Common SEO Terms You Should Know

As Search Engine Optimization is highly technical, there are many specialized terms used when discussing this topic. I’ll list some of the most commonly misunderstood terms below, starting with SEO/SEM (and the difference between them)


SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” It’s a set of techniques used by a SEO Consultant to improve your website’s rankings in the search engines for a particular set of keywords, or keyword phrases. (more on this topic in a bit)

SEM stands for “Search Engine Marketing” and is being used more and more by search engine professionals. In addition to the standard SEO techniques, SEM Consultants also specialize in:

  • Creating Pay-Per-Click Campaigns on the search engine of your choice… primarily Google, Yahoo and Bing.
  • Buying paid “inclusions” from the search engines. This is paying a search engine company for a guarantee that your website will be included in their search results.

2.  SERPs

SERPs stands for “Search Engine Results Pages.” It’s the page that is returned whenever someone conducts a search through a search engine.

SEO techniques are used to improve your web page’s ranking amongst the other “organic” listings in the SERPs with the ultimate goal of increasing targeted website traffic.

3. Keyword Phrase

It’s extremely important that you grasp the concept of the “keyword phrase” as it is the backbone of SEO. A keyword, or keyword phrase, is the word(s) entered into the search box by an internet user.

As the search engines return the web pages they believe to be most relevant for the keyword phrase entered, it’s vital that you understand the concept and do your best to optimize your pages for the keyword phrases you want to be found for.

4. Backlinks

Last, but not least, is the subject of backlinks. Most SEO Consultants agree that the creation of backlinks (aka links, link building, one-way links, etc.) that point to your pages should be your primary objective.

You need to build quality links, that contain your targeted keyword phrases and you need to do this on an ongoing basis. SEO is not a “once and done” type of activity, it requires continual improvement/management to be truly effective.


Always keep in mind, though, that Content is King!  Google, or any search engine for that matter, wants to serve its end user with the best content available for the search that is being performed.  So regardless of how much SEO you have done on your site, remember to always serve up relevant content first.

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8 Responses to Common SEO Terms You Should Know

  1. Lungile September 24, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    Really liked the article. Too short though: would have loved to know more search engine terms. But glad that i know all of them.

  2. PiresPortugal, (Neoleonardo, Neo-Machiavelli) September 24, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    NEO-SEO-SEM-SERPs for a better future online: simplicity, usability and economy of time for new users of new technology.
    I would like to have collaboration in many languages from best authors with best ideas for a better future. My ideas to develop:
    NEO=New, Ethics, Online…
    TiL=Time is Life…
    Make money online with ethics and social global utility will be the best for a better future online…

  3. Linens Rental Lady September 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Great shortlist of key terms to know for website owners.
    Just recently hired pros for SEO and SEM for two of my websites: Wish I’d have had this handy SEO List beforehand. Thanks for the post.

  4. Ayesha Amilon September 25, 2013 at 12:45 am #

    I liked the article and would love to learn more about SEO. Can anyone recommend some good sources?Thanks

  5. IT Headhunters September 25, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Your definitions were easy to understand. Please include more terms next time. Thanks!

  6. Mike Burke September 28, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    We’re always discussing the abstract types of “conversion rate”. I.e number of pages or stay time – any standards to offer? Thx

  7. Amanda October 3, 2013 at 3:56 am #

    This article was quite the tease, right when I thought it was going to discuss optimizing your business blog…it ends.

    You can’t go into “Content is King” and just end there! Would love to see a follow-up article.