Search engine optimisation jargon buster
Algorithm A set of rules used by computers to solve problems. Search engines use algorithms to determine the rankings of a page for a specific search query.
E.g. “I hope search engine algorithms highly rank my web pages.”
ALT Text Text used in the code of a page to describe an image.
E.g. “The homepage of my website www.blakeproduce.com features an image of a fruit and vegetable garden. I included ALT text in the image code to describe it.”
Anchor Text The visible part of a link on a web page.
E.g. “If you click the link whose anchor text says ‘Organic Produce photo gallery,’ you’ll see more photos of our fruits and vegetables.”
Black Hat Manipulative or deceptive SEO tactics that optimise only for search engines, not for people.
E.g. “I was especially careful to avoid any black hat SEO techniques; I didn’t want to hurt the ranking of www.mydeliciousorganicveggies.com in the search engines.”
Bot, Crawler or Spider A program designed to browse the content on the Internet and collect information about it to help searchers find what they’re looking for.
E.g. “When I launched my website, I made sure that the pages were visible to search engine bots, so they could index my pages.”
Destination Page The page being linked to from another page.
E.g. “If you click the link to “Gallery,” you’ll see a destination page chock full of images of our fruits and vegetables.
Internal Links Links from one page to another page within the same website.
E.g. “Website visitors can click on internal links on the homepage to see the web pages in my fruits and vegetable gallery section.”
Meta Description The description of a web page included in the code of the page. May also be used as a part of the description in the search engine results page.
E.g. “I write meta descriptions for each page of my website in case the search engine displays the page in the search results.”
Meta Keywords A shortlist of several words that succinctly describe the content of a page. Not used by any search engine.
E.g. “I don’t worry about including meta keywords on my web pages, as search engines do not use this information.”
Ranking A listing’s position on a search engine results page.
E.g. “With a lot of work, I’m hoping to get my website to the #1 ranking on search engines.”
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) The practice of making changes to web pages, content, and the promotion of that content to improve visibility in organic search engine results.
E.g. “Investing in SEO helped my website get a higher ranking in search engine results.”
Search Engine Results Page (SERP) A list of results appearing in a search engine in response to a person’s search query.
E.g. “After I searched for ‘buy fresh fruits and vegetables,’ I noticed that the SERP had both organic listings and paid listings.”
Title Element The title of a web page as indicated in the HTML of a page. Also often used as the title of your page in a search engine results page.
E.g. “I pay careful attention to the title element of my web pages, to help search engines understand what the pages are about.”
Webspam or spam Techniques that try to cheat their way to the top of search results, like repeating keywords, paying other sites to link to yours, or putting invisible text on the screen. This is considered bad form because truly relevant websites get buried in the results.
E.g. “I received email offers to rank first in Google search results but have turned them down because the techniques used are spam.”
White Hat Tactics that optimise web pages for people, not for search engines. E.g. “I only use white hat tactics to help search engines find my website
XML Sitemap A listing of web pages on your site that helps search engines understand your website.
E.g. “Adding a sitemap helped search engines understand the pages on www.webly.co.za”