Search engine optimization (SEO) concepts

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Search engine optimization (SEO) concepts

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process and techniques of optimizing Web pages of a web site in order to make them more search engine friendly and thus getting higher positions in search results of search engines when searched for specific terms. This higher placement results in more web visitors to the optimized web page which may also culminate into more sales for e-commerce website.

SEO improves the placement of a website or a web page in search engine’s listing so that potential website visitors can reach a website through relevant searches.


  • Improvement of Content Relevancy – SEO’s focus is to improve the degree to which a website’s content matches a users need which, usually are represented through search engine queries or keywords.
  • Increasing Content Popularity – SEO also focus on increasing the popularity of website’s content on search engine listing.

SEO concepts involves achieving the goal as listed above of making web pages relevant and popular and for which understanding the search engine and knowledge of various technical terms involved is essential.

Search engine working

Search engines use an automated program called a “spider” or a “crawler” to roam the web and collect site data. A crawler records the text in web site and the location of the text in web site. It also follows the links in web site to the target pages of those links, where it starts the process over for the new page. The data collected by the crawler is then added to the database of the search engine, where it is indexed.

When a user initiates a search, the search engine queries its database for sites that contain the terms that the user has provided. Those sites are ranked according to the search engine’s algorithm, and then provided to the user in a results page.

When a search-engine spider crawls site, it collects text from the various web page elements like the <title> tag, the <meta name=”description”> tag, the <meta name=”keywords”> tag, the heading tags (<h1> through <h6>) and hyperlinks (<a> tags).

Crawlers will also collect paragraph text, although that text may not figure as prominently in the results page as the first five tag types.

Web sites can specify what pages and what links a crawler should not gather by using various site tools like Robots.txt, a file that lists the web pages that crawlers should ignore and a noindex attribute, which tells crawlers to ignore the page that contains the noindex attribute.

Different search engines use different content-ranking algorithms. Generally, the following factors determine how  page is ranked in the results page.

Search engines use the following factors to weight each instance of a search term:

  • Location – It refers to where a term appears in a page. If a specific search term is in the <title> tag of a page, search engines will generally assume that page is very relevant to the term.
  • Frequency – It refers to the number of times a term occurs in a page. If a specific search term appears more than once in a page, search engines will probably give a higher relevancy score.

By combining location and frequency factors, search engines can weight each instance of the search term to determine how relevant  page is. For example, a term may appear several times in a page but only in the body text. Because that term does not appear in the <title> tag or in any heading tags, a search engine may assume that the term is not the central focus of the page and may give less weight to those instances.

Authority – Authority refers to relevance granted by other sites. If  page has a high relevancy score for a term,  page ranking is higher if pages in other sites with high relevancy scores have links to  page. Authority is also granted by the users of search engines. The more people who select  site from results page of a search engine (often referred to as “click-throughs”), the higher the authority granted to  page by that search engine.

Various technical terminology used in SEO are listed below

  • 301 Redirect – This is a code added to .htaccess file that will permanently redirect a URL to a new URL. These are critical for properly redirecting pages to save SEO “juice”.
  • 302 Redirect – A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect that can be used for a short period of time to direct users to a new URL.
  • Alt Text – Text added to describe what an image or graphic is about. This is used by search engines to help determine how the image relates to the content on the page.
  • Anchor Text – Text added to a link that will give further context to what the link is about.
  • Back Link – An incoming link from an another website linking to s.
  • Black Hat SEO – This term is used to describe poor or deceptive SEO practices. This could include buying links, keyword stuffing, link networks or any other manipulative methods.
  • Bot / GoogleBot (robot, spider, crawler) – Search engines send “bots” out to index website pages. This is a program that will automatically go through to read and index pages on
  • CPA or “Cost Per Acquisition” — A metric used to measure the total monetary cost of each sale, lead or action.
  • CPC or “Cost Per Click” — The amount Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertisers charge for every click that sends a visitor to
  • CTR or “Click-Through Rate” — The average number of click-throughs per hundred ad impressions, expressed as a percentage. For example, if an ad has 100 impressions and 5 clicks, the CTR is 5%. The higher the CTR, the more visitors the site is receiving.
  • Conversion – When a person successfully completes an action of some form. Once completed, mark this person as having converted on that action.
  • Gateway Page – A page that was created solely to bring in traffic and then directs them to a different webpage.
  • Geo-Targeting — In terms of online advertising, geo-targeting refers to allowing to specify where Internet ads will or won’t be shown based on the searcher’s location. It can be a powerful advertising option for geographically located businesses.
  • Htaccess File – This is a file in FTP which allows to store important information about how website be crawled by the search engines. Different rules such as 301, 302 and 404 redirects can be added.
  • Impression — One view or display of an online ad. An ad’s total impressions is the number of times the ad was served by the search engine. PPC ads may get thousands of impressions but, unlike more traditional ad models billed on a CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions) basis, PPC advertisers only pay when their ad is clicked on.
  • Inbound Links — All the links pointing at a particular web page.
  • Indexable — Also known as crawlable. If a web site is not “indexable”, or if it has reduced crawlability, it is difficult to get all its pages in the search engine index.
  • Indexed Pages – These are the pages that the search engine bot has crawled and added to the search engine.
  • Keyword / Keyword Phrase — A specific word or combination of words that a searcher might type into a search field. The process of Search Engine Optimization is to optimize a website for specific keywords and keyphrases relevant to the target audience of the site.
  • Keyword Stuffing – This is a black hat SEO technique of adding in as many keywords as possible in order to try and improve After the Google Penguin update, keyword stuffing will actually hurt  SEO ranking.
  • Landing Page – A landing page is a strategically designed page that is created for a specific audience with specific goal to complete. Everything on the landing page must be carefully planned including layout, copy, images, forms, styling, etc.
  • Link Building – This is a general term associated with gaining high quality external links to Link building is still seen as one of the key pieces that will increase  SEO rank as long as the links come from high quality, creditable websites.
  • Link Bait – This is a slang SEO term associated with some form of content that people will love and want to link to. This could be an online tool, resource guide, infographic, etc.
  • Link Popularity — Generally refers to the total number of links pointing to any particular page.
  • Local Search Result – The local search results section is the area which displays area businesses that fit into the term being searched for. In Google, this will be the Google+ Local listings and typically display above the organic search results. Please note, not all searches will have local listings. It depends on the nature of
  • Long Tail Keyword – These are search terms that are very specific and targeted in nature. For example, a long tail search would be, “How can I remove a wine stain from a polyester t-shirt”.
  • Meta Data – This is information that will be used by the search engine in order to correctly display information on the search results pages.
  • Meta Title – This is the title of the page and should be written to quickly describe what the page content is about. It’s also recommended to have brand name in the title. An example of a good title for this page is – “SEO Terminology Guide | Savvy Panda”.
  • Meta Description – This description is what will be show on the search engine results page under each listing. It’s a short description of what the page is all about and should be focused around engaging the user.
  • Meta Keywords – Search engines no longer use meta keywords at all, so they hold no relevance and it is recommended to simply not include them.
  • Organic (natural) Search Result – These are the regular search results of pages that fit that particular search term. In contrast, we also have local results which pull from the local directory, paid results that are being shown by advertisers and product results being pulled from ecommerce stores.
  • No-Follow – This is a tag added to a link that tells the search engine not to give link credit to a particular link.
  • No-Index – This is a code added to the robot.txt file that will tell the search engine bot not to crawl a particular page or section.
  • Organic Link – This is a link that is naturally earned because an external website wanted to link to
  • Rel=Author – This is a tag added to a piece of content that associates that content to a particular author. This is done through linking that piece of content with the author’s Google+ profile and will result in that author’s picture being displayed next to that page in the search results.
  • Rel=Canonical – A tag added to the head of a page that will push all SEO ranking and credit to another similar/duplicate page on This is typically done when there is duplicate content issues and is very common in any website with a blog tagging system, ecommerce website or multiple category views.
  • txt file – A file in the FTP which communicates with the search engine bot how to properly crawl website. This is where web site add no-index tags to tell the bot not to index certain pages or sections on  website.
  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising — A model of search advertising in which web site only pay for the clicks on ads, which themselves direct searchers to a specific page in  Well known PPC Advertising opportunities are with Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter. Cost per ad click-through is based on  bid which is influenced by what the competition is willing to pay for the same keywords and the search engines’ proprietary quality measures of  ad and the landing page content.
  • PPC Management — The monitoring and maintenance of a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising campaign(s). This includes changing bid prices, expanding and refining keyword lists, editing ad copy, testing campaign components for cost effectiveness and successful conversions, and reviewing performance reports.
  • Pagerank (PR) – Page rank is a rank given to a website by Google based on their SEO score. It is based on a scale of 10 with 10 being the highest. It is given based on a great number of different factors.
  • ROI — Acronym for Return On Investment. The amount of money web site make compared to the amount of money web site spent on
  • Rank — How well positioned a particular web page or web site appears in search engine results. If website is in position #1, you’re the first listing on the first page. If  site is in position #11, it is likely to be the first position on the second page. Position #18 has it on the bottom of page 2. Rank and position affect click-through rate, and ultimately conversion rates.
  • Reciprocal Link — Two different web sites that link to each other.
  • txt — A text file, that resides in the web server’s root directory that is used to direct search engine spiders that visit website. It is typically used to indicate which portions of the site should be crawled and which should not. It may have crawler-specific directives.
  • SEO – A common short-hand for “Search Engine Optimization”. This is the process of building up search engine score to improve where  website is ranked on search result pages.
  • SEM – Short for “Search Engine Marketing”, this is a broad term that refers to any type of marketing on search engines including SEO, paid search placements, local search, ecommerce search, etc.
  • SERP — Acronym for Search Engine Results Page. The page delivered to a searcher that displays the results of a search query entered into the search field. The SERP displays both natural listings and paid ads in different places and by various rank.
  • Search Directory — Similar to a search engine, in that they both compile databases of web sites. A directory does not use crawlers in order to obtain entries in its search database. Instead, it relies on user interaction and submissions for the content it contains. Submissions are then categorized by topic and normally alphabetized.
  • Search Query — The word or phrase a searcher types into a search field, which initiates search engine results page listings and PPC ad serves. In PPC advertising, the goal is to bid on keywords that closely match the search queries of the advertiser’s targets.
  • Sitemap – A sitemap is essentially a road map for website and is created in a special XML file and stored on  The sitemap will be then submitted to the search engines so they can understand which pages are most important on  website and make a priority to index them.
  • Splash Page – A splash page is similar to a landing page in that it’s created and targeted at a specific persona with a goal of a specific conversion. It is different than a landing page because typically it is the only page of a website. Many times these will be used while developing full website or can be used if  main website is a members only website and the splash page is the publicly visible section.
  • Sponsored Listings — A term used to identify paid advertisements. It is visible on some search engine result pages as a title or column head to distinguish between paid and organic listings.
  • Targeting — Narrowly focusing keywords and ads to attract a specific potential customer based on a marketing profile.
  • Traffic — Refers to the number of visitors a website receives. It can be determined by examination of web logs.
  • Traffic Analysis — The process of analyzing traffic to a web site to understand what visitors are searching for and what is driving traffic to a site.
  • Unique Visitor — When tracking the amount of traffic on a Web site, it refers to a person who visits a Web site more than once within a specified period of time. Software that tracks and counts Web site traffic can distinguish between visitors who only visit the site once and unique visitors who return to the site. Different from a site’s hits or page views — which are measured by the number of files that are requested from a site — unique visitors are measured according to their unique IP addresses, which are like online fingerprints, and unique visitors are counted only once no matter how many times they visit the site.
  • Usability — In terms of websites, usability refers to making the site work well so that the average person can use it for its intended purpose without getting hopelessly frustrated.
  • Web Server Logs — Most web servers keep a log of the traffic to Web analytics programs do as well. Each package reports different information and uniquely graphically represents it. This may include the search terms used by visitors to access  site, what referral source they used, where they are from, what platform they were using, and much more. This information is very helpful in developing SEO and PPC campaigns.
  • White Hat SEO – This term refers to honorable and good quality SEO techniques. This includes things like guest blogging, creating amazing content to drive links, leveraging social media, infographics, etc. Typically it is focused on improving the user experience for the better and is what Google prefers.

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