An Easy Guide to SEO Jargon

SEO JargonBeing relatively new to the digital world of search, I still occasionally over hear the search marketing gurus at Zeta talk in a language I don’t always understand. This is the language of Search and relates to all the industry terms used to describe the dynamics and processes involved in search marketing.

My communication with some clients has shown that, understanding search is also hard for them (and of course it should be as it is not their industry, try asking me what I know about engineering!…).

To try and overcome this problem I have put together a guide to search jargon that I hope will help those who don’t know much about search marketing to understand what we do. Most of the terms described are in the simplest form and are of course far more technical in reality.

Search Engines – are machines that index other websites, allowing you to search using a specified choice of word. Search engines exist to the user as a web page. However, behind the scenes the engine is running a complex set of algorithms, which are configured by developers to bring up the most relevant results depending on the search term

Algorithm (algo) – is a program used by search engines to determine what pages to bring up in search results for a given search query – its the technicality that goes on behind the scenes when we enter a search term

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – is the term used to describe actions associated with researching, optimising and positioning a website within search engines to achieve maximum exposure for that website.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – is the process of increasing the number of visitors to a website by achieving  a high rank in the search results of a search engine. The higher a site ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that users will visit the site. Research indicates that users tend not to click past the first page of search results, therefore high rank in search engine results pages is desirable for obtaining traffic to a site. SEO, and the processes associated with it, help to ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be indexed and favourably ranked by the search engine.

Target Search Engines – this is the choice of search engines targeted in a particular campaign, the most popular targets are Google, Yahoo and Bing. You might also target the same search engines in different countries.

SERPs – this is shorthand for Search Engine Results Pages, and refers to the pages of search results that are generated when a user types in a key word or phrase into the search box.

Organic Search Engine Results – are sometimes called natural results; these are what are displayed right down the centre of the Results Page when you search at a search engine. Although they are supposed to occur naturally they can be manipulated by using SEO techniques and in most cases are not paid for directly to any search engine.

Organic Search (campaign) – refers to the strategies and tactics implemented by SEO professionals to improve the organic search results for a brand or set of key words/phrases.

Paid Search (campaign) – this is also known as PPC (pay per click). It is when a relevant text advert with a link to a company page is displayed in search engine results when the user of a search engine types in a particular phrase. Companies bid for rankings and the bid amouint is  charged every time someone clicks on the ad. The most common PPC provider is Google AdWords, and you can recognise AdWords as the results which appear as ‘sponsored listings’ at the top of the page and on the right hand side.

Keyword / Key Phrase – is the word or phrase that a  search engine user enters into a search engine when searching for something – for example if I am searching for Tesco, the keyword I might type in is ‘supermarket’.

Keyword Research – is the hard work carried out by SEO professionals of determining which keywords are appropriate for targeting in an SEO Campaign.

Target Key Phrases – are a highly researched list of keywords or phrases that have been selected as appropriate to target after extensive keyword research. In order to create target key phrases Zeta undertakes a complex key phrase analysis and research process.

Primary Key Phrases (PKP’s) – this is a term used to group the most important key phrases in a campaign. The primary key phrases are deemed the most competitive, have the highest search volumes and are the most relevant.

Brand Key Phrases – are key phrases that feature a brand name or the brand names of products stocked or sold by a supplier– e.g. if our client was Pepsico –  Pepsi drink, Pepsi can, Walkers Crisps, Pepsi would be brand key phrases.

Non-Brand Key Phrases – are keywords or phrases related to a brand, products or services but not mentioning the brand name itself – e.g. (with relation toPepsico again) drinks manufacturer, drink cans, cola, fizzy cola.

Analytics – the most common analytics program is Google Analytics. In simple terms Analytics is used to gain, analyse an report statistics and data relating to website usage, traffic and conversions.

If I have missed any out which you would like us to define please let me know.

Sam Allen

A strategic thinker who ensures that Zeta and all of our clients keep striving forward. A marketing expert addicted to all things digital.

  • Sarah

    Whenever I see SERPs I still think of the “State Earnings Related Pension Scheme” due to working in and dealing with the financial world many moons ago.