What it’s really like for newcomers to the SEO industry


Rhiannon D

Technical SEO

As a newcomer to the world of SEO, it can be difficult to keep up with the numerous Google updates, newest link bait techniques and article after article discussing the conflicting link-building strategies out there. It’s easy to forget that when you’re speaking to a new or prospective client, they might not have much knowledge about SEO in general, and would appreciate a bit more explanation when discussing how SEO can help them and their business.

Appreciating how it looks from their point of view is important, so here are a few points some SEO professionals could do with remembering next time they try explaining something to a newcomer:

They probably have no idea how Google works:

This might sound stupid, but it’s hard to realise how much really goes on behind the scenes until you’re working with Google in mind all day long. The spiders, the indexing, the ranking; it’s just assumed that the internet magically knows what goes where, until someone explains that actual people and a lot of technology are working to keep our searches running smoothly.

SEO lingo makes no sense to anyone outside the industry

Trying to educate oneself about SEO proves very difficult until you have learnt the language – spiders, bots, no follow, rel=alternate – nothing makes any sense, and reading the comments and forums written by SEO experts can get pretty confusing when every other word is one you’ve never heard of before.

Advice is constantly contradicted

“White hat vs. Black hat and then “grey hat”! Imagine coming into that discussion without any experience of SEO, and you’ll understand why it gets confusing for people. Explain the difference between all these hats, and make sure you get across why white hat is the best way to boost rankings so everyone understands what the processes involves.

SEO Glossary for the Confused

With all this in mind it was suggested that we could do with a glossary of SEO terms on our website, so I decided to get the ball rolling with a couple of the most confusing names and sayings that are flying around the internet… a number focus on the negative SEO techniques that we don’t condone but as these are hot topics right now thanks to the recent Panda and Penguin updates I thought it worth including them…

Above the fold

The top section of a site page that can be seen without having to scroll down – headlines or valuable content is usually placed here. Recent updates from Google penalised sites that used this valuable real estate for spammy adverts.

Black Hat SEO

SEO techniques and methods that ignore Google’s guidelines and attempt to boost site ranking using spammy tactics like poor quality content and unethical linking strategies.

Breadcrumb Navigation

Links provided near the top of site pages that show the user’s path to their current location, allowing them to navigate the website with ease.

Google Bowling / Negative SEO

Building spammy or bad links to a website with the intention of lowering their rank – or after the recent Google penalties, getting it de-indexed altogether.

Google Bomb

Pranks played by several webmasters at once resulting, in significant changes to the Google search results.

Grey Hat

Term used to describe a mix of white and black hat SEO techniques; it is argued by some that all SEO is Grey Hat as trying to artificially manipulate search results could be considered Black Hat in itself (a controversial topic in the SEO world).

Link Juice

The trust and value passed from an authoritative or highly ranked site through a link to another site; the more link juice gained from highly ranked sites, the higher your site will rank in Google search results.

Link Condom

Preventing link juice (authority) from passing through a link using methods such as nofollow tags.

Link Farming

Sites that ‘farm’ out links to each other in order to gain better pagerank; this is a spammy method of link building which is now penalised heavily by Google.


A blog filled with spammy content and links, with poor value and black hat techniques.

White Hat

Ethical content rich SEO that puts the customer at the heart of the activity – producing relevant, interesting content and distributing naturally by word of mouth, social media and so on.

What is the weirdest SEO term you have come up against to date? Any you still don’t get the meaning of? All comments welcome!