Search engine optimization (SEO) can help make or break your company’s website and everything on it. While the importance of Maryland SEO marketing, in particular, has been covered, it’s just as important to understand the terminology that goes along with it.
Making sure your website is rich in SEO means there’s a better chance it will rank higher on Google, or any other search engine, results. An optimized page on your company’s site will attract more organic leads. However, there are certain things that can hinder your efforts to get to the top of the search engine results page.
For SEO marketing, especially Maryland SEO, it’s important to understand some of the fundamental SEO terms.
When a webpage links to any other page, it’s called a backlink. In the past, backlinks were the major metric for the ranking of a webpage. A page with a lot of backlinks tended to rank higher on all major search engines, including Google. This is still true to a large extent.
Here are a few common terms related to backlinks:
- Link Juice: When a webpage links to any of your articles or your website’s homepage, it passes “link juice.” This link juice helps with the ranking of the article, and also improves the domain authority. When it comes to the blog on your website, you can stop passing link juice by using a no-follow tag.
- NoFollow Link: When a website links to another website, but the link has a nofollow tag, that link does not pass link juice. Search engines will look over a nofollow link and not count it. Nofollow links are used when sharing information via social media.
- DoFollow Link: By default, all the links that you add into a post are do-follow links, and these pass link juice.
- Linking Root Domains: This refers to the number of backlinks coming into your website from a unique domain. Even if a website has linked to your website 10 times, it will only be considered as one linked root domain.
- Low-Quality Links: Low-quality links are links that come from unreliable, spam-type sites. Such links do far more harm than good. This is one reason you should be careful when buying backlinks.
- Internal Links: Links that are going from one page to another within the same domain are called internal links. The process itself is referred to as internal linking or interlinking.
Keywords are the phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. A website that is well optimized for search engines will provide the information people are looking for when they search for a specific phrase.
In other words, you need to know how people are looking for the products, services, or information that you offer, in order to make it easy for them to find you. Otherwise, they’ll land on one of the many other pages in the Google results. Implementing keyword SEO will help your site rank above your competitors.
Meta tags are HTML elements that provide information about a webpage for search engines and website visitors. The two most important elements are title tags and meta descriptions.
The meta description is the short paragraph of text placed in the HTML of a webpage that describes its content. The meta description will then appear under your page’s URL in the search results. This is also known as a snippet.
A meta description can influence the decision of the searcher as to whether or not they want to click through on your content from search results. The more descriptive, attractive, and relevant the description, the more likely someone will click through.
Title tags are used to tell search engines and visitors what any given page on your site is about in the most concise and accurate way possible.
The title tag is the boldest, most obvious element in a search result and therefore a major part in the decision-making process of whether a searcher will click on your result.
Search engine results pages (or SERPs) are web pages served to users when they search for something online using a search engine, such as Google. The user enters their search, and the search engine presents them with a SERP.
Every SERP is unique, even for searches performed on the same search engine using the same keywords or search terms. This is because virtually all search engines customize the experience for their users by presenting results based on a wide range of factors, such as the user’s physical location, browsing history, and social settings. Two SERPs may appear identical, and contain many of the same results, but will often feature subtle differences.
There are probably many links on your website that point to the same information. For example, there might be four different links that all go to your homepage.
Since these are different websites, it causes some confusion for search engines, even though they’re all going to the same page. This is why a canonical URL is used.
Canonicalization is the process of picking the best URL (to present to the search engines) when there are multiple choices available. Typically, a search engine such as Google will attempt to pick the best URL it feels is the authority for that page. However, sometimes it might select the wrong one.
Choosing a proper canonical URL for every set of similar URLs improves the SEO of your site. Because the search engine knows which version is canonical, it can count all the links toward all the different versions as links to that single version.
Keyword stuffing happens when you try to use a keyword on any page or blog post on your site many, many times.
Keyword stuffing doesn’t work. When the search engine crawler examines your site, its algorithm can quickly determine if keywords are used an unreasonable number of times. If your site contains an unnaturally high density of one single keyword, your site will actually drop in the rankings. In severe cases, your site could be removed from the search engine index completely.
A good rule of thumb is to read over your content as though you were a potential client or customer. Does it feel obvious to you that some phrases just seem out of place and that they have been used several times in weird places, making it difficult to read? If that’s the case, you should look to rewrite the content, as there’s a good chance the keyword has been used too many times.
Black hat techniques are those used to try to get better search engine rankings without following a search engine’s guidelines.
These black hat techniques usually include one or more of the following characteristics:
- breaks search engine rules and regulations
- creates a poor user experience directly because of the SEO techniques utilized on the website
- unethically presents content in a different visual or non-visual way to search engine spiders and search engine users.
Black hat SEO practices will actually provide short-term gains in terms of rankings, but if site owners are discovered utilizing negative techniques on their websites, they run the risk of being penalized by search engines, which can greatly impact traffic and ranking in search engine results.
A 301 redirect is a command used to tell search engines that a page has permanently moved, and that you want it to index the new page and drop the old one from its index.
Think of it as a change of address card for the web. As long as everything is done correctly, a 301 redirect will ensure that you keep the rankings earned by the old page and prevent duplicate content that could arise if the engines were to index both versions on your site.
On-page SEO refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals.
It takes into account all aspects of the webpage that, when added together, will improve your rankings in the search results. As Google becomes more sophisticated, one of the major factors influencing on-page optimization is relevance. How relevant is your page to the search? That’s how you have to think when you’re developing the page.
Work with the Experts in Maryland SEO
Without question, there’s a lot to take in when it comes to doing Maryland SEO the right way, especially for your local business. These terms just barely scratch the surface of SEO terminology. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about having to learn a lot about Maryland SEO marketing for your company. All you have to do is talk with us.
Here at New North, we’ve heard just about every kind of story from Maryland companies just like yours who want to grow and gain more leads through SEO marketing, but were unsure how to go about doing it. It can be difficult, but our knowledgeable staff knows everything your business needs in order to successfully use Maryland SEO marketing.