Algorithm: A special formula used by search engines to rank web pages in order of importance or relevance for a particular keyword search.
Analytics: Any tool or program that tracks user behavior, such as traffic to a website, duration of visits, and conversions. Google Analytics is a popular product. Within the Google My Business dashboard, the latest iteration of analytics data is called Insights.
Audit: In local SEO, the term ‘audit’ is often used to describe a thorough analysis of an aspect of a company's marketing. This could include a citation audit, a content audit, or a competitive audit.
Canonical Tags: A canonical tag is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Practically speaking, the canonical tag tells the search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in the search results.
Category: A term used to describe a system of industry classification. In creating local business listings, companies are prompted to categorize themselves as being associated with a specific industry (e.g. dentist, HVAC, Italian restaurant). For many listings you can set both primary and secondary categories. You’re usually permitted to set one primary category and several secondary categories. For example, what Google wants you to do for a Google My Business listing, is to choose the most specific category for your business (if it’s available) as your primary category and more general ones as your secondary categories.
Citation: A complete or partial web-based reference to a business's name, address, phone number and other core data. Structured citations can occur in the form of formal local business listings on local business data platforms. Unstructured citations occur as simple mentions of a business on a blog, news site, website, or other online publication.
Citation Builder: A pay-as-you-go service provided by BrightLocal where we do the hard work for you, ensuring that citations for your business are complete, accurate, and widely displayed.
Citation campaign: The marketing practice of auditing, cleaning up, and building citations for a local business on a variety of local business data platforms.
Citation Tracker: A tool in BrightLocal that makes it easy to track and manage a business’s citations. It trawls the web to find all existing citations for your business, uncovers incorrect information and inconsistencies in NAP so you can take suitable remedial action, and also shows you the citations your competitors have that you don’t, showcasing opportunities to compete in citations.
Click-through rate (CTR): The rate at which users click on an advertisement, link, or other search engine result. CTR is one metric used for measuring the success of online campaigns. In the case of local businesses, it's hypothesized that specific types of clicks on Google My Business listings can positively impact rank. These would include clicks-to-call, clicks-to-website, and clicks-for-driving-directions.
Conversion: The process of convincing a website visitor to call, email, or visit a business offline (i.e., convert to a customer) or the process of successfully bringing a potential customer to, and through, the point of a transaction. Conversions is also a section in Google Analytics where you can set up Goals to track conversions.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): The process of improving the number or quality of conversions that occur on a website. Some popular CRO tactics include testing changes to website design, copy, images, price, call-to-action, and messaging. This process can also be applied to encouraging more conversions through online listings such as Google My Business or Yelp.
Data Aggregator: Data Aggregators are companies that collect data on local businesses such as their name, address, phone number, opening hours, etc. in order to present it elsewhere online. Data is verified and cleaned to ensure it is accurate, then sold (leased) to other companies in need of local business data. Companies that typically buy this data are online directories (e.g. YP.com), local-mobile applications, and mapping and GPS companies (e.g. TomTom). Even search engines like Google might buy this data to compare it against their own databases, in order to make them as complete as possible.
Directory: Any website which lists business names and contact information in an organized fashion, typically in alphabetical order or by business type. Like BrightLocal’s Agency Directory for example. Directory information is frequently assimilated by the local search engines.
Domain Authority (DA): A search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and the number of total links, into a single DA score. It is not used by Google.
Duplicate listing: When more than one listing exists on a given platform for a single business. In particular, Google allows only one listing per location, and intentional or accidental violation of this policy can lead to penalties and ranking issues.
Google Maps: A web mapping platform that offers street maps, satellite imagery, 360° interactive panoramic views of streets, real-time traffic conditions, and route planning for traveling by foot, car, bicycle, air and public transportation.
Google My Business: A free tool that allows you to promote your business profile and business website on Google Search and Maps. With a Google My Business account, you connect with your customers, post photos and updates to your business profile, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google.
Google My Business Audit: A tool in BrightLocal that audits and analyzes a Google My Business listing, producing one easy-to-read report that reveals ways you can optimize your listing in order to outrank the competition.
Image Alt Tags: Alt Text is a method for adding a text description to an image. Search engines can't accurately read images all the time to determine their content reliably, so adding 'Alternative Text' lets you tell Google what the image is about. This is a useful way of reinforcing a web page's purpose and gives Google more relevant signals that have a positive impact on your SEO. Alt tags also add valuable information for low vision or blind screen reader users. Adding an image or a graphic to your content without using proper or empty alt tags can be extremely frustrating for people with visual impairments navigating your site through assistive technologies.
Internal link: A link from a page on your own website to another page on your own website.
Keywords: Your SEO keywords are the words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. A website that is well-optimized for search engines 'speaks the same language' as its potential visitor base with keywords for SEO that help connect searchers to the site.
Landing page: The page that a searcher first encounters when clicking through from a search engine result or from online advertising. In local search, local landing pages (a.k.a city landing pages or location/branch landing pages) seek to deliver a fully customized experience to a particular user, such as a customer in Boston vs. a customer in Dallas. It's best practice to build a unique and powerful landing page for each location of a multi-location business.
Link building: The online marketing practice of acquiring inbound links to a given web page. Google's organic algorithm relies heavily on links as an indication of relevance. Quantity, quality, and velocity of links are thought to have a significant influence on local search rankings
Local Pack: Also sometimes known as the '3-pack', the Local Pack is the method Google uses to display the top three results for local SERP results. It uses the user’s location to make the search relevant to the location where the user submitted the query. For instance, if a user searched “restaurants near me” the Google Local Pack would display three restaurants near the user’s current location.
Local SEO: Local search engine optimization is similar to SEO in that it is also a process affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine's unpaid results. Local SEO, however, differs in that it is focused on optimizing a business's online presence so that its web pages or business listings will be displayed by search engines when users enter local searches for its products or services. Ranking for local search involves a similar process to general SEO but includes some specific elements to rank a business for local search.
Local Search Audit: A BrightLocal tool that provides a quick and easy, systematic health check of a business's local presence. It's a sure-fire way to develop a sound local SEO strategy based on the current performance of a business in local search, while uncovering any problem areas.
Local Search Grid: A rank tracking tool in BrightLocal that gives you a true picture of your local search rankings by placing them on a map, and tells you exactly where your business is ranking on a granular level. You can discover who your local rivals are, as well as the keywords with the most potential, so you can take action right away or drill down into the details for deeper analysis.
Local Search Rank Checker: A tool in BrightLocal that allows you to monitor a business’s search rankings in Google and Bing, helping you to understand your business’s local search visibility, identify which keywords are ranking high or underperforming, see where your business ranks vs your competitors, and spot opportunities to rank higher and grow search traffic.
Local search ranking factors: The components that contribute to the rankings of a local business. These can change over time but tend to focus on Google My Business, on-site SEO, reviews and links. Explore the most important ranking factors here.
Meta description: A snippet of text that can be included in a tag near the top of the code for each web page. This text sometimes appears beneath your title tag in organic search results if it matches one or more of the keywords for which the user has searched. Well-written meta descriptions usually include keywords and persuade searchers to click through from search engines.
Meta keywords: A list of keywords included in a tag near the top of the code for each web page. Because of susceptibility to spam, major search engines don't use the meta keywords tag to evaluate the relevance of a page, and these tags don't influence ranking.
Meta tags: The generic term for hidden pieces of specially-structured code near the top of each webpage that can provide more information to search engines about the content of the page.
Mobile-friendly: The term used to describe whether something works well on mobile devices. With the majority of web browsing now happening on mobile devices, it's important that your website works well for mobile users. Adjusting the content layout is one way to make your site more usable. Other considerations are text size (bigger is better on mobile) and how easy it is for mobile users to click on buttons and links. We obtain this data from Google's PageSpeed Insights API.
NAP: This stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. Local search engines use NAP information found by crawling the web or received from data providers to judge the accuracy of the data in their own indexes. Consistent NAP information helps to improve search engine rankings and is beneficial to local customer acquisition.
Open Graph Tags: Open Graph protocol was developed by Facebook to give website owners an easy way of describing the content of a page so that Facebook could correctly read and reference it. Using Open Graph tags allows you to control the content that's shown when a page is shared on Facebook.
Outbound link: A link pointing from a page on your own website to a page on another website.
Page Title: Each page on your site has a title which appears in the code of the page and tells Google what each page is about. It's a visible tag that appears in search results and on browser tabs, and it's a very important factor in SEO. Page Titles should be unique to each page and contain your most important keywords.
Paid Search: Any form of online marketing that involves a direct payment to an advertiser or another body for the promotion of a business online. This includes PPC (Pay Per Click), classified ads, banner ads, and many more.
PPC (pay-per-click): Generic term for when businesses are charged a fee when a searcher clicks on their advertisement on a major search engine.
Prominence: One of the three pillars of local search, along with relevance and proximity. The three pillars drive Google’s local algorithm and help determine the local pack and rankings. For prominence, the algorithm is asking, "Which businesses are the most popular and the most well regarded in their local market area?"
Proximity: One of the three pillars of local search, along with relevance and prominence. The three pillars drive Google’s local algorithm and help determine the local pack and rankings. For proximity, the algorithm is asking, "Is the business close enough to the searcher to be considered to be a good answer for this query?"
Relevance: One of the three pillars of local search, along with prominence and proximity. The three pillars drive Google’s local algorithm and help determine the local pack and rankings. For relevance, what the algorithm is asking is, "Does this business do or sell or have the attributes that the searcher is looking for?"
Reputation Manager: A BrightLocal tool that makes it easier for you to keep track of reviews across the review sites that matter, send out customized emails and SMS messages inviting customers to leave new reviews, and display glowing reviews on a website to help build trust and increase conversion rates.
Review: A customer's text summary of their experience at a particular business. Reviews can be left on search engines, via location-based services, apps, or websites, and are often simultaneously assigned star ratings. Google-based reviews are believed to impact Google's local rankings.
Review gating: The act of soliciting feedback from a customer, and then deciding whether to ask them for a Google review based on their response. This is strictly against Google's review guidelines and can come with heavy penalties.
Review management: The practice of generating, and responding to, customer reviews, either manually or with the help of software.
Review spam: A fake customer text summary about a particular business. This can include fictitious positive or negative statements made about a business for the purpose of helping or harming its reputation or rankings.
Responsive Design: Having a 'responsive' website means the page width and content of each page auto-adjusts depending on the screen size of the device being used to view it. This provides the best possible experience for users who view your site on mobile devices, tablets, and desktop devices. It will also encourage them to stay on your site and visit more pages. Google looks favorably on sites that give users the best possible experience, so this can have an impact on your search ranking.
Robot.txt file: The robots exclusion standard, also known as the robots exclusion protocol or simply robots.txt, is a standard used by websites to communicate with web crawlers and other web robots. The standard specifies how to inform the web robot about which areas of the website should not be processed or scanned.
Schema Markup: Code that you put on your website to help search engines return more informative results for the user. A semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML to improve the way search engines read and represent the page in the search results.
SERP: Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are the pages displayed by search engines in response to a query by a searcher. The main component of the SERP is the listing of results that are returned by the search engine in response to a keyword query, although the pages may also contain other results such as advertisements.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines.
Service area: Typically used to describe specific neighborhoods, towns, or cities served by service-area business models, like plumbers, cleaners, or gardners.
Service-area business: A term frequently used to describe go-to-client businesses that travel to customers' locations to render services, such as plumbers, electricians, and carpet cleaners.
SMB: A small-to-medium-sized business.
SSL Pages: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client — typically a web server (website) and a browser, or a mail server and a mail client (e.g. Outlook).
Top Keywords: The most common keywords used on your website are useful for ensuring that your site is truly focused on the right keywords so it's clear to Google what you offer and where you're located.
Twitter Card Tags: To help websites communicate more, Twitter developed Twitter Cards, which are based on tags that sit in the code of a web page. These enable website owners to provide a lot more information and include images, video, and download links that appear inside Twitter. This allows your website's content to stand out much more in tweets that include it.
URL: A Uniform Resource Locator (URL)—colloquially termed a web address—is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network, and a mechanism for retrieving it. A URL is a specific type of Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), although many people use the two terms interchangeably.
Web Crawler: A web crawler is a program that visits websites to read their pages and other information in order to create entries for a search engine index. The major search engines on the web all have such a program, which is also known as a 'spider' or a 'bot'.
WL / white-labeling: ‘White-label’ refers to a product or service that is purchased by a reseller who rebrands the product or service to give the impression that the new owner created it. The producers can increase sales by allowing another company to sell a white-labeled version of their product or service.
XML Sitemap: An XML sitemap is like a 'Contents' page for your website. It helps Google to properly index your site, thereby giving it the best possible chance of ranking for relevant searches—a type of list marked up with XML so that search engines can easily consume information about the URLs that make up a site. Search engines and other crawlers are the only consumers of XML sitemaps. For SEO, an XML sitemap is an invitation to crawl the URLs listed.