SEO Confusion!

SEO in Layman’s Terms

SEO Confusion!

I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to ask anyone to do something for you, it’s in the interest of both parties to understand exactly what the job entails. I recently tried to understand what SEO involved and found that when I was asking questions about SEO and what was involved, I was drowned in terminology that I didn’t understand. Asking questions about the given answers didn’t help either since I was given more terminology as a response.

This posts tries to shed some light on the basics. I hope you’ll find it useful and feel free to post in the comments anything I might have missed!


The basics for your website:

  • Metadata: Formed with your pages meta tags and other data used to describe your page’s content.
  • Meta tags: An HTML tag which gives information about your page. It does not affect the way your page looks but lets the search engine know the keywords and what the page is about.
  • Image Alt Tags Optimisation: Text used by search engines to “read” your image.
  • H1, H2, H3…: HTML heading tags – H1 is the most important, H2 the second, etc….
  • Anchor Tag: HTML code which creates a link to a section on a page or to another page.
  • Sitemap: A way of telling search engines about pages they might not discover. It may also include URL of pages they may miss and metadata about specific content on your site such as videos, images…

The SEO basics:

  • Off-page Optimisation: Factors which have an effect on your ranking but which are not controlled by you.
  • On-page Optimisation: Factors which you control such as HTML code, meta tags and keywords.
  • Black Hat SEO: Techniques used to get higher rankings which breach search engines rules and offer a poor user experience. These involved for ex: keyword stuffing, invisible text and doorway pages.
  • White Hat SEO: Techniques used to optimise a site which focus on the user and follow search engine rules. It focuses on organic ranking and is seen as an ethical way of optimising a site.
  • Link building: Exchanging web links with other websites. This will increase your site’s “back links”
  • Back Links: Web links placed on internet pages which will link to pages on your website.
  • SERP: Search Engine Result Page – the pages which come up when you search for something on the internet.
  • Bounce Rate: Refers to the % of visitors who enter your site then leave without looking at other pages on your site. A bounce rate of 50% is average, anything above 60% should concern you.
  • Keyword stuffing: Long list of keywords on your page and very little else.
  • Invisible text: Putting a list of keyword in white text on a white background.
  • Doorway pages: Pages customised to specific keywords which don’t actually exist. Visible to the search engines only and if a user try to get on it, they are automatically redirected to the website.
SEO Flow Chart







Techniques used to create back links:

  • Directory Submission: It’s exactly what it says on the tin! Submitting your website details to a number of online directories that are popular with net users. It helps your website gain visibility and also creates valuable back links.
  • Web 2.0: A way of referring to Social Networking Sites, Blogs, video sharing sites for example.They generally refer to sites where the users can contribute in one way or another.
  • Social Bookmarking: Links to your pages that are “saved” on sites such as Delicious and Stumbledupon for example. The more often a page is saved and tagged, the more chances it has to be found by search engines since they create back links.
  • SBM (for web 2.0): Social bookmarking of content which has been posted in Web 2.0 sites.
  • Article submission: Written articles about chosen keywords relating to your web site. They are submitted to article directories for approval. They will include a link to your page which will increase your back links.
  • Blog Comments: Commenting on relevant blogs many however won’t allow you to post web links and can also be seen as spamming if done randomly.
  • Forum links: Posts in forums which will contain a link to your pages either in your comment or in your signature.
  • Squidoo LensHub Creation: Community sites which allows you to create pages which relate to your website / keywords. They will include back links to your site and are often shared on social bookmarking sites.

The best advice I was given over the last few days was to forget about Google.

I was told to create great content for our users, create natural back links with posts in relevant forums and great guest blogs and Google will “organically” push us up the result pages.

It might take a bit longer to get there but it’ll be worth it in the end. Rome wasn’t build in a day and neither will our online reputation.


14 thoughts on “SEO in Layman’s Terms

  1. As an industry us SEO’ers have always been guilty of (and too quick to use) jargon to explain situations which can be quite simplistic.
    Pagination and canonicalisation are two of my favourites!
    Nice post Gaelle!

    • “Pagination and canonicalisation” they sound like they warrant a post to themselves!
      Thank you for the compliment, Andy!
      I was rather well advised. :-)

  2. Great post! It perfectly encapsulates all the odds & ends I regularly try & explain to clients.

    In particular, I like to emphasis that top Google rankings can – for many businesses – be no more than a vanity issue. SEO should really be abo
    ut working with a business, getting under their skin and generating good quality traffic at a quantity suitable to the business.

    So long as the quality & quantity is there then anything else is an irrelevance. Higher rankjings may cause the phone to ring non-stop, but with quote requests that are out of area or aren’t appropriate for the business or available resource.

    Good SEO = Good quality traffic & more of it which in turn will inevitably lead to an increase in Google rankings but too many people get caught up with the tail wagging the dog.

    The only things I’d add to your piece is to be cautious of too many directory entries – go the big ones and any niche, trade specific ones but forget all the oddball no-mark ones (and ignore adverts promising 500 directory entries for a couple of $$) as too many can damage your reputation with the search engines….and don’t forget the value of video. Youtube is the World’s 2nd largest search engine. Owned by… The biggest :) And they love it if you have embedded video on your site.

  3. It a good article. Very helpful to learn about SEO. I know it is very hard to write a simple content good job.

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