An.X’s A to Z Guide
AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages
A coding protocol that renders your pages using optimised HTML code. Making them load faster on mobile devices. It helps mobile pagespeed, which is a priority for Google. Be aware you can lose layout and formatting for the sake of pagespeed using an AMP framework, which often means you’ll have to have two versions of a page – one for desktop and one for mobile.
The anchor text (otherwise known as link text) is clickabletext, in the form of a hyperlink, on a web page. An anchor text is usually highlighted and if you click on it, you will be forwarded to the target URL. The target URL and the anchor text are shown separately and the reader only sees the selected anchor text on the website, and not the URL. General guidance suggests that the anchor text should be relevant to the content it’s linking you to. So, try to avoid generic terms like ‘click here’ or ‘more information here’.
This is a snippet of text attached to an image that helps search engines and screen readers understand what that image depicts.
A link pointing to one website from another website. It is usually desirable to obtain backlinks to your site’s content from relevant sites that are well regarded by Google. Doing so, should help your own page’s search visibility.
Black Hat SEO
Marketing techniques and practices that are against the guidelines set out by Google (and other search engine owners). Using them on a site may increase its visibility in the short term but are likely to lead to that site being penalised by Google. Avoid using!
An option, provided by most web browsers, to ‘save’ your favourite websites or web pages on a personal list for quick access. Many web-based services have also been created to allow you to bookmark and share your favourite resources, e.g. Del.icio.us is a popular social bookmarking site.
A hyperlink which is not functioning or does not lead to the desired location. When clicked, they often show errors such as ‘404 page not found’, or ‘bad gateway’ or ‘internal server error’. Most large websites have some broken links, but if too many of a site’s links are broken it may cause search engines to rank a page as being less relevant.
The text and images that are posted on a website. This is the lifeblood of your SEO efforts and no amount of technical SEO work will fully compensate for poor quality or outdated content. Quality content is essential for influence and maintaining SEO rankings.
You’ll normally see this term described as a search bot or spider. Basically, it automatically browses internet sites in order to analyse them. Search engines, such as Google, use search bots (Googlebot) to maintain their index by listing new sites, deleting non-existing sites, and updating the ones in the index.
This is an acronym for ‘Content Management System’. It is a tool used to create, update and manage the content on your site. Usually only accessible after you log in to your site, the format and processes used to update content will differ dependant upon the platform you used to create the site.
An internet address or addresses, which usually come in sub-sets and are hierarchical. These addresses share a common suffix or are under the control of a particular organization or individual.
An acronym for Domain Name System. This is the Internet’s system for converting alphanumeric names into numeric IP addresses. When you type a web address or domain name into a web browser, DNS servers will return the IP address of the Web Server associated with that name.
Duplicate content is the name given to content that is very similar or identical to that found on other websites or pages within a site. Duplicate content has a negative influence on the search engine ranking as search engines don’t know which version to show to users and can result in dropping all versions of this content from display results and / or ranking the wrong version. Google prefers high-quality and unique content. When optimizing for SEO, duplicate content is found and replaced.
This is content that is always relevant. This definition list is evergreen content for instance. It always stays ‘fresh’ for readers and you should aim to have some of this type of content on your site.
This is a link which references another domain. It is a hyperlink that points to a destination URL that is somewhere other than its own host domain. There is currently some debate amongst SEO specialists whether having external links is helpful for your own ranking. Here at An.X, we think that linking out to other related resources is a good way to help search engines understand what your site is about. So, we usually recommend linking to relevant content on high quality sites.
Fetch as Google
This is a tool within the Google Search Console suite that enables you to test and see how Google searches and renders any URL you input into it. You will be able to see if the URL can be searched and whether any resources on it, such as the text or images, are blocked to Googlebot.
The name given to the crawler (spider) used by Google to browser and analyse sites.
Google Search Console
This used to be called ‘Google Webmaster Tools’. It is a free service provided by Google to enable webmasters to check the indexing status of their sites and optimise them for visibility (better indexing).
Google My Business
A free tool provided by Google to allow you to list your business and enable it to be found on Google Search and Google Maps.
This is a Black Hat SEO technique that places text on a site that is visible to crawlers but not to site visitors. It is the dubious practise of adding extra keywords to a site without adding any real content. It will usually result in a penalty (loss of ranking for example) being imposed on the site by search engines.
The main page of a website.
An acronym for ‘HyperText Markup Language’. It is the coding language that all sites use to allow them to appear on the internet.
An acronym for ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol’.
A dynamic link on a webpage that, when clicked, take you to another page. This link can be to another page on the same site or to another site altogether.
A hyperlink that directs a user to another website. It is an inbound link in relation to the destination site. Inbound links generally help with the authority and search visibility of the destination site so long as the site making the link is relevant and has good authority itself.
This is the structural design of shared information environments; in this case a website.
Internal links are Hyperlinks that refer visitors to different subpages of the same website. Internal linking is one of the most important instruments of search engine optimisation as it helps search engines understand the information architecture or relevancy of the linked pages. Useful links also add value to the reader as they help them find further information faster.
See ‘Hidden Text’. In this case it usually involves using a font colour that is the same as the background on which it is placed. It makes is hard or impossible to read by the user but not by crawlers. It is considered to be spam.
A programming language that can add dynamic interactivity to your website and is commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers.
A word used to find pages when conducting a search or a term used for searching about a particular topic. Keywords are certain words or phrases that describe a page’s content. A website should be optimised for certain keywords so that the search engine sees how relevant the site is for search queries.
Keyword density is the ratio of a keyword or key phrases to the total number of words on that page. Keyword density is one of the most critical aspects of successful search engine optimization. There isn’t a set rule on the ideal keyword density to achieve a better ranking. It is generally accepted though that good keyword density helps search engines define what your page is talking about and can influence that page’s rankings.
A phrase used to find pages when conducting a search. See ‘Keyword’.
Keyword frequency is the number of times keywords occur in the text on any given page. The theory is that the more times a keyword or keyword phrase appears within a web page, the more relevance a search engine is likely to give the page for a search with those keywords. But don’t overdo it – see ‘Keyword Stuffing’.
The process of discovering what keywords your intended audience are using and using that information to better optimise your pages for both users and search engines. More simply, researching the most relative and popular keywords for a given site.
A technique of placing multiple copies of keywords in a page to increase the keyword density by using hidden, invisible or tiny text.
Repeatedly using the same keyword(s) in page content or Meta tags with the aim of improving search ranking. It is ablack hat SEO technique and may result in the site incurring a penalty from search companies.
An enhancement to Google’s search engine which delivers new information quickly and easily by deeply understanding the meaning of the search query. It is a knowledge base used by Google and its services to add value to its search results with information gathered from a variety of sources.
The page on which a visitor arrives after clicking on a link or advertisement. Landing pages serve as entry points of a website and are important for marketing and advertising purposes. They are keyword-optimized for the search engine so that they appear higher in the search results when certain keywords are searched for.
The process of researching and recording the quantity, quality and status of links, both internal and external, a website has.
A process of increasing the quantity and quality of backlinks to a site. This is often achieved through outreach, submission, and PR.Since backlinks are external links, the optimisation takes place on third party sites. This is a very important element of SEO as Google and other search engines classify backlinks as recommendations.
These are sites created and maintained for the sole purpose of building links between member sites. They are not necessarily the same as Directory Sites, such as Yelp, as they mostly contain unrelated content and are of low quality. They are usually a violation of search engines policies and will often harm your site’s ranking rather than help it.
This is a term used to define the value or equity passed from one website or web page to another usually through hyperlinks. Search engines see links as recommendations and link juice is passed / increased when that recommendation comes from a relevant, high value source.
The meta description is a short passage of text (up to 156 characters) that describes the content of an HTML document. It is a summary of the contents of a webpage and is commonly used by search engines to display as the preview snippet of the search engine results pages. If you do not provide one then Google will create its own using the first few sentences displayed on the page or from sentences that contain the keyword being searched for.
This is HTML content in the header section of a webpage that attempts to provide search engines with information about the contents of that page. For example, the keyword tags, meta description and title tags are all Meta Tags.
Mobile First Indexing
This is a policy adopted by Google that means that it will predominantly use the mobile version of the content of a website for indexing and ranking.
An attribute attached to content which is used to prevent a link from passing link authority or link juice to the URL that content is hyperlinked to. Commonly used on sites with user generated content, for example the comments section of Blog posts. It tells the Googlebot not to track that link.
Off Page SEO
Off Page SEO or Off Page Optimisation describes all the SEO activities that are outside of your own website. It is all of the external factors, such as backlinks and content marketing, that influence the ranking or search visibility of your site.
On Page SEO
On page SEO or On Page Optimisation are all of the SEO activities that take place on your own website. This is the only part of SEO that you have direct and real control over. It is normally a combination of content activities, around writing good clear copy containing relevant keywords and technical aspects, such as meta tags, relevant URLs and so on.
Any webpage that is not linked to any other pages on that website. These are pages on a website that have no incoming links and a lack of navigation elements or guides that would enable visitors to find and visit other pages. They are usually dead-end pages and stand apart from the website’s normal link structure.
A link to a site outside of your own or a link that point from your website to webpages of different domains.
The time (speed) it takes to load a webpage on a bowser. Mobile pagespeed – the time it takes to load a page on a mobile device – is a ranking factor for Google search now. In general, Google recommends that it takes 4 seconds or less to load a page.
A ranking algorithm created by Google to calculate the importance, authority, and reliability of a web page using a scale of 0 – 10, with 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Google calculate the page rank of a webpage by taking its entire inbound links and on-page factors into account.
How often a search engine updates its index. Google updates its index once a month. You can manually ask Google to re-index your site using Google Search Console.
A program that operates automatically without user input. A webcrawler or spider is a type of robot, which crawls websites and processes the information it obtains for data storage and retrieval purposes.
A text file placed in the root directory of a website that provides instructions to search engine spiders about which files and directories to ignore when crawling a website.
This is also known as structured data and is a set of coding values that can mark out content according to type, properties and enumeration values. When used on a website, it can create rich snippets (enhanced description) of that site’s content at the top of search engine results pages.
A search engine is a database system designed to index and categorise internet addresses.
Search Engine Marketing
The process of promoting products and services on the internet through managing the information presented by search engines and directories. This encompasses the purchase and placement of advertising as well as website optimisation.
Search Engine Optimisation
The techniques used to maintain and improve the position that a website or webpage appears in search results.
An acronym for ‘Search Engine Results Page’ – the page of listings shown after you enter a search term or query into a search engine. These listings or results are known as snippets and contain the title, link, and meta description. The aim of all SEO activity is to obtain a higher position in the SERPs. SERPs will display both paid search results (ads) as well as organic results (web pages shown by rank for that term).
Although differently defined for email, in relation to search engine marketing this means any attempt to submit or place deceptive information with the aim of ‘tricking’ the search engine to place a web page higher in the SERP.
An automatic web program used to crawl the web, read the information on websites and process it for storage. See also ‘Robot’ and ‘Crawler’.
Commonly used words that are considered by search engines to be irrelevant and which are therefore omitted from search algorithms. Examples include ‘the’, ‘and’ etc.
The title tag is the title of a website and is used by browsers to display at the top of a browsing tab and is also often used by search engines to display on the SERPs. It is accepted that title tags should be short, precise and relevant to the content of the site as well as containing the page’s keyword at or near the beginning of it.
The actual visitors to a web page or website.
A real visitor to a website tracked by their IP address. Unique visitor numbers are lower than traffic numbers as each visitor is only counted once even if they visit multiple pages in the site.
An acronym meaning ‘Uniform Resource Locator’. Each website, web page and other content (e.g. PDFs, videos, images, etc) has a unique URL. It is commonly referred to as the web address. Generally, it is good practice to include the target keyword for that piece of content in the URL itself.
User Search History
The storing of an individual’s web search activity in order to better personalise their experience. Earlier search history will often influence the SERP for later searches.
White Hat SEO
This is the opposite of Black Hat SEO and is the process of following best practice guidelines and avoiding spam tactics when carrying out optimisation techniques and strategies. Naturally, here at An.X, this is our standard process.
The XML stands for Extensible Markup Language, which is a markup language designed to improve data delivery over the web. An XML Sitemap is a document attached to the code of a website that aims to help search engines better understand the structure and content of that site.
A video hosting and streaming service owned by Google that allows users to freely upload videos to a webserver and users to watch and comment on them. YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google itself. At least 55% of all search results in Google contain at least one video.