5 Common SEO Terms Defined & Explained

The internet is an instrument of discovery.

Websites are built and social media accounts are opened for a single purpose: to be seen.

While there was a time when the internet was like an open country road, however, it has since become a congested freeway. Getting discovered online and reaching your target audience is more challenging than ever, and the mechanisms to do so have become increasingly technical.

This digital rat race has led to the rise of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). For financial advisors, SEO incorporates the protocols and strategies needed to help prospective clients find you amid the sea of competition. Spend time with SEO specialists and you’ll hear words like “trail,” “breadcrumbs” and “crawl,” all terms that encapsulate their main goal – to help search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!) find your website so clients can do the same.

5 Common SEO Terms to Boost Your Knowledge

To jumpstart your journey, here are 5 SEO terms that will help you navigate the world of search engine optimization.

1. What is a Sitemap & What Purpose Does It Serve?

Sitemap (n): the blueprint for your website’s individual pages

The internet is a digital metropolis replete with its own form of transportation. Search engines rely on “crawlers” to move from page to page on a website. Though they may sound like a menacing creature from The Matrix, crawlers are your allies who try to understand the function of your website and match it with incoming search results.

Given your website has numerous pages, the best way to consolidate them is through a sitemap. In its simplest form, a sitemap is a file filled with listings of the web pages on your site. By indexing your content, your sitemap tells crawlers what kind of content you have, how frequently it’s updated and how relevant it is to a prospective client’s search.

Whether you have a large site with many pages or a new one with a limited amount of content, a sitemap is essential to boosting your SEO rankings.

2. How Are Keywords Used on Websites?

Keywords (n): specific terms used to index content (and attract viewers)

Search engines thrive on speaking the same language as those searching for results. Anyone who has ever seen Google finish their sentence in a search bar can attest to this.

Indeed, when clients looking for financial guidance start their research, they’ll type in a handful of words like, “Retirement planning near me.”  In this instance, “retirement planning” and “near me” are the notable keywords that narrow down the search results. Financial advisors with well-optimized websites anticipate these searches by constructing keyword-rich content that tells search engines: “send that client to me!” 

The law of diminishing returns also applies to keywords, however. While your content must be specific and targeted, avoid abusing these tactics through “keyword stuffing.” Search engines are savvy enough to punish websites with obvious attempts at boosting their rankings, but as long as your keywords are relevant and concise, you’ll be on the track to success.

Advisor Launchpad can help create content for your website that is keyword-optimized. Reach out if you would like help with relevant copy that will help boost your search rankings!

3. What is a Meta Description?

Meta Description (n): a snippet of text that describes a page’s content 

Consider meta tags the elevator pitch of SEO.

In 156 characters or less, these short descriptions that appear below page titles in search engine results essentially advertise your content and function as the bridge between searching for something and clicking on the resultant link. Though the centerpiece content is important, your meta description is crucial. It’s the gateway from starting the conversation to closing the loop.

Truly effective meta descriptions tease the most scintillating parts of the featured content while incorporating keywords that promote your SEO ranking.

4. How Can Anchor Text Help SEO?

Anchor Text (n): the clickable part of a hyperlink

Anchor text is the highlighted text displayed on hyperlinks (like one promoting the best blogging tips). Sneaked into the body of a paragraph, anchor text helps Google and other search engines understand the page’s topic and the keywords it should evaluate in its ranking.

As more sites link to “the best blogging tips” with the same anchor text, Google will rank that linked page increasingly higher. Though there are many approaches and tactics with anchor text, financial advisors will benefit most from internal linking that keeps readers engaged on their website.

As with keywords, however, refrain from stuffing your blogs with excessive anchor text to avoid an overtly “salesy” appearance. Less is more.

5. What is a No Follow Link?

No Follow (n): a strategy used to curb spam and page-rank manipulation

SEO thrives on popularity. When multiple websites link to the same piece of content, Google will view that webpage with respect. If a particularly notable site like CNN or the New York Times leads the charge, the content gets what SEO gurus call “link juice.”

This digital nectar is hard to come by, however, and those who work hard to develop their own search rankings guard it jealously. When Google announced that links were a key part of their algorithm, spammers got busy and relentlessly posted URLs in blogs, forums and more.

Enter the arrival of the “no follow” link, which essentially tells Google and other search engines: “don’t reward this URL.” This turns regular HTML links into ones that literally have the coded addendum “nofollow” attached.

Though it seems cruel to link to a site without a gesture of thanks, the no follow link is an essential tool from keeping spammers at bay from posting irrelevant links to content of their own. While lacking the “juice” from regular links, no follow links still carry a lot of value for building readership and expanding user bases.

Improve Your SEO with Advisor Launchpad

The world of Search Engine Optimization is constantly evolving, but the sooner you understand the landscape, the faster you can reap its many rewards.

If you’re looking for leading digital marketing strategies and want to become the CEO of SEO, Advisor Launchpad is here to help. Contact us today for comprehensive website, SEO, pay-per-click advertising, and copywriting services!

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