Search engine optimization has grown to become an industry all on its own. In that realm, finding ways to boost your Google rankings remains key. Unfortunately for Google marketers, the search engine giant’s algorithms have evolved to the point that one now needs to understand wholly new words in order to understand them. Before you select an SEO service in the Phoenix area to work with, you need to make sure that they understand Google; you should start by making sure that they understand the terminology. Below are four terms you should quiz a Phoenix SEO firm about before you hire them—and why these words are so important. Robots.txt versus the noindex meta tag Blocking certain pages on your site from being seen by Google is very possible. There are a number of reasons to do this, but regardless of yours, many inexpert SEO services in the Phoenix area will be of the belief that the robots.txt file is the way to do this. They are very wrong. Instead of preventing an entire page from being indexed (searchable) by Google’s search engine a robots.txt file makes specific pieces of content un-indexable, giving you the ability to control what is and is not seen on a page with complete detail. Unfortunately it is very common for an SEO or web design service in Phoenix to shove all of a page’s content into a robots.txt file. When this happens, the page still shows up, but the “page cannot be displayed” message appears in lieu of actual content. Instead of a robots.txt designation, those seeking to prevent an entire page from being indexed should use a noindex tag to the header of the page. As you can see, it is easy for someone not well-versed—or even an expert—in search engines (specifically Google) would easily make this confusion. Unfortunately, it is one that will seriously harm your ability to generate the right kind of traffic, so make sure that your SEO firm understands this before you start working with them. Google DNS It is a common presumption that a search engine needs a site that it is already connected with to link to a page in order for it to be recognized. Google, however, is an extremely powerful internet searching machine; more importantly, it is both a domain name system (DNS) and a registrar. As such, it is able to identify new sites as soon as they go live. Not knowing this, many web design services will add a development site to a server without doing anything else. In order for a new page to be hidden from Google, you must either use login controls or do as we discussed above and use a noindex meta tag. Penalties versus “penalties” Google has become notorious for imposing penalties on web pages for SEO content that it considers outside of the boundaries set by their guidelines. They have become so well-known for this that any ranking dropping action they take is considered by SEO novices to be a penalty. Algorithm updates, for example, constantly get called out for “penalties” that drastically drop a site’s ranking. However, these are not penalties and should not be treated as such. Instead, they are shits in Google’s SEO landscape that require you to find an SEO service in Phoenix that can adjust your content accordingly. A true penalty, on the other hand, intentionally causes your page’s ranking to be dropped and requires you to identify what the offending content is, how to fix it and how to get Google to reverse the penalty. Another example of something that gets mistaken for a penalty is Google’s duplicate content filter. You only receive a penalty if you are identified as a plagiarist. If you are duplicating your own content for specific reasons, however, one of them is simply being filtered out automatically; a 40 percent content difference should resolve this issue. If you are working with a Phoenix SEO firm that treats algorithmic conflicts such as the ones above like true penalties, consider working with another one. PageRank PageRank is a valuable tool regarding determining how your page is doing on Google. However, it is not a comprehensive analysis of how your page is doing—don’t let any SEO service in Phoenix tell you otherwise. It is actually a measure of how the quality of your linkbacks measure up. Your SEO firm needs to know Google If any SEO service in Phoenix doesn’t completely understand these terms you should think twice about working with them (if they aren’t familiar with the terms at all then you should be avoiding them altogether).