13 Essential SEO Terms Explained

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a bit intimidating when you first start learning about it. There’s just way too much jargon for most new website owners to keep track of at first. But with a few explanations, just about anyone can utilize SEO to increase their website rankings.

That’s where this handy list comes into play. Here are 13 of the most crucial SEO terms (in alphabetical order) and why they matter when it comes to building a successful website.

Anchor text

Anchor text is the active text portion of a link. For example, in the previous sentence, the phrase “of a link” is the anchor text.


Backlinks are also known as inbound links, and are any links on another website that direct a user back to yours.

Domain name

A domain name is the address of your website. For example, the domain name of this website is “WordPress.com.”


HTML is a coding language in which your website is written. Search engines view web pages as blocks of HTML code. Try to keep your HTML clean and error-free. Luckily, if your website runs on WordPress.com, you already have that part taken care of by the software itself.


Indexing is the process of adding your site and its content to a search engine’s index. Search engines like Google take web pages from indexes to determine how to rank them in search results.


Most commonly, a keyword is the phrase that you want your web page to rank for in search engine results. If you want one of your web pages to appear when people search for “how to plan a wedding,” then your keyword would be exactly that: “how to plan a wedding.”

Link building

Link building is the process of convincing other websites (and their owners) to link back to your website. Link building is a crucial element of SEO. It’s harder to achieve an optimal place in search engine results if other websites don’t link back to yours.


This is a file that lets search engines know which areas of your website are off-limits to them. It comes into play when you want to prevent search engines from indexing non-public pages, such as your admin pages or restricted user-only pages.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization is the practice of making your website and its content more friendly (optimized) for search engines. SEO isn’t a single thing that you do, but a set of smaller actions and tasks which, when put together, contribute to your site’s optimization.

SEO can be divided into:

  • On-page SEO — everything you do within your website to make it rank better, including optimizing your content and improving the structure of the site.
  • Off-page SEO — everything you do outside of your site, like link building.

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

These are pages that are generated whenever someone searches for a particular phrase on a search engine. Ultimately, earning a good spot for your website on the SERPs is the primary goal of SEO.


A document that maps out your website and all the pages that your website consists of. Most commonly, it’s a simple file listing the URLs on your website.

This document is meant to show search engines where all of your pages are located, which helps them index your website more efficiently.


A search engine spider is a piece of web software that scours the internet, looks for new websites, gathers information about them, and sends everything back to the search engine index.


A URL is the complete web address of a web page. For example, this article about WordPress.com storage has the following URL:


That sums up our quick list of essential SEO terms that every website owner should know. You’re now equipped to start optimizing, and although it may seem like a bit of work, it’s worth it.

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