SEO Terminology Cheat Sheet for Beginners
SFteam SFteam
Search Engine Optimisation
June 25,2018

SEO Terminology Cheat Sheet for Beginners

If you’re new to the world of SEO, the terminology can sound like a whole lot of jargon.

To help you sift through the waffle and understand the key phrases and why they matter, we’ve put together an easy-to-read cheat sheet glossary.

Here are the top 11 terms you need to know in 2018 when dealing with SEO terminology.

Hint: You can print the PDF version of this SEO terminology cheat sheet and keep it near your desk for quick reference.

1. Title Tag

What is a title tag?

A title tag is an HTML code used to provide the title of a web page for users to click on. This appears at the top of the web page, on browsing tabs, and in social networks and search engine results pages. Google can fully display title tags up to 70 characters long.

Why are title tags important?

They are the first opportunity to grab the reader’s attention and can be optimised for rankings.

Example of a title tag:

Title Tag Example

Top tip: A title tag should be between 40 and 60 characters long (including spaces).

Learn more on how to optimise title tags.

2. Meta Description

What is a meta description?

A meta description is a piece of HTML that pops up underneath the title tag in search results and displays a preview snippet of what the article or web page is about. The average length of the description snippet previewed is 160 characters for desktop and 130 characters for mobile.

Why are meta descriptions important?

Keywords show up in the meta description to entice readers to your page, and a well-written meta descriptions can boost your CTR (more on this later).

Example of a meta description:

Meta Description Example

3. Structured Data for SEO

What is structured data for SEO?

Structured data is additional key information that appears alongside the title and meta description in search engine results. HTML code is taken from a website’s database to display an extract of rich content.

Why is structured data important?

It provides an opportunity for a web page or article to rank higher in search engine results and allow web users to find essential info from the site immediately. It also provides additional context for search engine crawlers.

Example of structured data:

Structured Data Example

Top tip: For your business’s website, structured data could include things like your address, sale items, a star rating, product prices, and more.

4. CTR (Click Through Rate)

What is CTR?

Click-through rate (CTR) measures how many times a link is clicked on when it appears in search engine results. This is calculated by dividing the number of times the link is clicked by the number of times it appears in search results.

Why is CTR important?

CTR measures how effective your content in search engine results is for bringing organic traffic to your site. A consistent CTR can also further lift your rankings.

Example of CTR:

If your page appears in the results 50 times in a month and gets clicked 27 times, your click-through rate would be calculated like this:


Top tip: Effective title tags and meta descriptions (making your pages seem like clickable, must-read content) can increase organic CTR.


What is a SERP?

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. SERPs are the screens in Google and other search engines that display the web pages that come up for your search query. They show both organic and paid results. There are numerous factors that can affect a SERP, such as geo-location and browser history.

Why are SERPs important?

SERPs are a pivotal part of SEO and are the ultimate battleground for organic rankings. They also provide essential information about webpages through title tags and meta descriptions, helping users determine the site that best meets their search intent.

Example of a SERP:


Learn how to optimise your SERP listing for better CTR.

6. Backlinks

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are links from any page or website that lead to another page on a different website. Any links to your site from other domains make up what is called your backlink profile.

Why are backlinks important?

They help users find related and desirable content to engage in and help determine a page’s authority. More backlinks to a page from reliable sources will demonstrate the page’s high quality and value.

Example of a backlink:

Backlink Example

A backlink to Amart Furniture on the website.

Learn some of our actionable linkbuilding tactics.


7. Internal links

What are internal links?

Internal links are hyperlinks that connect one page on a website to another page on the same site.

Why are internal links important?

They link similar content together and help Google decipher the value and relationships of a site’s pages, as well as the structure of the website as a whole.

Example of an internal link:



8. Duplicate content

What is duplicate content?

Duplicate content is similar or identical content that shows up in multiple places on the web.

Why is duplicate content bad?

It can affect search engine rankings, as search engines don’t want to display the same content multiple times in their SERPs. Duplicate content can prevent your pages from ranking, as your site won’t be considered as the original source of the content.

Example of duplicate content:

If a blog post directly quotes too much of a news article, that blog post might be considered duplicate content (even if it correctly credits the original source).

Top tip: Duplicate content isn’t always bad. If you have multiple pages that need to portray the same information (e.g. an Australian homepage and a New Zealand homepage), you can prevent any backlash using canonical tags.

9. Canonical tags

What is a canonical tag?

A canonical tag is a piece of HTML code that can be placed on a website to tell search engines that there’s intentional duplicate content on a certain page (and that page should therefore be ignored in search results). This ensures the original or best source of the content appears in the SERP instead.

Why are canonical tags important?

Multiple pages can devalue content and this plays a part in determining rankings. Canonical tags let unique URLs be found by search engines for better rankings.

Example of a canonical tag:

If a website has similar content located in multiple areas of their domain, using the canonical tag will allow you to pick the most appropriate page for search engines to show.

10. LSI keywords

What are LSI keywords?

LSI (or Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are closely associated with the primary term entered into a search engine. LSI keywords refer to similar topics, not similar words.

Why are LSI keywords important?

Search engines use LSI keywords to determine the relevance and quality of web pages in order to show users information related to their search and not just what comes up with their searched topic.

Examples of LSI keywords:


11. Link bait

What is link bait?

Link bait refers to a piece of quality content that has been created with the intention of appearing incredibly linkable and useful, so other domains will naturally reference and link to it.

Why is link bait important?

It allows you to develop truly meaningful content and drive traffic to your site. Creating genuine link bait also means you’re doing your part to add high-quality content to the internet (it’s already flooded with low-quality content).

Example of link bait:

There are many types of link bait. It can come in the form of a breaking news article, a highly sharable video, or an attention-grabbing blog post.

We hope this SEO terminology glossary has helped clear up some of the mystery around search engine optimisation jargon. Don’t forget to download and print our cheat sheet PDF as a handy reference or get in touch with our SEO consultants for more help today!

Search Engine Optimisation
June 25,2018

Author: SFteam

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