SEO: the art of being first on Google
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) defines all the actions implemented to improve the positioning of a site on search engines, with Google in the lead. In French, we also speak of natural referencing, because it aims for a place in the organic results of search engines. It is thus distinguished from SEA (Search Engine Advertising), which consists of improving its visibility thanks to advertising placements within search results.
Due to its high stakes, SEO has experienced significant development in recent years and has gained in sophistication. Thus, like any technical field, it has seen a whole range of terms arrive around it, sometimes difficult to understand for the uninitiated. Want to demystify SEO jargon? Here are 20 concepts to know.
20 terms to know about SEO
- Algorithm: Search engines have all implemented an algorithm that aims to prioritize search results based on their relevance. For an SEO professional, the challenge is to implement editorial actions that will go in the direction of what the algorithm favors in order to position yourself well.
- Analytics: to monitor the performance of their SEO actions, professionals use analysis tools. There are two main types: audience analysis solutions (like Google Analytics or Piano Analytics) which track the results of articles and pages, and SEO optimization tools (like Google Search Console or SEMrush), which allow find popular keywords, track positioning or analyze the competition.
- Authority : In SEO language, authority refers to the level of trust and relevance that a website has acquired in the eyes of search engines. Authority level is often linked to the quality and quantity of inbound links. Strong authority improves a site’s ranking in search results.
- Tags: These are essential elements of HTML code in SEO. They structure and give meaning to the content of a web page for search engines. Among the most important are the title tags (title of the page), H1 – H2 – H3… (hierarchy of titles) or meta (additional information). These markers guide the indexing and relevance of content.
- Black Hat SEO: set of techniques that do not comply with search engine content quality guidelines, aimed at artificially improving a site’s ranking. These risky practices can result in penalties. There are many examples: keyword stuffing (keyword stuffing), hidden content, duplicate content, etc. Conversely, White Hat SEO aims to comply with search engine recommendations.
- CMS (Content Management System): CMS are software that allow you to create, edit and organize the content of a website in an intuitive way. In the context of SEO, a CMS allows clear structuring of the site, easier management of tags and effective indexing by search engines. It also offers extensions aimed at supporting writers in creating SEO-optimized content.
- Core Update: Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving. Several times a year, the search engine makes updates in order to promote quality content and penalize those who resort to dishonest practices. The most important global updates are called Core Updates. But there are others, more specific: Spam Update, Helpful Content, Product Reviews Update, etc.
- Crawler: software robot that crawls the web to analyze and index page contents. By following predefined criteria, it collects essential data which is then used by search engines to assess the relevance and quality of a site, and to detect possible anomalies that could affect its SEO. The crawler used by Google is called Googlebot.
- Evergreen: Evergreen content is a type of online content that remains relevant and useful over the long term, unlike short-lived news articles or trends. It covers timeless topics, providing basic information that people search for over time. Evergreen content helps attract continuous traffic for several years.
- Featured snippet: This is a method of presentation of results by Google. Located at the very top of the SERP, its objective is to respond directly to the Internet user’s query, by including the content of the site that he considers most relevant to the question. When a site manages to position itself as a featured snippet, it is said to have reached “position zero”.
- Indexing: process by which search engines analyze and reference the content of a website in their database, in order to integrate it into search results. For site owners, the robots.txt file, placed at the root of the site, lets crawlers know which elements should not be indexed.
- Search intent: this term defines the Internet user’s objective behind his query on a search engine. For an SEO professional, it is essential to understand this intent because it allows content to be optimized to better meet the user’s needs. Search intentions are diverse: search for information, products, desire to access a specific site, etc.
- Long tail SEO: SEO strategy which consists of targeting long queries (composed of more than 3 words), thus targeting a niche audience looking for very specific information. Websites that adopt this approach seek to position themselves on many specific and less competitive queries, in order to benefit from high traffic through accumulation.
- External mesh: set of hypertext links that connect your pages to other sites. Inbound links (backlinks) help strengthen the authority of your site with search engines and increase your traffic. Outbound links improve your site’s popularity because they tell search engines that you are sourcing your information.
- Internal network: the internal link is made up of links that connect the different pages of a website. It is used to improve the structure of the site and make navigation easier for Internet users, which helps limit the bounce rate (percentage of visitors who leave the site after visiting a single page). A good internal link can also facilitate crawler navigation and indicate the most relevant pages.
- Keyword : word or set of words used by Internet users in their queries on search engines. Essential in SEO, keywords allow search engines to understand the relevance of content to the user’s request. Editors and SEO experts incorporate them into content and tags to improve site visibility on specific topics.
- Redirect: practice of directing traffic from one URL to another. It can be used when a page has been deleted, moved or renamed. Redirects help maintain link integrity and avoid 404 errors, while preserving search engine rankings for the destination URL.
- SERP (Search Engine Results Page): results page displayed by a search engine after a user makes a query. It presents a list of links to relevant websites based on the user’s search. SEO is about getting to the top positions in the SERP.
- Sitemap: file, usually in XML format, that lists all the URLs on a website and provides additional information about each URL, such as when it was last modified, how often it is updated, and importance level. Search engines use these sitemaps to explore the relationship between pages and index a site more efficiently.
- Search volume (VR): Search volume is a metric that indicates how many times a keyword (or phrase) is searched on a search engine in a given time period. This metric is crucial in SEO to assess the popularity and demand of keywords. Search volumes are particularly visible within SEO optimization tools.