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Engaging with today’s new breed of socially-enabled buyer, or Customer 2.0, has become increasingly difficult for B2B sales and marketing organizations.  Traditional marketing tactics have become increasingly ineffective.  Inbound marketing, which is focused on generating relevant content that results in “getting found” by customers vs. the other way around, has brought new life for marketing.  Similarly, B2B sales organizations are adopting inbound selling (a.k.a. social selling) to drive prospect engagement in the latter stages of the buying process.

Getting found requires not only relevant content but also good visibility on search engines (which is where most customers begin their research.)  Making your content visible to Google and other search engines requires SEO (search engine optimization.)  SEO is often confused with online marketing and inbound selling, but is in fact a very distinct discipline.  As we’ve explained in a previous post, the equation for getting found looks something like this:

SEO + Inbound Marketing = Getting Found (by search engines AND customers)

So without further ado, he are 20 key SEO terms that inbound marketing professionals must understand:

301 Redirect – A redirect is a technique for forwarding one URL to another URL. It’s a useful and dangerous tool to seamlessly forward visitors and search engine spiders to a new URL for one of several reasons including if a website needed to change its domain or a time sensitive page like a contest has expired and is no longer relevant. 301 redirects, unlike 302 redirects, also transfer PageRank and SEO value to the new URL.

Breadcrumb – A breadcrumb is a navigational trail used on web pages to display where the page sits in the hierarchy of the website. Each level of the breadcrumb is usually a link back to the referenced page. An example breadcrumb looks like this: “Home > Category > Product Page”

Canonical – Similar to the 301 redirect, URL canonicalization is an HTML tag to help eliminate duplicate copies of the same page on a website. Unlike redirects, canonical URL tags are only used for search engine spiders to signal that the duplicate pages have a single source.

Co-citation – Co-citations are links used to establish similarity between two web pages. If sites A and B are either linked to or cited by site C, then they may be related to each other even though they may not directly link to each other. For an example, say your blog about banking is linked to from 1,000 other websites that also link to WellsFargo.com. Search engines will use the existence of 1,000 co-citations to establish relevance between your blog and Wells Fargo.

CSS – CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is part of HTML code that outline the layout of different elements of your site such as your header, content area, widgets, etc.

Image Alt Text – Alt tags are used in the HTML code to describe images on a web page. Since search engines cannot see images, the use alt text along with other factors to determine what the image is and how relevant it is. An example of alt text: <img src="image24094.gif" alt=”Latest picture of BP oil spill>

Inbound Link – An inbound link is a link from an external site to your site. An example would be if Site A adds a link to Site B on its homepage. Site B would have an inbound link from Site A. To see how many inbound links your site or page has, use the Yahoo! Site Explorer tool.

Indexed Pages – Indexed pages refers to the number of pages of your site that search engines have found, crawled and stored in their index. A page cannot rank for a search term unless it is in the search engine index.

Internal Links – Unlike inbound links, internal links is a link from one page on your site to another page on your site. An example would be if Site A added a link to the About Us page from the homepage of Site A. Internal links are valuable for SEO, although not considered to carry the same weight as an inbound link from an external source.

Long Tail – Long tail refers to uncommon search queries, generally phrases that are 3+ keywords in length. Popularized by Chris Anderson, long tail refers to the statistical probability distribution that there is a larger share of traffic to be gained by targeting the large number of uncommonly searched queries as opposed to the few, but wildly competitive and highly trafficked head terms.

NoFollow – A link element used in the HTML code of a link to tell search engines to not pass any SEO value or PageRank through the link. It was created to prevent spam in blog comments that the blog author could not control. An example of the nofollow code: <a href=”http://www.example.com/&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>discount drugs</a>

NoIndex – Noindex is a HTML tag that tells search engine spiders to prevent storing the page in a search engine index. It can be used for private information that you would not want anyone to find through a search engine. Found in the <head> section of the web page, an example code looks like: <meta content=”noindex” />

Outbound Link – An outbound link is a link from your site to an external site. An example would be if Site A adds a link to Site B on its homepage. Site A would have an outbound link to Site B.

PageRank – Is a link analysis algorithm, assigning a numerical weighting for the total value and trust accumulated by your entire site (all pages) based on the quantity and quality of the links pointed at your site.  Links are used by the search engines as the main factor determining trust, relevancy and the importance of a page and domain based on the quantity and quality of the links that point to it. Every link on the web is treated as a “vote” and that the more votes a page has, the more value its vote’s pass.

Robots.txt – Robots.txt is a protocol that determines the accessibility of specific pages on a domain to search engine spiders. The robots.txt file tells search engine spiders which pages to disallow any crawling or indexing before the spider even reaches the page. Try typing in any domain followed by /robotx.txt and see one for yourself: http://www.google.com/robots.txt

Spider A search engine spider is an automated program, known as a robot or crawler, that navigates through the web, crawling and indexing content from sites into a search engine index.

Subdomain – A subdomain is a domain that is part of a larger domain. An example would be Money.CNN.com is a subdomain of http://www.CNN.com. Subdomains are treated as separate sites from the larger domain it’s a part of and do not carry over the SEO value from its parent domain.

Subfolder – A subfolder is a folder or path contained within a domain. An example would be http://www.google.com/adsense is a subfolder to http://www.google.com. Subfolders are treated as the same site as the parent domain and carry over all SEO value.

Title Tag – Title tags are HTML tags in the code of a web page that define the title of the page. Title tags are displayed in the menu bar of internet browsers and on search engine results pages with a short meta description snippet. They are one of the most important on-page factors for SEO.

WHOIS – WHOIS is a query protocol to determine who the owner of a website is. Many resources are available to search WHOIS records such as Network Solutions. Private registrations can be used to hide contact information for WHOIS records.

By: Christopher Kelly