SEO Glossary of Terms

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a general term used to describe the science of improving your website’s position in online search results. When your potential customers execute a Google, Bing or Yahoo search, effective SEO will ensure that they see — and click on — your listing first.

The SEO process involves a multifaceted approach using a variety of tools and Internet marketing strategies, including content marketing, social media and website optimization.

If you’ve read much about SEO and online marketing, you may conclude that our industry uses a language all its own, full of obscure acronyms and jargon. To help you better understand some of our more commonly used terms, we have created a brief list of definitions and explanations.

If you have questions about any of these concepts or suggestions for other terms you would like to see added to our glossary, please contact us today!


AdwordsThis term describes the Google AdWords app, which is essentially an advertising platform designed to match advertisers’ products to users’ online search terms. AdWords, which uses a pay-per-click (PPC) pricing model, matches keywords or phrases relevant to your products with your prospects’ online search behaviors.

AdWords is a powerful and cost-effective tool for attracting new customers and growing your business, provided you understand how it works. You can learn more about Google AdWords and PPC advertising on our website.

Anchor Text

This term describes any electronic text that serves as a link to another page. By embedding an HTML hyperlink in a relevant word or phrase, anchor text helps users navigate your website. This is also a powerful strategy for helping the search engines index all of your site’s pages.

Be careful, however, because Google will penalize you for irresponsible or overuse of anchor text, or for using it in random locations that don’t make sense in context.


This is a broad term for the data and statistics used to measure the success of your online marketing efforts. Analytics may refer to those stats you track yourself, or to the Google Analytics tool, a powerful app for tracking your site visits, click-through rates and other relevant data. It also may refer to social media analytics, which can leverage social platforms to help drive traffic to your website or landing pages.

Authoritative Websites or Sources

Google rates websites and online sources based on content quality, authoritative backlinks and referrals, and an ever-changing mélange of factors all used to determine trustworthiness.

For example, the New York Times and CNN are authorities on the news, while ESPN is the premier authority on sports topics. You can establish your site as an authoritative source — which improves your SEO by leaps and bounds — by implementing a comprehensive content strategy and by ensuring that your online content is factual, up to date and relevant to your prospects and customers.

The more authoritative Google deems you to be, the higher your site will rank in the search results.

Call to Action

A call to action, or CTA, tells your audience what to do next. This may be as simple as a contextual phrase (“Contact us today!”) or a graphic site element (a button, for example, labeled, “Click Here to Order”).

Using CTAs of any type will improve your conversion rate; however, the most effective calls to action use specific, actionable, clear, simple language. Check out our blog about creating effective CTAs.

Content Marketing

tell-storyToday, content is king in the Internet marketing world. This term refers to the use of fresh, engaging and professionally written text on your website, in your blog, on social media platforms and landing pages.

The goal of effective content marketing is to engage your prospects with beneficial and relevant information, but also to help increase your search engine rankings. Truly effective content makes it easy for your prospects to find you and builds loyalty for your brand.


This refers to converting a site visitor into a prospect (lead) or a prospect into a customer (sale). Every element of your website design, content strategy and online marketing should contribute to increasing your conversion rate in some way.

Conversion occurs most often when you engage your site visitors and keep them with you for as long as possible. The rate at which your online campaigns convert is the best way to judge the success of your marketing efforts.

Directory Listings

Adding your company to every online business directory you could find was once the way of the world. Today, this approach can actually harm you. Google approves of well-curated online directories that have selective inclusion policies, but will penalize you in the search rankings for adding your site to multiple free-for-all directories that allow anyone to post.

Using a well-thought-out and responsible directory listing strategy, especially if you utilize local SEO, will improve your marketing efforts in a variety of ways.

A poor approach to directory listings, however, can — and will — hurt you in Google’s eyes.


search-engine-optimizationGeographical targeting, or geo-targeting, is a strategy for optimizing content to appeal to your customers’ specific location. Google tries hard to match potential customers’ demographic information to businesses in their area, especially those with brick-and-mortar locations. With the rapid growth of mobile searches, appealing to your most proximate prospects is even more important today.

Using geographical targeting and local SEO also will help extend your marketing budget by ensuring that your information is seen by local prospects.

Inbound Links

An inbound link (also known as a backlink) is a hyperlink to your website or a specific page on another website unrelated to yours. Inbound links also may be contained in directories, social media posts, blogs or online content such as press releases.

At one time, businesses were advised to beg, borrow or steal backlinks anywhere they could get them. Today, that strategy will hurt you. Google likes authoritative websites and sources and uses its Penguin 3.0 algorithm to measure the relevance of your inbound links.

Keywords and Key Phrases

Keywords and phrases are the heart of SEO and search engine marketing (SEM). Essentially, keywords are those terms that best describe your product or service offerings AND the ones that prospects are most likely to enter into search engines.

In the past, you may have been advised to cram as many keyword phrases into your content as possible (a despicable technique known as keyword-stuffing). Today, Google demands that we use these tools only in natural ways that make sense in context. Learn more about how to select the right keywords and phrases — and use them correctly — on our blog.

Local Search and Local Listings

These terms describe online searches and listings with geographical context or constraints. Users may enter a specific geographical target as a part of their search (for example, “plant nursery Salt Lake City”) or Google may infer a location from the user’s demographic data. Today, hyper-local SEO is an even more powerful approach to improving your search engine rankings.

Mobile Optimization

This term refers to a way of designing your website so that it responds correctly to the type of device your customer uses to find you. The majority of Internet searches conducted today are done via mobile devices (typically a smartphone or tablet).

To ensure a great user experience, mobile optimization allows your site to be easily read and navigated by everyone. Today, unless you optimize your site for mobile users, Google will punish you in the mobile search rankings, so responsive website design is no longer an option if you have an online presence.

Organic Search Results

To improve your web page rankings in Google and other search engines, you can use AdWords or other pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, or you can rank high organically. This is achieved through implementing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and a comprehensive content strategy based on strategic keywords and phrases. Organic search results turn up sites whose content best matches the user’s search terms, and not those that paid to be there.

PageRank or Page Ranking

RankingPageRank refers to Google’s algorithm for evaluating your website, which determines where your site will fall on the search engine results page (SERP). Some of the factors Google considers when determining your page ranking include the number and quality of authoritative inbound links, the degree to which your site has been optimized for the search engine, and the quality, relevance and age of your site content.

Check out Be Locally SEO’s SEO audit tool to determine how well your page ranks!

Landing Page

When used in the context of online marketing, a landing page is essentially a website that stands on its own, not directly connected to your main business website. While your website is designed to serve a variety of purposes, landing pages are created with a single objective in mind.

An effective landing page acts as a funnel of sorts, to help guide your prospects toward a desired action. Landing pages are designed for lead generation to offer your prospects something of value (for example, a free gift, coupon, e-book or complimentary consultation) in exchange for providing you with their contact information.

Another highly effective way to use landing pages is for improving conversions. If your prospect has the opportunity to learn and become excited about a specific product or service, they are more likely to make a purchasing decision as a result.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a highly effective Internet advertising model designed to increase traffic to your website or landing page. Google AdWords is the most well-known — and one of the most of effective — PPC platforms.

When conducting a Google search, you may have noticed that the first few results are identified with a small, gold “Ad” symbol. These are the paid search results.

Advertisers identify specific keywords and phrases, and when someone searches for those terms, Google responds first with sponsored ads that best meet that criteria. If the searcher clicks on your ad, you (as the advertiser) pay a nominal fee to Google.

Designed and managed well, PPC is one of the fastest and most effective ways to build your business. Poorly designed and monitored PPC campaigns, however, can be a waste of your precious marketing dollars.

Online marketing experts spend years learning the secrets of effective PPC ad strategies, and many hours each day monitoring and modifying campaigns to achieve optimal results.

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is an all-encompassing term used to describe the process of increasing the visibility, traffic and conversions of your company’s website.

Although the difference between SEM and SEO (search engine optimization) is subtle, it’s also profound. Effective search engine marketing strategies include SEO, but also pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, paid listings and a variety of other specialized techniques.

Whereas SEOs aim to increase your site’s visibility in online search engines, effective SEM will grow your business in a broad sense, and increase your bottom line.

You may also see the term search marketing (SM) from time to time. Search marketing typically refers to paid search engine advertising (such as pay-per-click programs). Other sources use the SEM with SM terms interchangeably.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) incorporates a variety of ever-changing strategies designed to get your website to the top of organic (non-paid) search engine results, increasing website traffic and improving conversions.

Google is arguably the best-known and most popular search engine; however, Bing, Yahoo and others also are important to consider.

Part art and part science, SEO strategies and techniques include keyword and key phrase research and identification; website optimization; local, global and e-commerce strategies; optimizing web copy, blogs and articles; social media, link-building and directory listings.

Search Engine Results Page

Online marketing specialists use SEO and SEM strategies to improve your website’s ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). Search engines like Google and Yahoo use sophisticated algorithms designed to provide searchers with the most relevant search results.

Google constantly scans the Internet, analyzing and evaluating all the websites it finds. Based on hundreds of factors (reputation, relevance, engagement, content freshness and more), some weighted more highly than others, Google’s analysis determines where your site will rank in response to a prospect’s search terms and location.

The higher your site’s SERP, the more likely your prospects are to click through to your site. Prospects are highly influenced by the first page of search results — few will go beyond the first page (or even the first few results) before making a choice.

Social Channels or Platforms

Social-MediaSocial channels and platforms (often called social media) are networks that allow users to form virtual relationships. Businesses use social platforms to open meaningful dialogue and interaction with prospects and customers, and to create ongoing engagement with your brand.

Some of the most popular platforms include Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and LinkedIn. Types of social channels include video (YouTube), still images (Instagram), customer reviews (Yelp, TripAdvisor), live streaming (Periscope), curating and bookmarking (Pinterest), microblogging (Twitter), personal networking (Facebook), professional networking (LinkedIn) and blogging.

Choosing the right platforms and channels for your business requires evaluating prospect profiles, competition and opportunity to determine the best values.

“They’ve narrowed our focus to local audiences. Be Locally reoriented our Facebook ads toward traffic generation, rather than likes and shares. The team has also managed my monthly spend, written articles, and resized photos.

Rankings have increased and remained stable. Traffic and social media outreach are also higher. They’re responsive, but also genuinely interested in my business. Meeting only once a month is convenient.”

Alan Weidner Massage Chair Relief 5 star review rating

“Be Locally SEO has made our website a hub for internet information for gardens and yard care, using Search Engine Optimization. Our website has never been as popular as it is now. Be Locally SEO is designing a new and user friendly website, which integrates with all the social media marketing outlets. Our Facebook and YouTube pages are seen by thousands daily. They are very responsive and easy to reach with a local call or quick email, and action on the items are followed up in a timely manner.

We know plants, but Be Locally SEO knows how to get our information to potential customers in our market.”


Thom Sawyer Millcreek Gardens 5 star review rating
“Be Locally SEO is easy to work with. They’re thorough, and we can always get in contact with a team member. If a report doesn’t make sense or we need something clarified, they sit down with us and talk about it. The whole team is very responsive, usually responding within 24 hours. If we have any errors or need the website updated, they’re quick to fix them and make the necessary changes. Not only are their fees reasonable, but they’re customer-oriented instead of just worried about their bottom line.”
Kara Martin The Franchise & Business Law Group 5 star review rating

“Be Locally SEO has been a bit of a gem for us as they are our Jack-of-all-trades for our website. They’ve helped us migrate to WordPress, build out our content, create highly functional features, integrated our site to our Marketing Automation, AND of course improved our SEO nationally and regionally. We have yet to present a project that they couldn’t handle with a great end result.

Having used several web service companies in the past, BeLocallySEO has provided the best value by a long shot. We have a very attentive account manager and their turn-around times on projects are second to none.”

Scott Logan MetTel 5 star review rating
“I have been working with Be Locally SEO for several months after trying 4 other SEO companies. I have seen more movement in google organic search in few months with Be Locally SEO than with any other company I have worked with. In addition, our account manager continually is heavily involved with my account trying to find ways to improve our online marketing campaign. I appreciate his personal attention to my online marketing needs. I highly recommend Be Locally SEO for online internet marketing!!!”


Judd Partridge, Oral Surgeon Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah 5 star review rating
“Be Locally SEO practically saved our business! We had been advertising with for years when they did a system conversion December 2015. We immediately informed them that we weren’t receiving any calls from our website – months and months this went on with no improvement, then one day I heard a Be Locally SEO ad on the radio & set up a meeting. Be Locally SEO’s technicians were thorough in identifying the multiple problems with our Dex advertising and there were many! They were truthful about what needed to be done to rectify the situation and realistic about the time it would take to get things really working again. They were with us every step of the way in a very personal and professional way. Today our phones are ringing, our prior customers and referral customers can find us and our business is thriving like never before with new customers. Thank you Be Locally SEO for helping our Salt Lake City, Utah and Riverton, Utah based family business and thank you for being so patient with those of us who don’t understand the way internet marketing works. You really educated us!”
Tim C. T.C. Hardwood Flooring, Inc 5 star review rating
“After trying some other website design and SEO companies, with limited success. Be Locally SEO designed us a wonderful, very functional, e-commerce website. It is fully integrated with Quickbooks and looks and works great. Their SEO services have taken us to the top! They also write very good blogs. Thank you Be Locally SEO!”


BJ Berg The Dirt Bag 5 star review rating
“If I had to rate them on this from one to ten, I would say ten. They always respond very quickly and I can always get a hold of someone, even when our account manager is unavailable. We communicated with them on a monthly basis at the beginning of the project and scaled back as we progressed. At this point, I only call them when there’s a specific concern or request. We now rank first on several relevant Google search terms, and our website looks more professional with the changes they made. Listen to the advice that their team provides and trust their expertise. They offer several service packages to fit your needs, but there’s always room for adjustment throughout the project.”
Ashley Schumann Swirl Woodcraft Custom Cabinetry 5 star review rating
“We’ve been using Be Locally SEO for around 5 years and can attest to their competence, professionalism, and ability to generate income for our business. We highly recommend working with them! I’ve worked with vendors in the past that fail to honor their commitments, but Be Locally SEO consistently delivers on their promises. They’re also willing to go the extra mile. They worked with our software developer to incorporate the website’s quote program, even though that went beyond their responsibilities. Similarly, they went out of their way to find a reliable resource when we requested a Spanish-language version of the site.”


Joe Callahan Four Seasons Insurance 5 star review rating
“I definitely would recommend this company to other companies. We have had many issues in the past with other so called website development companies and all we got out of it was a glamorous sales pitch. Be Locally SEO does what they say they will do. Thanks”
Bob Buckley Jr. Tuscany Builders 5 star review rating
“We had another company doing our web marketing and didn’t see results. We saw improvement and results with-in the first month being with Be Locally SEO. They got our business going in the direction we wanted and continue to do an exceptional job. We recommend them for all SEO, web design, and internet marketing needs for your business.”
Brandon Pack Packman's Coatings 5 star review rating
“The professionals at Be Locally SEO are the best internet marketing firm I have ever worked with. With the help of Brenan and the team, Be Locally SEO built our business a beautiful, professional website that is getting more traffic than ever before. If you are looking for a company that follows through with what they say, is responsive to your needs, and most importantly get results! Then Be Locally SEO is the place for you.”


Justin Richins R&K Hunting Company 5 star review rating
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