SEO Terms: Why What You Know Matters

by | Law Firm Search Engine Optimization

Picture of the letters SEO surrounded by cogs, representing how SEO terms work together to help law firms improve their online presence.

In the realm of law, terms like affidavit, subpoena, and prima facie are used every day. In the world of technology, familiar terms include cache, FTP, and java. But working with a digital marketing service like TOPDOG, you’ll learn a completely different vocabulary, one that relates to search engine optimization (SEO), including SEO terms such as SERP, redirect, and keywords. What do these words mean? If you’re new to digital marketing, you may be thinking, “It all sounds Greek to me” (or Latin, as the case may be)!

We hear terms and phrases every day that are familiar, but when put to the test, we are unable to define. For this blog, let’s stick to the basics of SEO terminology, helping you understand a few common SEO terms you should know if you’re trying to enhance your online presence.

What Is Search Engine Optimization?

Before diving into the meaning of other SEO terms, you need to understand the definition of “SEO.” Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of enhancing the features search engines use to rank search results—to determine the identity and order of search results to your query—and then revising or “optimizing” a web page to enhance or take advantage of those features. Search engine optimization is used to improve your search engine rankings, increase your web traffic, and help you get found online by potential clients.

Understanding Basic SEO Terms

Understanding what SEO is and how it can help is the first step. But before you take the initiative to optimize your own website or hire an experienced professional, you need to understand basic SEO terminology.

1.     Organic Search Results

There are two kinds of returns that can appear from an online search. One is a paid result, which, as its name suggests, is a paid advertisement. The other is an organic search result, which is a list of web pages that most closely match the user’s query. These results are based on relevance to the word or phrase being searched. Ranking high in organic searches is what SEO is all about.

2.    Keyword

Keyword is among one of the most important SEO terms to understand. A keyword is a word (or more commonly, a phrase) that users type into search engines. The goal to a strong keyword strategy is finding out what your audience wants. By adding content to your website that includes targeted keywords and leverages important SEO features, search engines receive more clues as to what your page is about. This, in turn, enhances your rankings and online visibility.

3.    SERP

The search engine results page (SERP) is the page of results a search engine produces after each search query. For the best chance of being found online, you want your page in the top 10 results. This is prime real estate and where every website strives to be. Research shows that 93% of users never scroll past the first page.

4.    Meta Description

A meta description is a short explanation of a blog or page that does not appear in the content but is visible behind the scenes. It usually displays under the page title on a search result page. Meta descriptions are an important part of SEO, but for these to be effective, they must include your chosen keyword.

5.    Domain Authority

The SEO term, domain authority, (DA) refers to a scoring system created by Moz, the leader in SEO software (which is used by TwoDogBlog). Domain authority estimates a website’s overall ability to rank in search results using a proprietary algorithm designed to mimic ranking factors used by search engines like Google and Bing.

DAs range from 1-100. The higher the number, the more likely a site is to appear in the upper SERP results.

6.    Backlinks (aka Inbound Links)

A link that appears on another website that points back to your site is known in SEO terms as a backlink. Having healthy backlinks is a vital factor in the SEO equation. Backlinks tell search engines that the content on your website is valuable enough for other sites to incorporate it into their own content.

7.    Featured Snippet

A featured snippet is a quick, easy-to-read summary of answers to a user’s query. With a featured snippet, the reader doesn’t have to click through several pages to find the information they want. Usually located at the top of the page, they ordinarily contain numbered lists, bullet points, or a brief paragraph. Featured snippets give your website great exposure and keep you ranking above the scroll. The only way to grab a featured snippet is through great content that leads to strong organic search results.

8.    Local Pack

The local pack is a portion of the search results that shows local business related to your search query. Local packs display the address, phone number, business hours, ratings, and even a map with directions to the most relevant results to search queries. Like featured snippets, appearances in local packs cannot be bought; the only way to appear in them is to create great content and leads to strong organic search results.

9.    Alt Text

The majority of high-ranking pages attach alt text to all images visible on their sites. Alt text is simply defined as the description of an image placed within the HTML code of an image. Similar to a meta description, alt text is only found behind the scenes. Because search engines like Google cannot “see,” they use alt text to “view” images. The benefits of alt text are also important to visually impaired individuals who use screen readers. The software reads the alt text, which provides a description of the image to the listener.

10. Redirect

A redirect is used to direct traffic from one URL to another. It sends the user to a different page than the original page requested. Redirects are used if a page is updated or moved. When a redirect has been initiated, it helps to avoid broken links and ensure that even when a page has been relocated or optimized, its authority is maintained.

While this is a very small sample of the language used by digital marketers, knowing these SEO terms can help you to improve your company’s presence on the web. As you’ve undoubtedly heard us say before, you can have the most informative, vibrant, impressive website on the Internet, but if no one ever finds it, it’s pointless. Put your new-found knowledge to work, and if you have any questions or need advice, contact TOPDOG online or by calling (844) HEY-TDOG (439-8364) or (480) 744-7331. We’re lawyers helping other lawyers “get found” online.

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