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The ABC’s of SEO: 6 Terms You Need to Know

November 9, 2017 Bradford Group Administrator

SEO terms to knowWhether you’re a seasoned pro at search engine optimization (SEO) or a curious novice, when you work at a PR agency you begin to learn a thing or two on the topic. From writing blogs to building websites and running digital marketing campaigns, you start to live and breathe keywords.

If you’ve ever Googled anything, you’ve interacted with SEO. Your search results are not delivered to you by chance, they are systematically curated through a complex network of algorithms and keyword rankings. Web pages are reviewed and graded on their relevance to a topic and are only shown to a user if they are deemed appropriate by the search engine.

The list of SEO terms to know is long, here are some to get you started.

Alt Attributes

Search engines are masterful at recognizing written content, but they are still lacking in recognizing images on a website. With the growing popularity of visuals in digital communications, you don’t want to lose a chance at a high ranking because your page contains unrecognizable images. This is where the alt attributes come in. They are alternative descriptions that appear in the HTML code of the image, and they will show if the image does not. This description will be factored into the page’s ranking, so you will want to be sure it contains relevant search terms for the content on the page.


You are more familiar with backlinks than you may think. They are simply the hyperlinks that connect one site to another. Put in social media terms, backlinks are similar to shares on your Facebook news feed. When someone shares your content, they are creating a link back to your page. Backlinks serve the same purpose for websites. They are a vital piece to the SEO puzzle because they act as a sort of endorsement of the content. If one site is linking to another, it is telling the search engine that the content on the connected site is relevant. The more sites that connect to a page, the more validation that page receives for searches.

Content Relevance

No one likes to be duped by false advertising. Content relevance prevents this from happening in the SEO world by ranking how relevant the content on a site is to the search term or topic in question. The more relevant the content, the higher the ranking. And this score counts all content on and associated with a page – including text, images, videos, page titles and meta descriptions.

search terms SEOKeyword Density

Better brush off those math skills, you need them even in SEO. Keyword density looks at the percentage of keywords that appear in copy compared to the total number of words in that text. For instance, if a given search term appears twice in a portion of text with 100 words, that term has a keyword density of 2 percent. Many experts argue keyword density is no longer important in SEO, but it’s still a term worth learning because if used incorrectly it can work against you.

Meta Description

If your web page is included in search results, how will users know why it is appearing as relevant to their query? They’ll find their answer in your meta description. This is a one- or two-sentence description, about 160 characters, that explains the content on your page. Besides containing your focus keyword, there are a few elements every good meta description needs, including a clear call to action.

Search Quality Rating

This is the side of SEO that has more of a human touch. A search quality rating shows how well your site provides the information it claims it will provide. While all other rankings and ratings are done using algorithms, search quality is determined by a group of designated raters. Google has more than 10,000 search quality raters all over the world, and Bing employed a group of its own as well. These raters use a specific set of guidelines to rate the quality of the pages that appear at the top of search results.

What do you find most intriguing…or mind-boggling…about SEO?

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