SEO Terms to Help You Understand What SEO Is and How it Works

In this article, we’ll explore several common search engine optimisation (SEO) terms to help you deepen your understanding of search engine optimisation and the impact it can have for you and your organisation.

We consider SEO to be a foundational part of corporate digital discipleship. We also believe it can be useful for digital discipleship strategies within churches as well as in digital discipleship ministries.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the words or phrases that are used to link to a website.  For example, in this sentence, What is Digital Discipleship, you can see the words “What is Digital Discipleship” are shown in blue. If you click on those words, they will take you to another location on the internet.

Anchor text is important because search engines track the various phrases or anchor text that are being used across the internet to link back to your website.

Search engines check through all the words and phrases for patterns and commonalities amongst the text. If they see lots of anchor text pointing back to your website that are all about the same topic, like basketball, they will understand that your website is probably viewed as a valuable resource site about basketball by other people. Over time, this will give your website more domain authority (see definition) on that topic.


You can think of a backlink like a citation from a research paper.  When a person sees something on your website they want to quote or an idea they would like to credit to you, they place a link on their website that points back to your website.  This is called a backlink.

Search engines use backlinks as votes of confidence from different parts of the internet. Each link represents a website saying that your website is a valuable resource.  The more backlinks you have the larger your backlink profile becomes.

However, not all backlinks are created equal — some backlinks are worth more than others.  Those that come from sites that have proven to be trustworthy have more weight with the search engines than those that come from sites that haven’t proven their trustworthiness.

Bounce Rate

Have you ever searched for something on Google, thought you found the answer, clicked on one of the search results and then quickly clicked the back button as soon as you landed on the site? 

Search engines call that bouncing off a site.  Think of it like a rubber ball that bounces on the ground and pops back up again.

A website’s bounce rate measures how often people visit a website and then click the back button to find an answer on a different site.

Photo by Stephen Phillips

Customer Journey

A customer journey describes the process someone goes through between not knowing anything about your company to making the decision to do business with you.  Each step of the journey represents a different stage in their decision-making process, and different information needs to be given to them to help them move through the their journey.

If you’d like to see a customer journey in action, visit our articles, Why Your Church Should Set-up an Online Journey for Its Members and Why Your Church Should Set-up an Online Journey for Its Visitors.

Domain Authority

Because search engines, like Google, want to give people the best search experience possible, they rank all the websites on the internet for trustworthiness. Domain authority is a score the company Moz created to approximate how search engines rank websites.

The goal is to have stronger domain authority than those you’re trying to rank against for particular keywords.

When rating a site’s trustworthiness, search engines look at things like your backlink profile (learn more about backlinks in the entry for backlinks), the age of your site and many other factors.

Google Algorithm

The algorithm is a formula or a set of rules that tell search engines how to treat websites. The algorithm is often blamed for most of the internet’s woes, however, often it’s updated to improve the experience of people searching on the internet or to close a loophole that’s been exploited to bypass the intent of the algorithm.

Internal Linking

Internal linking is like back linking because it lets you use anchor text to reference or link back to pages on your own website instead of pages on outside websites.


Think about when you search for something on Google.  The words you type are keywords.  Intentional business think about what their customers or clients are typing in searches in order to find them.

Customers or clients will look for different keywords at different points in their customer journey (see entry for customer journey)

Keyword Competitiveness

Each keyword on a search engine has a different level of competitiveness.  For example, ranking for “Popcorn” would be much harder than ranking for “best popcorn to pop at home”. 

This is because the word “popcorn” is a much broader term, and many different popcorn companies would be trying to rank for it. All of the people fighting to rank for the keyword would make it much more competitive.  

So, when you think about ranking for keywords you have to also think about how competitive it would be to rank for those words.

Fortunately, there is software available to help you determine how competitive it would be to rank for various keywords.

For years, I’ve used because of its accuracy, simplicity and ease of use! If you’re interested in learning more about this software through a 7-day free trial (and then a 30% discount if you decide to purchase it), check it out here!

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Long Tail Keywords

A long tail keyword is a keyword that has multiple words in it, is very specific and has few people trying to rank for it, making is less competitive.

An example would be: “Popcorn” vs. “best popcorn to pop at home”. 

Fewer marketers are trying to rank for “best popcorn to pop at home” than the term “popcorn.

The term “long tail” come the distribution of top searched words. The majority of the search volume is at the beginning of the distribution curve, then, it tapers off near the end.


When you think about the customer journey, long tail keywords are further down the line in the customer journey.  Searches that are further down the line in the customer journey show more search intent in making a buying decision.


Ranking is the position your website places when someone searches for a particular keyword.  Most ranking software will show you your ranking within the top 100.  Often a top 10 ranking will get you on the first page of a search engine, like Google.

Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation means setting up your website, as a whole, as well as specific pages on your website, to be found by the people who are searching for the keywords you’re trying to rank for. 

Optimising may include, identifying keywords for which your website can rank, pruning your website to focus on a particular topic, linking pages on your website to show the flow and importance of certain topics on your website and intentionally working to develop a strong backlink profile.

Search Intent

Search intent asks the question, “Where is this person in their customer journey when they typed this question into Google?”  Considering search intent will help you understand what type of answers you should provide to people when they land on your website.

Understanding SEO in an on-going process that can result in creating a website that is a long-term asset for your organisation or business. Investing in this area is a sound, long-term solution to increase the visibility of your content. Teaming up with a trusted professional is a great solution toward strengthening your organisations’ SEO capabilities.

If you’re interested in learning more about our SEO Services, contact us on our Contact Page and we’ll discuss your needs and how we can help you.