Understanding these important search engine optimization terms and definitions will help you with your search engine optimization strategy.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – is the combined use of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search engine advertising (SEA). Think of it as an all-inclusive “search” strategy to attain maximum online visibility for your website, brand, products, and services.

Search Engine Optimization – Search engine optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is the systematic process of optimizing your website and its pages to achieve top organic rankings at search engines.

Relevancy – the condition of being relevant to a search performed; the search returns the best results (in theory!). In the search engine optimization world, it means content that is most likely going to closely match the search performed by someone, and thereby deliver the best or most relevant answer to their query. Many factors go into determining relevancy and you’ll learn about all of them, their importance, and how they are differently weighted in search engine algorithms, in this program.

Search Engine Ranking Algorithm – a set of rules search engines use to analyze online content and thereby rank it in the results on a search engine results page (SERP).

Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – a listing of website pages returned to a user’s browser after a search is performed using a search engine. Most search engine results pages show 10 listings by default, but also offer page 2, 3, 4, etc.

Crawlers (or Bots) – search engines use computerized programs to scan the Internet, visit website pages, and analyze the content of those pages. They collect information and place it in a database, often referred to as the index.

Index – a big database of information, in this case a database of information about websites and their web pages. The process of search engine indexing is the process of collecting, analyzing, parsing, and then storing information to facilitate fast and accurate retrieval based on the search engine’s ranking algorithm and the search query.

Keywords and Keyword Phrases – a word or combination of words that describe your website, brand, products, and services. Keywords and keyword phrases are a fundamental part of the search engine optimization process and critically important to your success.

Organic Rankings – rankings in a search engine that show up as a result of the search engine optimization process, not advertising, sponsored or paid placement.