Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Glossary of Terms

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AdWords: The popular paid-advertising system run by Google.

AdSense: A program where a webmaster gives Google permission to display AdWords advertising on his or her site for a percentage of click-through charges.

Algorithm: An operational programming rule that determines how a search engine indexes content and displays the results to its users. Search engines use various algorithms to sort and rank documents.

Anchor Text: The text used to phrase a link. For example: Click Here – the blue text is the “anchor text”.

Back Links: The links that point to your site/page from another website.

Black Hat SEO: Any optimization tactic that causes a site to rank more highly than its content would otherwise justify, or any changes made specifically for search engines that don’t improve the user’s experience of the site. In other words, optimizations that are against search engine guidelines. If you step too far over the mark, your site may be penalized or even removed from the index.

Blacklist: Lists of search engine spammers that either search engines or vigilante users compile, which may be used to ban those spammers from search engines or to users compile, which may be used to ban those spammers from search engines or to boycott them.

Body Text: The meaty visible text content that appears in the body of a website.

Content: The information contained in a document.

Cost Per Click (CPC): The cost incurred or price paid for a click-through to your landing page.

Crawler: see Spider.

Database: A database is a storage area for information. In reference to search engines, databases are measured by the number of websites listed on that particular search engine. A database is a collection of information organized in such a way that a computer program can quickly select desired pieces of data.

Directory: Directories are very much like search engines except they often use live human editors to review and catalog websites submitted to their databases.
Domain Name: The digital address of a website as expressed in hypertext transfer protocol code, also known as the URL.

Document: A unique web-file of any type being examined by Google.

Exact Match: A type of keyword matching where the search query must be exactly the same as the advertisement keyword. This means that the term “tennis ball” will only match ads or search listings that contain the exact term “tennis ball”.

Flash: Vector graphics-based animation software that allows a web designer to embed interactive multimedia into web pages. Often used for Flash intros, games, and animation navigation.

Google Bombing: Making a page rank well for a specific search query by having multiple links point at it with the keywords in the anchor text.

Googlebot: The given name of Google’s search spider. It collects documents from the web to build a searchable index for the Google search engine.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): The programming language used for creation of web content and displaying it in a formatted manner.

Host Server: The computer where a website resides and is made available via the web. Generally host servers are associated with Internet Service Providers.

Hyperlinks: See Links.

Image: An image is a graphic used in a website. Not every image is a picture. Images can include photos, buttons, banners, and other non-text elements.

Impressions: The number of times your search ad is searched by users on search engines.

Index: The term describing a search engines database where it stores textual content from every web page that its spider visits.

Inlinks: See Backlinks.

Internal Links: A hypertext link that points to another page within the same website.

Keyword: A word that a search engine user will input into a search engine to find a relevant web page.
Keyword Density: The number of times a given keyword appears on a webpage.

Keyword Phrase: A search comprising of two or more keywords that a search engine user will input into a search engine to find a relevant web page.

Keyword Research: Determining the words and phrases that people will search when looking for something, then compiling them into a list for use on web pages.

Landing Page: This iss the page that appears when someone clicks on an ad or a search-engine result link. The page will usually display content that is a logical extension of the advertisement or link, and that is optimized to feature specific keywords or phrases for indexing by search engines.

Link: Text or graphics that, when clicked on, take the Internet user to another web page or document on the web. Links generally appear as coloured underlined text however they might also be triggered by images or Flash etc.
Link Building: Requesting links from webmasters of other sites for the purpose of increasing your “link popularity” and/or “Page Rank.”

Link Popularity: A measure of how many other websites link to your website.

Meta Tags: Found in the source code (or invisible background) of each web page. Meta tags are sets of instructions and/or identifiers for search engine spiders to read which describe the content that is included on your web page. Search engines use Meta Tags only in part when calculating your web site’s ultimate placement. There are two commonly used meta tags, the description and the keyword tags.
Optimization: The process of making your website or web page search engine friendly.

PageRank: A score assigned by Google (0-10) which estimates the importance of web document content and the content of all associated documents.

Pay-per-Click (PPC): A type of web advertising which allows bids for ad placements. Bids are most often measured as an amount per click-through, or each time a user visits a website, the bid amount is extracted from the bidder’s account.

Query: A keyword, or phrase inquiry submitted into a search engine.

Rankings: Order of placement of a web document or web site on search engine results pages.

Reciprocal Linking: The practice of trading links between websites.

Robot: Another name for a spider. Also referred to as ‘bots’.

Search: The act of looking for information using a search engine.

SERP: Acronym: Search Engine Results Page.

SEO: Acronym: Search Engine Optimization. The process of altering a document or website in order to improve search rankings of that document. SEO tends to focus on the organic (natural) or free listings.

SEM: Acronym: Search Engine Marketing. Where SEO tends to refer to a process performed for benefit in organic rankings, SEM tends to focus on paid aspects of search advertising.

Site Map: A set of text links used to direct human visitors or search engine spiders through the site.

Spam: Most commonly associated with the act of sending unsolicited email, but in the context of search engine optimization, spamming refers to using disreputable tactics to achieve high search engine rankings.

Spider: (Also know as a bot, robot or crawler) A tool used by search engines to view and rank websites submitted to its search engine. Spiders are electronic robots programmed and used by search engines to find web documents and record information about web documents.
Title Tag: The title appears in the bar across the very top of your search browser window, (usually the blue bar where the minimize/maximize buttons are also placed). This is also the text that appears as the header/active link on search engine results pages.

Traffic: A term measuring the number of users who visit a document or website.
URL: Acronym: Uniform Resource Locator, also known as web address / Domain Name.

Web Page: A single document contained in a traditional defined document format and found on the web.
Web Site: A collection of web pages or other content assembled to form a unique entity and housed at the same basic URL.

Web: A network of servers linked together using common protocols. The World Wide Web has become a vast repository of human information and has also provided its billions of users with the instant ability to communicate with other users via networks established using common protocols.


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