SEO Tips: 10 SEO Terms You Should Know About

What is a backlink? What is 404 error? What’s the difference between 301 & 302 redirect?… If you are a business that delegated the SEO activities to an SEO agency, then you have definitely asked about, or maybe checked on Google, the meaning of some of these terms. Well, as an SEO company, we were approached by several of our clients in order to clarify some of the “technical” words used in our reports and recommendations.

For this, we decided to make it easier on everyone by creating a not-so-technical guide for 10 SEO terms everyone should know about.

Let’s start..

1. 301 vs 302 redirect: 301 redirect is a permanent redirect of a page, stating that it no longer exists and that it has been moved to another location, to another URL. A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect, which informs search engines that the page, for a reason or another, does not currently exist but will be back later on. Asking yourself what is the difference in terms of impact? Well, we advise you to always use the 301 redirect for a simple reason: it is more SEO friendly than the 302 redirect.

2. 404 not found error: When you or your website’s visitors see this error, it means that the page no longer exists, and hasn’t been transferred to another page either. In another term, neither a 301 nor a 302 redirect has been used. If the page removed doesn’t have another related page to redirect to, use one of these solutions: 1) create a 301 redirect to the homepage, 2) build a creative 404 page giving the option for the visitors to choose where to go.

3. Alt text: It’s a description of an image allowing visitors facing visual issues to understand what the picture is about. While this seems not really important, it is advised that every image on a site has an alt text, not only for visitors, but for search engines also. It helps them know what the image is about in order to show it in search queries.

4. Anchor text: It’s the text used on a page that links to another page. Generally, an anchor text is recognizable by being dark blue and underlined. It helps both search engines and visitors understand the destination page once clicking on the anchor text.

5. Canonical URL: It’s a tag that tells search engines which is the original URL of the page, in case of duplicate content. Normally, having duplicate content harms SEO, however, in some cases, it’s not really an issue. For example, in an ecommerce website, the same product can be accessed through different URLs, so here comes the role of the canonical URL to set things straight and point out the original one.

6. Backlinks: These are links present on other websites that lead to yours. This is one of the most important SEO practices and is part of the off-page optimization of a website. The number of backlinks to your website reveals its popularity. However, be careful, as backlinks acquired in an unethical way can actually harm your website ranking instead of benefiting it.

7. Black hat: Talking about unethical, black hat refers to improper techniques used to empower the ranking of a website. The most common tactics considered black hat by search engines are spamming and keyword stuffing.

8. Google Panda: It seems that Google loves animals for naming their algorithm updates accordingly. Panda is an update launched in 2011 that favors high-quality content over low-quality content. In other terms, websites with high-quality content have a better chance to appear before websites with low-quality content on search results.

9. Google Penguin: Even though penguins are cute and harmless animals, Google Penguin can hurt your website badly. It’s also a Google algorithm update, introduced a year after the Panda update, that has the role to punish websites with backlinks acquired with black hat techniques.

10. Google Hummingbird: Not sure if Google is still a search engine or it turned into a zoo. Google Hummingbird is another algorithm update introduced in 2013, that focuses on understanding the real purpose and the exact information needed behind a search query.

These 10 terms give you a better understanding of SEO jargon and can help you improve your website’s results. However, this is only a basic guide, and, as you know by now, SEO is way more than just that. Let us know whenever you encounter a recurrent term that isn’t in this list, and if found appropriate, we will add it.

6 SEO best practices for ecommerce

It is no longer a secret that the ecommerce business in the Arab world is growing significantly on a yearly basis. Recently, Payfort generated a detailed ecommerce report, stating that the number of online buyers in the region increased by 14% between 2014 and 2015. This growing opportunity is encouraging retailers to join the trend of selling their products online. As a web agency with an experience that made us to create a cost-effective ecommerce solution, we advise every retailer in the region to consider selling online.

Merchants are aware of this trend, so sooner or later the competition will grow further more. Therefore, shop owners would want to gain an advantage over the competition. In order to build a successful online store , an investment in marketing should be done, and more specifically, in search engine optimization (SEO). (Learn more about what is SEO).

But what are the best SEO practices for ecommerce websites to succeed in selling online?

Designing a website focusing on user experience
Every once in a while, Google introduces a new algorithm update that makes website owners and SEO experts flip out. The ultimate purpose of these changes is to oblige web design and development companies to build websites that focus on user experience. You are probably asking yourself about the meaning of this. Well, briefly, it’s about developing an appealing, easy to use, engaging user interface that is adapted to different screens (desktop, mobile, tablet). In the digital industry, we call this responsive web design. Once an ecommerce website meets all these criteria, it would be easier for visitors to browse it, thus its chances to appear on search engines first results page increases.

Investing in keywords research
Keywords define the content of the website. They are what users search for on Google in order to find a product. Therefore, optimizing the website by inserting keywords in the content helps its ranking. But how to know what people are typing in the search bar? There are several tools that will help you find out, and the most used one is Google Keyword Planner. Spend some time researching and selecting a batch of highly searched keywords to include on your website.

Finding relevant backlinks
One of the most important SEO practices is having links on other websites that redirect to yours. This shows search engines how popular the website is which gives a boost in the ranking. There are several ways to have backlinks to your ecommerce site: enticing product reviews, giving interviews, finding broken links, and blogging.

Generating content constantly
If you have been curious about SEO before, then you have definitely heard of the expression “content is king”. This statement got familiar when Google started giving an important part to high-quality content. Following this, creating interesting content became indispensable for any website, as it has a big weight on search engines ranking. The best way to do so is by blogging which allows you to gain backlinks, educate your target market, and gather social media engagement.

Using social media
Almost everybody is on social media. According to the same Payfort report, between 85% and 90% of internet users in the region are present on the different social networks, especially Facebook. Even though Google+ is still far from competing with Facebook, being active on this platform can benefit your Google ranking. Until today, there are still many debates as if social activities are directly related to SEO or not. But one thing is sure, as long as your website is being popular on the different social networks, it must have, at least, an indirect impact on your ranking. To boost the social interactions, include social media sharing buttons on the products pages and blog articles of your website.

Adding rich snippets
Rich snippets are additional information published in the search results like the rating of a product, the reviews…etc. The rich snippets give more details about the ecommerce website which help internet users better understand what to expect. How do they affect SEO? Whether rich snippets affect SEO or not is still a debatable subject. However, they definitely do affect clicks to your website which implies to more visitors, showing that it is relevant to the search made on the Google. And that’s how it can help the ranking.

Applying these 6 SEO practices for your ecommerce website gets you closer to the top search results, thus to success. However, these are definitely not the only practices to do. To stand out of the competition, a continuous effort must be done. But don’t worry, all YOU need to do is delegate the work to an SEO company that will take care of these points and more.