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What is SEO? Common & Uncommon Terms Explained

Updated: Jan 14

What is SEO? — It's a question most of us have asked at some point, especially in today's digital-first world. Basically, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the art and science of making your website more visible to search engines like Google, Bing, and others. More than just attracting any audience, SEO helps you connect with the right people online — those genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

Your Ultimate SEO Glossary

SEO may seem filled with complex terms and rules, but it’s more than just technical jargon — it’s a new way of communication in the digital world. In fact, according to a report by BrightEdge, organic search drives 53% of website traffic!

From keywords and backlinks to understanding search algorithms, each SEO element is like a new grammar rule in this language. And like any language, SEO is dynamic and constantly evolving. It’s a journey of ongoing learning and adaptation.

At JRNY Digital, we're passionate about making SEO as approachable as possible. Ready to understand it? Here’s everything you need to know.

Search Engine Basics

Search Engines

Google, Bing, Yahoo – these are the librarians of the internet world. They organise and deliver content based on your queries.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

SERP is the page you see after you enter a query into a search engine. It's a list of results the search engine thinks best matches your query. These results can include web pages, images, videos, local business listings, and other more specialised types of content.

Search Engine Algorithms

These algorithms are complex systems search engines use to retrieve data and deliver the best possible results for a query. SEO strategies must align with these algorithms for optimal results.

Organic Results

In SEO, organic means naturally occurring. Organic search results are the ones that come up naturally, without paid advertising.

Keyword Research and Strategies


Keywords are the cornerstone of SEO. They're the terms or phrases users enter into search engines and are crucial for effective SEO strategy.

Type of Keywords

Long Tail Keywords

Specific, often longer phrases that are less common but super targeted – like "handmade vegan soap in Brooklyn."

Broad Keywords

General terms with high search volume but more competition, like "soap."

Keyword Research

This is a fundamental part of SEO strategy. It involves identifying the terms and phrases (keywords) potential customers use in search engines. The goal is to use this data to create content that aligns with what your audience is searching for, thus improving your visibility in search results. 

Keyword Difficulty

This assesses how challenging it would be to rank for specific keywords in search engine results. A higher keyword difficulty indicates more competition, making it harder to achieve a high ranking.

Keyword Targeting

This is the practice of researching, selecting, and using specific keywords to drive qualified traffic from search engines to your website.

Keyword Frequency

This refers to how often a specific keyword appears on a webpage. Keywords help search engines understand the topic, but overusing them can seem spammy. The right balance makes content both search-friendly and readable.

Keyword Stuffing

This involves cramming a webpage with too many keywords to boost search rankings. This practice harms readability and is penalised by search engines. It's essential to focus on natural, relevant content instead.

User Intent

This is the goal behind a search engine query, like seeking information or wanting to buy something. Understanding this helps tailor content to meet users' needs. Aligning content with user intent improves relevance and search performance.

Types of User Intent

Informational Intent

When people want to know something. For example, searching "how to tie a tie" means they want instructions or a guide.

Navigational Intent

When people want to go to a specific website. For example, "Facebook login" shows they're trying to get to the Facebook login page.

Transactional Intent

When people are ready to buy something. A search like "buy iPhone 13" indicates they want to make a purchase.

Commercial Investigation

When people are thinking about buying something soon and are looking at their options. Searching "best smartphones 2024" means they're in the market for a new phone.

Content Marketing and Strategy

Content marketing involves creating quality content that interests your audience, while SEO ensures this content ranks well in searches. Combining these strategies boosts site traffic and audience engagement.

Content Research

Content research is about knowing what content your audience likes, including format, topics, and style. It's key for making content that's both search-friendly and engaging.

Content Strategy

Content strategy is about understanding your audience's needs and planning content that meets these needs, including keyword and topic selection.

Relevancy and Intent

SEO is about making content that matches search keywords and the searcher's intent, whether they're looking to buy something or just seeking information.

Content Creation and Optimisation

Content creation means producing articles, videos, etc., optimised for search engines and users. This involves using the right keywords and making content engaging, accessible, and easy to navigate.

Content Distribution and Calendar Planning

Effective content distribution involves choosing the right platforms and planning a content calendar for consistent and strategic publishing.

Evergreen Content

Evergreen content remains valuable over time, continuing to draw traffic and engage audiences long after its publication.

Readability and Engagement

Content should be readable, understandable, and engaging. Using visuals, interactive elements, and a conversational tone can enhance engagement.

Heading Structures

Use headings (like H1, H2, H3) to organise content. They help both readers and search engines understand your content more effectively.

Types of SEO

SEO can be categorised into three main types: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. Each plays a unique and crucial role in enhancing your website's visibility and performance online. 

1. On-Page SEO

This type focuses on the content you see on your site — the words, images, and everything in between. It helps search engines understand what your site is about and find it when people search for topics you talk about.

Page Titles

Page titles are like the headlines of your web pages. They tell search engines and visitors what the page is about and are usually the first thing people see in search results.

Meta Descriptions

These summaries of your web pages appear under the page titles in search results. They give potential visitors a sneak peek of what to expect on the page.


Metadata is like a behind-the-scenes guide for search engines. It provides information about what's on your website, helping search engines understand your content better.

Alt Tags

Alt tags are descriptions for images on your site. They help search engines understand what the images are about and are super helpful for visually impaired users.

Internal Linking

Internal linking connects different pages of the same website, helping search engines understand site structure and improving user navigation. It distributes ranking power throughout the site. 

2. Off-Page SEO

This type looks beyond your site. It's about building relationships and a good reputation in the digital space. It's like getting endorsements from others who say, "Hey, this site is trustworthy and valuable!"


These are links from other websites to yours. Think of them as votes of confidence from the internet community, showing that others find your content valuable.

Follow/No-Follow Links

Follow links count as endorsements for your site, boosting your SEO. No-follow links are the opposite; they don't pass on SEO benefits but can still bring traffic to your site.

Guest Posts

When you write an article for another website, that's a guest post. It's a great way to share your expertise and reach a new audience while also potentially earning a backlink.


Citations are mentions of your business name and address on other websites. They're especially important for local SEO.

3. Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the behind-the-scenes hero, focusing on technical aspects to make your website easy for search engines to read. It involves optimising your site’s backend, like speed, mobile-friendliness, indexing, crawlability, structure, structured data, and security.

Site Indexing

Indexing is the process where search engines store and organise content found during crawling, which is essential for making your content discoverable.

SERP Analysis

SERP Analysis involves studying top search results for specific queries to understand why they rank well. This includes examining content types, keyword usage, content quality, and backlinks.

URL Slugs

A URL slug is the part of the URL that briefly describes the page’s content. It’s a mini-title that makes links more understandable and SEO-friendly.

Shortened URLs

Shortened URLs are compressed versions of longer URLs, which are easier to share on platforms like social media.

Page Speed

Page Speed refers to how quickly your web page loads, which is crucial for user satisfaction and favoured by search engines.

Mobile Friendliness

Mobile Friendliness ensures your website looks and functions well on mobile devices, which is vital due to the prevalence of mobile browsing.

Technical Audit

A Technical Audit is like a health check for your website, identifying issues affecting performance or search rankings.

Broken Links

These are links that don’t work anymore. They lead to pages that are no longer available, which can be frustrating for your visitors and harmful to your SEO.

Core Website Vitals

Core Web Vitals are specific factors that Google considers important in a webpage's overall user experience. These vitals are part of Google's "Page Experience" signals used to evaluate and rank web pages in search results, focusing on aspects that provide users a positive and efficient experience.

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): This measures how long it takes for the largest content element on your page (like a big image or text block) to load.

  • FID (First Input Delay): FID measures the time from when a user first interacts with your page (like clicking a link) to when the browser responds.

  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): CLS measures how much your page’s content moves around as it loads. 

  • INP (Interaction to Next Paint): This metric measures the responsiveness of a website by calculating the time between a user's interaction and the browser's response.

SEO Tools and Technologies

SEO tools are essential for analysing, monitoring, and improving the performance of websites in search engine results. They offer insights into keywords, backlinks, competition, and other aspects that influence SEO.

Web Crawlers and Bots

Web crawlers are automated bots that scan and index website content. They allow search engines to retrieve and display relevant web pages in search results. 

  • Googlebot: This is Google's web crawling bot, used to gather information from websites to update Google Search index. 

  • Bingbot: This is Bing's crawler that scans the internet to gather data for updating Bing's search index.

  • DuckDuckBot: DuckDuckGo's crawler gathers web content for the search engine, emphasising user privacy.

SEO Tools

Different SEO tools offer various functionalities to enhance your website's search engine performance.

  • Screaming Frog SEO Spider: A highly efficient web crawling tool for SEO audits. It can identify broken links, analyse metadata, discover duplicate content, and provide comprehensive SEO insights.

  • DeepCrawl: An enterprise-scale web crawling tool, DeepCrawl helps large websites monitor and improve their site architecture and SEO performance. It is beneficial for large-scale SEO campaigns.

  • Majestic SEO Site Explorer: While primarily a backlink checker, it also provides detailed information about how websites are linked, which is key information gathered by crawlers.

XML Sitemaps

This is not a tool but a crucial file format for SEO. XML sitemaps help crawlers understand your website's structure and content, making it easier for search engines to index your pages.


This is a file website owners use to guide and restrict crawler access to certain parts of their website. It helps in managing the crawling process by search engine bots.

Advanced SEO Concepts and Techniques

Keyword Cannibalisation

Keyword Cannibalisation occurs when multiple pages on the same website compete for the same or similar keywords. This can confuse search engines about which page to rank for a given query, potentially harming the site's SEO performance. It's important to strategically target different keywords on different pages to avoid this issue.

Schema Markup

Schema Markup is a code you put on your website to help search engines return more informative results for users. It’s like giving search engines a clearer roadmap of your site’s content. 

Rich Snippets

Rich snippets enhance the appearance of your search results with extra visuals and information, like star ratings or product prices, making your listing more appealing.

Featured Snippets

These special boxes at the top of search results highlight a piece of content from a website, often providing quick answers to users' questions.

E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)

This is about proving that your website is a trustworthy source, especially for serious topics. These factors determine the credibility of a website, especially for YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) pages.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords

LSI Keywords are terms related to the main keywords in content. They're not just synonyms but include related words and phrases. Using LSI keywords can make content more relevant and engaging, potentially improving search rankings.

Canonical Tag

A canonical tag is an HTML element that helps avoid duplicate content issues in SEO. It indicates the preferred version of a webpage when multiple versions exist. This tag is vital for maintaining SEO integrity, ensuring search engines index the most relevant page.

Breadcrumb Navigation

Breadcrumb navigation shows a page's location in the website hierarchy, enhancing user experience and site navigation. It's beneficial for SEO as it clarifies site structure for search engines and encourages users to explore more, reducing bounce rates.

301 Redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirection from one URL to another. It’s used when a site moves to a new domain or merges pages. It's crucial for maintaining a site's domain authority and search rankings.

SEO Analytics and Performance Metrics

SEO Tools and Analytics

Tools like Google Analytics and SEMrush are invaluable for SEO. They provide insights into traffic, performance, and areas for improvement. Regular analysis of these metrics is key to a successful SEO strategy.

Key Performance Metrics

  • Website Traffic: This refers to the number of people visiting your website. It's like foot traffic in a store – the more, the merrier!

  • CTR (Click-Through Rate): This is the percentage of people who click on a link to your site after seeing it in search results or an ad. It's like measuring how many people stop to look at a shop window and then go inside.

  • Conversion Rate: This measures how often visitors to your site complete a desired action, like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. It’s like tracking how many visitors turn into customers.

  • ROI (Return on Investment): In digital marketing, ROI calculates how much value you get from your marketing efforts compared to what you spend on them.

Competitor Analysis in SEO

Conducting a competitor analysis involves examining the SEO strategies of your top-performing competitors. This process includes analysing their website structure, content quality, keyword usage, backlink profile, and overall online presence.


These are other websites you're jostling with for the top spot in search results.

Keyword Gap Analysis

Keyword Gap Analysis is a method to identify the keywords that your competitors rank for but your website does not. This analysis helps discover untapped opportunities to add valuable keywords to your content strategy.

User Experience (UX) and Local SEO

User Experience (UX)

Creating a website that people love to use is not just good manners; it's good SEO. Happy visitors usually lead to happy search engine rankings. Search engines favour sites that provide a positive user experience.

Local SEO

Local SEO is all about making your business shine in local searches. It's like putting up a digital billboard in your local community. You attract relevant searches when your online presence is optimised for the right audience.

SEO Practices and Ethics

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO refers to deceptive techniques that attempt to exploit search engine algorithms and can lead to website penalties. These practices are considered unethical and can significantly harm a site's long-term presence and credibility in search results.

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO encompasses ethical techniques that adhere to search engine guidelines and prioritise the human audience. These practices aim to provide users quality content and a good user experience, leading to sustainable and reputable website growth.

Grey Hat SEO

Grey Hat SEO sits in the middle ground, involving tactics riskier than White Hat but not as manipulative as Black Hat. While these techniques may not be outright unethical, they tread a fine line and can carry some risk of penalties if not managed carefully.

The Future of SEO

Emerging trends like voice search and AI are shaping the future of SEO. The relationship between SEO and social media is also evolving, offering new avenues for optimisation.

Get Ahead in Your SEO Journey

SEO is an ever-evolving field. Staying updated with the latest trends and understanding both common and uncommon terms are key to maintaining an effective online presence.

Are you ready to navigate the ever-changing world of SEO and harness its full potential for your business? At JRNY Digital, we’re dedicated to guiding you through each step of your SEO journey. Whether you're just starting out or looking to refine your existing strategies, our team of experts is here to provide tailored solutions that align with your unique goals.

Don't miss out on the opportunities SEO can offer. Visit JRNY Digital today to learn more about our services and how we can help you stay ahead in the digital landscape.



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