SEO Glossary & FAQ
New to online marketing and SEO? Here is a cheat sheet and SEO Glossary for all the more commonly used Search Engine Optimisation and marketing terms and their meanings.
Internet marketing can be very daunting for someone new to the industry with so much jargon and so many acronyms. We’ve put together some commonly used online marketing expressions in this SEO Glossary to make you sound just like an expert. Here are most of the common terms you will hear discussed.
301 code status: The code 301 is interpreted as “page moved permanently”. A 301 redirect is the most efficient and Search Engine Friendly method for Web page redirection.
302 code status: A 302 code means that the file has been found, but is temporarily located at another URL. In the context of SEO, it is typically best to avoid using 302 redirects.
404 code status: A 404 code means that the file has not been found. This occurs as a broken link on your website when a page has been moved on your website or someone has typed in the wrong URL to find the page.
Algorithm: This is a set of programming rules that decide how a Search Engine will display the results of a Web search and how websites will be ranked. Algorithms are frequently updated by Search Engines.
Alt tags: This is short for ‘alternative text’ and it is the text that is shown when images do not appear. An alt tag should describe the image and not simply comprise a list of keywords.
Anchor text: This is an important part of link building. The anchor text refers to the linked section of the text and ideally should contain important keyword phrases. For example, link building is the anchor text in this sentence.
Auto-generated pages: Using a script or software program to create thousands of keyword-stuffed pages with content of no value to human readers. This is a black hat SEO strategy and Search Engines will take action against websites who are creating auto-generated pages.
Backlinks (or Back Links): This the term applied to external links or links from other websites linking to your website. To a certain extent you cannot control what websites are linking to your website but ideally they should come from quality websites.
Bad link neighbourhood: This is a black hat SEO technique and refers to linking to and from dubious sites to artificially boost your Search Engine ranking.
Bing: This is one of the top three Search Engines and a competitor to Google.
Black hat SEO: Search Engines like Google have rules which you must follow if you want your website indexed. Black hat SEO does not comply with these guidelines.
Blogs: A blog is a key part of Social Media networking and is a series of articles that can either be hosted on your website or on an external site.
Bounce rate: This is when visitors to your website are exiting your website in approximately less than ten seconds. Bounce rates under 30% are normal but a rate over 50% should be investigated further.
Cache: This is a snapshot of your page taken when your site was last crawled. To see the cache of your page in Google type cache: followed by your page URL into a Google search box.
Call to action: This is a term used to describe copy with a button or text to complete an action defined by the website. For example, this might include calling a number for more information or filling out a booking form.
Citation: This refers to a reference to your website which includes your business name, address and telephone number. It does not necessarily include a link to your website – this would be the ideal citation.
Cloaking: This is a black hat strategy and is said to occur when the content displayed to a Search Engine is different to what is shown to the end user.
Content: This is also referred to as the body text or text. In reference to SEO, content is generally considered to be the readable text within the body of a page underneath the H1 heading as distinguished from headlines, subheadings, images and so forth.
Conversion: Contrary to popular belief, this does not just refer to a direct sale. Depending on your website’s business model, this could include downloading an information brochure, a sales inquiry or increasing subscriptions to your newsletter.
CMS: This is an acronym for Content Management System which allows people to create, edit and delete content without any coding experience.
Crawl: This is a term used to describe the process of Search Engine spiders visiting your website and ‘crawling’ the pages. Your site logs or Web analytics software can tell you which Search Engines have crawled your site and when that last occurred.
DMOZ: Also known as The Open Directory Project. DMOZ was a free, human, edited directory run by volunteers. A listing was considered beneficial for SEO, but getting listed could be quite difficult. As of March 2017, dmoz.org is no longer available.
Dofollow link: A link that has the no-follow attribute removed (see below). This type of link will pass link juice/equity to another website or page on a website. Typically, this encourages visitor participation.
Doorway page: This is another black hat technique which should be avoided. This page delivers no useful content to visitors to your site and only seeks to redirect traffic to another area of the site.
Duplicate content: This term refers to content which is identical to other content either on your own website or on other websites. This should be avoided where possible and original and unique content should be provided.
External link: This is an outgoing link from your website to another website/or to a location on another website/domain.
Facebook: This is currently one of the biggest and influential social networking websites. You can share photos, notes, groups, events and posted items with your network. Read more about the opportunities of Facebook.
Feed: A regular feature of blogs. This allows readers to be able to subscribe to frequently updated content by adding the feed to their reader software or email client (e.g. Outlook). Feeds are typically created in a format called RSS (see below).
Flash: A technology developed by MacroMedia Corp. that allows a Web designer to embed interactive multimedia into Web pages.
Footer: Footer navigation is often displayed on every web page at the bottom of the page and as such is global navigation. Footer navigation typically links to content such as about us pages, contact us pages, social media networks, legal disclaimers and so forth.
Google: This is the largest and most influential Search Engine in the world and is dominating the market in regions such as Australia, the US and the UK.
Google AdWords: This is a Google service that offers pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and site-targeted advertising for both text and banner ads.
Google Analytics: This is one of the most popular Web analytics tools to monitor statistics for your website. Read more about Google Analytics’ (link broken) popular reports and tools.
Googlebot: This is Google’s Search Engine program which visits your site and returns data to Google. Also known as web robots, internet bots, web crawlers and bots.
Google Buzz: Google Buzz integrates with your existing Gmail account and allows you to post content and share files from Twitter, Picasa, Flickr and Google Reader.
Google keyword tool: This is a free tool used by SEO experts to find keywords based on actual Google search inquiries.
Google Local Business Listings: See Google Places.
Google My Business: This was formally known as Google Local Business Listings. Google My Business is different to organic or pay-per-click listings. They typically only show up when the user types a service-oriented business followed by the city for their search such as ‘hairdressers: Parramatta’. Find out more about Google Places and how will help you to reach the local market.
Google Sitemap: A file placed on your Web server and submitted to Google indicating which pages on your site need to be indexed. See XML sitemap.
Google sitelinks: In some search results Google lists multiple deep links rather than a single link. Type in ‘Nordstrom’ into the search field and you will see links for ‘stores’, ‘contact us’, ‘careers’ and so forth.
Headings (heading tags): These are important for on-page SEO and good Web design. Heading tags are constructed in HTML using a H1 to H6 tag. Styling can be modified using CSS.
HTML: This is an acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language and is a commonly used programming language to develop websites.
Image SEO: This refers to Image Search Engine Optimisation and it is the practice of optimising your images for Search Engines. Learn more about image SEO.
Inbound links: An external link from another site to your site. Inbound links are an important element that will improve your site’s link authority/equity.
Index: A Search Engine’s database in which textual content is filed away from every web page of every website that its spiders visit.
Internal links: These are links from one internal page to another on your site and are used as navigation or to provide additional information for a reader. Internal links play an important role of your link strategy to help Search Engines to crawl and index pages on your website.
International SEO: This is a specialised SEO strategy to capture traffic from global markets. Discover more about international SEO (broken link) strategies and how to optimise your website for a world-wide audience.
Internet Explorer (IE): This is one of the most widely known Web browsers in competition with Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
Invisible text: This is another Black hat SEO technique and is frowned upon by Search Engines. This involves placing keyword-stuffed text in the same colour as the background so it is not visible to human readers but can be read by Search Engines.
Keywords: Sometimes called Search Engine keywords, this forms the basis of your Search Engine Optimisation activities. This is a word or phrase (long tail keyword) which is typed into a Search Engine. Read more about how to find the right keywords for your SEO strategy.
Keyword density: This is a measure of how often a keyword or keyword phrase is used within the content of a page.
Keyword stuffing: This is the process of inserting multiple keywords into the text unnaturally to try and artificially boost a web page’s Search Engine rankings. Not only is this distracting for readers, your website can be penalised for keyword stuffing. Find out more about the ways your website can be banned from Google.
Keyword research: This is the research needed to find relevant keywords for your website and your industry and to monitor your ongoing keyword strategy. Find out more about keyword research tools.
Keyword rich copy: This is the ultimate aim of SEO copywriting – using keywords inserted naturally and seamlessly within the text.
KPI: This is short for key performance indicators. These are goals or benchmarks set by an organisation to measure the success of a campaign or a project.
Landing page: This is sometimes called a destination page and this is the first page visitors to your website land on after they have clicked on the link to your website on the Search Engine Results Page. Find out how to optimise your landing pages to increase your conversion rates.
Links: In basic terms, a Search Engine considers a link to your website as a vote of confidence or a citation and factors this into its ranking algorithm. In SEO terms, this is generally considered to be inbound links to your site.
Link authority: This is sometimes referred to as link equity. ‘Authority’ for a website is gained by a webpage through quality incoming links. This is for instance expressed in the PageRank given by Google.
Link bait: This is a term to describe content that is information, useful and entertaining that will encourage other websites to link to it and improve your link profile.
Link building: Acquiring inbound links to your site is one of the most important elements of Search Engine Optimisation and plays an important role in boosting your Search Engine ranking. Learn more about link building strategies.
Link Equity: See link authority above.
LinkedIn: One of the biggest professional networking Social Media sites with currently over 400 million members in over 200 countries. Find more about opportunities with LinkedIn.
Link juice: Link building is about quality not quantity in a Search Engine’s eyes and this is the value a Search Engine places on a link to your website. Links from trustworthy and credible websites such as government websites will have more link juice.
Link farm: This is a black hat SEO strategy and it is the process of buying links to artificially boost your Search Engine ranking.
Long tail keywords: This is the strategy of targeting less competitive niche keywords rather than hugely competitive broad keywords. An example of long tail keyword would be ‘Canon pink digital cameras’ while an example of a short tail keyword is ‘digital cameras. Long tail keywords usually have a lower search volume but a higher conversion rate.
Metatags (Meta Tags): HTML code which Search Engines read and use in various ways such as meta description tags and meta keywords tags.
Meta description: Search Engines often use the meta description to display in their search results just below the title tag and provides a summary of the page content. Search Engines may not always use the meta description but it should always be provided as a guide.
Meta Keywords: A list of keywords relevant to the page which has become less relevant over the years. Google has openly said they do not use the “keywords” meta tag in their web search ranking.
Mozilla Firefox: Mozilla Firefox is a Web browser that has steadily grown in popularity over the last few years and is known to be more secure than Internet Explorer.
Nofollowed link: A link which carries the rel=”nofollow” attribute. A link with the rel=”nofollow” attribute, doesn’t carry any weight, and doesn’t count towards your overall link authority/equity (also knows as PageRank in Google Web searches).
Organic Search Results: This is a long term strategy to improve brand visibility and rankings in Search Engines and these are the unpaid search results delivered by Search Engines. Read about organic search or organic SEO.
PageRank (PR): This is Google’s logarithmic formula for calculating the importance of a web document based on links. The more high authority links a page has, the more important the page is considered.
PPC (Pay per click): Pay Per click is also` known as paid search is where an advertiser bids on keywords associated with an advertisement in order to achieve higher position on Search Engine results pages (sponsored links section) for searches on that keyword. Find out how PPC can work with SEO campaigns.
Penalty: This is a drop in your Search Engine rankings which normally occurs when you have not abided by the Search Engine guidelines.
Ranking: A keyword position on a Search Engine.
Reciprocal Linking: The process of exchanging links i.e. where website A links to website B, and in return website B links to website A.
Robots.txt: A robots.txt is a permissions file that can be used to control which Web pages of a website you want a Search Engine to index. The text file must be placed in a websites root directory.
ROI (return on investment): The benefit gained in return for the cost of investing budget into advertising or a project ROI is expressed as a percentage or ratio, and is calculated with the following formula: “Total Revenues (generated from campaign or project) minus cost of investment divided by cost of investment.”
RSS feed: This stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS feed uses an XML document to publish blog articles.
Search Engines: A Search Engine is a Web portal to help you find information on the Internet through different search terms. The Search Engines use algorithms to rank the websites in terms of relevance and importance. Major Search Engines include Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Search Engine banning: This occurs when your website has been removed from a Search Engine indexes. Do a site search by typing in ‘site:yoursite.com’ and see if Google return any results. Read more about what to do if your website is banned by Google.
Search Engine Optimization (also spelled optimisation): In basic terms, the process of optimising a page through its on-page content, structure and link profile to rank highly for specific search queries. In broader terms, this is the process of increasing revenues for businesses selling their products or services online.
SEM: This stands for Search Engine Marketing. This is an umbrella term which refers to all aspects of building traffic through search, including natural (organic) Search Engine Optimisation and PPC (pay per click) Search Engine advertising. Find out how SEO and SEM can work together.
SEO: Stands for Search Engine Optimization (Optimisation). This focuses on natural (organic) Search Engine ranking (see above).
SEO audit: An SEO Audit is like a health check for your website. It looks at the technical infrastructure of your website, the on-page elements and off-page essentials to analyse the success of an SEO campaign.
SEO copywriting: SEO copywriting is writing copy for a website that has a dual purpose; to be engaging and compelling for readers but also to attract Search Engines spiders to index the Web page.
SEO consultants: These are specialists in Search Engine Optimisation strategies. Also known as SEO experts.
SEO toolbars: Toolbars that can be downloaded and integrated seamlessly with your Web browser to give you important SEO resources at your fingertips to optimise your website and analyse your competitors’ websites.
SERP: This stands for Search Engine Result Page. This is the list of links and descriptions listed on a Search Engine when a keyword search is performed.
Social bookmarking: A sub-category to Social Media that allows you to share, organise and manage your bookmarks, or favourite websites, with other users that use the same social bookmarking tool, such as Delicious, Stumbleupon and Digg.
Social Media: This is sometimes called Web 2.0 and used to describe user generated websites and blogs that encourage engagement and allow interaction. Popular sites include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Social networking: A sub-category to Social Media encompassing ‘networking’ activities and includes social networks such as Facebook.
Spider: Sometimes called Search Engine spiders. These are programs written to scour the web automatically for various reasons (to index Web pages, for spamming purposes, etc.) Also known as web robots, web crawlers, bots, Internet bots.
Title Tag: This is also known as the meta title or page title. It is shown at the top of a browser window and is considered to be very important in on-page SEO.
Traffic: In SEO terms, this refers to the number of visitors referred to your website by Search Engines.
Twitter: Twitter is a popular Social Media networking site where you can write and read messages of up to 140 characters. Find out more about the opportunities with Twitter.
URL: This stands for Uniform Resource Locator. This is the Web address of a document and an important on-page element in optimising your website.
XML Sitemap: A list of pages you want the Search Engines to find which is created in XML format and submitted to the Search Engines.
VSEO: This is an acronym for Video Search Engine Optimisation and this is the process of optimising your videos.
Web 2.0: This is a term that commonly refers to Social Media websites which promote user generated content and social interaction online. Popular sites include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs.
White hat SEO: This is a process of boosting your Search Engine ranking by following the Search Engine guidelines and using methods approved by Search Engines.
WordPress: WordPress is a highly recommended content management system (CMS) designed specifically with SEO in mind.
Yahoo!: Originally one of the largest and oldest Search Engines along with Google and Bing.
YouTube: YouTube is owned by Google and is the biggest online video community in the world.
The world of SEO or Search Engine Optimization (or Search Engine Optimization as it’s spelled in some countries) can be confusing, full of mystery, algorithms and penalties. Here at SEOGuardians we demystify the world of SEO and share our knowledge and experience to empower you. You can learn more about the best SEO tactics and how SEO works, to use on your own sites, or you can discover how to choose the best SEO companies based on our API and truly independent analysis.