For many businesses, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or organic search is the first building block in their marketing strategy. And for good reason. SEO can be very cost-effective advertising. SEO is always “on”, it does not need to be scheduled. Even if you are out of money it still works. So what do all of those SEO Terms mean and how do they apply to a good strategy?

Many SEO experts break organic search into 3 components, On-Site Optimization, Content and Off-Site Authority. The following are some of the terms you need to know in order to develop your SEO Strategy.

On-Site Optimization

Crawling – Search engines regularly review, or “Crawl” your website. They start with the website architecture, looking to see what the site is about and how it is organized. When sites are properly organized, search engines

Meta Descriptions/Title Tags – Title tags and meta descriptions are bits of HTML code in the header of a web page. They help search engines understand the content on a page The title tag is the title element of a web page that summarizes the content found on a page. The description tag is intended to be a short summary of the content found on the web page. A page’s title tag and meta description are usually shown whenever that page appears in search engine results.

Mobile Optimization – Mobile optimization is the process of adjusting your website content to ensure that visitors that access the site from mobile devices have an experience customized to their device. A properly optimized mobile site should load quickly, have plenty of quality content and be easy to navigate. Google now ranks sites based on their mobile optimization first, not desktop, so this is critical.

Site Speed – Site speed or Page load time is the time it takes to download and display the entire content of a web page in the browser window. (Time is measured in seconds.) This is another metric that Google uses to rank websites, especially mobile site speed. According to Google 53% of web visits will bounce if load speed is greater than 3 seconds.


Content – Content is the information contained in a website. This can include copy on pages, images, Video, blogs and more. Good content will keep the reader engaged, and often times it will be shared.

Keyword Research – The process of understanding what a person who searches for your product or service types into the query bar. Are certain terms or phrases used repetitively. Obviously, if you are a copywrite lawyer the words “copywrite lawyer” and “copywrite attorney” will be used frequently. Will people also search for “intellectual property attorney” or “trademark attorney”? By understanding user intent you can build out the keywords that you target for SEO.

Keyword Stuffing – This is the practice of loading a page with keywords in an attempt to manipulate Google’s ranking system. While you want to use the words that best describe your business or service, using them repetitively in an attempt to game a Search Engine is dangerous. Search Engine bots crawl websites and when they see a keyword used too often, they then penalize the page and site. If it is really bad they can even remove the site from searches completely.

Off-Site Authority

Off-Site Authority refers to Optimizing for off-site ranking factors involves improving search engine and user perception of a site’s popularity, relevance trustworthiness and authority.

Anchor Text – Anchor Text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. In modern browsers, it is often blue and underlined. Search engines use external anchor text (text other pages use to link to your site) as a reflection of how other people view your page

Links – Building backlinks is the key to Off-Site SEO(Search Engine Optimization). Backlinks are links from one website back to another. When search engines see a lot of backlinks to a site they feel that the site has valuable content and is an authority. While Google does not acknowledge Domain or Page Rank they do allow that they consider Back Links a critical component to SEO rankings.

As one can see from this small list of definitions there are a number of factors that go into a successful SEO campaign. Organic Search ranking is a process that takes time. It also requires several skill sets. Some companies have the time and wherewithal to manage SEO in-house. Others hire a Digital Agency to assist them with some or all SEO components.