To brush up on common terms related to Search Engine Optimization, start here:
- Algorithm - A mathematical formula that differs between search engines to determine the rank of Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Search engine algorithms change frequently and often without prior notice.
- ALT Text - Short for "alternative text" and also known as “alt descriptions” or “alt attributes,” this text is used to describe an image for those who are visually impaired. It also is important for search engine crawlers to understand what is in any given image. PhotoShelter will use your “Description/Caption” field in the IPTC metadata for your images as the alt text. These alt texts will load if the photo does not and is included in your sitemap.
- Anchor Text - Text that links to a webpage or another section of the same webpage. Anchor text on your pages that links to other pages or sections with relevant content is favored in search engines. The text that is hyperlinked should be relevant to the page that is linked. An example of anchor text is in the next sentence. Read more about Anchor Text in our Custom Pages suggestions.
- Backlink - A backlink is a link from another site that leads to a page on your site. Generally speaking, search engine algorithms favor websites that are linked to from other reputable sites. Think of backlinks as a vote in your favor or an endorsement in the eyes of search engines.
- Crawling - An action performed by a crawler (also known as a bot or a spider) to find information on webpages and provide them to their corresponding search engines for indexing.
- H1 Tags (Header Tags) - H1 tags are titles of the pages that will display on the source code of webpages. They are very similar to a Page Title, but unlike a Page Title, the header content actually shows up in the viewable page’s contents. Learn more here.
- Indexing - The process of adding and sorting information related to all webpages in the search engine’s database.
- IPTC Metadata - IPTC stands for International Press Telecommunications Council, and according to them "defines metadata structure, properties, and fields, so that images are optimally described and easily accessed later." In other words, IPTC Metadata is a standard for information that is embedded in a digital photo file, making photos easier to identify and contextualize. The items marked “SEO” in PhotoShelter are most important to fill out to make the most of your SEO. Read more about editing IPTC Metadata here.
- Meta Description - A Meta Description describes the contents of a web page to search engines. It should be written as if speaking to the audience of a person who is searching for your website. This is important information that can help your site rank higher in SERPs. Read more about best practices here.
- Off-Site SEO factors - Off-site factors are variables that occur outside of your website that impact your search-engine rankings. Off-page factors are the majority of what contributes to your search engine ranking, primarily backlinks.
- On-Site SEO factors - On-site factors are variables you can control through your website. On-page factors typically drive ~25% of your rankings. Check our support articles on this topic: Images & IPTC Metadata and Pages and Page Metadata.
- Page Title - A Page Title is a piece of text that appears at the top of your browser when viewing a particular webpage. The Page Title should be relevant to the content on the page and briefly describe to the reader what they will find on that page. Learn more about Page Titles here.
- Search Engine - A platform, such as Google, that contains its own crawlers and index from which it can display search results from a query entered by a user. A search engine contains a crawler, indexer, and a query processor.
- SEO - Search Engine Optimization. This is a strategic process of continuously updating the content and metadata on your website and monitoring your site’s traffic and off-site factors to increase your probability of being ranked higher in search engine results. SEO requires a strategy for both content on the site as well as how that site is linked to other sites across the web through marketing tactics.
- SERPs - Search Engine Results Pages - The list of results after a search on a platform such as Google or Bing. The results are ranked and ordered according to the search engine’s algorithm to best suit the searcher’s query.
Sitemap - A sitemap is a file that lists links to the pages on your website, as well as the relationships between them so search engines can easily crawl and index your website. PhotoShelter creates your sitemap automatically, but if you want to submit the sitemap to search engines, you must do that manually. This is not a requirement for your site to be found, but it is important to track your site traffic and statistics. Learn more about submitting your sitemap to Google here.
- Query Processor - What most people consider the “search bar” and its result pages. The query processor uses complex algorithms to generate meaningful search results for a query.