Every SEO term you’ll need, explained in language you’ll understand
Table of Contents
Bonus Chapter - SEO Glossary
You’re looking to grow your business online, not learn another language.
To make things simple and accessible for all Kiwi business owners we’ll explain every important SEO term in layman’s terms.
No complex jargon, no ‘tech speak’. Just clear translations to make your SEO journey easy and exciting.
Chapter #1: SEO for Beginners
10 Blue Links: The top 10 organic results you see on Google. Not paid for and not including SERP features.
Black-Hat: SEO strategies that violate Google’s guidelines. Unethical tactics that can drive higher results but leave you at risk of penalties and deindexing.
Crawling: How Google finds your website using clever little robots.
Deindexed: The process of having your website manually removed from Google.
Featured Snippets: Short snippets of text that appear above the 10 blue links. Roughly 12.29% of searches trigger these results.
Google My Business Listing (GMB): A free listing provided by Google, and required to appear in Google Map results.
Image Carousels: A SERP feature. Results display multiple images for you to leisurely scroll through.
Indexing: Google’s ‘library’ where all websites that have been crawled are stored.
Intent: The reason people are searching on Google. Not the what but the why.
KPI: Stands for Key Performance Indicator and measures the success (or failure) of a set goal.
Local Pack: The pack of (typically) 3 local businesses that appear when customers search for local products and services. Often triggered by a “near me” search. For example “pubs near me”.
Organic: Results earned through SEO, as opposed to paid results like Facebook Advertising or Google Ads.
People Also Ask Boxes: A SERP feature. Results display in a box of questions related to a query.
Query: The words people type into Google. For example ‘Who is the best SEO agency in New Zealand’ (hint: it’s us).
Ranking: The order websites are displayed on Google for any given query. The higher the ranking, the more likely you’ll receive site traffic.
Search Engine: Google. Oh you want more of a definition? OK, a retrieval program that finds relevant items based on a person’s query. Like a giant library with every possible book in the world.
SERP feature: Results displayed in a non-traditional format, i.e. 10 blue links or paid ads.
SERP: An acronym for ‘Search Engine Results Page’.
Traffic: Visits to a website.
URL: An acronym for ‘Uniform Resource Locators’. These are the addresses of web pages and content.
Webmaster Guidelines: Google’s big book of rules. Stick to them and you’ll be optimising your site for rankings and traffic. Break ‘em and you risk penalties and ranking drops.
White-Hat: SEO strategies that don’t violate Google’s guidelines. Google-safe tactics that can increase your rankings and site traffic.
Chapter #2: How Google Works (Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking)
2xx Status Codes: Hooray! A status of code that says a request for your website was received, understood and accepted.
4xx Status Codes: Boo! A status of code that says a request for your website has resulted in an error and your site did not appear.
5xx Status Codes: Not great! A status of code that says a server is unable to accept the request for your website.
Advanced Search Operators: Special commands to narrow your search on Google. For example ‘site:example.com’ will only show results from that specific website.
Algorithm: The formula Google uses to store websites and determine their rankings when customers go searching.
Backlinks: Links created when other websites link to your content or web pages. Super valuable for your SEO.
Bots: Google’s crawlers (or spiders) that spend all day and night looking for new content, and updated content.
Chaching: The saved version of your website.
Citations: Mentions of your website in local directories, like Yelp or Yellow Pages. Also known as ‘business listings’ and include your NAP.
Cloaking: The black-hat SEO tactic of showing one type of content to Google and another to humans.
Crawl Budget: The average number of pages Google’s bots will crawl on your site.
Crawler Directives: Your instructions to Google’s bots about how you want your content crawled and indexed (or not crawled and not indexed).
Distance: Refers to the local pack. The physical distance from a searcher to your business.
Engagement: How people interact with your site, from clicking to page scrolling and more.
Google Quality Guidelines: Google’s official bible on the SEO tactics that are forbidden because they’re designed to manipulate rankings.
Google Search Console: Google’s free program where you can track how your site is indexed and optimised.
HTML: An acronym for ‘Hypertext Markup Language’. The standard language for creating web pages.
Index: Google’s library of crawled websites. If you’re not in the index, you can’t rank on Google.
Internal Links: Links from one page of your website to another.
Login Forms: Access points customers have to fill in to reach content.
Manual Penalty: Google’s punishment for websites who have violated quality guidelines (i.e. not a good outcome).
Meta Robots Tag: Code on your website that tells Google’s bots how to crawl and index your content.
NoIndex Tag: A meta tag telling Google’s bots you don’t want a page to be indexed.
PageRank: A crucial part of Google’s algorithm. This system estimates the importance of your web pages by measuring the quality and quantity of links pointing to it.
Prominence: Refers to the local pack. How well your business is known and trusted in the real world, based on reviews and ratings.
RankBrain: Google’s AI-driven algorithm that adjusts rankings based on the way people have been engaging with each site.
Relevance: Refers to the local pack. How well your business matches what someone is looking for.
Robots.txt: Files telling Google’s bots which parts of your site to crawl (and which to ignore).
Sitemap: A list of your website’s URLs that Google’s bots can use to find and index your site.
Spammy Tactics: The low-quality and manipulative approaches to SEO. Think thin-content, or anything black-hat.
URL Folders: Sections of your site that occur after your top level domain, for example in example.com/glossary, the URL folder is ‘/glossary’.
X-Robots-Tag: Just like meta robots tags, the x-robots-tag tells Google’s bots how to crawl and index your website.
Chapter #3: Keyword Research
Ambiguous Intent: When a searcher’s intent isn’t clear.
Commercial Investigation Queries: When a searcher’s intent is to compare products and head towards the cash register.
Informational Queries: When a searcher’s intent is to find information.
Keyword Difficulty: How hard it would be to outrank current websites for a given keyword.
Local Queries: When a searcher is looking for a local product or service, like a pub or restaurant. Typically triggered by a location, for example “Wellington Coffee Shops”.
Long-Tail Keywords: Keyword phrases, typically longer than 3 words. These generally have less monthly volume but are specific and more likely to have commercial intent.
Navigational Queries: When a searcher’s intent is to find a specific location, either a website or web page.
Search Volume: How many times a keyword was searched, typically measured as a monthly figure.
Seed Keywords: The primary keywords that describe your business, products or service.
Transactional Queries: When a searcher’s intent is to take action, for example making a purchase.
Chapter #4: On-site Optimisation
Alt Text: Alternative Text (or alt text for short) is the HTML code describing your images to Google and screen readers.
Anchor Text: The text you hyperlink to create links from one page of your site to another.
Auto-Generated Content: Content created by bots and algorithms, a big no-no in Google’s eyes.
Duplicate Content: Content copied from one page to another (either exactly the same or slightly modified). Another big no-no.
Geographic Modifiers: Words that describe a location and return local search results, for example ‘bars in Dunedin’.
Header Tags: HTML elements designated headers. Include H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 and can include keywords to help your SEO.
Image Compression: Decreasing the size of your image files without impacting image quality, crucial to fast loading sites (which Google loves).
Keyword Stuffing: Black-hat SEO tactic of cramming keywords into content to try and manipulate rankings. Harms user experience and ends up sounding robotic.
Link Accessibility: How easily your links can be found by Google’s bots and people.
Link Equity: The authority one link passes to the next.
Meta Description: HTML elements describing the content of your web page. Limited to 160 characters and can help (or hurt) your click-through-rate.
Protocol: The ‘http’ or ‘https’ in front of your domain name. Https is more secure, preferred by Google, and helps your SEO.
Redirect: Signalling to Google your URL has moved from one spot to another. This can be temporary (302 redirect) or permanently (301 redirect).
Rel=canonical: A handy tag letting Google know which version of a web page is the original, and which are duplicates.
Schema: Structured data markup added to your site that may trigger additional info on the SERPs, such as recipes, reviews or upcoming events.
Scraped Content: Content taken from one website and published elsewhere without permission.
SSL Certificate: An acronym for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’ which encrypts your data and changes your protocol from http to https.
Thin Content: Content that’s low-quality, doesn’t add value, and looking to push quick rankings, without putting users first.
Title Tag: HTML elements describing the title of your web page. Limited to 60 characters and can influence your rankings and click-through-rate when optimised properly.
Chapter #5: Technical SEO
AMP: An acronym for ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages’, used to make your mobile site load lightning fast.
Browser: The web browser you use to go online, like Chrome or Firefox.
ccTLD: An acronym for ‘country code top level domain’. These identify domains connected to each country, for example .nz is the ccTLD for New Zealand.
Client-side rendering & server-side rendering: Refers to where code is run. Client-side means files are executed in the browser and server-side means files are executed at the server.
CSS: An acronym for ‘Cascading Style Sheet’. This is the code that changes the way the HTML elements of your site look, like colour or font.
DNS: An acronym for ‘Domain Name Server’. You need a DNS to link your IP address with your domain name so Google can deliver your site to people.
Domain Name Registrar: A company that manages domain names, for example Host Gator.
File Compression: How you reduce the size of files without compromising the file’s quality.
Hreflang: A handy little tag that tells Google what language your content is in. This makes sure English content is delivered to people searching in English, for example.
IP Address: An acronym for ‘Internet Protocol’. Your IP address is a string of numbers that’s unique to you. Google reads IP addresses, but since a jumble of numbers doesn’t appeal to humans, your DNS converts your IP address to a people-friendly domain.
Lazy Loading: A page speed trick that defers the loading of a file, say an image, until it’s needed.
Minification: Removing unnecessary characters from source code without impacting functionality. Compression makes files smaller, while minification removes things completely.
Mobile-First Indexing: Google crawls and indexes the mobile version of websites 9not desktop versions) to determine their rankings.
Rendering: How a browser turns code into a people-friendly web page.
Responsive Design: Google’s preference for mobile websites. A responsive design adapts to suit desktop, tablets and mobiles (instead of shrinking an original site without changing a thing).
Rich Snippet: A snippet is your page title and meta description that show up on Google. So, a rich snippet adds more information like reviews, recipes or upcoming events. You can boost your chances of securing a rich snippet using structured data markup.
Scheme.org: Code that passes on relevant info from your page to Google. This is referred to as structured data and is used to help secure rich snippets.
Chapter #6: Link Building 101
Amplification: Juicy exposure of your brand, typically used when talking about social media, but any spreading of word about your business.
DA: An acronym for ‘Domain Authority’, a score developed by SEO software creators Moz to predict the ranking potential of one page against their competitors.
Deindexed: Oooh bad news. When a URL has been removed from Google.
Directory Links: Links added to local directories, think Yelp or Yellow Pages. These should include your NAP to boost your local SEO.
Editorial Links: Links earned organically (the best type) not bought. When a webmaster or site owner creates a link to your web page, you just earned an editorial link.
Follow Link: A follow link passes link equity from one page to another. Follow is the default status for links, and helps your SEO.
Google Analytics: A handy free tool from Google to help you track and report your site traffic.
Google Search Operators: Specific search instructions through Google to find niche results, for example one domain only.
Guest Blogging: A popular link building strategy. An article is pitched to a well known publication and published with a link to your website. The host website gets a sweet new article, and you get a backlink. Win-win.
Link Building: A proven way to increase rankings and relevance, link building is an umbrella term for multiple methods of securing links.
Link Exchange: A ‘give and take’ link building strategy where you create a link for someone, while they create a link for you. Google frowns upon excessive link exchanges, so tread carefully.
Link Portfolio: Your total catalogue of inbound links (doesn’t include your internal links).
NoFollow: A NoFollow link does not pass link equity from one page to another. As all links are follow by default, you’ll need to add a rel=”nofollow” tag to stop equity moving between pages.
PA: An acronym for ‘Page Authority’ that predicts an individual page’s ability to rank on Google (as opposed to DA which refers to your overall domain’s ranking potential).
Purchased Links: The opposite of editorial links, these are bought with money or traded for something else of value. It’s better to earn links organically, or find an SEO consultant with proven industry relationships.
Qualified Traffic: Qualified traffic is relevant to your business and is more likely to become a paying customer. Aka the best type of traffic.
Referral Traffic: Traffic you receive from another website, for example through backlinks, social media, or Google ads.
Chapter #7: Analysing, Measuring & Improving SEO
API: An acronym for ‘Application Programming INterface’ that is a software that allows two apps to talk to each other.
Bounce Rate: The percentage of people who entered your site but left without moving onto a second page. If someone arrives on your home page but leaves without browsing any other pages, they just bounced.
CTR: An acronym for ‘Click-Through-Rate’. Measured as a percentage of people who clicked on a specific link divided by the total number of people who viewed the link.
Conversion Rate: Measured as a percentage of people who completed a goal on your website (like downloading a guide or making a purchase) out of the total number of visitors. Industry averages range from 2% to 5% – but we think you can do better.
Google Tag Manager: A free tool from Google allowing you to add tracking code to your site to measure specific goals, like clicks or conversions.
Page Speed: How fast the content on your site loads. The faster the better.
Pruning: Removing weak, low-quality pages to increase the quality of your remaining pages.
Scroll Depth: How far down a page someone is scrolling.
Search Traffic: Traffic to your website coming from Google (and your stellar SEO campaign).
Time On Page: How long someone spends on any given page before moving to the next (or exiting).