Terms for Search Engine Optimization

SEO Terminology

As with every field there are specific terms and some of them are just for the hell of it. Below are listed the terms and explanation for them. They are relevant if you plan to work in content marketing or SEO so I recommend going through all of them.

I have listed also terms which factor into how well your site and domain is performing in terms of SEO so it won’t be just really specific terms but a broader set. I did this in mind to give you understanding of what can be all the factors of your performance in organic traffic.

Backlink / Inbound link

Is a link that is not on your site but links to site. Best way to acquire these is to create amazing content that gets referral links (which also serve the same purpose)

Page authority

Pages have different authority for search engines and there are hundreds of ranking factors from search terms users are using to how much time they spent on your site. This all gives your specific page its authority in the eyes of search engines.

Domain authority

Similar as page authority but this expands to your whole site which makes it much harder to get to higher level.

Search ranking/page ranking

Where your page ranks in search engines when users perform searches. The most advantageous spot is to be among top 3 as they get the lion share of the traffic. According to Search Engine Journal 60% of clicks go to top 3 results. [1]

Organic traffic

Is traffic you get from different search engines. It practically all comes down to growth of this traffic means your SEO and content marketing efforts are proving fruitful.

Referral traffic

Traffic that comes from other website that refer to yourself. You might have a lot of answers at Quora.com for example and people clicking those links to visit your site counts as a referral traffic.

Average time on site or page

How much time users spend on your site as a whole or on a specific page. The longer you get users to stay on your site the more valuable search engines deem it to thus increasing your search rankings.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate is counted from how many users exit your  page after arriving to it without visiting any other page on the site. The lower the bounce rate the better your site is doing in general. Some bounce rate facts:

  • 26 – 40% is excellent
  • 41 – 55% is around average
  • 56 – 70% is higher than average (not necessary alarming)
  • Over 70% is bad for sites that aren’t blogs, news, evets, etc. [2]


Are the terms people use in search engines to search for information. There are many tools to identify which ones are good for your website and knowing your target audience and the terminology they use is crucial.

XML Sitemap

You can consider this as a map for search engine crawlers so that they find every page on your site easily. This is consider practically a necessity and all SEO software’s will scream bloody murder if you don’t have one.

User experience

How easy and user friendly your website is for visitors. The better experience people have generally the longer they will stay and/or order from your business. This has almost a straight correlation to average time spent on site.


Sometimes you have broken links or pages you want to remove. Redirect is something you will do so that users or search engines crawlers won’t find a 404-page (error page) on your site. 301 redirect is a permanent so it informs search engines that this page no longer exists and will give your pages “juice” to the redirected page.

Canonical tag

It is a way of telling different search engines that a specific page represents a copy or is the “master” page covering a topic. Essentially it tells which page to show in search results for users.

SERP - Search Engine Results Page Preview

Page title

The name of the page like “SEO services” for example could be one. It is the one shown in search results and has quite a bit of weight on keywords that users find your page with.


Short for Uniform Resource Locator. This is the thing users type to their browsers and it affects also greatly your organic search result position. Having uniformed structure with meta description and page title is practically a must.

Meta descriptions

This is the bit that shows in search results under the title and URL. Short description of what the page is about and provide incentive for the user to click and read more.

Internal link

These links are on your site which link to different pages within your site. These are crucial for user experience and search engine crawlers look at these also when determining your relevancy for users in search results. With internal links you can give “link juice” to more important pages from blog to a service page for example.

The above picture can give you a better understanding of how “link juice” is distributed from high authority pages to give authority to low ranking pages. It can also be done in reverse. Generally two links from one page to another page give 66% of the page’s authrotiy through the links. If one link then it gives 50% of the pages “link juice”.

Sometimes if the a new page isn’t on sitemap or linked on your site search crawlers might not find it. It also helps users to discover new content.

Link juice

Link juice is something you can give to other sites or pages you choose to. For example its good to push your service page higher in the search results so then it’s good to give it links from your blog. It is roughly 50% of pages authority goes to the page you are directing if you have only one link on the site. Don’t overuse links on your site either to avoid making a mess for your sites users.

Link building

Is a practise of acquiring links to your site from different websites that are authoritative within your industry thus increasing your sites authority. You can acquire links from blogs that have mentioned you by asking them to link to your site or by writing a guest blog for them. Sometimes bloggers want to write about your business and want a service fee for it.

Guest blogging

Essentially it is writing a guest blog post to a site that is, ideally, relevant to your industry and get a backlink to your site from it to increase your search engine rankings.

Keyword research

Is a research done with different tools (advertising and SEO tools) to identify the keywords your target audiences uses when searching for services or products you sell or your competitors sell. You are using these keywords in your content creation strategy and PPC strategy.

Nofollow link

Is a link in which the link giver doesn’t want to give authority to the linked page. There are some uses for these but not and search engines might or might not “leak” any authority from these. Nobody knows for sure. Often newspaper use these.


It is a file webmasters create and upload to website’s top level directory. It’s function is to guide search engine crawlers on what sites to index and what to skip. It is considered a best practices to indicate where your sitemap is at the end of the robots.txt file.

User generated content

As the term already says it is content generated by users. It can be social media feeds that you embed on your site to make visitors spend more time there or a discussion forum even. Many companies have decided to have comments in their blogs and in their knowledge base.

Off-site/page SEO

Is all SEO you do outside of your site or page like link building or guest blogging to increase backlinks to your site or page.

On-site/page SEO

Is all SEO functions and tactics you can use on your website instead of doing them somewhere else. This includes creating content, internal links and site structure for example.


Did I miss any? Let me know below in the comments and I’ll add it here! Black hat, white hat and grey hat search engine tactics I go over in this blog post.

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