Whilst a large number of bloggers (myself included) either work, or have worked in SEO, I do understand that it can be a bit confusing to others!
So, I decided to pull together a list of technical terms used in the SEO world that relate to your blog.
I’ve tried to keep it pretty top level so if there’s anything missing you’d like to know/think would be useful, then let me know in the comments and I’ll add it in!
AdSense is basically Google’s service for showing “contextual advertising” (ads that are relevant to the site content).
The profits earned from any click throughs on those ads are shared between you and Google. You can find out more, and set up AdSense on your blog here.
Some organisations, such as Amazon have an affiliate marketing programme, which allows you to use links to their products, and when someone clicks through and purchases, you will earn a percentage of the purchase total.
Different affiliate networks will have different rules, so be sure to do your research before you sign up, and only use affiliate links naturally within your content!
Sometimes a brand might have an opportunity for blogs that are of a particular Alexa Rank. It’s basically a way of rating sites for how they compare with competitors within the same niche. Many agencies and brands will use Alexa’s tools to check the ranking of sites to deem if they are worth outreaching to.
I’ve found in my experience of working with brands that Alexa hasn’t really come into play, however I do know that agencies in particular will consider it.
A search engine algorithm, to be precise, is how a search engine (Google, Bing etc) will rank websites in its listings. Every once in a while to improve their system, search engines will release algorithm updates which develop the ways in which sites are ranked.
You shouldn’t need to worry about this as long as you are creating great content that is not stolen or stuffed with keywords (more on that later).
Many bloggers don’t even bother worrying too much about their rankings – the community via social media is much more important and can often garner much better results.
Analytics tools let you see a variety of information about your site, e.g. how many visitors its had, where they come from and much more. read my full guide on Google Analytics.
When you add a link to a post, the text that you apply that link to is called ‘anchor text’, for example, the link above’s anchor text is ‘full guide on Google Analytics’.
If you are working with a brand that requests you to link to particular page on their site, be wary of how they wish to do so as keyword anchor text can be seen as spammy if it does not clearly fit the context. WordStream have done an awesome post on this topic that is worth a read.
Authority (of Domain)
Site or URL authority refers to how well a site ranks in the search engines. This is based on a large number of factors including site age and quality of content.
Whilst ranking high on Google is great and can significantly increase traffic, it’s also very hard to do.
Again, it comes back to how important this is to you when in my experience, blogs have become more popular due to community engagement through social media.
A backlink is what many brands are after when outreaching to bloggers (but the good ones also want to build relationships too!). Also referred to as an inbound link, these links are basically pointing from one site to another.
Sites with good quality backlinks are supposedly more likely to rank higher in search engines, assuming these links are in fact relevant, good quality and not spammy!
There are a huge number of platforms around, but I’ve found both Blogger and WordPress to be the simplest to use.
This is the site your posts are shown on – for example, my domain is www.moreaboutcat.co.uk. Many bloggers will start out with a domain which is not custom – e.g. moreaboutcat.blogspot.co.uk , and as their blog grows they will purchase a custom one.
I chose to ‘upgrade’ to custom as I thought it’d look more professional and be easier to remember!
Custom domains will be bought from a ‘registrar’, but more on that later.
Some evil people will try (and in most cases succeed) to steal your content. This is bad news, not only as they are basically breaking the law, but also because it can have a negative effect on your SEO if Google sees that your content is also hosted elsewhere.
Make sure to add a disclaimer to the footer of your blog to copyright your content. If it does get stolen, try to contact the person who stole it to get them to take it down.
Dwell time refers to the amount of time someone spends on your site before returning to the search results. You can view data on dwell time in Google Analytics, and it’s useful to know how long it takes a user to find the information they want, or whether they bother sticking around to find it.
Sites such as Bloglovin and Feedly are known as feed readers. Essentially, they display the posts of any of the blogs you add/follow. They’re a great way of collating all the blogs you like to read so you can see their latest posts.
Read my guide on why I use Feedly.
Google Webmaster Tools
Webmaster Tools is an awesome tool for looking at how Google crawls your site (basically what pages it has indexed on its listings), and also provides a list of search queries people have used to find your site, and how many clicked through.
If you want to get into the technical nitty gritty of your blog, it’s a must.
So, aside from the title of your post, you may also want include sub headings throughout. I’d recommend using keywords in these, but sparingly! We’ll cover keyword stuffing soon, but basically when writing any headings, including the title, think of the end user. What information do they need to see in order to know the post, or section of the post is going to be useful to them.
Title headings are referred to as H1’s, sub headings as H2’s, and sub-sub-headings as H3’s….the list does go on but I won’t bore you!
HTML is basically code that effects the way content appears on a web page. For example, when I bold text (such as the key terms in this glossary!), this appears bold because of coding – to create bold text you can use <b>text goes here</b> or <strong>text goes here</strong> depending on the system you are using. Both should work though.
Luckily in the vast majority of CMS’, you will be able to create these changes using the handy tool bar at the top. On Blogger, you can toggle between Compose and HTML if you want to add any code in.
In SEO, keywords are the terms you want to be using (naturally) within content that are relevant to your posts so that when a user is searching for that sort of content, your post will be listed.
Confusing? Here’s an example – if I want someone to find this post, I have used ‘SEO Technical Terms’ in my title, and ‘glossary of search engine optimisation’ in my meta description (which we’ll be getting to soon!).
Keyword stuffing used to get you everywhere back in the day – and now it will get you nowhere. This process is basically overusing keywords to try and manipulate search engines into ranking you higher. Don’t do it, it won’t work. Google are cracking down on it a lot.
Just remember – write for the user, not for the robots!
I’ve covered this with backlinks really – but link building is generally used for when SEO’s are trying to acquire links in any which way possible. Way back when (OK, maybe just a few years ago), link building was much easier and spamming the web to create links was standard practice. Now, it’s all about “link earning” – creating content that people want to share which will in turn create links.
Much easier said than done!
Meta Titles & Descriptions
Meta titles are your blog post titles – if you want the post to be found, then using song lyrics or irrelevant phrases is probably not the one. For example, make your title “How To Dress For Spring” instead of “Spring Is Coming!”. Make your titles a max of 52 characters to avoid them being cut off.
Meta descriptions are what appears in the search listings underneath the title – it’s a short description of what the user can expect if they click through. Try and aim for 160 characters as an absolute max to again, avoid being cut off.
Meta tags used to be a way of adding additional keywords into the HTML of posts. They are generally not used any more as people of course spammed them. Most search engines place little to no weight on them, as the user does not see them anyway.
NoFollow (and Follow)
Phew, still with me? I promise it’s kinda-sort of-almost over. This is important for bloggers to know about, as it often comes up in brand pitch emails.
A NoFollow link is created with the nofollow html tag (Blogger has the option to NoFollow a link for you when you add one). It basically tells search engines not to count this link, usually because it was paid for.
A Follow link is basically the opposite, so you don’t have to add any HTML coding for this.
My recommendation? Use a Follow link if you’re mentioning a product you bought for yourself, NoFollow when a brand is paying you/has sent you an item and they are requesting that link. Or do whatever feels best for you…
PageRank is a form of link analysis created by Google to determine how relevant and important a website is. It ranks from 0-10. The higher the rank, the better.
Some brands will request that a blog be of PR 2-3 or above, and some are really picky and want a higher ranking. Check your domain’s page rank.
In Google Analytics, you can look at your referral data, which means that you can see the sources of traffic for your site. You can look at an overview divided into Direct, Social, Organic Search etc, or you can drill down to specifics such as Twitter, Facebook and other URLs. This is pretty handy to see where your traffic is coming from, to see whether you can tweak how to promote your posts.
This is the name for companies that allow you to register domain names. For example, my registrar is DomainDiscount24. It’s up to you who you go with, but you’ll want to research thoroughly before committing. Also remember that as well as purchasing the domain, you’ll also need to pay to host the site online. It’s all dead cheap, which is why so many people do it!
This text ‘document’ is basically designed to tell search engine ‘bots’ what to crawl, and what to exclude. They are directives, so to speak, so are not gospel, but can be helpful in guiding bots on the pages of your site to focus on, and to ignore.
A bot will only spend a certain amount of time crawling your site, so you may want to exclude content to ensure it reaches the most valuable stuff to index! Google’s definition.
RSS is short for rich site summary. In essence it allows users to stay up to date with your latest content through RSS readers like Feedly. It not only captures all existing content, it will continue to capture content as and when it updates. Read more.
SEO means search engine optimisation. It’s the tools and techniques you use to ‘optimise’ your site so that it can be better understood and ranked by search engines. It needn’t be a big task, and there are many basics that bloggers can do to at least get started (implement meta descriptions, for example).
It may seem obvious to say, but a site map really is just a ‘map’ of your site. It’s a list of site pages accessible to bots and users. You can submit your sitemap via Webmaster tools and let Google work its magic to index those pages correctly, and show up any errors as well. Create your sitemap.
Usability is just a slightly fancier way of talking about how usable your site is. How does the user navigate, how easy is it to find what they might be after?
This is important in blogging as you have a great selection of posts, but many bloggers (myself included) have been guilty of really only focusing on our most up-to-date content. Make sure its easy for people to move around and explore!