This SEO glossary comprises the most important jargon you will be encountered with in the realm of search engine optimisation and related efforts.
SEO, like any specialized area, has unique set of terminology, definitions, and abbreviations. I have tried to include only those terms that can be viewed as relatively important to a general understanding or organic search engine optimisation. Any one of these terms could merit a lengthy article by itself and I have linked to pertinent resources where appropriate but for the purposes of this glossary I’ve tried to explain each concept as concisely as possible. That is this is a list of definitions not topics.
Table of Contents
Content on a website before you scroll.
Program a search engine uses to rank web pages.
Changes to the program a search engine uses to rank web pages.
HTML code to understand the contents of an image.
Tracking what has happened on your websites with regards to users who visit it.
The words on a hypertext link.
A domain’s strength in terms of algorithmic reputation.
A link from another web page to a web page on your website.
A program where the inputs and the outputs are known but the way the outputs are reached is unknown.
Tactics that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Content published in chronological order.
How many people visit a web page and then leave without visiting any other pages on a websites out of 100 who visit.
Software a search engine uses to read the contents of the internet automatically.
When a user’s query includes an exact match, or variation, of a company or brand name.
A link that brings up a 404 error message.
Temporarily stores content to reduce future page loading times.
A snapshot of a webpage when it was crawled.
An HTML code element that states a preferred website URL to avoid duplicate content.
Country-code top-level domain.
Content that is designed to entice people to click, typically by overpromising or being intentionally misleading in headlines, so publishers can earn advertising revenue.
How many people click on your search result out of 100 who could have done so.
Showing different content or URLs to people and search engines.
Content Management System.
Words, images, videos, or sounds that convey information.
“Content is King”
Content is requiredfor you to have SEO success.
When a user does what your want them to do.
How many times a user does what you want them to do out of every 100 times a user visits.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Increasing the number and/or quality of conversions.
The extent to which a relationship exists between two or more elements. Usually given in the form of the Pearson correlation coefficient where 0 means there is no correlation or relationship at all between two elements and 1 means that both variables move in the same direction together. A correlation of -1 would mean that as one variable goes up, the other goes down.
A program search engines use to read the internet.
How search engine bots read the internet.
A link pointing to a non-home page page of a website.
Removal from the Index.
Directory/Web Directory/Link Directory
A list of websites, usually separated into categories.
A way to tell Google to disregard an inbound link.
A link that doesn’t use the “nofollow” attribute.
A website address.
The overall algorithmic strength of a website.
A search engine with a focus on user privacy.
When a significant amount of content contained on one webpage matches, or is incredibly similar to, content that exists elsewhere on the same website or a completely different website.
The amount of time that elapses between when a user clicks on a search result and then returns to the SERP from a website.
The buying and selling of products, all conducted online.
A link that is given by one website to another out of free will (merit).
Methods to measure how users are interact with webpages.
Link to a webpage on a website other than your own.
When for who/what/where/when/why/how queries Google shows a special box above the main search results.
Links at the bottom of a website.
Program to track traffic.
Google Search Console
Program that allows you to know how Google is crawling, indexing and serving your website in search results.
Google Webmaster Guidelines
Google’s best practices guidelines.
Mix of ethical and on the edge of unethical SEO tactics.
Heading tags (H1-H6) separate content into sections.
An H1 tag.
Head Term/Head Keyword/Short-Tail
A popular keyword.
Any text that can’t be seen by a user.
The front page of a website.
A server configuration file that can be used to rewrite and redirect URLs.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure uses a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to encrypt data transferred between a website and web browser.
The database search engines use to store and retrieve information gathered during the crawling process.
How easily a search engine bot can understand and add a webpage to its index.
A web page that has been crawled and indexed by a search engine and is qualified to be listed in a search engine results page.
How a website is organized and where various content and navigational elements are located on webpages.
Link to a webpage on the same website.
Internet Protocol Address.
The word, words, or phrase that you seek to rank in search results for..
When multiple pages from a website rank for the same search term.
Finding topics, subjects, and terms searchers are likely to perform searches for in the future.
Repeating keywords more than is needed to try to rank for that keyword.
Key Performance Indicator.
The web page where a user enters your website.
A person expresses an interest in discussing a purchase of goods or services.
Content that entices links from other websites.
Accruing links to a website.
The value of a link algorithmically.
Outdated spam tactic where a group of websites link to each other.
Every link pointing to a website.
Speed with which a website gets inbound links.
Less popular keywords that are more specific.
A Google penalty.
A tag to describe what a webpage is about.
A meta tag that tells search engines bots not to follow a specific outbound link.
A meta tag that tells search engines not to index a webpage.
Brand awareness that takes place outside of a website.
Publishing relevant, quality content along with optimizing HTML code, information architecture, website navigation, and URL structure.
Merit based search.
A link that directs visitors to a page on a different website than the one they are currently on.
How long a webpage takes to load completely.
A webpage is loaded in a browser.
Pay-per-click advertisements that appear above (and often below) the organic results on search engines.
Portable Document Format.
When search engines use search history, web browsing history, location, and relationships to create a set of search results tailored to a specific user.
Hypertext Preprocessor is a scripting language used to create dynamic content on webpages.
Query Deserves Freshness.
Content that helps you successfully achieve business or marketing goals (e.g., driving organic traffic or social shares, earning top search rankings, generating leads/sales).
An inbound link that originates from an authoritative, relevant, or trusted website.
Query or Search
What a person types into a search engine.
Where a webpage appears within the organic search results for a specific query.
A single factor that is part of the several hundred ranking factors that makes up the Google algorithm.
When two websites agree to exchange links to one another.
Sends a user who requested one webpage to a different webpage.
The process of asking a search engine to return a website or webpage(s) to its search index after de-indexing.
A way search engines measure how closely connected the content of a webpage is aligned to match the context of a search query.
A website that automatically adapts to a user’s screen size.
Structured data added to the HTML of a website to provide contextual information to search engines.
Robots Exclusion Protocol.
Microdata which creates an enhanced description for search engines.
A program that allows users to enter a query in order to retrieve information.
Search Engine Marketing
SEO & PPC.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The process of optimizing a website for the purposes of heightened search engine visibility & traction.
Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
The page a search engine returns after a user submits a search query.
Search History/Browsing History
What you have searched for in the past.
Algorithmically-selected links that appear below the listing for the same website of a #1 ranked search result.
A list of pages on a website.
A link that appears on all pages of a website.
Factors that infer authority and influence on social media.
Used for website identity authentication and to encrypt information sent to the server.
A separate section that exists within a domain.
Organizing and categorizing a website.
Time on Page
How long a user spent looking at a webpage.
Tag used as the title of a webpage.
Top-Level Domain (TLD)/gTLD (Generic Top-Level Domain)/Domain Extension
The extension of a web address.
People who visit a website.
A link analysis method to find reputable web pages.
Content created by users.
When search engines pull display images, videos, news, shopping, and other types of results.
Any link Google regards as suspicious, deceptive, or manipulative.
Uniform Resource Locator.
URL Parameter/Query String
Characters added to a URL to track where traffic originated.
Ease with which people can use your website.
How well your website services user needs and expectations.
The prominence of a website within organic search results.
Voice-activated technology that lets users conduct an online search.
A document on the World Wide Web and can be viewed by web browsers.
A collection of webpages hosted together on the World Wide Web.
Website Navigation/Internal Links/Site Architecture
How a website connects its webpages to help users navigate efficiently around the site.
Any methods that exist solely to deceive or manipulate search engine algorithms and/or users.
Tactics that comply with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
The total number of words that appear within the copy of content. Too little (or thin) content can be a signal of low-quality to search engines.
A popular blogging and content management system.
Extensible Markup Language.