The world of SEO is full of jargon terms and phrases that, to people out of the industry, can cause confusion and sometimes misunderstandings. As part of our work with our clients we like to ensure they understand the reporting data and work that we do for them.
Part of that is determined by the individual needs of the client and the other part is based on their current knowledge and level of understanding of SEO. You certainly don’t like to ‘teach granny how to suck eggs‘ but it’s good to ensure that clients understand what is going on with their visibility in order to be as transparent as possible. Whether that be during a call discussing the site or strategy or in emails, it’s important that clients know that they aren’t being tricked or blinded by jargon. THE COMPREHENSIVE A-Z OF SEO TERMINOLOGY IN TEXT
Algorithm- A set of rules a Search Engine follows in order to effectively provide the most relevant, quality pages to the users search terms.
Alt Text- A little piece of code that wraps around an image that acts as an image description allowing Search Engines to understand what they are.
Anchor Text- The clickable text found on web pages that navigate the user to another page on the site or to an external site.
Authority– The level a site is trusted for particular search queries as well as an overall measure of trust Search Engines have in the site.
Apache– The software used on a website server. This is configurable to optimise site performance as well as handle resource requests.
Authorship– A now removed Google Update that added an articles author details into search results. This was linked to Google + profiles.
Affiliates– A site which markets a third parties products or services with commissions being paid either by sale or referral.
Article Spinning– An outdated, considered spammy, SEO technique where original articles are rewritten and posted multiple times to increase inbound links.
API– ‘Application Programming Interface’. A set of commands or rules allowing programmes to use predefined functions in their software or website.
Bounce Rate- The percentage of page entrances that resulted in an exit from the site without any engagement on other pages of the site.
Backlinks- A link navigable by a user between 2 separate sites. A large factor in Authority measurement.
Backlink Audit– A detailed audit of all Backlinks that point to a site to check their relevance and any risk to the sites Authority/ Visibility.
Blog- A section on a site which can feature regularly updated relevant content. A good opportunity to get user engagement and can help build Authority.
Bing- An international Search Engine owned by Microsoft competing for users with Google.
Black Hat- A term commonly associated with SEO’s who do not follow Google Guidelines and look to unnaturally force increases in a sites visibility.
Byte- A unit of measuring the size of a file.
Bookmark- A location either on a users Browser or on a Webservice, that allows the saving of a websites links for revisits in a future.
Below The Fold- Essentially any contact on the screen that is below the immediately viewable area and can only be viewed by scrolling down the page.
Browser- A piece of software used to request a sites resources and load them onto the users computer for them to see and engage with.
B2B & B2C- Companies that sell/ serve direct to the public as their customers (B2C) and those selling or servicing other businesses (B2B).
Broken Link- When a link between pages or websites is pointing to a page or resource that no longer exists at that location. This usually produces a 404 error.
Blog Comment Links- Another outdated SEO technique whereby pre-written blog comments are placed on sites (usually by software) that contains a link back to a website.
Breadcrumbs- A horizontal navigation chain that shows the user their location within a website and offers an easy way to navigate between sections.
Content Marketing– A process driven by strategy that creates useful, quality, relevant content that users will engage with. This process helps to improve Authority and works to increase external backlinks.
Copywriting– writing relevant and engaging content for a webpage that is designed to achieve a goal (sales or signups for example.
Conversion Rate- The percentage of visitors to a website that go on to complete a goal for the site owner such as a purchase or signup.
CSS- Stands for Cascading Style Sheets. These are files that allow for content to be displayed in a consistent way across a website that matches the design.
Canonical Tag-This is a link placed in the code of the websites pages that help to direct Search Engines to the original version of the content. This mitigates against Duplicate Content Issues.
Compression- A method of shrinking the file sizes of a sites resources allowing for a more speedy loading time for the user.
Cache- Essentially a saved version of an entire page or page elements on the users computer that allows for a more speedy load time on return visits.
CMS- ‘Content Management System.’ This is a piece of software that allows users to create site content without needing to manually code pages.
Cloaking- A Black Hat process whereby the content served to Search Engines is different to that served to the user.
Crawler- One name for a Search Engine robot that crawls through a sites pages following links and reading content in order to rank it.
CTB- This is the percentage of Visits to a site against the number of times it was served to users as a choice in the Search Results.
Code-The machine readable language that allows a users browser to read and render a web page.
Caffeine- A Google Algorithm update that speeded up Googles raw speed as well as Integrated Crawling and Indexing resulting in a fresher Index.
Cookies- A file left on your computer by a website that records things about the users engagement and technology used. It cane used to improve subsequent visits or aid marketing.
Citation Flow– This is a number that predicts how authoritative a URL or site is by the number of Backlinks pointing to it.
Citation- Basically references to your site, brand and business details on third party websites. This is a driver of Authority.
Domain- This is a subset of an internet address such as mysite.com the letters after the ‘.’ Denote things like location, organisation type or industry.
Duplicate Content- This is where a pages content appears on another page on external sites or the site itself. Google devalues duplicated content and it can cause visibility loss and algorithmic penalties.
Doorway Page- These pages redirects users (not Search Engines) to an alternative page. This is part of the SEO technique ‘Cloaking.’
Domain Authority– The overall authority given to a domain based on the sites inbound links. A Moz derived metric.
DNS- ‘Domain Name System’ this translates domain names to IP addresses and vice versa to direct visitors to the website resources.
Dofollow Backlink- Simply put, this is a Backlink that points to another page or site that does not have a ‘nofollow’ attribute added to it.
Directory- A library of websites categorised into sections containing links and information about external websites.
Dynamic Content– Content that changes based on a users interactions, location or previous visits. Not ideal for SEO and ranking specific pages.
Data Highlighter- A Google developed tool that helps sites owners to highlight their structured data (such as addresses) without needing to add code.
Deep Linking- Creating a Backlink that points to be a page deep within the sites architecture. Usually pages within a category level.
Disavow- A tool created within Google Search Console that allows Webmasters to submit links to disavow if they are causing harm or to mitigate the risk of harm.
Evergreen Content- SEO written content which is continually relevant and always stays fresh for users.
Ecommerce- Commercial sales conducted online through a website built as on online storefront.
Engagement– When a visitor interacts with an element on a website, shares or adds to content or completes a goal.
Embed (ed)- When content such as a video is added to a page through code provided by the content owner.
Exact match- The term used to signify that the user has searched for the exact phrase targeted. Less relevant than in the past.
EMD- ‘Exact Match Domain’ a Google update to prevent poor quality websites from ranking well because they used the terms they were targeting in their Domain Name.
Event Tracking- A method of tracking specific interactions such as a button click or video playing on a site for analytical purposes.
Expired Domains- A domain that no longer has hosting or is currently used. Sometimes bought in order to increase a websites link profile by redirecting the expired domain to it.
Fresh Content- The term used to identify new content on a website that will be crawled and indexed by Search Engines.
FTP- ‘File Transfer Protocol.’ A protocol used to directly add, remove or update files on a websites server through a structured filing system similar to that of the users computer.
Faceted Navigation- An approach to site navigation that reduces large amounts of content or results into a more narrowly focused display.
Flash- Animation software used to many older websites. Search Engines (and many users) don’t like websites built in Flash.
Forum- A user guaranteed content part of a website allowing for open discussion. Sometimes abused by poor SEOs looking to build backlinks.
Gzip Compression- A type of website file compression set at the server level that allows for faster page load times and file transfers.
Google Search– Google’s Search Engine.
Google Analytics- A powerful analytical tool for measuring hundreds of different metrics relating to a websites use by its visitors.
Google Bomb- The combined effort of multiple people with too much time on their hands to manipulate the Search Results. Usually with humorous intentions.
Google Dance- Rapid fluctuations in the Search Result usually following an algorithm update in which many sites see their rankings change fairly often in a short period.
Googlebot- The name of Google’s website robot that visits and crawls their pages and content.
GIF- Stands for ‘Graphic Interchange Format’ often sued within website Ad banners with animated designs. Slowly filling up the internet with Cats doing funny things.
Homepage- The first page of a website. Usually describing the websites intentions or setting the tone of the website.
HTML- Stands for ‘Hypertext Markup Language’ and is the standardised website coding language for creating elements of webpages.
Hyperlink- A link from one Hypertext document (webpage) to another on the internet or within the same website.
HTTP & HTTPS- Stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol and the Secure (SSL ) version that sets the rules for the transfer of websites pages and resources.
Hosting- The way individuals and organisations are able to make their websites and their content available on the web.
Hummingbird- A recent Google algorithm that is designed to help Google understand conversational search queries and return more precise results for the user.
Header Tag- An HTML tag that denotes part of a pages structure. The H1 tag for example is like the first heading of a pages content after the title.
.htaccess- An Apache Webserver configuration file that is used to set rules for a services behaviour and handles things like compression and caching as well as page redirects and URL rewrites.
Impressions- A metric used to measure the number of times a page from your site appeared in the Search Results.
Internal Links- A clickable link within one website that points to and navigates the user to another page on the same site.
Index- A Search Engine equivalent to a library Index with URLs and page details stored based on Googlebot Crawls.
Index Status- Data provided by Google in its Search Console regarding the URLs Googlebot was able to index over a period of time.
ISP-An ‘Internet Search Provider’ is a company that provides individuals and other companies across to the internet.
IIS-‘Internet Information Services’ is the name for a configurable Webserver that was created and is owned by Microsoft.
International SEO- The process of working to improve a websites visibility across multiple countries.
IFrame- A piece of HTML code that effectively embeds 3rd party content from another website or resource onto a webpage.
JSON Markup- This is a markup language that can be used to code structured data on a website such as locations and product information.
Keyword- A word or short strings of words that are relevant to your product or service that users are performing searches with.
Keyword Research- Researching the most relevant Keywords to a product, service and page on a site looking for relevant terms of value to the business with search demand.
Keyword Stuffing- An outdated spammy SEO practice that involved using a Keyword multiple times on a page in order to manipulate a pages rankings. Keyword Density-The number of times or percentage of use of a particular Keyword on a page.
Knowledge Graph- Google’s knowledge base used to enhance search results with semantic- search information from multiple trusted sources.
Keyword Cannibalisation- When multiple pages on a site compete for the same Keyword which in itself works to reduce both pages visibility.
Linkbuilding- The process of increasing the number (and quality) of External Links pointing to a site with a view to increasing its Authority and Visibility.
Landing Page- The page a user first reaches when then enter a site. The one they ‘Land’ On.
Link Pyramid- This is an automated SEO tactic that works by building links in a layered approach to build authority toward the pyramid top.
Link Wheel– Another older SEO tactic that works by linking Site A to Site B and to Site C which also links back to Site A.
Lossless- A term used when compressing files on the web without losing their quality.
Long Tail- A Keyword of more than a few words that are more specific to a users needs. i.e. “Buy a Red Hat Online UK” rather than “Buy a Red Hat.”
Local SEO– The process of working to improve a websites local visibility in one or multiple local areas.
Local Listings- This is the list of business locations within Search Results including a map marker and local contact info.
Link Juice– A horrible sounding term meaning any Equity or Authority passed on through a link from one site to another.
Link Velocity- A term meaning the speed at which links are acquired by a site. Faster speeds suggest unnatural actions.
Link Exchange– An out of date practice whereby you get a link from one site for linking to them from yours.
LSI-‘Latent Semantic Indexing’ is a process used by Google to better understand web page content analyse and correlate them to semantically relevant other terms.
LinkRisk- A great Backlink analysis for Agencies and Businesses looking to keep a close eye on the link profiles of their site and their competitors. Also a good rank monitoring and content placement opportunity finder.
Meta Tag- An HTML markup statement that describes some aspects of a pages contents such as the Title or Description.
Mobile Friendly- A Google Algorithm update that now ranks websites in its Mobile Search Results differently depending on how well the site performs on a Mobile Device.
Microdata- This uses an HTML specification to nest metadata within existing web pages content to provide a richer Search Result or browsing experience.
Manual Actions- Something nobody wants to see. This is when Google manually act to penalise a site that breaches its Webmaster Guidelines.
Money Site- The main or important site. You would want more Authority and Visibility for your Money Site because it makes sales or generate leads.
Majestic- A brilliant backlink analysis tool that great for understanding a websites link profile as well as giving good estimations of the Authority and Trust for that site.
Niche– A subset within an industry, group or interest that some businesses try to target their products and services to.
Nginx– This is the name of an open source Webserver created by lgor Sysoev. It is pronounced ‘Engine-X.’
Nofollow– An attribute added to a link or in the head of a page telling a Search Engine robot not to follow links on the page or pass any Link Authority/ Equity through them.
Noindex– An attribute added to a link or in the head of a page telling a Search Engine that you don’t want that page to appear in the Search Index and Results Pages.
NAP– Stands for ‘Name Address and Phone Number’ and is a typical aspect of Local SEO.
Non-Reciprocal Link– A link that points to your site that you have not reciprocated by pointing a link back to.
Negative SEO– A shady practice of intentionally working against the Webmaster Guidelines with a view to harming someone else’s website.
Open GSE-The ‘Open Google Servlet Engine’ is a configurable Webserver created and run by Google.
Open Graph Protocol- This is coding language that allows elements of a web page to become a rich object within Social Media. i.e. Large images and descriptions on Facebook.
Over-Optimisation- When you have overdone things and a page looks unnaturally optimised causing potential risks to Visibility.
Off-Page SEO- Another term for increasing Authority through Linkbuilding, Citations and Social Engagement.
Penguin– A Google Algorithm Update that targeted and penalised websites within unnatural link profiles both manually and algorithmically.
Panda– Another Google Algorithm Update that targeted and penalised websites with poor quality, duplicated or thin content.
Penalty– When your sites Visibility is affected by one of Google’s Algorithm Updates that were designed to devalue sites not adhering to their guidelines.
Pigeon– A Google Algorithm Update designed to provide more useful relevant Local Results.
PageRank– A metric created by Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google to rank a pages Relevance and Authority on the web.
Popup– A coded element of a site that in essence ‘Pops Up’ in front of the content to drive the user to perform an action.
Parameters– Seen within a URL after the ‘?’ sign. It usually denotes a variation in a page based on a user interaction or dynamic content based on a rule.
Pagination– A way of dividing content into different pages and providing a better user experience. Needs handling appropriately for SEO purposes.
Pageview- A metric used to count the number of views to a page.
Proxies- A Proxy Server can be used to anonymise a users location and can act as an intermediary between the user and the resources they need.
Press Release- A document containing a business specific announcement that is then sent to online press outlets and sits for publishing. Shouldn’t be used to build links.
Plugin– A specifically written piece of software designed to add further functionality to a site such as update page level Meta Tags.
POO– Recently coined, humorous phrase within the SEO community following “The Apprentice 2014”meaning ‘Pecking Order Optimisation’ in relation to a lack of SEO awareness.
Queries- Meaning either a Searchers Query or a Machine Query when it requests a resource from its server.
Query Parameters-See parameters above
QDF- Stands for ‘ Query Deserves Freshness’ and is a part of the Google Algorithm that pays attention to Search Queries that may need frequent updates such as news reports.
Rich Snippet-A search result with added information such as prices, reviews and dates. Helps to improve CTR.
Real time– A reporting element in Google Analytics allowing the user to see Real Time interactions and engagement on a site.
Responsive– The term used for a website that scales to fit browsers on devices of different sizes such as Mobile and Tablets.
Referrer– The location that a websites traffic originated from either through a link on another site or from a source like a Search Engine.
Referring Domain– The domain that contains a link to your site.The ratio of links to refereeing domains is something to consider when Linkbuilding.
Robot– See crawler.
Robot.txt– A file at the root of the domain or subdomain that tells a Search Engine which pages is it to ignore and the location of the sitemap(s).
RSS-‘Rich Site Summary’ or ‘Really Simple Syndication’ is a coded page that is used to feed frequently published content to other sites or platforms.
Redirect- When a user or link is redirected from its intended destination page to an alternative page.
Reviews– Either on site or externally, Reviews help to add credibility to a site and id in increasing Conversions.
Resource- The name for a file on a server.
Reciprocal Link-See Link Exchange above.
Regex- Stands for ‘Regular Expression’ and is a string of special text like a wildcard.
SEM-A broader term ‘Search Engine Marketing’ encompassing SEO and PPC.
Scheme- A Structured Data format that helps to highlight elements like Addresses, Products and People in a structured way to a Search Engine.
Server- The location where a sites files and data is housed.
Site Speed- Essentially, the speed of a site. This is vital in modern SEO to get results.
Shared Hosting- When your site is hosted on the same server as other websites that share the bandwidth and storage.
Submission- A less important element of SEO whereby a sites page is manually submitted to Google for indexing.
Split Testing- The optimisation process whereby more than one variation of a page or Ad is served to a user in order to improve results. Also known as A/B testing.
Site Audit- An on-page and technical SEO audit of a site to identify areas for growth and improvement.
Social Signals- Shares, Likes , Votes from Social Media platforms that can be (or are) used in judging a website Authority.
SSL- Stands for Secure Socket Layer that encrypts a link between the server and the browser.
Search Terms- The Keywords used when performing a search. Can be used in reporting or Keyword research.
Spam- Irrelevant or Unsolicited electronic communications. Within SEO it encompasses the widespread distribution area of links and poor content for visibility gain.
Spider- See robot and crawler above.
Session– A metric used to count an individual users visit to a site and their engagement.
Sitemap- Both XML and HTML versions are essentially was to further ensure a Search Engine Robot finds all the pages on a website.
Search Console– a powerful tool created by Google to manage many different aspects of a websites Search Engine health and Visibility.
SQL- Stands for ‘Structured Query Language’ and is used in websites to communicate with databases and render page elements.
SERP- Stands for ‘Search Engine Results Page’.
Scrape- A harmful SEO practice whereby a page or entire site is copied entirely and placed on another domain to cause duplication issues.
Social Bookmarks- An outdated SEO technique to build links and Authority through Social Platforms public bookmarking functionality.
SEMrush- A fantastic computer analysis tool to help site owners, businesses and agencies ahead of the curve.
Technical SEO– An area of SEO centred around improving elements off of the page but within the site itself such as Site Speed and Crawl rates.
Traffic- A term meaning visitors to your site.
Title tag- An HTML tag that tells Search Engines and Browsers what the title of a page is. An SEO targeting opportunity.
Time to First Byte- A metric used to measure the speed of the site as it loads its first bit of data.
Trust Flow- Similar to citation flow, this is a number that predicts how trust worthy a page is but the trust in the sites that link to it.
Toolbar PageRank- This is a ranking metric created to emulate Google’s own PageRank. It is no longer being updated.
TLD- Stands for ‘Top Level Domain’ and is denoted by the letters immediately following the first final dot in a URL such as ‘.com’ or ‘.org’.
Tiered Linkbuilding- Is an SEO linkbuilding practice similar to a Link Pyramid that adds Authority at each tier.
URL- ‘Uniform Resource Locator’ and is a synonym for web address using the HTTP or HTTPs protocol.
URI- ‘Uniform Resource Identifier’ is a generic term for all names and addresses on the web.
UTM- This is method of tagging a link that points to your site for more in depth tracking of engagement in Google Analytics.
Universal Analytics- This is a new cross platform, cross device tracking code for Google Analytics which also allows offline data import.
Unique Visitor/ Session- A metric that measures the number of unique visitors/ sessions without grouping returners.
UGC- ‘User generated content’ encompasses many different things from Blog comments to forums and reviews. Essentially any content on a site added by a user.
UX-Stands for User experience and is an essential part of SEO and all online marketing to promote better engagement and conversions.
Venice- This was another Google algorithm update aimed at providing a better quality local strength result for the user.
Visitor- A user that comes to your website.
Visibility- A term used to describe a websites reach within search engines based on its keyword rankings and other elements.
Validation- a process whereby a tool will check a sites code that it meets the correct standards.
VPS- a virtual private server allows the use of software and tools on a viral computer. SEO’s use them for running any automated tasks and checking visibility.
White Hat- A term used for an SEO that follows the webmaster guidelines.
Web Page- A page on a website.
WordPress- The most used CMS in the world by personal users, businesses and organisations to build and manage their websites content.
Webmaster- A person or people responsible for the health and management of a website.
Widgets– A specific element, often 3rd party coded that adds some additional content or functionality to a web page.
Web 2.0- ‘The second stage of development of the internet’ mainly categorised by the change from static to dynamic user generated content and social media.
Wiki- A collaborative website or database allowing any user to add or edit content for informational purposes.
XML Sitemap– A coded list of all the pages on a site and their priority for a Search Engine Robot to crawl them.
Yoast– A very popular word press plug in developer famous for the Yoast SEO plug in allowing users to better manage SEO elements of their site.
YouTube– World famous video sharing website and the worlds second most used Search Engine.
Zeitgeist- A Google produced list detailing the year through the searches performed on its search engine.
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