Are you bamboozled by the vast array of jargon used online these days? Does complicated technical terminology leave you dazed and confused? Well, if so this blog’s for you. I’ve busted the most common SEO (that’s Search Engine Optimisation, by the way) phrases so that you don’t have to – as well as including a few top SEO tips.


Alt text or alt tag

A description of an image that isn’t normally displayed on screen. It will be displayed if the image isn’t deliverable and will be read out loud for visually impaired people with a screen reader. Alt text is important for SEO as it indicates accessibility and provides the search engine with information about the subject of the image.


Anchor textImage of man holding silver anchor

The clickable text in a hyperlink. Make sure it is relevant to the page you are referring to and includes appropriate keywords – never use ‘click here’.


Backlinks (sometimes called inbound links)

Links from external websites to yours – these are critical in gaining a good position on search engines, but make sure the links are relevant.


Bounce rate

The percentage of people that click on your website and then click straight back to the search engine without viewing any other pages. This indicates that your website either isn’t relevant or isn’t great quality.


Click bait

A negative term used to describe sensationalist content which has the sole aim of generating links for SEO; the links are generally of a dubious nature or don’t relate to what was promised.



The relevant, quality, free content on your website that has value for your audience. This isn’t advertising or sales materials, but useful information designed to attract people to your website.


Google SEO spider bot crawling on search page

Crawler (spider, bot)

A programme that systematically visits websites, searching through the pages to create entries for search engines.


Internal links

A link from one page to another within your own website. These are useful for SEO as they help to establish the structure of your website, allowing crawlers to find their way around more easily.


Keyword researchKeyword search image with lots of different words, including optimization, keyword, ranking

The process of identifying the actual search terms (keywords) that people use on search engines. It is about discovering how popular your keywords are by both the volume of searches and by how competitive they are. See my article Keyword research and analysis in 10 easy steps for more on this.


Keyword stuffing

Falsely overfilling your web page with keywords in an attempt to fool search engines into ranking you higher in results pages. Don’t bother trying this, it probably won’t work and you’ll upset your audience – no one wants to read poorly written, repetitive copy.


Link bait

Content designed to encourage others to link to you, with the aim of improving your position in search engine results.


Long-tail keywords

Longer keyword phrases or questions that are very specific and therefore easier to rank higher with in search engine results. For example, ‘how much do video production companies charge?’ is a long-tail keyword, whereas ‘video production’ is the ‘head’ of the search term.


Meta description

The description of a web page that appears in search engine results, normally 155 characters. These are important to encourage people to click through to your website.


Organic search

The links listed on search engine results that appear because of their relevance to the search terms (vs. paid search which is advertising).


White icon with grey link chain and plus buttonOutbound links

Links from your website to other domains. All websites will have some outbound links, just make sure yours link to appropriate, authoritative websites.


Pay per click (PPC, also CPC – cost per click)

Online advertising where you pay when your advert is clicked, e.g. Google AdWords.


Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Using search engines to market to your target audience either through SEO or advertising such as PPC.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is the process of improving a website’s visibility on a search engine’s (e.g. Google) organic results pages.


Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

The page displayed by a search engine in response to a query by a searcher.


Title tag

A descriptive title of the web page that appears in search engine results, the web browser and on external websites. Keep your title tags short, snappy and use keywords.


I hope this list of SEO jargon has been useful to you and that you now know the difference between your SEMs, your SEOs and your SERPs!

If I’ve missed something off just let me know and I’ll be happy to add it on for you.


Other useful articles on this subject include:

Picture credits

Blah, blah blah; anchor man; SEO words and SEO scrabble – all courtesy of

Google spider bot – courtesy of


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