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.

Why Generating Localized Content is Important for SEO/Marketing in St. Paul, MN

There are many different ways to expand your brand audience and increase user traffic through search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is all about achieving rankings on search engines to attract more of your target audiences to your site and offerings. But SEO can also be used to grow a demographic that is interested in your brand’s products, services, mission, or practices, but not currently finding your site online. For example, there are many brands that hold a large audience in the 18-to-25-year-old demographic that wish to grow their customer relationships with older users, or vice versa. By retargeting SEO strategies and improving the complexity and depth of your brand content, you can attract a broader audience and increase brand awareness to demographics previously untapped. SEO is a key component to success as an online brand. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use algorithms meant to better meet user inquiries and boost search satisfaction, but they can also be a gift or a curse for your website depending on your use of SEO tactics. With the help of MLT Group, you can increase your online presence through our expert SEO/marketing in St. Paul, MN.

We Use a Team Process

At MLT Group, our team provides comprehensive marketing services, including digital support, social media marketing, graphic design, web design, SEO, video production, and more. We can help your brand move to the top of Google search engine results pages (SERPs), bring greater and more meaningful attention to your site, increase conversion rates, improve your customer relationship management (CRM), and get an effective return on your investments (ROI).

A Good Website is Important

There are several ways that SEO/Marketing practices work in your favor when done well and in good faith. Search engine algorithms use crawling bots to scan information on any given website. This includes the examination of everything from text and media content to the analysis of loading speeds and metadata. Those bots then report the information they’ve found to the search engine indexing system. Your website will be indexed until a user inquiry is made in the search engine. When a relevant search is performed, your site is ranked on the SERP based on how well the content the bots found can answer the user’s query.

“White Hat” Tactics

Using SEO to improve your site ranking requires understanding the best practices for keywords, “white hat” tactics, quick page loads, and global, national, or local geotargeting. Not all practices are right for every site. One size does not fit all when it comes to search engine optimization. Depending on your brand model, some methods may be more effective than others. A brand offering worldwide product distribution services, for example, may want to put greater emphasis on their global reach rather than localized SEO content. On the other hand, many small businesses can use localized SEO to great advantage.

What is Local SEO/marketing?

Unlike global or even national SEO marketing, local SEO puts the importance of a single area into a brand model. The reach of local SEO in the U.S. can go as wide as a region, such as the Midwest or New England area, or as narrow as a city or town. One of the most effective ways to integrate local SEO into your website is to use specific keywords paired with your target location, such as “free-range eggs in Memphis, TN” or “family-owned Tennessee farm.” Keywords and locations mentioned in text content are also supported if you provide a local business mailing address, phone number, and brick-and-mortar property.

A first stop for local SEO is claiming and optimizing your Google My Business page. Making sure the information there is accurate and complete is an important step.

Getting SEO/Marketing Results

Another proactive way to increase local SEO/Marketing results is to pair your website with popular social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Social media gives you the invaluable option to directly link your business to permanent local hashtags and hashtags that trend temporarily in the region. Hashtags like “#memphisfarmers” or “#memphisfarmersmarket” are useful for grouping your brand with noncompeting similar small businesses or live events where customers can find you. These are also two examples of localized SEO on the microscopic level (“#memphisfarmers” only has about 70 tagged Instagram posts), and on a slightly larger, but still small, level (“#memphisfarmersmarket” has almost 3,500 tagged Instagram posts). Another benefit of pairing social media with your website is the way those platforms give you direct communication with your customers, users, and additional potential audience members. You can use social media to livestream videos that users can interact with through comments or reactions; create polls; make giveaway contests to boost brand excitement; and implement many other kinds of intimate communication pathways with your demographics.

Local SEO builds your brand as a part of a community. Whether your target audience is a small town, a large city, or even a multi-state region, there are many local SEO tools you can use to support your growth as a trusted provider of whatever kinds of goods, services, or other support you contribute to your area.

When Should You Use Local SEO/Marketing?

Even for certain small businesses, local SEO might be something to lean away from if the goal is expansion to a national level. However, for brands who want to be considered a part of their local community, provide their neighbors with the services they offer, and become a trusted business in their immediate area, local SEO is very important. Some basic rules for when to use local SEO include:

  • Your business is physically located near a customer base that would benefit from your goods and services.
  • Your business would benefit from appearing in localized SERP inquiries.
  • You want to attract users/customers in a specific geographic area, such as a neighborhood, city, county, state, or region.
  • Part of your business model includes face-to-face interactions with customers.
  • You own a physical retail space.
  • You attend local events as a vendor or market through local events.
  • Your competitors lean on local business operations and use local SEO.
  • Your industry operates on a localized scale.
  • Many of your customers are currently local to your region. (You can use website and sales analytics to determine where your customers are purchasing, searching, or interacting from around the world.)
  • Your brand has reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other sites from local customers or targeted to local readers.
  • You pay business and property taxes to your city.

Using Local SEO Is Important for Your Local Customers

There are many other reasons why you could be using local SEO to your benefit in addition to these few basic parameters. Generally speaking, if your customer base starts local, you can expand that audience by leaning into the effectiveness of localized services. However, this does not mean you can’t use national or global SEO to start to expand your definition of “local” as your business grows.

Not only does local SEO work in your favor if your brand meets some of these rules, but Google and other search engines often reward businesses using localized models. When SERPs can include richer answers to the user’s query, such as map locations, store hours, business profiles, directions, reviews, and more, Google will likely favor those rankings more than results that are marketed worldwide.

The global market these days is also shifting in several ways that support local SEO and geotargeting. Not only are consumers more interested in supporting sustainable, ethical, and trustworthy brands, there is also a growing support for shopping locally, saving money on shipping costs, promoting independent and family-owned brands, and reducing the carbon footprint that large corporations are becoming more known for.

If you are looking to increase your use of local SEO/marketing in St. Paul, MN, we can help. Contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490, for more information about our marketing services today.