SEO terms explained

There’s no getting away from it; the Search Engine Optimisers and Search Engine Marketers of this world love to use complicated terminology, from SEO to PPC and robots to white hats. Never fear! We’ve got them covered them in this easy to understand SEO glossary of all the terms and acronyms you’re likely to find in the world of Search Engine Optimisation (that’s SEO, by the way; so you already know one and we haven’t even started).

An HTTP status code. By far the most common, it means the request was received, understood and is being processed.

An HTTP status code that signifies the URL has been permanently moved. The 301 will rediect from the old URL to the new URL

An HTTP status code that significes a temporary change of address. The browser will then redirect to the new URL

An HTTP status code that indicates the requested URL could not be found. This often happens when a webpage is deleted and a redirect isn’t in place.

An HTTP status code that signals a non-existent URL address that should not be accessed again in the future and should be removed from search engines

An HTTP status code that is returned when an unspecified internal server error occurs. This is a generic message that doesn’t explain root cause of the error.

An HTTP status code that implies the requested service is unavailable at the moment and the server is unable to handle the request.

A well-known advertising program operated by Google that places short, precisely targetted ads alongside search results

Member of a network for joint promotion and sales, usually connected by similar type of service and/or target group

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. A method used to build web pages that respond instantly when the user requests data. A good example of AJAX in practicea Facebook comment that loads on the page the moment you submit it without refreshing the page.

Mathematical formula programmed into seach engines that is used to sort the search results from most to least relevant

alt text
Textual description of a visual element on a website, usually not readable by human users

Software tools used for compiling and reorganizing data about website’s performance

anchor text
Text displayed on a website that contains (‘anchors’) an active backlink, basically a front-end interface for a link

Shorthand for Application Programming Interface, a particular system of tools and procedures used to develop software applications

authority (trust, juice)
Positive reputation assigned to a website by search engines, calculated based on number of incoming links and other factors

authority site
Higher status assigned by the seach engine to websites with many incoming links that appear trustworthy and legitimate

backlink (inbound link)
Active hyperlink built into website content that leads to an external website when clicked upon

black hat
Term that denotes questionable techniques that try to trick search engine alghorithm into better ranking, despite lack of relevance

Online platform for simple presentation of written, visual or multimedia materials. Usually very informal and created by an individual, but can also be used in corporate context.

bot (robot, spider, crawler)
Automated piece of software used to scan and index various websites on the web, helping to rank them; see crawler

bounce rate
The proportion of users that leave the website immediately after visiting, without performing any action or opening any pages

A navigation system on a website that follows the user as he browses on and helps move through the site without backtracking

canonical link
Legitimate link originating from a well-known source. Such links typically carry more weight with search engine algorithms.

click fraud
Fradulent practice designed to exploit the so called ‘pay-per-click’ model by delivering empty clicks that never lead to sales

Unscrupulous practice of hiding the content seen by human users from the indexing bots and feeding them false content instead to increase ranking

Shorthand for Content Management System, software interface used to upload and manage website content

comment spam
Unscrupulous use of the comment section to plant inbound links and artificially increase page rank

content (text, copy)
Textual material and graphics found on a web page, intended to be read by the user. Technical bits and advertising are not considered to be content.

advertisement Form of advertising characterized by positioning of ads next to thematically related content, thus matching user’s interests

conversion (goal)
Realization of a desired action by user, usually buying a product of service or signing up to become a regular user

conversion rate
Percentage of users who click on an advertising message who eventually end up buying the advertised product or service, or perform some other desired action

Software patch that is saved on user’s computer after visiting a particular website, used to track user’s actions and preferences

A metric that shows how much it costs to get a single user to take desired action, short for Cost-Per-Action

Cost Per Click A popular model for online advertising in which total price for an ad is determined based on number of clicks on the said ad

Cost-per-Lead A metric that shows how much it costs to create one solid sales lead for the advertiser

CPM (Cost Per Thousand impressions)
A metric that shows how much it costs to serve an ad to one thousand users, short for Cost-Per-Mile

crawler(robot, spider)
Software code that automatically searches through publically available sites and classifies their content; see bot

Shorthand for Cascading Style Sheets, a programming platform widely used to create visually attractive websites and software applications

Shorthand for Click-Through Rate, a metric that shows the percentage of users who click on a link, often used to assess performance of advertising campaigns

direct mail
Classic type of advertising campaign that includes sending a large quantity of printed or electronic messages to adresses from a database

direct message
A type of communication on Twitter, used privately between two users

direct traffic
A parameter in the Google Analytics package that denotes the percentage of traffic that occured spontaniously

A website that lists a large number of links and contacts for various resources or service providers, i.e. Yahoo Directory

Private message sent to another user on Twitter, see ‘Direct Message’

Stands for Domain Name Server, a hyerarchical system for naming various devices within a network.

duplicate content
Content that exists on other websites in identical form. Search engines lower the authority rank of websites that include duplicate content.

email bounce rate
Term related to mass e-mail sending, signifying the percentage of mails unable to be delivered to the intended address.

Google Analytics tool that can be set up to monitor every instance of a certain event (click, scroll, download…) on a website

When a user leaves a web page this is counted as an exit in an analytics package like Google Analytics and recorded against the page they last viewed

Facebook Insights
A tool for tracking user behavior and interactions with content on Facebook

Abbreviated name for Facebook, the most popular social network, widely used in informal (and sometimes formal) communication.

A stream of content coming from one or more sources served to the user in a continuous form

Specific layout of a page that features multiple frames containing bits and pieces of content. Generally regarded as bad for SEO.

Google Analytics A package of analytical tools that can be used to track statistics about a website. Most of the basic tools are free.

gateway page (doorway)
Webpage designed to attract visitors and then immediately redirect them to another online location

Goals are tracking mechanisms for evaluating the user interaction on a specific website.

Google bomb
The process of boosting up a website ranking on Google search engine by using prevalent words or phrases.

Google bowling
Degrading the competitors website ranking by maneuvering the webpage links towards irrelevant pages.

Google dance
The inconsistency in the ranking of a website caused due to Google’s search engine indexing update.

Google juice (authority)
Refers to the value of website links that points towards them in the Google search engine. A well-ranked website transmits more “Google Juice” when compared to unknown websites.

A search software application program to index the websites and their contents for the Google search engine.

The occasion when a website is accessed through file request from the web server

A HTML attribute to indicate the language of the accessed page that is being viewed by the user.

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is used for developing webpages by making use of the markup tags.

A page containing credible content that uses a high-ranking keyword to link other relevant pages.

impression (page view)
Impression is each instance where the webpage is successfully accessed by the user.

inbound link
The hyperlink which returns back to your own webpage from other third-party sites. Also known as in link or incoming link.

Index refers to the method of adding a we page to a search engine’s database.

indexed pages
Pages from a website that have been indexed by a search engine and therefore show up in search results.

inlink (incoming link, inbound link)
See inbound link.

Internet Service Provider (ISP) is an organisation that allows the user to use all the web-related services for a fee.

KEI (Keyword Efficiency Index) is a scaled metric used for ranking a keyword’s potential. Values range from 0 to 100 with 100 indicating the most potential. The value is calculated by taking into consideration the number of monthly searches divided by the number of results. Generally speaking a higher KEI indicates a valuable keyword however it’s worth considering if a longer-tailed keyword with a slightly lower KEI would be more attainable.

A word or phrase describing the content of the web page which facilitates the user search.

keyword cannibalisation
The confusion of determining the apt page on a website by a search engine and user due to the enormous usage of an identical keyword.

keyword density
High count of occurrence of a particular keyword when compared to the total number words on the webpage.

keyword research
Finding the appropriate target word used by the user for a search criteria.

keyword spam
Overloading the webpage with the keywords that can sometimes be invisible to human eye like black text on a black background.

keyword stuffing
Embedding of keywords into the web content or in the meta tag of the HTML code.

No SEO glossary would be complete without a picture of a kitteh!

Key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric that helps to achieve the organization goals and is used to measure the potential performance of the company.

landing page
The page or data a user views when the desired URL is clicked from the retrieved search results

A connection that directs the user to data content on the same webpage or on a different page

link bait
A website or page constructed with the notion to increase the backlink traffic of the website from other web pages.

link building
A marketing strategy to increase the visibility and ranking of the one’s own website by gaining quality inlinks from other websites

link farm
Interlinking of websites to achieve increased search engine optimization which will in-turn lead to the rise in Google ranking of the website.

link juice (authority)
Link juice is a link metric term that is defined as the quality of ranking a website can get from another website for itself.

link partner (link exchange, reciprocal linking)
Mutually agreed linking of two website to gain swift access in-between sites.

link popularity
In SEO terms, it is the measure of the quality of a website based on the quantity of backlinks that are directed towards the website.

link spam (comment spam)
Links unnecessarily added to web pages for grabbing the advantage of link-based ranking algorithms. There are different types of link spam like comment spam,wiki spam etc.,

link text (anchor text)
The clickable hyperlink text visible to the user and is relevant to the page data on the website. Also known as link text or link title,

LinkedIn is a business-oriented networking tool that will send you hundreds of pointless emails.

long tail
Long tail refers to specific search queries with long descriptions and significantly correct limited search results.

LSI(Latent Semantic Indexing)
An indexing method a search engine uses to classify the pattern of associated words the user search.

LTV (lifetime value)
Lifetime value is a business metric that evaluates that value of profit the users create for the business in different performance periods.

META tags
Seldom displayed on the web page, METAtags are sets of data contained within a web page’s HTML and contain accurate information about title, description and keywords of the web content.

Metrics are standards that the data uses for making quantitative measurements

mirror site
An exact replica of an existing website created to reduce the server overload and network jamming. They provide safe, speed and easy access for the users.

To transform a website or data into a source of revenue. Few examples are creating exceptional data, advertisements or affiliate programs

natural search results (organic search)
The return results of the search engine result page (SERP) that are driven by relevancy, content, usage and user credit. They are obtained by natural indexing and not sponsored or paid to be listed.

New vs. Returning Visitors
Every visitor to a web page is designated a uniqueID. During the working session, every new unique ID detected by the server is counted as a new visitor and every existing ID detected by the server counted as returning visitor.

A value in the HTML code that tells a search engine bot not to give that link any juice from the site linking to it.

A snippet of code used by webmasters that instructs Google not to index a page so that it won’t show up in search results.

non-reciprocal link
A link from one website to another, without the second website linking back to the first one. Non-reciprocal links are often favored over reciprocal links in search engine rankings.

A protocol developed by Facebook to promote Facebook-type functionality within a specific web page. These tags are added to the <head> section of a webpage’s code.

organic link
A link to your website from another website or blog, without you requesting it.

outlink (outbound link)
A link on your website that sends visitors to another website.

pagerank (PR)
An algorithm that Google uses to show how important your website is, relevant to others. The results are displayed on an exponential scale.

Every time a visitor visits a page on your website, it counts as a page view. This is also reported in Google Analytics.

A social platform where visitors can visually share content. They can ‘pin’ videos and photos on specific boards.

PPA (Pay Per Action )
Also referred to as Cost per Action (CPA). A pricing model where advertisers are required to pay each time an action (like a click or a form submission) is performed.

PPC (Pay Per Click)
A pricing model where advertisers are required to pay each time a visitor clicks on their ad.

proprietary method
A sales term that usually describes how an SEO service provider can obtain top rankings by using a unique method. Usually not to be trusted.

QR code
Quick Response Barcode A two-dimensional bar code used to provide information to users through their smartphones. The device uses its camera and a bar code reader app to ‘read’ this information.

reciprocal link (link exchange)
A link from one website to another, with the second website linking back to the first. It’s seen as two websites linking to each other.

A social news website where users can submit content to an online bulletin board.

Also known as forwarding. When a user type an address of a web page, they will be taken to a different URL. Often seen when visitors visit a page that no longer exists.

referral traffic
It’s a method used by Google Analytics to report visitors to your website that came from sources other than its search engine.

responsive design
A design technique used by web developers to allows a website to repond to its environment. It offers an optimal viewing experience across a range of devices.

Also known as the robots exclusion standard. A website protocol used to communicate with web robots and crawlers, instructing them how to index the site. We think you’ll agree robots.txt is the number one term for an SEO glossary like this.

ROI (Return On Investment)
A metric to determine how profitable a business is. It calculates a business’ profit in relation to its original investment.

Rich Site Summary A format that delivers updates to your web content. It’s a series of feed formats that provides regularly updates website content like news, blog entries, etc.

Retweet When a message (‘tweet’) on Twitter is shared or reposted by another user.

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)
A model in which software is hosted by a vendor and provided as a licensed service. Also referred to as ‘on-demand’ software.

An alleged method used by Google that acts as a filter for new websites. A site does not rank well until it ‘proves’ itself.

Taking content published on another site and using it as your own. It’s also considered stealing content from another website.

search engine (SE)
A program that enables users to search for content on the World Wide Web. Examples include Google and Yahoo!

search engine spam
Also known as black-hat SEO or search spam. A deliberate action to manipulate search engine results.

One of the subsets of data in Google Analytics, grouping types of visitors together. Your visitors or users will be divided in different segments, for e.g. users who have bought before.

Search engine marketing refers to a set of techniques that aims to improve a website’s search engine ranking. The goal is to increase traffic and visitors to a website.

Search engine optimization refers to specific strategies and techniques used to increase visitors to a website and get the best position in search engine results pages.

A search engine results page is displyed when a user searches for a specific query. The page lists results in order of relevance.

A listing of all the pages of a specific website. It’s aimed at users or crawlers and usually organized in a hierarchical way. No SEO glossary could be complete without a sitemap..

SMM (Social Media Marketing)
A set of techniques used to promote a website through social media platforms.

SMP (Social Media Poisoning)
When spam comments, links and posts ae generated from a competitor’s domain with the goal of damaging their brand or reputation.

social media
Applications or websites that allow their users to upload and share content. Content includes news, updates, images, videos and more.

When a spammer uses various messaging systems to send out unsolicited messages, often repeatedly.

spider (crawler, robot)
Spiders or bots refer to the method that search engines like Google use to discover content and pages on your website. They allow a search engine to index or read your website.

static page
A web page that allows a user to see it exactly in the way it was originally created and stored. It’s not a dynamic page that can be generated by a specific application.

Sticky website content is created with the goal of getting visitors to return to the website, to reduce the bounce rate.

Allows you to have a unique website or content pages, without registering a new domain name. The domain forms part of the website’s primary domain.

text link
Clickable text in a web page or document. A link that does not use images or other multimedia.

time on page
The amount of time that a visitor spends on your web page. A longer time period indicates a successful visit.

A social media service where users can post short updates of up to 140 characters. These messages are called ‘tweets’.

Twitter Card
Allows you to add videos, photos and other media to your Twitter messages or ‘tweets’. Used to help drive traffic to your website.

The interaction between an application and the user. The user interface determines how a user experiences a specific program or application.

unique uageviews
When a visitor views a specific web page in a single session. If a visitor views the same page more than once during the same session, Google Analytics will count it as a single view.

unique visitors
The number of visitors that views pages on your website during a specific time period, regardless of how many times they view a specific page.

URL Uniform Resource Locator
Specifies a unique address of a website on the World Wide Web. Also known as a website’s web address.

user generated content (UGC)
Content created by users of a website or service, often social media networks. Content includes blogs, images, posts, podcasts, discussions and more.

Unique Visitor A visitor that views pages on your website during a specific time period, regardless of how many times they view a specific page.

User Experience The way in which a user experiences an application or website. Describes how a person feels and reacts when working with the program or website.

visitors flow
It is the course visitors take to land on the website, the frequent paths they bring them to the website and the checking how they interact with the website.

Now known as a session, a visit is a the series of user interactions that occurs in a website within a time frame. A default session is set to approximately 30 minutes.

web 2.0
The second generation of World Wide Web where web services are characterised by online user interaction and instant sharing of information.

white hat SEO
A process that strictly follows search engine guidelines and techniques to obtain a higher ranking in SERP.


*even though this is an epic SEO glossary, we’re bound to have missed one or two out, so shout if you spot any we’ve forgotten!

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