Search engine optimization (SEO) is a key factor in creating and layout a website if you want people to find you through the search engines. With a majority of the internet traffic starting from search engines, this is critical for most sites. There are a number of articles here on HTMLGoodies that talk about SEO that are worth taking the time to read. Whether you are optimizing your images, setting up effective backlinks, or something else. Once your SEO is in place, it is important to understand the metrics or information that you are provided by the search engines to see if your optimizations worked. In order to understand the metrics, you must understand the terms being used by the search engines. In this article, I'll talk about ten of the core terms you need to understand in order to truly understand SEO.
SEO Term 1: Landing Page
Landing pages are a simple term to understand and likely need not be defined. I landing page is simply a page that a viewer that comes to your site ends up (lands) on. You will generally apply SEO with the intention of driving people to specific landing pages on your site. When you look at analytics for your site, you will often review the numbers for specific landing pages.
SEO SEO Term 2: Visitor
A visitor is generally equated to a person visiting your web site. This is often tracked with the IP address from the visitor's system but might also be tracked by other means such as cookies or authentication. Visitor tracking can vary on its accuracy based on a number of factors including the use private/incognito browsing or due to IP sharing on subnets.
SEO SEO Term 3: Hit
A Hit is a term to be cautious in giving much value. A hit is any request to your web site's server. This can be a visitor, a bot, a crawler, or any other activity that touches the server. In many cases, hits are not from people coming to your site, but rather from automated programs. As such, in many cases, a web page might not be displayed when your site receives a 'hit'. Equally true is that when you load a single page, it could cause multiple hits if you are loading various elements with the page such as images.
SEO SEO Term 4: Page View
A pageview is a hit to an HTML page or other page file on a site. A viewed page can be part of a session and can be composed of multiple hits to the site.
SEO SEO Term 5: Session
A session, or user session, is a single count of all the activity a user with a unique IP address spends on a web site for a set period of time. Note that a person can leave a site and come back and still have it counted as one session if it is within the period of time set by the site. The session time limit is often set to 30 minutes or 30 minutes after the last activity on the site. A single session can have numerous hits and pageviews.
SEO SEO Term 6: Keyword
A keyword is a word or phrase that is used within a search engine. When a keyword or keyword phrase is entered into a search engine, the search engine results page (SERP) is displayed. This page contains links to web sites that are related to the keyword. Because most people use search engines to determine what sites to go to on a topic based on a keyword search, it is important to optimize your site so that the terms on it can be found. It is important to understand that a keyword can actually be a phrase and not just a single word.
SEO SEO Term 7: Click
A click is an action taken by a user on a site. This is generally the selection of a link or advertisement by clicking or selecting it. Clicks are generally associated to Click Through Rates (CTR)
SEO SEO Term 8: Click Through Rate (CTR)
A click through rate (CTR) is an important measurement on sites. It is a measurement of the number of clicks compared to the number of times the clickable item is displayed. The clickable item can be a link, an advertisement, or another feature. For example, if an advertisement is displayed 1000 times, and clicked 20 time, then the click through rate would be 2%. Click through rates are used to show the effectiveness or engagement of a clickable item on a page.
SEO SEO Terms 9 and 10: Traffic: Organic Traffic / Direct Traffic
Organic traffic is traffic that has been directed to your site from search engines. In general, traffic can come directly to your site (direct traffic), from search engines (organic traffic), or from social media and other sites (referral traffic). Organic traffic is important because most people sue search engines when looking for information on a topic. By ranking your keywords in the search engines, you have a better chance of placing higher in the search engine page results (SERP), and thus getting a person to click through to your site. Organic search traffic is a number that indicates the level of traffic from the search engines.
SEO SEO Term 11 and 12: SERP/SERP Ranking
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page and is a page returned when a search query is entered into a search engine. SERP ranking is a value that indicates the placement of a specific search phrase from a search engine. For example, if a search phrase appears 10th in the search page results returned, it would have a SERP rank of 10. A hire SERP ranking generally increases the likelihood someone will click on the result to come to your site.
SEO SEO Term 13: Bounce Rate
The bounce rate on your site is an important statistic to understand because it indicates the number of people who come to your site and then leave without going to any other pages. When combined with the time a person spends on your site's page, it can indicate the level of engagement the page and your site is getting. While it might be that people came to a specific page and then read what was there, it could also mean they came to your page, didn't like what they saw, and then left. In general, most people want to keep people on their site once they are there. Getting someone to click on another piece of content or to navigate through your site indicates that your site is more engaging and thus increases the number of pageviews and hits.
SEO In Summary…
Only thirteen SEO terms were covered in this article. These are among the more important terms for web site developers to understand as they build sites and work with analytics. In a future article, additional terms that you will encounter with SEO will be presented to further your understanding of measuring web sites and web pages.