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This FAQ glossary covers common SEO terminology, popular SEO terms and phrases:-
Link achor text is the text used in the clickable part of a web hyperlink. The anchor text used when adding a link to another website on the World Wide Web plays a significant part in the Google ranking of the recipient webpage against the phrases and keywords used in the anchor text. For more information read our anchor text optimisation guide.
The predominent anchor text found in the links pointing to any website also plays an important role in improving search engine ranking in many of the other leading search engines, including Yahoo! and MSN.
Collectively, in SEO terminology, the term backlinks refers to the collective number of inbound links that a website has pointing to it from other WWW domains. A list of backlinks for any website can be checked from a MSN search window using the command syntax link:www.mydomain.com or by entering the website URL into Yahoo! Site Explorer.
A Google backlink over optimization penalty (sometimes called a 'BLOOP' or 'OOP') is usually caused by poor SEO. More often than not a backlink penalty is triggered by a link building campaign which either builds too many backlinks too quickly or uses the same or similar anchor text terms in the links.
The recipient site of the links (the web site the links point to) acquires the BLOOD penalty which causes significant link devaluation and loss of Google rankings. The effects can be a sudden dramatic drop in ranking, sometimes severe in nature, with all web pages on the site being affected. Google considers excessive backlink manipulation as an attempt to artificially raise the rankings of a website. To solve a backlink over optimisation penalty involves diversifying link anchor text and acquiring more links from trusted sources (authority hub sites) in your particular field at a slower rate.
We have seen sites recover from BLOOD penalties in around 2 - 3 months with good SEO practice. Contact us for advice on this topic.
Another name for backlinks, or links into a domain from external sources.
Internal links are hyperlinks to other content pages within your site which form part of a website navigation system. For example, a web site homepage will typically have internal links to some the most important web pages, usually in a categorised hierarchical format. In turn some of these pages will link down to other less important pages etc. This hierarchy of internal links is important as search engines apply a higher level of importance and ranking to pages which are linked to directly from the homepage URL and have links from a greater number of pages in your domain. Internal links can comprise text or image hyperlinks or a mixture of both:-
Text links are the most search engine friendly form of internal linking as some weighting is applied by most search engines to the anchor text used in internal links. This can help raise the ranking of internal pages for those keyword terms.
Image links are hyperlinks which are formed solely around an image. Where image links are used for internal linking and web site navigation with no supporting text, it is important to use descriptive ALT tag and TITLE tag text to describe the link. Better still for SEO purposes, use text around the image within the same hyperlink.
Long Tail Keywords are less popular, less searched for terms which when targeted collectively by a website can result in significant levels of traffic, leading to improved sales. The principle behind long tail keyword theory is to identify moderately popular search terms (with reasonably high search volumes) that people often need to go onto page 2, 3 or even 4 of the search results panels to find relevant results to their query. This implies that existing websites have poor quality content or little relevance to the search term.
Link building campaigns are a popular method of increasing the number of website backlinks, hence boosting link popularity. Link building campaigns may seek to acquire links from leading web directories, by article submissions or by link exchange.
Link exchange is where one website links to another and the other links back to form reciprocal linking arrangement or in some cases links to a different website. The value of link exchange in SEO has been reduced as search engines increasingly look for one way links from high quality sources to improve ranking.
3 way link exchange has recently become more popular following the devaluation of reciprocal links for search engine promotion purposes. 3 way link exchange is where Website A links to Website B and Website B links to Website C, with Website C linking back to Website A to close the loop. In general and within limits, 3 way link exchanges are harder for Google to track and may produce better results in terms of improving website ranking.
The number of links a website acquires from other websites is often referred to as its link popularity. The more links a site acquires the greater its link popularity and the higher its search engine ranking potential. It's worth noting that Google applies ageing to incoming links, so that the benefits of increasing link popularity through acquiring additional backlinks will not often be seen for around 3 months.
Organic Search Results in SEO terminology refers to the unpaid natural search engine listings which usually appear on the left hand side of regular search engine result panels.
Google Page Rank (PR) is Google's patented method of assessing a website's importance. It provides an indication of the number and quality of inbound links (backlinks) that a website has acquired from other web sites. To check the PR of a website involves loading the Google Toolbar or entering the domain URL at PR Checker.
PPC (or Pay Per Click) is an popular form of website marketing often using sponsored listings on major search engines to advertise a business or particular service offering. PPC is sometimes referred to as "paid search" as the advertiser is effectively paying the search engine for a premium position in the search results. Sponsored listings are normally on the right hand side of the organic search results in many leading search engines.
PPC works by the advertiser making competitive bids for particular phrases and keywords with the search engine charging for each click made on the PPC advertisement. When the advertisement is clicked, paid search engine traffic is then sent to a suitable "landing page" on the company website. The landing page is often specially written to be highly relevant to the search terms targeted in the PPC campaign, to ensure the best possible return on investment.
Reciprocal links are formed when one website links to another and that site then links back, forming a closed loop. Link exchange is the most common source of reciprocal links. Search engines like Google have discounted reciprocal exchange links significantly as such links are often just the result of link trades and not indicators of website quality.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is the collective term for techniques aimed at improving the organic search engine ranking of a particular website for specific search terms. SEO typically takes two forms:-
On-page search engine optimization - SEO techniques used to optimise webpage content to maximise search engine traffic. This may involve (amongst other things) keyword research and deployment, SEO copywriting and optimization of the HTML title.
Off-page search engine optimization - SEO strategies are used to optimise the link popularity of a website and to acquire more one way links from other similar theme websites to boost search engine ranking. Off-site optimization factors now play a big part in improving search engine ranking, particularly in Google and Yahoo! In addition, the keywords used in the link anchor text of links pointing to the recipient site is vitally important.
SEM is short for 'Search Engine Marketing' and encompasses the marketing of products and services through Search Engines. This includes Organic search engine placement and PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing where webmasters pay for listings in major search engines or within search engine content networks such as those generated by Google Adsense advertising.
The meaning of 'SERP' in SEO terminology is an abbreviation for "Search Engine Results Panel" which is in essence the organic search results we all evaluate when we do a keyword search in any search engine. The following picture illustrates the Google SERP which form the left hand organic search results:-
In an attempt to combat Spam, the leading search engines introduced a system of assessing trust. Analysis took place which centred on identifying 'hub sites' which were leaders in their particular field and these became trusted domains. Domains which received links from these trusted sources then gained trust for themselves to the benefit of their search engine ranking. It is believed that Google and Yahoo have implemented trust based ranking algorithm. Examples of trusted hub sites might be .gov, .edu domains as well as leading web portals and information sources.
This SEO glossary of terms and FAQ is provided in good faith and its accuracy is not guaranteed. For more expert SEO advice on internal linking, web site backlinks, anchor text usage and Google SERP placement contact us for an informal discussion.