It can be exhausting trying to translate what search engine optimisers and website developers are saying when discussing SEO. With terms like keywords, backlinks and SERPs peppering the conversation, it often sounds like a foreign language.

Like with any language, as soon as you start to grasp the basics of a dialect, you begin to understand a wider vocabulary of terms and phrase and this is the same with SEO jargon.

In this article, we’re going to break down some common SEO terms so that you can stay in the know and be able to ask the right questions with confidence.


The acronym SEO stands for search engine optimisation and is a succinct summary of a very broad category of work.

SEO management is all about improving your website’s chances of being discovered by search engines like Google that scan the internet for relevant content in order to find answers to their users’ questions.

In a nutshell, an SEO agency will do everything it can to optimise your website to make it more visible on search engines such as Google or Microsoft Bing when people look for content or keywords related to what you do or sell.

The more visible your website becomes in search engine listings after someone searches for something related to you, the more organic traffic will be directed to your website.

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Keywords are very important for finding the information you’re looking for on the internet. When users type keywords into a search engine, web pages containing those same keywords will be found and shown to that user.

The challenge from an SEO perspective is to rank your website for the most popular keywords and search terms in your industry which typically brings the most competiton, and there are only 10 spots on the first page of Google.

Finding these popular keywords or search terms doesn’t have to be difficult. Using tools like Ahrefs or Semrush will let you find high volume search terms and even spy on your competitors for new opportunities!

The data analysis that you complete will guide you on which terms to incorporate naturally into your website’s content. Therefore, when a user searches for a keyword you’ve optimised your web page content for you’re more likely to appear on their search results page.

Keyword Research

A successful keyword strategy isn’t just about increasing visibility on Google, it’s also about understanding what your potential customers are looking for. This not only helps shape your blog posting ideas, it can influence everything from product development to social media strategies.

Effective keyword research provides a map towards SEO success. This process starts by brainstorming possible keywords related to your business or niche.

Keyword analysis tools like Ahrefs or Semrush give insights into factors such as monthly search volume (how many times a term gets searched per month) and difficulty score (indicating how hard it would be to rank well for this term).

It is important to remember that keyword research is an ongoing process. To maximise your SEO efficiency, it is important to stay on top of keyword trends and continue to refine your SEO approach as the market changes.

Website Research


A backlink acts like a recommendation for a website or page from another site. Backlinks are very important for adding authority to your brand in the eyes of search engine algorithms.

Just like how a food critic’s praise would carry more weight than a stranger when reviewing a restaurant, backlinks from high authority sites within your niche will provide more value and trust to your website then others.

A backlink also improves the user experience, as it is a shortcut via a hyperlink to additional useful information on another website. This saves the reader time researching as it provides them with a direct way of accessing the recommended content.


As far as the internet is concerned, content is the words and information that you have uploaded onto your website. It can consist of words, videos or images.

For good SEO, your content needs to be interesting to keep visitors engaged and to make sure they don’t think your brand is boring. The content also needs to be grammatically correct so that your brand looks professional.

When your content provides visitors with valuable information that is useful to them, your content will be considered good quality by search engines which will increase your likelihood of appearing at the top search engine result pages.

If you give out useful information for free, you will also gain loyalty from visitors and clients while also increasing your website visibility.

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Title Tags

Title tags specify what content forms the title of a web page.

This informs the search engine platform to display that information as a clickable headline for your listing on search engine result pages.

Meta Description

A meta description is a a 160-character long set of information that summarises your webpage and encourages people to engage with it further.

This description is another piece of information that is displayed in search results, right underneath the title tag that was mentioned above.

NoFollow Link

Nofollow links are links that instruct search engine crawler bots and tell them not to follow a specific link. This flag is not seen by human visitors, which means that human traffic can still access nofollow links.

What is the purpose of this? Well, there are several answers:

  • Managing search engine crawling and indexing: This helps control the flow of search engine crawlers and indexing, allowing you to prioritise key pages to search enginge crawlers.
  • Combating spam: Online platforms like blogs, comment fields, and forums use nofollow links to clamp down on spam. If a spammer posts a rogue link, then search engines will not follow that link and thus will not contribute to the spammer’s black hat SEO efforts.
  • Paid links and advertising: When a link is part of an ad or sponsored content, it is advisable to mark it as nofollow (or sponsored) so that it does not negatively impact your search engine rankings.
  • User-generated content: Nofollow is an instant add-on to user-generated content to manage search ranking manipulation because the accuracy of user-generated links cannot usually be verified.
  • Selective endorsement: When you choose to link to another webpage for referencing purposes, you may not want the link to count as an endorsement and, therefore, boost the ranking value of the linked site.

Dwell Time

Dwell time literally refers to how long a visitor dwelled on your page before leaving.

Dwell time is a big key performance indicator in search engine optimisation because it is a clear indicator of whether your content and webpage are interesting, relevant and easy to read or use.

A low dwell time means the visitor landed on the page and clicked away quickly. This could mean that your keyword choices might be misleading, and a visitor who wanted another product or service was erroneously shown your page as an option.

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On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is a methodology that aims to boost your website’s chances of ranking higher on search engine result pages by focusing on the website itself.

The technique involves tweaking various elements like title tags, meta descriptions and content to meet search engine guidelines.

For example, your keywords should appear in your meta description and the first 100 words of your content. This keyword placement makes your page rank more relevant to the search engine crawler bots.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO focuses on improving the authority of your domain, not just a single page. This is done via backlinks from other reputable websites that flag your site as a valuable resource.

Every reputable backlink is seen as a thumbs up, and search engines value the votes of confidence from other high authority sources.

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Technical SEO

Technical SEO addresses non-content elements on a website like site speed, mobile friendliness and indexing. 

An example of a technical SEO focus is to have a clean sitemap.xml file. This technical improvement helps Google understand your site structure when its bots are crawling it. 

The easier it is for bots to successfully analyse or search through your website, the better your website’s search engine rankings will be, which in turn makes your website a favoured site – this should be a priority for high-quality SEO.


SERPs are the pages that are displayed by a search engine platform after you have typed in a search query and submitted it.

It’s the list of results that you get. Usually, it also states the number of search results it has achieved for you and the amount of time that it took.

These lists will be provided from most relevant (in theory) to least relevant to your enquiry, this is why digital marketing companies are always talking about “ranking higher” on SERPs.

The further down your site is on SERPs the less likely it is that users will find your website, so it is important that you rank highly in order to get found.

The power of this relevancy is clearly shown by the statistic that less than 1% of search engine users click on a website from page 2 of Google.

The main types of information that will appear on SERPs include: 

  • Organic results: This is the bread-and-butter for SEO enthusiasts. These non-paid listings show up because they are genuinely relevant to the user’s query.
  • Paid ads: These are identified by an “Ad” or “Sponsored” label next to them and appear at the top of SERPs because companies pay for these spots using services like Google Ads.
  • Featured snippets: These are pieces of content siphoned from webpages to directly answer a user’s query without requiring them to click through.
Google Search Example


Though this SEO glossary only covers the basics of search engine optimisation terminology, we hope that this newfound knowledge can help you navigate through your SEO planning and preparation a little easier.

At the end of the day, it is important to understand that there is significant complexity to SEO so it’s wise to always continue learning.

To your success,