Basic Technical Aspects of SEO/Marketing in St. Paul, MN, Including Glossary of Terms, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

If you’ve never been formally trained or have little experience with building websites and establishing digital spaces, entering the world of search engine optimization (SEO) and online marketing can seem complex, full of confusing acronyms, and difficult to navigate. While it’s true that many website builders that offer templates, such as Squarespace and WordPress, also provide marketing tools and complete many SEO tasks for you, it’s important to understand the basic technical aspects of how search engines work, what terms mean, and what codes are used for which purposes on your site. Of course, even the basics of SEO present an abundance of information to unpack, let alone the knowledge needed to effectively use SEO tools on your own. Because SEO, website design, digital marketing, and other online systems can require dedicated time, interest, and often money to learn and implement on your own, brands often take advantage of third-party firms that offer those services and more. MLT Group LLC provides comprehensive web design, social media services, graphic design, and video production, as well as dedicated services for SEO/marketing in St. Paul, MN.

Well Made website Helps with SEO/Marketing

It’s a good start to have a well-made website and a presence on at least one social media platform. But to stay relevant over time to search engines and users alike, you have to follow SEO rules and meet algorithm requirements for Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other browsers. Even basic SEO and digital marketing tools can help keep your website higher up in search page results and grow your brand’s audience over time.


To begin learning about fundamental SEO/marketing, it’s a good idea to start with terminology. There are many jargony words, acronyms, and phrases thrown around in the SEO world, often without explanation. The following glossary can serve as a reference for primary SEO terms you’ll encounter when you start investigating how to use SEO and digital tools to improve your online brand presence.

Essential SEO/Marketing Terms

  • Black hat: Google and other search engines set standards and quality guidelines for all websites. Following these guidelines can help improve your SEO results, but there are some ways to manipulate the system to improve SEO outside of those guidelines. These manipulations are black hat SEO practices that can be penalized if discovered.

 White hat: All SEO practices that follow Google’s quality guidelines are considered white hat. White hat practices complying with Google quality guidelines will be rewarded with better ranking positions on SERPs.

 Query: When a user submits a question, keyword, phrase, or other inquiry into the search engine bar, it’s a query. This is also referred to as an “inquiry” or “user search.”

  • SERP: This acronym stands for “search engine results page.” SERPs appear after a user submits a query. They list various results, including organically ranked websites that the search engine determines best answer the user’s inquiry, carousels of images, suggested locations, and related advertisements.

 KPI: KPI stands for “key performance indicator.” These indicators are data sets or other values that can be measured to determine how well parts of a website are meeting their goals. One common KPI for SEO results, for example, is the measurement of how much user traffic comes from clicks on organic search results.

Additional Terms

 Crawling: Search engines use “bots” to scavenge the internet for all the data visible on every website. The process of these bots gathering data is called “crawling.” Google and other search engines use these crawling bots purely as information gatherers.

 Indexing: When crawling bots provide the information they mined to search engine databases, the system will index every single website, page, account, media, and other profiles into a well-organized library.

  • Ranking: After your website pages are crawled and indexed, they can be provided to answer a user query. When a user query is submitted to the search bar, if your website is applicable, it will be given a ranking on that SERP. That ranking depends on the level of applicability to the user query and your SEO strength.

 Ten blue links: On a SERP, there is room for ten organically ranked links. These links on Google pages are shown in blue, and because Google is the leading search engine in the world, those organic results are referred to as the “ten blue links.”

 Organic result: An organic result on a SERP is any ranked webpage that is not an advertisement, image carousel, or suggested Google Maps location.

  • De-indexing: Whenever Google or other search engines determine a page doesn’t meet a user query effectively, that page may be de-indexed, or removed from their database. Sites can be de-indexed if they are using black hat SEO, feature spam, overstuff keywords into their content, have cloaking systems, or block crawling bots. If your site is de-indexed, it will never show up on a SERP.

More Terms

 Image carousel: When a user query can be answered with some images, Google and other search engines will display an image carousel on a SERP along with organic link results. These carousels are collections of images that can be left and right scrolled through.

  • Featured snippet: On a SERP, a featured snippet can appear at the top, connected to a result that the search engine thinks best answers the user’s These featured snippets can be text content, videos, or images.

 URL: This acronym stands for “Uniform Resource Locators.” They are the addresses of each website page, piece of media content, and other displayed items. URLs can contain hidden SEO data, forwarding addresses, and other embedded shortcuts.

 Webmaster guidelines: All search engines set guidelines for website owners to follow in order for them to receive the best crawling, indexing, and ranking treatment. Following these webmaster guidelines will result in better white hat SEO results.

 Functions of Different Coding

There are three main coding systems web developers use to build websites that are communicable to both the user and the search engine: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. All three serve very different purposes, and they are almost always used in combination with one another.

  1. HTML: This is one of the older coding systems still used steadfastly today. HTML (hypertext markup language) is still so useful because it can communicate directly with search engine crawling bots. HTML is essentially the brain, skeleton, muscles, and internal organs of your website. It makes up the text content, placement, sizing, spacing, embedded information, backup cache, and more. HTML dictates what a website does and how search engines interact with your site’s makeup.
  2. CSS: If HTML is the brain, skeleton, etc. of your website, your CSS coding is its skin, face, hair, and clothing. CSS (cascading style sheets) determines how a website looks, making up design elements like layout, font, and colors. Users can interact more readily with CSS than search engines can because humans process websites visually and not necessarily through data. Building a quality CSS code that meshes with your website’s HTML can allow your website to communicate with search engines and human users alike.
  3. JavaScript: Like HTML and CSS coding, JavaScript is used across almost every single website. JavaScript is extremely effective in “animating” your website. This can mean literally animating with moving drawings and other media, but JavaScript can also simply make your website more dynamic and behave better in general. Pop-ups, overlays, buttons, interstitials, and other moving parts are all built with JavaScript. However, because JavaScript isn’t seen by search engines the same way users see it, it can be a problem for your SEO. Generally, if your JavaScript coding isn’t blocking crawling bots or significantly lowering your site load time, it won’t negatively impact your SEO results.

Basic Terms for SEO/Marketing 

These basic SEO/Marketing terms and a general understanding of how different coding systems work can help you get started with designing and improving your website, but there are still many questions we can answer. For more information about our SEO/marketing in St. Paul, MN or to get started with our team of designers and developers, contact MLT Group today at (507) 281-3490,, or online.