SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a big factor when it comes to getting the most from your website. But the technical jargon and vocabulary can make it difficult to understand, let alone implement well. To help you get a better handle on things, we’ve put together this SEO glossary with simplified definitions and helpful advice. Curious to know where you stand with your knowledge? Take our SEO Quiz.
When the same content is available on more than one page on the internet, it’s known as duplicate content. Search engines, like Google or Bing, don’t like duplicate content because when there are multiple pages showing the exact same or very similar content, it’s not clear which page to list higher in the search results. Because this causes confusion, it can work against you as they might end up ranking these pages lower and give preference to other web pages instead.
The easiest way to make sure you’re avoiding duplicate content is by making sure yours is unique and original on each page. If for whatever reason you do need to use the same content on more than one page, a good tip is to use a canonical tag which will flag up the preferred, original page to search engines.
Broken links describe links on a website that don’t work. These links can be frustrating for users because their online journey suddenly comes to a stop, either because they can’t access the information they need or can’t go any further with a process to get to a particular destination. This could put them off your business or you might lose their interest completely.
They also cause issues for search engines because they use links to discover new pages. If your website is featuring broken links, they’re unlikely to view it favourably.
The good news is that you can avoid this problem by checking your website regularly yourself, or by using a broken link checker tool like Google Search Console to help you identify them so you can get them fixed quickly.
If you receive a Google penalty, it means you’ve broken one or more of its marketing rules. Google officially refers to these as ‘manual actions and algorithmic actions’ rather than penalties. Manual actions are made by a human reviewing your site and algorithmic actions come from a Google update demoting your website.
Depending on the nature of the breach, penalties can include having your website ranking lowered or even being removed altogether from search results, so this is worth knowing about.
Anything that Google considers to be cheating, tricking, or manipulating the search engine in order to get you better results can send a penalty your way. Tactics such as stuffing keywords into your content, buying links or using spammy techniques can lead to consequences like losing traffic and revenue.
If you make a mistake that results in a penalty, don’t panic as you can take steps to fix it. But the best way to avoid being penalised by Google in the first place is to follow their guidelines and focus on creating great content for your audience.
For your business to be searchable on the internet your website needs to be indexed. Indexing means it’s been added to the internet database so people can find it when they’re looking for information that’s related to your content. Otherwise, your website would be ‘invisible’.
Search engines are constantly crawling the internet - using ‘bots’ or ‘spiders’ - to find new websites for adding to the search results database. Crawl rate is a page ranking factor. Making sure your website is ‘crawlable’ means that search engines can easily navigate through it and find your pages for indexing. You can also submit your website to search engines directly to let them know it exists. The easiest way to request your website be indexed is through Google Search Console.
To keep your website visible once it's been indexed, be sure to continually optimise your site for search engines and create high quality content.
Unlike generic links such as ‘click here’ descriptive links tell the user exactly where they’ll go and what to expect if they click through. As a clear, quick description of the content of the linked page they provide a helpful cue to the user without the need for clicking through.
Some examples of descriptive links would be: ‘learn how to make a sponge cake’ or ‘read more about places to visit in Paris’. The user can then make up their own mind as to where they want to navigate next.
Descriptive links save users both time and frustration when browsing and are particularly helpful for those with accessibility needs who use screen readers to navigate the internet.
Understanding these commonly used SEO terms can help you implement an effective strategy to achieve your business goals.
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