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SEO Glossary

SEO Glossary

Everything you need to know about SEO.

Part One: Terms A-L

A          B          C          D          E          F          G          H          I          J          K         L

Part Two: Terms M-X



Absolute link

An absolute link provides the exact location of a page on the Internet.

Example: https://classybrain.com/free-analysis/



The act of making websites accessible for disabled users, especially the vision-impaired.



This is Microsoft’s cost-per-click (CPC) advertising platform.  Ads from adCenter appear in Bing.com search results.



AdSense by Google allows website publishers to display relevant Google ads on their website, targeted specifically to your website’s visitors.



This is Google’s cost-per-click (CPC) advertising platform.  Ads from AdWords appear in Google.com search results.


Affiliate Site

A site that markets products and/or services on behalf of another website.  It will direct visitors to another website to complete the sale.  The affiliate site earns fees or commissions for the referral.


AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML)

AJAX gives you the power to make web pages more user-friendly by creating on-page applications that change the page content without reloading the entire page.



This attribute is designed to provide alternative text for images on a website.


Analytics Tool

Any program that assists in collecting and analyzing website usage data.  Google Analytics is a popular and powerful analytics program.


Anchor Text

The text portion of a link, usually underlined.  Search engines use anchor text as an important ranking factor since it helps determine relevancy.


API (Application Program Interface)

Set of programming tools that offer a gateway to information from an application or website without needing to visit the external website.


Article Directory

A website that hosts user-submitted, syndicated articles.

Example: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/ is an article directory.


Article Syndication

Creating content that is intended to be published on other websites (usually not on your own website).  This strategy is used to increase the number of backlinks pointing to your site.


Authority site

A website with many incoming links from related expert sites.


Automated submitting

Using automated software to submit your website to search engines.  Search engines frown upon automated submissions.



Incoming links pointing to a certain website or page that come from another website.



When a website is blocked from appearing in search results by a search engine.



One line of code placed on a web page or in an ad that tracks the visitors’ actions (registrations, purchases, etc.) on a web page.  Often invisible, the beacon is only 1×1 pixel in size and is colorless.

Also Known As: Web bug, 1-by-1 GIF, Invisible GIF, or Tracker GIF



Microsoft’s search engine.  Formally Live Search, and before that, MSN.

Fun Fact: Yahoo! sources it’s search results from Bing.com



The name of the user agent that Bing uses to crawl the Web.


Black Hat SEO

The opposite of white hat SEO.  Often called spamdexing, this is when changes are made to a site solely to rank higher on search engines without adding to the user experience.

Caution: This goes against search engine guidelines.  Stepping too far over the line will result in penalties or removal from the index.



Lists, compiled by search engines or vigilante users, that are used to ban or boycott spammers from search engines.


Blog (Weblog)

This is an online collection of entries made on a regular basis.  Common frequencies include daily and weekly posts.  Entries are organized in reverse chronological order.

Example: http://wordpress.com/, http://www.blogger.com/, and http://www.typepad.com/ are popular blogging platforms.


Body Copy

Textual content visible to users.  This does not include images, videos, navigation, or information hidden in the source code.



Short for “robot,” this is a program that performs automated tasks.  Search engines employ bots to find and add web pages to the index.

Also Known As: robot, spider, or crawler


Bounce rate

Number of users who enter a website and leave without visiting any other pages, expressed as a percentage.



Website navigation feature that shows users exactly where they are on a website and how to get back to the roots.



This is a collection of copies of web pages, stored either on a user’s hard drive or in a search engine’s database.


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

A simple mechanism that gives publishers the power to control the layout and design of a site through a style sheet.  When using CSS, there is no need to embed the details of the style in the site’s HTML code.



When a user clicks on a link that sends them to another web page.


Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The number of clicks earned as a portion of the number of impressions delivered.

Example: Your page is viewed 100 times and is clicked on 12 times, CTR = 12%



Using a user agent or IP address detection to determine whether incoming visitors are bots or human users, and then delivering content to search engines that is different than content delivered to human users.


Comment Spam

When comments are posted to blogs or forums with the sole purpose being to get an inlink to another site.


Content Management System (CMS)

A platform that is used to make publishing and maintaining a website easier.


Content Marketing

Publishing high-quality, optimized content that helps increase a company’s visibility.  This builds up the company’s reputation simultaneously by providing excellent content for other sites to link to.


Contextual Advertisement

Relevant advertising that is related to the content on the page.



When a website visitor becomes a customer, or when a visitor moves one step closer to becoming a customer.

Example: Acquiring an email, signing up for a newsletter, and making a purchase can all be considered conversions, depending on your goals


Conversion Rate

The rate of visitors being converted to customers, or are moved one step closer to being a customer.



A collection of information that is placed on a visitor’s computer by a web server.  Data can be stored or retrieved when visiting the website.  Cookies are most useful for unique identification of visitors.


Cost Per Action (CPA)

Price of a specific action.

Example: signing up for a newsletter, completing a survey, and printing a coupon are all individual actions


Cost Per Click (CPC)

Price for a click-through via ad to your landing page.


Cost Per Thousand (CPM)

The price for 1,000 impressions.



Alternate name for a search engine’s program that travels the Web by following hyperlinks.

Also Known As: bot, robot, or spider



When a website is connected to a database, and content on pages is based on information from the database.



A website where human editors organize websites into categories and provide or edit site descriptions.  Contrast the directory with a search engine, which is not edited by humans.



A webpage stuffed with keyword-rich copy that does not provide any additional, useful information.  The purpose is to capture the traffic from search engines and then transfer users to a new page.

Also Known As: bridge page or gateway page


Duplicate Content

When content is similar or identical to content that resides on another page or another website.


Ecommerce Site

A website dedicated to retail sales.


Editorial Link

When a webmaster feels like a link adds value for the users of their site, they post an editorial link.


FFA (Free For All) Site

Sites or web pages that contain numerous outgoing links to unrelated websites.  When discovered by spiders, they are ignored or penalized.

Also Known As: link farm


Google Supplemental Index

Google’s secondary database that includes the pages that were not as credible or have less importance than primary pages. This index is composed of all the supplemental pages, and makes it so that they are less likely to show up on a results page.



Google’s program that is used to crawl the Web.


Grey Hat SEO

The practice of SEO using both White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO. This term is applied when there are both ethical and potentially unethical practices used, that do not necessarily follow search engine guidelines.


Heading Tag

An HTML tag that sets apart the heading (or other important categorical text) from the rest of the content on the page. This tells search engines what the heading of the page is, then gives more significance to that word in terms of understanding what the page is about.


Hidden Text

HTML text that is hidden from users, but visible to search engines. This is also considered a spam SEO tactic, as it is usually used to manipulate rank.



An illegal SEO tactic that involves tricking search engines into thinking one website resides at another URL other than its own. This is considered spamming, as it can manipulate a site’s rank.


HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

The primary language used in the creation of web pages and web content. HTML displays content in a particular way, defines how data is structured, and communicates to browsers. Page titles, text, tables, forms, colors, and more can all be coded with HTML.


HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)

The basic method to transfer data information to browsers and web servers. However, this type of transfer is easily accessible to the public and can be easily modified.


HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure)

Apart from HTTP, HTTPS is protected in its data information transferring. Its data is encrypted, which provides a much stronger barrier against third party manipulators.



A trusted and credible page(s) that links to many authority websites in a certain industry. All of the outbound links that extend from this page are all high quality and trustworthy themselves, making the hub an even more powerful link distributor.



Any instance where a user views a page or an ad. This is often used in Google’s AdWords to describe how many users were exposed to an ad that was created.


Inbound Link

Any link that goes to your site from another site. Inbound Links are a very prominent rank signal when it comes to ranking your website.


Index (n.)

The database of a search engine that files away content and information about web pages. The index controls a page’s potential to show up in a search results page.


Index (v.)

A page being added into a search engine’s index.


Indexed Pages

Pages that have been entered into a search engine’s database.


Information Retrieval (IR)

A method of acquiring information from written documents, as opposed to collecting data. This is a computer science method that filters documents so that they will be more relevant.



The interconnection of links on a webpage that assist spiders and users to navigate site content.


Internal Link

A hyperlink that goes from one page on a website, to another page on that same website. Internal links are purposed for easy navigation and creating an effective infrastructure within the site. Search engine spiders use internal links to crawl pages also.

Example: Linking from the Home page of a site, to the About Us page.


Internet Service Provider (ISP)

An ISP provides internet connectivity, email access, website hosting, domain name registration, and many other internet services to its customers. An ISP can be a business, a government organization, a school, or any other venue that provides internet access.


Inventory (Advertising)

Any space on a website that is available to be purchased and utilized as advertising pace.  Inventory can be quantified as a number of impressions.


Invisible Web

An encompassing phrase for all of the pages that have not been indexed by search engines.


IP (Internet Protocol)

The guidelines for sending information and data through the internet.


IP Address

The series of numbers that is given to each server or device that is connected to the internet. The four-part number series represents the domain, the network, the subnetwork and the host computer.

Example: 395.2.0.12



A module that can rewrite requested URLs on Microsoft IIS web servers. If desired, a site developer can plug in URLs, and the program will manufacture them to be search-engine friendly. Doing this increases a site’s chance to be indexed for a dynamic database-driven website.


Java Applets

Small programs that run on the Internet user’s computer as opposed to the web server’s computer. These are written in Java programming language and can be internally embedded in a site.



A programing language that runs on the Internet user’s computer rather than a web server’s computer.


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are any metrics selected by an organization that help measure goals or progress. KPIs are set and agreed upon by the organization and should accurately represent the organization’s goals in terms of success.

Example: Amount of Sales, Leads, Reviews



A word or phrase that a search engine uses to discern relevant information based on a user’s search. Keywords are significant for building web page content, because if the keywords on your page do not match the keyword that someone is searching for, your site will not appear in the search results.


Keyword Cannibalization

A phenomenon that occurs when a site overuses the same keyword excessively. Search engines will be hesitant to view a site as credible when a keyword is cannibalized, and therefore will not display it on the search result page.


Keyword Density

The number of times a keyword appears on a specific page. More recent and advanced algorithms look for web pages that are less dense in keywords, as the use of too many of the same keyword is viewed as less credible.


Keyword Popularity

The number of times a certain keyword has been searched in a given period of time.


Keyword Prominence

Measured by the location of a keyword on a site. The higher up the keyword appears on a web page or HTML source code of a page, the more prominent, or important, the keyword will appear to a search engine. Thus, when it comes to building website content, keywords that are most relevant to the organization should appear higher up on the web page.


Keyword Research

The process of identifying words and phrases that people search on the Internet. The Keyword Research is typically then formatted into a Keyword Analysis, or Keyword Map, so to identify which keywords are most relevant and which web pages should be created around those keywords.


Keyword Stuffing

Similar to Keyword Cannibalization, Keyword Stuffing is the placement of an excessive amount of keywords into a web page intended to boost the page’s rank. Keyword Stuffing weakens readability and utility for people browsing the page. A past technique of Stuffing was to insert the keyword multiple times, then change the color of the text to match the background of the site to make it invisible to viewers. Search engines have now caught onto this trick and will filter the site out from search results.


Latent Semantic Indexing

An algebraic method that a search engine uses to extract the words on a page in order to evaluate the page’s relevancy for search terms.


Link Bait

A page that is designed for the purpose of attracting incoming links (usually from social media). It uses entertaining or useful content simply for the clicks, which is now viewed by search engines as manipulative.


Link Building

A digital marketing practice to help build a page’s rank through outside links. The goal is to obtain inbound links from highly credible, influential sites and direct them toward your site, in effort to gain “link popularity,” and therefore boost your ranking.


Link Exchange

The mutual exchange of links between two websites


Link Farm

A group of highly interlinked sites that are unfairly collecting link equity. This is now considered spam by search engines.



Link Juice

A casual term to refer to the value that a link possesses. Link juice, similar to Google’s term, PageRank, is a measure of how much authority and trust that specific link will carry.


Link Popularity

A measurement of how valuable a site is based on their number of quality links that are connected to it.


Link Spam

Links that are simply used to inflate a site’s rank on a search engine results page. These links are viewed negatively by search engines.


Link Text (or Anchor Text)

A link that is clearly visible to the user of a site. Search engines view anchor text as well to evaluate the relevancy of the hosting page to the linked page.



Internet users who own websites and often link out to other quality sites. Examples of the Linkerati include bloggers or news media sites



A log of the all access points to all websites. Servers maintain these logs and keep record of the date and time of access, the filename that is addressed, the user’s IP address, the referring web page, the user’s browser software, and any cookie data that is available.


Long-Tail Search Queries

Search queries that contain four or more words. Long-Tail queries are targeted more often that short-tail searches, as they are more descriptive and provide more of an insight into the user’s intent.

Example: “Roofing materials” would be an example of a short-tail keyword search, whereas “Black Asphalt Roof Shingles” would be a long-tail keyword search.