The Importance of Buzzwords for SEO

The general consensus amongst industry professionals on the Web is that tech jargon, or any jargon, for that matter, is bad. Some professionals seem to use industry buzzwords as a way to intimidate clients; often, clients will agree to actions or projects that may not be truly beneficial to their business for fear of requesting that a specific term be defined. Other times, it's believed that those who use buzzwords come across as ignorant; clients may feel as though the individual in question is hiding behind a smokescreen, relying on such terms to sound more knowledgable than he or she may actually be.

Many professionals bemoan the prolific use of jargon in the marketing and technology industries especially. 'I don't see the buzzword craze stopping,' says Brett Good, an executive with staffing firm Robert Half International in a USA Today interview. 'In some ways, it's almost becoming filler, like 'um' or 'ah.'... It's something that's just been built into the lexicon of American business.'

On the other hand, it's important for any digital agency to understand the terms and phrases exclusive to a client's industry. In an agency like RepEquity, client work can involve multiple industries, from other technology companies to health care to e-commerce. By taking the time to study each client's arsenal of work terms, communication between the two firms will not only improve, but the digital agency can more accurately meet the client's goals in a concise and effective manner.

At RepEquity, making sure our clients understand our processes every step of the way is important to us, and we certainly avoid confusing clients by using jargon with which they may not be familiar. One of our major practice areas, however, is search engine optimization, where we've found that the use of relevant lexicon can be surprisingly helpful.

For example, when optimizing a website for SEO, it's important to consider the types of people who will be searching for the site. When appealing to a wide audience, it may be necessary to include the terms for which the average, casual searcher may query as well as those employed by the more tech-savvy searcher, whose search terms are more likely to be esoteric buzzwords or jargon.

Another important aspect in the relationship between jargon and SEO is the ever-changing algorithms of the three major search engines. One of the more recent developments, according to Steve Wanczyk, RepEquity's Vice President of Search and Social Media, is the inclusion of a value judgement for specific words. As RepEquity monitors how this change manifests itself within the search engine's more permanent algorithm, it's possible that certain buzzwords will take on more weight within search engine results than others. Another technique we're testing is getting a site to rank for a specific keyword without ever using that keyword in the site's tags -- it's all about related terms and industry terminology! Below, we've included a few terms that we find are often confusing to clients or those new to the field of search engine optimization.

  • Anchor Text - The clickable word or phrase that appears in a hyperlink; search engines use this word or phrase as an indicator of the content of the page to which it links.
  • Black Hat - A method of search engine optimization that employs unethical methods; this often includes the creation of multiple spam page and link-buying.
  • Canonical Issues - Also known as duplicate content, the canon refers to the original or official version of a block of content. Search engines will often penalize a site with duplicate content, but the issues can be resolved by using a no-index meta tag or 301 server redirects.
  • Crawler - A program that searches the Internet by way of the link structure in order to create an index of data; also known as a spider or bot.
  • Meta Tags - Elements of HTML or XHTML that are used to provide information about a website for use by search engines. The information about your site listed in the meta tags is the description that appears under your URL on search engine result pages, the first impression that visitors will have of your site.
  • Natural (Organic) Search Results - Websites that appear on search engine result pages because of their high quality; is not a paid listing.
  • Reciprocal Links - Formed when two sites link to each other; can be overlooked by search engines as low-level links because of the likelihood that the sites are related or maintained by the same person. An outlink (or outgoing link) is a link that goes from your site to another; an inbound link is a link to your page from another website.
  • SEM - An umbrella term of sorts that is short for search engine marketing. It includes all the actions taken to promote a website for optimal viewership within search engine rankings, including SEO, paid listings, website analytics and more.
  • SEO - Short for search engine optimization, or the practice of modifying websites to have them appear higher on a search engine's result pages as a way to attract more visitors.
  • SERP - An acronym for search engine results page, or the list of websites returned when a phrase or keyword is queried in a search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing. It is unusual for someone to go past the first or second page of search engine results when looking for a website.
  • Web 2.0 - A site that encourages interaction with the site or among visitors; often associated with social media.
  • White Hat - SEO techniques that comply with industry best practice guidelines and do not unfairly manipulate search engine result pages.
  • Algorithm - A set of rules or processes employed by a search engine to determine which websites should be returned for specific search queries.