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Basic SEO Terminology

One of the reasons Search Engine Optimisation seems so complex is that it there are so many technical terms used. This section explains the most commonly used SEO terminology that SEO experts use from time to time so you feel confident when dealing with SEO consultants and SEO agencies.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

This is a set of techniques and processes used by a SEO Specialist to improve your website’s rankings in the search engines for a particular set of keywords, or keyword phrases. Of course, the real goal is to increase targeted website traffic in hopes of generating new leads and business.

Studies have proven that the top 1-4 listings get 60% of the traffic than the others found on the page.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM stands for “Search Engine Marketing” which refers to buying paid ads and paid “inclusions” from the search engines. This is paying a search engine company for a guarantee that the website will be included in the search.

SEM is similar to SEO but focuses less on natural rankings and more on the actual promotion of a website. SEM techniques generally include natural SEO techniques but almost always branches out to include contextual or paid search advertising.

Search Engine Results Page (SERPs)

SERPs stands for “Search Engine Results Pages”. Basically, it’s the page that is returned to you whenever you use a search engine. The goal of SEO is to improve your web page’s ranking amongst the other “organic” listings in the SERPs and your competitors.


A keyword and keyword phrases are set of words and phrases that are searched upon by internet users in general. What it means for you is that these are the words internet users will use to look for a product or a service that you offer. The goal of the SEO Consultant to determine which keywords and phrases are most relevant to your website/business and are likely to bring you targeted website traffic.

These keyword phrases are then used in the optimisation process so you can rank higher than your competitors as they will be suing exactly the same or similar words themselves! A proper Keyword Research is where the SEO process starts. Get this wrong and you will end up wasting all your time, effort and money.


Defining backlinks is a challenge only because there are a variety of other terms that mean basically the same thing. You may also hear them referred to as text links, anchor text links, hypertext links, one-way links or contextual links.

A backlink occurs whenever another site links to yours. The link could come from an image or banner type graphic or it could be a linked piece of text. For SEO purposes, the text links are of primary importance with the goal being to get links that include the keyword phrases you are optimising for.