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FAQ & SEO Glossary of Terms for Small Business Owners

On page SEO (Search Engine Optimization) includes the following: Title Tag, Description Tag, Keyword Tags, H1,2,3 Tags, Alt or Image Tags, Internal/External Links, Review Keyword Density & Content, Installing Google Analytics, Sitemap & Verification file, Webmaster Tools, Create Custom Analytics Dashboard, Custom Tracking Where Necessary (ie: newsletter signups), Add social share buttons, Add social media buttons, Href code.

On-page SEO is a critical foundation for a website, but in order to increase Page Rank after the initial crawl it is important to create a content plan and utilize a blog in order to create new content relevancy. When generating content it is important to use keywords and links, but make sure the copy reads naturally and fluently.

Meta tags are not “magic” but they do help when trying to get the pages on your website “found” by the search engines. They are specially codes words that are not displayed to the naked eye but that help communicate to the browsers what the page is “about”. You can see the meta tags by right clicking your mouse, then clicking “view source.” There are title tags, alt tags for images (google can’t read images so they need words to help tell google what they are about) description tags, keyword tags, H1,2,3 tags.

Anchor text is the visible text of a hyperlink. Google (and to a lesser degree other search engines) heavily weight it’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) towards the anchor text of links to a page.
A sitemap ensures that the search engines can find pages it wouldn’t otherwise index. Flash pages, for example, are notoriously difficult to get indexed on search engines, with their content not easy to be found by spiders. By giving a sitemap you show the search engine where and what is contained on those pages.
Citations are listings and mentions of your business with NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) completed the same way every time. The more mentions you have, the more ranking “juice” they carry. Citations appear in directories. There are hundreds of online business directories such as Insider Pages, Superpages and CitySearch that it are important in building your on-line reputation. Claiming and optimizing your listing will you ensure your information on the internet is accurate and up-to-date. Important directories differ by industry but include Merchant Circle, Manta, Yellow Pages, Hot Frog and more. These will also include review sites such as Yelp, Open Table, Trip Advisor as well as Mobile Check in Sites such as Google + Local and Four Square.

Social signals come from places such as: Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Pinterest, Linked In, Google + Business. They have become important as part of the algorithm that the search engines use to determine which sites have the most social interaction and therefore are most likely to offer the best information for a particular search. Below are a few examples.

  • FACEBOOK: For many Web sites, Facebook has emerged as one of the top traffic sources. Google and Bing have both indicated that they are using “socialsignals” as part of their ranking algorithms, pointing to Facebook and Twitter, in particular. Highly recommend an ad or contest when you first create a business page to generate quality likes much faster.
  • TWITTER: As with Facebook, Twitter has been singled out as a component of Google’s and Bing’s social component.
  • PINTEREST: One of the fastest growing social media channels ever. The marketing potential is considerable when you consider that popular images (with links back to the original source) can get repinned on hundreds of other users’ boards.

Flickr, Panoramio and the others are photo sharing sites. Images can be indexed and found in search engine searches. If you have great photos, this will be another good place to share them. The more channels on which you have a presence the better… again, the goal is to meet your customers where THEY “hang out.”

  • GOOGLE+: Google is now pushing their own products in search rankings. Which means if you have the +1 button on your website and/or blog and you also promote your content via your Google+ page, your rankings will be higher than your competitors who do not.
  • YOUTUBE: Very good for building links back to your site because the videos rank very well. YouTube channels are a tried-and-true way to send some really good exposure and SEO back to your brand.
  • YELP: Provides online local search capabilities for its visitors. A typical search includes what the user is seeking (e.g. a barber shop) and the location from which the search is to be performed, entered as a specific address, neighborhood, city/state combination, or zip code. Each business listing result contains a 5-point rating, reviews from other site visitors, and details such as the business address, hours, accessibility, and parking. Site visitors can aid in keeping the business listings up to date, with moderator approval, and business owners can directly update their own listing information. However business owners don’t own their business listings, can’t delete or change them if Yelp moderators don’t approve the change.
  • LINKEDIN: Review personal and company pages to make sure they are optimized – create if necessary. Search on LinkedIn for Groups that relate to your target market.
Another reason it is so crucial to claim your citation listings is that many of them also play an important role for building your reviews. Reviews are the new Comment Card and the more (positive) reviews you have, the happier Google is to recommend your site. Once you have claimed your citation listings, you can encourage guests to leave their reviews on the site of their choice. Creating Google Alerts will help monitor your online reputation so you can respond to positive (and negative) reviews promptly.

Four Square is another channel that lets your customers engage with your brand. Whether they are checking to try and become mayor or sharing their latest experience, this is a great place to connect with them.

Trip Advisor has always been an important site for hotels – and is becoming equally important for restaurants.
Email Marketing encourage newsletter sign up on website &facebook; this is a great way to keep the customers informed of new specials, company updates and news. The email marketing campaign will be tied to other channels for cross promotion. FREQUENCY: 1 – 2x month.
Also known as PPC or CPC (pay-per-click or call per click) googleadwords can be a very effective way of getting to the top of the search engines.
A blog is a great way to keep fresh content circulating about your company. It can promote local events and attractions, industry updates, and specials.

A QR code can have many uses – from promoting a special to encouraging client reviews to encouraging Facebook Likes. What is a text messaging campaign? Over 90% of text messages are opened within the first 5 minutes of receipt. Mobile websites, text campaigns, Text to Vote campaigns and more.

Here is an A-Z glossary to help get better acquainted with some of the basics of SEO.

If you operate a small business, it is becoming as important to focus on building a solid online presence as it is to have smooth in-store operations. The line between what happens online and in the physical world is becoming more blurred by the day. It can be challenging to understand the language thrown around by the webmasters and developers hired to boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which is meant to increase the online presence of a business.

Algorithm– A formula created by search engines that finds the results that best meet the criteria of a query. These results will contain all or some of the keywords that the user has entered into the search engine.

ALT Text– This is a description of an image written in HTML. Since search engines cannot read an actual image, it is ideal to insert ALT text to images any time they are present.

Anchor Text– This is the actual text that links to a webpage. This is typically that underlined, blue text you would see if you were to enter a search query. Links you have visited in the past generally show up in purple text.

Black Hat SEO– The use of unacceptable SEO strategies, such as keyword stuffing or creating spam pages, in order to boost rankings and generate traffic. Using black hat SEO can result in being dropped from a search engine, which can have an adverse effect on your sales traffic, as well as on your online reputation.

Blog– A dedicated section of your website where you can publish original content. Each blog post creates a new page that search engines can see. This will generate more opportunities for your business to be found online, especially if it is linked to social media pages or external websites. Good blog content can also be crucial to creating a human element within your business website, which helps make connections with your visitors.

Bookmark– A link to a website that is saved for later reference in a web browser or computer. Social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon can help give search engines an idea of the quality of the website, and how it has been received by visitors. Bookmarks can help you gauge the tastes and preferences of the public.

Conversion Form– An online form that allows you to collect information about your visitors. The idea behind this is that conversion forms help convert traffic into leads, allowing you to collect the data necessary to follow up.

CPC (Cost per Click)– CPC refers to the actual price an advertiser pays an online publisher each time a visitor clicks on an advertisement. The CPC varies depending on which keywords are used in the ad. More popular search terms will have a higher CPC than those searched less frequently.

CSS (aka Cascading Style Sheets)– The language that affects the look and formatting of your website, specifically design elements such as text, layout, and colors.

Directory– Pretty self-explanatory, but submitting your website to a directory can help people find you online and provide them with an inbound link. Yahoo! Directory is a popular online business directory.

Domain– The main web address for your site, such as Search engines tend to give preferential treatment to sites that have had their domain names registered long term, as it shows stability.

Dofollow Link– These links are formatted in such a way that they inform the search engine that it is safe to follow the link through to the page it lands on. A dofollow link will help build credibility for your business and make it easier for search engines to find your site.

External Meta Data– When users bookmark websites, they can tag them with keywords and descriptions. These descriptions are created by the public, as opposed to the owner of the site, which helps build some outside credibility for your site.

The Fold– This refers to the portion of a website or SERP visible without having to scroll. This term comes from the literal fold in a newspaper, which cuts off certain content.

Geotargeting– A method that determines the physical location of a website user, based on their location info. The search engine or website will show the user content depending on where they are, finding the location by using the IP address, zip code, ISP, etc.

Headings– The text on a website that is presented in a larger or bolder font, meant to demonstrate to the reader what the webpage is about. Headings not only function as the title for the webpage, but also as hyperlinks that will show up in the search engine results, helping to guide more people to your site.

HTML– The standard coding language that is generally used to create websites. Since search engines read the HTML code in order to find your website, it is best to keep the HTML on the simpler side, using CSS for as much format-related code as possible.

Impression– This refers to how many times an advertisement, webpage, or portion of a webpage is viewed. In the case of an ad, it means that the number of times that ad was clicked and loaded is tracked. The impression refers to an estimate of how many people that ad or web content reached.

Inbound Link– A link that connects one website to another. A link coming from another site can greatly boost your SEO, especially if it comes from a site with a high ranking.

Indexed Pages– The pages of your website that are stored by search engines. The point of indexing is to optimize the speed with which a searcher can be linked to relevant search results.

Internal Link– A link that takes you from one page to another on the same website. For example, the site’s home page might link to a page showing products or contact information.

Javascript– A coding language that allows the website admin to make changes or apply effects to the website, as users are browsing. Search engines may sometimes have trouble reading javascript; however, they are becoming more sophisticated over time.

Keyword– A word that a user types into a search engine. Using keywords relevant to your business within your website or blog can help draw in users who are searching for that specific term.

Keyword Density– The frequency with which a keyword or keyword phrase is used on a webpage.

Landing Page– A single webpage that appears in response to someone clicking on a search result or an online advertisement. Landing pages can be linked to social media pages, or marketing campaigns with the goal in mind to capture a lead.

Link Building– The process of collecting more inbound links to your website, with the goal of attracting a broader range of visitors.

Long Tail Keyword– A keyword that is searched infrequently, usually containing two or more words in the phrase. Long tail keywords can be great for small businesses, as these businesses often have more qualified searchers. A more common search phrase can get more competitive, making it challenging for a small business to rank high in the search results for a really broad topic such as “television” or “New York restaurant.”

Meta Data– The data that informs the search engine what content is on a website.

Meta Description– A description of about 160 characters describing a webpage’s content, with the goal of attracting people to your site. The meta description is often displayed on the search engine below the page title. Consider the meta description an “elevator pitch” of sorts, as it needs to persuade the searcher to visit your specific webpage.

NAP– An acronym for name, address, phone number. NAP is very important for local businesses, as Google uses this data to determine which sites to show on geo-targeted searches. It is vital to make sure your NAP is up to date on both your webpage, and any local directory listings.

Nofollow Link– This is a link that does not allow the visitor to click through to the next webpage. It is meant to tell search engines “do not follow this link” or “do not follow links on this page.” Do not use nofollow links within your own website, but consider using them if you want to link to a page you do not endorse.

Organic SEO– A term referring to the natural placement of a website within search results, rather than paid content or advertisements. Using relevant keywords or link building can help boost a site’s organic SEO.

PageRank– A Google-specific score that ranks your overall SEO on a scale from 0-10. PageRank also goes by the name Toolbar PageRank.

Page Title– The same title you assign your webpage, which can be seen at the top of the browser window. The page title should contain keywords that are relevant to your specific business, making the content clear for both visitors and search engines.

PPC (Pay per click)– Another name for CPC, this is a method of advertising in which the advertiser places an ad online and pays the hosting site each time a visitor clicks on the ad.

Query– A keyword or phrase typed into a search engine that determines the results on display for the searcher.

Ranking Factor– One element of how a search engine determines how high to rank a specific page. The ranking factor could be the number of inbound links that direct people to your page, the click through rate, or the keywords used in blog or webpage content.

Redirect– A redirect is basically anything that causes the user to be taken to a different webpage than the one intended. A redirect can be a simple way to notify a searcher that a business has changed their web address, or it can be indicative of an error in the code or an interruption in the user’s Internet connection.

RSS Feed (Really Simple Syndication)– RSS feeds allow users to subscribe to web content, and to receive alerts when new content is available. This can be a great tool for keeping blog followers or frequent site users up to date with new information.

SERP (Search Engine Ranking Page)– The page that shows up after you enter a search into a search engine. This is generally a list of 10+ headings with meta descriptions that allows you to click through to various websites.

Sitemap– A piece of software that indicates how all pages connect within a website, making it easier for a search engine to index that particular site.

Title Tag– This tag is required in all HTML documents and is presented like this: “The purpose of the title tag is to define the title within the browser toolbar, and to provide a title for a page that will show up in search engine results.”

Traffic– Refers to the amount of visits to a website. This is determined both by the number of visitors, as well as the pages they visit, and how frequently they click through to a link.

Traffic Rank– The ranking of the amount of traffic to your website in relation to all other sites on the Internet.

White Hat Local SEO– This term refers to the use of various SEO strategies, and is meant to focus on reaching a human audience rather than just search engines. White hat SEO focuses on analyzing keywords for relevancy, link building, and content quality with the goal of boosting user engagement.

URL– This is the address of a specific webpage. For example,

There is an endless supply of SEO jargon floating around the web. However, having a grasp on some of these terms should help you dive deeper into understanding the nuances of building an online presence that not only complements your brick and mortar business, but also really takes your earning potential to the next level.

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