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SEO jargon explained

SEO Jargon Explained

The SEO world is rife with abbreviations and acronyms, some of which can be confusing at times. Especially if you’re new to the SEO game and trying to make a stamp on the digital world with your website.

Not to worry, however. We’ve taken the liberty of putting all the relevant terms you’ll need for your SEO schooling in one place so you can know exactly what’s what as you learn. Knowing the meaning of these terms will make understanding the topic a lot easier.

If you’re looking for some resources on how SEO works, check out our articles on:

SEO jargon

These are the terms you are likely to encounter while learning about SEO. Again, knowing the SEO jargon will make assimilating information about the topic a lot easier.

Alt text

Alternative text. This is the HTML text that describes an image. Search engines check these and not the image itself, but don’t think keyword stuffing would benefit you with Alt text. It also helps blind people access the image if they are using a screen reader.

The alt text box in WordPress allowing for an image to be described
The alt text box in WordPress allowing for an image to be described

Anchor text

Text with a link to a different page or website. Usually the text will appear blue, and purple if you have visited the link already. Anchor text is a much neater way of directing someone to a website without disrupting the flow of a sentence. A rand “ would be less pleasing on the eye than blue text.

An example of anchor text from the HOSTAFRICA blog
An example of anchor text from the HOSTAFRICA blog


The process search engines use to browse and index the internet. Think of it as a librarian moving at hyper speed checking every website for new additions and content before putting them in the appropriate section (or indexing).

External link

A link that takes the user to a page on a different website. These are especially good for your website authority if you can get other websites to link back to yours. It also has the benefit of making your content act as a resource for all related information.

Boxes with the answer to a user’s query that appear at the top of search results. These may not necessarily be the website that has top spot on a SERP, but the content is so relevant and digestible that it’s displayed in such a way. Google usually pulls graphics or direct answers of some sort that saves the user from heading into any of the websites.

An example of a featured snippet showing the world's biggest spider
An example of a featured snippet showing the world’s biggest spider


The point on a website that is cut off on a user’s screen. Basically, anything on a page that a user needs to scroll to. It’s important to have the most relevant information before the fold.


Web crawler software that Google uses to gather information from the internet and index it. Essentially, the librarian we mentioned earlier that does the crawling.


Text on a website that has a heading tag such as H1 or H2. Besides the obvious point of it helping readers map different sections, it also helps Googlebot with the same. Although Googlebot and a website visitor will be taking different notes about the H1s and H2s.

An H1 and H2 showing the scale of the two headings in context

Image carousel

Images on websites or in some search results that are scrollable from left to right.

An image carousel of poisonous snakes on Google SERPs
An image carousel of poisonous snakes on Google SERPs

Indexed pages

Pages on a website that have been added to a search engines database. What happens when the digital librarian has read through a website’s content and determined how it shapes up in terms of content, relevancy, and experience.


In SEO, intent is what the user really wants when typing words into a search bar. Some people may only search for a single word, while others may use a phrase that is a bit more specific, but both could be looking for the same thing.

Internal link

A link that takes you to a page on the same website. An example would be this link talking about how to start your own blog we wrote.


A word a used to find a specific website, product, or service in a search engine. If you’re searching for mountain water in your area, then “mountain water” is the keyword. Nobody searches for mountain water by typing “elevated ground precipitation”.

Keywords for mountain water and the related terms of Google search
Keywords for mountain water and the related terms of Google search

Keyword stuffing

An SEO tactic that involves overusing important keywords and their variations in a piece of content. This method is heavily punished by Google.


Key performance indicator. A value that can be measured to show well a particular activity is in achieving a goal. This works especially well with stats as growth can be seen when looking at the numbers and what was implemented at what time.

Lazy loading

When the loading of a resource such as an image or graph is deferred until needed. This helps speed up the loading process and is much less taxing on slower devices. It’s especially useful for mobile devices.

Earning links to your website by creating stellar content that in turn build your website’s authority. People only link to and reference content that offers real value. That’s the first place you’d need to start at if you’re planning a link-building campaign.

Long tail keyword

A type of keyword with two or more words that are more specific than the standard keywords for a query. For example, “mountain water” might give you general locations on where to find water in mountainous areas, but “mountain water Drakensberg” will likely give you specific spots on where to find water in the Drakensberg.

A long tail keyword on Google showing a more specific answer for a query
A long tail keyword on Google showing a more specific answer for a query

Meta description

A description less than 160 characters describing what a page is about, usually shown on Google’s results page below the title of a search result. The description can be more than 160 characters, but it’s cut off after that so 160 or less is the standard.


In the context of SEO, it refers to website traffic that occurred naturally as opposed via paid advertisements. If people were searching for something and your website popped up in the SERPs, you would likely receive organic traffic.

Rich snippet

A snippet is the short title and description preview that Google shows in search results. A rich snippet shows a more detailed version of a particular result usually including structured data of some sort. This can be in the form of a rating, prices, or event times and location.

HOSTAFRICA VPS rich snippet on Google
An example of a rich snippet for HOSTAFRICA

The number of times a specific keyword or set of keywords was searched. When trying to rank on Google, it’s a good idea to rank for keywords with a smaller search volume to start, unless your website already has a high level of authority.


Search engine results page. The page that you see after you query something in a search engine.

Title tag

An element of HTML that is usually seen as the name of a particular page. The title tag of this page is “SEO Jargon Explained | HOSTAFRICA”.

title tag How to rank high on Google: on-page SEO


Now that you have a better understanding of SEO jargon, we hope implementing changes, conveying ideas and problems, and learning about topics within this niche will be a lot more simplistic. If you’re new to web hosting, check out our glossary blogpost on website hosting jargon.

The Author

Ashwin S.

Alphabets are a random collection of symbols that, when put in a certain order, convey a specific meaning. We use our senses to understand this meaning. When we become immersed in the symbols' meaning, we're under the illusion that it's real - we hallucinate after looking at the symbols. Thus, I create hallucinations, using arbitrary symbols. In other words, I'm a writer. I've been a part of the Marketing Team since 2021 and am responsible for much of the text content HOSTAFRICA produces.

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