SEO Glossary

301 Redirect

The preferred and primary method for redirecting a page or site; indicating that the page will be moved permanently.

302 Redirect

A found location temporarily located at another URL. For SEO purposes these are not ideal because search engines do not process 302's well and competing businesses can take over the listings.

Affiliate Marketing

A way to boost sales by offering a referral fee or a commission to sites that direct or drive traffic to your website. This secondary site or affiliate offers products or services for another company and receives a commission or fee in return.


A free service that provides a ranking (Alexa Ranking) for a measure of a website's traffic. A toolbar is available for free download.


A complicated formula or program that is used by search engines to determine the order to display results of searches. These algorithms are not common knowledge and are not publically shared. They are closely guarded although there are some theories on how they work.

ALT Text

HTML tag (ALT tag) is used to link a text description with an image. The text is visible when a mouse is rolled over the picture. Often used by the visually impaired as a read description, and is read by search engine spiders.


Software used to track a variety of data regarding traffic to a website, including such things as the number of page views, time spent on the page, conversion statistics, search queries, etc. A popular free tool is Google.

Anchor Text

The text is used to link to a different page. In HTML code below, the words in red are considered the anchor text: <a href="">SEO Moves</a>

Authority Site

An authority is any site that is given a great deal of trust by search engines; usually, the site has many incoming links, an older domain, a high page rank, and extensive unique content. Two examples are Wikipedia and DMOZ, both examples are considered authority sites.

The backlink (Inbound Link, Incoming Link, In link)

Any link pointing towards another site. Backlinks are considered highly important and used by search engines in determining a site's relevancy and are a key part of SEO.

Blackhat (Blackhat SEO)

SEO methods that do not fit within Google's Webmaster Guidelines.


A chronological online journal or log about any topic whether personal or business-related. Short for weblog. Common platforms for online blogging are Moveable Type, Blogger, and WordPress.

Bot (Robot, Crawler, Spider)

Used by search engines, it is an automated program that visits and reads information on sites.

Bounce rate

This is the percentage of visitors to a particular site that leaves without viewing more than the first page opened.


The on-page navigation for helping visitors to a site find what they are looking for. It should narrow the search by steps and be clickable.


Content Management System. These are programs that are used to make the addition of content to a site easier. An example is WordPress for making blogging content easier.


Cascading Style Sheet. A tool used to control various aspects of design elements across multiple pages such as color and font.


Cost Per Click. The cost associated with each mouse click on a site per PPC campaign.


Click-Through Rate. Percentage of clicks per impressions in a PPC campaign.

Canonical Issues

The URL that a search engine deems most valuable or most relevant is referred to as the canonical URL. Also can refer to duplicate content that may have been unknowingly created by a webmaster.


Showing users different content than what is read by search engines by hiding it. Some cloaking tactics are necessary and reasonable to use, but deceptive cloaking is against Google Webmaster guidelines such as showing content to spiders but making the content invisible on the page.


Informational text on a site.

Contextual Advertising

Advertising placed on a page automatically based on its relative content. Google's AdSense is the most popular of the contextual advertising programs.

Conversion Rate

A conversion refers to what the site wants from the visitor. It may be a sign-up or sale. The rate refers to the percentage of visitors that do what the site is intended for.

Crawl Depth

How many internal pages are indexed and how thoroughly a site is indexed.

Crawl Frequency

The frequency of which a crawler or spider visits a site.

Crawler (Bot, Spider)

Automated programs normally used by search engines, to visit and 'read' the information on a site.

Deep Link

The link that points to an internal page on a site that is relevant, commonly seen on sites that feature a natural pattern of links.

Description Tag

A description tag is the META tag describing the page it is on. The wording should encourage the user to click on it and is usually displayed below the main link.

A social bookmarking site where users store and share bookmarks with others.


Social bookmarking sites where the users share their opinions by voting on news stories.

DMOZ (Open Directory Project)

DMOZ is one of the most popular and significant directories or catalog of websites, as is the Yahoo Directory. DMOZ is edited manually which means that inclusion is the choice of humans and is not automated, adding significantly to the value of inclusion in the eyes of the search engine. DMOZ's an AOL product. Search engines place considerable weight on links from DMOZ. DMOZ stands for Directory Mozilla and inclusion is free.

Doorway Page (Gateway Page)

A page that's specifically created to drive traffic to another page and it is usually a page filled with keywords. It is a form of cloaking because it redirects visitors, but not crawlers to another page. Doorway pages are against Google Webmasters guidelines.

Duplicate Content

Identical content that is found on more than one site on the web. Google will consider the first page visited as the legitimate, trusted site and the other sites with identical content will be given less or no trust.

Entry Page

The point that a visitor enters your site. It is the first page that a user clicks on to enter your site, also called a landing page.

Ever flux

The constant updating (refresh) of Google's indexes. In the past, these updates were only done once a month.


Usually meaning a subscription to updates of content via notifications. Common feeds are RSS and XML.


FFA or Free For All is a page that anyone can add their link to and are usually unrelated and un-moderated. FFA links are not a valuable resource or place for links that want to be valued well by search engines and should be avoided.


Popular open-source web browser for PCs and is a viable alternate alternative to Internet Explorer.


Uploading content to a website and transferring data between computers. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol.

Gateway Page (Doorway Page)

Same as Doorway page in that it is specifically created to channel traffic to another page that is usually filled with keywords. It also directs visitors and not crawlers or spiders and is considered cloaking and against Google's Webmaster guidelines.

Google Base

A complimentary database made by Google to discern commercial types of information from others, and how that information should vertically determine search products.

Google Bomb

A collaborated effort to manipulate search results for a term or phrase to generate damaging or humorous results.


Google's search engine crawler.

Google Bowling

The practice of pointing thousands of low quality, bad links towards a competitor's website. This is a dirty SEO tactic that is used by some unscrupulous SEO companies.

Google Dance

Before 1993, the refresh or update of Google's indexes was only done once a month and it made for some very unpredictable results. They now continually update and it is called ever flux. Some people still use this term when describing an unpredictable search result.

GWM Google Webmaster Tools

A free set of tools provided by Google that gathers information about your site, views link traffic, and finds problems that Google deems important.


Used as part of the HTML source code that indicates the subject of a particular section. These range from H1 to H6, with H1 being the most important.

Hidden Text

Text that is the same color as the background of a page. Used to hide text such as extra content or extra keywords from visitors. It is still readable to search engines and is against search engine guidelines. It is usually detected by crawlers and is discounted or penalized.


HyperText Markup Language is the language that determines how a page is made up, including text and graphics. While some code is visible to users, some are not.


The specific pieces of code that determine the standard text displayed on a web page.


A single view of an ad or web page. Used in the measuring of site traffic such as the number of times an ad or listing was looked at by a visitor, but not necessarily clicked on.

Inbound Link (IBL) (also backlink)

An outside link pointing to another site or domain. Google uses the quantity and quality of these inbound links to help determine a site's authority on keyword searches.


Either the data that a specific search engine has seen, read, visited, and collected or the actual indexes that the search engine stores internally after a visit to a page.

IP Address

Internet Protocol address. The address that is traceable and identifiable with a computer or other electronic device that has internet access.


Popular open source content management system that was designed to assist users in building their websites.


A phrase or single word that is used by searchers to initiate a web search.

Keyword Density

The ratio relating to the number of a particular keyword on a page concerning the total number of words on the page.

Keyword Stemming

Using variations of keywords such as their plurals or adding prefixes and suffixes to widen the search.

Keyword Stuffing/Spamming

Adding an abnormal amount of keywords into a document in an unnatural way that detracts from the natural readability of the document. It would not be a normal way to phrase things.

Keyword Tag

The list in HTML form that contains keywords that are important for that particular page.

Landing page

The first page that a visitor sees when clicking on a link, ad, or listing. This page should correlate well with what the visitor would expect to see.

LSI Latent Semantic Indexing

The process in which search engines index groups of words that they read on a web page. They are looking for relevant words that they assume would belong together, such as if it reads the word 'window' the LSI would look for other words discussing operating systems or Microsoft or a hole in a wall.

Link Bait

Content added to a site that would interest or lure visitors.

Link Churn

The rate that a site loses incoming links.

Link exchange (Reciprocal Link)

Allowing another site to put their link on your page for the right to put your link on their page. These are commonly seen in open directories where there is no requirement of content only the requirement to link to their site as well.

Link Farm

Sites created for the sole purpose to link to each other and build up an artificial network.

Link Juice

Slang term used to signify the trust and authority passed from a link.

Link Profile

A snapshot picture of a site's inbound links and their quality and quantity.

Link popularity

The value that a link has because of the quality and quantity of inbound links.

Link Rot

A site dead and broken links.

Link Spam

Unsolicited and otherwise unwanted inbound links such as posted in comments.

Long-Tail Keywords

Longer keyword phrases, usually three or more words long, that result in higher qualified results more appropriate to your site.

Meta tags

Written into the HTML code on a webpage, they are informational tags that are used to describe a page to search engines and to give direction in what the page is all about. They do not necessarily show up on the actual page.

Mirror site

A site that uses the same content as another site.

Movable Type

Along with WordPress, it is popular blogging software.

Mod Rewrite

To improve the overall user experience or make a site friendlier to search engines, a webmaster may have to reorganize it. Changing the URL for example.

Natural search (Organic Search)

These are the results that would normally show up that are not because of paid or sponsored listings. The unpaid listings are organized by relevancy including linkage, usage data, webpage content, trust-related data, and historical domain.


Referring to the way a visitor can move from place to place on a site.


This is a code written in HTML that tells a search engine not to follow a specific link or all links on a page.


The code is written in HTML that instructs a crawler not to index a page or specific link.

Organic search (Natural Search)

Same as natural search in that these are the results that would normally show up that are not because of paid or sponsored listings. The unpaid listings are organized by relevancy including linkage, usage data, webpage content, trust-related data, and historical domain.

Outbound Link

This is a link from a website, that links to an outside page or external website of relevant content. These links help search engines figure out what your site is about as well as grading the quality of your site and it helps build up the credibility of both sites.

PageRank (PR)

A formula used by Google, using a scale from one to ten that helps estimate a website's importance in terms of content and authority.


This is a paid link, whether inbound or a backlink. These are generally purchased to manipulate search engine rankings, although some paid links can be also for advertising purposes.

PPC Pay Per Click

A method of advertising that pays the advertiser every time an ad is clicked, whether or not a sale occurs.


The words typed into a search engine.


A numbered position that a specific page gets when it comes upon a search engine or a directory.

Reciprocal Link

Not usually considered highly valuable, this is when two sites link directly to one another.


The way browsers know that a page was relocated. A 301 redirect means that it is a permanent move and a 302 is a temporary relocation.


Sometimes a site is penalized by Google for breaking one of their Webmaster Guideline's, the site can ask for forgiveness and ask to be included in searches again. Google may or may not grant reinclusion.


This is how useful the results of a search are. This is the main goal of a search engine.

Reputation Management

Being sure that the keywords that relate to your brand produce results that reinforce your brand.


A file in the root directory of a site that restricts or controls where spiders crawl.

ROI (Return on Investment)

The measurement of how much return in profit you get for each marketing dollar spent.


Rich Site Summary or Simple Syndication is a way to syndicate information to a feed reader or some other software that allows users to subscribe to a channel that interests them.


The theory that Google groups all new sites into one place, a 'sandbox' that keeps their rankings low until a pre-determined amount of time has passed. This is not known, and its legitimacy is questioned.


Search Engine Marketing. SEM is the marketing of a website inside of the actual search engine to get more exposure and maximize the marketing effort. These can be paid listings and SEO and anything else to gain visibility for your site.


Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Optimisation. Using different techniques to build your brand and to gain exposure for your company and site. These techniques are used to increase the websites ranking in a natural search. There are many SEO strategies such as using keywords for searches, viral marketing, link building, information architecture, and building mindshare.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

The page that displays results from a search.

Search Engine (SE)

Services like Yahoo and Google. These are the programs that search the internet for relevant matches to a query by looking for matches and comparing them to the keyword or phrase.

Site Map

The group of pages or a single page that the search engine uses as a secondary route to navigate to your site. The site maps are often kept in the root directory to make it easier for crawlers to find all of the site's pages. Site maps should be a helpful resource for both humans and search engines.

SMM (Social Media Marketing)

Marketing your brand or site through social media.

Social Bookmark

A social media form where the user's bookmarks are collected for public access and sharing.

Social Media

These are sites or programs that people use to create and share content. These are sites like Facebook, My Space, blogs, or any social bookmarking sites.


This once referred to just unwanted emails, but now can mean any unwanted material. As far as search engines go, spam would be any materials that have been manipulated for the appearance of being relevant to a search but are not. Spam can also take the form of unwanted comments in a forum that are just to gain promotion, not to participate.


This is the term used to describe a blog filled with stolen, automated, or extremely low-quality content.

Spider (Crawler, Bot)

Typically used by search engines, these are the automated programs that scour the web to visit and read the information on sites.

Static page

Website page or pages that weren't created dynamically/automated, but made and then saved in HTML.


Showing search results based on different forms and variations of a root word.

Supplemental Results (Supplemental Index)

This is where relevant, but very low ranked pages end up when part of a query.


These can refer to Meta tags used in the HTML code or keywords and ideas used to label articles.

Text Link

These typically show up as a text underlined in blue but can be other formats besides HTML. These are plain links that don't use any graphic or special code.

Title Tag

The text in the blue bar at the top of a browser window. The title tag is not noticed to the user but is very important to the search engine as they use it to help decide the content and relevancy of the page. More weight is assigned to the title tag and they should be well thought out.


This is the method in which a web page is notified when another site is linked back to that site. This way, the author of the page can keep track of what sites are linking or referring to their articles or posts.


The number of visitors to a particular site.


A blogging platform that allows users to publish content as though it appears on its domain. It is a way to publish sites on a subdomain.

Unique Visitor

The actual number of uniquely addressed visitors to a website.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

The web address that is unique to a specific document. It is the web address of the document.

User-generated content (UGC)

This is user-created content and posted by the creators; it is mostly comprised of podcasts, blog posts, reviews, and videos.


How user-friendly the experience to a particular website is.


An Industry or field

Vertical Search

A search service that focuses on a specific field, and the type of information or information format.

Viral Marketing

Any sort of buzz marketing such as blogging, email, and word of mouth that is self-propagating.

Web 2.0

Any web-based service or site that encourages users to interact.

White Hat SEO

These follow best practice guidelines and are SEO techniques that don't try to manipulate SERPs.


Mini apps found on websites that perform specific functions.


This is a software to allow publishing of information using shared editing


Offering downloadable blogging and hosting, an open-source software program. Backed by MySQL database and written in PHP.

XML (Extensible Markup Language)

A text format derived from SGML, very flexible and helps make it easier to format information using other technologies such as RSS.

Yahoo! Directory

This is one of the original web directories and is considered an authoritative directory. This is a very good place to obtain an authority link. It started in 1994 by Yang and Filo.


A social media website where the user's post, share and view their videos. Owned by Google.


Zlib's memory footprint is also independent of the input data and can be reduced at a small cost in compression and unlike the LZW compression method used in Unix compress(1) and the GIF image format, the compression method currently used in zlib fundamentally never expands the data. (LZW can double or triple the file size in extreme cases).

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