Glossary of SEO Terms
efforts to improve the quality of traffic to your website listing(s)
through organic (real people) search engine position in Google.
A "top 10" is a must for business.
Little know is that following the
Dewey Decimal System or Library Science principles Google (and
other search engines) use their own variations of these very
old principles to index websites.
Google is really a "e"Library indexing system.
What is Google really doing?
Excluding the highly profitable "retail side PPC", Google is
running a database of search terms much like a traditional
library index card file.
Below is a distillation of
"e" terms, that seem to always be in a state of flux (changed often
with fashion trends). Many packages and
services are rename (or often miss-use) some are inventing
their own. These terms seen
below are our best ongoing effort to help users understand
these (sometimes crazy) terms in SEO. Rev: DMM 3-2021
Glossary, Descriptions, and Comments.
SEO and Website / Domain Terms:
W3C, Google, Hoss, and several others.
– Numeric Common Codes --
301 Redirect – Use of this command in a link will ensure
that the visitor is redirected to another page without the
original page losing the search engine ranking. The index in
the search engine is updated.
404 Error – A message displayed when a server cannot find
the URL requested. If someone clicks on a link and is
displayed that error message, the link is said to be broken.
(Should be a custom 404.htm for any business website).
More Site Error Codes
– – A – –
Above the Fold – Page term for content on a page that is visible without
scrolling. Relevant for web pages,
ads, and anything visible without without scrolling. Hint:
Very useful for improving conversion rates.
Adwords & Keyword Planner (website) – Tool for estimating
website traffic, competition, advertising costs and other
factors of keywords based on match type. Replacement of the
Adwords Keyword Tool.
Algorithm (Search Engine) – The internal calculations, or
recipe, a search engine will use to rank a list of content
based on a search query. Also: a "metrics table".
– The text (ascii) description attached to the image in
the webpage HTML code. Search engine crawlers cannot read or
categorize images, but an ALT text can help explain an image.
Hint: Another name for this is ALT Attribute in some applications.
Anchor Text (Linked Text) – Description of the webpage link
that is visible to the visitor. The text is noticeable
because of the underlining and bold lettering. Search
engines use the anchor text to determine page contents
ASCII - Readable text (not script or graphic). Standard keyboard Code that
search bots (spiders) can easily read to index in search
– – B – –
Black Hat SEO – Manipulative website edits and spam
link building that aim to improve search engine rankings
without useful information.
These tactics violate
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, as they
are not intended to improve user experience, and have been
the target of many Google algorithm updates including Panda
Blog – or “web log”. Websites can use blogs as the
central repository for current events and commentaries
associated with the subjects on the website. New user entries in the
blog will be noticed in the search engine, which ranks the
sites according to the most recent activity.
Bookmark – A site marker that can be stored in a web
browser or on a website. The visitor can return to the pages
that have been visited in the past. Descriptions in
the webpage titles that are recorded in the bookmark.
Bounce Rate – (Important - done in ratio)
The percentage of website visitors that leave
the website after viewing a particular webpage. It is
typically a measure of the quality or relevancy of content
on a page. Hint: lower is better.
Branded Keyword – A keyword, or keyword variations
associated with an organization’s brand or identity name.
Distinct from non-branded keywords in that visitors have a
clear intention of what website to visit before viewing the SERP.
Broken Link(s) – Referring to a link on a page that does not
load correctly or display the desired information.
Browser (Web Browser) – A software application for
translating HTML documents into user-friendly web pages.
Common web browsers include, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari,
Internet Explorer, Opera and others.
– – C – –
Canonical URL – The authoritative URL that is correct for
the resource. Multiple URLs (http://www.example.com, http://example.com,
http://example.com.index) associated with the same landing
page will point to the canonical URL. The search engine will
record the canonical URL for the website as the primary
Citation – A mention of a business name on the web with or
without a link. A full citation contains information from a
NAP listing (Name Address Phone #). Citations are important
for local businesses as they are a big factor that search
engines use to determine local search rankings.
Cascading Style Sheets – or CSS – A set of commands within
the webpage code that describe the presentation semantics,
which is the way the page looks in a standard format. Each attribute, including
headers, footers, colors, and fonts, will be described within the CSS.
Content Management System (CMS) Not to be confused with a
site editor – A computer program that
allows the management of website information from a central
interface. Popular CMS’s include WordPress, Drupal and
Conversion (Rate)– When a website visitor completes a desired
action or goal. Examples of conversions may include emails,
completing an online form, or calling a phone number.
Conversion Form – A webform where information is collected
for a site visitor. Data gathered about each visitor can be
transformed from website traffic into business leads through
Cookie– A small file sent by a website and stored in a
user’s web browser while browsing the website for tracking.
"Cookies" are to remember information about a user, and can display
custom information or advertisements when the user
CPC – Cost per click (See PPC), the rate at which an advertiser pays
for a visit to their website. Hint: Useful in setting
– – D – –
Directory – A comprehensive listing of all websites that
have been gathered from various sources. The contents will
be arranged to provide helpful information for anyone
seeking websites in a given category. Top 10 listings,
traffic control, SEO copywriting and other important
attributes can be assigned to each entry.
DNS -- A Conversion service
of a URL to an IP address usually done externally. Mindach
Hint: Often overlooked in SEO but very important!
Domain Name – The series of words, separated by periods,
that make up the recognizable web address for the website.
For example: www.yourWebsite.com. Search engines try to show
a preference for branded domain names, as opposed to domain
names stuffed with keywords.
Doorway Page(s) – (see "black hat SEO") Pages created to direct visitors from one
page to another non-relevant page e.g. an advertisement.
Known as a black hat strategy, this practice often results
in de-indexing from search engines.
Duplicate Content – Content that is identical or nearly
identical. Duplicate content is often unintentional and is
often common on large websites with many products or service
pages. Search engines are typically unwilling to display
duplicate content or display only display one version of the
– – F – –
The Fold – (In Webpage) - The point at which the webpage is cut off by the
bottom of the screen and seen without scrolling. An initial glimpse at a webpage should
provide all pertinent information to the user. This is an old newspaper term
that held significant meaning for the writers whose work was
published “above the fold” Headlines for example. Ads published above the fold are
priced higher than those below the fold. The same theory
holds true on a webpage.
Fragment URL – A URL containing “#”. Used to specify a
location within a HTML document. For example,
is a fragment URL and entering that URL into a browser will
take a user to the HTML section of this article. The “HTML”
part of the URL is the fragment identifier.
– – G – –
Google AdSense – Google’s advertising partnership program
for website content creators. It allows websites to join
Google’s Adwords display network and display advertisements
on their website. They receive a share of the revenue
generated from these advertisements.
Google Adwords – Google’s platform for allowing advertisers
to display ads in their SERPs or through their display
Google Analytics – Google’s free platform for tracking
visitors for a website and to understand the performance and
quality of a website.
– – H – –
.htaccess– (Web-Server file) A file uploaded to a website’s server that
controls a number of functions, including redirects and
Headings – Text that is placed within heading tags, such as
H1, H2, H3 or H4. The size and bold type provide a clear
reading for the visitor. A search engine will use the text
within these tags for categorizing the page.
HTML – HyperText Markup Language – A standardized language
for managing the contents of a webpage to present in an
organized fashion to the visitor. Functionality within the
page will support the placement of elements including
videos, images and text that adjust to the screen size.
HTTP – HyperText Transfer Protocol – The protocol for
exchanging or transferring structured text known as
hypertext for the World Wide Web.
HTTPS – (+5) Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. Adding a SSL
certificate to a website so the connection is encrypted and
more secure. Google has said that HTTPS websites have a
small ranking benefit, although the signal is less than
other major ranking signals like on page content and backlinks.
Hummingbird – A Google algorithm update, focusing on
improving conversational searches. e.g. “What places sell
tacos late at night?”. Instead of displaying a
Wikipedia article on enchiladas, Google would display Mexican
restaurants still open at local time.
– – I – –
Impressions – Number of times a website, or ad for a
website, is displayed in a search engine for a particular
keyword... Mindach Hint: A ration of Impressions to
clicks is ver important.
Inbound Link – or Backlink – A website is visited through
the inbound links received from other websites on the
Internet. More inbound links to a website will improve the
site’s search engine results ranking.
Internal Link – A link on a webpage that sends the user to
another part of the same page or another page within the
same website. These links can help search engines categorize
pages and improve search engine rankings when used in
Indexed Pages – or Indexed Content – The webpages that have
been explored and stored by a search engine. A website
without any indexed pages will not appear in SERPs.
IP (Internet Protocol) Address – A number assigned to an
electronic device, such as a computer or smartphone,
connected to a particular Internet connection. It helps
identify location and network interface identification of
someone visiting a website.
– – J – –
control over the presentation of entries on a webpage.
the past. Changes are being made to (sometimes) include the contents.
– – K – –
Keyword – Common terms used to find information on the
Internet often embedded in page code. Search engines track the words typed by users to
find the websites of interest. Refined keywords will return
more meaningful results from search engines.
Keyword Density – The frequency of a keyword being mentioned
on a webpage. Intentionally having an unnaturally high
keyword density is known as keyword stuffing.
Keyword Research – The process of researching keyword
variations of value to a website. Requires the use of tools
like the Adwords Keyword Planner to discover search volumes
and competitiveness of different keywords.
Keyword Variations –
(8+) Different keywords that have the same
or similar user intent. E.g. “tire distributors in
Indianapolis, In” and “Indianapolis tire suppliers”.
– – L – –
(8+) – The first page a user visits after clicking
on a link in a SERP. Hint: More that one is very helpful
(open source website) this page is a "landing page".
Link – An element on a webpage allowing a user to navigate
to another webpage or a new location on the current page.
Search engine crawlers follow links to index webpages on the
Internet. Note: Not
Link Bait – Content created on a website with the primary
intention of encouraging other websites to link to the
Link Building – Activity associated with creating more
inbound links for a website. Search engine rankings tend to
improve as more inbound links are created.
Link Heat – See Link Juice.
Link Juice (Slang - Google Juice, Link Heat) – A figure of speech
for the authority given to a website or webpage by search
engines that flows to other sites through links.
Link Reclamation (also broken or dead links) – Finding broken or dead links to a current
or former website and requesting that they be corrected.
Additionally, requesting links be created where a brand name
is mentioned but no link to the brand’s website exists.
Link Text (7) – See Anchor Text & Alt.txt.
Long Tail Keyword (3+) – Multiple words in the string of keywords
typed into a search engine. For example, a “normal” keyword
may be “baseball bats”, whereas a long tail search might be
“where can I find wooden Louisville slugger baseball bats
for sale” Mindach Hint: use very sparingly with a limited
purpose LTKWs can be useful..
– – M – –
Metadata (6) – Internal words that are stored in the html of webpages and are not visible to users, but are noticed in by
search engine crawlers. Mindach Hint: Don't overlook
Meta Description (6) – Brief, written description of fewer than
160 characters that summarizes a webpage. Intended for both
users and search engines, Meta Descriptions) are visible in a SERP, and
can include keywords that affect search engine rankings.
Mindach Hint: Meta Descriptions are often displayed in
Google search results and can be added to graphics and other
Mobile Friendly – If a website displays a different more
user-friendly design of their website for smaller mobile
screens then their website is said to be mobile friendly.
Desktop versions of websites displayed on mobile devices do
not always have readable text and clickable links. According
to Google, not having a mobile friendly website can impact
search engine visibility for users doing searches on mobile
devices. Mindach Hint: Resolution or seprate mobile friendly
mozRank (6+)– An algorithm runs against websites to determine
how many inbound links exist. SEOmoz devised this approach
to assign a ranking on a scale of 0-10 for each page. A 10
represents the page with the best use of inbound links.
Mindach Hint: This page ranks high here.
– – N – –
NAP (7+) – Name Address Phone Number (helps conversion
rates). Details and contact
information of a business that can be used as a citation for
improving local search engine visibility. NAP listings can
be found on any website but are often created in online
directory listings such as Yelp, Yellow Pages and Insider
Pages. It is important for existing NAP listings on the web
to be consistent for local SEO.
Negative SEO – In wake of Google’s Penguin update, negative
SEO emerged as a strategy involving deliberately attacking a
competitor website to lower search engine rankings. Tactics
may involve submitting websites to spammy directories or
creating numerous links with exact match anchor text. Google
has gotten better at identifying negative SEO efforts.
Webmasters can also use Google’s Disavow links tool to
combat negative SEO.
New Visitor – Similar to a unique visitor, visitors in a
given period that have never visited your website before.
Nofollow – A meta command that will cause search engines to
ignore the link. A webpage will include this type of link
when the owner does not want to endorse the other website.
This command should never be used on internal links.
Non-Branded Keyword – Keywords that do not contain a brand
name. Most SEO campaigns have a strong focus on improving
website traffic from non-branded keywords.
– – O – –
Organic Search Results (9) – The non-sponsored area of a SERP.
The results appear in order or relevancy for a user’s query.
There are typically 10 results displayed.
– – P – –
Page Title (8+) – The webpage title appears at the top of the
PageRank – Search engines assign a number between 0-10 for
an indexed webpage to rate the authority of that webpage.
Panda (8) – Similar to Penguin, Panda is a series of updates to
Google’s algorithm which penalized websites with poor or
thin content and/or spammy link portfolios. It emphasizes
the importance of having quality content on a website. This
ranking algorithm allows smaller websites with high-quality
content to rise in Google search results.
Pay-per-click – or PPC – Online advertising approach that
determines the cost of an ad by the number of people who
click on the ad.
Penguin– Similar to Panda, Penguin, is a series of updates
to Google’s algorithm with the intention of discrediting
websites that engage in black hat SEO tactics to improve
their rankings in Google SERPs. Sites with unnatural anchor
text portfolios or backlinks from irrelevant or low-quality
pages were often the target.
– – R – –
RankBrain – An update to Google’s search algorithm that was
announced on October 26, 2015, and was implemented
spring of 2015. RankBrain enables an artificial intelligence
system to deliver accurate results even if the words in the
search query do not appear on the page. Mindach Hint: Lots
of hype,,, not much otherwise, yet. 2021.
Ranking / Indexing Factor (9) – One of many elements used in a
search engine to calculate the final list of results
provided to the user. Examples could include the number of
inbound links, title tags, metadata, and body content.
Comment: Always changing in Google.
Referral Traffic – Website visitors that enter a website by
clicking on links on other websites.
Referrer String – A recorded set of data that tracks the
visitor’s movements between pages on a website. Webmasters
use this string to determine where the user will depart from
Really Simple Syndication – RSS Feed – New content is
published to the subscribers of a website’s RSS feed.
Comment: Often overlooked!
– – S – –
Search Engine – Google is most important Software code
designed to search for information on the World Wide Web and
display it according to the relevancy of any search query.
Popular search engines today include Google,
SERP – Search Engine Results Page – – A webpage presented to
the user with the results from a search query. What you see
after searching for something in a search engine like
Search Query – What a person types into a search engine like
Google, Bing or Yahoo!. Mobil search engines allow users to
search by voice.
SEM – Search Engine Marketing – A form of internet marketing
that promotes websites by increasing their visibility in
search engines. Encompasses both SEO and PPC marketing.
Semantic Search / SEO (7) – Also known as
Latent Semantic Indexing. When search engines understand
that there is a relationship between the search query
and content, even if keywords in the search query are not
included in the content. An example would be “Here's Johnny”
from the movie "The Shining" nor does it mention
the famous movie quote is it's self a reference to the
opening of the "The Tonight Show with Johny Carson".
"Semantic Indexing" can be built if a "Reference Source"
status can be achieved. Comment DMM 2021: Highly regarded
position for a domain on developing byt short term topics
(blogs help here).
SEO – Search Engine Optimization – The process of positively
affecting the way a website appears organically in search
engine results, with the intent of drawing more website
visitors for a particular set of keywords.
Site Map – (Also See XML Sitemap). List of pages on a website accessible to search
engine crawlers and/or website visitors.
Soft 404 – When a non-existent page (a page that has been
deleted/removed) displays a "page not found" message or page
to anyone trying to access it, but fails to return a HTTP
404 status code. The content of a web page
displayed is entirely unrelated to the HTTP response
returned by the server.
Source/Medium – A section of Google Analytics that combines
Traffic Source and Traffic Mediums. Source: the origin of
traffic to a website. Examples might include Linkedin, Bing,
Google, Facebook, etc. Medium: the general category of the
source, for example, cost-per-click paid search (CPC), web
referral (referral), and organic search (organic).
Spam Referral – Traffic to a website via bots and not from
users. (useless traffic generated by cheap SEO people). Spam traffic typically is tracked as referral traffic
in Google Analytics as the websites doing the spamming are
doing it for lead generation as curious website owners want
to know the source of all their new website traffic.
Spider (Web Crawler, Bot) – Program that gathers information
from various websites across the World Wide Web. Note:
– – T – –
Top Level Domain (TLD) (6-) -- The highest level in the
hierarchical domain name system of the Internet. For the URL
https://google.com the TLD is “com”.
Traffic – Collective statistics concerning the number of
people who visit the website.
Traffic Rank – Comparison between websites that reveals the
number of visitors a website receives in comparison to other
– – U – –
Uniform Resource Locator – URL – (7) The recognizable website
address used to access a landing page.
URL Parameters – Tags set to a URL that are typically
dynamically created to help track data sources. They begin
in a URL with a question mark (?) and are divided with
Unique Visitors – Total number of unique users that have
visited a webpage (also see "clicks").
User Experience – A
visitors experience once on a website, and how effectively
their needs are met. Often measured by behavior metrics in
Google Analytics including bounce rate, pages/session, and
avg. session time.
– – X – –
XML Sitemap (5)– A file that can be submitted to search engines
and other crawlers to notify them of URLs to crawl on the
domain. See also: other sitemap types (.htm .html).
ones are highlighted:
site improvement rated (0 to 9) + is going up - is
going down. (not all terms here are relevant).
Rev: DMM 2-2021