Utilizing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Part 1: Understanding Basic SEO Definitions

Utilizing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Part 1: SEO Definitions

Our in-house SEO Specialist, Dustin de Koekkoek, is back to share a valuable new blog series on understanding basic SEO to help your site reach the highest ranks of Google searches! The first step to mastering SEO? Learning what some of the main phrases and keywords mean using this basic SEO guide!

SEO Definitions: Meta Information & Keywords

When planning to do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your site, it is important to note that there are some basic SEO techniques to follow in order for your efforts to maximize their effects. This week, let’s start with SEO definitions of common words you will see used often in the SEO world:

What is a Keyword?

A keyword is a word or phrase that you choose to match what you believe users are searching for and are relevant to your site and its content. It is important to choose keywords for your SEO strategy that will have the most impact on searchers and are as relevant and descriptive as possible. For example, if your store sells running shoes, it is against your best interest to attempt to rank for keywords such as “shoes” or “running” and it would not make much sense to attempt to rank for keywords such as “clothes” or “sandals”. These are too vague and general, and the search volume for such keywords is often in the hundreds of thousands to millions of searches per month. Choosing the right keywords is one of the best basic SEO techniques you could implement into your SEO strategy!

But more people searching for a keyword is better for my visibility isn’t it? The short answer to this is no.

The reason for this is because there are so many searches for general keywords, industry giants such as Nike, Adidas, and Zappos will most likely dominate the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) as they are an established, worldwide brand that people associate with shoes. It is better to attempt to target “long tail” keywords that are longer, have lower search volumes, and lower competition from advertisers. The majority of searches made (over 70%) are made within the long tail. 

SEO Search Demand CurveImage courtesy of

A good example of a long tail keyword that is related to running shoes would be “outdoor running shoes” or “yellow outdoor running shoes”. Although less people may be searching for these keywords, they are more likely to be ready to purchase as they are searching for specific types of running shoes as opposed to the more general “shoes” search which may be to simply browse shoes.

What are Meta Tags?

Meta Tags are what can be found within the coding of your site. Also known as Meta Elements, they are HTML elements used to provide structured data about what can be found within a web page. These elements are placed as tags in the head section of an HTML document which is what a website is comprised of. This includes the Meta Title, H1 Tag, Meta Description, Meta Keywords, and Alt Tags.

Meta Title - What appears at the top of your browser or tab and is the first thing that Google will see. The Meta title carries the most SEO power as it is also what users will refer to first when looking at the SERP.

Meta Title Example

H1 Tag - The “heading” tag or page heading that appears on the page itself and is used by search engines to rank a page. These headings are given a separate attribute, or tag, to the main body of text on a page.

H1 Tag Example

Meta Description - The small block of text you see underneath the Meta Title on the SERP – this is not crawled by search engines, but it is still important as it could draw a user into your site based on how descriptive and relevant it is to a searcher’s query.

Meta Description Example

Meta Keywords - The keywords you select to use for each individual page your website has. These are used to describe your page to Google; They  are NOT visible to users landing on your page.

Meta Keywords Example

Alt Tags - Used to describe to Google what an image on the page looks like. Unlike you and me, Google cannot see an image – it only sees a blank area when an image is posted on a web page. Because of this, we use the alt tag on images to utilize text to describe to Google what the image is about, allowing Google to index it and allow it to appear in search engine results for images.

Alt Tag Example

To begin understanding SEO it is important to have a general knowledge on the basic elements of what SEO’s work with. The above definitions will help begin your journey into the SEO world and get a handle on what exactly happens behind the scenes of a website!

By: Dana Nevins


Next Week: Check out Part 2 of our SEO Series where Dustin will dive into Conducting Keyword Research!

  • Posted on   09/23/13 at 11:53:07 AM   by Chris  | 
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