Understanding your SEO expert and our jargon!
24th March 2020
Have you often found yourself nodding along to your account manager or your SEO expert whilst thinking… what are they talking about? Well, we don’t blame you. The online marketing world is filled with jargon that, to us, makes complete sense.
Words and phrases that we use every day to one another soon become commonplace in our vocabulary, however, it is easy to forget that to someone who doesn’t have their head in the world of SEO and web design all day, it may all seem a little complicated.
So, here is another in our jargon busting series. For those of you already dabbling in the world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), we’re here to help make some of these terms a little more user friendly, or at least try!
If this world is all completely new, you may want to head over to our blog that covers what you can do to improve your SEO in the first instance and why it’s important for your business.
Below we will cover some of the related terms that we like to use in the studio a lot, many of which are an integral part of our digital marketing strategies.
You’ve likely heard many of these terms come from your account manager or SEO expert but it’s perfectly ok to think… huh? We’ve broken them down for you below to try and make them a little more manageable.
First of all, we cover link juice and backlinks.
What is link juice, and what on earth are backlinks?
Link juice refers to the amount of value passed from your website or web page to another, or vice versa. This value is passed via hyperlinks, a link connecting one website or web page with another to lead the user through a journey to a recommended service, product or relevant information. Linking between web pages internally is referred to as crosslinking. Whereas hyperlinks directed from someone else’s website to your own are referred to as backlinks.
Google-bots are constantly scanning to check that your links are genuine and helpful to the user. This in turn, increases your site’s domain authority and trust flow, which all helps to boost your site in Google’s search results.
Each backlink has a relatable value, dependant on its origin. If a link to your website is placed on a poorly ranked or spammy website and directed to yours, the benefit to your own site will be null. In fact, worse than that Google could deem that your website is spammy too and reflect this in your rankings. A backlink that could potentially lead to demotion of rankings or that is seen as spam is referred to as a toxic link.
Most importantly backlinks to your website should be strong, relatable and local sites that have a good domain authority and trust flow. If Google sees your site on local, trusted sites such as localised directories, online press releases and even charities, Google will know that you’re a trusted company within your area and, after all, if Google trusts you, that is going to have a positive effect on your rankings.
What is no-follow and does it affect my rankings?
In partnership with our backlinks and link juice chat (honestly, it’s very exhilarating), we often use the word ‘no-follow’ or ‘follow’. If a backlink is set within the code to show as no-follow, this simply means that your site will receive little or no link juice benefit from it.
That said, even a no-follow link on a very powerful website can be useful in terms of raising your online profile, and a full digital marketing strategy relies on much more than just link-juice.
In fact, we use the no-follow term when we’re building sites. For example, when we include your brand’s Facebook and Instagram link on the site, we will always make these are no-follow links. Simply because Facebook or Instagram does not need any additional strength or link juice to their sites and we especially don’t want them to take yours!
Moving onto something that you’ll likely hear very regularly from us SEO’ers, which is “search”. We’re all about the searches; where you are, how you’re ranking, and even, what searches you’re ranking for.
The Queen of searches. The organic search is where you appear in Google, it covers all of the ‘natural’ positions that sit below the adverts and Google My Business results on the page. Reaching the first page of Google for your search terms (those service-related queries that we all enter into the Google search bar) is a key goal for many of our clients. By growing your sites trust and domain authority, you will steadily climb the organic search results.
By default, there are 10 organic results on each page. Of course, our aim and yours will be to reach the first page, ideally securing one of the coveted top three positions. Aiming always, of course, for first place. Being on the first page for the organic results will have huge gains for your business. However, depending on your business itself and your competition, striving for first place may not be financially viable, which leads us perfectly to ‘Paid Search’.
What is Paid Search?
Paid search, otherwise known as Pay Per Click (PPC) (not to be confused with paper clip which is what a member of our team believed it to be in their first week with us, we’ll leave them unnamed for now!), is where you can pay for every click made, follow searches for certain keywords and search terms, and bid against your competitors.
As mentioned previously, paid search results come up first on all Google searches. Over the years, Google has noticed that making these stand out above the rest hasn’t always led to great results, as a lot of users skip past these, masking them as untrustworthy. However, they are now subtly identified with a simple ‘AD’ next to them, making them harder to distinguish from the organic searches.
Paid searches are great if you’re growing your business or if you have a new site. Organic search can take months to fully flourish, however, paid ads are pretty much instant with a healthy budget and a carefully structured strategy behind them.
Referral and direct searches
When you are running an SEO strategy, it’s important to keep an eye on the referral traffic coming into your site. Referral traffic is anything that has come to your site from areas outside of Google via a backlink. This could be from a directory you’ve been added to, social media or even a press release.
Direct searches used to be defined as users who had put your URL straight into their bar or that had already been bookmarked, therefore usually is made up of existing or returning customers. However, in recent months, SEO experts have identified that direct traffic is increasing in tools such as Google Analytics, even though organic and paid search are also rising.
Upon further investigation, it has been concluded that direct traffic also includes traffic that has purposely been blocked using tags such as ‘no-referrer’ – frequently used by sites providing a backlink – as Google can’t identify who they are due to this tag being used or sources of traffic that Google are unsure of in general. Naturally, websites who have an SEO strategy which includes acquiring backlinks will always identify direct traffic as a prominent source for their traffic.
Now, we will cover a few technical terms;
A responsive site is key when it comes to new website builds or site updates. It’s what gives the user a great experience when they are on the site. Allowing them to browse freely without anything interrupting them or even pushing them to go elsewhere for a better experience. If you’ve ever been on a site where there is a lot of scrolling left and right to read the text, then this page is not responsive. And, it’s pretty frustrating too! A responsive site is designed to auto fit any sized screen, whether that is a Mac, an iPhone or a tablet. Your website will automatically fit these sizes, being completely free of any horizontal scrolling and reading. With websites these days, it’s an absolute must.
If your site has gone through some changes but it doesn’t seem to look quite right from the device you are viewing it, you may be asked to perform a hard refresh. A hard refresh is a forced load, this will force the page to update to the latest version of itself. Sometimes, when changes are made the page won’t update itself due to caching (items being stored from previous visits so that they load quickly in future, see below), so we may ask you to do a hard refresh to clear this.
How to do a hard refresh
To do a hard refresh on Chrome simply right click your refresh button and select ‘empty cache and hard reload’ from the dropdown. Or, you can also press cmd, shift and the R key at the same time if you’re a Mac user, if you’re using Windows, you can use ctrl and then the F5 button. And, if you’re using Safari, you can do a hard refresh by hitting alt/opt on your keyboard followed with cmd + E.
When you visit a website, your device downloads data from that site to help speed up the process for when you next return, instead of downloading all the files again. Because of this, when changes are made to a site, it’s important to complete a hard refresh, as above, so that the new files and changes are downloaded and not the old ones that have already been cached.
And that nicely wraps up our technical jargon terms. If your brain isn’t a little bit frazzled by now, we would be surprised, but if you are up for more why not head over to another jargon buster – what is bounce rate?
We hope our jargon series helps you find your way through what can seem like a daunting world.
That said, we always try our best to cut the nonsense when it comes to our clients, so you can navigate through digital marketing with ease allowing you to focus on your business, whilst we concentrate on your growth.
Call us today to learn more about how our team can support your business growth on 01603 859007.