The world of SEO and Digital Marketing can be a confusing one. Ever changing and reinventing itself. Add to that every three-word term is shortened to a TLA – three letter acronym. You could be forgiven for avoiding it altogether. Never fear, BirdBrain is on hand with a quick, easy to digest list of definitions for important SEO terms. 16 terms for 2016. And keep an eye out in the New Year for BirdBrain’s exhaustive SEO Glossary – coming real soon! 


301 Redirect – A permanent way to redirect one webpage to another. This will effectively redirect a visitor and a search engine bot. When you change the URL of a page, apply a 301 redirect to point the old address to the new one. This ensures that people who have linked to or bookmarked the old address will automatically get to the new one, and search engines can update their index. It’s important for SEO because unlike other redirects that are available (like 302 temporary), the 301 redirect transfers close to all page authority.


ALT Text/Tag (image attribute) – A description of an image in your site’s HTML. Unlike humans, search engines read only the ALT text of images. Googlebot can’t read images, so it relies on the Alt text to determine what the image file is about. Add descriptive, SEO optimised ALT text to images whenever possible.

Anchor text – User-visible text of a link to another webpage. Anchor text helps users and search engines understand what the destination page is about. Anchor text describes what you will see if you click through on the link. Relevant keyword use in an anchor text link is an important SEO consideration.


Canonical issues (duplicate content) – Canon means the legitimate or official version. It is often very difficult to completely avoid duplicate content. However, these issues can be dealt with effectively in several ways including – using the ‘noindex’ meta tag in the non-canonical copies, 301 server redirects to the canon, and the ‘rel=canonical’ meta tag to point search engines to the canon, the source of truth.


The Fold – The “fold” is the point on your website where the page gets cut off by the bottom of a user’s monitor or browser window. Anything below the fold can be scrolled to, but isn’t seen right away. Search engines place some priority on content above the fold, since it will be seen right away by new visitors. Website code should be optimised to load above the fold content first.


Google My Business – A free and easy way for businesses, products, brands, artists, and organisations to manage their online presence with Google. Using the Google My Business dashboard, you can create and maintain an up-to-date business information listing on Google. Your listing can also appear on the SERP in rich snippets or branded sidebars. Google+ users can review your business. Positive reviews help enhance your businesses Local SEO having an impact on search engine results and improving the click through rate of your listing.


Headings – A standard of html code that applies to the formatting of text. A heading style can be applied to text on a website to make it bolder and larger than other text on the page. The most common heading codes are H1, H2, H3 up to H6. Placement of keywords within headings is a ranking factor, H1 being the most important. The H1 tag should be used only once to title the page and H2 tags used where relevant to title page sections.


Inbound link (incoming link, inlink) – A link from one site into another. A link from another site will improve your SEO, especially if that site has a genuine reason to link to yours and a high PageRank.


Keyword cannibalisation – The excessive reuse of the same keyword on too many web pages within the same site. This practice makes it difficult for the users and the search engines to determine which page is most relevant for the keyword.

Keyword density – The percentage of words on a web page which are a particular keyword. A helpful keyword density target is between 1% and 3% (keyword to whole text on page). Any more than that will see diminished returns and if this value is unnaturally high the page may be penalised by search engines. More important than a percentage value is how naturally you use keywords in your copy. Keyword use needs to be relevant and add value for the user.


Lead magnet – A piece of particularly valuable content that is shared on a website in return for a user’s contact information. In a successful content marketing campaign, users will sign up to receive the lead magnet content and the website owner gets the users’ details for future follow up.


Meta title – Part of a page’s meta data is its meta title. The meta title is HTML code embedded at the header of a web page, above the meta description. The meta title appears too in SERPs and use of relevant keyword in the meta title is a search engine ranking factor.


Non reciprocal link – If site A links to site B, but site B does not link back to site A, then the link is considered non reciprocal. Search engines tend to give more value to non-reciprocal links than to reciprocal ones because they are less likely to be the result of collusion between sites. 


Search engine results page (SERP) – The page that you are sent to after you run a query in a search engine. Results are based on relevancy, user history and 100+ other ranking factors. It typically lists 10 results per page, but this may vary depending on the query and search engine in question. As well as organic results, the SERP may include local organic results, local map results, rich text snippets and sponsored search ads.

Sitemap – Generally, the hierarchy of pages of a website. Technically, a special document created by a webmaster or a piece of software that provides a map of all the pages on a website to make it easier for a search engine to index that website.


User experience (UX) – How the user feels when they browse and try to navigate your website, visit a page to buy something, etc. A good user experience is very important and will result in positive behavioural data (something Google cares about). Examples of positive behavioural data are increased session duration, the user viewing pages that are deeper in the site’s sitemap (page depth) and increased time on page. Such behaviour encourages website conversion and can be beneficial for SEO.

Knowledge is power

We hope these 16 SEO term definitions have been helpful for you. If you’re hanging out for more of the same, please check back soon for BirdBrain’s exhaustive SEO Glossary. We’re working hard on making it super user friendly – a wholly helpful resource.