SEO Terminology

Throughout your endeavors to improve your website’s search engine optimization and page rank, you will most likely come across any number of words and/or phrases that seem foreign to you. Through our SEO Glossary, we’re hoping to answer all your SEO-related questions. From the very basic, What does SEO stand for? to the more complex What is the difference between NoFollow and DoFollow links? We’ve come up with a list of 150 SEO terms and have provided definitions for them below.

SEO Terminology

  1. 10 Blue Links – this internet search term refers to the way search results are presented to users – i.e. 10 blue hyperlinks all in the same format. Although some search engines are experimenting with different results formats, the industry standard has been referred to as 10 Blue Links.
  2. 301 Redirect – whenever you delete a page or change a page’s URL, you’ll need to set up a 301 Redirect. This means that if anyone attempts to access the old page (including search engines), they will be redirected to an active web page of your choosing. This will keep users (and search engines) from receiving the dreaded 404 Page Not Found error and looking elsewhere to find the information or products they need.
  3. Above the Fold – this term refers to any content you see on a web page without scrolling down. Google penalizes websites that place too many ads in this area.
  4. Algorithms – these are the formulas used by search engines like Google and Bing to store and retrieve data in organized, meaningful ways.
  5. Alt text – sometimes referred to as alternative text, alt attributes, or alt descriptions – alt text provides a description or function of an image or web page. This information is essential to making your website more accessible to the visually impaired. In addition, alt text will be shown when your image can’t be properly displayed, and search engines use this information to properly index images.
  6. AMP – AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. These are specific pages that are designed specifically for mobile usage and they are simplified version of desktop pages.
  7. Amplification – this term is often used in relation to a variety of advertising and marketing initiatives. The term amplification means building brand awareness through these means.
  8. Anchor Text – this refers to the clickable text within a designated hyperlink.
  9. Async – or asynchronous means that when a website is loading in your browser, the browser can complete multiple tasks at the same time.
  10. Auto-generated Content – refers to any content that is automatically generated – for our purposes, by a computer program.
  11. Backlinks – also called inbound links – this refers to any website that links to your site or page.
  12. Bingbot – this is a computer program (or bot) that crawls the internet creating a searchable index of web content. Similar to Googlebot, Bingbot’s aim is to create a searchable database of web content.
  13. Black Hat – these are search engine optimization techniques that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. If Google catches you using any of these techniques, Google may issue a warning or reduce your page/site’s ranking.
  14. Bots – or robots – see Bingbot or Gooblebot
  15. Bounce Rate – bounced sessions occur when users visit your site/page and do not perform any secondary actions, like clicking another page, etc.
  16. Browser – whether you use Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer, browsers (or web browsers) are the programs that enable you to access the internet.
  17. Bundling – this occurs when you combine several resources in to one. In relation to your website, bundling usually means combining files to improve your overall page speed.
  18. Caching –storing web page information in a cache, a temporary storage area.
  19. Canonical URL – these are typically used when you have multiple pages of nearly identical content. For instance, you are selling a t-shirt in 6 colors and each color has a different URL. You don’t want search engines to index 6 nearly identical pages (see Duplicate Content), so you assign a Canonical URL which tells search engines which URL should take precedence. In other words, you will tell search engines which URL represents the master copy of the content.
  20. Channel – this typically refers to the different methods/ways of receiving traffic: social media, organic search, etc.
  21. Click-through Rate (CTR) – often shown as a percentage, CTR is a reflection of the rate at which users click through to a website from an organic search result.
  22. Cloaking – cloaking is the process of showing a different set of content to users than the set you show to search engines. Cloaking also violates Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines since it shows different content to users than what they expect.
  23. Conversion Rate – this is a reflection of the ratio of people who visit your site to the number of conversions you receive. Conversions can mean sales, newsletter signups, email inquiries, etc.
  24. Crawl Budget – this is the number of pages Bing/Google/Yandex will crawl per day. This number can fluctuate, but not by much.
  25. Crawling – similar to indexing, crawling refers to the process which Googlebots and Bingbots scour the internet looking for new and updated content.
  26. CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) – style sheets house the code that impacts how elements show up on your webpage – fonts, colors, tables, etc.
  27. Deep links – these are links that point any one of your web pages that isn’t your home page.
  28. De-indexed – if you violate a search engine’s quality guidelines (like Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines), they may temporarily or permanently remove your website from search results. If there are certain pages on your site that you don’t want a search engine to index, you can request that these be de-indexed on a case-by-case basis.
  29. Directory Links – there are two primary working definition for directory links
    1. SEO – for local SEO purposes, directories may be local business listings that include basic information about local businesses (name, address, phone, website, etc).
    1. Low-quality backlinks – Google actively penalizes sites for having too many low-quality backlinks. The majority of directories other than local business directories are considered low-quality and can negatively impact your search ranking.
  30. DNS – a Domain Name Server links a website to an IP address. This means that whenever someone clicks on your website, the browser will load your website by locating the files found through your site’s IP address.
  31. DoFollow – the majority of hyperlinks you see on the internet are considered do-follow. DoFollow links to other sites will improve their overall authority and ranking, and are good to use for SEO purposes. However, sponsored posts, paid links, etc. should always be classified as nofollow in accordance with Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines.
  32. Domain Authority – this is a figure determined by a SEO company called MOZ that measures the authority or strength of a given website. The higher the figure, the easier it will be to secure top ranking positions on search engines.
  33. Domain Name Registrar – these companies manage the sale of domain names. You most likely purchased your website’s URL from one of these companies.
  34. Duplicate Content – as a site owner, you want your content to be unique across all your pages, as duplicate content can be penalized by Google and other search engines.
  35. Editorial Links – these are normal, dofollow, links you place on your site that direct users to another website. You have not been compensated in any way for placing these links on your site.
  36. Engagement – this reflects the level of interaction on your site and how users interact on your site.
  37. Faceted Navigation – this term is used to describe the various filters and drop-down tools used on websites (typically ecommerce sites) that help users narrow down or order search results e.g. price low to high, average customer rating, etc.
  38. Featured snippets – these are now being seen on many Google results pages (and other search engine results pages) and typically feature a box at the top of the results with information that is relevant to the search term.
  39. Fetch and Render Tool – this Google Search Console tool allows website owners to see their website/page exactly how Google sees it.
  40. File Compression – similar to zipping up a file, file compression reduces the file size bit by bit and retains the key information held within it.
  41. Geographic Modifiers – these are keyword additions that help users narrow their searches down. For example, HVAC providers is not geo-modified, but HVAC providers in Atlanta is geo-modified.
  42. Googlebot – this is a computer program (or bot) that crawls the internet creating a searchable index of web content. Similar to Bingbot, Googlebot’s aim is to create a searchable database of web content.
  43. Google Analytics – this is a free analytics program, provided by Google, and users can use this program to track visitors per month, audience behavior, content performance, and more.
  44. Google My Business Listing – this is a free listing tool available to local businesses.
  45. Google Search Console – this is another beneficial feature offered by Google and it allows website owners to see detailed information about their site’s performance in search results.
  46. Google Tag Manager – if you use a variety of different tracking codes, you may want to also use Google Tag Manager, which will help you keep track and manage these codes.
  47. Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines – these are guidelines published by Google and they detail specific forbidden tactics and Black Hat techniques that are purely designed to manipulate search results, or they are malicious in nature.
  48. Guest Blogging – some bloggers and site owners will guest blog on other sites, meaning they create blog posts for other websites in exchange for a backlink. This can be a great link building technique, but you need to be careful that you don’t overdo it and violate Google’s Quality Guidelines.
  49. Header Tags – also known as <h1> tag in HTML, typically signifies the title of a post or other text that should be heavily emphasized. HTML tags are used to define how a specific page should be formatted and displayed in a web browser.
  50. Image Carousel – this is another way to describe an image slideshow of some sort.
  51. Image Compression – many website owners will compress their images to make their sites run faster. When you compress an image, you make the file size smaller without reducing the image’s quality.
  52. Image Sitemap – this is a custom sitemap that only includes the images on a particular website.
  53. Index Coverage Report – this is a specific report that site owners can pull within Google Search Console. This report shows site owners the index status of each page on their site.
  54. Indexing – indexing is how search engines collect and store data that is available on the internet. Search engines will use bots to crawl the web looking for new and updated web pages and will index that information in their databases.
  55. Intent – relating to SEO, intent describes what a user is intending to find by entering certain keywords into their search bar.
  56. Internal Links – these are links you place on your website that refer to other pages on your website.
  57. IP Address – an IP address is a specific set of numbers that is attached to a website. This helps your web browser find and access the files related to a given website and are a numeral representation of a URL.
  58. JavaScript – this is a programming language that is often used to create dynamic elements on web pages and websites.
  59. Keyword – these can be a single word, words, or phrases that website owners and SEO professionals will use to try and have their site/page achieve a higher ranking status on search engine results.
  60. Keyword Difficulty – this directly reflects how difficult it will be for you to outrank your competitors for a given keyword.
  61. Keyword Explorer / Keyword Planner– there are many sites and tools available on the internet that will allow you to research various keywords and their estimated difficulty.
  62. Keyword Stuffing – this is considered spam and is against Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines. Site owners should avoid adding irrelevant keywords, a box of keywords at the end of their page or overusing specific keyword(s) on a page. Keywords should be naturally woven into your content.
  63. KPIKey Performance Indicator which most businesses use to measure the relative success of a marketing or advertising initiative.
  64. Lazy Loading – this tactic is used to improve your site or page’s loading speed. Lazy loading is where your site will not load certain aspects of your page (content or images) until they are needed. For example, your site might only load content above the fold until a user scrolls down.
  65. Local Pack – when users search for specific local businesses (HVAC provider near me), the local pack is the first three listings that is shown on Google search results that include pins on a map.
  66. Link Building – this is the process of securing inbound links to your site/page from other websites. The more quality links that point to your site or page, the better your Domain Authority will be and the higher you will rank in search results.
  67. Link Equity – sometimes referred to as link juice – when sites link to you or you link to other sites, some authority or value is passed along to the recipient. Simply put, websites with high Domain Authorities that link to you will do much more for your own site’s DA than a site with a low DA. 
  68. Link Exchange – this is a Domain Authority building tactic and is where you will link to a specific site or page in return for a link to your own site/page.
  69. Link Explorer – this is a service offered by SEO company Moz, that allows users to check and see what sites are linking to your website and if they are dofollow or nofollow.
  70. Link Volume – this solely refers to the number of links on any given page.
  71. Links – incoming and outgoing hyperlinks.
  72. Local Business Schema – one type of structured data markup used on your site or page that makes it easier for search engines to understand what type of business you run and what your contact details are. This will also enable search engines to display this information in a more appealing format to potential customers.
  73. Local Queries – this is where users will enter geo-specific information into the search bar: HVAC providers in Phoenix.
  74. Long-tail Keywords – these are keywords or keyword phrases that have 3 or more words in them.
  75. Manual Penalty – also known as Manual Action – this is where Google (or other search engines) penalize sites that violate their quality guidelines.
  76. Meta Description – these tags are typically used to provide a description of a website/page’s content. Meta descriptions are what you will typically see underneath a hyperlink on search results. Writing a clear, appealing meta description can increase your click through rate.
  77. Meta Robots Tag – these tags are specific pieces of code that instruct crawlers how to properly index a website or web page(s).
  78. Minificationminification is an act of compressing website’s code. Through this process, you, a plugin, or a web developer will remove excess characters of code without reducing your site’s functionality.
  79. Mobile-first Indexing – since the majority of web users access the web from mobile phones, search engines have now started indexing mobile versions of websites before they index their desktop versions.
  80. Navigation – these are the menus and links that help your visitors link to other pages on your site. They can be on the top (top navigation), side (side navigation), or bottom (footer navigation) of your web page.
  81. Navigational Queries – these are specific types of internet searches where users search for a specific website or web page. For example, if you wanted to access Facebook, instead of typing Facebook.com, you’d enter Facebook into the search field, click search, and then access the site from the search results.
  82. NoFollow – site owners can add a rel=”nofollow” tag to hyperlinks which effectively instruct search engines not to use the hyperlink in their search ranking calculations. Nofollow links are typically used for sponsored content and paid advertisements.
  83. NoIndex Tag – these tags are used to instruct search engines not to index a specific page.
  84. Organic – organic refers to the place you earn, not the place you pay for, in search results.
  85. Page Authority – this is a figure determined by a SEO company called MOZ that measures the authority or strength of a given web page. The higher the figure, the easier it will be to secure top ranking positions on search engines.
  86. Pagination – if you have really long content on a specific web page, you may want to increase its readability by splitting it in to separate pages. You can then add specific tags to these pages that will tell search engines which page should come first, second, etc.
  87. PageRank – this refers to a number between 0 and 10 that Google will assign to a specific web page. Your PageRank score is a direct reflection of Google’s evaluation of the incoming links (quantity and quality) and it seeks to measure a specific page’s importance.
  88. Pages Per Session – this is the average number of pages on your website a user views within a single session.
  89. Page Speed – in short, page speed signifies how quickly your page loads and is usable.
  90. Panda – this is the name of an update Google made to its algorithm and it directly penalized websites/pages with low-quality content.
  91. Programming Language – there are different programming languages that are used by web developers to create, edit, and enhance websites. Some programming languages used for web development include JavaScript, Java, CSS, PHP, etc.
  92. Protocol – your website’s domain name will be preceded by either HTTP or HTTPS – this determines how data is related from the server to browsers. HTTPS is more secure than HTTP.
  93. Pruning – in relation to SEO, pruning means deleting pages that are low-quality in hopes that it will increase the overall quality of your website.
  94. Purchased Links – some companies will pay other sites for backlinks. All sponsored or purchased links should be designated as nofollow links so that you do not violate Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines.
  95. Qualified Lead – if your website includes a prompt that invites customers to call you or fill out a contact form for more information on your products or services, they count as qualified leads. These leads aren’t guaranteed to convert to sales, but the potential is there.
  96. Qualified Traffic – this refers to visitors who land on your site looking for the exact information it contains. This means that the visitors are more likely to spend time on your page and have the potential to become qualified leads.
  97. Query – or search – words entered into the search field
  98. Ranking – regarding SEO, ranking refers to the process of ordering search results based on how relevant they are to the query
  99. Redirection – typically referring to 301 Directs, redirection means moving a URL from one location to another.
  100. Referral Traffic – this includes any traffic that is directed to your site from another website, like a company page, blog, social media site, etc.
  101. Regional Keywords – these keywords are specific to an area or region, and Google Trends helps identify where these regional keywords are applicable. For instance, you’d want to know when it’s appropriate to use soda and when it’d be more appropriate to use pop.
  102. Rel=”author” – this tag is typically used to associate a specific blog/article with an author, with the sole purpose of giving them credit.
  103. Rel=canonicalsee Canonical URL.
  104. Relevance – this refers to how well a specific website or page matches what a specific user is searching for.
  105. Render-blocking scripts – these are specific scripts or resources that must be loaded in their entirety before a website/page can be rendered (viewed). These scripts can dramatically increase your page load time.
  106. Resource Pages – these pages are often created by site owners to provide a list of helpful external links to their visitors. In addition, site owners may link to other sites in hopes that they will reciprocate and link back to them. This link-building technique is a popular SEO practice.
  107. Responsive Design – this means that your website easily adapts to different screen sizes, including mobile, desktop, and tablets.
  108. Rich Snippet – rich snippets refer to search results that contain more information that standard results. Some additional information that could be included in a rich snippet includes price, rating, event dates, etc.
  109. Robots.txt – this is a specific website file that tells search engines which pages to crawl and which pages not to crawl.
  110. Schema.org – also known as schema, refers to specific code that is used to structure your site’s HTML that will help search engines read and classify your site’s contents. This code can be read by all search engines and can greatly improve the quality of search results.
  111. Scraped Content – is a form of plagiarism and is where you copy content from another site and publish on yours without getting permission from the author.
  112. Scroll Depth – this shows how far your visitors scroll down a specific page.
  113. Search Engine – sites used to search and explore content on the internet, including Google, Yahoo, Yandex, etc.
  114. Search Forms – these are specific forms, boxes, or bars that allow users to search for content within a specific website.
  115. Search Traffic – the number of visitors sent to your site from a specific search engine.
  116. Search Volume – this typically refers to the number of times a specific keyword was searched for in a given month.
  117. Seasonal Trends – refers to keywords/searches that are popular during a specific time of year, especially during holidays.
  118. SERPSearch Engine Results Page – the search results page on Google, Yandex, etc.
  119. SERP Features – these are search engine results that are shown in a different format than the 10 Blue Links.
  120. Sitemap – this is a specific list of URLs that web crawlers can use to properly index your site. You’ll typically submit your sitemap to various search engines.
  121. Sitewide Links – links that appear on every page of your website, usually found on the header, footer, or sidebar.
  122. Spam Score – this figure is provided by a company called Moz and the score is designed to help site owners determine the likelihood that they will be penalized by search engines for spammy tactics.
  123. Spammy Tactics see Black Hat. These tactics are likely to be penalized by search engines since they violate quality guidelines.
  124. SSL CertificateSecure Socket Layer – this certificate is used to encrypt data that is transferred from a website’s server to the end user. An SSL Certificate is required to have an HTTPS protocol on your site.
  125. Status Codes – these refer to specific response codes that are sent by a server, usually when a link is clicked, web page is accessed, form is submitted, etc. There are several different status codes, but the most common error codes are 404, 500, and 503.
  126. Stop Word – several years ago, it was important not to use stop words like an, and, if, it in your keyword phrases. Search engines have greatly improved since that time and it is now ok to use these common words.
  127. Structured Datasee Rich Snippet and Schema.org
  128. Subdomain – a subsection of a main domain, typically the blog or careers section of a company page.
  129. Tagsweb tags are typically tools that are used to help identify/classify certain sections of a website.
  130. Thin Content – this refers to content that adds little value to the end user.
  131. Thumbnails – smaller versions of images.
  132. Time on Page – the amount of time a visitor stays on a specific page before moving to another.
  133. Title Tag – a specific type of tag that signifies the title of a page.
  134. Top Level Domain – refers to the .com, .org, .net section of a web address.
  135. Traffic – general term for the number of visits to your website.
  136. Transactional Queries – refers to searches where a user wants to take a very specific action – usually to purchase something.
  137. TrustRank – this is a specific ranking feature that measures the trustworthiness of your site’s content and internal/external links.
  138. Unnatural Links – these violate Google Webmaster’s Quality Guidelines and are links that are intended to manipulate your page rank.
  139. URLUniform Resource Locators also known as your web address.
  140. URL Folders – sections of your website that come after the top level domain and are preceded by a forward slash /.
  141. URL Parameters – typically refer to any information that follows a question mark in a URL stream. These are used to track specific information or change your page’s content in some way.
  142. Usability – how user-friendly your website is.
  143. User Experience – or UX – refers to a visitor’s experience on your site and how they feel after interacting with your site, brand, or services.
  144. UTM Code – specific code that you can add to the end of your URL to track specific info.
  145. Vertical Search – searches that are limited to one type of content, media, or topic (video, shopping, etc).
  146. Visibility – can also refer to your search rank and how visible it is to end-users.
  147. Webmaster Guidelines – refers to acceptable optimization methods and practices and they also detail Black Hat and other unacceptable practices.
  148. Website Navigationsee Navigation.
  149. White Hat – SEO tactics that adhere to Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines.
  150. XML Sitemapsee Sitemap.

As you embark on your SEO journey, you may want to consider hiring a local SEO company to provide you with custom-tailored SEO solutions. Oak Marketing offers affordable SEO packages that can be customized to meet your needs and your budget.