SEO Terms for Beginners

November 14, 2023



Learning about SEO can be a pretty long journey for beginners especially with all the jargons you’ve never heard before, but believe us, it’s something that actually pays off really well when mastered. There are hundreds of terms out there and it’s something you obviously cannot learn in one sitting, but with patience and the right resources, you might get to start after only a short while of reading!

Let’s save you from reading numerous articles and blog posts one by one. Here’s a summary of what it takes to understand SEO. It’s not everything, but it’s what you’ll need to start.

20 SEO terms that every beginner must know:

Search Engine

Search engines are software programs people frequently use to find what they’re looking for on the Internet. In response to queries, it retrieves data from the web. To easily understand, some widely used search engines nowadays are Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

On-page SEO

This simply refers to the internal practices done to optimize your website and rank higher on search engines. This covers anything you can control internally or within your website such as blog posting, speeding up the website, keywords, and many more.

Off-page SEO

This refers to the external practices you do to improve search engine rankings, thus, it happens outside of your website. Off-page SEO techniques include social media marketing, guest posting, link development, and more. Understanding both off-page and on-page SEO is non-negotiable.

Think of Websites as People and Search Engines as the HR that’s intending to know the best candidates to present to the Hiring Manager, someone who’s looking for the best option.

Here’s a basic overly simplified analogy on On-page and Off-page SEO.

On-page SEO

Outfit, Cleanliness, Tonality, Efficiency

How someone carries themselves.

Off-page SEO

Reputation, previous success, prior work, vouches.

What others say about them


A word or phrase entered into a search engine’s search box. Understanding how users are phrasing their queries is crucial to better optimize content for your website.

Search Engine Results Pages (SERP)

This page is what Google or any other search engine displays after a user submits a search query. Getting a webpage to the top of the SERP for relevant user search queries is a critical aspect of SEO.


This ranking metric is used to predict a website’s position in search results. It is influenced by a combination of a number of important cues such as how old the domain is, how many people frequent the website, how many websites vouch/link to the website, on-page content quality, placing the right keywords in your website (i.e. basketball shoes) and many more.

Some helpful tools for authority checking are Moz, Ahrefs, and Semrush.


In simple words, website traffic refers to the number of visitors that come to your website. This is both a result of and a way to an effective SEO.

Google Analytics is a reliable tool to track your audience and identify the types of user traffic but you may also use Ahrefs and SEMrush for it.

Organic SEO

A non-sponsored method to improve your website’s rankings in search results on search engines without requiring you to use paid search ads or paid advertising to drive traffic. Techniques including content creation, link building, keyword research, and page load speed optimization can be used to achieve this.

Paid Search

Sponsored placements are the main emphasis of paid search. Users can purchase a prominent position in search results with paid search. It makes use of sponsored advertising on search engines such as Google, where advertisers place bids for highly competitive terms.


It is the process wherein web crawlers, also known as spiders (yes, “spiders”), find content on a website. They’re basically bots that scour the internet for websites to place them on the search engine.

It’s the first step towards getting your website recognized or indexed and displayed in search results.

In short, if a website isn’t crawled, it won’t show up in search engine results, which makes it harder for potential customers to find you.


After the search engines know about a web page through crawling, indexing follows. This is the process wherein search engines organize the data and web pages they are aware of.

Many people often find crawling and indexing confusing. So, to put in simple words, a page must first be crawled before it can be indexed; however, not every page that is crawled can be indexed.

Think of a librarian organizing books or a company admin organizing files.

Featured snippets

When you enter a query in a search engine, there is oftentime a short statement that appears on top, that thing is called a “Featured Snippet”.  The search engine chooses it and places it at the top of SERPs in response to queries typed into the search bar. This is a crucial factor that can either drive users to click on your website or go to another that is more appealing.

Keyword Research

It is the process where you figure out the search queries you’d want your website to rank for. It involves discovering search terms people usually type into search engines. Getting your audience to visit your website is what you need, and you obviously can’t accomplish this if you don’t know the terms they use on a regular basis.

From building your site, to identifying good landing pages, and creating outstanding content, keyword research must first be conducted. Ideal keywords need to be precise, relevant, and able to target the right group of people.

Be careful in choosing your keywords. Generalized keywords have high traffic but high competition, and obviously you won’t want to use keywords no one uses. It’s a mix of traffic and keyword difficulty.

Search Volume

To find out how popular and competitive a keyword is, check its volume. This is an SEO indicator that displays the average number of times a particular keyword is searched for in a specific location within a particular time frame. Search volume relates to the quantity of queries made on Google or other search engines.

Keyword Difficulty

Keyword Difficulty (KD) evaluates the difficulty (literally) of ranking on Google’s first page for a specific keyword. It is rated on a range of 0 to 100, where 100 means high competition. Again, a good keyword must have high search volume and low keyword difficulty. It’s important to get the perfect balance of both its volume and difficulty, having too much or too little of one may bring you no valuable results at all.

You can use various tools for this such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, KWFinder, and Moz. Although these tools have different formulas to compute the Keyword Difficulty, they all use the same 0-100 scale.

Link building

It is the process of getting other websites to link to pages on your website. Building links is a crucial component of SEO that helps generate organic traffic through search engines, particularly in industries with high competition. Its goal is to increase your pages’ links in order to increase authority so that they rank higher and receive more search traffic.

When you click on any hyperlinked texts in any blog post or article and it redirects you to a different page, you experience an example of link building. Seems easy right? Yes, but it’s definitely not that simple. There are numerous approaches to link building, and it can be a very powerful tool for increasing organic traffic when paired with solid on-page SEO, strong technical SEO foundations, exceptional content, and a positive user experience.

Link building can be a natural and/or manual process. It’s best to do both!

Anchor Text

The clickable highlighted text you see on articles or blog posts, that’s what we call an anchor text. This keyword ought to be relevant and explain to the reader what they may expect when they click on the link. For example, “click here” is not as good as “SEO Terms” as an anchor text for a hyperlink that takes you to an article discussing SEO terminologies for beginners.

Effective anchor text aids in the Google algorithm’s understanding of your website’s structure, and that gives it additional context about how your pages are related.


This is the page that appears when you click on the anchor text. This can be classified as do-follow or no-follow and is considered to be one of Google’s most crucial variables in determining how high a page is ranked.

A page typically ranks higher when it has high-quality backlinks because backlinks are an indicator of people referring/vouching for that website.

White Hat SEO

This is the term used to describe the ethical SEO methods that follow search engine algorithms and Webmaster Guidelines to raise the ranking of a site in SERPs. Some examples of these strategies are using keywords and keyword analysis, developing links to increase popularity, creating material for human readers, and link building.

Think of White Hat SEO as ethical ways of reputation building.

Time-consuming, but clean and timeless.

Black Hat

Black Hat SEO is the use of techniques that go against search engine guidelines in an attempt to raise a website’s position in search results. These tactics are heavily penalized by search engines, whether done consciously or otherwise.

While a high-quality, relevant link can drive traffic to your domain while also telling Google’s algorithm that you’re a trustworthy source, buying a link, however, is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Other black hat techniques include keyword stuffing, cloaking, using private link networks, and many more.

Basically, think of paying for people to vouch for you,

or creating fake accounts to vouch for yourself.

Not so good, right?

Wrapping It Up

Understanding these terms is essential whether you’re thinking about hiring an SEO agency or you’re looking to start working on your own site. Again, learning SEO is a long and continuous process but mastering these terms will surely go a long way.