SEO evolves at the rate of knots. An expert needs to keep pace with all these developments or get left behind. I know it’s easy to say this, but difficult to put in to practice, but there is no way around it. What’s more, there are many search engine optimizers who are well aware of a term that is in vogue, but don’t have enough knowledge about that term, in order to use it, to empower their SEO efforts.
Now, the purpose of this post is not to give an in-depth look into these terms as each term deserves a post of its own. But, what I have done is, I have identified certain terms that every SEO worth his/her salt should know and given a brief overview of them.
The canonical tag is an attempt by Google to get rid of your duplicate content worries. If you are worried about two pages having similar content, you now have the option of publicly specifying your preferred version of a particular URL. This is especially for those cases when multiple pages have the same content. What this format does is that it also ensures that the bulk of the properties responsible for better search results are consolidated to your preferred version.
So, if you have several pages that list the same content, you need to understand that Google might just index only one version for its search results. If you think Google is being a bit heavy handed in its approach, then think again. You can now choose the most important page that you want the search engines to rank by implementing canonical tag.
Specifying a Rel-Canonical: (Courtesy Google)
Add a rel=”canonical” link to the <head> section of the non-canonical version of each HTML page.
To specify a canonical link to the page
http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish, create a <link> element as follows:
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish"/>
Copy this link into the <head> section of all non-canonical versions of the page, such as http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish&sort=price.
If you publish content on both http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish and https://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish, you can specify the canonical version of the page. Create the <link> element:
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish"/>
Add this link to the <head> section of https://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish.
Indexing and Caching
Unlike Rel=Canonical, indexing and caching are terms that all SEOs know about and use. But, it’s how well you understand these terms that determines how you are going to use them in a practical manner.
Search engine indexing is a process that involves the recovery of information, quickly and accurately, by collecting parses and storing data for convenient retrieval. More often than not, when somebody is talking about search engine indexing, they are actually talking about Google’s indexing. Search engines deliver results in a matter of seconds, which is only possible because it has stored your web page in their data server and is serving it from its index.
The way it works is that whenever a website goes live, Google’s search engine crawlers will crawl all over the contents of the site and store it all in its database to index. The storage format gives priority to various SEO parameters. This enables your site to appear in search results for optimized keywords.
Keyword Caching on the other hand is defined by a snapshot taken by Google of each website page. This “snapshot” is stored in a different database as compared to where your website pages are stored, and is known as the ‘cache database’. So, when users click on the ‘cached link’, they will see a web page that looks the same way as when it was indexed by Google.
Keywords Proximity and Keywords Prominence
Both keyword proximity and prominence are factors that play a vital role in on-site optimization. Understanding these terms will help you leverage their power and allow you to optimize their use.
Keyword Prominence is an SEO term that involves making the keywords on your site or specific keywords as noticeable as possible. If you know a certain keyword is important, then it should stand out on your web page. The keyword can be made prominent by the appropriate use of fonts and height that tells Google search engine crawlers that you are prominently targeting this word.
Keyword proximity as the name suggests, is the proximity or closeness between two or more keywords. Now, there are experts who believe that it’s great to have two keywords close to each other, but then there are others who aren’t too excited about giving importance to keyword proximity. What I have found is that keyword proximity is something that needs to be used with care and on a case by case basis. It should only be used in cases where two keywords or key phrases can be placed near each other naturally and when one qualifies the other.
Page segmentation involves identifying and working out the common boilerplate segments of web pages including, but not limited to, Headers, Footers and the various navigations elements that are found on a particular page or throughout the site. The segmentation of a particular page gives a clear signal to Google’s search engine crawlers as to where the core content of the page resides. So, what happens is this – Boilerplate elements are essentially regarded as ‘noise elements’ and are ignored by the crawlers while indexing; only the ‘core content’ areas are indexed.
Here are some core elements cited by SEO experts that help the search engine identify the important content areas:
- Number of images in the block
- Size of the images
- Number of links
- Anchor text length
- Number of words
- Length of form elements
- Text formatting elements (<strong> <text> <i> <em>
- Other code elements (<table> <p> <hr> <ul> <td>)
- Background color of a node (or child node)
There are plenty of advantages of page segmentation and the first and foremost is that that you make the pages more relevant to the search engines. The second advantage is that you enable a faster process and resource management of your web pages as search engines can index only the parts of the page that are relevant and stay away from crawling boiler plate elements.
Page segmentation sounds like a daunting task, and to be perfectly honest with you – It is. But, if you get it right, your website is on track for betters SERPS.
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing)
Based on a mathematical technique known as Singular Value Decomposition (SVD), LSI is a method of indexing and retrieving content. It works on the principle that words used in the same context will have similar meanings. All this does sound rather technical, so let me offer a simpler explanation.
There was a time when, search engines solely relied on the keywords found on a particular page and their frequency, to determine relevancy. Search engine optimizing experts had a field day peppering the content with keywords to ensure their site ranked at the top – Advantage SEO – Disadvantage search engine users. It was increasingly found that the content of some of the top ranked pages was actually quite irrelevant with respect to the search keyword. This was because a crawler, many times, failed to distinguish between a synonym and words that had multiple meanings.
Enter LSI. It tries to make sense of the terms and concepts that are a part of unstructured text. It helps in text pattern matching and uses statistical analysis to identify words on a page that are used in the same context. So, it helps search engines understand the nature of user query better and helps return relevant information, in the context of the user’s search.
Query Deserves Freshness (QDF)
Google loves fresh content. That is what ‘Query Deserves Freshness’ is all about. In a bid to improve the relevance of SERPS for the users, Google introduced the QDF which determines the hotness quotient of a topic. So, if a blog or a website is constantly being updated with topics that are in the news and are being popularly discussed on the web, Google is going to rank such sites right at the top of the search engine rankings. As a part of QDF, the Google algorithm takes into consideration several diverse points including search volume, news coverage and even blog coverage.
As is the case with all of Google’s algorithmic components, even this one helps improve the way search engines rank web pages, but you need to be able to use it to drive traffic to your site. The key here is to focus on breaking new stories, so that Google indexes your post quickly. The result is traffic generation. And once your site has a high rank, it will be used by other people, researching the same topic. But never fear – you were the first out of the blocks and that’s what counts.
These are six terms that helps an SEO in becoming a perfect SEO professional.
If you have more hard SEO terms that are around and should be known to every SEO professional then do share them in the comments below, I will try to cover them in the next post if they will be useful enough.