SEO Vocabulary

301 – Permanent redirect; The most SEO-friendly option if you have to change file names or move pages. Using a 301 redirect should preserve search engine rankings for that particular page.

302 – Temporary redirect; Search engines typically do not like to see this command and may penalize or even ban a site as a result.

ABM – Automated Bid Manager; Software that automates routine tasks to make PPC campaigns easier to administer.

Adjacency – Relationship of words in a search query. Search engines assign higher value to web pages in which the search terms appear next to each other without other words in between.

AdSense – Google’s contextual based ad program. Website owners enable Google to administer text, image, and video ads that generate revenue on either a cost-per-click or cost-per-thousand-impressions basis.

AdWords – Google’s content targeted advertising PPC program. Advertisers bid on search terms for which their ads will appear in the SERPS for. Advertiser pays only when a user clicks on their ad.

Affiliate – An affiliate site markets products or services that are actually sold by another website or business in exchange for fees or commissions.

Algorithm – Set of factors and rules by which search engines determine relevance to compile their SERP rankings.

Allintitle – Google search command which returns sites that contain the search terms in the page title.

Allinurl – Google search command which returns sites that contain the search terms in the URL.

Alt Attribute – HTML element placed within an image tag which is used to describe the image to blind viewers or those with images turned off. Placing keywords here doesn’t carry much weight anymore because that technique has been abused in the past.

Analytics – A program which assists in gathering and analyzing data about website usage. Google analytics is a feature rich, popular, free analytics program.

Anchor Text – The words that appear clickable in a text link.

Astroturfing – Social media participation with the hidden purpose of branding, public relations, etc. while pretending to be an impartial member.

Authority – In SEO terms, a site attains authority when it has many inbound links coming from other authority sites within the same content neighborhood.

Back link – (IBL, inbound link, inlink, incoming link) An incoming link to a page from any other page or site.

Black Hat – Also known as Spamdexing; SEO tactics which defy search engine guidelines by attempting to deceive the spiders to attain high rankings.

Blogroll – A collection of links on a blog to other blogs.

Bot – Software application that runs automated tasks over the internet, such as a search engine spider.

Bounce rate – The percentage of visitors who leave a site without viewing any page other than the landing page.

Bread crumbs – Navigation links arranged horizontally above the page content that maps the path the user has taken to arrive at the present page.

Canon – The official version of a web page. Duplicate content can hinder your ability to rank highly and is often unavoidable due to the fact that the domains www.site.com, site.com, and www.site.com/index.html are supposedly treated as 3 separate pages by the search engines. Use the noindex meta tag on non-canonical versions and 301 redirects to the canon to deal with duplicate content issues.

CAPTCHA – Program that generates tests which most humans can pass, but computer programs can’t. This verifies the user as human when a form submit button has been activated.

Click fraud – Deceitful clicks on a PPC advertisement. This is usually done by the ad publisher for the purpose of unearned profit.

Cloaking – Method of tricking a search engine by delivering one version of a website to a visitor and a different version to a search engine spider. This practice can get your site banned by Google and other search engines.

Clustering – Search engine technique to group different pages from the same domain in SERPS. Clusters usually list up to 2 pages from the same domain together in its search results to prevent one site from dominating the top spots.

Code Swapping – Bait-and-switch tactic in which page content is changed after high rankings are achieved.

Comment Spam – Also known as Blog Spam; Random comments promoting commercial services which are automatically posted to publically accessible web site fields, such as: blog posts, message boards, guestbooks, wikis, etc.

Conversion Rate – The percentage of visitors who deliver the desired response, such as: making a purchase, clicking an ad, subscribing to a content feed, etc.

CPA – Cost Per Action; Online advertising model in which the advertiser pays when the user clicks through and completes the most wanted action at their site [purchase, subscribe, etc] rather than when the user only clicks on the ad.

CPC – Cost Per Click; the rate that a Pay Per Click Advertiser pays per click.

CPM – Cost Per Thousand impressions; a measure of the average value / cost of Pay Per Click advertisements.

CTA – Content Targeted Advertising; Advertising programs such as Google AdWords which functions when a user types a keyphrase into the search box, Google returns sponsored links contextually relevant to the search terms.

CTR – Click Through Rate; Measure of the percentage of users who clicked on a PPC ad. Used in conjunction with Conversion Rate to determine the effectiveness of an ad.

DMOZ – Also known as the Open Directory Project. Dmoz.org is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the web. A listing here results in the page being automatically listed elsewhere because Dmoz makes its database of indexed documents available to other directories & search engines.

Delisting – Removal of web page from a search engine’s index, usually as a result of some sort of spamdexing penalty.

Directory – A human-edited index of web sites. While a directory doesn’t contain as large of an index as a typical search engine, web directory reults are usually more relevant due to the editorial process involved in ranking sites.

Doorway Page – Also known as a Gateway Page, this is a page optimized to rank well for a specific keyword page which then redirects the visitor to another page. While there are legitimate uses, this technique is ofen regarded as spam and results in search engine penalty.

FFA – Free For All links page; A page that contains links to other pages and very little other content. Since there is no editorial process, FFA pages allow anyone to add a link to any page.

False Drop – A web page listed in SERP that is not directly related to the search query terms. This commonly happens when words with multiple meanings are included in the search query.

Gateway Page – see Doorway Page

Google Bomb – A change in Google’s search results resulting from the combined effort of many webmasters who add links to a targeted site using specific derogatory or humorous anchor text. The most famous example resulted in George W Bush’s official presidential bio page ranking #1 for the keyphrase: ‘miserable failure.’

Google Bowling – The attempt to lower a competitor’s rank by sending it links from untrustworthy sites. It is unclear whether this is an effective strategy or simply myth.

Heading – HTML tag of up to 6 sizes: <H1> through <H6>. Text within <H1> [headline] and <H2> [sub-headline] tags are given more weight by search engines when indexing page content and therefore are a good place to fit in keywords.

IBL – In-Bound Link; A one-way link from another web site pointing to your web page. Commonly referred to as a backlink.

IP Delivery – Legitimate form of delivering different pages to different users based on IP address, such as providing content based on geographical location.

Index – A search engine’s collection of information that users can query against.

KDA – Keyword Density Analyzer; Tool to determine which keywords appear on your web page and how many times they occur.

KEI – Keyword Effectiveness Index; WordTracker’s keyword measurement determined by tracking both the number of searches performed per day on a specific keyword and the number of sites targeting that phrase. The higher the KEI count, the more effective the keyword.

Key Phrase – Two or more words that form a ‘keyword’ – the words potentially used in a search query that the page has been optimized for.

Keyword Stuffing – Repetition of keywords on a page to artificially increase keyword density in an attempt to improve SERP rank. This technique is easily detected and penalized by the major search engines.

Link Bait – Web site content developed with the intent of attracting links from other sites [Linkerati] to naturally increase link popularity.

Link Farm – A group of web pages that all link to every other page in the group in an attempt to artifically increase link popularity. Most search engines penalize sites associated with a link farm.

Link Popularity – A measure of the quantity and quality of other web sites that link to your site. This is one factor used by the search engine algorithm to determine SERP rankings.

Linkerati – The target audience for a linkbait campaign, these are the types of sites and users who are likely to link back to your content including: bloggers, forum posters, social bookmark taggers, content creators and editors.

Log File – Server file which details a web site’s statistics including number of visitors, where they come from, and which queries are used to access the site.

MFA – Made For AdSense; A website that has been monetized using Google’s AdSense. Typically these are scraper sites whose only purpose in getting visitors is to entice them to click on ads rather than provide valuable information.

Meta Crawler – A type of search engine which, instead of maintaining its own database, queries other search engines’ databases to return results from all of them.

Meta Description – Meta tag that allows page authors to define how the page will be described in the SERP. Not all engines use this tag; Google uses the first 150 characters [including spaces].

Meta Keyword – Meta tag that identifies the keyword phrase[s] which the page is optimized in an attempt to improve SERP ranking. Due to prior abuse, this tag now carries little weight with the major engines.

Meta Robots – Meta tag that indicates to visiting web robots if a page should be indexed, or links on the page should be followed. Default settings are:
<meta name=”robots” content=”index,follow”>

Meta Tags – HTML tags placed in the document head designed to convey page information to the search engine spider. The most commonly used meta tags for SEO purposes are the Keyword, Description, and Robots tags.

Mirror Site – An attempt to deceive search engines into indexing more than one instance of a site by duplicating it on another server and domain.

Nofollow – Anchor tag attribute which tells the search engine spider to: not index the page from the link, not to consider the anchor text of the link, not to pass any page rank to the linked page.
<a href=”http://www.example.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Anchor Text</a>

NoODP – Meta tag which tells the search engine not to use the title and description provided by ODP [Dmoz.org].
<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOODP”>

OBL – Out-Bound Link; A link on a web page pointing to another page, either within the same site or to a different site.

ODP – Open Directory Project; Dmoz.org – the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the web. A listing here results in the page being automatically listed elsewhere because Dmoz makes its database of indexed documents available to other directories & search engines.

OOP – Over Optimization Penalty; theory that too much White Hat SEO on a page can be perceived as spam by the search engine – such as a page having an unusually high keyword density may be seen as a ‘doorway page’ by the search engine

Organic Links – SERP listings that are unpaid, occuring naturally based on the search engine’s measure of the listed page’s relevance to the search query.

PFI – Pay For Inclusion; Advertising model in which a web site owner pays for guaranteed inclusion into a search engine’s index. However, there is typically no guarantee of high rankings.

PPC – Pay Per Click; online advertising model in which the advertiser is charged only when a visitor clicks on their ad and thus pays for actual visitors rather than ad impressions.

Page Rank – A web site’s popularity as measured by Google’s link analysis algorithm.

Portal – A web site, such as Yahoo, that acts as an entry-point to the internet by offering free services such as a search engine, web directory, and web-based email client.

Robots.txt – A text file that instructs a search engine spider which content it should not index.

ROI – Return On Investment; ratio of money gained or lost on an investment relative to the amount invested.

RSS – Really Simple Syndication; web feed format used to publish frequently updated content such as a blog or podcast.

Rank – The position of a web page on the search engine results page for a particular query.

Reciprocal Link – A link on Site A to Site B placed with the understanding that Site B will link to Site A.

Redirect – A technique for making a web page available under different URLs. Redirections are often used when moving a page or site to a new domain and to direct visitors to the correct site when registering common domain misspellings.

SE – Search Engine; a tool for users to find information on the internet by entering query terms into a search box. Search results are typically divided between sponsored and organic links.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing; an umbrella term covering a variety of methods intended to increase a web site’s visibility in search engine results pages including SEO, PPC, and SMM.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page; the list of websites returned by a search engine in response to a user query.

SMM – Social Media Marketing; internet marketing techniques applied to social media sites, usually intended to create content that becomes viral within a specific community.

Scraping – The process of using an automated web crawler to copy content from other sites for unauthorized use on a ’scraper site’. Scraper sites are often monetized using Google AdSense.

Search Terms – The words a person uses when trying to find information through a search engine.

Site Map – Web page containing links to each page on a site. A site map’s major SEO benefit is to help a spider quickly locate a site’s content and properly index its pages.

Social Media – Web sites that are driven by interactive, user generated content. Examples include: Digg, Flickr, Wikipedia, Facebook, Hi5 and MySpace.

Spamdexing – An attempt to deceive a search engine spider in order to improve a web page’s rank at the expense of the search engine’s index quality.

Spider – An automated program that ‘crawls’ the web by following links from page to page, site to site. Along the way, the spider indexes the keywords and text of each page to determine its search engine rank.

Sponsored Links – SERP listings that are purchased by the advertiser on a pay-per-click rate. These links are typically listed in a separate column from organic search results.

Stop Word – A word which is so commonly used that it conveys no relevancy, such as prepositions and conjunctions. Search engines ignore stop words included in a search query.

Subhead – Secondary headline normally coded within <H2> tags. When indexing page content, search engines lend some weight to keywords placed within these tags.

Supplemental Index – Pages not trusted by Google, usually because of duplicate content or a new domain, fall into a separate index of pages that it will query if it fails to find good matches within its main web index. Having too many supplemental pages can dilute the overall authority of your site, causing new original content to go immediately to supplemental rather than ranking on its own.

Title – The most important area on a web page for keyword placement to affect search engine rankings. Google uses this text as the anchor text linking to your page from the SERP.

Trackback – Method for web publishers to be notified when their content has been linked to.

Trust Rank – Link analysis technique for search engines to distinguish legitimate web pages from spam.

WYSIWYG – ‘What You See Is What You Get’ HTML editors such as Dreamweaver and FrontPage.

White Hat – SEO tactics which conform to search engine guidelines by creating content that is useful for visitors rather than focused on deceiving search engine spiders.