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Local SEO: The Definitive Guide

SEO experts promise to grow your business by helping people find you around the world…

But what if you don’t need everyone to find you?
What if you’re only concerned with targeting people who live and work where you do?


That’s where local SEO comes in. It can stack the odds in your favor, increasing the chances of the right people finding you in their online searches. Local SEO offers incredible opportunities – and unique challenges – that make it a completely different animal than “standard” SEO.

Raising local awareness online starts with a smart strategy. If you’re willing to execute, you can quickly pull ahead of competitors and emerge as a top player in your area.

Keep reading to find out how.

Local SEO Guide: Getting Started

The first steps to making local SEO work for you are: 1) getting a handle on what local SEO is, and 2) confirming it’s a good fit for your business. There are a lot of aspects to consider regarding these two steps, as local SEO isn’t necessarily ideal for everyone, though it is useful for many types of brick and mortar businesses. Here we’ll help you determine if local SEO is right for you, and detail how it can further help your business grow.

What Is Local SEO?

In a nutshell, local SEO is a strategy to drive more business using online search engines. “SEO” is short for search engine optimization, specific strategies to increase website visitors by boosting your ranking in online search engines. “Local” is just the specific kind of SEO strategy: one designed to cater to a limited geographic area.

Local SEO strategies usually target a combination of keywords and names of cities or towns. A plumber, for instance, might target the phrase “Atlanta plumber.” If your business has multiple locations, you can always target different markets simultaneously.

[Tweet “Drive more business with #SEO. How to Do #Local SEO: The Definitive Guide – via @clickxio”]

Is Local SEO Right for My Business

The Internet has created the potential to acquire customers no matter where they live. That works just fine for some businesses, especially if they sell digital products. But many others still rely on customers physically coming into stores or being close enough to come to them. If your business is limited to a certain area, you could do well with a smart local SEO strategy. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a restaurant, lawn maintenance service, or doctor’s office. Geographic limitations can work to your advantage in the world of local search. Once you’ve decided local SEO is good fit, it’s time to put a basic strategy into action.

What Makes Local SEO Different from General SEO?

Normal SEO is done to help businesses’ websites perform better in search engine rankings, but there’s a fundamental difference between generic business SEO and local SEO. While general SEO practices target popular industry terms to help people find a certain website over competitors, local SEO is entirely centered around geo-modified keywords. Rather than looking for products or services nationwide and having the business optimize accordingly with broad terms, local SEO will only target specific regions, states, or cities that the business serves. This means optimizing for keywords that are more specific and limited to these locations.

How to Do Local SEO from Scratch

There’s no shortage of SEO advice out there. Because SEO is so multidimensional (and changing constantly), thousands of tactics get introduced and modified. Strategies vary a ton from one expert to another. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. You want to drive more search engine traffic, but just figuring out where to start can seem impossible. Some experts recommend high-risk strategies. They might pay off for a few months, but they fizzle whenever a major search engine changes their algorithm. You can spend a lot of time and effort trying to stay ahead in that rat race… Or you can stick to tried and true principles of good local SEO. Take a look at this simple step-by-step approach. You’ll come away with a system to attract more customers online. Let’s get started.

Step 1. Lay the Foundation

The first step to solid local SEO is doing the groundwork to make it easier for people to find you in their online searches. It’s amazing how many local businesses still don’t have a website. Some resist the idea because they do all of their business face to face. But even if no one buys from you online, that’s almost certainly where they’re looking for information. You better believe you want your business listed in the largest online directories! Hopefully you already have a business website. If you do, make sure it’s updated with a responsive design. Your potential customers aren’t just sitting at home typing on their desktops. They’re on the move, using tablets and smart phones to find the information they need. Responsive designs make the browsing experience as pleasant as possible… no matter which device a visitor uses. Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes. What if they’re downtown, get hungry, and check their smart phone for a good restaurant nearby? They won’t stick around if they land on your website if it’s confusing and they can’t even find the menu. They’ll turn to one of your competitors instead.

Buffering Website
After you get your website in order, make it easier for searchers to find you by establishing a presence on popular review sites for your industry. Each profile you create acts like another “platform” for local visitors to land on. It’s an incredible opportunity to demonstrate social proof (in the form of positive reviews from customers) and drive people back to your website, and eventually, into your store. Some of the most popular review sites include:

Don’t just slap together half a dozen profiles and call it a day. Invest the time to flesh them out. Choose the right categories for your business, add your address and phone number, include your hours of operation, and upload quality photos. Review sites don’t just help your website rank higher in search engines like Google. They’re also search engines in their own right. Accurate, complete profiles help you get exposure to their audiences as well.

[Tweet “Lay the foundation and see results. How to Do Local #SEO: The Definitive Guide – via @clickxio”]

Step 2. Optimize Your Website (On-Site SEO)

Once you’ve laid the foundation and established yourself on popular review platforms, it’s time to optimize your website for better search engine rankings. The higher you rank for your local keywords, the more free traffic you receive. These tweaks on your own website are known as “on-page” or “on-site” SEO. Making your website as attractive to search engines as possible is the first in a two-phase SEO strategy. More on the second phase – raising your profile through links from other websites – in just a minute. Good local SEO starts with solid website structure. Clarity is key here. If you sell multiple products or services, break them down individually (or into related subcategories) on separate web pages. These pages – called landing pages – create opportunities to attract targeted visitors through precise SEO tweaks.

Name, Address, and Phone Number (Schema)

Even if you work out of a home office, it’s crucial to present your business name, address, and phone number often and consistently. This doesn’t just give interested visitors more opportunities to reach you. Displaying your address consistently within your website content makes it easier for search engines to determine your business is relevant for local search terms. worked with the largest search engines to make it easier for their algorithms to spot key information on websites and categorize it. Unfortunately, a lot of local businesses are behind the curve because they haven’t adapted code on their sites. Their search engine results pay the price. Check out to find snippets of free code you can implement on your website. The html tags pass key information to search engines without showing up on your website when visitors look at it. Where should you display this information? Your contact form is always a good bet. And including your business name, address, and phone number in your footer makes sure it shows up on every page that search engines crawl.

Local SEO for Small Business

Local Search Engine Optimization Services Checklist

Here’s a comprehensive checklist of quick tweaks to make your website more accessible to search engines:

    • Content: include your location and relevant keyword in each page’s content
    • Google map: embed a Google map within your landing page content

Local SEO Map

    • Image: include an image of you and your team if you can, making sure to label the image’s ALT tags with your location and keyword
    • Logo: use your business name and location to name your logo file and image ALT tags
    • Meta description tag: include a location and relevant keyword when describing your business
    • Page URL: include a location and the relevant keyword (do this for each landing page)
    • Title tag: add your location and a relevant keyword (e.g., “Chicago dermatologist”)

Step 3. Local Link Building

This is an important aspect of local SEO as well, though the process is much different. The goal here is to collect as many citations pointing back to your business website as possible. A citation is a reference to your company’s name, address, and/or phone number on another website – with or without a link. Makes sense, right? The more locations referencing your business, the more likely search engines are to favor you. But there’s a catch: citations are only effective if they’re consistent. If you have dozens of websites linking back to yours, but they reference different business names or disconnected phone numbers, it muddies the waters and dilutes the power of inbound links.

Building Citations

Building more citations is great, but you’re better off fixing inconsistencies in existing citations first. Online tools like Bright Local allow you to track down any websites citing your business. It sounds tedious, but making sure entries are updated (and consistent) will help your business establish a unified presence in the search engines’ perspective. After you fix existing citations, it’s time to build some more. There are tons of business directories available online. Some are free, and some charge a small fee to add your listing. If you don’t know where to start, Moz put together an excellent list of websites where you can submit citations manually. Do a few a day, and the boost in your rankings compounds over months. Local SEO for Small Business Another option: pay for a service like Whitespark to find and upload local citations automatically. This is a great move if you have the budget – but not the time – to spare. Finally, don’t underestimate the value of competitive analysis. Websites that include citations of your local competitors are also likely to include yours. There are plenty of tools available to help you track these down:

Building links is a process, not an event. You’ll see better long-term results if you stick to a steady, manageable pace over months instead of burning yourself out then quitting after a few days.

[Tweet “Put in the work and get long-term results. How to Do Local #SEO: The Definitive Guide – via @clickxio”]

Your Step-by-Step Roadmap for More Customers

Local SEO doesn’t have to be overwhelming just because there are thousands of tools and tricks out there. Tactics come and go, but the principles of what it takes to dominate local searches have stayed pretty consistent over the years. All you have to do is focus on the step right in front of you. Lay the foundation, optimize your website, and build links steadily. You don’t have to do it all or figure everything out right away. Businesses with the most local SEO success treat it as an ongoing process, one they tweak and refine over time…

Avoid “Near Me” in Content and Other Changes in Local SEO

One of the biggest changes in the recent local SEO landscape is the change in the relevance of the term “near me” in campaigns. Over the last two years, searches without “near me” have increased by 150% according to Google. This is because people are searching for businesses on their phones with the assumption that Google will automatically track their location and direct them to nearby locations. Also, while searches with zip codes included along with search terms used to be relevant, searches including zip codes have also dropped by over 30%.

This makes building out mobile-optimized local content targeting each city and state more important than ever, as buyers have shown to be more likely to make a purchase from companies with information tailored to their location over the phone. This, among other things, is making local SEO a bigger challenge for many companies.

With the right local SEO software behind your operations, you’ll benefit from working with software that can help you stay ahead of competitors and further ensure your business’s success in this increasingly difficult industry. Local SEO is about understanding audiences and what they want, which is how Clickx can help.

Local SEO Company

Local SEO is crucial for many businesses that need to bring in those local customers, but they need to be able to remain comfortable in knowing that their efforts are worth it. This is where Clickx comes in, as a leading provider of local SEO services. Our company can provide some of the most reliable services available.

While you may even want to perform local SEO on your own, you won’t benefit from the kind of performance that experienced experts can provide. Clickx’s team of SEO specialists can develop a campaign that maximizes the potential of your business’s performance.

And so can you get started today. The hordes of new customers calling and coming in your door are more than worth it!






Above the fold Refers originally to the top part of a newspaper, the term is used on the internet specifically to describe the top part of a landing page that is visible without having to scroll down.


Acquisition A term often used in online/digital marketing that describes the point at which a visitor becomes a qualified lead. Generally this is the point where the visitor commits to buy the product/service or provides their contact details as well as indicating some interest in your product.


Acquisition Cost The total cost for an advertising or marketing campaign divided by the number of visitors also known as visitor acquisition cost or divided by the number of customers AKA customer acquisition cost.


Algorithm An algorithm is a set of finite, orderly steps normally used when attempting to solve a mathematical problem. All search engines use a their own algorithm, which is set to calculate the relevance of its indexed web pages to your query.


Algorithm Results Algorithmic results are the listings search engines provide in response to a query (see above). They may also be known as “organic listings” as opposed to “paid listings” because their rank is based on relevancy to the query that has been typed rather than advertising revenue which has been paid to the search engine.


Alt Tag/Alt Text An alt tag is the HTML text that pops up while an image is loading or when a cursor is placed over an image. Alt text is also useful in search engine optimization as it is possible to include the keywords that a search engine is looking for in response to a query.


Analytics Analytics refers to the technology, programming, and data used in search engine marketing to analyze a marketing campaign or a website’s performance.


Anchor Text Also known as link text, anchor text is the visible, clickable link text between the HTML anchor and tags. Clicking on anchor text activates a hyperlink to another page within your site or another web site. Anchor text is very important in SEO because search engine algorithms consider the hyperlink keywords as relevant to the landing page.





Backlinks Backlinks are all of the links on other websites that direct the users who click on them to your site. Backlinks can improve your site’s search rankings, particularly if the content linking to you is relevant to your site and are located on authoritative and trusted websites.


Banned Site Also known as blacklisted or delisted, a banned site refers to a URL that has been removed from a search engine’s index, typically for engaging in black hat SEO or something else unethical . Banned sites are overlooked by search engines.


Black Hat SEO Black hat SEO is the term used for unethical or deceptive optimization techniques. This may include link spam, cloaking, or a violation of a search engine’s rules in any way.


Blacklisted Also known as banned or delisted, a blacklisted site is a URL that has been removed from a search engine’s index, typically for engaging in black hat SEO. Blacklisted sites are ignored by search engines.


Bounce rate In web analytics, the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing a page. In email marketing, the percentage of emails in a marketing campaign that are returned to sender (hence the term bounce).


Broken Link Also known as a dead link, a broken link is a link that is no longer pointing to an active destination or landing page. Search engines dislike broken links. Keeping all of your site’s links active is an important part of ongoing optimization. There are a number of good link validators out there.


Buzzword A fashionable word or phrase that is used by salesmen, politicians, and business people who need to look and sound like they know what they are talking about.





Click Fraud Click fraud is the highly unethical practice of manipulating Cost Per Click (CPC) or Pay Per Click (PPC) revenue sharing agreements. There are numerous types of click fraud, but in a typical scenario the webmaster of a site that earns money from each click of the advertising links it publishes pays individuals a small fee to click those links.


Click-Through When a user clicks on an advertiser’s link or site listing and is directed to the desired landing page. A higher Click-Through Rate (CTR) is one of the primary goals of search engine optimization.


Click-Through Rate (CTR) This is the percentage of users who click on an advertising link or search engine site listing out of the total number of people who see it, i.e. two click-throughs out of 100 viewers is a 2% CTR, (the industry norm).


Cloaking Cloaking is the presentation of alternate pages to a search engine spider to crawl so that it will index different content for that URL to what a human browser would view. This practice is a carried out to help achieve a higher search engine position or to deceive users into visiting a site they had no intention of visiting. Cloaking is a violation of search engine guidelines.


Contextual Link Inventory (CLI) Contextual or content inventory occurs when listings are displayed on pages of web sites, seldomly search engines, where the text on the page specifies to the ad server that the page is a good match to the specific keyword/s query. This may be quantified by counting the number of times a viewer clicks on the displayed advert.


Conversion Conversion is the term used for an action a user takes while visiting a website, i.e. making a purchase, requesting information, following on Facebook or Twitter, watching a video, or registering for an account.


Conversion Analytics Conversion analytics is a type of website analytics which is concerned specifically with the conversion rate achieved from organic as well as paid for search engine traffic. This includes knowing what keywords/phrases convert using their queries, the type of conversion which occurs, successful landing page paths, and which search engine was used.


Conversion Rate Conversion rate is the next step up the ladder from click-through rate. It’s the percentage of all site visitors who have converted by either making a purchase, registering or request information. If four users buy a product or service and two users requests a subscription out of 100 daily visitors, a site’s conversion rate is 6%.


Cost-Per-Action (CPA) This is where an advertiser pays for a specified action which is linked to an advertisement, i.e. each time a user purchases the desired product, opens an account, subscribes to a newsletter, or requests a free trial. Similar to the other CPA other than investment return.


Cost-Per-Click Also known as pay per click, cost per click is an advertising revenue system used by search engines where clients ad agencies pay an agreed amount for each click of their ads. This click through rate is based upon a payment structure which is considered by some advertisers to be the more cost effective than the cost per thousand payment structure.


Cost-Per-Thousand Also known as cost per impression or CPM is an advertising revenue system used by search engines and advertising networks in which ad companies pay an agreed amount for every 1,000 (M in Roman numerals) users who view their ads, while not mattering if a click through or a conversion is achieved. CPM is typically used in Banner Ads, while CPC is used for the text link adverts.


Crawler A crawler is also known as spider or robot, it’s a search engine program that literally “crawls” the web, collecting data, following links, making copies of new and updated sites, and storing millions of URLs in the search engine’s index. This allows the search engines to respond with faster and more relevant or timely listings.





Delisted Otherwise known as a being banned or blacklisted, a delisted site has it’s URL removed from a search engine’s Index, usually for engaging in black hat SEO. Delisted sites are ignored by search engines.


Description Tag Sometimes called a Meta description tag, a description tag is a short HTML coded sentence that provides search engines with a description of a website’s page’s content to help users know what the page is about before they click a result.


Doorway Page Are sometimes called gateway pages or jump pages, a doorway page is a URL with minimal content designed to rank highly for a specific keyword and redirect visitors to a homepage or designated landing page. Some search engines view doorway pages as a softer form of cloaking or spam. Doorway pages are against search engine guidelines.


Dynamic Content Dynamic content is web content such as search engine results pages (SERPS) that is generated or altered based on database information or user activity. Web pages that remain the same for all visitors in every context contain “static content.” Many e-commerce sites now create dynamic content based on purchase history or cookies that have been left on the viewers PC and other factors.





Gateway Page Also known as a doorway page or jump page, a gateway page is a URL with minimal content designed to rank highly for a specific keyword and redirect visitors to a homepage or designated landing page. Some search engines view doorway pages as a softer form of cloaking or spam.


Geographical Targeting Geographical targeting is redefining the focus of search engine marketing to states, counties, cities and neighborhoods that are important to a company’s business. One particular aspect of geographical targeting is adding the names of relevant cities or neighborhoods to a site’s keywords, i.e. Down Town Mall , West Palm Beach.


Geographic Segmentation Geographic segmentation is using analytics to categorize a site’s web traffic by their physical locations, although this can be determined by the ISP’s location so is not terribly reliable.


Graphical Search Inventory (GSI) Graphical Search Inventory is the visual equivalent of contextual link inventory. GSI is non text based advertising usually banner ads, those annoying pop up ads, browser toolbars, animation, sounds and video and other media that corresponds to relevant keyword queries.


ray Hat SEO Gray hat SEO refers to search engine optimization strategies that fall in between black hat SEO and white hat SEO. gray hat SEO techniques can be ethical in some cases and unethical in others. Techniques can include but not limited to: doorway pages or gateway pages, cloaking and duplicate content.


Google MapMake An application that allows users to enhance Google Maps by adding and editing information that is available to the public. In local SEO mapmaker may be used as a method of troubleshooting and resolving data issues.


Google Trends A tool that enables users to monitor consumer trends and the popularity of targeted keywords. Can be a useful supplementary keyword research tool for local SEO campaigns.





Hidden Text Hidden text is the generally an obsolete form of black hat SEO in where pages are filled with a large amount of text that is the same color as the background of the page, rendering the keywords invisible to the human eye but noticeable to a search engine crawler.


Highjacking In the local SEO arena, the term highjacking typically relates to usurping control of a local business listing to edit its details with malicious intent. Reports of highjacking have lessened over the past few years, but in the past, instances of highjacking have led to legal prosecution.


HTML The acronym HTML stands for hypertext markup language, the authoring language used to create pages on the world wide web. HTML is a set of codes or HTML tags that provide a web browser with directions on how to structure a web page’s information and features.


Hyperlink Also known as link or HTML link, a hyperlink is an image or portion of text that when clicked on by a user opens another web page or jumps the browser to a different portion of the current page. Inbound Links with keyword-relevant link text are an important part of search engine optimization strategy.





Index An index is a search engine’s database. It contains all of the information that a crawler has identified, particularly copies of WWW pages. When a user performs a query the search engine uses its indexed pages and algorithm set to provide a list of the most relevant pages.


Inbound Links Inbound links are all of the links on other websites that direct the users who click on them toward your site. Inbound links can considerably improve your site’s search rankings.





Keyword Also known as search terms or query terms, keywords are the word(s) or phrase(s) a user enters into a search engine’s query box.The search engine results page (SERP)then ranks indexed sites according to how relevant the search engine deems them to the searched keywords.


Keyword Marketing Keyword marketing is the use of keyword optimized content and keyword specific link text to emphasize a site’s relevancy to those terms and thereby increase Rank for related web queries. Keyword marketing can also be done through keyword based ad programs such as google adsense.


Keyword Submission Keyword submission is an all-inclusive term for the keyword research/selection, bid cost assessment and budgeting that companies undertake to begin pay-per-click keyword campaigns with advertising networks such as google adwords, Yahoo! sponsored search and bing ads.





Landing Page The landing page is the page on which a visitor will land after clicking a search engine’s listing, email link, banner ad or a cost per click advert. The landing page can be a site’s homepage, but is more likely to be a page designed to appeal to users who click through a specific ad or link. Landing pages are also used to monitor a site’s traffic or measure an advertising campaign’s success.


Link Links were also known as hyperlinks or an HTML link, a link can be an image or portion of text that when clicked on by a user opens another web page or jumps to a different position of the current page. Inbound links with keyword relevant link text are an important part of search engine optimization strategy.


Link Baiting Link baiting is the creation of content that incites users to link to your page from another website. The types of link bait vary tremendously, but they should include informative articles or news stories or useful resources. Link baiting is an SEO practice that is used to help a site improve its link popularity


Link Building The online marketing practice of acquiring inbound links to a given web page. A Portion of Google’s organic algorithm relies on links as an indication of relevance. Quantity, quality, and velocity of links are thought to have some influence on local search rankings.


Link Exchange A link exchange is a link exchange between two sites. Reciprocal links usually lead to the home page of the associate site. However, this practice is outdated and is not as effective as it used to be. It is not recommended to participate in link exchanges.


Link Farm A link farm is a webpage or group of web pages that exist solely to increase the number of Backlinks in a site’s link network. A link farm is meant to increase the amount of links pointing to a website.. However, link farms are considered to be a form of spam and sites that rely on them are usually punished by search engines.


Link Popularity Link popularity is the evaluation of how popular a webpage is by the number of backlinks it has. Bear in mind that link popularity is not solely a matter of quantity. It is achieved when backlinks are coming from reputable, relevant sites rather than sources such as link farms.


Link Text Also known as anchor text, link text is the visible, clickable text between the HTML anchor tags. Clicking on link text activates a hyperlink to another web site. Link text is very important in search engine optimization because search engine algorithms consider the hyperlink keywords as relevant to the landing page.


Listings Listings are the indexed sites that appear in ranked order on a search engine results page in response to a user query.


Local Search Local search refers to both the addition of geographical keywords (cities, streets, etc.) to search terms and the use of websites such as the yellow pages or yelp to find business services in a given zip code. Search engine placement services use local SEO to help traditional brick and mortar businesses connect with customers in their community.


Local SEO Specialized online marketing that increases visibility for businesses interested in ranking for geographically related keywords. A large component of local SEO is ranking well in the local maps. It is also important to rank well in the organic results for local keywords.





Meta Description Tag Also known as a description tag, a meta description tag is a short HTML paragraph that provides search engines with a description of a page’s content for search engine Index purposes. The meta description tag is not displayed on the website itself, and may or may not be displayed in the search engine’s listing for that site.


Meta Keywords Tag A meta keywords tag provides search engines with a list of keywords that are relevant to a webpage. However, search engines do not use the keyword tag as a ranking factor as you can see in this article from Google.


Meta Robots Tag A meta robots tag lets a webmaster prevent certain webpages from being added to a search engine’s Index. Alternatives to a meta robots tag are robots.txt files and password protection.


Meta Search Engine A meta search engine derives its listings by running user queries through multiple other search engines and then summarizing the results. A meta search engine does not maintain its own Index. Listings are displayed by meta search engines either in aggregate or categorized by search engine source.


Meta Tags Meta tags are the HTML tags placed in a webpage that give information to the crawlers and web browsers. Types of meta tag information includes page descriptions (description tag), page relevant keywords (meta keywords tag); whether a page can be indexed (meta robots tag), copyright, page refresh dates and redirection instructions. Many search engines use this information when building their indices.





Natural Listings (or Natural Optimization) Also known as organic listings, natural listings are webpage listings that appear on a search engine results page solely because the search engine Algorithm deems them relevant to the query. Natural listings can contain paid listings, but only if they fulfill the same requirements as natural listings. The best way to improve a site’s natural listing Position is through natural search engine optimization.


Natural Search Engine Optimization Also known as natural optimization, organic search engine optimization or white hat SEO, natural search engine optimization is the use of keyword-focused copy and tags, crawler-friendly site architecture, and a quality backlink profile to improve a site’s position and click-through rate. Because many web users look at natural listings first, natural SEO offers a much greater chance of long-term business success than paid listings or pay-per-click ad campaigns.





Optimization Services Also known as Internet promotion, site optimization, or search engine placement service, optimization services are all of the methods a search engine optimization company uses to improve a site’s ranking position and increase its click through rate and conversion rate.


Organic Listings (or Organic Optimization) Also known as natural listings, organic listings are webpage listings that appear on a search engine results page solely because the search engine algorithm deems them relevant to the query. The best way to improve a site’s organic listing position is through natural search engine optimization.


Outbound Links Outbound links are all links from a webpage that lead to pages on other websites. An excessive number of outbound links can damage a site’s search engine reputation because a spider may perceive it as a link farm.





Paid Inclusion Paid inclusion is an advertising program offered by some search engines in which a page is guaranteed inclusion in the Index in exchange for a fee. Unlike paid placement, the rank of paid inclusion pages is determined solely by the search engine algorithm. Paid inclusion sites may or may not be labeled as advertisements depending on search engine policy.


Penalty Any type of negative action taken by a search engine against a website as a result of violations of published or unpublished policies. In local SEO, violation of any of the Google Quality Guidelines can result in a penalty that can lead to a drop in rankings.


Position Also known as rank, position is the place a website occupies relative to the first listing on an algorithmic results page in response to a keyword query. The first page displays Listings in the one through ten positions, the second page eleven through twenty, etc. Businesses trying to get their site into a top ten position will often employ a professional search engine optimization company. Consumer studies have shown that most search engine users click only on sites that occupy the top ten positions.


Position Reporting Position reporting is the monitoring of daily changes in search engine Position for indexed URLs that have been optimized for specific keywords by a search engine optimization company. Position reporting is also used to generate a search engine ranking report.


Professional Search Engine Optimization Professional search engine optimization is the modification of a website by an SEO company in order to increase its position and improve its click-through rate and conversion rate.





Query A query is a question or instance of questioning. A search engine query is a user’s request for the information in a search engine’s Index that is most relevant to a keyword or set of search terms. Query is sometimes used to mean the actual keywords a user enters in a search box.






Rank Also known as position, rank is the place a website occupies relative to the first listing on an algorithmic results page in response to a keyword query. The first page displays listings in the one through ten positions, the second page eleven through twenty, etc. Businesses trying to get their site into a top-ten rank will often employ a professional search engine optimization company.


Rel=”publisher” A form of markup language that enables a business to signal its ownership of a website to Google. In local SEO, the use of rel=”publisher” can assist business owners in associating their business with certain categories. It also helps Google associate their website with their Google+ local cluster, even though Google does not currently use authorship.


Results Page Also known as search engine results page, the results page is the collection of ranked listings displayed in response to a search engine query.


Robot Also known as Crawler or Spider, a robot is a search engine program that “crawls” the web, collecting data, following links, making copies of new and updated sites, and storing URLs in the search engine’s Index. This allows search engines to provide faster and more up-to-date listings.


Robots.txt Also known as robots exclusion protocol, Robots.txt is a text file stored in a site’s root directory that tells a search engine crawler which site pages and sub-folders should not be included in the search engine Index. However, there is no guarantee that a crawler will comply with this request. robots.txt is an alternative to a meta robots tag or password protection.





SEM (search engine marketing) Search engine marketing is an inclusive term for all techniques used to market a website via search engines, including pay-per-click advertising and natural search engine optimization.


SEO Services SEO services are the tools used by a professional search engine optimization company, including analytics, content writing, blog posting, analysis tools, and keyword marketing to improve their clients’ ranking.


SEO Specialist Also known as Internet marketing consultant or SEO professional, SEO specialists use their knowledge of search engine optimization strategy to improve their clients’ ranking.


SEO Strategies SEO strategies are the techniques used in search engine optimization to improve a site’s position and increase its click-through rate. A few SEO strategies are keyword research and content writing, optimized HTML code, and improved geographical targeting.


Search Engine Marketing Search engine marketing is an inclusive term for all techniques used to market a website via search engines, including pay-per-click advertising and natural search engine optimization.


Search Engine Marketing Professional Org The search engine marketing professional organization (SEMPO) is a non-profit professional association founded in 2003 to increase awareness of the benefits of search engine marketing and provide educational resources to members and consumers alike.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO)


Above Search engine optimization is the modification of a website for the purpose of improving its organic ranking on search engine results pages. This is done through a combination of SEO strategies.


Search Engine Ranking Report A search engine ranking report is a monthly, weekly or daily report of the position of a company’s website Listing in relation to their top Keywords. Position reporting enables companies to monitor the success of an SEO strategy or cost-per-click advertising campaign.


Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) Also known as a results page, the search engine results page is the collection of ranked listings displayed in response to a search engine query. 


Search Terms Also known as keywords or query terms, search terms are the word(s) or phrase(s) a user enters into a search engine’s query box. A search engine results page (SERP) ranks indexed sites according to how relevant the search engine deems them to the search terms that were queried. One of the most important SEO strategies companies can employ is to optimize their site pages with content that contains targeted search terms relevant to their products or industry.


Site architecture General term for the organization or hierarchy of a particular website; can also refer to the programming language or content management system that the site is built in. Site architecture, especially a site’s internal linking strategy, is extremely important to consider in organic SEO.


Site Optimization Also known as Internet promotion, optimization services or search engine placement service, site optimization refers to all of the methods an SEO company uses to improve a site’s position and increase its click-through rate and conversion rate.


SpamSpam refers to any and all search engine marketing techniques that violate search engine guidelines or attempt to gain increased ranking for a site using content that is irrelevant, deceptive or of little value to users. Types of spam include hidden text, content that contains nonsensical keyword repetition, deceptive cloaking or numerous doorway pages that redirect users to the same landing page. If a search engine detects spamming the offending site will be blacklisted or lose position. Spam is a black hat SEO technique.





Title Tags A title tag is an HTML tag which contains a sentence of text describing the contents of its associated webpage. Title tags are a very important part of SEO because they are frequently used as the text links that lead to sites from a search engine’s results page. The best title tags contain strategic keywords that will help a site be indexed properly and appeal to human search engine users.






Unique Visitor Unique visitor is a web traffic measuring term which means the registering of at least one hit on one page of a web site from a unique IP address during a specified report period (typically anywhere from twenty-four hours to a month). A subsequent hit(s) by the same IP address is not counted as a unique visitor during that report period. Unique visitor count can be an effective way of measuring the success of an SEO strategy.






Web Analytics Web analytics is a branch of analytics that uses web traffic records to study the behavior of website visitors. Data such as unique visitors, hits, page views, and the connection between landing pages and conversion rates are used to improve a website or marketing campaign.


Website Optimization Also known as search engine optimization, website optimization is the modification of a website for the purpose of improving its natural rank on search engine results pages. This is done through a combination of optimization strategies.


White Hat SEO Also known as natural search engine optimization or organic search engine optimization, white hat SEO is the legitimate use of keyword-focused copy and tags, crawler-friendly site architecture, and a quality, natural backlink profile to improve a site’s ranking, and click-through rate. White hat SEO does not involve the use of cloaking, spam or any other black hat SEO techniques and is therefore the most ethical form of SEO.





XML XML is an acronym for extensible markup language, a simple and flexible text-based programming language used in conjunction with HTML. XML is useful for data exchange and the creation of customized tags.


XML Feed An XML feed is a form of Paid Inclusion or search engine submission in which an XML document is used to provide a search engine with information about multiple web pages. An XML feed is particularly useful for multimedia sites or database sites that draw a variety of relevant search queries.