I was first introduced to SEO in 2004. My dad asked me to help him optimize his website. So, like the good son I am, I did some research and began implementing 2004’s best practices. What were they? Find out the exact background color of your website, and list out all of your keywords in that same color. Boom. You’re ranking on the first page.
Obviously, SEO has changed a lot since 2004—and for the better. Now, it’s original, quality content above all else that matters. However, there are still important tactics to keep in mind when optimizing content for search engines. Rick Ramos of SEOverflow has shared six basic SEO tips, but before you dive into the “how,” let’s get a few things straight.
Below, I define basic SEO terms that will hopefully help you understand current best practices and make implementation a whole lot easier to understand. Additional questions? Feel free to share confusing terms in the comments below.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The process of ranking a website higher within a search engine’s “natural” or unpaid results pages, with the goal of increasing website traffic.
Factors that impact search engine rankings that can be affected directly on the webpage or within the page source code. Examples include title tags, meta tags, rich media usage, but perhaps most importantly,the copy on the page.
Search engines are going deeper to develop an understanding of the meaning behind words, as opposed to simply interpreting words at face value. With 9/13’s Google Hummingbird update, context is now more important than ever.
Factors that impact a site’s search engine rankings that exist outside of what can be edited directly on the page. Link building, site speed (response times), and social signals are among the most important off-page SEO variables to emphasize.
Legacy linking strategies used to focus primarily on acquiring external links, however, modern SEO places increased emphasis on internal links as well, as this helps establish context and continuity between your content.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
An online marketing channel used to increase qualified website traffic through paid marketing messages that appear in a search engine’s paid listings, commonly found at the top and side of the results pages.
Website Optimization (Conversion Rate Optimization)
The process of generating leads and acquiring customers without spending money to bring more traffic to a website by conducting scientific experiments in the form of a/b and multivariate tests on a site’s structure, design, calls to action, and user experience.
These may be basic, but once you have an understanding of these five terms, you’re ready to dive into the actual how-tos of search engine optimization.