Basic SEO Terms Defined and How To Use Them in Your SEO Strategy

By James Kwon

Search engine optimization (SEO) – you’ve heard many times that it’s something you should be doing, but you have no idea where to start.

Digital marketing services improve your ranking on search engines, known as SEO. Good SEO is necessary for attracting website visitors. And we all want more site visitors because that means more opportunities for generating business.

Not only can SEO be a difficult concept to understand, but there is a lot of jargon involved as well. We’ve compiled a list of basic SEO terms with explanations and how you can implement each one effectively to ease the learning curve.

Before we dive in, you should understand what the two main types of SEO are. Don’t worry, it’s simple.



On-Page SEO is the part that you have the most control over. Anything that you can change on your own website pages to make them rank higher in search enginges is considered on-page SEO. Page content and title tags are an important part of on-page SEO.


On the other hand, Off-Page SEO is a series of factors that influence your ranking outside of the content of your website. You can improve this by promoting your content and getting other websites to link back to your site. This can take more time to improve, but does wonders for your search engine ranking.

Examples of Off-Page SEO:

  • Guest blogging on other relevant websites
  • Creating great content on social media that gets shared
  • Link Building, which is encouraging other related websites to link back to yours


We’ll start off with one of the most important pieces of your SEO strategy: Keywords. Keywords are the search terms people are typing into Google. The goal is to find out what your buyer personas are searching for, and then utilize these keywords in everything from your website to your hashtags on Twitter.

It’s important to have a solid list of keywords before moving onto other parts of your SEO strategy. There are plenty of free keyword tools to help you get started.


These are keywords that contain at least two words in the phrase. For example, ‘shoes’ might be one of my broad keywords. A long tail keyword related to ‘shoe’ would be ‘black Nike running sneakers.’

You should include these longer keywords in your list because there is often less competition, so you will be more likely to rank for them. Long tail keywords can also drive higher quality traffic to your website as they are more specific to your product or service.


title tag is what displays in the top bar of internet search browsers and on the search results page. While it may seem like a tiny detail, title tags impact how well you rank in search engine results.

A good title tag includes your keywords. When you use keywords in the title tag, search engines highlight those keywords in the search results page if the user typed them in.

            Search Browser:


            Search Results Page:


This is a quick fix that can increase clicks to your website from organic search, which is the ultimate goal of SEO. If you use WordPress, here’s quick video tutorial on how to change your title tags.


The Meta Description is the blurb that displays underneath the page title and url in search results, as seen in the example above.

It’s important to utilize your keywords here because Google will mark user search terms in bold that appear in the meta description. Although keyword usage in meta descriptions can increase your website’s click through rates, using a keyword multiple times in your meta description will not affect your actual ranking.

Your Meta Descriptions should be:

  • Specific and relevant to what information is on that page
  • Action-oriented – Tell people what they can do on that page, such as ‘Learn More’
  • Under 160 characters


SERP stands for ‘Search Engine Ranking Page,’ and is the results list that a search engine gives you after typing in a search query.

Below is an example SERP for ‘black cats’:



Alt text is the description of an image that shows up in your website’s HTML. You should write Alt text for each image on your website using relevant keywords. The Alt text helps indicate to search engines what the page is about.

Readers won’t be able to see Alt text, but if someone is using a screen reader, it will read the image’s Alt text where the image is.

Here’s an example of where you would insert Alt text on an image in WordPress:



The anchor text is the text of a link that you can click to take you to a different page on the web. It helps search engines (and the actual people visiting your site) understand what the link will take you to.



An internal link takes a visitor from a page on your website to another one of your site pages.

For example, if you’re reading this blog post (which is on the Figmints website) and I include a link to the Figmints Careers page (also a page on the Figmints website), that is an internal link.


An external link brings a visitor to a page that is not on your website.

Therefore, if I include a link to a BuzzFeed post about cute baby ducks, this would be an example of an external link.


Google used to calculate a page’s performance based on a scale of 0 to 10. This measure is known as a site’s pagerank. Sites with higher pagerank were considered more important by Google, and will rank higher in search engine results. Although Google claims to have phased this system out, it is still helpful for gathering a rough idea of a page’s authority and thus it’s likelyhood to boost rankings.

Here’s a quick, free pagerank checker.


sitemap is a document that lists out the different web pages on your site. Search engines read the sitemap to get a better idea of what content is on the website. This will make it more likely for your site to show up in search engine results. If you’re using the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, it will automatically submit a sitemap to Google.


All of the techniques mentioned in this blog post are considered ‘White Hat SEO,’ which just means that they follow the rules of search engine policies. SEO techniques that do not follow these guidelines are called ‘Black Hat SEO.’ Using Black Hat SEO may result in a ranking penalty from Google or even worse, the de-indexing of your website.

Examples of Black Hat SEO Tactics to Avoid:

  •  Keyword stuffing – Trying to fit as many keywords into your website and pages as possible may seem like a good way to land at the top of Google, but in the end it is going to hurt your credibility and ranking.
  • Link Buying – Any links back to your website should be natural and from relevant sites
  • Hidden Text – Lumping keywords into ALT tags and other hidden places is bad practice

Now that you’re on your way to becoming an SEO expert, it’s time to put these techniques into practice!