SEO Glossary and Terms
Just taking your first baby steps into the world of SEO? Below is a brief list of commonly used SEO related terms. This glossary was created specifically for people that do not understand some of the SEO's technical jargon. Use the SEO glossary below to find the definitions for a range of SEM & SEO terminology, abbreviations or acronyms. Feel free to distribute and share it further.
A 301 redirection - also known as permanent redirect - represents a webpage that has been moved permanently. It's usually implemented when a new domain is acquired or two webpages are combined into one (eg: mywebsite.com and my-website.com). It's considered the optimal solution when a redirection is implemented.
302 Temporary Redirect
A 302 redirect - also known as temporary redirection - is used to redirect a domain or URL for a short period of time. It's common during promotion periods for e-commerce websites that provide users with a specific landing-page specifically created (Black Friday, Halloween, Christmas, etc). Still, 302 redirects should be best avoided and a specific webpage for these kind of events should be added on the webpage. From the SEO point of view, 302 redirections are not advised.
404 - Not found
A 404 response code is a standard HTTP code indicating a page that cannot be found or a broken link (URL). There are several reasons that could trigger a 404 response code: the user mistypes the address, the page doesn't exist anymore in the specified location, etc. It is important to create a custom 404 page on your site as these are important for usability.
A/B Testing refers to the practice of creating two different webpages or landing-pages in order to determine which design variation produces a better result. Often used in PPC marketing and organic SEO.
In the context of search engines, an algorithm is a set of rules or formulas designed specifically to determine the quality or value of web pages. Some algorithms are constantly updated since search engines use algorithms to construct the search engine result pages (SERP's).
The ALT attribute of the image, also called alternative HTML text, is used to describe an image within a website. This element is used both by visually impaired or blind people and search engine bots who have difficulty interpreting what is represented in an image.
An anchor text is the portion of a text that's displayed as a hyperlink. When the anchor text is accessed (clicked), it leads to another page or article - generally located on the same website. Words used as anchor text should be relevant to the page they are linking-to. For example : " ... for more details you can visit our contact page " - where "contact" page takes visitors to your contact form on your website. Anchor text has become a valid technique in an attempt to raise the relevance of a page for certain keywords.
Auto-generated pages are web-pages created using computer software or scripts to generate automated pages - generally full of irrelevant keywords and content that doesn't provide any value to a potential visitors. This kind of tactic is often used in "Black Hat SEO" techniques to try and increase the position of a web page in organic results. The use of this techniques leads to penalties, often going as far as black-listing the website.
Backlinks (back-links), or links that lead from site A to site B, are links from certain web pages that mention your domain / company URL in an article, blog, forum comments, etc. This type of links, whether from authoritative sources in the field or on the subject of sources that share the same types of services/products are beneficial in relation to your page rankings. They can be compared to a "vote of confidence" from a particular site to your page, leading to increased visibility in SERPs.
Bad link neighborhood
Represents a group of low quality websites that backlink to each other just to increase their rankings, without having any thematic related to them. These are generally domains that belong to the pharmaceutical industry, casinos, pornography, etc, and are a common tactic for "link farms" or poor quality web directories. This tactic generally leads to penalties and removal from the search engine result pages.
Bing is the search engine powered by Microsoft and serves as Google’s closest competitor in the Search Engine world. Launched in June 2009, Bing has become quite popular among users in America and some parts of Europe. Also in 2009, Bing began a partnership with Yahoo! by displaying its results in "Yahoo! search".
Black hat SEO
Represents the use of unethical or evasive techniques to artificially increase the rankings of a website in the organic search results. Even though black hat optimization tactics may give your website an initial boost in rankings, penalties will very soon follow and could even cause your domain removal from search engine results.
Bounce rate represents the percentage of a number of people leaving a website immediately after they visited one page (usually the homepage or the URL provided in the link or ad). The bounce rate is used to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors.
Branded search represents the traffic resulted from organic search on keywords which contain the organization's brand name. Branded searches may occur for individuals and websites as well as organizations.
In SEO terms, cache or caching, refers to how search engines 'store' websites to facilitate the user's access to previously visited pages. If a web page is in the browser cache, then the next time you visit that page, it will be loaded from the "cache" - provided that the user does not empty his browser cache.
A call-to-action (often known as CTA) is the copy or text on a web page or advertisement that encourages the user to complete an action. Anything from asking a user to sign up for your newsletter to asking them to give you a call is considered a call-to-action. This is, arguably, the most critical point of advertising because it is the point that will determine if a user leaves your page or converts into a customer.
The term "cloaking" refers to the technique whereby a version of the content of a site appears to search engines and a different version is presented to the visitors. It is considered a deceptive practice (black hat SEO) and could result in the site being banned or penalized. A famous example is the one from 2006 when the German website of BMW has been removed by google from it's search index. For more examples of cloaking, click here.
CMS is the abbreviation for "Content Management System", which is a software application used in web browsers to edit or publish online content. CMS have been designed to make it easier for a non-technical user to make changes to their web based content.
Web content is defined as the visual part of a website that's available on a page. Content can include text, images, sound, video, etc. Creating quality content has become one of the main factors of On-Page SEO.
The conversion rate in terms SEO refers to potential visitors who have taken a certain action on your site (bought a product, signed-up for a newsletter, etc). For example, if 100 visitors have accessed a site and one of them bought a certain product from that site, your conversion rate is 1%. The higher your conversation rate is, the better.
Crawl - crawling
This term is generally used when a search engine visits a web page. The crawling process is used by search engines to obtain more data - as the site is updated more often, the possibility exists that the crawler (also known as "spider" or "bot") will visit and index more often the specific webpage.
Also known as "Open Directory Project", DMOZ is a free web directory, edited and updated by a community of volunteer editors. Listing in this directory is beneficial in terms of SEO, but can last from weeks to several months - depending on the category in which the website is submitted, page quality, etc. Currently, DMOZ is owned by AOL.
Dofollow or do-follow links
Is a web link which hasn’t been Nofollowed. Links of this type are generally used to provide a "vote of confidence" for a site or a page of a site. Dofollow links from quality sites are considered as one of the most important ranking factors.
These type of pages are a common strategy for black-hat SEO's, whereby one or more pages/articles are created only to redirect the user to a different section of the site or to another page. Generally, doorway pages have no useful content.
Represents text content which is found on the same page/domain or on another web page. Where it is necessary to have the same content on the same domain, use robots.txt to specify what landing-page should be indexed by the search engines - and block/deny access to the duplicate content page(s). The presence of duplicate content is generally penalized by search engines.
External link is a link coming from another page or domain which points back to your web-page. If another site links to your site, that is an external link. If your site links to another website, that's also considered an external link. External links can be both do-follow and no-follow.
Represent an area which is found at the bottom of the web page, usually consisting of links, contact details or small image banners. Footers generally display links to useful sites or links to social media pages associated with your site, marked with a different color from the rest of the page. Common links that appear in a website's footer are pointing to a contact page (Contact Us), social media profiles, terms and agreements or FAQ's.
A Google product that offers pay per click advertising (PPC) for adverts in text or banner format.
One of the most popular Google products, providing statistics for a domain. With Google Analytics you can monitor the number of visitors, bounce rate, devices used to access the site and many other useful information. In order to track these kind of details, a specific code needs to be added to the source of your website.
Known originally as "Google Local Business Listings", Google Places offers different results than the paid or organic listings (Ads). These listings are usually displayed when a user searches using queries such as keyword + location - "Restaurants in Paris" - adding the city or location in the search query. The results are displayed accompanied by placements of the exact locations on the map.
Header (header tag)
Represents a container for introductory content or a set of navigational links. There are 6 types of headings, from H1 to H6, which are commonly used in order of their importance - H1 is displayed with a larger font size and H6 uses a smaller font:
This is an example of H1
This is an example of H3
This is an example of H6
An index is the sum of webpages that are found in the database of a search engine. All content is crawled and scanned in advance by the search engine bot, before being sent to the database for indexing.
Represents a link that connects two or more pages on the same website. Example: "Homepage" links to "Contact" page. Internal linking facilitates access to both visitors of the webpage and search engine bots. It is better to use descriptive internal linking to make it easier for search engines to understand the structure of your website.
Keyword density represents the percentage of occurrence of a specific word or phrase in an article or webpage content.
Keyword research is a practice used in order to get the search volume associated with particular keywords or phrases. In general, keyword research is done using various online sources such as: Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, Google auto-complete, etc.
Keyword stuffing (also known as keyword spam) consists in the practice of repeating keywords artificially for the sole purpose of trying to increase the page's ranking results. This practice leads to penalties and even to the removal of the webpage from the search engines indexes.
Link building is the process of attracting new links to a website, in a natural way - which does not involve buying links or any other paid content (Ads). Link building is an important Off-Page SEO strategy, being also a lengthy process.
Link farms consist of web pages that have a huge number of links in their content unrelated to the content itself or which don't add any value. The purpose of these pages is only to gather a large number of links for promotional reasons. This strategy is considered a black-hat SEO tactic and it's being penalized by search engines.
A meta description offers a short plain text summary which is being used by search engines and displayed in the search engine result pages, just below the title tag. Meta descriptions have been increased by 100 characters per line, and extended from two to three lines - from the previous 155-160 characters.
Also known as keyword meta tag, this element is composed of 5-7 keywords relevant to the webpage or article. This meta tag is not used anymore by Google as a ranking factor.
A nofollow attribute in a link is used to prevent the passing of link authority (in comparison with "dofollow" attributed links which pass link authority to the webpage their linking to). Nofollow links are typically used for web advertising banners or in blog comments.
PPC - Pay-Per-Click
Pay-Per-Click (PPC or Paid Search) is the process used for graphic or text ads which are displayed above the organic search results. The best known PPC service is Google Adwords and it's PPC campaigns. PPC ads only charge advertisers if a potential customer clicks on an ad. The price varies, based on the search relevance, average monthly searches, competition, ad quality, etc. In most cases, PPC campaigns bring a lower conversion rate when compared to Organic SEO campaigns.
SERP (Search Engine Result Page) consist in the results displayed by the search engine page after the users typed in certain queries using keywords or phrases. SERP results include both organic and paid results (Ads). The term used for multiple page results in known as SERPs.
Search Engine Marketing is a form of marketing which includes both methods, organic SEO and PPC/Advertising. SEO is considered a subset of SEM.
An SEO audit is an analysis of the most important SEO factors for a website. An audit covers both On-Page and Off-Page SEO factors, such as: META tags, content quality, Social Media account activity and quality, links, specific code errors, robots and sitemap implementation, etc. Most companies that provide SEO services offer this type of audit for free.
Spider, crawler, bot or robot
Software designed by search engines to analyze web pages and content in order to include them into the search engine index. Most known bots are Googlebot and Bingbot. Google has specific types of spiders, including vertical search spiders and spiders associated with ad targeting.
Short for "Uniform Resource Locator", representing a web address - such as http://bullseo.net/. URL formatting is considered an important factor in terms of On-Page SEO. URL best practices include: SEO frienldy URL's in easily readable format for both humans and search engine bots (such as www.mysite.com/home instead of www.mysite.com/index=123?).
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO services promote approved methods and work in accordance with the different guidelines provided by the search engines. White hats use optimization strategies, techniques and tactics that focus on a human audience opposed to search engines and completely follows search engine rules and policies.