SEO Terms And Meanings
What does SEO stand for, in relationship to industry meanings? Here is a list of SEO terms and their meanings, for referencing what you hear from others.
301 or 301 redirect – When a URL points to a different URL. This can be useful for canonical issues. 301’s are permanent redirects.
302 or 302 redirect – When a URL points to a different URL, but isn’t permanent.
404 or 404 page not found – When someone clicks on a URL that doesn’t exist. A 404 occurs when an old URL isn’t redirected to a new URL.
Adwords – Google’s advertising platform. Other terms used may include CPC (cost per click), CPM (cost per thousand impressions), or PPC (pay per click).
Affiliate Marketing – Affiliate marketers, practices, and websites sell products from other companies. Sales produce a commission or fee.
Algorithm – A mathematical program search engines use. Algorithms determine which pages are best to suggest for a given search query.
Alt Text – A description of a graphic, or image. Alt text generally isn’t displayed to a user. Alt text is important because search engines can’t tell one picture from another. Alt text is best used to give an accurate description of the associated picture. Web browsers for visual impaired users, use alt text to define the content to their user.
Analytics – A program which assists in analyzing data about website usage.
Anchor Text – The user visible text of a link. Anchor text indicates relevancy of a referring website.
Authority – Authority is sometimes called “link juice”. It is the amount of trust a website has for a search query. Authority derives it’s value from related incoming links, from other authoritative sites.
B2B – Business to Business.
B2C – Business to Consumer.
Backlink (incoming link) – Any link into a page or website from other websites. Backlinks are always either “dofollow” or “nofollow”.
Black Hat – Search engine optimization tactics that don’t follow Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Blog – A website page with content presented in a chronological series. Most blogs use a content management system. CMS platforms allow content creation, without needing the ability to write code. Content creators for blogs, are often referred to as “bloggers”.
Bot (robot, spider, crawler) – A program search engines use, which indexes web content. Bots are also used in black hat SEO to scrape the internet for content. The scraped content is often used by spammers for exploitation.
Bounce Rate – The percentage of users who enter a site and then leave it without viewing any other pages.
Bread Crumbs – A defined navigation area above the main content. Bread crumbs allow users to know where they are on a website. They also allow quick navigation to categorical pages.
Canonical Issues (duplicate content) – When content duplicates existing content on a website. By creating “noindex” meta tags, canonical data instructs bots which content is important. This is sometimes called “cornerstone content”.
Cloak or Cloaking – Showing search engines a different version of content, than what a human user sees. When search engines catch cloaking, they are often banned.
CMS (Content Management System) – Website platforms that allow content writing. CMS platforms do not need coding skills to write content. WordPress, Joomla, Wix, and Webflow, are examples of CMS platforms.
Comment Spam – Posting blog comments to create a backlink to a different website.
Content (text, copy) – The part of a website that creates value to a visitor or reader. Content is the greatest factor for search engines, when determining search engine rankings.
Conversion (goal) – Completing a quantifiable goal on a website. Converting a visitor into making a decision, or taking further action.
Conversion Rate – Percentage of users who convert.
CPC (Cost Per Click) – How much a company pays an advertiser to send a single visitor to their website. This is also called direct advertising.
CPM (Cost Per Thousand impressions) – How much a company pays an advertiser for an ad. This is also called passive advertising. A company pays the advertiser, based on each block of 1,000 displays.
Crawl or Crawler (bot, spider) – When a search engine crawls a website. Using link data, the bot determines relevancy of content.
Directory – A site devoted to directory pages. The Yahoo directory is an example. A lot of SEO companies will create links to directory sites, for off page SEO. Directory backlinks carry less authority than contextual backlinks.
Dofollow – Instructing search engines to pass authority from your page, to your link source.
Duplicate Content – Content that relates with other existing content on a website. Duplicate content is often ignored by search engines.
eCommerce Site – A website devoted to retail sales.
Feeds – Content delivered from other sources. Feeds serve syndicated content. Aggregators use feeds to bring many different sources of content to a single place or page.
Frames or Framing – A design which uses two or more pieces of content in a viewing area. Bots ignore framed content, because each frame is showing two or more types of content. Users do not like framed content, because they can’t see the entire page.
Gateway Page (doorway page) – A website page that collects traffic, and sends it to another website. Gateway pages use practices like cloaking, which search engines frown upon.
Google Bowling – Trying to lower a sites rank by sending it links from bad sources.
Google Dance – The change in SERPs caused by an update of the Google algorithm.
Google Juice (trust, authority, Pagerank) – Trust from Google. Google Juice or “link juice” flows through outgoing links to other pages.
Googlebot – Google’s spider program.
Hub (expert page) – A trusted page with high quality content that links out to related pages.
HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) – Directive that adds web functionality to plain text. HTML is the language of search engines.
Impression (page view) – The event where a user views a webpage one time.
Inbound link (incoming link) – Inbound links from related pages are the source of trust.
Index – A database of WebPages and their content used by the search engines. To add a web page to a search engine index.
Indexed Pages – The pages on a site indexed by search engines.
Keyword or Key Phrase – The word or phrase that a user enters into a search engine to find relevant content.
Keyword Cannibalization – The excessive reuse of the same keyword. This makes it difficult for search engines to determine which page is most relevant.
Keyword Density – The percentage of words on a web page which are a particular keyword. If this value is high, the page could receive penalties from search engines.
Keyword Research – The hard work of determining which keywords are appropriate for targeting.
Keyword Spam (keyword stuffing) – high keyword density.
Keyword Stuffing (keyword spam) – high keyword density.
Landing Page – The page that a user lands on when they click on a link in a SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) – Search engines index associated groups of words. SEO’s refer to these same groups of words as “Long Tail Searches”. The majority of searches consist of three or more words strung together. See also “long tail”.
Link – An element on a web page that is clickable. Clicking a link causes the browser to jump to another page or another part of the current page.
Link Bait – A webpage with the purpose of attracting incoming links, often via social media.
Link Building – Cultivating incoming links to a site. Link building is the most valuable effort of off page SEO. Many SEO companies are only successful at on page SEO functions.
Link Exchange – Linking scheme often facilitated by a site devoted to directory pages. Link exchanges usually allow links to sites of low or no quality, and add no value themselves. Quality directories are usually human edited.
Link Farm – A group of sites which all link to each other. This is sometimes referred to as a PBN (Private Blogging Network). PBN’s and link farms send traffic from specific websites to a master website. Used to trick search engines, link farms and PBN’s are a black hat SEO tactic.
Link Juice (trust, authority, PagerRank)
Link Love – An outgoing link, which passes trust.
Link Partner (link exchange, reciprocal linking) – Two sites which link to each other. Search engines usually don’t see these as high value links, because of the reciprocal nature.
Link Popularity – A measure of the value of a site based upon the number and quality of sites that link to it.
Link Spam (Comment Spam) – Unwanted links. Such as those posted in user generated content like blog comments.
Link Text (Anchor text) – The user visible text of a link. Search engines use anchor text to state the relevancy of the referring site. Also the link to the content on a landing page. All three will share some keywords in common.
Long Tail – More specific search queries, often less targeted. A large percentage of all searches are long tail searches.
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) – Search engines index associated groups of words. SEO’s refer to these same groups of words as “Long Tail Searches”. The majority of searches consist of three or more words strung together.
Mashup – A web page which consists of single purpose software and other small programs. Mashups are quick and easy content to produce and are often popular with users, and can make good link bait. Tool collection pages are sometimes mashups.
META Tags – Statements within the HEAD section of an HTML page giving information about the page. META information may be in the SERPs but is not visible on the page. Also, they are the first impression users get about your page within the SERPs.
Metric – A standard of measurement used by analytics programs.
Mirror Site (masking) – An identical site at a different address. Sometimes masking happens through redirecting various URL’s.
Natural Search Results – The search engine results which are not sponsored, or paid for in any way. Also referred to as “Organic” search results.
nofollow – Instructing robots to not follow either any links on the page or the specific link.
noindex – instructing robots to not index the page or the specific link.
Non-reciprocal link – When a link is outgoing, but doesn’t receive a link in return. Search engines value non-reciprocal links the most.
Outlink – (outgoing link)
PageRank (PR) – A value between 0 and 10, assigned by the Google algorithm. PageRank quantifies link popularity and trust among other factors. While PageRank is no longer visible to the public, it is still used by Google’s algorithm.
Pay For Inclusion (PFI) – The practice of charging a fee to include a website in a search engine or directory.
PPA (Pay Per Action) – When publishers are only paid for converting traffic.
PPC (Pay Per Click) – Advertisers pay when a user clicks a link. Adwords is an example of PPC advertising.
Proprietary Method (snake oil) – A term used for vendors claiming an ability to achieve page 1 rankings. Usually claiming a method unique to their company.
Reciprocal Link (link exchange) – Two sites which link to each other. Search engines don’t see these as high value links, because of the reciprocal nature.
Redirect – Any of several methods used to change the address of a landing page. Website designers generally use redirects from old web pages to the new page design.
Robots.txt – A file in the root directory of a website use to control the behavior of search engine spiders.
ROI (Return On Investment) – One use of analytics software is to quantify return on investment. This establishes true metrics for time and money spent, versus the results.
Sandbox (speculative) – SEO’s debate the existence of Google pre-penalizing new websites. The belief from one side, is that Google makes a company prove itself over a period of time. Also, it being harder to rank page 1 for keywords, until a website is “out of the sandbox”. Sometimes, penalized companies get labeled as being “sandboxed” by SEO’s.
Scrape or Scraping – Copying content from a site, often facilitated by automated bots.
Search Engine – a program, which searches a document or group of documents. Search engines find relevant keyword phrases and returns a list of relevant matches. Internet search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo search the entire internet.
Search Engine Spam – Pages created to cause search engines to show less valuable results. Search Engine Optimizers are sometimes perceived as search engine Spammers. Of course in some cases they actually are.
SEM (search engine marketing) – SEM positions a website to achieve the best exposure. Search engine marketing uses SEO, paid listings, and other techniques.
SEO – Short for search engine optimization. The process of increasing the number of visitors to a website. This achieves high rank in search results. The higher a website ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that users will visit the site. It is common practice for Internet users to not click past the first few pages of search results. High rank in SERPs is essential for obtaining traffic for a site.
SERP – Search Engine Results Page.
Site Map – A page or structured group of pages which link to every user accessible page on a website. Site maps improve site usability by clarifying the data structure of the site for the users. An XML sitemap is often kept in the root directory of a site to help search engine spiders to find all the site pages.
SMM (Social Media Marketing) – Website or brand promotion through social media.
SMP (Social Media Poisoning) – Techniques designed to implicate a competitor as a spammer. – For example, blog comment spamming in the name / brand of a competitor.
Sock Puppet – An online identity used to either hide a persons real identity. Sometimes used to establish many user profiles.
Social Bookmark – A form of Social Media which aggregates users bookmarks.
Social Media – Various online technologies used by people to share information. Blogs, wikis, forums, social bookmarking, user reviews and rating sites are examples.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) – Website or brand promotion through social media.
Spamdexing – Spamdexing modifies web pages to rank at the beginning of results. Also, to influence the category to which the page assignment in a dishonest manner.
Spammer – A person who uses spam to pursue a goal.
Spider (bot, crawler) – A specialized bot used by search engines to find and add web pages to their indexes.
Spider Trap – An endless loop of generated links which can “trap” a spider program. Sometimes used to prevent automated scraping or e-mail address harvesting.
Splash Page – Often animated, graphics pages without significant textual content. Splash pages are look flashy to humans, but look like dead ends to search engine spiders. Executed splash pages may be bad for SEO.
Splog – Spam Blog which usually contains little if any value to humans. Often machine generated or made up of scraped content.
Static Page – A web page without dynamic content or variables such as session IDs in the URL. Static pages are good for SEO work in that they are friendly to search engine spiders.
Text Link or Contextual Link – A plain HTML link. A contextual link does not use a graphic. Receiving a contextual “dofollow” backlink, is the best form of off page SEO.
Time On Page – The amount of time that a user spends on one page before clicking to a different page. The longer a visitor stays on a page, determines the value of the content. This is sometimes called “dwell time”.
Trust Rank – A method of differentiating between valuable pages and spam. Search engines quantify link relationships from trusted human evaluated pages.
URL Uniform Resource Locator – Also known as a Web Address.
User Generated Content (UGC) – Social media, wikis, and some blogs rely on User Generated Content. One could say that Google is exploiting the entire web as UGC for an advertising venue.
Walled Garden – A group of pages which link to each other, but are not linked to by any other pages. A walled garden can be indexed, if it’s included in a sitemap, but it will have very low page rank.
Web 2.0 – Websites that encourage user interaction.
White Hat SEO – Techniques, which conform to best practice guidelines. White hat tactics do not attempt to “game” or manipulate SERPs.
Widget – Small applications used on web pages to provide specific functions. Examples include a hit counter or IP address display. These programs can make good link bait.