The Beginners Guide to SEO: SEO Terminology

The Beginners Guide to SEO: SEO Terminology

SEO, SEM, 301, H1, H2. Slow down, we explain it all!

Thanks to MOZ for this helpful information and glossary on all things SEO!

SEO Terminology Decoded

301 – permanent server redirect – a change of address for a web page found in the htaccess file on apache servers. Also useful for dealing with canonical issues.

Algorithm – a program used by search engines to determine what pages to suggest for a given search query.

Alt text – a description of an image, which usually isn’t displayed to the end user, unless the image is undeliverable, or a browser is used that doesn’t display graphics. Alt text is important because search engines can’t tell one picture from another. Alt text is the one place where it is acceptable for the spider to get different content than the human user, but only because the alt text is accessible to the user, and when properly used is an accurate description of the associated picture.

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

Anchor Text – the user visible text of a link. Search engines use anchor text to indicate the relevancy of the referring site and of the link to the content on the landing page. Ideally all three will share some keywords in common.

Authority – the amount of trust that a site is credited with for a particular search query. Authority/trust is derived from related incoming links from other trusted sites.

Authority site – a website which has many incoming links from other related expert/hub sites. Because of this simultaneous citation from trusted hubs an authority site usually has high trust, page rank, and search results placement. Wikipedia, is an example of an authority site.

B2B – Business to Business.

B2C – Business to Consumer

Back Link – any link into a page or site from any other page or site.

Black Hat – Search Engine Optimization tactics that are counter to best practices such as the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Blog – a website which presents content in a more or less chronological series.

Bot (robot, spider, crawler) – a program which performs a task more or less autonomously. Search engines use bots to find and add web pages to their search indexes. Spammers often use bots to “scrape” content for the purpose of plagiarizing it for exploitation by the Spammer.

Bounce Rate – the percentage of users who enter a site and then leave it without viewing any other pages.

Cloak – the practice of delivering different content to the search engine spider than that seen by the human users. This Black Hat tactic is frowned upon by the search engines and caries a virtual death penalty of the site/domain being banned from the search engine results.

CMS Content Management System – programs such as WordPress, Joomla, Weebly etc.

Content – the part of a web page that is intended to have value for and be of interest to the user. Advertising is NOT usually considered to be content.

Conversion – achievement of a quantifiable goal on a website. Sales are the biggest examples of conversions.

Conversion Rate – percentage of users who convert.

CPC– cost Per Click – the rate that is paid per click for a Pay Per Click Advertiser

Crawler – a program which moves through the web or a website by way of the link structure to gather data.

Duplicate Content – content which is similar or identical to that found on another website or page.

Google Bowling – maliciously trying to lower a sites rank by sending it links from an untrusted site.

Googlebot – Google’s spider program

GYM – Google – Yahoo – Microsoft, the big three of search

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) directives or “markup” which are used to add formatting and web functionality to plain text for use on the internet. HTML is the mother tongue of the search engines, and should generally be strictly and exclusively adhered to on web pages.

Impression – the event where a user views a webpage one time.

Inbound link – inbound links from related pages are the source of trust and page rank.

Indexed -pages on a site which have been indexed.

Inlink – inbound links from related pages are the source of trust and page rank.

Keyword – the word or phrase that a user enters into a search engine.

Keyword Density – the percentage of words on a web page which are a particular keyword. If this value is unnaturally high – the page may be penalized.

Keyword Research– the hard work of determining which keywords are appropriate for targeting.

Keyword Spam (keyword stuffing) – inappropriately high keyword density.

Keyword Stuffing (keyword spam) – inappropriately high keyword density.

Landing Page – the page that a user lands on when they click on a link in a SERP

Link Building – actively cultivating incoming links to a site.

Link Exchange – a reciprocal linking scheme often facilitated by a site devoted to directory pages.

Link Farm – a group of sites which all link to each other (Black Hat SEO’s prided tactic)

Link Spam – unwanted links such as those posted in user generated content, like blog comments.

Link Text (Anchor text) – the user visible text of a link. Search engines use anchor text to indicate the relevancy of the referring site and link to the content on the landing page.

Long Tail – longer, more specific search queries that are often less targeted than shorter broad queries. For example a search for “widgets” might be very broad while “red widgets with reverse threads” would be a long tail search. A large percentage of all searches are long tail searches.

META tags – statements within the HEAD section of an HTML page which furnishes information about the page. META information may be in the SERPs but is not visible on the page. It is very important to have unique and accurate META title and description tags, because they may be the information that the search engines rely upon the most to determine what the page is about. Also, they are the first impression that users get about your page within the SERPs.

Metric – a standard of measurement used by analytics programs

Noindex – a command found in either the HEAD section of a web page or within individual link code, which instructs robots to not index the page or the specific link.

Non Reciprocal Link – if site A links to site B, but site B does not link back to site A, then the link is considered non reciprocal. Search engines tend to give more value to non-reciprocal links than to reciprocal ones because they are less likely to be the result of collusion between sites.

Organic link – organic links are those that are published only because the webmaster considers them to add value for users.

Outlink  – outgoing link

Pagerank (PR) – a value between 0 and 1 assigned by the Google algorithm, which quantifies link popularity and trust among other (proprietary) factors.

PPA (Pay Per Action ) – very similar to Pay Per Click, except publishers only get paid when click trough’s result in conversions.

PPC (Pay Per Click) – a contextual advertisement scheme where advertisers pay add agencies (such as Google) whenever a user clicks on their add. AdWords is an example of PPC advertising.

Redirect -any of several methods used to change the address of a landing page such as when a site is moved to a new domain.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization, the process of increasing the number of visitors to a website by achieving high rank in the search results of a search engine. The higher a website ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that users will visit the site.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page

Site Map – a page or structured group of pages which link to every user accessible page on a website, and hopefully improves site usability by clarifying the data structure of the site for the users. An XML sitemap is often kept in the root directory of a site just to help search engine spiders to find all of the site pages.

Sock Puppet – an online identity used to either hide a persons real identity or to establish multiple user profiles.

Social bookmark – a form of Social Media where user’s bookmarks are aggregated for public access.

Social media -various online technologies used by people to share information and perspectives..

Spider (bot, crawler) – a specialized bot used by search engines to find and add web pages to their indexes.

Static Page – a web page without dynamic content or variables, such as session ID’s in the URL. Static pages are good for SEO work in that they are friendly to search engine spiders.

Time on page – the amount of time that a user spends on one page before clicking off. An indication of quality and relevance.

URL – Uniform Resource Locator (AKA Web Address)

User Generated Content (UGC) Social Media, wikis, Folksonomies, and some blogs rely heavily on User Generated Content.

Web 2.0 – is characterized by websites, which encourage user interaction.

White Hat SEO – techniques, which conform to best practice guidelines, and do not attempt to unscrupulously “game” or manipulate SERPs.

Widget – small applications used on web pages to provide specific functions such as a hit counter or IP address display. These programs can make good link bait.