2020 SEO Glossary

The Updated SEO Glossary 

The updated SEO glossary for 2020 is available here. The glossary is useful for beginners up to experts to identify trends and strategies in SEO that are relevant today.

Now that the calendar has turned to a new decade, it seems relevant to rehash some older SEO terms and investigate some newer ones. Many of these terms may be new to those reading this article and some may be familiar. Some older and archaic terms have been removed and some newer terms have been added to the glossary.

SEO glossary

SEO Glossary Table of Contents:

A

Above the Fold

The content that appears on the screen above where the user would need to scroll to find it. This was a result by Google from an abundance of ads. 

SEO above the fold

Absolute URL (Absolute link, Absolute path)

A link that contains all of the information needed to find a site, page or document. Different from a relative URL which is a shortcut link. Both absolute and relative links have value

Absolute path

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) 

AMP is a Google website publishing technology that allows mobile content to load almost instantly. This provides a better user experience for mobile users when visiting a website.

Accelerated mobile pages

Algorithm

A complex process followed by Google’s computers to perform actions such as retrieving data and providing search results via ranked websites. Google’s algorithms are highly secured and have not been made public. 

Google algorithm

Algorithm update (Google algorithm update)

Changes to the algorithm that Google uses. The vast majority of these are small and imperceptible to the average user. Google rolls out large scale updates much less frequently.

Some of the major updates in the past few years have been:

Panda, Penguin, Pirate, Hummingbird, Pigeon, Mobile Friendly, RankBrain, Possum and Fred.

Algorithm update

Algorithmic penalty

This is when your website has its ranking reduced by Google. It can be difficult to notice unless you are paying attention closely to your rankings. If this does occur, you will need to find the root issue and resolve it (not always simple).

Algorithmic penalty

Alt tag (Alt attribute)

The alt tag is entered into an image and creates a searchable term or terms. This allows users to see your results when searching for images and enhances your search ranking. If you add keywords in your alt tag, you can help optimize them on a Google image search. 

Alt tag

Analytics

Analytics is the gathering of data in order to provide trends, facts, and verify results. This is commonly used via Google Analytics to track website performance. 

Google analytics

Anchor text

Anchor text is the part of the hyperlink that you click on. For SEO, it is best to avoid using spammy and overused keywords when creating them. Using natural language is the most beneficial. 

Anchor text

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is a method of having computers learn and think. Instead of simply having computers follow algorithms, they learn to manipulate data on their own and perform enhanced functions. 

Artificial intelligence

Authority site

This is a trusted site that has reliable information and content. Sites from government bodies, educational institutions, and large corporations are good examples of authority sites. Links from these sites are the most powerful.

Authority site

B

B2B

Short for business-to-business. B2B for SEO is a more complex and slightly longer process. The services are more in depth and therefore more expensive. Normally the audience is made of professionals and possibly executives.

Business to business

B2C

B2C represents business to Customer interactions. These tend to be more simple and quicker. The services rendered here and the products sold tend to be less expensive and purchased by users. 

Business to customer

Backlink (Inbound link, Incoming link, External link)

A backlink is when another website adds a link to your website from theirs. Backlinks have a significant influence on the success of your website. They are extremely important in your site’s ranking. 

A good link has high link authority and high link relevance.

Link building

Baidu Search Engine

Baidu is the most popular search engine in China. It has a Chinese market share of just over 76%. Baidu offers very similar services as Google does. 

Baidu search engine

Bait and switch (Code swapping)

This is an SEO term which uses unethical, or black hat, means to increase your SERP rankings. Content is written in order to increase rankings for a site and then removed and replaced with something else which would not ordinarily rank well. 

Bait and switch

Banner blindness

A common behavior in which a user, either consciously or unconsciously, does not pay any attention to anything on a site which he or she considers to be an ad. It is a known phenomenon which has changed the way that marketing companies advertise over the past few decades. 

Banner blindness

Bing

Bing is a Microsoft owned search engine that has a 6.2% US market share. Bing users tend to be over 35, be less tech savvy, have children, and one third of them have incomes of over $100,000. 

Bing Search engine

Black Box

A complicated and unrecognized computer program that is not explained. There is visibility to the data inputted and outputted. However, the actual process itself is hidden. A good example of a black box would be Google’s algorithm.

Black box algorithm

Black hat SEO

Black hat SEO uses unethical methods which violate search engine guidelines. They attempt to manipulate search engines while ignoring the experience for the users. Some examples would be keyword stuffing, sneaky redirects, poor quality content, and cloaking and many others. 

Black hat SEO

Blog commenting

Blog commenting used to be a common way to link build in which you would find a blog article that was relevant to your field and then leave a comment which included a link. This is not as useful as it once was to SEO. It was overused and abuse. Because of this abuse comment sections now do not count as relevant links in terms of rankings. Although it does not increase a page ranking, having a comment or a link to a site can help with traffic. 

Blog commenting

Bounce rate

A metric that reflects the amount of visitors that came to a site and immediately left without performing any activities or going to any other pages on the site. Having a bounce rate of 0% is practically impossible. Having a bounce rate that is high is alarming. There may be several reasons for it such as poor content, pages that load too slowly, an abundance of ads, irrelevant data for the executed keyword search, unresponsiveness etc. 

Bounce rate

Branded keywords (Brand keyword, Brand term) 

These are the keywords that have the name of your brand or business included in them. There is a growing consensus that they are not valuable in terms of spending advertising budget on promoting them as good SEO will provide higher ranking organically. 

Branded keyword

Brand mention link building

This is a process to build links which involve finding mentions of your company, brand, name, product, or service on other sites. You would then reach out to these other sites, at least the ones that have acceptable authority and request a backlink be provided. This is a fairly effective tool as the chance of the other site providing you with a backlink is quite probable. 

Google Alerts can track mentions of your brand, service or product.

Link build

Breadcrumb Trail (Breadcrumb navigation)

Breadcrumb Trails track where you are in a website’s hierarchy. They are a good tool to keep track of where you are in relation to how you started. Often these trails will appear near the top of a page and list horizontally the path that has taken a user to the page where he or she currently is.

Home page > Services > About Us > Blog

Breadcrumb trail

Broad match keyword

A Google Ads option for matching keywords. A broad match for your keyword will result in matches for similar keywords or variations. For example, they may include a plural form of your keyword, misspellings, synonyms, or a related word.

Broad match

Broken link (Dead link)

This is a link that does not work. There can be a number of reasons for it not working. The URL could be incorrect or the site may have moved or have been renamed. This will have a detrimental effect on your SEO as the crawlers will not be able to index your site properly.

Broken link

C

Cache

A temporary holding place to store web files, such as images, in order to lower loading time for future visits to the same site.

Cache

Cached Page

A snapshot of webpage from the most recent time that a crawler scanned the page. 

Cached ppage

Canonical URL

A way to specify to search engines exactly which URL a search result should lead to in the event that multiple URLs exist for the same page. If you have duplicate URLs, a search engine will not know which one to send people to. 

Canonical URL

ccTLD

Country Code Top Level Domain. This is a domain specifically reserved for a country. Ex: www.countrycode.uk would be a British URL. 

CCTLD

Call to action (CTA)

This word, in the SEO world, refers to some sort of trigger on a website. Often a button, its purpose is to elicit an immediate response from the user. By using commands such as Buy Now, Click Here, Call Now, and so forth, users are more tempted to execute on the desired behavior. 

Having a Call to Action button on a website is often important as it directs users on where to go next and lessens bounce rate. 

Call to action

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

CSS is a programming language that helps a designer to create a specific look to their site. CSS help to determine size, color, and other visual aspects. Moreover, it works within HTML to facilitate creation. 

Cascading style sheets

Churn and burn SEO (Rank n’ bank)

This is an underhanded, yet not illegal, process by which you would spam a website with all kinds of links regardless of their appropriateness. This will result in a very high ranking in avery short amount of time. Soon after, the website will become penalized by Google. The owner would then delete the site, but revenue has already been generated. 

Churn and burn SEO

Click through rate (CTR)

A formula that shows how many users have clicked on your website or your ad after being seen on a search engine results page (SERP). By dividing the amount of clicks on your site/ad by the amount of impressions, you will get your CTR.

CTR

Clickbait

This is a link that is made to be exciting to click on. By using buzz words such as “can’t miss”, “won’t believe what you see”, or “number five will amaze you” users are more tempted to click on your link. This sort of writing is lowbrow and often not appropriate for the users you are hoping to have. It will likely increase your CTR, but usually not worth it. 

Clickbait

Co-Citation

The amount of times that two websites are mentioned at the same time by a third party site. These two sites need not reference each other, nor link to each other. This is a tool that search engines use to establish a similarity in content and subject matter. 

Co-citation

Competition analysis 

Comparing your competitor’s rank for the same keywords that you also rank for. This will help you determine which are the best tactics are effective and where you should prioritize. 

Benefits would be:

  • Finding new keywords
  • Finding new areas to acquire backlinks
  • Getting new ideas for content
  • Getting ideas for optimizing your search results

Competition analysis

Content

This is all of the information or data on a site. This can be text, photos, video, other media, and so on. It is used to disseminate all of the site information to the user. 

Web content

Content Management System (CMS)

A website management tool that allows someone to control what data is on their website. It allows you to manipulate the data, along with creating new data and managing it all. In general they are simple to use. WordPress is one of the most popular examples of a CMS. 

In other words, it allows you to build a simple website. However, you do not have control over the code. They are perfect for those individuals that do not need to work with code. 

Content management system

Content Marketing

Content Marketing centers upon creating and sharing of good and valuable data online. This could be text, video, audio, etc. The benefit is to create interest and become more credible source. It will raise brand awareness and increase visibility. 

Content Marketing

Content spinning (Article spinning)

Content Spinning is an SEO technique in which an article is rewritten using similar words and phrasing. The hope is that the changes will prevent Google from recognizing it as a duplicate. The articles get posted online with backlinks. 

Content spinning

Content syndication (Article syndication, Syndicated content)

Content Syndication is republishing content on a different website so that it can be read by different people. This will also drive traffic and build links. It does count as a duplicate article however.

Content syndication

Conversion

A Conversion is when a user on a site performs a desired action. This can be any number of actions such as registering, downloading an article, or follow a link and so forth. 

Conversion

Conversion rate

The Conversion Rate is a formula of the amount of people that completed a conversion as compared to the number of visitors to your site. For example, if 30 people signed up for your newsletter out of 100 visitors to your site, you would have a 30% conversion rate. 

Conversion rate

Conversion rate optimization (CRO)

Conversion Rate Optimization takes actions to increase the amount of users that convert from visitors to customers. CRO is a parallel to SEO. SEO is intended to drive users to a website. CRO is intended to drive users into conversions. 

Conversion rate optimization

Copied content

Content that has been copied and pasted from a different source site. There are occasional changes to grammar or lexicon which attempt to avoid being labelled as a duplicate. At times the articles will be copied and pasted in different orders to try to deceive the crawlers. This can be risky as a red flag may arise from the efforts to fool Google.

Copied content

Cornerstone content

The top articles on a website. These are the ones that have the best content, are simple to read, and have relevance to a specific topic. They can be used as a hub and spoke to deliver links to additional articles on a website.

WordPress has a plugin that will allow an article to be marked as cornerstone content. 

Cornerstone content

Cost per acquisition (CPA, Cost per action, Pay per acquisition, Pay per action)

The cost one pays when a specific action has been taken by a user. An acquisition could be things like making a purchase, registering, downloading an article, visiting a website and so on. A set price is paid once this action has been taken by the visitor.

Cost per acquisition

 

Cost per click (CPC, Pay Per Click, PPC)

The charge that Google Ads applies whenever your ad has been clicked on. The cost for the click is determined by the amount of clicks an ad receives. 

Cost per click

Cost per thousand impressions (CPM, Cost per mille)

A cost structure in which your payment is made for every thousand times you have your ad displayed on Google. 

Cost per thousand

Crawl (Crawling)

This is the process that Google or other search engines use to analyze the data on a website. They check all of the links to establish relevance by verifying they are quality links. 

The process performed by the search engine crawlers where the complete content/code of a website is analyzed. In simplified terms, this happens by the crawler following all internal and external links.

Website crawling

Crawlability

This is how well a crawler can navigate a website and interpret the data it finds. Things that would slow down a crawl would be orphan pages, bad links, and poor redirects. Things that would improve crawlability are a sitemap, increased speed of a site and properly sized videos and photos.

Crawler (Bot, Spider, Web crawler, Googlebot) 

The algorithm that runs through websites to analyze the data. This is part of Google’s method of researching websites to determine content and value when returning SERPs.

Crawling

Crawl budget

A function of crawl demand and crawl rate, the number of URLs the Googlebot can and wants to crawl. Having poor URLs will be detrimental as the bots are wasting time crawling over low value pages. 

Crawl depth

This is how deeply indexed a website is. Or, how many clicks does it take to get to a certain page from the homepage. The further away it is, the less likely it will rank highly in the SERPs. Sites with good internal links do not have a problem here. 

crawl depth

Crawl demand

A function of crawl rate and indexing demand. Depending on how much demand there is for indexing there may be little activity by the Googlebots. It also places importance on specific URLs by determining the distance from the homepage. Those that are further away are deemed less important. 

Crawl Error

When a page returns an error and a bot is unable to crawl. These can be sitewide or specific to a URL. 

Crawl error

Crawl rate (Crawl rate limit)

The speed at which the bots crawl a website without reducing speed or providing a subpar experience for the users. These limits can be increased or decreased if desired. 

Cross-linking

Adding links from the same company to separate domains. 

Curated content

Gathering data from various sources in order to offer users a centralized location to easily find it. People will curate content in order to either become an expert or to offer a complete knowledge group for users. 

Customer Journey

The interaction between a customer and the brand or organization that has created a product. More than simply the purchase process alone, it is the more holistic process that a customer goes through. It is comprised of all the touch points that a customer experiences.

D

Data

Analytical info that SEO uses in order to understand their visitors better. These may be demographic or other pieces of information. Search information or keyword information are important and relevant examples of data. 

Dead-end page

A webpage that has no links. A user has no option but to exit the website altogether. Adding links is a quick and simple solution. 

Dead end page

De-indexing

Removal of a webpage from a search engine index. Consequently, the page would not be able to appear in SERPs. This is commonly used for pages that do not rank, but are still important to a site. For example, a page the page that confirms your payment after making a purchase. 

Deep linking

The action of using a link to a webpage deeper within a site than the homepage. For example, sending a link for a pair of shoes from zappos.com instead of sending a link for the homepage URL. 

Direct traffic

These are visitors that go to a website by typing in the URL into a browser (or using a bookmark), not via a search engine. 

Disavow links

Links from sites that do not serve a relevant purpose. Or, links from non-trustworthy sources. These links can have negative effects on a website and could result in a penalty. Google offers the ability to disavow a link from an external site when it is determining site ranking.

Dofollow link

A description of a link that states a link should be followed by Googlebots. It is the default status for all links. 

Nofollow links would prohibit the Google bots from following them. (Used when the link is questionable.)

Do follow link

Domain name

The name of a website or the actual characters typed in that make up a URL.

Domain Authority (DA)

This is similar to a quality scorecard for a website. It is a measurement of how relevant the data is for its intended subject. Domain authority is one of the characteristics that determine how well a website will perform in SERPs. 

Doorway page (Gateway page, Entry page, Jump page, Bridge page, Portal page)

Pages, or entire sites, that offer little or no quality at all. Their sole purpose is to rank high for certain keywords in order to generate revenue via ads. Google recognizes them and has been working to crack down on them.  

DuckDuckGo

A search engine that values privacy. It does not profile users and all users receive the same results from the search engine.  

duck duck go

Duplicate content

When a significant amount of content appears on multiple pages. Bots have difficulty determining the domain that the relevance belongs to. This may occur when two separate pages are created for the same subject (desktop/mobile). 

Dwell time 

The amount of time a user spends on a site after clicking from a SERP. The goal is to have a longer amount of time because it suggests that a user found relevant or interesting data on the site. If a user immediately leaves a site, that is known as a bounce. 

Dynamic URL (Dynamic link)

A website address that provides different content each time a search is performed. The URL will be different each time a search is performed.

E

E-commerce

The purchasing of products online. Websites have to be built and maintained for them to support e-commerce

Editorial link (Natural links, Organic links)

These are links that occur naturally within the body of a work on a website or article. They are not purchased or requested, which makes them the gold standard of links. The writer of the article has named you as a source which leads to your credibility. 

Ego-Bait

Using an external link in a website to an outside source. Be it a person or company with the hopes that they will appreciate it and provide you a backlink. 

ego bait

Engagement Metrics

Tools to determine the interactions that a user has with a website. Engagement metrics may be:

  • CTR

  • Conversion rate

  • Bounce rate

  • Dwell time

  • Amount of unique visitors

  • How often users visit

Engagement metrics

Exact match anchor text

Anchor text that is a match to the description of the exact topic of a webpage. 

Exact match keyword 

A word or group of words that are an exact match to a keyword option in Google ads. This can trigger an ad in a SERP if those exact words are searched.

Expert document

A webpage that has links from several different reputable and relatable sites. An expert document will provide increased relevance to a website. 

Expert document

Expertise-Authority-Trust (E-A-T)

A paradigm that is employed by Google to determine the accuracy, quality, and usefulness of website content. 

Factors that help an E-A-T score:

F

Featured snippet (Rich answer, Direct answer)

A featured snippet is an answer to a question which appears above the search results. 

Featured snippets show more information at the beginning of a SERP. Featured snippets do great in increasing CTR. But, they are difficult to get.

Findability

How difficult or simple it is for a user to find content on a website. This can be either an internal or an external search. 

Findability

Freshness (Freshness factor)

It is important for Google SERP rankings that websites be new and fresh. Bots see new and recently updated content as more relevant. Not everything needs to be fresh in order to be relevant. However, trends such as politics, news, and fashion cannot be dated.

freshness factor

G

Geotargeting

Marketing to specific groups of people based upon their geographic location. Commonly used to target different ads for different groups. 

Google (Google Search, Google Web search)

Largest search engine in the world. They have about 90% of the search engine market share. Here are some of the Google tools and services that are important for SEO:

  • Google cloud

  • Gmail

  • Cloud services

  • Mobile operating service

  • YouTube

  • Many more

Google+

Former social media site run by Google. It was shut down in 2019 after a poor performance. 

Google Ads

A service provided by Google to serve ads via their search engine. Users offer a certain amount per keyword, or a bid to have their link appear in the SERP. 

Google Alerts

A function that Google offers that will notify you via email once a predetermined keyword has been indexedThis is commonly used to track competition or for reputation management. 

Google Analytics

A service by Google that allows a user to track the data from your website. It shows demographic usage along with the locations of visitors to your site. In addition, you can see how long a user spends on your site, bounce rate, and where your traffic originated from. Google Analytics also uses dashboards to help make  data more understandable

Google Autocomplete

A Google query feature that offers to finish the words or phrases when typing based upon context and popularly searched combinations of words. 

google autocomplete sample

Google bowling 

An unethical SEO technique of attempting to have backlinks sent to competition on websites that are non-relevant and full of spam. In theory, the competitors website could be penalized which would lower their SERP ranking. 

Google Fred (Google’s Fred update)

A significant and unannounced update to Google’s algorithms which came out in March of 2017. The change was intended to promote those websites that prioritized user experience over financial gain via ads.

Google Hummingbird (Google’s Hummingbird update)

Another significant change (August 2013 release) to Google’s algorithms that improved search results. Instead of focusing on what the searcher entered, it focused on what the searcher intended to find out. 

google hummingbird update

Google Keyword Planner

A free feature of Google Ads that has dual functionality. It can be used to find keyword ideas which are based upon words or combinations of words along with a URL. Or, you can parse data from the planner that anticipate clicks and impressions for a month in advance.

Google Maps

A free web mapping service offered by Google that uses standard maps, satellite maps, street view and planning of trips. It is a benefit to SEO to have your local business listed a it has a direct impact on your rich snippet display chances. 

Google maps

Google Mobile-Friendly Test

This is a test of how well a webpage responds to a mobile environment. Google places a great deal of significance on a user experience. Now, more than ever before, people are using mobile devices more than desktops or laptops. You can also check the mobile friendliness of your website online.

Google’s Mobile Friendly update (Google’s Mobile update, Mobilegeddon)

An update to Google’s algorithms. It came out in April of 2015 and it reduces the rankings of websites that are not optimized for mobile browsing. 

Google My Business 

Google my Business is a tool for business owners to have some of their information visible when a user performs a query. The business can create and revise listings which will result in a business being found on Google Maps. In addition, the information may be displayed on the right side of the SERP. This image may contain business name, telephone number, hours, reviews, maps, hours of service, and website. 

Google PageSpeed Insights

A mechanism developed by Google that checks over your data in order to determine how quickly a page will load. In addition, it offers suggestions on how to increase the speed of a webpage. 

Google Panda (Google’s Panda update) 

February 2011 algorithm released by Google. This updated centered on website quality. It reduced rankings of sites that had unoriginal content. Pages that had duplicate material were lowered in ranking. 

Google penalty

This is often the result of black hat SEO work. Google has recognized some sort of malicious activity which attempted to manipulate Google’s algorithms. It can also occur when Google’s guidelines are not followed. 

Google Penguin (Google’s Penguin update)

April 2012 release. This release centered upon quality links. The focus was on reducing rankings of websites that use spammy links and manipulative links. 

Google Pigeon (Google’s Pigeon update)

July 2014 update to Google’s algorithm. This update focused on increasing rankings for local searches. It used location as one of the influencers in determining ranking. 

Google Pirate (Google’s Pirate update)

google pirate update

August 2012 release. This update lowered website rankings that used or contained pirated materials. It also reduced website rankings that improperly displayed copy written materials. 

Google Possum (Google’s Possum update)

This September 2016 release updated Google’s algorithms to diversify local search results. This had an unintended consequence of limiting search results for businesses that shared the same address. 

Google RankBrain (Google’s RankBrain update)

October 2015 Google algorithm release. This was an important update that attempted to use a user’s search intention when delivering search results. This was a machine learning or AI update that piggybacked off of Google’s previous Hummingbird. 

Google Sandbox

This is an unconfirmed belief in which Google prevents new websites from ranking. The SEO efforts employed seemingly had little to no effect until after a temporary waiting period had expired. 

Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools)

Rebranded from the previous title of Google Webmaster Tools in May 2015. It is a web service offered by Google that allows users to check the status of their indexing along with optimizing the visibility of websites.  

Google Trends

A web service offered by Google that analyses the popularity of certain keywords by geographic location and language. The graphical representations of results allows users to implore different strategies based upon the popularity of certain keywords within the timeframe and area in which they would like to use them. It is also popular to determine keyword usage for different times of year. 

Google trends

Google Webmaster Guidelines 

Clear definitions laid out by Google that must be followed if a website is to be found, crawled, and indexed. The three categories Google has are design and content, technical, and quality guidelines.   

Google’s related searches

Suggestions under the fold, at the end of the search results which offer suggestions for additional searches that are related to the search being performed. 

Grey hat SEO

SEO practices that are not technically violating Google’s guidelines. However, they are questionable as to their ethics. While technically legal, these methods, which are used to improve SERP rankings, are frowned upon. These methods very well could become black hat SEO in the future. Practices such as buying and selling if links or likes are examples of grey hat SEO.

Guest posting (Guest blogging)

This is a tool to build links. You would write a blog or an article that would appear on someone else’s website. In return, you would get a backlink to your website. As long as the basic subjects or topics were relevant between the two sites, this would help your authority. 

Guestographic

This is using your infographic on another person’s website. People would reach out to others that have a similar topic on their site and offer the use of the infographic in exchange for a backlink.

H

Heading

Heading tags are used similarly to chapters or indexes in a book. H1 tags would be akin to book title, H2 would be chapter titles, H3 would be subjects discussed within a chapter and so forth. Heading tags go from H1-H6. When incorporating keywords, heading tags provide a small SEO lift. 

Hidden Text

Text that is not visible to a user when visiting a website. It is used in order to manipulate search rankings as it loads sites which have an abnormal amount of keywords. This technique violates Google’s webmaster guidelines. 

Examples of hidden text would be:

  • Using font so small that it cannot be read
  • Using tools to have text displayed off of the visible section of a page
  • Using text that is identical in color to the background

Hidden text

Hilltop Algorithm

An algorithm used to find articles that are seemingly expert articles about something specific. Those articles would contain non-affiliated links to other sites and would be narrow in scope to its focus.

Hit

A hit is not a visit to a website. It is the number of files that are downloaded from your site. Examples of this would be photos, buttons, graphics and so forth. An average amount of hits for a website is about fifteen.

Homepage

The main webpage of a website that comes up when a user searches for the domain. It is the starting point for a website and the page from which all the other pages can eventually be found. 

Hreflang attribute

This is a process that allows users to experience a webpage in a desired language. Based upon the language that is used during the search, a website will display itself in the corresponding language. 

This is also helpful when you have seemingly duplicate pages. For example, the content for Australian and US users would be very similar, save for a few spelling and monetary differences. The attribute will allow Google to recognize them as unduplicated pages. 

HTML sitemap

This is the hierarchy of a website which is intended to be used by visitors as a navigation tool. It is normally expressed as bulleted list and it shows the relationships between pages on a site. It is also relevant during the creation phase of a website as it serves as a roadmap. 

HTML source code

Hypertext markup language is the standard language used to create any website. The source code itself is a coherent and intelligible format before it is translated into the code you see on your computer. 

Hyperlink (Link)

Text that is clickable within a webpage that provides a direct path to either another page within the same website or a page in a different site. It is intended to provide additional material or explanation for a specific topic. 

hyperlink

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

The protocol used on the world wide web to transfer data. It defines the formation and transmission of data and information.

I

Image filename

A unique name given to an image. It helps to both identify the image and to make it specific to crawlers. It is made up of two parts. The first part is the name that the user chooses followed by the file type.  

Image title

This works as a substitution in the case that an image cannot be displayed on a website. The title will be provided instead to the user. There is no ranking influence by this.

Image SEO

The practice of using photos properly and in the best manner in order to have the best SEO return. Doing things such as having image sitemaps, using alt tags, good file names that describe what the image is, and having a proper file size as to make sure the user experience is not affected. 

Image sitemap

Similar to an HTML sitemap. This is a file that has all of the images on a website that you want the Google bots to crawl and index. 

sitemap

Impression

This is a count of each time an ad is displayed. This could either be displayed on a visitor’s screen or be an ad on a SERP.

Index

When the Google bots crawl websites, they take all of the data and put them in a large file. This is the index. It is necessary to have a website indexed in order for it to be possible for it to be displayed in SERPs. 

Indexability

The condition of a site that permits bots to crawl and index them. In certain circumstances, this can be turned off. There are sites that one would not want to have people arrive to organically, but instead via conversion.

Indexing

When Google or other search Engines include a specific website in its database. This can be done naturally or a request can be made to have Google index a webpage. 

Web indexing

Infographic (Informational graphic)

A graphic that represents information in an easy to understand and very visual format. It is a great way to convey either a lot of information or complex information in a more simple manner. Websites like Buzzfeed use a good number of these to speak to their audience. 

Internal link

A link that takes a user to another page within the same website. It is a great way to help users navigate a website and to be sent from one logical destination to the next. It also helps the Google bots to better index a website. It is also a good tool for SEO as it allows specific pages to be granted higher authority.

International SEO

The process of increasing visibility for a website internationally. There are ways to set up detection of the language and the location of a searcher that will allow a website to automatically reflect the most appropriate webpage. 

Interstitials

Webpages that are displayed prior to or after an expected page’s appearance. These may be used to verify age or, more commonly, an advertisement. They often encompass the entire page and it is necessary to either interact with the page or close it all together in order to move to the desired page. Pop-up ads are examples of interstitials as well. This reduces the user experience and can result in penalties if done improperly on a mobile site. 

IP Address

A numeric label that is placed upon any computer that is connected to an online network. It can be static or dynamic depending on the needs of the user.

J

JavaScript (JS)

javascript

A programming language that allows for complex design and features to be added to a webpage. It can potentially increase crawl time on a website which could delay indexing.

K

Key performance indicator (KPI)

A metric which is self defined to measure the strength and effectiveness of the results of a business objective. SEO KPIs may include examples such as site rank, traffic, and backlinks.

Keyword

In the SEO world, a keyword is a word or short phrase that describes the content on a website. Specifying the correct and appropriate keywords will help rankings. 

Keyword

Keyword (not provided)

A Google analytics status. It is shown in Google Analytics organic traffic under traffic. Keywords are sometimes hidden to provide privacy for users. 

Keyword analysis

The process by which one will evaluate the quality if the keywords being used. In an attempt to find out how well certain words are used to increase traffic and SERP ranking, one would study their effectiveness. 

Keyword cannibalization

By using the same keywords on more than one page on a website, you are actually competing against yourself to rank higher and to get the same traffic. This is bad for your SEO. 

Keyword categorization

Placing keywords in separate groups by using context and the meaning of the user at the time of the search. The purpose is to ascertain which keywords are used during which part of the customer process. (A tool used to improve conversion rate.)

Keyword competition (Keyword difficulty, Keyword SEO difficulty)

An indication of keyword popularity. It is displayed along with the number of times a particular keyword has been searched for recently. This is a good tool to determine if a keyword is already too broadly used to be as effective as other keywords. 

Keyword density

The number of times a keyword is displayed on a webpage divided by the total number of words on the page. While it is unknown exactly what the best rate is, many people will overuse keywords on their pages. 

Keyword frequency (Term frequency)

A similar measure to keyword density. This purely measures the number of keywords on a webpage, regardless of the total number of words on the same page. 

Keyword prominence

How well a keyword is placed on a webpage. Ideally, the keyword will be placed at or near the beginning of the title and the headings. Prominent keywords will be noticeable. 

Keyword proximity

How closely keywords are written to each other on a webpage. In cases of high proximity, the page can be viewed as having more relevance. 

Keyword rank

This is how well your keyword does in relation to other webpages. In other words, how highly a webpage ranks in the SERPs. 

Keyword research (Keyword optimization)

SEarching for new keywords that are relevant and different from the existing keywords that you have been using. Ongoing keyword research is an important aspect for anyone in SEO that is trying to maximize traffic and SERP ranking. 

Keyword stemming

The process of using the stem of a word in order to create additional keywords. For example, using the root of searching, which would be search, in order to gather more keywords: searcher, searches, searchable, and so on. 

Keyword stuffing (Keyword spam)

An unethical technique which a keyword is written many many times on the same webpage in order for it to appear more relevant when the bots crawl the page. The pages contain no real value as they are little more than keywords repeated over and over. The text would appear as spam to anyone reading the page. This would be characterized as black hat SEO. Keyword stuffing has no real long term SEO value.

Knowledge graph

Knowledge Graph Card

A supplement to a Google search, a knowledge graph will gather data from several different websites and will display them collectively on the side of the SERP. It will offer suggestions and additional search options. 

Knowledge Panel

A panel that appears on the right side of a SERP that will provide basic information for a search result. It is a rich snippet that will allow a user to quickly find search results without having to open a webpage. It will likely contain facts and data, along with people and places directly related to a search.

L

Landing page

The webpage that appears when a user clicks on a link. The design of these pages is to optimize conversions. Each landing page may use separate keywords. 

Latent semantic indexing keyword (LSI keyword)

Keywords that have a relation to your existing primary keyword. They can be individual words or phrases that are closely related to the primary word. For example, the keyword “marketing” could have the LSI keywords of “Marketing concepts”, “marketing mix”, or “marketing agency”.

Lazy Loading

The idea of loading only the necessary parts of a website in order to optimize load times. Remaining sections or portions of websites are loaded as they are needed. An example would be infinity scroll, in which content is continuously loaded as a user scrolls. 

Lead magnet (Gated content)

This is content that requires or encourages a user to submit information in order to move forward. Often, an email is required in exchange for the website’s data or service. This is a conversion technique that is commonly used. The emails that have been collected are later used for email marketing. 

Linkbait

A webpage that has valuable content. This will organically become a target for other sites to link to. These sites have high value and information that is not readily found elsewhere. While not easy to reach, it is terribly valuable in SEO. 

Link building (Link acquisition, Linkbuilding)

Improving the quality and the quantity of backlinks to your website. This is seen as one of the most important aspects of SEO. Backlinks can be acquired, in general, one of two ways. One is to write high quality content and increase links to those. Second, have other bloggers write articles to write guest posts on your site while you write articles for them. 

A previous tactic of leaving a link in blog comments no longer provides any backlink improvement as Google has removed this feature. 

Link building

Link burst

When you get a large amount of backlinks very quickly. This can be the result of having an article that goes viral. However, it may also be the result of unethical practices such as link spamming or purchasing links from a link farm. 

Link diversity

This is a technique in which links are acquired from a variety of sites. The variety may include news, professional journals, educational institutions, or listings. While not inherently valuable to SEO, it does provide a more natural feel to a site. 

Link equity (Link authority, Backlink authority, Link juice, Link value)

The idea that certain links contain more value than others, thereby passing more authority via backlinks. Sites with backlinks from more valuable sites will cause the original site to increase its SERP rank.

Link farm

An unethical, or black hat, technique which uses automatic programs to acquire links. All of the sites associated with this program will link to each other. It is highly frowned upon and can result in significant penalties. Because the links provide little authority, the value of link farming is limited. 

Link hoarding

A practice used by some people to encourage the gathering of as many inbound links as they can while limiting the outbound links to as few as possible. The advantage would be to keep the popularity of the link within the website and prohibiting the traffic from leaving. It is not a reputable behavior and frowned upon in the SEO world .

Link outreach (Blogger outreach)

Blogger outreach

A step in the process to build links. Made from finding opportunities for backlinks on other sites and then asking the site owners to add your backlink. This would be appropriate if the other sites were relevant to your site in terms of topic, specific following, or if one of you mentioned the other one. 

Link popularity

This is the count of the amount of backlinks a website contains. 

Link profile (Backlink profile)

A measure of the quality of the backlinks a website has. This is measured by such things as anchor text, link value, and diversity among others. 

Link reclamation

The practice of retrieving links that have been lost. 

Link relevancy (Relevant link)

This is two or more websites that have similar content and links. It also measures the degree of relevancy they have towards each other.

Link rot

This is an effect of deleting or changing the location of older webpages. What will happen is that once the paged are altered, the links going to them will no longer function properly. The website will now have broken links. This is what is referred to as link rot. 

Link spam (Blog spam, Comment spam)

An outdated practice of including links in comment sections of blogs or articles. The practice used to yield some benefits as they contributed to a site’s overall number of backlinks. However, Google has removed this feature from such comment sections. This is also a ricky behavior as it could lead to penalties. 

Link velocity

The pace at which a website will obtain backlinks. A normal pace is considered good to Google. An abnormally high or slow rate would be suspicious. Unless a newer site has viral content, it is skeptical and unlikely to obtain a significant amount of backlinks quickly. 

Local citation

The practice of having a local business’ data on a website. This could be any information about the company. Phone numbers, websites, hours, and addresses are common data to list. It helps these local businesses get found more easily. 

Local SEO

This is the practice of directing searchers to local businesses based upon location. Local companies benefit from local SEO to drive traffic to their website and/or their physical location

Local Search

A query from a user that intends for the results to be located in a geographical area immediately surrounding them or a specific desired location. The phrase “near me” in a search will often trigger local results. 

Long-tail Keyword

A specific and tailored phrase that is used to aide in conversions. This phrase will be nearly identical to whatever service or product is being sold. Users that search these specific terms are often close to making a purchase and, consequently, the keyword is more valuable as it leads to more conversions. 

Lost Link

Lost Link

A backlink that no longer is relevant. This can be the result of the other website being taken down or having been moved.

M

Machine Learning

An aspect of artificial intelligence in which a system learns and makes unique changes to processes without a person interfering. 

Manual Action (Google manual action penalty)

A result of a human identifying that a website did not follow the proper guidelines. Google’s webmaster quality guidelines are the rules of engagement that all sites must follow or risk a penalty from Google. The result of a manual action will likely be a severe penalty which results in rankings being greatly diminished form SERPs or removed all together. Once that issue has been resolved, an application can be submitted to have it reviewed and be reinstated. 

Metadata

This is providing information about other data. SEO metadata is the data that comes up about a site when queried. The title along with the meta description may be displayed. This can be entered into the website’s coding. 

Meta description tag

An important aspect of metadata which allows a SERP to display a rich snippet of a page’s data. This tag can describes the content from the website. 

Meta keywords

A tool that used to be used to inform bots about the keywords on a website. People used to try to manipulate search engines by naming meta keywords that were not truly relevant to the content. Consequently, meta keywords are no longer a marker of rank.

Meta refresh (Meta refresh tag, Meta redirect)

An outdated tool that instructed a web browser to refresh periodically. It would be used when dynamic content had to be displayed. It was also used a redirect method, but no longer due to inefficiencies. 

Metric

Often a measurement of a KPI intended to detail the successes of a specific focus. Common metrics followed in SEO are keyword rank, organic traffic, backlinks, bounce rate, and others.  

Mirror site

A duplicate site which is on its own unique URL. In the case that a single site has generated too much traffic for a server to support it. The sites exist for people in different geographic locations and ensure that users have good experiences and the site loads quickly. 

This may occur with global sites that have presences in across multiple continents. 

Mirror site

Mobile-friendly website

A site that has been designed or has been altered to be viewed on a mobile platform. 

Mobile-first indexing

An indexing concept in which bots crawl the mobile versions of websites before the desktop versions. The desktop version is indexed and crawled later. However, if there is no mobile version of a page, there will be negative results on rankings. 

Mobile optimization

Updating a website so that it is easily used on a mobile platform on a mobile device. Adjustments to a website such as layout, text, and navigation may need to be performed.

N

Negative SEO (Negative SEO attack)

The practice of discrediting and lowering the rank of a competitor’s website. It is a black hat technique which uses malicious practices such as creating artificial spammy links and duplicate content through hacking a website in order to change the content.

Nofollow link

A message to search engine crawlers to not follow a specific link. 

No follow link

No-index tag

A tag used which prevents a bot from indexing a specific webpage. This can be used for pages that are important to the site, but not necessarily to relevance. Examples would be a thank you page or a registration page.

O

Off-page SEO

The work done outside of a website itself to increase SERP rankings. Items that would be included here are things like social media postings, guest blogging, and link building. 

On-page SEO (Onsite SEO)

On Page SEO

This is the compliment to off page SEO. This is optimizing the content on the webpages themselves to increase ranking. Using results from keyword research and updating with quality content are two examples of on page SEO. 

Opt-in

The permission from a user that allows the user to receive promotional material in the form of direct messages. This is most often in the form of an email. The need for permission has become more and more important as laws now prohibit the distribution of these materials without consent. However, once a user opts out, the messages must cease. 

Opt-out

The removal of permissions from a user to receive marketing materials sent directly to them. Most commonly this is done via an unsubscribe button at the end of an email. Laws now state that users have to have clear and obvious opportunities to stop receiving these messages. 

Organic rank

The position that a website achieves organically in a SERP listing. It is the result of SEO. It is not the result of SEM.

Organic traffic

The visitors that come to a website via a search engine. These are not the results of paid traffic which stem from running ads. 

Organic search results (Natural search results)

These are the listings on SERPs that are shown as a result of SEO. These are not paid results. 

Organic search results

Orphan page

Webpages that have no links going to it and are not found by crawlers. 

Outbound link (Outgoing link, External link)

A link that leads from your website to another website. They are beneficial as they lead to your website’s authority and increase your quality which affects your SEO. 

Outreach marketing

This is the practice of reaching out to other businesses and people who are in the same industry and have value for the two parties to each other. It is a targeted approach in which there is an offer to exchange links. In SEO, terms, outreach marketing would be used for link building. 

Over-optimization

This is an unethical practice of attempting to fool a search engine. Doing things such as writing content about a keyword instead of content that is important to a visitor. This can result in a penalty or reduced rankings in the SERPs.

P

Page Authority (PA)

Similar to domain authority, page authority is a measure of how well a specific webpage is ranked. It takes into account relevance and specific information. The better page authority a web page has, the better it will perform in the SERPs. It is a good SEO strategy to have at least one page rank well and then have other pages link from it. 

Page cloaking (Website cloaking, IP cloaking)

This is an unethical and black hat maneuver in which the content from a website is different for a visitor and a search engine. This is accomplished by providing material via a user’s IP address. 

Page speed (Page load speed, Page load time, Page response time)

The amount of time it takes for a whole web page to open and display in a window. A faster speed provides a better user experience and leads to a better rank. Slow pages often have higher bounce rates as users are less willing to wait for a slow web page to load. Slow page speed also leads to reduced dwell time and conversions. 

PageRank (PR)

google page rank

A measurement of relevance and authority a website has. This is relevant in SERP ranking as its rank will determine how high or low a site will appear. A numeric value is given to a site which is based upon backlinks and the pagerank of the sites providing those links.

Pageview (Page impression)

A count of the amount of times a webpage is loaded by visitors. This is also measurable via Google analytics. Each view, even multiple views from the same visitor, counts as a pageview.

Paid traffic

Visitors to a website that are results of the user clicking (or tapping) on an advertisement. It is an exceedingly popular method to drive traffic to websites because it is easily measured and the traffic comes in right away. Google Ads and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are popular avenues for providing these advertisements. 

Page title (Title tag)

A headline that shows up in search results that can be clicked on in order to get to a webpage. They are a big help for any website’s CTR and SEO. 

Paid links (Link buying)

A risky technique of purchasing backlinks. This can be an exchange for money. Or, it could be an exchange for services or products to receive the links. There are also link farms that will sell links from hundreds of websites. Purchasing them is never a good idea as it violates Google’s webmaster guidelines and could result in a penalty. 

Persona

The ideal type of customer or user that comes to a website. This is an amalgamation of demographics, values, and behaviors. 

Personalization

The creation of search results tailored to a specific person. Search results are based upon search history, location, and web history.

Paid search engine result

An advertisement in which one pays to have their results listed at or near the top of the SERPs. 

Piracy

The usage of copyrighted material without the permission of the owner on a website. 

Computer piracy

Pogo-sticking

The practice of bouncing back and forth between a SERP and SERP results by a user. For example, this may occur when a user is looking for specific information from several websites. 

Poison words (Forbidden words, Filter words)

Terms that provide negative opportunity for a webpage as Google and other search engines deem the terms as poor quality. They are indicative of unethical practices. Examples would be racist or derogatory language along with blackhat SEO terms like “purchase backlinks”

PPC (Pay Per Click)

An advertising method in which users click on ads, or tap on mobile platforms, and the advertiser is charged each time. The cost of the click varies depending on several different criteria. 

Primary keyword (Main keyword, Head keyword)

This is the focused word on a webpage. It theoretically will have the most impact on the page’s rank itself. It should be used in the page’s title, headlines, and within the first few sentences of the content. 

Pull channel

These are services that bring users to a product or service. Google and other search engines are the most popular form of this. YouTube is also a pull channel as it attracts and brings visitors to specific content.

Pull marketing

pull marketing

An advertising approach that sells or offers a brand that a potential customer has already shown interest in. It is a non-intrusive method that relies on bringing new clients in as opposed to push marketing. It uses keywords and search history to understand desires.

Push channel

This is a marketing method which places a product or a brand in front of customers without knowing if they have potential interest. Advertisements on Facebook and untargeted ads may be examples. 

Push marketing

This is an advertising technique in which an ad is shown to a user without them having demonstrated any desire for the product. These are considered obtrusive and traditional advertising.

Q

Quality Content

This is the material that is written on a website which helps to drive traffic to the site. This content will have value as interesting and unique writing that others will be interested in reading. Good quality content is one of the cornerstones of SEO.

Quality Link

A link from another website which offers value to your site. In order to be a quality link, the originating website needs to be relevant, respected, and authoritative. 

Query

A search. In SEO, a query refers to a search made via a search engine. Moreover, the specific words or groups of words which are entered into the search engine. 

SEO query

Query Deserves Diversity (QDD)

A Google algorithm that uses the intention of the searcher when displaying results. It may display videos from YouTube, for example, when a query is performed on “oil change”. The search results are the search patterns and user query history. 

Query Deserves Freshness (QDF)

A Google algorithm that puts emphasis on providing the newest and freshest content available for a search result.

R

Rank

The position that a webpage has in the SERPs via organic searches. 

Ranking Factor

The components of a website that determine its rank. These are based upon unique algorithms that use an unknown number of criteria to develop a ranking score.

Reciprocal linking

When two or more businesses agree to provide backlinks to each other. As long as the companies share relevance and topics, there should be no concern and reciprocity should be mutually beneficial. However, if there is no shared relevance or and topics, the link may actually hinder a website as search engines may have difficulty indexing the site. 

Redirect

When a user is sent to another webpage than the one originally requested. This may be done if a page is down, has moved, or for any number of reasons. These moves may be temporary or permanent in nature. 

Referral traffic

These are visitors to a site that did not come from an organic search. These visits could come from links via social media sites, backlinks, or other sources. 

Reinclusion (Reconsideration request)

After receiving a manual action or penalty from Google, a reinclusion request may be processed. This will begin the process of having a penalty reassessed to ensure that all errors or issues have been resolved properly. This will allow a website to have its rank increase from its penalized state. 

Relative URL (Relative link, Relative path)

A shortcut for internal linking. This could be a link to an image, a page, a file, or other items. This link does not specify URL or domain however. Therefore, the assumption must be made that they are contained in the same site. 

Relevance

The measurement by a search engine of how closely a users search is to the content of a particular webpage.

Reputation management (Rep management, Online reputation management, ORM)

The maintenance of an online presence of a business or an individual. This can be managed via several methods:

  • Creating good content
  • Responding to comments/reviews
  • Refocus keywords
  • Reduce ranking of negative content

Responsive Website

responsive website

A website that is created to change format depending on the size of a user’s screen. This is often referring to a mobile or desktop view. 

Return on investment (ROI)

The profitability that is amassed as a result from a direct input of capital. It is a common KPI measurement of many businesses that plays a part into determining the successes or failures of different investments. 

Rich snippet

An organic search result that is more robust than a standard result. These may contain graphics, reviews, or additional data. These snippets are results of indexable material from a website. These have positive impacts on site’s CTR. 

Robots meta tag

Code which instructs search engines on how to treat content from a website. The code lets the bots know if anything special needs to be done. Most often the code prevents the search engines and bots from performing standard tasks. Examples would be:

  • No-Follow: Links are not followed by bots
  • No-Index: The search engines will not index a page
  • No-Archive: There will not be an archived, or cached, version saved of the site
  • Other instructions as well

Robots.txt (Robots exclusion standard) 

Text that instructs search engine bots on how to perform and what to do with certain webpages. This is commonly used to prohibit a certain page from being indexed.

Robot met tag

S

Schema Marketing (Schema Markup)

The process of updating code to include additional information found on a webpage. It improves the way that search engines read and interpret the data from a site’s code. Moreover, it points to the most relevant information on a page. The result of using Schema markup is that search engines can display a site’s information via a rich snippet. 

Scraping (Web scraping, Content scraping, Scraped content)

The usage of programs that automatically search and collect data from several websites. These data are then posted on another website. This will cause more competition for the original website. Often this is done as a blackhat SEO method to discredit a competitor’s website. 

Search Engine (SE)

A program that searches databases in order to return search results for a user’s query. Althoug Google is far and away the most common search engine in the world, there are several others that also have market share:

Bing, Baidu, DuckDuckGo, Yandex, Yahoo, Ask.com, WolframAlpha, and AOL.com are currently the most used search engines.

Search engine algorithm (Google algorithm)

The programs which are used to give a numeric value or ranking to a website. The programs and formulae are ever evolving and need to be adhered to in order for a website to remain authoritative. 

Search engine marketing (SEM, Search Marketing, Search engine advertising)

An advertising technique in which the goal is to have a website be displayed as high as possible in the SERPs. The result of this will be increased traffic to the website. Both organic and paid search results are techniques of SEM. 

Search engine optimization (SEO)

A marketing practice that focuses on gaining traffic to websites. This is accomplished by increasing SERP rankings, improved site content, refining keywords, and improving organic traffic. In years past, this was a simple as writing to the crawlers and search engine bots. These days, it is much more artistic and also heavily relies upon providing a good user experience. 

Search engine rank

Where a website falls when a query is performed via a search engine. Number one rank will be the top spot, so on and so forth. Knowing how Google prioritizes search results will help a webpage rank higher. 

Search engine result page (SERP)

serp

A list of the webpage results after a user conducts a search for a word or phrase. Results often include the title of a webpage, its URL, and a bit of information about the result. 

Search engine spam (Search engine poisoning, Spamdexing)

Unethical technique that manipulates search engines into giving a webpage a higher rank than it should have. This is done by using a page with low relevance and performing black hat SEO techniques such as keyword spamming in order to achieve the desired result. 

Search query (Query, Search term)

Word, words, or phrases that are entered into a search engine in order to find resulting information. 

Search result snippet

The featured or rich snippet listing that appears in the SERPs which shows the relevant information to the user.  

Search visibility score

The percentage of clicks that a website receives based upon the number of times it appears on a SERP.

Search volume

The amount of times that searches are expected for a specific keyword within a timeframe.

Secondary keywords

Complimentary keywords that are associated with the main keyword on a webpage. They can have a specific corrolation to the existing keyword. Or, they may be much more specific as to reach a more niche audience. 

Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPs)

A secured version of HTTP which is encrypted. Therefore, it keeps data safe which is transferred to from a website. This is also the preferred transfer method by Google. It leads to increased rankings for a webpage.

Seed keywords

seed keywords

Foundation or base keywords that serve as the root of long tail keywords or as a base for a modifier. These are also the most relevant keywords for a specific business or industry. 

SEO audit

A website analysis that focuses on the effectiveness of its search engine visibility. The intention is to locate issues or concerns that may be hindering a website’s performance. Both the content of a website and the backend SEO can be researched. 

SEO service

The practice of improving visibility and increasing a webpage’s search engine rank. 

SEO silo structure

A structure that organizes the hierarchy of a website. It logically groups like content into categories and subcategories by likeness. This aids in determining relevance for crawlers and humans. 

SEO URL

A website address that is optimized for SEO benefits. 

SERP feature

The various methods in which SERPs, such as Google, return information. While previous results were limited to standard organic search results, Google now offers several different methods of return. Some of the ways that Google now returns results are:

  • Rich snippets
  • Knowledge graphs
  • Paid search results
  • Organic search results

SERP shaker

The use of software that will create a website which is then used to manipulate rankings. In addition, the software could also create content for the same purpose. The purpose of creating these sites or content is to drive ad revenue and create more backlinks. This is considered black hat SEO and the webpages will receive penalties. 

Share of Voice

The amount of impressions that a webpage receives form the SERPS in comparison to total impressions including their competitors. 

Sitelinks (Google site links)

Deeper links which are found below the URL for a search result within the SERPs. They are designed to provide more in depth options for users to search. Moreover, they aide in navigation of a website. 

Site-wide link

Links which are visible and accessible across all of the pages of a website. They are often anchored at the top or bottom of the pages. 

Skyscraping (Skyscraper SEO)

An SEO technique that aims to increase backlinks. Normally a popular page would be found that has many backlinks already. Then content is written which is relevant to that page. The author of the new page will reach out and offer the new content via a link to his or her page. 

Skyscraper SEO

Social media marketing

The practice of using social media channels as an advertising avenue in order to increase brand awareness, traffic and identity. This can be done through paid ads or via creating content.  

Social signal

Refers to a webpages general popularity in social media. Likes, shares, and visibility all give credence to a pages overall signal. They have an effect of increasing a brand’s identity and possibly increasing backlinks. 

Social syndication

The practice of publishing material from a website, such as blog articles, on social media channels. The purpose is to increase brand awareness and popularity. 

Splash page

An initial page on a website that has very limited content. It will normally show a brand name or a single product and require interaction from the user to move forward. It’s intention is to highlight a product or a brand. However, it has negative effects on SEO for a few reasons. One, the page will have almost no quality content. Two, backlinks related to this homepage will have limited authority. Three, it may reduce webpage load speed as large images may not be quick to load. 

Split Testing (A/B testing)

Using a controlled experiment to compare the outcomes of a test to verify the value of a certain effort. In other words, comparing results after changing a variable for only a portion of an audience to the results for the audience that did not change. 

Static URL (Static link)

A website address that remains constant. They will often contain keywords that make it easy for the user to understand. The benefit is an increased CTR.

Status code

The response that a server provides to a user when a webpage is requested. Responses may be informational, success, redirection, client error, or server error. Within these responses are more specific codes that provide more information.

Status code 200

Successful request 

Status code 301 

A code that says a URL has been permanently moved. This most often occurs when a page has been redirected to a new location. This is the best method of redirection because it passes along the most link authority.

Status code 302 

A code that says a webpage or URL has been redirected temporarily. While a user will not see a difference between a 301 and 302 error, it is not as good for SEO. This is an inferior method of redirection as it passes no link equity.

Status code 403

This code indicates that a user is forbidden from opening the page. It may be a lack of permissions that are prohibiting the entrance. 

Status code 404

This is a code that says a page is not found. This will occur when a webpage has been removed or deleted, yet there is still a backlink to that removed page. This leads to a poor experience for the visitor. It is also bad for the website itself. A 301 redirect is a simple and effective solution. 

Status code 410

This code status indicates that a page is gone. It is similar to a 404 error. However, it provides more detail as it is also a message to Google bots to remove the page form their indexing. 

Status code 429

This error occurs when a server has received too many requests from a user within a certain period of time. 

Status code 500

This is a very generic return form a server that something has gone wrong, but no other information is available. Access to site or page is unavailable. 

Status code 503

Often used while a website is undergoing maintenance. It is a request for the search engine bots to return at another time. 

Stop words

These are words which a very common and are skipped over by a search engine. The reason is to increase scrolling time for the bots. Examples of stop words are “at, be, do, of”. It is best to remove these from meta descriptions, title tags, URLs, and image alt text.

Subdomain

An area which is located within a main domain. They exist to help in navigation and organization of a website. For example, https://seodesignchicago.com/services is a subdomain of https://seodesignchicago.com

Submission

Manually requesting that search engine bots crawl a new web page or URL. The purpose is for a new page to be indexed faster. The process is not necessary as bots do very well at finding new pages. 

T

Taxonomy

This is the organization and classification of content on a website to make the information more readable and discoverable. Websites without taxonomy can be difficult to navigate.

Technical SEO

The section of SEO that works with search engine bots. It is used to help the bots crawl and index websites most easily. It is perhaps the most important SEO activity and required for optimal website performance. Items such as having the correct terms to guide bots, having good quality content, removing errors, and optimizing images are all examples of technical SEO.

Technical SEO

Term frequency x Inverse document frequency (TF*IDF)

A calculation used by search engines to find out how relevant a webpage is. It compares the amount of times that a keyword is used in a document and it compares that with similar documents. 

The fold

The top section of a webpage, or the area which is visible to a user without scrolling down. It provides the first impression to a user and has direct influences on how long a visitor stays on a site, if at all.

Thin content

Content that has no viable value to a user. This could be poorly written content, small amount of information, duplicate information, and doorway pages. This is detrimental to a webpage’s ranking. 

Time on Page

The amount of time that a user spends on a webpage. 

Title Tag

A meta tag that resembles and behaves like the title of a webpage. This is most often the title that search engines will use in the SERPs. Therefore, it should be relevant to the page’s content. Ideally, it would be attractive and make users want to click on it. 

Top heavy (Top heavy algorithm)

This is an algorithm designed by Google that reduces rankings for websites that either place too many ads at the top of the page or if the ads are too distracting for a user. 

Top-Level Domain (TLD)

The extension or end of a URL. Some are specific to industry or organization. Most commonly used are:

  • .edu
  • .net
  • .com
  • .org

Traffic

A count of all of the visitors that go to a website. They may come from many different areas. Examples would be paid, organic, direct, or referral traffic. 

Traffic potential

A calculation of the total amount of organic visits that a website could achieve if it were ranked number one on the Google SERP for the associated keywords.

Trust

This is a factor of a website’s history, its sources, and content. Factors such as citations of expert sources and reputation are also included. 

TrustRank

An algorithm that conducts link analysis which will differentiate quality websites from spam sites. 

U

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

More commonly known as a web address, this is the text that is written into a browser in order to reach a specific website. 

Unique visit

When a user goes to a website for the first time. This is measured by IP address. Therefore, it would more accurately be each time a user on an IP visits a site. Two or more visits by the same IP address would not count as multiple unique visits. 

Universal search (Blended search, Enhanced search)

The return of additional media within SERPs. Images, videos, or maps are displayed along with organic search results. These results have increased CTRs. 

Unnatural link

Artificial links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking. These could be purchased links or links received from a scraper. These can lead to manual actions from Google so they are best avoided. Having good quality content and removing or disavowing unnatural links are important to proper SEO health.

URL Parameter

Characters added to a URL that allow traffic origin to be tracked.

User experience (UX)

A measurement of how simple and pleasing using a website is. This is also important to Google as they hold user experience as a significant metric when ranking sites. 

Some characteristics of a good UX are:

  • Fast loading times
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Consistency
  • Easy navigation

User-friendly

Simple for a user or operator to navigate and learn. 

User friendly SEO

User-generated content

Content that is not written by the owner of the site. Moreover, this would be content created by visitors. Often this is found in reviews, comments, and social media postings. It is a benefit for SEO as it increases specific keywords. 

User interface (UI)

The part of a website which visitors interact with. A good user interface is very important to a quality user experience, which is an indication of some of the strength of a website. 

V

Vertical search engine

A unique and specific search engine that has a more narrow focus. The content that it searches may be based on specific topics, media, or genres. Some examples of vertical search engines would be YouTube, Kayak, Google Maps, and Pinterest. 

Video optimization

Making a video indexable and searchable to search engines, often on YouTube. This is accomplished similarly to webpages. Using keywords, descriptions, and tags are all methods that will aid in the optimization. 

Viral content

An item, which is usually a video, image, or article that becomes immensely popular in a very small period of time. Due to the rapidity at which it gains popularity, viral content has great SEO value. 

Voice Search

The process of querying a search engine using a voice to speak the search into a device. 

W

Webpage

A document that lives on the Web and can be seen by users once they either query a search engine or they go to the page directly. 

Web design

Website (Site)

A group or collection of webpages and other relevant content that are all housed under the same domain. 

Website quality

The characteristics of a website that create a high quality product which people are searching for. The following items are often classified as some of the most relevant to a high quality website:

  • Good content; it needs to be interesting and informative

  • Speed; the website needs to load quickly

  • Style; is the site cohesive and does it align with what it is presenting

  • SEO; the page must be optimized for search engines

Website structure (Site structure)

A term that refers to how a site has been set up and how pages connect to each other via the links within the site. It is important that crawlers are able to find all of the pages on a site quickly and easily. 

White hat SEO

Legitimate SEO practices that are used to increase a webpage’s ranking on the SERPs. These practices are designed to appeal to humans and not search engines directly. 

WordPress

A program that functions as a website building tool and a CRM.

X

XML

Extensible Markup Language is a text-based markup language designed to store and transfer data.

XML sitemap

A map of a website that lists all of the webpages that Google should crawl on a website. If done correctly, this is a great SEO tool that helps to have a website indexed properly. 

Y

Yahoo

A prior champion in the email and search engine fields. Yahoo uses different algorithms than Google does so users get different results when searching. Yahoo has a very small market share in 2020, under 3%. Yahoo’s search engine is now powered by Bing.

Yandex Search

A popular Russian search engine. Over 50% of Russian search traffic is performed via Yandex search. 

YMYL Pages

Google pages referred to as “Your money your life”. According to Google, any page that applies itself to one’s happiness, health, safety, or finance would be YMYL pages. Google insists on very high quality for YMYL pages because of their influence on people. 

Yoast SEO

One of the most popular WordPress SEO plugins. It is a tool that helps to optimize a website by measuring readability, SEO quality, and managing appearances. 

YouTube

The second most commonly used search engine. It is video focused and allows for the sharing of videos and has two billion active users. 

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