links, unlinked mentions, etc.

14. Headings

Headings are HTML tags used to structure a web page's content for easy consumption. Headings range from H1 to H6.

15. Crawling

Crawling is the search engine discovery process in which Google bots look for web content via links. Crawling begins with known links on the web and continues until every relevant link is followed.

Crawling is the first stage that determines indexing results. Nonetheless, several factors may influence how bots explore a certain web page.

Although crawling is not a ranking criterion, it is where web page discovery begins. If all goes well, these pages may be added to the index.

16. Crawl Budget

Crawl Budget refers to the number of web pages Googlebot is able and willing to crawl at once.

Googlebot manages resources as it crawls billions of websites daily. The crawl budget has little to no effect on websites with few URLs. However, the crawl budget may affect major websites, such as eCommerce websites.

17. Crawl Depth

Crawl depth is the number of clicks or paths that users and search engines use to reach a page from the homepage. Suppose you are attempting to reach a blog post from a website's homepage. How many clicks from the homepage are required to reach that blog post? The crawl depth is the number of times you clicked to reach the blog post.

Googlebot mimics every human activity on the web, so the experiences of humans and search engines on a website are identical. A sound internal linking strategy can help ensure that your website has the optimal click or crawl depth, ideally no more than three.

18. Indexing

According to techopedia, indexing is a common term that refers to arranging data according to a specified pattern. Similarly, Indexing in SEO is what occurs after the Googlebot has crawled the web to collect resources. During indexing, discovered content is categorized and stored based on several variables, which may be technical or non-technical.

Now, at this point, some identified content may not make it into the indexing phase, which could be due to poor on-page SEO practices or technical issues. Mobile friendliness, website speed, security, page authority, content quality, etc., are a few factors that can affect indexing.

19. Rendering

Googlebot uses the rendering process to comprehend your website's structure. For an excellent user experience, each web page must be created with the end-user in mind to achieve a quality user experience.

Rendering entails parsing and comprehending the HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and every page layout to produce an interactive page. Rendering is also a significant ranking factor because it impacts what Google can obtain from your site's structure, code, and layout.

It is extremely common to hear that websites that rely on JavaScript do poorly in search engine optimization. Conceptually, JavaScript rendering is a time-consuming process involving repeated renderings.

20. Ranking

Ranking is a website's position on the search engine results page. In search engines, ranking is another process dependent on ranking parameters. A website that ranks well for a specific keyword can have greater visibility and a probable increase in conversion rate.

As you can see, a site's ranking depends on various factors. It surpasses mere keyword research and keyword stuffing.

21. Search Engine result Page (SERPs)

SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) are search engines' responses to users' search requests. This page displays the outcomes of your queries and searches. Websites that make it to the first page are displayed as valuable resources. You can also view the next SERP page for additional results.

There are features such as paid adverts and organic results on the SERP. Other results include rich snippets, Knowledge Graphs, video results, etc.

Pictorial example of a SERP (Search Engine Result Page)

22. Local SEO

Local SEO refers to the branch of SEO that deals with the visibility of a website in local search results. Local searches always yield search engine results tailored to a particular region. Examples of local searches include queries such as "best restaurant in Chicago."

Local SEO is advantageous for businesses with a physical location and specific region services. Local SEO aims to increase the presence of businesses in their local area through SEO strategies.

Local SEO is a prominent component of SEO, as data indicates that nearly half of all Google searches, 46%, include users searching for local information.

23. DOM (Document Object Model)

DOM is an application programming interface for website documents. It provides the logical framework of pages and how they are accessible and altered by languages such as JavaScript.

You may inspect a web page's Document Object Model (DOM) with Chrome. Right-click any web page and select "Inspect." What you see is the DOM structure of the individual web page.

Check this out:

The DOM (Document Object Model) of a page.

24. Programming Language

Programming language is a computer language used by software developers to create software applications. Python, Ruby, Java, JavaScript, C, C++, etc., are examples of programming languages.

However, the likelihood of a website having a responsive design is contingent on the programming language used to create it.

25. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

HTML is a standard for designing fonts, titles, images, and hyperlinks on websites. Different HTML tags give structures to web content and allow search engines to understand a page. Examples of HTML tags include <html>, <title>, <h1>, <p>, etc.

26. CSS (cascading Style Sheets)

CSS is a language that defines the appearance of web pages, such as colors, layout, and fonts.

27. JavaScript

JavaScript is a dynamic programming language used for creating interactive effects within web pages. Due to the nature of JavaScript, the SEO performance of most websites that rely heavily on JS can be subpar.

This is because Google attempts to evaluate web pages before indexing them. However, in the case of JS, rendering must occur in numerous cycles. Fortunately, rendering is now possible due to Google's evergreen version of Chromium. Ask also does better with JS but, other search engines still struggle to efficiently run JS.

Web admins need to implement a few things to optimize JS for rendering. A common practice is server-side rendering as opposed to client-side rendering.

28. Client-side Rendering

This rendering indicates that a website's JavaScript is rendered in the browser instead of on the web server. Client-side rendering does not benefit the SEO performance of a web page. Although client-side rendering is inexpensive to handle, it slows down a website.

29. Server-side rendering

Server-side rendering is transforming JS into a readable representation on the server of a website. The web server then delivers the fully rendered files to the browser. This is the most effective method of optimizing JS for a fantastic user experience.

30. Google's Index

The Google index can be regarded as a catalog of sorted crawled pages. The closest analogy to Google's index is a library catalog, including lists of selected and categorized books depending on several variables. Through the index coverage report in Google Search Console, users may determine if a page is included in Google's index.

Alternately, users can use the site operator to determine if a certain page is included in Google's index. As an example,

Before a web page can appear in search engine results, it must be included in Google's index.

31. Sitemap

A sitemap is a file that provides all the information about a website and its relationships. A sitemap is advantageous for SEO because it facilitates easy navigation for humans and search engines. Common types of sitemap include XML and HTML.

32. XML Sitemap (Extensible Markup Language)

An XML sitemap is primarily intended to facilitate crawlers' navigation of a website. An XML sitemap is a file containing URLs that must be indexed. Having an XML sitemap makes Google's crawling process more efficient. They do not, however, guarantee to index.

The XML sitemap aims to inform Google about the most significant pages on our websites. The XML sitemap should not include URLs that are unimportant and should not be indexed.

33. HTML Sitemap

A sitemap in HTML is a page that lists all the website's subpages to offer users an easy-to-use navigation structure. Sitemaps in HTML are often located at the footer of most web pages.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SEO for a beginner?

SEO is the process of increasing a brand's visibility in search engines. It entails ensuring that every aspect of the brand's online activity is optimized to increase visibility and generate revenue. The website must be in good condition, the content must be tailored to the searcher's query, and the brand must radiate credibility.

SEO refers to all methods implemented to ensure a brand meets its business objectives through visibility.

What are the SEO basics that a beginner should learn?

A beginner is someone who lacks knowledge of SEO terminology. The list is endless, however a beginner can start by learning the following:

  • Meaning of SEO

  • How search engine works

  • On-page SEO

  • How to use Google Search Console and Google Analytics

  • Basic SEO best practices

  • Link Building

What is the best free site or tool for SEO in 2022?

Beginners can utilize free websites and tools to properly learn SEO through demonstration. You can use Wix, WordPress, or any other free website builder. Similarly, you need SEO tools for data collection. There are lots of free SEO tools accessible to make your SEO journey more exciting. A few of the tools are:

  • Google Search Console

  • Screaming Frog

  • Semrush

  • Sitebulb

  • NeuralText

  • Ahrefs free tools

  • Ubersuggest

  • Google Analytics

  • Google Keyword Planner

  • AlsoAsked

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