ARTICLE: SEO Terms & Jargon
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301 – A 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.
404 Server Code – A “not found” message. Server cannot find the URL requested.
Absolute URL’s Link - Absolute URLs use the full-path address, such as http://www.domain.com/page1.htm. (See also Relative URL’s link.)
Ad – Advertisements a searcher sees after submitting a query in a search engine or web site search box. In PPC, these ads are usually text format, with a Title, Description and Display URL. In some cases, a keyword the searcher used in his or her query appears boldfaced in the displayed ad. Ads can be positioned anywhere on a search results page; commonly they appear at the top – above the natural or organic listings – and on the right side of the page, also known as “Right Rail.”
Ad Copy – The main text of a clickable search or context-served ad. It usually makes up the second and third lines of a displayed ad, between the Ad Title and the Display URL.
Ad Title – The first line of text displayed in a clickable search or context-served ad. Ad Titles serve as ad headlines.
Adwords – Google Pay Per Click contextual advertisement program, very common way of basic website advertisement.
Affiliate – An affiliate site markets products or services that are actually sold by another website or business in exchange for fees or commissions.
Algorithm (algo) – A program used by search engines to determine what pages to suggest for a given search query.
Alt Text – A description of a graphic, which usually isn’t displayed to the end user, unless the graphic 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. Special web browsers for visually challenged people rely on the alt text to make the content of graphics accessible to the users.
Analytics – A program which assists in gathering and analyzing 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.
Arbitrage – A practice through which web publishers – second tier search engines, directories and vertical search engines – engage in the buying and reselling of web traffic. Typically, arbitrage occurs when such publishers pool client budgets to engage in PPC campaigns on Tier I search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN). If the publishers pay $0.10 per click for traffic, they typically resell those visitors to clients who bid $0.20 or more for the same keywords. Successful arbitrage requires that the arbitrageur must pay less per click than what the traffic sells for. The variation called Affiliate Arbitrage involves a web site owner or blogger bidding on keywords from programs such as Yahoo! Search Marketing or Google AdWords, who then links the ads, either to their own web site, or directly to a merchant site displaying ads (from programs such as the Yahoo! Publisher Network or Google AdSense).
Astroturfing – (the opposite of full disclosure) attempting to advance a commercial or political agenda while
Authority (trust, link juice, Google juice) 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, pagerank, and search results placement. Wikipedia, is an example of an authority site.
B2B – Business to Business.
B2C – Business to Consumer
Back Link – (inlink, incoming link) Any link into a page or site from any other page or site.
Behavioral Targeting – The practice of targeting and serving ads to groups of people who exhibit similarities not only in their location, gender or age, but also in how they act and react in their online environment. Behaviors tracked and targeted include web site topic areas they frequently visit or subscribe to; subjects or content or shopping categories for which they have registered, profiled themselves or requested automatic updates and information, etc.
Bid – The maximum amount of money that an advertiser is willing to pay each time a searcher clicks on an ad. Bid prices can vary widely depending on competition from other advertisers and keyword popularity.
Bid Management Software - Software that manages PPC campaigns automatically, called either rules-based (with triggering rules or conditions set by the advertiser) or intelligent software (enacting real-time adjustments based on tracked conversions and competitor actions). Both types of automatic bid management programs monitor and change bid prices, pause campaigns, manage budget maximums, adjust multiple keyword bids based on CTR, position ranking and more.
Black Hat – Search engine optimization tactics that are counter to best practices such as the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Blacklists - A list of Web sites that are considered off limits or dangerous. A Web site can be placed on a blacklist because it is a fraudulent operation or because it exploits browser vulnerabilities to send spyware and other unwanted software to the user.
Blogs – A truncated form for “web log.” A blog is a frequently updated journal that is intended for general public consumption. They usually represent the personality of the author or web site. A good source of blogging terms is at [http://www.whatis.techtarget.com] .
Blog – A website which presents content in a more or less chronological series. Content may or may not be time sensitive. Most blogs us a Content Management System such as WordPress rather than individually crafted WebPages. Because of this, the Blogger can chose to concentrate on content creation instead of arcane code.
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.
Brand – Customer or user experience represented by images and ideas, often referring to a symbol (name, logo, symbols, fonts, colors), a slogan and a design scheme. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service, both from its use, and as influenced by advertising, design and media commentary. Brand is often developed to represent implicit values, ideas and even personality. Source: Wikipedia
Brand and Branding – “A brand is a customer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas; often, it refers to a symbol such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service, both directly relating to its use, and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary.” (Added Definition) “A brand often includes an explicit logo, fonts, color schemes, symbols, sound which may be developed to represent implicit values, ideas, and even personality.” Source: Wikipedia
Branding Strategy – The attempt to develop a strong brand reputation on the web to increase brand recognition and create a significant volume of impressions.
Bread Crumbs – Web site navigation in a horizontal bar above the main content which helps the user to understand where they are on the site and how to get back to the root areas.
Canonical Issues – (duplicate content) canon = legitimate or official version - It is often nearly impossible to avoid duplicate content, especially with CMSs like Wordpress, but also due to the fact that www.site.com, site.com, and www.site.com/index.htm are supposedly seen as dupes by the SEs - although it’s a bit hard to believe they aren’t more sophisticated than that. However these issues can be dealt with effectively in several ways including - using the noindex meta tag in the non-canonical copies, and 301 server redirects to the canon.
Cascading Style Sheets or CSS – An addition to your HTML, a web site’s “cascading style sheet” contains information on paragraph layout, font sizes, colors, etc. A cascading style sheet has many uses as far as search engine optimization and web site design are concerned.
Canonicalization – The process of picking the best URL when there are several choices; this usually refers to home pages. Source: Matt Cutts Blog: SEO Advice. In addition, “Canonicalization is the process of converting data that has more than one possible representation into a "standard" canonical representation. This can be done to compare different representations for equivalence, to count the number of distinct data structures (e.g., in combinatorics), to improve the efficiency of various algorithms by eliminating repeated calculations, or to make it possible to impose a meaningful sorting order.” Source: Wikipedia
Click Fraud – Improper clicks on a PPC advertisement usually by the publisher or his minions for the purpose of undeserved profit. Click fraud is a huge issue for add agencies like Google, because it lowers advertiser confidence that they will get fair value for their add spend.
Click Through - When a user clicks on a hypertext link and is taken to the destination of that link
Click Through Rate (CTR) – The percentage of those clicking on a link out of the total number who see the link. For example, imagine 10 people do a web search. In response, they see links to a variety of web pages. Three of the 10 people all choose one particular link. That link then has a 30 percent click-through rate. Also called CTR. Source: Webmaster World Forums
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, which separate most of the mundane Webmaster tasks from content creation so that a publisher can be effective without acquiring or even understanding sophisticated coding skills if they so chose.
COA – Acronym for Cost of Acquisition, which is how much it costs to acquire a conversion (desired action), such as a sale.
Code Swapping – (bait and switch) Changing the content after high rankings are achieved.
Comment Spam – Posting blog comments for the purpose of generating an inlink to another site. The reason many blogs use link condoms.
Competitive Analysis – As used in SEO, CA is the assessment and analysis of strengths and weaknesses of competing web sites, including identifying traffic patterns, major traffic sources, and keyword selection.
Content – (text, copy) The part of a web page that is intended to have value for and be of interest to the user. Advertising, navigation, branding and boilerplate are not usually considered to be content.
Content Network – Also called Contextual Networks, content networks include Google and Yahoo! Contextual Search networks that serve paid search ads triggered by keywords related to the page content a user is viewing.
Contextual Advertisement – Advertising which is related to the content.
Contextual Network – Also called Content Ads and Content Network, contextual network ads are served on web site pages adjacent to content that contains the keywords being bid upon. Contextual ads are somewhat like traditional display ads placed in print media and, like traditional ad buys, are often purchased on the same CPM (cost per thousand impressions) model for purchased keywords, rather than a CPC basis
Contextual Search – A search that analyzes the page being viewed by a user and gives a list of related search results. Offered by Yahoo! and Google.
Contextual Search Campaigns – A paid placement search campaign that takes a search ad listing beyond search engine results pages and onto the sites of matched content web partners.
Conversion – (goal) Achievement of a quantifiable goal on a website. Add clicks, sign ups, and sales are examples of conversions.
Conversion Action – The desired action you want a visitor to take on your site. Includes purchase, subscription to the company newsletter, request for follow-up or more information (lead generation), download of a company free offer (research results, a video or a tool), subscription to company updates and news.
Conversion Rate – Percentage of users who convert - see conversion.
Copyright – Protection and ownership of works or expressions fixed in a tangible form, including words, art, images, sounds, and music. Copyright gives the owner the exclusive right to copy, display, license, or expand the work. Copyrights cover virtually any original expression; and the protection arises under common law as soon as the original expression is created (fixed in tangible form). However, proving ownership of the original expression may be difficult legally, unless the work was displayed or used publicly at a verifiable point in time.
CPA – Acronym for Cost Per Acquisition (sometimes called Cost Per Action), which is the total cost of an ad campaign divided by the number of conversions. For example, if a campaign cost $100 and resulted in 5 conversions, the CPA is $20 ($100 / 5). It cost $20 to generate one conversion.
CPC Cost Per Click - the rate that is paid per click for a Pay Per Click Advertiser
CPM (Cost Per Thousand impressions) A statistical metric used to quantify the average value / cost of Pay Per Click advertisements. M - from the Roman numeral for one thousand.
Crawler – (bot, spider) A program which moves through the worldwide web or a website by way of the link structure to gather data.
Creatives – Unique words, design and display of a paid-space advertisement. In paid search advertising, creative refers to the ad’s title (headline), description (text offer) and display URL (clickable link to advertiser’s web site landing page). Unique creative display includes word emphasis (boldfaced, italicized, in quotes), typeface style and, on some sites, added graphic images, logos, animation or video clips.
CTR – Acronym for Click-Through Rate, the number of clicks that an ad gets, divided by the total number of times that ad is displayed or served. (Represented as: total clicks / total impressions for a specific ad = CTR). For example, if an ad has 100 impressions and 6 clicks, the CTR is 6%. The higher the CTR, the more visitors your site is receiving; CTR also factors into you advertiser search engine Quality Score and, therefore, your minimum keyword bids on Tier I engines.
Custom Feed – Create custom feeds for each of the shopping engines that allow you to submit XML feeds. Each of the engines has different product categories and feed requirements.
Dayparting – The ability to specify different times of day – or day of week – for ad displays, as a way to target searchers more specifically. An option that limits serves of specified ads based on day and time factors.
Deep Linking – Linking that guides, directs and links a click-through searcher (or a search engine crawler) to a very specific and relevant product or category web page from search terms and PPC ads.
Description Tag – (Meta Description Tag) Refers to the information contained in the description META tag. This tag is meant to hold the brief description of the web page it is included on. The information contained in this tag is generally the description displayed immediately after the main link on many search engine result pages.
DHTML – Stands for Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language.
Directory A site devoted to directory pages. The Yahoo directory is an example.
Directory Page – A page of links to related WebPages.
Directory Search – Also known as a search directory. Refers to a directory of web sites contained in an engine that are categorized into topics. The main difference between a search directory and a search engine is in how the listings are obtained. A search directory relies on user input in order to categorize and include a web site. Additionally, a directory usually only includes higher-level pages of a domain.
Display URL – The web page URL that one actually sees in a PPC text ad. Display URL usually appears as the last line in the ad; it may be a simplified path for the longer actual URL, which is not visible.
Distribution Network – A network of web sites (content publishers, ISPs) or search engines and their partner sites on which paid ads can be distributed. The network receives advertisements from the host search engine, paid for with a CPC or CPM model. For example, Google’s advertising network includes not only the Google search site, but also searchers at AOL, Netscape and the New York Post online edition, among others.
DKI – Acronym for Dynamic Keyword Insertion, the insertion of the EXACT keywords a searcher included in his or her search request in the returned ad title or description. As an advertiser, you have bid on a table or cluster of these keyword variations, and DKI makes your ad listings more relevant to each searcher.
DMCA – Acronym for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. “The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law which….criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services that are used to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works (commonly known as DRM), and criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, even when there is no infringement of copyright itself. [Circumvention of controlled access includes unscrambling, copying, sharing, commercial recording or reverse engineering copyrighted entertainment or software.] It also heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.” Source: Wikipedia
Domain – Refers to a specific web site address.
Doorway Page – (gateway) A web page that is designed specifically to attract traffic from a search engine. A doorway page which redirects users (but not spiders) to another site or page is implementing cloaking. - Previous Definition revised based upon advice from Michael Martinez
Duplicate Content Obviously content which is similar or identical to that found on another website or page. A site may not be penalized for serving duplicate content but it will receive little if any Trust from the search engines compared to the content that the SE considers being the original.
Dynamic Landing Pages – Dynamic landing pages are web pages to which click-through searchers are sent that generate changeable (not static) pages with content specifically relevant to the keyword search. For example, if a user is looking for trucks, then a dynamic landing page with information and pictures on multiple models and, possibly, geographically localized dealerships might be served. The term truck would trigger a data dump into a web site template for all possible vehicles, that serves all truck-related information.
Dynamic Text (Insertion) – This is text, a keyword or ad copy that customizes search ads returned to a searcher by using parameters to insert the desired text somewhere in the title or ad. When the search query (for example, “hybrid cars”) matches the defined parameter (for example, all brands of electric/gasoline passenger cars AND SUVs), then the associated term (hybrid) is plugged into the ad. Dynamic insertion makes the ad mirror exact terms used in the search query, creating very relevant ads. See also DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion).
Ecommerce - Conducting commercial transactions on the internet where goods, information or services are bought and sold.
Ecommerce Site – A website devoted to retail sales.
Editorial Review Process – A review process for potential advertiser listings conducted by search engines, which check to ensure relevancy and compliance with the engine’s editorial policy. This process could be automated – using a spider to crawl ads – or it could be human editorial ad review. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. Not all PPC Search Engines review listings.
Entry Page – Refers to any page within a web site that a user employs to “enter” your web site. Also see Landing Page.
Eye Tracking Studies – Studies by Google, Marketing Sherpa and Poynter Institute using Eyetools technology to track the eye movements of web page readers, in order to understand reading and click-through patterns.
FAQ – Stands for “Frequently Asked Questions.”
Feed – Content which is delivered to the user via special websites or programs such as news aggregators.
FFA – (Free For All) A page or site with many outgoing links to unrelated websites, containing little if any unique content. Link farms are only intended for spiders, and have little if any value to human users, and thus are ignored or penalized by the search engines.
Feeds – A web document that is a shortened or updated (revised content only) version of a web page created for syndication. Usually served at user request, through subscription; also includes ad feeds to shopping engines and paid-inclusion ad models. Ad feeds are usually in Extensible Markup Language (XML) or Rich Site Summary (RSS) format.
Flash – “Flash technology has become a popular method for adding animation and interactivity to web pages; several software products, systems, and devices are able to create or display Flash. Flash is commonly used to create animation, advertisements, various web page components, to integrate video into web pages, and more recently, to develop rich internet applications.” Source: Wikipedia
Frames – a web page design where two or more documents appear on the same screen, each within it’s own frame. Frames are bad for SEO because spiders sometimes fail to correctly navigate them. Additionally, most users dislike frames because it is almost like having two tiny monitors neither of which shows a full page of information at one time.
Gateway Page – (doorway page) A web page that is designed to attract traffic from a search engine and then redirect it to another site or page. A doorway page is not exactly the same as cloaking but the effect is the same in that users and search engines are served different content.
Gadget see gizmo
Geo-Targeting – The geographic location of the searcher. Geo-targeting allows you to specify where your ads will or won’t be shown based on the searcher’s location, enabling more localized and personalized results.
Gizmo – (gadget, widget) small applications used on web pages to provide specific functions such as a hit counter or IP address display. Gizmos can make good link bait.
Google Bomb The combined effort of multiple webmasters to change the Google search results usually for humorous effect. The “miserable failure” - George Bush, and “greatest living American” - Steven Colbert Google bombs are famous examples.
Google Bowling Maliciously trying to lower a sites rank by sending it links from the “bad neighborhood” - Kind of like yelling “Good luck with that infection!” to your buddy as you get off the school bus - there is some controversy as to if this works or is just an SEO urban myth.
Google Dance The change in SERPs caused by an update of the Google database or algorithm. The cause of great angst and consternation for webmasters who slip in the SERPs. Or, the period of time during a Google index update when different data centers have different data.
Google Juice (trust, authority, pagerank) trust / authority from Google, which flows through outgoing links to other pages.
Googlebot Google’s spider program
G.U.I – Stands for “Graphical User Interface.” Means a visual representation of the functional code. Or, is a way for the average web user to interface with a database, program, etc.
GYM Google - Yahoo - Microsoft, the big three of search
.htaccess file – A file with one or more configuration directives placed in a web site document directory. The directives apply to that directory and all subdirectories.
Head Terms – Search terms that are short, popular and straightforward; e.g., "helicopter skiing." These short terms are called "head terms" based on a bell-curve distribution of keyword usage that displays the high numbers of most-used terms at the “head” end of the bell curve graph. See also Tail Terms.
Hidden text -- (Also known as Invisible text.) Text that is visible to the search engines but hidden to a user. It is traditionally accomplished by coloring a block of HTML text the same color as the background color of the page. More creative methods have also been employed to create the same effect while making it more difficult for the search engines to detect or filter it. It is primarily used for the purpose of including extra keywords in the page without distorting the aesthetics of the page. Most search engines penalize or ignore URLs from web sites that use this practice.HTTP – Stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol.”
HTTPS – Stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.”
HTTP Referrer Data – A program included in most web analytics packages that analyzes and reports the source of traffic to the user’s web site. The HTTP referrer allows webmasters, site owners and PPC advertisers to uncover new audiences or sites to target or to calculate conversions and ROI for future ad campaigns.
hit – Once the standard by which web traffic was often judged, but now a largely meaningless term replaced by pageviews AKA impressions. A hit happens each time that a server sends an object - documents, graphics, include files, etc. Thus one pageview could generate many hits.
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.
Hub – (expert page) a trusted page with high quality content that links out to related pages.
IFRAME – “IFrame (from inline frame) is an HTML element which makes it possible to embed another HTML document inside the main document. The size of the IFrame is specified in the surrounding HTML page, so that the surrounding page can already be presented in the browser while the IFrame is still being loaded. The IFrame behaves much like an inline image, and the user can scroll it out of view. On the other hand, the IFrame can contain its own scroll bar, independent of the surrounding page's scroll bar. Source: Wikipedia
Impression – (page view) The event where a user views a webpage one time.
In Bound Link – (inlink, incoming link) Inbound links from related pages are the source of trust and pagerank.
Index Noun - a database of WebPages and their content used by the search engines.
Index Verb - to add a web page to a search engine index.
Indexed Pages – The pages on a site which have been indexed.
Inlink – (incoming link, inbound link) Inbound links from related pages are the source of trust and pagerank.
IP Address – Abbreviation for Internet Protocol Address, a unique combination of numbers assigned to individual electronic devices or networks that communicate over the Internet. Basically, it’s a trackable address for any computer, and it can be used to localize results (see Geo-Targeting). Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) oversees global IP address allocation.
Keyword - A single word that relates to a specific subject or topic. For example, “glossary” would be a keyword for this document. See also Keyword Phrase.
Keyword - Key Phrase – The word or phrase that a user enters into a search engine.
Keyword Cannibalization – The excessive reuse of the same keyword on too many web pages within the same site. This practice makes it difficult for the users and the search engines to determine which page is most relevant for the keyword.
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 Phrase – Two or more keywords relating to a specific topic. For example, “Mind numbingly boring glossary” would be a keyword phrase to describe this document.
Keyword Stemming – To return to the root or stem of a word and build additional words by adding a prefix or suffix, or using pluralization. The word can expand in either direction and even add words, increasing the number of variable options.
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.Generally refers to the act of adding an inordinate number of keyword terms into the HTML or tags of a web page.
Keyword Tag - Refers to the META keywords tag within a web page. This tag is meant to hold approximately 8 – 10 keywords or keyword phrases, separated by commas. These phrases should be either misspellings of the main page topic, or terms that directly reflect the content on the page on which they appear. Keyword tags are sometimes used for internal search results as well as viewed by search engines.
Keyword Targeting – Displaying Pay Per Click search ads on publisher sites across the Web (see also Contextual Networks) that contain the keywords in a context advertiser’s Ad Group.
KPI, Key Performance Indicators -- KPI are metrics used to quantify objectives that reflect the strategic performance of your online marketing campaigns. They provide business and marketing intelligence to assess a measurable objective and the direction in which that objective is headed. (See Module 5, Lesson 2, for key definitions for general and SEO-specific KPIs.)
Landing Page – (Destination Page) the page that a user lands on when they click on a link in a SERP. When creating a PPC ad, the advertiser displays a URL (and specifies the exact page URL in the code) on which the searcher will land after clicking on an ad in the SERP. Landing pages are also known as “where the deal is closed,” as it is landing page actions that determine an advertiser’s conversion rate success.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) This mouthful just means that the search engines index commonly associated groups of words in a document. SEOs refer to these same groups of words as “Long Tail Searches”. The majority of searches consist of three or more words strung together. See also “long tail”. The significance is that it might be almost impossible to rank well for “mortgage”, but fairly easy to rank for “second mortgage to finance monster truck team”. Go figure.
Lead Generation – Web sites that generate leads for products or services offered by another company. On a lead generation site, the visitor is unable to make a purchase but will fill out a contact form in order to get more information about the product or service presented. A submitted contact form is considered a lead. It contains personal information about a visitor who has some degree of interest in a product or service.
Link – An element on a web page that can be clicked on to cause the browser to jump to another page or another part of the current page.
Lnk Bait – A webpage with the designed purpose of attracting incoming links, often mostly via social media.
Link Building – Actively cultivating incoming links to a site.
Link Condom – Any of several methods used to avoid passing link love to another page, or to avoid possible detrimental results of indorsing a bad site by way of an outgoing link, or to discourage link spam in user generated content.
Linkerati internet users who are the most productive targets of linkbait. The Linkerati includes - social taggers, forum posters, resource maintainers, bloggers and other content creators, etc - who are most likely to create incoming links or link generating traffic (in the case of social networkers). Suggested by lorisa.
Link Exchange – a reciprocal linking scheme often facilitated by a site devoted to directory pages. Link exchanges usually allow links to sites of low or no quality, and add no value themselves. Quality directories are usually human edited for quality assurance.
Link Farm – a group of sites which all link to each other.- Previous Definition revised based upon advice from Michael Martinez
Link Juice – (trust, authority, pagerank) – Link Love below
Link Love – An outgoing link, which passes trust, unencumbered by any kind of link condom.
Link Partner – (link exchange, reciprocal linking) Two sites which link to each other. Search engines usually don’t see these as high value links, because of the reciprocal nature.
Link Popularity – a measure of the value of a site based upon the number and quality of sites that link to it
Link Ppam – (Comment 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. Ideally all three will share some keywords in common.
Log File - All server software stores information about web site incoming and outgoing activities. Web log files function like the “black box” that records everything during an airplane’s flight. The log file is usually in the root directory but it may also be found in a secondary folder. If you do not have permission to access these files, then you will need the help of the server administrator.
Log File Analysis - The analysis of records stored in the log file. In its raw format, the data in the log files can be hard to read and overwhelming. There are numerous log file analyzers that convert log file data into user-friendly charts and graphs. A good analyzer is generally considered an essential tool in SEO because it can show search engine statistics such as the number of visitors received from each search engine, the keywords each visitors used to find the site, visits by search engine spiders etc.
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/
Long-tailed Keywords – Keyword phrases with at least 2 or 3 words in them.
LSI(Latent Semantic Indexing) – This mouthful just means that the search engines index commonly associated groups of words in a document. SEOs refer to these same groups of words as “Long Tail”. The majority of searches consist of three or more words strung together. See also “long tail”. The significance is that it might be almost impossible to rank well for “mortgage”, but fairly easy to rank for “second mortgage to finance monster truck team”
Mashup – A web page which consists primarily of single purpose software and other small programs (gizmos and gadgets) or possibly links to such programs. Mashups are quick and easy content to produce and are often popular with users, and can make good link bait. Tool collection pages are sometimes mashups.
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. A system of measures that helps to quantify particular characteristics. In SEO the following are some important metrics to measure: overall traffic, search engine traffic, conversions, top traffic-driving keywords, top conversion-driving keywords, keyword rankings, etc.
MFA Made For Adsense - websites that are designed from the ground up as a venue for advertisements. This is usually, but not always a bad thing. TV programming is usually MFA.
Minimum Bid – The least amount that an advertiser can bid for a keyword or keyword phrase and still be active on the search ad network. This amount can range from $0.01 to $0.50 (or more for highly competitive keywords), and are set by the search engine.
Mirror Site – An identical site at a different address.
Monetize – To extract income from a site. Adsense ads are an easy way to Monetize a website.
Natural Search Results – The search engine results which are not sponsored, or paid for in any way.
Negative Keywords – Filtered-out keywords to prevent ad serves on them in order to avoid irrelevant click-through charges on, for example, products that you do not sell, or to refine and narrow the targeting of your Ad Group’s keywords. Microsoft adCenter calls them "excluded keywords." Formatting negative keywords varies by search engine; but they are usually designated with a minus sign.
No Frames Tag - A tag used to describe the content of a frame to a user or engine which had trouble displaying / reading frames. Frequently misused and often referred to as “Poor mans cloaking”.
No Script Tag - The noscript element is used to define an alternate content (text) if a script is NOT executed. This tag is used for browsers that recognizes the <script> tag, but does not support the script in it.
Nofollow – A command found in either the HEAD section of a web page or within individual link code, which instructs robots to not follow either any links on the page or the specific link. A form of link condom.
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. A form of link condom.
Non Reciprocal Link – (one way links) 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.
Organic Results – Listings on SERPs that were not paid for; listings for which search engines do not sell space. Sites appear in organic (also called “natural”) results because a search engine has applied formulas (algorithms) to its search crawler index, combined with editorial decisions and content weighting, that it deems important enough inclusion without payment. Paid Inclusion Content is also often considered "organic" even though it is paid advertising because paid inclusion content usually appears on SERPs mixed with unpaid, organic results.
Organic Search Listings - Listings that search engines do not sell (unlike paid listings). Instead, sites appear solely because a search engine has deemed it editorially important for them to be included, regardless of payment. Paid Inclusion Content is also often considered "organic" even though it is paid for. This is because paid inclusion content usually appears intermixed with unpaid organic results.
Organic Search Rankings – Search engine ranking of web pages found in SERPs.
Outlink (Out going link)
Pagerank (PR) – a value between 0 and 1 assigned by the Google algorithm, which quantifies link popularity and trust among other (proprietary) factors. Often confused with Toolbar Pagerank. - Previous Definition revised based upon advice from Michael Martinez
Paid Inclusion – Refers to the process of paying a fee to a search engine in order to be included in that search engine or directory. Also known as “guaranteed inclusion.” Paid inclusion does not impact rankings of a web page; it merely guarantees that the web page itself will be included in the index. These programs were typically used by web sites that were not being fully crawled or were incapable of being crawled, due to dynamic URL structures, frames, etc.
Pay Per Call – A model of paid advertising similar to Pay Per Click (PPC), except advertisers pay for every phone call that comes to them from a search ad, rather than for every click-through to their web site landing page for the ad. Often higher cost than PPC advertising; but valued by advertisers for higher conversion rates from consumers who take the action step of telephoning an advertiser.
Pay Per Click (PPC) – A model of
pay for inclusion (PFI) The practice of charging a fee to include a website in a search engine or directory. While quite common, usually what is technically paid for is more rapid consideration to avoid Googles prohibition on paid links.
Portal – A web service which offers a wide array of features to entice users to make the portal their “home page” on the web. IGoogle, Yahoo, and MSN are portals.
Position – In PPC advertising, position is the placement on a search engine results page where your ad appears relative to other paid ads and to organic search results. Top ranking paid ads (high ranking 10 to 15 results, depending on the engine) usually appear at the top of the SERP and on the “right rail” (right-side column of the page). Ads appearing in the top three paid-ad or Sponsored Ad slots are known as Premium Positions. Paid search ad position is determined by confidential algorithms and Quality Score measures specific to each search engine. However, factors in the engines’ position placement under some advertiser control include bid price, the ad’s CTR, relevancy of your ad to searcher requests, relevance of your click-through landing page to the search request, and quality measures search engines calculate to ensure quality user experience.
PPA (Pay Per Action ) Very similar to Pay Per Click except publishers only get paid when click throughs 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.
PPC Advertising – Acronym for Pay-Per-Click Advertising, a model of online advertising in which advertisers pay only for each click on their ads that directs searchers to a specified landing page on the advertiser’s web site. PPC ads may get thousands of impressions (views or serves of the ad); but, unlike more traditional ad models billed on a CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions) basis, PPC advertisers only pay when their ad is clicked on. Charges per ad click-through are based on advertiser bids in hybrid ad space auctions and are influenced by competitor bids, competition for keywords and search engines’ proprietary quality measures of advertiser ad and landing page content.
PPC Management – The monitoring and maintenance of a Pay-Per-Click campaign or campaigns. This includes changing bid prices, expanding and refining keyword lists, editing ad copy, testing campaign components for cost effectiveness and successful conversions, and reviewing performance reports for reports to management and clients, as well as results to feed into future PPC campaign operations.
Proprietary Method – (bullshit, snake oil) sales term often used by SEO service providers to imply that they can do something unique to achieve “Top Ten Rankings”.
Quality Score – A number assigned by Google to paid ads in a hybrid auction that, together with maximum CPC, determines each ad’s rank and SERP position. Quality Scores reflect an ad’s historical CTR, keyword relevance, landing page relevance, and other factors proprietary to Google. Yahoo! refers to the Quality Score as a Quality Index. And both Google and Yahoo! display 3- or 5-step indicators of quality evaluations for individual advertisers.
Query – The keyword or keyword phrase a searcher enters into a search field, which initiates a search and results in a SERP with organic and paid listings.
Rank – How well positioned a particular web page or web site appears in search engine results. For example, if you rank at position #1, you’re the first listed paid or sponsored ad. If you’re in position #18, it is likely that your ad appears on the second or third page of search results, after 17 competitor paid ads and organic listings. Rank and position affect your click-through rates and, ultimately, conversion rates for your landing pages.
Raw Data Feed – Raw data is information that has been collected but not formatted, analyzed or processed. This raw data can be used to build an optimized XML feed.
Reciprocal Link – (link exchange, link partner) Two different sites that link out to each other. Search engines usually don’t see these as high value links, because of the reciprocal and potentially incestuous nature. Also referred to as Cross Linking.
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, or in the case of a doorway.
Regional Long Tail – (RLT) coined by Chris Paston of onlinedevelopment.co.uk - a multi word keyword term which contains a city or region name. Especially useful for the service industry.
Relative URL’s Link - Relative URLs link to just the file, for example, “page1.htm”. (See also Absolute URL’s link.)
Relevance – In relation to PPC advertising, relevance is a measure of how closely your ad title, description, and keywords are related to the search query and the searcher’s expectations.
Reverse DNS – A process to determine the hostname or host associated with an IP or host address.
Revshare / Revenue Sharing – A method of allocating per-click revenue to a site publisher, and click-through charges to a search engine that distributes paid-ads to its context network partners, for every page viewer who clicks on the content site’s sponsored ads. A type of site finder’s fee.
Rich Media – Media with embedded motion or interactivity. A growing option for PPC advertisers as rates of broadband connectivity increase.
Right Rail – The common name for the right-side column of a web page. On a SERP, right rail is usually where sponsored listings appear.
ROAS – Acronym for Return On Advertising Spending, the profit generated by ad campaign conversions per dollar spent on advertising expenses. Calculated by dividing advertising-driven profit by ad spending.
Robots.txt – a file in the root directory of a website use to restrict and control the behavior of search engine spiders.
ROI – Acronym for Return On Investment, the amount of money you make on your ads compared to the amount of money you spend on your ads. For example, if you spend $100 on PPC ads and make $150 from those ads, then your ROI would be 50%. (Calculated as: ($150 - $100) / 100 = $50 / 100 = 50%.) The higher your ROI, the more successful your advertising, although some practitioners in search advertising consider ROAS a more useful metric, as it breaks down cost and expenses by conversions per advertising dollar spent.
RSS (Really Simply Syndication, Rich Site Summary, RDF Site Summary) - A family of web feed formats used for distributing frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news, podcasts, and videos
RSS Aggregators – “A client software that uses web feed to retrieve syndicated web content such as blogs, podcasts, vlogs, and mainstream mass media websites, or in the case of a search aggregator, a customized set of search results….Such applications are also referred to as RSS readers, feed readers, feed aggregators, news readers or search aggregators. These have been recently supplemented by the so-called RSS-narrators [such as TalkingNews or Talkr] which not only aggregate news feeds but also converts them into podcasts.” Source: Wikipedia
Sandbox – There has been debate and speculation that Google puts all new sites into a “sandbox,” preventing them from ranking well for anything until a set period of time has passed. The existence or exact behavior of the sandbox is not universally accepted among SEOs.
Scrape – copying content from a site, often facilitated by automated bots. - Definition revised based upon advice from Michael Martinez
SE (Search Engine)
Search Engine – (SE) a program, which searches a document or group of documents for relevant matches of a users keyword phrase and returns a list of the most relevant matches. Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo search the entire internet for relevant matches.
Search Engine Spam – Pages created to cause search engines to deliver inappropriate or less relevant results. Search Engine Optimizers are sometimes unfairly perceived as search engine Spammers. Of course in some cases they actually are.
Search Query – The word or phrase a searcher types into a search field, which initiates search engine results page listings and PPC ad serves. In PPC advertising, the goal is to bid on keywords that closely match the search queries of the advertiser’s targets. See also Query.
SEM – Short for search engine marketing, SEM is often used to describe acts associated with researching, submitting and positioning a Web site within search engines to achieve maximum exposure of your Web site. SEM includes things such as search engine optimization, paid listings and other search-engine related services and functions that will increase exposure and traffic to your Web site.
SEO – Short for search engine optimization, the process of increasing the number of visitors to a Web site by achieving high rank in the search results of a search engine. The higher a Web site ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that users will visit the site. It is common practice for Internet users to not click past the first few pages of search results, therefore high rank in SERPs is essential for obtaining traffic for a site. SEO helps to ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be indexed and favorably ranked by the search engine.
SERP – Search Engine Results Page - the page delivered to a searcher that displays the results of a search query entered into the search field. Displays both paid ad (sponsored) and organic listings in varying positions or rank
Session Id’s – dynamic parameters, such as session IDs generated by cookies for each individual user. Session IDs cause search engines to see a different URL for each page each time that they return to re-crawl a web site.
Siloing – Siloing (also known as Theming) is a site architecture technique used to split the focus of a site into multiple themes. The goal behind siloing is to create a site that ranks well for both its common and more-targeted keywords. Source: Bruce Clay Newsletter 09/06
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.
Site-Targeted Ads – Site targeting lets advertisers display their ads on manually-selected sites in the search engine’s content network for content or contextual ad serves. Site-targeted ads are billed more like traditional display ads, per 1000 impressions (CPM), and not on a Pay-Per-Click basis.
SMWC (Slapping Myself With Celery) indicates an extreme reaction similar to a “spit take” but more vegan-trendy. Often combined with other exclamatory acronyms. - WTF/SMWC, or perhaps ROTFL/SMWC.
SMM (Social Media Marketing) Website or brand promotion through social media
SMP (Social Media Poisoning) A term coined by Rand Fishkin - any of several (possibly illegal) black hat techniques designed to implicate a competitor as a spammer - For example, blog comment spamming in the name / brand of a competitor
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 users bookmarks are aggregated for public access.
Social Media – Various online technologies used by people to share information and perspectives. Blogs, wikis, forums, social bookmarking, user reviews and rating sites (digg, reddit) are all examples of Social Media.
Social Media Marketing – (SMM) Website or brand promotion through social media
Social Media Poisoning – (SMP) A term coined by Rand Fishkin - any of several (possibly illegal) black hat techniques designed to implicate a competitor as a spammer - For example blog comment spamming in the name / brand of a competitor
Spam Ad Page – (SpamAd page) A Made For Adsense/Advertisement page which uses scraped or machine generated text for content, and has no real value to users other than the slight value of the adds. Spammers sometimes create sites with hundreds of these pages.
Spamdexing – Spamdexing or search engine spamming is the practice of deceptively modifying web pages to increase the chance of them being placed close to the beginning of search engine results, or to influence the category to which the page is assigned in a dishonest manner. - Wikipedia
Spammer – A person who uses spam to pursue a goal.
Spider – (bot, crawler) A specialized bot used by search engines to find and add web pages to their indexes.
Spider Trap – an endless loop of automatically generated links which can “trap” a spider program. Sometimes intentionally used to prevent automated scraping or e-mail address harvesting.
Splash Page – Often animated, graphics pages without significant textual content. Splash pages are intended to look flashy to humans, but without attention to SEO may look like dead ends to search engine spiders, which can only navigate through text links. Poorly executed splash pages may be bad for SEO and often a pain in the ass for users. - Definition revised based upon advice from Michael Martinez
Splog – pam Blog which usually contains little if any value to humans, and is often machine generated or made up of scraped content.
Sponsored Listing – A term used as a title or column head on SERPs to identify paid advertisers and distinguish between paid and organic listings. Alternate names are Paid Listings or Paid Sponsors. Separating paid listings from organic results enables searchers to make their own purchase and site trust decisions and, in fact, resulted from an FTC complaint filed by Commercial Alert in 2001 alleging that the confusion caused in consumers who saw mixed paid and unpaid results constituted fraud in advertising.
Static Page – A web page without dynamic content or variables such as session IDs in the URL. Static pages are good for SEO work in that they are friendly to search engine spiders.
Stickiness –Website elements that entice users to stay on the site longer, view more pages and return loyally improve the sites “stickiness”.
Stop Word – A word that often appears in a page’s copy or content, but it has no significance by itself. Examples of stop words are: and, the, of, etc.
Submission - The act of submitting a web site to search engines and search directories. For some search engines, this is performed simply by typing in the absolute home page URL of the web site you wish to submit. Other engines and directories request that descriptions of the web site be submitted for approval.
Supplemental Index – (supplemental results) Pages with very low pagerank, which are still relevant to a search query, often appear in the SERPs with a label of Supplemental Result. Googles representative’s say that this is not indicative of a penalty, only low pagerank. - Previous Definition revised based upon advice from Michael Martinez
Targeting – Narrowly focusing ads and keywords to attract a specific, marketing-profiled searcher and potential customer. You can target to geographic locations (geo-targeting), by days of the week or time of day (dayparting), or by gender and age (demographic targeting). Targeting features vary by search engine. Newer ad techniques and software focus on behavioral targeting, based on web activity and behaviors that are predictive for potential customers who might be more receptive to particular ads.
Text Link – A plain HTML link that does not involve graphic or special code such as flash or java script.
Themes - A theme is an overall idea of what a web page is focused on. Search engines determine the theme of a web page through analysis in the algorithm of the density of associated words on a page.
Time On Page – The amount of time that a user spends on one page before clicking off. An indication of quality and relevance.
Toolbar Pagerank – (PR) a value between 0 and 10 assigned by the Google algorithm, which quantifies page importance and is not the same as pagerank. Toolbar Pagerank is only updated a few times a year, and is not a reliable indicator of current status. Often confused with Pagerank. - Definition added based upon advice from Michael Martinez
Top level Directory (TLD) -
Trust Rank – a method of differentiating between valuable pages and spam by quantifying link relationships from trusted human evaluated seed pages.
Unique Visitor – Identifies an actual web surfer (as opposed to a crawler) and is tracked by a unique identifiable quality (typically IP address). If a visitor comes to a web site and clicks on 100 links, it is still only counted as one unique visit.
URL – Uniform Resource Locator - AKA Web Address
Usability – This term refers to how "user friendly" a web site and its functions are. A site with good usability is a site that makes it easy for visitors to find the information they are looking for or to perform the action they desire. Bad usability is anything that causes confusion or problems for the user. For example, large Flash animations served to a visitor with a dial up connection causes poor usability. Easy, intuitive navigation and clear, informative text enhance usability.
User Generated Content – (UGC) Social Media, wikis, Folksonomies, and some blogs rely heavily on User Generated Content. One could say that Google is exploiting the entire web as UGC for an advertising venue.
Value Propositions – “A customer value proposition is the sum total of benefits a customer is promised to receive in return for his or her custom and the associated payment (or other value transfer).“ A customer value proposition is what is promised by a company's marketing and sales efforts, and then fulfilled by its delivery and customer service processes.” Source: Wikipedia
Vertical Creep – Positioning trends when vertical listings appear at the top of organic search engine results and below top sponsored listings (when they are displayed on the SERP).
Vertical Portal / Vortal – Search engines that focus on a specific industry or sector. Such vertical search engines (also called “vortals”) have much more specific indexes and provide narrower and more focused search results than the Tier I search engines.
Verticals – A vertical is a specific business group or category, such as insurance, automotive or travel. Vertical search offers targeted search options and PPC opportunities to a specific business category.
Viral Marketing – Also called viral advertising, viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness. The awareness increases are the result of self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can often be word-of-mouth delivered and enhanced online; it can also harness the network effect of the internet and can be very useful in reaching a large number of people rapidly. Source: Wikipedia
Walled Garden – a group of pages which link to each other, but are not linked to by any other pages. A walled garden can still be indexed if it is included in a sitemap, but it will probably have very low pagerank.
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 – 1) (gadget, gizmo) 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. 2) a term borrowed from economics which means “any product or commodity.”
Web Server Logs – Most web server software, and all good web analytics packages, keep a running count of all search terms used by visitors to your site. These running counts are kept in large text files called Log Files or Web Server Logs. Useful for developing and refining PPC campaign keyword lists.
Web TV – Television set-top boxes that allow users to browse the Internet from their televisions without a computer system. Perennial future opportunity as new PPC ad channel offering the option to use rich media formats.
Wiki -- Software that allows people to contribute knowledge on a particular topic. A wiki is another web publishing platform that makes use of technologies similar to blogs and also allows for collaboration with multiple people.
Wikipedia – “Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers; its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the web site.” Source: Wikipedia
Word Count - The total number of words contained within a web document.
XML – Stands for “Extensible Markup Language,” a data delivery language.
XML Feeds – A form of paid inclusion in which a search engine is fed information about an advertiser’s web pages via XML, rather than requiring that the engine gather that information through crawling actual pages. Marketers pay to have their pages included in a spider-based search index based on an XML format document that represents each page on the advertiser site. Advertisers pay either annually per URL or on a CPC basis – and are assured of frequent crawl cycles. New media types are being introduced into paid inclusion, including graphics, video, audio, and rich media.
XML Maps - XML maps are specially formatted links to your pages. They will never replace the need for HTML site maps.
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