Understanding SEO Terms

February 4, 2019 |
By Sotiris Sotiriadis

SEO terms that you need to know

SEO means “Search Engine Optimization” and it is the process of acquiring organic (Free) traffic from the search results of search engines such as Google. But why you should care about it?

Organic Search Traffic is often the primary traffic source of a website and it is considered as high-quality traffic.

What does this mean for your business?

Search Engine Optimization, if done correctly will assist in acquiring high-quality traffic that is likely to convert to leads or sales. Are you interested in growing your business? Click here to find out more about our SEO Cyprus services.


How Does SEO Increase traffic to your website?

Even though Google works based on “secret” and often patented algorithms to deliver the most relevant results to its users, it does take into consideration certain factors to evaluate and rank the websites in their Search Engine Result Pages.

There are more than 200 reported factors that influence the ranking-ability of a website. Working with an experienced SEO agency will help you reverse engineer your competitors (That are already ranking high in Google) and outrank them.

Website Traffic

SEO terms that you need to know

Now that you know what SEO is and how it works, the next step is to learn the SEO terminology that is often used by SEO’s in order to create actionable SEO plans and help your website rank. If you decide to work on your website’s SEO by yourself, this terminology guide will come in really handy. However, it is crucial to get your head around the basic terminology even if you decide to work with an SEO agency.

On page SEO optimization (also known as on-page SEO) refers to the actions that are applied on YOUR website in order to improve the position of the website in the Search Engine Result Pages.


  • Optimizing the Content of the website
  • Internally Linking relevant pages
  • Using LSI keywords to build relevance for a topic
  • Optimizing the speed of the website to load quicker
  • Adjusting the Meta tags of a page

OnPage SEO

OffPage SEO

OffPage SEO optimization refers to the actions taken on OTHER websites in order to generate external ranking signals for YOUR website. In other words, you gain mentions (Backlinks) from other websites.


  • Guest Posting – Writing an article for another website that relates to your audience and making sure to include a hyperlink (Backlink) to your own website.
  • Creating an evergreen piece of content on your website so others can link to it from their resources page or informational articles
  • Linking to your website from other websites that you may own or operate (You have to be careful when doing this cause it may be considered as a link scheme and result in negative results)


Keywords are phrases that are related to your industry and you would like to rank for. For example, if you run a fashion e-commerce store, “Leather Jackets” could be one of your target keywords. This is the keyword that you want to rank for because you sell leather jackets.


A backlink is simply a hyperlink from another website that points to your website. Backlinks are one of the most important factors in SEO. Acquiring high-quality relevant backlinks is often the key to succeeding in SEO.

DoFollow backlinks

A DoFollow backlink is an HTML link that doesn’t contain the rel=”nofollow” attribute. Do-follow links are the most valuable ones from an SEO perspective because they pass link juice to the target website.

NoFollow backlinks

NoFollow is an optional rel attribute that can be placed in hyperlinks. The NoFollow attribute instructs the website to not follow the specific hyperlink. Therefore, link juice or ranking value cannot be passed on to the target page.

NoFollow Backlinks should be placed on

  • Affiliate links
  • Sponsored posts
  • When linking to websites that you don’t trust

Anchor text

Every backlink consists of two main components. The first one is the web address (URL) that the hyperlink is pointing to (the destination will be your website). The second component of a backlink is the anchor text. The anchor text is the text that works as the link. For example, THIS is a hyperlink.

Anchor texts are important for SEO. In order to decide what anchors to use when linking to your website, you should analyze what the top results are using and then improve this matrix.

301 & 302 redirects

A redirection happens when you click on an URL for a specific page and immediately after clicking you are redirected to a new page with a different URL. Using redirects is common when you are doing OnPage SEO optimizations.

Redirects are used when:

  • You are changing the URL structure of the whole website
  • You are changing the URL of a specific web page
  • When you are merging two (or more) websites
  • When a website is penalized and you need to create a double 301 redirect in order to try to lift the penalty (at least temporary)

The difference of 301 redirects and 302 redirects:

301 redirects are permanent. You are indicating to Search Engines that the specific page changed address permanently. Search Engines will then pass any value, authority and rankings to the new address.  YOU HAVE TO BE EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS WHEN PERFORMING 301 redirects. Make sure to consult SEO specialists if you are not 100% sure of what you are doing.

302 redirects are temporary. Temporary 302 redirects are often used in order to test the redirections before changing them to 301 (permanent)

From a user’s perspective, the end result is the same. The only difference is the guidelines provided to the Search Engines.

Alt tag

Alt tags are HTML tags that are being used to describe an image. The alt tag text is the text that is being used when an image fails to load. SEOs can strategically optimize alt texts to increase the keyword and LSI keyword frequency in a piece of content.

This is how a standard alt tag looks like in plain HTML.

<img src=”/example.jpg” alt=”this is a picture of an example” />

You really don’t have to worry about the CMS because all modern CMS provides you with the ability to add alt tags from a user interface that you don’t have to mess with the coding.

Meta description

A Meta Description is a description of the specific page that is used from Search Engines in order to display it on the Search Result pages. The meta description is not ever displayed on the website.

Whenever someone searches for a specific keyword, Google decides what results to display. Google then uses the page title and the meta description in order to make up the snippets for the websites that feature in the results.

Important things to know about Meta Descriptions:

  • Google does not always respect the meta descriptions. Google can decide not to use them
  • Google can completely ignore the meta description or it can use only some parts of it and combine it with content from the page
  • In the case that meta description is empty, Google will try to guess what is the best part of the text to be used as a meta description
  • Google will try to bold your keyword or Lantex Semantic Keywords that are in the meta description.

Canonical tag

Canonical tags are HTML elements that let you indicate duplicate content (OnPage & OffPage). This tag is placed on the header of the website.

Example of OnPage Canonical implementation:

On the page https://www.example.com/duplicate-page you need to implement this code:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.example.com/original-page” />

This will tell search Engines not to pass any value from https://www.example.com/duplicate-page to https://www.example.com/original-page

Example of OffPage Canonical implementation:

On the page https://www.example2.com/duplicate-page you need to implement this code:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.example.com/original-page” />

This will tell search Engines not to pass any value from https://www.example2.com/duplicate-page to https://www.example.com/original-page

The main concept is that when a search engine such as Google comes across this tag it will not rank that page, but transfer all the value to the canonical page.

Black hat SEO

Black hat SEO is the dark side of Search Engine Optimization. Some SEO’s work in a way that tries to manipulate the ranking factors by generating fake ranking signals for Google. Black Hat SEO can cause serious implications to your website so we suggest that you don’t implement anything that is considered black hat.

Furthermore, your competitors may be working in a black hat way to cause harm to your rankings.

If you decide to implement black hat SEO techniques, you have to consult experienced SEO’s that have knowledge in implementing Black Hat techniques. Furthermore, SEO’s can help you get over any negative SEO attack that your competitors are performing against you.

Examples of Black Hat SEO

  • Hidden Content
  • Cloaking
  • PBNs
  • Auto-generated backlinks
  • Doorway pages / Backdoor pages
  • Hidden content

Black Hat SEO

Domain name

A domain name is your address on the web. For example, this is a domain name:


Domain names cost approximately $10 per year and you can buy them from GoDaddy, Namecheap, etc.


Hosting is the storage that your website is stored on. In order to have an operational website you need to have:

  1. Domain Name
  2. Web Hosting

Hosting prices vary. You can find a hosting provider with just $1 per month. We suggest that you invest a bit more and use a VPS server as your hosting provider. Digital Ocean is a great provider for VPS.

Duplicate content

Two pages that have same or very similar content can be considered as duplicates. Duplicate content cannot cause a penalty from the Search Engines, however, it can cause keyword cannibalization issues.

Examples of duplication issues:

  • Copying and pasting content across multiple web pages
  • Using your content on other websites
  • WordPress issues (Tags and Categories of WordPress tend to cause duplicate content issues)

How to fix duplicate content:

  • Canonical tags
  • 301 redirects
  • NoIndex tags
  • Editing the content

Keyword density

Keyword density is the percentage of how often your keywords (Target phrases) appear in your content. To calculate the keyword density you should divide the number of times that your keywords appear in your content by the total number of words and then multiply by 100.

Keyword Density has an important part in SEO. Our studies showed that as much as you mention one keyword, you increase the likeness of ranking. However, it’s easy to overdo it and result in keyword stuffing which is not desired.

Keyword stuffing

If you repeat a specific phrase or keyword too often you risk in resulting to keyword stuffing. Usually, writing naturally will not result in keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is likely to be observed in people that are new into SEO and they write content that is not natural anymore.

How to deal with keyword stuffing:

  • Write natural content
  • If you want to increase your keywords in the content, make sure to increase the overall word count as well
  • Use a tool such as UltimateKeywordHunter or TextTools to get LSI keywords that can be used instead of the main keywords.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

The meaning of LSI is really tough to understand so we will try to offer a simplistic explanation about LSI. LSI is considered to be a major ranking factor for search Engines. Search Engines analyze the content of a page and look for supporting keywords (LSI). LSI keywords are highly related to your main keyword. They are keywords that are naturally occurring.

For example, if your main keyword is “forex” then some LSIs could be:

  • Investments
  • Currency
  • Trading
  • Exchange

LSIs help the Search Engines understand if the content is relevant to the keywords. That’s why keyword stuffing alone is not working anymore.

Link building

Link Building is one of the most important parts of SEO. Link building is the process of acquiring backlinks for your website.

Types of link building

  • Guest Posting
  • Niche Edits
  • PBNs
  • Resource Pages
  • Sponsored Posts

Link Building is the most important part of every SEO strategy. Any successful SEO campaign has to focus on backlink acquisition.

Meta keywords

Meta Keywords are some phrases that were used in order for the webmasters to indicate what the page is about. Using Meta keywords is something that is not a ranking factor anymore. Search Engines do not pay any attention to Meta Keywords anymore.

Although some claim that there is no harm in setting them up, we believe that you shouldn’t. If you end up setting up your meta keywords, your competitors will be able to see

Organic search traffic

Organic Search traffic is the traffic that visits your website by clicking from one of the organic (Not paid) Google Results.

Organic search results (natural search results)

Organic Search Results are the search Snippets that are served below the paid ads (Adwords Results). Paid ads used to be served on the right column of Google SERPs. Nowadays, the paid results are served above the organic results. This makes SEO even harder because you need to achieve better rankings in order to get the desired result.


Robots.txt is a text file that is used in order to give guidelines to the crawlers (Spiders of Search Engines) regarding the crawling of the website. This file is very important for the SEO optimization of a website. Websites without robots.txt cannot be crawled. Most modern CMS platforms are automatically generating robots.txt so you don’t have to worry about it (although in some cases you may need to edit it and adjust it).

What can you do with robots.txt

  • Indicate pages that you want don’t want to be crawled
  • Indicate your sitemap.xml file
  • Indicate the requested speed that you want the crawlers to apply when crawling your website (In the case that your server cannot handle it).


Google’s main index, does not immediately accept pages right away. Supposedly, Google has a second index where pages exist until the time that Google checks those pages and decides that they are worthy of appearing in the main index. The secondary index is called sandbox or supplemental index. The pages that are in the sandbox won’t appear in searches, meaning that having your website in the sandbox is not the best thing for your page, on the contrary, the sandbox is something that everyone would want to avoid.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing is the practice of having your products and services promoted through search engines and you can do that by having your products or services grow and rank organically on search engines or even pay to get high positions on search engines.


Search Engine Results Page is the page users see when they search about a term on a search engine. Websites aim to rank in the first SERP in order to be more easily accessible by users.

Bots, Crawlers and Spiders

These terms refer to the software that scans the internet for new websites and gives feedback to the search engine in order to add them to the search engine’s index. Once the websites enter the index they will be able to rank on SERPs

Title Tag

The Title tag is not the most visible detail of your site, but it is nevertheless an important one. Title tags are visible on the title bar of the browser you are using and it is one of the biggest factors that let search engines know what the current page you are reading is all about. The title tag has to be descriptive and adequate of conveying correct information, in a short format.

Title tags are also the first thing website back-ends ask you when you are creating a new page.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A URL is an address you see in your address bar when you visit a page. Every page has a unique URL and it is the place where that specific page can be found.

White Hat SEO

The practices that are endorsed by search engines are commonly called White Hat SEO. There are practices that search engines expect you to do in order to get you indexed and for you to rank high in the search results page. There are no official guidelines for SEO and the parameters of what the best practices entail changes constantly, especially with many several search engine updates. One of the most important things for SEO is keeping track of what is going on through forums and blogs.

Webmaster Tools

Once you create your website and you are ready to start your SEO efforts for it, you will need something that will be able to evaluate your website. Google offers a free service to give you the tools to evaluate your website, called Google Webmaster Tools. This tool helps you evaluate your website on how well it’s doing in the search results pages and you can maintain and monitor its performance. It is not a compulsory step but it can give you lots of information in order to keep you on the right track for your SEO campaigns.

XML sitemap

This is a file that gives all the different URLs of a website (Posts, Pages, Categories, Archives, Images etc) to Google Crawler. Google uses this file in order to identify the URLs that it should crawl and index. After the development of the sitemap.xml file, you should submit it to Google Webmasters Tools in order for Google to crawl it.

Things to keep in mind regarding sitemap.xml

  • You should only include URLs that you want to be indexed
  • You should only include URLs that are marked as “Index”
  • Avoid including redirected URLs