Online Marketing Terms – SEO Edition

A Guide To Online Marketing Terms – Part 2

This is the second part of my developing series on online marketing terms explained. This time we focus on some basic SEO-related terms you might come across.

Search Engine Optimization is the process of fine tuning your website so that when your target internet surfer types a phrase into the search engines, your website is deemed to be among the most relevant for that phrase, and is displayed at the top of those results. Lately SEO has also come to refer to a person that performs SEO services, or a ‘search engine optimizer’.

Why You Should Care:
SEO can provide your site with lots of free, targeted traffic. What could be better?!

a) These are the main words and phrases that a search engine determines are most relevant to any given web page. You influence this by the way you code and create content for your site – so that you give a clear message to the search engines as to what your key words and phrases are.

b) These are also the terms that web surfers type into search engines when hunting for information

Why You Should Care:
When both these are in alignment, i.e. the search engines see your web content as relevant for a phrase that a user has typed in – your site will rank highly in the search results.

Organic Search Traffic
Organic search traffic refers to traffic that you did not pay for (see PPC) but that came as a result of your site ranking for whatever search the user performed. The higher your site ranks for a keyphrase, the more organic search traffic you will get.

Why You Should Care:
I mentioned it’s free & targeted, right?

PPC Pay Per Click
PPC refers to ads where the advertiser pays a certain amount each time the ad is clicked. For example, the sponsored links you see on the right side of Google search results are PPC (this is their Adwords program). Advertisers select their search terms and bid on them for best positioning. The advertiser is charged only when a user clicks on the ad. By using PPC ads you can ensure being on the first page of Google even if your site doesn’t organically rank that highly for that keyword. The more advertisers want to buy that search term, the more they have to pay for top positioning of their ad.

Why You Should Care:
If you have a budget, a PPC campaign could be used to drive traffic and sales if done correctly. Since you only pay if someone clicks on your link, you can control your budget tightly and not pay for wasted impressions. A well-run PPC campaign will allow you to pretty closely predict what your spending will be and what sales you can generate for that money.
Marketers sometimes use a PPC campaign to test out the effectiveness of websites or landing pages they have created, or to test out interest in a particular product.  A PPC campaign can be set up and activated very quickly so you can get almost immediate feedback on what you have created and whether web surfers are responding in the way you want.

Long tail
In SEO terms, the ‘long tail’ refers to the less obvious, more specific (and therefore less competitive) but still relevant keywords and phrases you can optimize your site for. So instead of trying to optimize for very general and competitive phrases such as “coffee”, a long tail phrase might be “buy Costa Rican coffee.” For a very competitive field such as coffee, you might have to think of even more specific and niche phrases than that in order to find the ones you can rank highly for.

Why You Should Care:
If you are a small business, or just starting out, the long tail will help you find free & targeted (there’s that phrase again!) traffic. You will be able to rank more quickly for long-tail phrases instead of wasting your time trying to compete for very general terms that have established competition.

Black Hat / White Hat
These refer to types of SEO tactics. ‘Black hat’ tactics should be avoided at all costs. These methods go directly against the rules that Google and other search engines have laid out. These tactics, if discovered by the search engines, will result in a site being heavily penalized or de-listed. They are basically ways that people try and cheat the search engines into getting a high ranking quickly without adhering to the rules.
‘White hat’ on the other hand are the strategies that are completely within all guidelines and will not have adverse consequences. On this site, you will only find white hat tactics.

Why You Should Care:
If you decide to outsource your SEO, be sure that your chosen company is only using white hat methods. When a company claims to guarantee a particular ranking or speedy time frame for achieving that, these could be indications of shady stuff going on. There are many factors that go into SEO, some of which are not under your control – such as what your competition is doing, or how Google adjusts its algorithms, therefore while white hat tactics will achieve results when done right, no one can guarantee the speed or the number one position.

This simply stands for Search Engine Results Page – i.e. the list of results that comes up when you perform a web search.

Why You Should Care:
That’s where you want your site to be!

Drop me a line if there are other terms you would like included in an upcoming installment.

photo credit:

Weekly WordPress Tips To Your Inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. webtech

    I also used PPC a period of time ago and type of shifted away from using it for some purpose. I think it's an excellent way for examining and because of all the changes over the decades it's something that I individually need to get returning into. The coaching course looks really excellent and definitely something I'll look into.

  2. Pingback: Notes & Resources from Wordpress for Business Meetup | Web Training Wheels

  3. Pingback: Online Marketing Terms – SEO Edition | Web Training Wheels | Web Design, SEO and Untangling The Web for Small Business

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *