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SEO Terms: Demystifying & Understanding Them

SEO Terms, SEO, SEO Content, Content, SA, SEO For SA
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SEO terms can be intimidating at first. However, this shouldn’t deter South African business owners from utilizing this powerful marketing tool. As a small digital agency in South Africa, we’re committed to making SEO accessible and understandable to people. 

That’s why we’re creating this SEO glossary of terms, where you can get a general idea of what each term means. But don’t freak out! We’ll be doing an in-depth review for each of these key terms and breaking them down even more. Just keep an eye on the Mana Marketing blog and you can become your own South Africa SEO expert! 

Unsure what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) actually is? No stress? Hop on over to last week’s post: What is SEO and How South African Businesses Can Benefit.

Without further ado, let’s get straight into it:

Keywords; The First SEO Term

I know. When you say keywords, you probably think back to high school or university when you used to skim through your readings, hoping to catch some keywords that can tell you what the content is all about.

And to be honest, it’s not all that different from what keywords mean in terms of SEO. 

In the context of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) terms, keywords refer to specific words or phrases that are relevant to the content of a web page or website. These are the words or phrases that users might type into a search engine when looking for information, products, or services related to the content of the web page.

Keywords play a crucial role in SEO as they help search engines understand the context and relevance of a web page. South African business owners can take advantage of keywords by strategically incorporating relevant keywords into their website’s data. This can improve their search engine rankings for those specific keywords locally in South Africa and even internationally!

Choosing the right keywords and implementing them effectively on a website can lead to improved organic traffic, better visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), and ultimately higher chances of attracting potential customers or users to the website. It is important to conduct keyword research and analysis to identify the most relevant and valuable keywords for a website’s SEO strategy.

But we’ll get to all that in later blog posts. All you need to know is what they are. We’ll teach you how to look for them and use them a bit later. 

SERPs  (Search Engine Rankings)

SERPs stands for “Search Engine Results Pages” in the context of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) terms. When a user performs a search query on a search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, the search engine displays a list of web pages that it considers relevant to the user’s query.

This list of web pages is known as the Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs.

The SERPs typically display a mix of organic search results and paid advertisements. Organic search results are web pages that the search engine’s algorithm has ranked based on their relevance and authority, while paid advertisements are placed by advertisers who bid on specific keywords to have their ads displayed for relevant searches.

The goal of SEO is to optimize a website’s content, structure, and various elements so that it ranks higher in the organic search results on the SERPs. Higher rankings in the SERPs can lead to increased visibility, more organic traffic, and potentially more conversions for the website.

“The client/customer always comes first. Even when it comes to SEO. Keyword research and content creation are vital parts of SEO for South African business owners. But the client/customer should always come first. Creating valuable content that helps your target market will keep potential customers and clients coming back to your site.”

Sumarie Engelbrecht – SEO Specialist

Indexing

Indexing means Google or other search engines have read the content on your website and have stored the information in their virtual library. 

Now you’ll come across terms like “crawling”, this is essentially just a fancy word for “read by search engines”. If you really want to get all technical with it, you can read the official definition below: 

Indexing refers to the process where search engines like Google crawl and store web pages in their database, making them available to display in search results. When your website is indexed, it means it is now part of the search engine’s database and can potentially appear in relevant search queries. To ensure proper indexing, focus on creating a sitemap, submitting it to search engines, and generating high-quality content regularly.

Sitemap

Remember the good old days when we only had paper maps of South Africa? The ones we used to guide us all the way from Cape Town to Johannesburg? Yeah, me neither! I’m not that old!

But, using this analogy. The internet is like a world map, while your website’s sitemap is a map of South Africa specifically. Just like the paper map of South Africa shows exactly what towns are in South Africa, your sitemap shows the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.) what is on your site.

HTML Site Map Example from Semush.com

It’s an easy way for the search engine algorithms to know what is on your site. 

A sitemap is a file that provides an overview of the structure and organization of your website to search engines. It lists all the pages on your site and helps search engine bots crawl and index your content more efficiently. Including a sitemap in your website’s root directory is standard practice for better SEO.

Algorithm

While we’d like to imagine the internet miraculously does all these wonderful things on its own, there is actually a science to it.

An algorithm is a set of rules and calculations used by search engines to determine the relevance and ranking of web pages in response to specific search queries.

Google, for example, employs complex algorithms that take into account hundreds of factors to present the most relevant results to users. Understanding search engine algorithms is essential for SEO professionals to optimize websites effectively.

Technical SEO

Many people think SEO is all about pushing out content on your website with relevant keywords, but it goes far beyond that. There are many factors the algorithm considers when ranking a website for specific search queries.

You could have the best content in the world, but if your technical SEO isn’t great, you will probably not get far up in the search rankings. 

Technical SEO involves optimizing the technical aspects of your website to enhance its visibility and crawlability for search engines. This includes ensuring your website has a clean and efficient code structure, proper URL structure, optimized robots.txt file, and XML sitemap.

Additionally, technical SEO involves improving website speed, mobile responsiveness, and eliminating duplicate content, all of which play a crucial role in search engine rankings.

Backlinks

Consider backlinks the “word of mouth” marketing for your website. You want other sites to tell people to come to your site. How? By linking to your website through a structured URL.

Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are hyperlinks from one website to another.

Search engines consider backlinks as votes of confidence, indicating that the linked content is valuable and trustworthy. Quality backlinks from reputable and relevant websites can significantly impact your website’s authority and rankings.

However, it’s crucial to focus on obtaining natural backlinks rather than engaging in manipulative link-building practices, as search engines are quick to penalize such tactics. Never buy backlinks!

Accessibility and Usability 

What is the use of having mountains of content, if people can’t use it or get frustrated trying to get to it? Search Engines pick up on things like this. Therefore, if your site is not user-friendly you might find yourself not climbing up the search engine results. 

Creating a website that is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, can improve user experience and potentially lead to better search engine rankings.

We know South Africans can have a bit of a temper sometimes, so imagine a “old toppie” trying to work on your website, is it easy to use for him? Or will he be revving his Ford bakkie in anger and frustration after finishing up on your website, heading to a store somewhere in Joburg to rather get the answers in person? 

We’ll go into more detail on how to make your site user-friendly in our South African SEO series.

Mobile Friendliness: 

With the increasing use of mobile devices, having a responsive website design that adapts to different screen sizes is essential. Google considers mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor, and it also affects user experience.

Mobile Friendly, SEO, SEO for SA, South African Business Owners, Website design, mobile users

Page Loading Speed: 

Faster-loading pages provide a better user experience and can positively influence search engine rankings. Optimizing images, using browser caching, and minimizing HTTP requests are some ways to improve loading speed.

HTTPS and Security: 

Having a secure website with an SSL certificate (HTTPS) is crucial for both user trust and SEO. Search engines may give preference to secure sites over non-secure ones. Not sure what an SSL certificate is or whether you have one?

Contact your hosting provider and ask them about it. They should be able to assist you effortlessly, if they can’t, we recommend you switch your hosting provider. 

Content SEO

Content SEO, also known as on-page SEO, revolves around optimizing individual web pages to make them more relevant to search engine queries.

This is where a lot of South African businesses are missing out on massive digital marketing opportunities!

You should be filling your website with keyword-rich, helpful content for your users! Whether that is in the form of services and product pages, or offering insightful blogs relevant to the South African population. 

You SHOULD be focusing on creating valuable content for your target audience. 

Quality content, SEO Content, Content, South African Business Owners, SA Entrepreneurs

This includes integrating target keywords naturally into the content, writing engaging and informative meta descriptions, using appropriate heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.), and crafting unique and valuable content for your audience. Content SEO aims to improve your website’s chances of ranking higher in organic search results.

Image Optimization (or Image SEO) 

Another one of the SEO terms that is important is Image SEO. Also known as image search engine optimization, is a set of practices and techniques aimed at optimizing images on a website to improve their visibility and rankings in search engine results. While traditional SEO focuses on optimizing text-based content, image SEO specifically targets images to enhance their chances of appearing in search engine image results pages (SERPs).

Meta Data

What we see, isn’t necessarily what the Search Engines see. They read between the lines, literally.

We call this data metadata.

Meta data refers to the information embedded in a web page’s HTML code that provides essential details about the page’s content. This includes the meta title, which appears as the title in search engine results, and the meta description, a brief summary of the page’s content. Writing compelling meta titles and descriptions with relevant keywords can significantly impact click-through rates and organic traffic.

Alt Tags

Alt tags, or alternative text, are used to describe images on a webpage for visually impaired users and search engines. Including descriptive alt tags with relevant keywords not only improves accessibility but also helps search engines understand the context and relevance of images, potentially leading to increased organic traffic through image search results.

Alternative Text, Image text, SEO, SEO for SA, South African Entrepreneur, content

Meta Description

In the context of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), a meta description refers to a short and concise HTML attribute that provides a brief summary or preview of the content of a web page. This description typically appears in search engine results pages (SERPs) below the page title and URL. Its main purpose is to provide users with a clear and compelling reason to click on the link to visit the page.

Domain Authority as an SEO Term

Want to be a big-shot South African influencer like Dowwe Dolla in her heyday?

Well, maybe it’s too late for you, but not for your website!

Domain authority can be seen as how much search engines trust what you are saying on your website. The higher domain authority you have, the more likely search engines are to show your results on their search results!

Dowwe Dolla, Seo Terms, Terms, Content, Domain Authority, Authority in content, building authority
Margit Meyer-Rödenbeck (1970-) Comedienne, actress, cabaret artiste, producer. She is also widely known by the name of her stage persona and alter ego, Dowwe Dolla (meaning something like “dim-witted doll”), and as the rather endearingly incompetent witch Liewe Heksie in stage productions of Verna Vels’s stories.

Domain Authority (DA) is a metric developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank in search engine results. It is calculated based on various factors, including the quality and quantity of backlinks, content, and overall website authority.

A higher DA score indicates a greater likelihood of ranking higher in search engine results.

URL

A URL can be seen as your website’s home. In fact, many people refer to the URL as the “Homepage”. 

A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the web address that users type into their browsers to access a specific webpage. A well-structured URL can contribute to better user experience and SEO. It’s advisable to include relevant keywords in the URL to indicate the page’s content clearly.

Slug

In the context of SEO, a slug refers to the part of a URL that identifies a particular page on a website. It typically contains the page’s primary keyword and is usually human-readable.

For example, in the URL https://manamarketing.co.za/what-is-seo/; the slug is “what-is-seo.”

Canonical

Canonicalization is the process of specifying the preferred version of a webpage when there are multiple versions of the same content accessible through different URLs. 

But where would such a thing ever happen?

Easy. You are a South African business owner, but you do business with South Africans and people living in Mozambique. For this reason, you have two sections on your website: A Mozambique one and a South African one.

But you want to post the same blog posts! Well, enter canonical links. You get to tell Google or any other search engine which one of the two blogs is the original one. Basically, you are telling search engines “Hey, look over here! This one is the original one that I want you to read and store in your library”.

Implementing canonical tags helps search engines identify the original and most relevant version of the content, reducing the risk of duplicate content issues that can harm SEO efforts.

Non-Canonical

Non-canonical URLs are alternative versions of a webpage that are not designated as the preferred version through canonical tags. These URLs can lead to duplicate content problems and may dilute the authority of the preferred page.

Traffic

No, we’re not talking about the N2 that is backed up because the SAPS decided to do spot checks for who knows what. 

In the context of SEO, traffic refers to the number of visitors a website receives over a specific period.

Traffic, seo traffic, search engine results, search traffic, visitors to your website, site visitors

The ultimate goal of SEO is to drive high-quality traffic to your website, as this increases the chances of converting visitors into customers or achieving other desired outcomes.

There are two types of traffic: Organic traffic and paid traffic.

1. Organic Traffic

Organic traffic refers to visitors who arrive at your website through unpaid (natural) search engine results. A strong SEO strategy aims to increase organic traffic, as it indicates that your website is relevant and authoritative in its respective niche.

2. Paid Traffic

Paid traffic, on the other hand, refers to visitors who arrive at your website through paid advertising campaigns, such as Google Ads or social media advertising. While SEO focuses on improving organic traffic, paid traffic can be beneficial for short-term promotions or specific marketing goals.

Rank

At the end of the day, all of these terms and all the work you put into your website in terms of SEO has to do with one main goal: To rank. 

Rank, in SEO terms, refers to the position of your webpage. It’s where in the search engine results your webpage lies when searching for a specific keyword or query. The higher a page ranks, the more likely it is to receive organic traffic from users searching for relevant information.

I hope that after reading this post, you will have a bit of a clearer idea of what SEO is and what the different terms mean. But if you’re still not too sure, that is fine!

We’re going to keep going at it until you are confident and clued up! 

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