SEO Terminology: Guidebook to Learn “What Is SEO” for Small Business

Learn SEO terminology that will help you understand the concepts of SEO and set a starting point.

Learning SEO terminology is a fundamental aspect of any organic marketing. 


In today’s marketing era, most businesses are shifting toward online marketing, via websites, social media, etc, and if your small business is not optimized for it then you are missing out on potential clients. Therefore, it is important to tap into organic marketing.

In this blog, we will understand search optimization from the basic question “What is SEO” to 20+ SEO terminologies associated, that will help small businesses understand website optimization and set a baseline for organic marketing.

Let’s start with the basic question – what is SEO and what does Google say about SEO?

Google say about SEO

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a practice of small changes to your website to gain higher visibility on SERP (Search engine results page).

Let’s understand with an example – 

Suppose you are looking for information on – “how to make a cake” and the results shown in the SERP are the result of organic marketing, which is achieved when the content is optimized for search engines and users.

how to make a cake

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is making certain changes to your website to gain visibility and rank higher on SERP for specific keywords or phrases, which can help attract potential customers online. 

It is also a part of digital marketing that attracts users organically which means you don’t need to advertise additionally to gain customers.

SEO practice typically involves:

  1. Targeting the right keywords
  2. Content creation around the keywords and optimization
  3. Optimization of service/product pages with money keyword 
  4. Checking the technical aspects of the website
  5. Checking the mobile compatibility of the website
  6. Acquiring quality backlinks

Common SEO Terminology:

S.NSEO TermsMeaning of SEO Terminologies
1RankingPosition of a webpage in search engine results.
2Organic TrafficVisitors to a website from search engine results.
3SERPSearch Engine Results Page displaying search results.
4Inbound LinksLinks from external sites pointing to a webpage.
5Outbound LinksLinks from a webpage to external sites.
6Page SpeedLoading time of a specific webpage.
7NoFollow LinkHyperlink attribute instructing search engines not to follow.
8DoFollow LinkHyperlink attribute allowing search engines to follow.
9Domain Authority (DA)Metric predicting a website’s ranking potential.
10Page Authority (PA)Metric predicting an individual page’s ranking potential.

Why Does SEO Matter?

In our daily lives, we use mobile, laptops, home computers, etc., to search online for groceries, shops, businesses, and more.

 According to Similarweb, users visited Google 85.3 billion times monthly.`

So, this is why businesses need to have a strong online presence that can potentially reach customers who are actively searching for their products or services online.

Here are some of the key reasons why SEO is important:

  1. High search engine visibility for your brand or content
  2. Targeted organic traffic for specific search queries 
  3. SEO builds credibility and trust
  4. It is more cost-effective than other forms of digital  marketing
  5. User experience and mobile optimization
  6. SEO supports local search visibility
  7. SEO helps with voice search 

Basic SEO Terminology You Need to Know

Search engine optimization is huge. SEO has different types and categories. To understand more effectively I have divided this into similar sections – types of SEO & categories of SEO. 

Types of SEO

Based on the SEO practice and the use of techniques. SEO is divided into three main types:

1. Whitehat SEO: Whitehat SEO refers to ethical and legitimate optimization practices that comply with search engine guidelines.

2. Blackhat SEO: Blackhat SEO refers to aggressive and often unethical techniques to manipulate search engine rankings quickly. 

3. Greyhat SEO: Greyhat SEO involves techniques that might not necessarily violate search engine guidelines outright but could be considered borderline or ethically questionable.

Categories of SEO

Three main categories of SEO can be classified as:

  1. On-page SEO: Optimizing individual web pages to rank higher in search engines through content, code, and user experience enhancements.
  2. Off-page SEO: Improving search engine rankings through external activities like link building, social media marketing, and influencer outreach.
  3. Technical SEO: Optimizing the technical aspects of a website for better search engine visibility, including factors like site speed, mobile-friendliness, and structured data markup.

Other subsets of SEO are as follows:

  1. Local SEO
  2. Mobile SEO
  3. Image SEO
  4. Video SEO
  5. Voice SEO
  6. E-commerce SEO
  7. International SEO

Let’s explore these SEO categories in detail and learn the SEO terminologies of associated with each of these SEO categories.

1. On-page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the changes you make to your website, which involves optimizing the content and elements within individual web pages to improve their search engine rankings.

Here are some of the key  On-Page SEO elements:

  • Keyword research
  • Content optimization
  • Internal linking
  • Title tags and meta description
  • Improving URL structure
  • Headings

SEO Terminology of On-Page SEO:

S.NOn-Page SEO TermsMeaning of On-page SEO Terminologies
1KeywordWords or phrases used to find information online.
2Meta TagsHTML tags providing metadata about a webpage.
3Alt TextDescriptive text for images for accessibility.
4Title TagHTML tag specifying the title of a webpage.
5Meta DescriptionBrief summary of webpage content in HTML.
6URLWeb address of a webpage.
7Keyword DensityProportion of keywords to total words on a webpage.
8Anchor TextClickable text in a hyperlink.
9Canonical URLPreferred URL for a webpage, avoiding duplicates.
10Duplicate ContentContent that appears on more than one webpage.
11Internal LinkingLinks from one webpage to another within the same site.
12Keyword StuffingOveruse of keywords on a webpage to manipulate rankings.
13Header TagsHTML tags indicating headings on a webpage.
14Internal LinksHyperlinks pointing to other pages within the same site.
15External LinksHyperlinks pointing to pages on other websites.
16LSI KeywordsRelated keywords to a primary keyword.
17Call-to-Action (CTA)Prompt for users to take a specific action.

2. Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO technique refers to the activity that you do other than your website to improve its visibility and authority. The most common is “link building”, where you acquire quality backlinks to your website. 

Here are some of the Off-page SEO techniques:

  • Social media sharing
  • Commenting and replying
  • Getting brand mentions
  • Opening a resourceful thread 
  • Blogging & guest posting
  • Broken link
  • Communication on different channels with potential customers
  • Local listing
  • Sharing quality infographics

SEO Terminology of Off-Page SEO:

S.NOff-Page SEO TermsMeaning of Off-Page SEO Terminologies
1BacklinkLink from another website to yours.
2Link BuildingProcess of acquiring backlinks to improve SEO.
3Anchor TextText used in hyperlinks to link to your website.
4Link JuiceValue passed from one site to another through links.
5Backlink ProfileCollection of all backlinks pointing to a website.
6Link RelevanceRelevance of the linking page’s content to your site.
7Link QualityTrustworthiness and authority of the linking site.
8Social SignalsMetrics related to social media activity around a site.
9Brand MentionsInstances where your brand is mentioned without a link.
10Guest BloggingWriting and publishing articles on other websites.
11Directory SubmissionSubmitting your website to online directories.
12Forum ParticipationEngaging in discussions on forums and leaving links.
13Influencer OutreachCollaborating with influential individuals for backlinks.
14Press ReleasesDistributing news releases to media outlets and websites.
15Article SubmissionSubmitting articles to article directories for backlinks.
16Blog CommentingLeaving comments on blogs with a link back to your site.
17Social BookmarkingSharing content on social bookmarking sites for backlinks.
18Video MarketingCreating and sharing videos to attract backlinks.
19Q&A ParticipationAnswering questions on platforms like Quora with links.
20Broken Link BuildingFinding broken links on other sites and suggesting yours.
21Competitor AnalysisAnalyzing competitor backlink profiles for opportunities.

3. Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to the optimization of a website’s technical aspects to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results. It focuses on enhancing website infrastructure, performance, and accessibility for search engine crawlers and users. 

Technical SEO involves tasks such as optimizing website speed, improving site architecture, fixing crawl errors, implementing structured data markup, optimizing URL structure, and ensuring mobile-friendliness. 

Here are some of Tech SEO techniques:

  • XML Sitemaps
  • Robots.txt
  • Broken links on the website
  • Core web vitals
  • SSL certification
  • Canonical URLs
  • Site structure

SEO Terminology of Tech SEO:

S.NTech SEO TermsMeaning of Tech SEO Terminologies
1Technical SEOOptimization of website infrastructure and server configuration for better search engine crawling and indexing.
2XML SitemapFile listing URLs of a website’s pages for search engines to crawl and index.
3Robots.txtText file instructing search engine crawlers which pages or sections of a website to crawl or ignore.
4Canonical TagsHTML tags specifying the preferred version of a webpage to avoid duplicate content issues.
5Structured DataMarkup added to web content providing context for search engines, enhancing visibility in search results.
6Website SpeedLoading time of web pages, impacting user experience and search engine rankings.
7Mobile ResponsivenessWebsite design adapting seamlessly to various screen sizes and devices, is crucial for mobile search rankings.
8JavaScript SEOOptimization techniques for JavaScript-powered websites to ensure content visibility to search engines.
9Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)Stripped-down HTML versions of web pages designed to load quickly on mobile devices, enhancing user experience.
10HTTPSSecure protocol encrypting data transmitted between a website and a user’s browser, positively impacting search rankings.
11Schema MarkupStructured data format providing additional context to search engines about webpage content, enhancing rich snippets.
12Page Speed OptimizationTechniques to improve website loading times, including image optimization, minification, and caching.
13Mobile-Friendly TestEvaluation tool to assess if a website is optimized for mobile devices, impacting mobile search rankings.
14Render-Blocking ResourcesCSS and JavaScript files delaying webpage rendering, affecting page speed and user experience.
15Hreflang TagsHTML tags indicating language and regional targeting for multilingual and multinational websites.
16PaginationHandling of multi-page content to ensure search engines correctly index and rank individual pages.
17International TargetingConfiguration settings informing search engines about the target audience for multilingual and multinational websites.
18RedirectsForwarding users and search engines from one URL to another, preserving link equity and user experience.
19URL StructureOrganization of URLs for clarity, relevance, and ease of navigation, impacting search engine crawling and user experience.

A subset of SEO: Combination of On-Page, Off-Page & Tech SEO.

These categories are a subset of SEO as these fall under the three main categories of SEO: On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO.

1. Local SEO

Businesses use local SEO techniques with a local presence. For example, a restaurant with a local place and a website will use local SEO techniques to improve search ranking while optimizing a website with local keywords and business details. 

The most common local SEO technique is putting your business in Google listing or Yelp.

Here are some local SEO techniques :

  • Acquiring Local reviews and ratings
  • Share upcoming events
  • Update any promotional offers
  • Update about services 
  • Share business details such as name, live location, address, or phone number 

SEO Terminology of Local SEO:

S.NLocal SEO TermsMeaning of Local SEO Terminologies
1Google My BusinessGoogle’s tool for managing business info in search.
2NAPName, Address, Phone Number of a business.
3Local CitationsMentions of a business’s NAP on other websites.
4Local PackGroup of local business listings displayed in SERP.
5Local KeywordsSearch terms with local intent, e.g., “near me”.
6Local SchemaStructured data markup for local business information.
7ReviewsCustomer feedback influencing local rankings.
8Local BacklinksLinks from local websites pointing to a business site.
9GeotargetingTargeting content to specific geographic locations.
10Local DirectoriesOnline directories listing local businesses.

2. Mobile SEO

Mobile SEO techniques refer to optimizing a website for mobile users. Users use mobile devices to search quite often, and search engine prioritizes websites that provide a seamless experience. Global Stats Counter says 55.7% of searches are done on mobile devices.

Here are some of the mobile SEO techniques:

  • Improving webpages that load fast & properly
  • Keeping visible text ratio
  • Mobile-friendly layouts
  • Friendly navigation

SEO Terminology of Mobile SEO:

S.NMobile SEO TermsMeaning of Mobile SEO Terminologies
1Mobile-FriendlyWebsites easily accessible and usable on mobile devices.
2AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)Framework for creating fast-loading mobile web pages.
3Mobile OptimizationAdapting website content and design for mobile users.
4Touchscreen CompatibilityDesign elements optimized for touch-based interaction on mobile devices.
5Mobile-first IndexingGoogle’s practice of primarily using the mobile version of a website’s content for indexing and ranking.

3. Image SEO

Image SEO techniques refer to optimizing images on your website for search engine ranking and user experience. 

Some of the image SEO techniques are:

  • Optimized file name of the image
  • Write alt text of the image
  • Proper image dimensions
  • Low file size without losing the quality of the image
  • Using a sitemap to index the image
  • Write image captions

SEO Terminology of Image SEO:

S.NImage SEO TermsMeaning of Image SEO Terminologies
1Image FilenameDescriptive filename reflecting image content.
2Alt TextText describing image content for accessibility.
3Title AttributeOptional attribute providing additional image info.
4Image SizeOptimized size for faster loading and better user experience.
5Image FormatFormat choice affecting quality and file size.
6Image CompressionReducing file size without significant quality loss.
7Image CaptionsText accompanying images for context and relevance.
8Image SitemapSeparate sitemap listing image URLs for indexing.
9Image Lazy LoadingLoading images as they come into view to improve performance.

4. Video SEO

Video SEO is a technique that is used to optimize videos to rank higher in SERPs for relevant keywords. Usually, video is published on YouTube, the largest video-sharing platform. But many businesses also add videos to their websites to rank. 

Here are some video SEO techniques: 

  • Optimize the title & meta description of the page
  • Make a video as the hero of the page
  • Use structured data
  • Lazy-load videos 
  • Add video XML sitemap
  • Don’t add the same video multiple times on the webpage

SEO Terminology of Video SEO:

S.NVideo SEO TermsMeaning of Video SEO Terminologies
1Video TitleThe title of the video should be descriptive and include relevant keywords.
2Video DescriptionText describing the video content, including keywords and relevant information.
3Video TagsKeywords or phrases are added to videos to improve discoverability.
4Video FilenameThe name of the video file, should include keywords and be descriptive.
5Video TranscriptText version of the video’s audio content, useful for search engines to index.
6Video SitemapSitemap specifically for videos, listing video URLs for search engines.
7Thumbnail OptimizationChoosing an eye-catching thumbnail to increase click-through rate.

5. Voice SEO

Voice SEO is a technique to optimize content that can appear in voice search results. As of 2023, 4.2 billion voice assistants are in use. Combining your traditional SEO with the voice can benefit your website. Here are some voice search statistics to learn.

In voice SEO, common terms and phrases are used in the content for more accurate voice search results. 

Here are some voice SEO techniques:

  • Target question keywords
  • Target long-tail keywords
  • Use conventional language in your content
  • Optimize local keywords (most people use voice assistant for navigational purposes)
  • Create FAQs

SEO Terminology of Voice SEO:

S.NVoice SEO TermsMeaning of Voice SEO Terminologies
1Voice SearchUsing spoken commands to search the internet.
2Natural Language Processing (NLP)AI understanding human language.
3Long-Form AnswersDetailed responses to voice queries.
4Voice AssistantsPlatforms facilitating voice searches (e.g., Siri, Alexa).
5Natural-sounding TextContent resembling human speech patterns.
6Contextual ContentRelevance to user context or situation.

6. E-commerce SEO

E-commerce SEO term is specifically used for the optimization of online stores. Here, E-commerce SEO techniques are used to rank product pages and category pages to rank on SERP results. By optimizing product and category pages with relevant money keywords and technical SEO, a page is likely to rank on SERP.

Overall, structure, navigation, and smooth buying are essential to online stores.

Here are some E-commerce SEO techniques to work with:

  • Research for specific and relevant keywords
  • Create a structure for the website
  • Write engaging and informative product descriptions
  • Careful with URL structure
  • Use image optimization (as products have images).
  • Use breadcrumbs for easy navigation
  • Add products to blogs where appropriate

SEO Terminology of E-Commerce SEO:

S.NE-Comm SEO TermsMeaning of E-Comm SEO Terminologies
1Product DescriptionsWriting unique, compelling descriptions with relevant keywords.
2Category StructureCreating a clear hierarchy for easy navigation and indexing.
3User ReviewsEncouraging and showcasing user-generated content for credibility.
4Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)Improving website conversion rates for better ROI.
5FAQ PagesAddressing common queries to improve user experience and SEO.

7. International SEO

International SEO is a practice when you optimize your website to reach the desired country. For example, you want your website to rank in Germany. In that case, you will use International SEO techniques to reach an audience from Germany.

Here are some International SEO techniques that you can use:

  • Use keywords between different regions
  • Use the hreflang attribute to your website
  • Link to local content
  • Build backlinks from local sites

SEO Terminology of International SEO:

S.NInter-SEO TermsMeaning of Inter-SEO Terminologies
1Hreflang TagHTML attribute indicating language and region targeting.
2International SEOOptimization strategies for targeting global audiences.
3Geo-targetingTailoring content based on user location or region.
4Multilingual SEOOptimizing content for multiple languages.
5InternationalizationAdapting a website for global audiences.
6Language TargetingStrategy focusing on specific language audiences.
7IP DetectionIdentifying user location through IP address.
8International HostingChoosing servers located in target countries for SEO.

Importance of SEO for Small and Local Businesses?

Having a strong online presence is vital for small and local businesses. Here’s why SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is essential:

  1. Increased Visibility: 93% of online experiences start with a search engine. SEO boosts your ranking, making it easier for customers to find you.
  2. Targeting Local Customers: 46% of Google searches are local. SEO helps you connect with nearby customers searching for your services.
  3. Building Trust: 75% of users don’t go past the first search page. Ranking high builds trust and credibility, leading to more clicks and sales.
  4. Cost-Effective Marketing: SEO is cheaper than traditional ads and reaches a targeted audience effectively.
  5. Beating Competition: SEO levels the playing field, ensuring your business stands out against competitors.

How to Measure SEO Campaigns?

For small businesses, measuring the effectiveness of SEO campaigns is essential to understand their impact and make informed decisions. 

To measure such SEO campaigns there are various tools available in the market. But the most important tool for any marketer will be Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools. 

Why use this tool?

Both the tools are from Google and are freely available, as we all know that Google is the king of search engines. Google is the leading search engine worldwide, with 84% desktop market share. 

Google Analytics Tool 

It is a web analytics tool that collects your website data for marketing insights. GA4, the latest version, can collect your website and app data and connect with various tools. It is a top choice for customer insights. Check the tool here

Here are some key Google Analytics metrics to track for your SEO marketing campaigns:

  • Total Users
  • Page Views
  • Session
  • Conversions
  • Engagement Rate
  • Event Count
  • Sessions Per User
  • Average Engagement Time

Google Webmaster Tool

It is a powerful tool to monitor your site’s visibility and issues. You can add XML sitemaps, check core web vitals reports, check internal and external links, and more. Check the tool here

Here are some key Google webmaster metrics to track for your SEO marketing campaigns:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Average CTR
  • Average Position 
  • Page Indexation

Common SEO Problems Done by Small Businesses?

SEO is not a one-time thing; it needs to be regularly monitored and make changes accordingly. However, many small business owners make common mistakes while publishing new websites. 

Here’s the following:

1. Keyword stuffing

Yes, that’s a thing. It’s a common SEO mistake many people make, using targeted keywords in every paragraph over using keywords on the titles and meta descriptions. This results in poor-quality content and is not beneficial for users. 

2. Ignoring mobile optimization

Many new website owners publish their websites in a rush, ignoring mobile optimization. This may result in poor user experience, poor navigation, and content readability.

3. Using thin content

Yes, content is an important part of SEO. Still, many new website owners publish content in a rush with less word count and outdated facts and data. 

4. Missing Internal link

Internal links are very important for ranking your web pages. Many site owners miss this opportunity to link content.

5. XML Sitemap 

XML sitemap is important in SEO as this informs search engines which pages to crawl. Many site owners don’t create or forget to submit. Your website will still get indexed without an XML sitemap, but it helps search engines find your content easily.

6. Multiple H1 tags

Many new site owners use multiple H1 tags. Yes, using a well-optimized H1 tag is important, but using multiple on a single page is not one of them. 

Importance of Knowing These Basic SEO Terminology

We all know that digital presence is very important in today’s market and understanding this SEO terminology will help us to understand what your project needs and how you can approach SEO.

SEO is very effective in the long run for many reasons, such as brand awareness, organic sales, and more.

Many micro and small business owners don’t implement SEO during development or early business stages, which can cost more in the future.

It is good to invest a little time and money in SEO and setting up SEO tools during the early stage of the website or while building an SEO-friendly website.

In the vastness of organic marketing, SEO terminology is like learning the language of the internet. It will help you to navigate the complexities of online organic marketing.

Let’s continue to explore SEO basics and apply this knowledge to shape the online presence and achieve growth.

Bonus: Importance of SEO basics for new website owners

Many business owners know digital presence is very important in today’s market. To achieve your goals, you come across many resources and techniques, such as SEO.

Although you can invest and hire a team of experts and do paid marketing to make sales, it is also good to know the basics of SEO. SEO is very effective in the long run for many reasons, such as brand awareness, organic sales, and more.

Many micro and small business owners don’t implement SEO during development or early business stages, which can cost more in the future. It is good to invest a little time in SEO during the early stage of the website.

If you find the blog useful, kindly😇. Do follow us on our social media channels. 👍🙏

Share your love
Anindya N
Anindya N

Andy shot for Anindya Nath, He is an SEO Practioner and blogger with 5+ years of experience. Apart from his professional pursuits, Anindya is passionate about spiritual practices, enjoys listening to old Hindi music, and loves coffee.

Leave a Reply

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