5 Basic SEO Terms Every Small Business Owner Should Know

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Search engine optimization or SEO is advantageous in improving the ranking of your website or web page in search engine results. Knowing the basics of SEO is something that small business owners who prefer to manage their online marketing themselves can benefit from. If you own a startup business and are interested in learning how to apply SEO techniques to increase your website’s online visibility, it is best to familiarize yourself with a few of the commonly used terms in SEO. Let’s start with these five basic terms – keywords, title tag, SERP, quality content, and black hat SEO.


A keyword is a word or phrase that a user types in a search engine’s search box. There are two types of keywords – short tail and long tail. Short tail keywords are general and are made up of just one or two words. Long tail keywords, on the other hand, are more specific and may be comprised of several words. A search for “flower shop” is an example of a short tail keyword, while a search for “flower shops in Chicago” is considered a long tail keyword.

Using relevant keywords that are frequently used on search engines on your website helps your site rank for those terms. Performing a keyword research will help ensure that you are using the right keywords that have the most potential to drive traffic to your website. Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a great resource for acquiring relevant keywords which have the most search volume.

Title Tags

A title tag is an SEO tag that search engines use to classify a web page. The title tag on your business site should be limited to 70 characters, including spaces. If your title tag goes beyond this limit, this will be shown on the search engine results page as a partial title and might not be chosen among other options whose title tags are displayed as a full title.

Adding relevant keywords within the title tag strengthens the SEO of its web page, giving it higher placement on search engine results pages. Choose keywords that are most frequently used within the content of that web page. Leading search engines check the keywords and key phrases used within the title tag, and if these do not match the keywords on its corresponding web page search engines can penalize your site.

5 Basic SEO Terms Every Small Business Owner Should Know


SERP or search engine results page is the page that appears after a user performs a query in a search engine. Major search engines like Google and Bing categorize content on the SERP according to type, such as web, news, images, videos, and maps.

You will know of your business is using the right SEO tactics if you are showing on the first few SERPs. To track the performance of your website in the SERPs, use a rank tracking software that will monitor where your web pages rank on SERPs for different words.

Quality Content

SEO is not just about having relevant keywords and phrases on a web page. These should be complemented with quality content in order for a website or web page to rank well in search engines. A quality web page is one that has unique content free of spelling and grammatical errors that its readers find useful and share-worthy. Quality content is able to catch the readers’ attention, make them more likely to stay on a web page longer and check out other pages on the same website, and share this with their social networks.

Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO refers to the manipulation of search engine results to give a website or web page a high ranking. This method does not apply the above mentioned approaches and violates search engine guidelines, also known as an algorithm. Search engines do not tolerate black hat SEO practices. Google, for instance, may de-index a website caught practicing black hat SEO, so this site ceases to appear in search results. An example of black hat SEO is keyword stuffing, wherein a site owner deliberately adds a high percentage of keywords in the page content.

By knowing the basic terms in SEO and understanding what is acceptable what is not, you are now ready to delve deeper into the many ways you can strengthen your online presence through your website and other online marketing strategies. While there are a lot of online resources you can use, signing up for SEO training and getting a ClickMinded SEO Certification will greatly help give you the proper techniques and the confidence to manage your internet marketing strategies.

Michelle Rubio is an experienced SEO copywriter and blogger since 2010. She has been working with various businesses, big and small, in the United States, UK, Canada, and Australia. You can see more of her works and experiences in her LinkedIn profile.