So, you've got a website. You've heard the term SEO flung about a bit and you want to know how to get started. First things first there are some words that you need to learn to make sense of the complicated field of digital content marketing. Don't worry, I got you covered. Here are the ABCs of SEO.
If you permanently change the location of a post or page then you'll want to apply a 301 redirect. This means that, if people try to visit that page at the old location, they will end up at the new URL. This is particularly useful if other sites have linked to the original post, because you won't lose the traffic from those links. Also you can be penalised by search engines for having broken links out there, so a 301 redirect helps to avoid that.
This is what happens if you don't pop a 301 redirect on your dead links; they end up 404ing. You've seen these before when you've tried to access a deleted webpage. You don't want any of these.
ALT Text/Tag or Attribute
Regardless of which platform you use, when you upload images to your posts you should have the option to add a text description to the image. It won't be visible in your post, but the search engines will see this description in the HTML of the post. This means, if you use descriptions relevant to your keywords/content, that when the search engines crawl (i.e. look through) your site they'll see that you have relevant images in your post. This gives you SEO brownie points.
I did a post a while back about hyperlinks and how the hell to use them, which will tell you a lot more about this nifty bit of code. Anyway, "anchor text" is the words displaying in the post which you can click to visit the URL in the hyperlink. So, for example, "hyperlinks and how the hell to use them" is anchor text for the link to my post about hyperlinks. See what I did there?
I know, I know, it seems obvious, but actually "blog" doesn't technically refer to your website as a whole. Sorry to be confusing. Strictly speaking your blog is the part of your website where you regularly publish content as posts (which are different to pages, but we'll get to that). Yes, for some people that resides on their homepage, but for other sites that can be on a separate section of the site, for instance for shops or personal websites.
A bookmark can refer to saving a link to a website within your browser, but there are also bookmarking sites like Pinterest. You want your content to appear on these sites because it indicates to search engines that your content is interesting and relevant.
Also known as "spiders" sometimes, these are computer programs which browse the internet looking for websites and using the information they find to rank the pages.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
CSS is the huge lump of code which determines how your website looks. You can program this yourself in a programming language (typically HTML), you can buy them from web designers or you can use themes within your chosen platform. Search engines can read this code, so you want it to be clean and uncluttered (in other words not have bits that contradict each other). Ideally you also want it to be unique, so your site doesn't appear to be identical to other sites. The best way to avoid this is to customise your themes to suit you, and to use a reputable web designer if you want one made.
This is the main web address of your site, so mine is www.elenabjxrn.com. This is important when it comes to buying and setting up your domain, because having your own is an indicator that you're serious, as well as giving you ownership of your content in the eyes of the search engines. If you're still blogging under the domain of your provider (i.e. .blogger.com or .wordpress.com) the search engines attribute your content to Blogger or Wordpress. This also means that any DA score you have, if you're still using their domain, is totally meaningless. In simple terms, if you're even remotely serious about blogging, you need a domain.
The Fold is the line above which your browser cuts off. In other words, anything you can see on a page without scrolling is "above the fold". Anything underneath is "below the fold". Search engines do give higher ranking to stuff that appears above the fold, and you also want to appear above the fold on search engines. Having lots of ads above the fold can harm your ranking because it's seen as spammy.
Headings are bits of text on your website which are emboldened or larger to show importance. This may be pre-programmed into your platform, so if you're using the "compose" window on Blogger, for instance, you can highlight the chosen text and select the heading type you want to use and it'll be automatically applied. The way this looks in situ will depend on your CSS. If you want to do this in HTML you use H tags, for instance: <h1>YOUR TEXT HERE</h1>. Typically you'll have a range of available headings from 1 to 4 (biggest to smallest). Use these wisely, as they'll not only make your post look a bit smarter, it'll also signpost your key topics to the search engines.
HTML is a language that most of us will have picked up bits of in our Myspace days. It's what we use to make our website look a certain way. Most of this will be squirreled away in your CSS, allowing you to keep your posts nice and clean. Modern blogging means you don't necessarily need to know a lot of HTML in order to keep a good-looking, functional site, because you can buy templates and there are lots of pre-programmed widgets at your disposal. Despite this I'd really recommend learning the basics so you can play about with your site if/when you need to.
When talking about your own site, and inbound link is a site on another site which leads to yours. These will improve your page rank, especially if the referring site (i.e. site where the link is) has a high page rank itself. This is why you want to make buddies with other bloggers, form brand partnerships etc.
This is a link that takes you from one page on your own website to another page within the same domain. A good internal linking structure can be a handy way to improve your ranking by showing the search engines that your site is consistently relevant. There's more info about this in my hyperlinks post though, so read more there!
These are versions of pages of your website that the search engines have already seen and stored. You want these to stay active, of the search engine might penalise you if they go looking for them later.
Chances are if you know what it is then you don't need me to tell you about it. If you don't know what it is then you're probably never going to use it. Basically leave it to the professionals. You're probably not going to use it for a blog anyway, and search engines aren't great at crawling it, so for the purposes of our SEO efforts all we really need to know is that it's a language which can be used to create effects within a website.
You should, in theory, be able to narrow any piece of content down to a keyword (ideally just the one, but often there will be a couple.) For instance, if you've written a piece about shopping for skinny jeans then your keyword would be "skinny jeans". If you've got a post about how to put together a capsule wardrobe for a holiday you could use "holiday wardrobe". Basically your keyword is your post in as condensed a form as possible.
This refers to efforts towards getting links to your sites on other websites. This could for traffic purposes, SEO reasons or both. Do bear in mind that any links that you pay for shouldn't actually give you any SEO benefit, so it's best to do this organically, so guest posting etc.
Long Tail Search
This is a long search which will hopefully include your keyword to lead people to your site via search engines. Traditionally these were considered quite uncommon, but with the rise of voice-activated search these are becoming more important; long tail search terms include actual questions, so for instance if someone asks Siri/Alexa/Cortana/Google "What should I pack for my holiday" rather than just "holiday packing". It's helpful to keep these queries in mind.
These are bits of data that tell the search engine what your site/content is about. Crucially you'll see this with meta descriptions, which not only tell the search engine what your page is about in 160 characters or less, it's also the shortened description of your page that will actually display on search engines and social media. This is an easy way to entice readers and shouldn't be neglected!
Again, there's loads about these in my post on hyperlinks, but in short it's a bit of code you add to hyperlinks so that search engines ignore the link. There's a few reasons to do this, look at my hyperlinks post to learn about that, if you haven't already!
This is the name you give to your content, and it's important that this is relevant to the piece at hand and contain your keyword. There's some science around which words are better or worse for titles, but in short, words nearer the beginning of the title are considered slightly more important, and the totle shouldn't be very long or very short.
This refers to how high you appear on Google. Basically the whole point of SEO.
This could be a whole post on its own, but ultimately it refers to forms of advertising where an advertiser pays their venue per click to their site, for example Google Adwords. Different venues have different methods for this.
When we talk about actions or attributes that can affect your page rank, these things are ranking factors. e.g. inbound links, alt tags.
This is a piece of information that's collected when you hop from site to site. through analytics you can see how people are reaching your site and use that to your advantage.
RSS Feed (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication)
RSS feeds are how sites like Bloglovin' pick up your new posts. It's a kind of subscription feed situation.
SERP (Search Engine Ranking Page)
So you know when you type something into a search engine and press enter? Well the page you see next is the SERP.
A special document created by a webmaster or a piece of software that provides a map of all the pages on a website to make it easier for a search engine to index that website.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all that jazz. Putting your links on social media is a crucial source of traffic for most bloggers, and some search engines rank these links too so it could be a quick win!
Readers! Basically clicks through to your site.
The web address of a page on your site.
Um... they're like stripey horses.
So now if I write more posts about SEO you'll know what I'm talking about! If you have any questions then go be my friend on Twitter and I'll see what I can do!