SEO for Beginners : Making Sense of SEO Jargon

seoAny retail business owner needs a website these days and any retail website can benefit from the careful implementation of SEO – search engine optimization – techniques that can help their website appear ‘higher up’ in those all-important search results.

Newer website owners do tend to get confused about SEO just because there’s so much unfamiliar jargon and terminology – so, we thought we’d put together a quick list to decode some the most commonly used. A bit boring – yes! Useful and IMPERATIVE to know – yes, you bet!


Anchor Text: This is the part of a back-link that people click on a website. Sometimes the anchor text is simply a “Click here” (not a good idea) but search engines actually consider the anchor text as a keyword for your website’s content so it helps to have anchor texts that use keywords you’d like to increase your rankings for.

Back-links: This is a hyperlink on another website that directs people who click on it to your website. These are important for SEO because, generally, the more good quality back links you get to your website, the higher its search ranking. But quality is the key. Low quality links (from spammy sites, article directories etc.) will be of no help and may even earn you a penalty from the search engines.

Canonicalization: In the SEO world, this refers to the standardization of multiple links or URLs in your website. It is rather important in website optimization as this process eliminates the visible duplications of pages from your site.

Cloaking: This is the practice of making the same website page appear differently to search engines and users. It’s intended to get a page highly ranked for its keywords and then promoting unrelated products to all the people who go to that page. Needless to say, this is a serious offense in the search engine world.

Keyword Density: This is determined from the number of keywords divided by the number of words in a specific page. While this used to be an important factor in search rankings, it was heavily abused by sites and is no longer given much emphasis.

Keyword Stuffing: This is the practice of increasing the keyword density to irrational proportions in order to raise a site’s ranking. This was quickly discovered by search engines and now you can get penalized for it.

Link Farm: This is a group of websites that all link to one another. These are created to increase the PageRank of all of the websites in the Link Farm. While this was useful in increasing your rankings in the past, they are now seen by search engines as spam and actions are being taken to penalize these transgressors.

Meta Tags: These are HTML codes that are usually found in the header of a web page, just after the title tag. These are not seen by users but are used to give search engine spiders data on various types of information as well as how they should treat certain pages.

Meta Descriptions: These are descriptions of the page that show up in searches under the title tag. Only snippets are shown so meta descriptions should be kept under 160 characters.

NoFollow: This is used in links by website owners to show search engines that they don’t support the site they are linking to. When search engines see this, they don’t count the link in their index.

Robots.txt: This is a file that is placed in a website’s root directory and serves as a guide that enables or prevents bots from crawling over certain areas of a site you don’t want them to crawl.

RSS feeds: RSS stands for Rich Site Summary but is also often dubbed as Really Simple Syndication. It is a format for delivering updates of regularly changing content, most often automatically.

Sandbox: Google has a separate index where they keep all new websites. While websites are placed in the Sandbox, they don’t appear in normal searches. However, once Google has verified a website, they move it out of the Sandbox and the website can appear in normal searches.

SEO Optimization: SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the general name for the many methods used to improve a website’s visibility and ranking in various search engines.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing): This is the practice of marketing services and products using search engines. It is divided into two parts, SEO (search engine optimization) which is the practice of optimizing websites to increase their ranking in search engines, and PPC (pay-per- click) which is the practice of buying clicks from search engines.

Sitemaps: This is a tool that allows you to give guidance to spiders on how they should crawl over your website. Sitemaps come in 3 varieties: XML, RSS, and TXT files. They each have their pros and cons, but XML is the most widely used format. You should submit one to Google at least once a month.

Title Tags: These show up at the top of your browser page and in search results. It’s also what shows up when you bookmark a page and add it to your “Favorites”. They are meant to be accurate descriptions of a page’s content, preferably containing a relevant keyword.

Web Crawlers: These are also known as spiders and or search bots. They crawl though the web looking for new links and pages.

Koehler Home Decor is a wholesaler of home decor accessories and unique gifts. Source quality wholesale merchandise at and find tips for promoting your business on our blog.

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