Common SEO Terms You Need to Know

Written by - 14/01/2016

When it comes to improving search engine rankings, there is no one way to get your website to appear at the top of Google. There are multiple factors to take into consideration and some things will work better than others.

You may have come across different terms in your hunt to improve your page rankings, so to simplify things, I’ve summarised the most used along with a quick summary of each…

301 Redirect

When migrating to a new web address, or completely overhauling your website, 301 redirects would be implemented to permanently redirect the old URLs to the new ones.

ALT Text (alternative text)

A short phrase describing the contents of an image. This description is shown if the image can not be displayed. Writing ALT text also helps tell search engines what the page is about and can improve your rankings in image search.


Google Analytics is a great (free!) tool that reports on all of your website traffic. Key metrics like bounce rate, average time on page and number of sessions are important indicators of how your website is performing and how engaged users are with your content.

Back Link

A link from another web page to your own site. Search engines favour websites with backlinks from popular pages that feature related content. Simply having links to your site posted on 100s of unpopular, unrelated sites will do nothing to help your ranking.


A blog is great from a search engine perspective and is a useful gateway when it comes to bringing traffic to your site. A continual stream of fresh content on your site is always beneficial for SEO as well as proving you to be a reliable source of information to your visitors.

Black Hat

A term to describe SEO techniques that violate search engines terms of service. Techniques such as keyword stuffing, hidden content and buying links from other websites are all considered black hat and should be avoided. These practices are also known as SEO spam.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of users who click on your site and leave without interacting further with your website. A high bounce rate often indicates that visitors haven’t found what they are looking for or the page provides a poor user experience.


Everything on the pages of your website. Page content is a primary factor of user experience and is an indicates to search engines what your page is about. Content should be well written, informative and regularly updated.


H1 headings are a crucial ranking factor and summarise your page content to both search engines and users.

Keyword Stuffing

An attempt to add large quantities of keywords to a page in order to try and improve rankings, but search engines have become wise at spotting this kind of behaviour and as such it is not an effective technique.

Landing Page

The page on your website a user arrives on after clicking on either a paid advert or natural search result. Landing pages want to be as informative as possible and provide a good user experience.


Metadata are snippets of text that provide users and search engines with a brief summary of the page. Adding custom meta titles and descriptions allows you to summarise what your page is about and the title especially should be keyword rich to aid ranking for key terms.


Listings that appear in search results due to their natural relevance, they are not charged for and cannot be bought.

PPC (Pay Per Click)

Pay per click advertising allows you to drive traffic to your site through paid ads which appear above or beside organic search results. A maximum bid is entered and the account is charged each time your ad gets clicked. If you want to read more about paid options, take a look at our PPC glossary.

Search Engine

When a user makes a search on the web, they do this via a search engine, Google being the most popular example.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

Once you have entered a search term, the SERP will provide you with a list of web pages related to your query.


A sitemap is used to help both users and search engines when it comes to navigating around a website. It is an ordered list of pages on your website which gives search engines an overview of the contents of your site.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A URL is the address of your page however does play a role in SEO. URLs are an indicator to search engines what the page is about and should contain key keywords to describe what the page is about.