Update Your SEO Vocabulary

SEO Tips

by Terri Wells

The SEO field changes constantly in response to the search engines. These days, though, visitors find your site via Facebook, Twitter, and other resources in addition to Google. That means your approach to SEO needs to expand – and so does your vocabulary.
SEO now embraces a range of fields. A well-rounded SEO understands some of the technical aspects of websites, the wider field of Internet marketing, conversion metrics, how to test ads, and much more. If you want to keep up with the field and understand where it is going, you need to get acquainted with the concepts I’ll be explaining in this article. Give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve already heard of these, but don’t be surprised if you see a few you’ve never encountered before.

Let me give credit where it’s due. Tad Chef, writing for SEOptimise, covered these terms and more. If you want to see them explained in greater detail, he links out to an article for every single one of them.

We’ll start with a number: 503. You know about 404 not found codes, 301 redirects, and probably even 200 (which means the URL is accessible). What is a 503 code? It tells search engine crawlers, and anyone else who visits your site, that it is temporarily down for maintenance. Google notes in a Webmaster Central blog post that using a 503 HTTP result code is a way “to deal with planned website downtime…that will generally not negatively affect your site’s visibility in the search results.” You can even specify the length of time your site will be down in an optional Retry-After header, to let the Googlebot know when it can come back for something to crawl.

The next term I’d like to discuss is “A/B testing.” Also known as split testing, this is not a new technique. You’ve probably known about it for years. Google even offers ways for you to do A/B testing of your ads with them. In its simplest form, split testing involves comparing two versions of a page to find out which one gets more visitors to do what you want them to do: make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, request more information, and so forth. Doing it right is both an art and a science, as small changes can sometimes lead to big differences in a page’s conversion rate.

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