Do You Know These 10 SEO Terms?

Blog SEO Gloss

Basic Terms to Help Move You up the Rankings

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting a website to rank highly on a search engine’s result page using natural and non-paid means. With almost every man, woman and tween using search engines to find what they need, companies are investing more and more time and effort into SEO to boost their rankings.

If you’re looking to move up in the rankings but don’t know where to start, WhiteSpace has compiled a glossary of some top SEO terms and how to utilize them.

Black Hat

Black hat refers to unethical SEO practices like spamdexing or using hidden text to boost your ranking on search engines. Black Hat SEO has been around for a while and is used by people trying to make a quick buck by having their website rank very highly for a short period of time. These practices are explicitly forbidden in the Google Webmaster Guidelines and a bad way to get long-term high rankings, since they will almost always lead to your webpage being banned if Google catches on. Wondering if something would be considered Black Hat? A good rule of thumb is, don’t do anything that obviously deceives people or makes you think, “should I be doing this?”


Breadcrumbs are small text paths on a website that allow visitors to easily see where they are. If you’re on a website shopping for clothes, you’ll probably start by choosing your sex, then the type of clothing, then your size, color preference, etc. The breadcrumbs will show each of those steps so you’ll know exactly where you are and how to get back to the previous page. Using breadcrumbs is a great way to clearly direct users around your site and keep them on it. This can, in turn, lower your bounce rate since users can easily find the information they’re looking for on your site instead of heading back to Google.

Cornerstone Content

Cornerstone content is a webpage on your site that’s the cream of the crop. It’s extremely informative and updated regularly. Based on the size of your site, you could have one to five pieces of cornerstone content. Say your business sells blenders and one blender is by far your most popular and lucrative. It would be a good idea to make an informational page about it as a piece of cornerstone content. Make sure to regularly link back to cornerstone content when writing about anything related to it.


A keyword is any word or phrase that people search for. If you’re writing a blog post about the best creative marketing agency in Akron, you’re probably going to want to rank for “Marketing Agency Akron” or something close to it. (But let’s be real, you don’t need Google for that one, amirite?) To rank for keywords, you’ll need to use them in your post copy. Be warned though, stuffing your content with keywords when they’re not relevant can be more hinderance than help. Google recently changed its algorithm to feature content that’s more relevant to searchers, not just keyword-heavy results.

Keyword Research 

This refers to the process of finding relevant information on keywords you’re interested in ranking for. It’s a must if you want to maximize your potential ROI by not wasting time trying to rank for a keyword that has too much competition or very little traffic. Google Keyword Planner is a free service that lets you search popular keywords in your field.

Longtail Keyword

These are more specific keywords that are geared toward a niche market. Since longtail keywords are (get this) longer than other keywords, ranking higher for them can be easier. Utilizing longtail keywords is especially useful for smaller brands that can stake their claim on the first page of Google without having to spend huge amounts of time and effort competing with the big guys for something like “used car” or “fast food.” Think “shoes” vs “women’s black open-toed shoes.”

Meta Tags

Though there are technically four types of meta tags, the type people most commonly refer to are meta description tags. These are the small snippets of text that come up on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) under the title of your page. You can choose what meta tag is displayed by adding a bit of HTML code to the back end of your page. Make sure these snippets will grab the reader’s attention and have them somewhere between 160 and 180 characters so users can quickly see what the page is about before they click.

Organic Ranking

Organic ranking is your place on the search engine results page due to keyword usage, search topic relevancy, website traffic and publish date. Since investment in SEO vs paid advertising is shown to yield higher ROI for companies, prioritizing ranking organically is a more solid way to attack rankings. Who wants to spend more money, anyway?

Paid Ranking

This refers to placing at the very top of Google’s (or any other search engine’s) results page because of direct payment. It’s not a bad route to go, especially if you’ve got the budget and don’t have the time to put into ranking organically. One downside is that there will be a disclaimer next to your result stating that it's an ad. However, "pay per click" (PPC) campaigns frequently yield the highest ROI for clients.

Did you catch all that? Good, pop quiz! Kidding, but if you’re ready to take your brand’s SEO efforts to the next level, drop us a line and we’ll get you there.

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