Like every other technique, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has its own specific definitions, abbreviations and terms used to explain how it works.
This glossary has common terms you’re likely to come across while creating SEO strategies or researching SEO.
Alphabetical List of Every SEO Term and Their Definitions
Above the Fold
The content that shows at the very top of a website before a user scrolls. This term came into existence because of the Google update in 2012.
A set of computer programs that are used by search engines to process what users search for and deliver the results for their queries.
A code that provides the information used by search engines and screen readers to understand the content of an image. Screen readers are used by visually impaired people.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-source code that allows a desktop-first page to be delivered faster on mobile phones. Although Google said it’s not a ranking factor, there are some past speculations that AMP might be a ranking factor.
Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting available data to provide information on the current and past statuses of your projects. The data can be used to help plan your future strategies.
For example, Google Analytics provides information to help your business gain more insights when marketing.
This is the clickable word that has a link embedded in it. It’s like the word linking to an article or website. For example, if I create a link to ask users to visit an article on “Technical SEO Basics” then “Technical SEO Basics” is regarded as the anchor text.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is software that helps two or more computer programs communicate with each other.
The combination of search engine signals that are used to assess websites and webpages to determine their ranking in search results.
Also called “inbound links”, these are links from other websites that point to your website.
This is a popular search engine in China and was founded in 2000 by Robin Li and Eric Xu.
Bing is owned by Microsoft and it replaced their Microsoft Life search in 2009. As the result of a deal between Yahoo and Microsoft, Bing powers every organic search result on Yahoo.
Black box occurs in a situation where the user cannot see the inner workings of an algorithm.
It is a set of techniques that go against the rules of search engines in order to manipulate rankings.
Formerly known as weblogs, a blog is a piece of content that is written for information purposes on websites.
It is the percentage of visitors to a website who leave without visiting any other page on the site.
An automated software that moves around the search engine and internet at large to collect ranking information about websites.
This is an element on a website that shows the user where they are on a webpage.
It is a link that gives a 404 error because it cannot be found. A link can get broken if a website goes offline, a web page gets removed or changed without implementing a redirect.
Also called a web browser, it is application software that lets you access information on the web.
A setting that temporarily stores contents on a webpage, like images,to reduce loading time.
A web page that has been saved by a search engine on its servers or by a user’s browser on the device.
A code that helps to identify a preferred website URL when there is a use of multiple URLs that have similar content to stop it from duplicating.
Country-code Top Level Domain (ccTLD)
A top domain name for a country code. An example is a company present in the United Kingdom having a domain like www.search.co.uk. This means the ccTLD is ‘uk.’
In SEO, a citation is any online mention of a brand name, address or phone number. They are usually found in community profiles, website resource lists and so on.
Content that is written to entice users to read, they are usually written using misleading headlines and over-promising words.
The number of clicks it takes to go from the home page to a destination on a website. The more clicks it takes, the fewer chances it has to be crawled by Google. Google considers pages that are closest to the homepage to be more authoritative.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
Click-Through Rate (CTR) is the rate in percentage that users click on organic search results or an ad. It can be used to measure how well your website keywords and ads are performing.
This is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines where content made available to search engines differs from content made available to users.
Content Management System (CMS)
A web-based application that allows people to create, upload and manage content on a website without the need for specialized knowledge.
How frequently two websites are mentioned together by a different website. It’s the way search engines recognize similar content.
Code to Text ratio
The amount of text on a page compared to the amount of code that was used to build the page.
These are comments written on the web that are mostly off the topic and self-promotion, usually posted by spambots.
Words, images, audio or videos that pass across information that is meant to be consumed by users. This is a significant ranking factor on search engines.
This is when a user completes a desired action on a website. For example, completing a purchase or filling out a form.
This is the rate in percentage at which website users complete a desired action.
It is often used in SEO research to find relationships that exist between different elements in search rankings.
The process of gathering information from the internet issuing crawlers (bots) to identify, update, and organize web pages in search engine index.
These are URLs that a bot is unable to crawl and URLs that show up as an error.
A webpage that links to no other webpage.
A link pointing to other webpages besides the home page.
Deep Link Ratio
The ratio of the deep links compared to the links present on your website homepage.
This is when search engines like Google remove your website temporarily or permanently from search results. It’s often as punishment for violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Traffic generated when users navigate to a website by typing the URL directly into the browser or clicking on a bookmark.
This is removing spam content from a link profile, it is mostly done by Google Disavow Tool. It tells Google to ignore the spam links so that your ranking is not affected.
This is a short form for Domain Name Server and it allows domain names to be linked to IP addresses.
This is a website address that ends with extensions such as .com, .org, or .net.
An example is kasandz.com
The strength that a website has built over time that can help it rank highly in search results.
A record that includes backlinks and personal information about the previous owners of a domain.
These are web pages that are created to rank in search engines for specific keywords, they redirect users who click on the page to a different website.
Duck Duck Go
It is a search engine founded in September 2008. It is recognized for its heavy focus on user privacy.
This is when a large amount of content on one webpage is similar to, or the same, as the content that exists elsewhere on the same website or a different website.
It is the amount of time a user takes to click on a search result and then return to the Search Engine Results Page from a website. A short dwell time may mean low-quality content to search engines.
Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness are signals that Google uses to determine quality content although not considered a direct ranking factor.
A link that is given by one website to another without the recipient asking or paying for it.
Methods used to measure how users interact with web pages and content. Examples of engagement metrics are click-through rate, conversion rate, and bounce rate.
First Link Priority
A concept used in internal linking that allows Google prioritize the first link used when there are other links on a webpage pointing to the same page.
This is new, or recently updated, content published online.
Google is a search engine founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998 and unarguably the most widely used search engine in the world.
A web analytics program that is used to track audience behaviour, traffic acquisition sources, and content performance.
A practice that is intended to make a website rank number one for a controversial search phrase.
A web crawler that Google uses to discover and add new websites and web pages to its index.
A term used by Google in 2002 for the period Google updated its search index.
A search algorithm that was created in 2013. The purpose of Hummingbird was to better understand the search queries rather than certain keywords in order to provide better results for users.
Google Panda Algorithm
A Google algorithm that was created to reduce the visibility of low-value content.
Google Penguin Algorithm
A major algorithm that is used to reduce the visibility of overly-optimized sites or sites that have gone overboard with SEO tactics.
A major Google algorithm introduced in 2015. RankBrain is involved in every query and is used to determine the most relevant search results for rankings. It’s an important ranking factor on Google as a search engine.
Google Search Console
Google’s Search Console has features that can monitor sites for indexing errors and site speed. It is also used to communicate manual action notifications.
A website created by Google where you can explore information on the latest search trends, stories, and topics.
Google Webmaster Guidelines
A set of rules by Google to guide sites on good website optimization practices and illegal practices that can cause manual action such as deindexing a page or website.
Techniques that fall in between adhering to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and bending the rules.
A link-building tactic that means developing content for other websites in exchange for a backlink to your site.
Headings help to separate content into sections.
This is a Heading 1 tag, it mostly contains the keywords that will be used in the page content.
A popular keyword with high search volume that is usually difficult to rank for.
Any text that can’t be seen by users and is intended to manipulate search rankings. This technique is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can lead to a penalty for the site.
An example is adding a text that is too small to be read.
Hyperlink-Induced Topic Search
Hyperlink-Induced Topic Search (HITS) is a link analysis algorithm that assesses the value of a site’s content, inbound links and outbound links.
The introductory or default webpage of a website.
Hypertext Markup Language are tags for specific code that can be used to improve the effectiveness of SEO.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is how data is transferred from a website to a web browser so users can access it.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to encrypt data transferred between a website and a web browser.
A page that is dedicated to a specific keyword or topic and is constantly updated and linked to relevant information.
A link to a webpage that comes from an external website. For example, every link to another website that you come across in this article is regarded as an inbound link.
Commonly referred to as a search engine database, it is used to store and retrieve information that is gathered by crawlers.
How easily a search engine bot can identify, understand and add a website or webpage to its index.
This refers to a web page that has been crawled by a search engine bot and added to the index. An indexed page is eligible to appear in search results.
An internal link is a hyperlink that allows users to navigate fto anoa ge on a website.
Short form for Internet Protocol Address, it’s generated when websites share an address within one server or a group of servers. A dedicated IP address can boost site speed.
A programming language that lets websites insert content, links, metadata, and more.
A specific word, phrase or term that sites target for SEO. They are used to determine what users search for and how relevant specific content is.
Keywords are usually found in questions, statements and ideas. Keywords also help search engines determine what to show the searcher.
Competition that happens when multiple pages from the same website rank for a query on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). This may result in lower click-through rates and diminish the site authority.
How often a word or phrase shows up within the content of a webpage.
The process of discovering relevant topics or topics that users search for and also finding the volume and competition level of those terms.
When a keyword is placed as high as possible on a web page to influence the ranking for a search term.
Adding irrelevant keywords or repeating keywords unnaturally in a blog post to help it to rank well.
A box that appears only on desktop sites and it contains information on people, places, images, and links related to the search.
Key Performance Indicator is a metric used to know if business targets and goals are being reached.
A web page that was created to capture leads and generate conversions for a particular product or service. It’s a page the user lands on when they want to make the purchase.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)
A method created to help search engines to identify the correct context of a word.
A way of stopping the loading of media on a webpage until it’s needed, it’s often used to improve page speed.
A person who may be interested in the products or services you have to offer.
The connection between two websites using HTML code, it helps users to move through different websites and is very important in how search engines rank content.
A process to acquire relevant websites to link to your website to improve ranking and visibility.
The value of the inbound links on a web page, in terms of authority, relevance and trust.
This refers to every link that points to a particular website.
This is when a link stays on a page for a while and remains unchanged or updated.
A file that contains and keeps users’ information like IP addresses, browser used, date and time stamp, referring/exit pages, and the number of clicks.
Long-tail keywords can be highly popular multiple words that show high purchase intent or less popular keywords that have low search volume and are easy to rank for.
A branch of artificial intelligence that uses data to learn and adjust complex processes without help from human.
This is a Google term that means penalty, it usually happens after a website has been reviewed and found to have violated the webmaster guidelines. It can be targeted at the entire website or the specific webpage.
A tag written to be added as a description of webpage content, although this isn’t a ranking factor, it can increase organic click-through rates and encourage readers to read the blog post.
A specific keyword written in the meta description to show relevance.
Meta tags are snippets of text that show a page’s content, although it doesn’t appear on the page itself, they are seen on the page’s source code.
Indicators of activity or performance that are measured to assess the success or failure of an SEO effort.
A vicious practice where webspam techniques are used to damage the search rankings of another website, usually a competitor.
A specific area of interest for a particular kind of product or service that can be studied and applied to businesses and industries. For example, an SEO writer that has niched down in Technical SEO.
No Archive Tag
A meta tag that tells search engines not to store a cached copy of your page.
No follow Attribute
This is a meta tag that notifies search engines not to follow an outbound link. This happens when a website doesn’t want to pass authority to another webpage or the outbound link is a paid link.
An example of a nofollow attribute is like this
<semrush=”http://www.seethis.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Anchor text goes here</a>
No Index Tag
It’s a meta tag that tells search engines not to index a specific webpage in its index.
No Snippet Tag
This is a meta tag that tells search engines not show meta descriptions for your search results.
This is every SEO effort that happens outside a website. This can include social media marketing, email marketing, influencer marketing and more.
This is every SEO-focused activity that takes place within a website. This includes creating high-quality content, optimizing title races, website navigation, URL structure and so on.
This refers to natural and unpaid search information that appears on the results page. They are analysed and ranked by algorithms to give users relevant results based on their search query.
This is any webpage that doesn’t contain a link to any other pages on the same website.
This is referred to as a link that directs site visitors to a page on a different website than the one they are currently on.
PageRank is the system and method that Google uses to rank pages and it shows the numerical value assigned to pages as shown on search results. The links to your site from other sites can help to increase your PageRank.
The period it takes for a webpage to completely load, it’s considered a ranking factor.
A web page loaded in a browser.
These are referred to as pay-per-click advertisements that appear above and sometimes below the organic results on search engines.
Private Blog Network
A Private Blog Network (PBN) is a network of authoritative websites that are used to build backlinks for a website.
Short form for Hypertext Preprocessor, it’s a language used to create dynamic content on webpages.
An act of duplicating a particular content word for word on your website without permission from the original owner. Search engines reduce the organic search ranks for content that infringes copyright.
PPC (Pay Per Click)
A form of advertising where advertisers are charged a certain amount for every time a user clicks on an advert.
Query Deserves Freshness occurs in a situation where a search engine might decide to show newer posts in search results (rather than older pages) if a particular search term is trending, or a news event is high in searches.
This is referred to as content that helps you achieve business or marketing goals like making sales, getting more engagement etc.
An inbound link that is from an authoritative, relevant or trusted website.
A word, words,key phrases or a question that a user enters into a search engine.
The position of a webpage within the organic search results for a specific query.
A set of components that contribute to determining where web pages should appear in the organic search results for a query.
This is when two websites agree to exchange links with one another.
A technique that directs a user to a different, but also relevant, webpage rather than the one they initially clicked on.
There are two types of redirects and they are:
- 301: Permanent
- 302: Temporary
It is defined as URL data that specifies the origin of a user’s webpage request.
The process of asking a search engine to return a website or blog post that has been deindexed back to its search index.
This is the way search engines measure how close the content of a web page is aligned to match the context of a query made.
A website designed to automatically adapt to a user’s screen size, whether it’s being viewed on a desktop or mobile device.
This is data added to the HTML of a website for contextual information to the search engine while crawling. The information can be displayed on result pages for further information.
A text file that tells search engine crawlers the areas of the website that should be ignored.
Return on Investment (ROI) is a way to measure the performance of SEO activities. It is obtained by dividing how much revenue is earned by organic search by the cost of the total investment made on the specific thing.
This is microdata that is added to a webpage to create a rich snippet that appears in search results.
A technique used to copy website content or information using a computer program or script. For example, search engines like Google use scrap data to build a searchable index of webpages and sites.
A computer program that allows users to enter a word or words to retrieve information from sites. Examples are Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu and others.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
This is a term used to mean a kind of marketing done on search engines with the aim to increase a website’s visibility and it includes both paid and organic activities.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website, this helps to ensure that the site and its content appear in prominent positions in search engine results.
Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
This is the page displayed by search engines to users after searching. It usually contains about 10 organic search results, sorted by relevance and other factors like rich snippets, images, news, videos and so on.
A record stored by search engines that contains every search user’s query, every web page visited, and every ad clicked on. Search engines use this data majorly to suggest for the users based on perceived interest.
These are the links that appear below a search result on the SERP.
This is a record of pages on a website. The two types of sitemaps are:
- HTML: A sitemap organized by topics to help users navigate a website.
- XML: A sitemap that provides crawlers with a list of web pages on a website.
Platforms that allow users to interact with each other, as well as create, share, and consume content.
It’s a factor that shows authority and influence on popular social network websites. An example is a user authority on Twitter.
This is a controlled experiment that is used to compare two or more web pages to measure the effects of different factors.
This is a digital certificate that is licensed for a website’s identity authentication and to be able to use HTTPS.
It is a code website used to respond to a server when a link is clicked, a file is requested, a form is submitted and any activity.
A common example of an HTTP status code is 404 (Not Found)
This is a separate section that exists within the main domain.
An example is kasandz.com/seo-content-hub/ is a subdomain that exists within the main domain of kasandz.com
This involves organizing and categorizing websites to maximize content findability and help users complete queries.
Time On Page
This is an estimation of how long a user spent on a particular web page, if your page has a high exit rate it can greatly affect your ranking since search engines will assume you have irrelevant content.
This is a meta tag that acts as the title of a webpage. It should include relevant keywords to help the search engines display it on search results.
It’s content that adds little or no value to a site visitor.
Top-Level Domain (TLD)
This is the extension of a given web address and they include:
.com, .org, .net, .info
This refers to the amount of visitors your website gets.
It simply means the history of a domain, it includes if it has a positive reputation, follows the webmaster guidelines, has verified sources and so on.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
This includes any form of content either texts, videos, comments, reviews, etc. that are created by users.
This happens when search engines get data from multiple databases to display on the same SERP. Results can include images, videos, news and location.
These are links that are considered suspicious or deceptive and using these links can warrant a manual action.
The short form of Uniform Resource Locator and it’s the specific string of characters that lead to a resource on the web. It’s usually the terms we enter into a browser to load a webpage.
This refers to how easy it is for people to use and navigate your website. Different factors may affect usability but you ensure your site is usable for many people as possible.
User Experience (UX)
This is the feeling users have after interacting with a brand, its online presence, and its product or services.
This is a specialized type of search where the focus is only on a specific topic or type of content. Examples are using YouTube for video-related content, Amazon for shopping items, and Yelp for business reviews.
This is a bot that uses natural language processing to perform tasks like conducting web searches. An example is Apple’s Siri.
This refers to the positions and authority a website occupies within the organic search results.
This is a type of search that is done by voice, it allows users to speak into a device, mostly smartphones, to ask questions or search online.
This is a page that exists on the internet and can be accessed by web browsers.
This is a collection of web pages hosted together on the World Wide Web (Internet).
This is how a website connects its web pages to help visitors navigate that site easily.
These are methods that exist solely to deceive search engine algorithms and users.
It’s referred to as tactics that comply with Webmaster Guidelines.
The total number of words that appear within the copy of the content.
A popular blogging and content management system used by writers and companies.
Extensible Markup Language is a language search engines use to comprehend website data.
XML Site Map
A list of all the pages on a website that search engines need to know.
It’s a search engine that was most popular in the ‘90s and was the most popular search engine used before Google took over. Since 2010, Yahoo’s organic search results have been powered by Bing.
This is the most popular search engine in Russia, It was founded in 1997 by Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich.
You have come to the end of this comprehensive glossary, and you should have learned something new.
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