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Local SEO Glossary

Terminology used within the local SEO space. This Local SEO glossary also covers the more common SEO terms, if you come across something you don’t understand and we have not listed, reach out to us and we will add it to the list with an explanation for you.

200 – 404


Status OK, meaning the page was properly found and loaded in the browser.


Moved Permanently, preferably used to redirect pages or websites.


Found, but temporarily at another URL.


File not found.


Above the Fold

This refers to the content that readers see before scrolling. Sometimes, it can also refer to the top ad space.

Absolute Link

This shows the entire URL of the page being linked. Relative links, on the other hand, use shorter versions of the URL address. Because relative links are more prone to being hacked, using an absolute link is the preferred method.

Activity Bias

Activity bias is the act of advertising in certain areas, or websites, where people are more likely to be drawn. One example of activity bias would be advertising vitamin supplements on a health website. All in all, advertising primarily relies on location.


AdCenter, now called Bing Ads, is a pay-per-click service with a bunch of different cool features, including day parting and demographic based bidding. Compared to Google Adwords, adCenter is actually pretty new and recent. As a result, most of adCenter’s prices are relatively low.


This is Google’s advertising network that allows all sizes of publishers to post advertisements near content and share the click profits with Google. Also known as Google AdWords and now re-branded to Google Ads.

Affiliate Marketing

These kinds of programs let merchants expand their reach and paying agents a commission for every sale.


Some search systems take user account age, site age and page age into consideration to determine trust in the website.


Short for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, this is a technique in which pages can request more data without loading a new page.


Owned by Amazon, this is a service that measures the level of traffic a site receives. It is a free website, though very biased toward marketing communities.

Alt Attribute

Major search engines cannot distinguish images, so using an alt attribute helps them understand the purpose of an image by describing the image through text.


This is software that permits you to track page views and other statistics through a JavaScript tracking code within your website. It also lets users track user action, which provides a major advantage. Most importantly, analytics allow marketers to make more informed decisions on their business and ultimately growth.

Anchor Text

An anchor text is the visible text used to follow out to a link, which is usually highlighted. Using anchor text on a website can dramatically improve SEO. However, using over optimised anchor text will attract unwanted attention from search engines. In this case, the excess anchor text is either filtered or discounted entirely.


Short for Application Program Interface, this is a series of routines required to access software functions.

Google My Business API

Google API Client ID


Short for Active Server Pages, this is a dynamic language for Microsoft.


A domain’s ability to rank high in search engines.


These are trusted sites with experts discussing their knowledge.

Automated Bid Management Software

PPC engines become more complex every day, so to help cope with this, developers have authored software to make it easier to control how much you spend.



See inbound link.

Bait and Switch

Bait and switch is the act of attracting customers by advertising really low prices, then encouraging the person to buy more expensive items, goods or services. This is a very common practice throughout the entire business world. Another effective method is to link to information websites rather than commercial, as people are more attracted to them.

Bait and switch can also be used with business pages, where a business page takes calls but then farms the service out to a different business, also known as Lead Generators.

Banner Blindness

Businesses used to be based on eyes rather than value, so ads were irrelevant as users ignored common ones, or banner blindness. Banner blindness can also be applied to websites / business sites that have a scrolling banner above the fold, it may show several slides about the business, ultimately this is what users are becoming blind to.

Behavioural Targeting

This is targeting ads based on recent experience. Once you have clicked onto a specific site that uses cookies with re-targeting engaged, their specific ads will follow you around online, popping up on other sites. They last for a set amount of time, before the targeting expires.


When it comes to SEO terminology, bias refers to the behaviour of search engines. For the most part, search engines are geared toward giving better content to people. Therefore, non commercial websites, such as informational websites, will typically receive better prominence. Search engines also prefer websites that have been around and are well sited.

Black Hat SEO

Any marketing strategy that search engines find deceptive is considered black hat SEO. It’s also important to note that the guidelines change rather frequently, so it’s important to remain updated. The hands down most effective, long terms business strategy is to stay away from tempting quick routes that will have a short term impact.

Block Level Analysis

This is a process that breaks down a web page into smaller segments, or blocks. Not only does this make it easier for search engines to analyze, but it helps the engines distinguish between content that’s either page or navigational specific, along with many other things.


This is a journal / news updated periodically formatted in reverse order, chronologically. These are often personal and are very authoritative as many websites tend to link to them. This gives people reason to return and click through interesting links. Blogs are also a great way for local business to enhance their location and service by providing localised content.

Blog Comment Spam

Because comments on a blog, or any site for that matter, can be used for links, people try to take advantage and post comments for links. This spam commenting can be done either manually or automatically. The latter method requires software. If you have a comment system on a local business website, I would recommend removing or turning off.


Owned by Google, this is a free blogging platform either through a subdomain or your own domain. Avoid a subdomain if you are serious about marketing.


This is a blog’s link list, often linking to other blogs by the blog.


Bloggers use bold font to throw out words to skimming readers, and some search engines consider these words to have slightly more weight to them. All the sections in this local SEO glossary are in bold.


Most browsers let you bookmark a page, and many Web services allow you to share these resources. Browsers, including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla and Firefox, have this bookmark feature. Bookmarks help people be more productive through better organisation.


This is the response associated with a company or its products.

Brand Page

Brand pages are used, well by brands, that typically don’t have a single bricks and mortar premises. They could have thousands or none. Brand pages are not connected to Google maps and they don’t produce a knowledge panel in search like a business page would.

Branded Keywords

These are the keywords associated with a brand

Breadcrumb Navigation

This is a technique used for search engines to understand page relationship. Home >> Category >> Product / Service

Broken Link

This is a hyperlink that is not functioning as desired as it does not go to the desired location. This can be due to misspelling or a missing page.


What you use to view websites.

Business Directory

Business directories are listing of business and details, either by category, location or speciality. Local business directories are the easiest starting point for business citations.
UK Business Directories

Business Page

A Google business page is used for a business with a physical address that customers can visit in person during the stated business hours. The business page will appear in Maps, local pack and provide a knowledge panel for the business name in search.

Create a Google Business Page

Buying Cycle

Prior to purchasing something, consumers research what products best fit their needs. Keyword marketing can help you reach them at any point within this cycle.



Search engines store this copy of a website. When you search for something, you are actually searching this index.

Canonical URL

Content management systems have errors that cause duplicates to become indexed under different URLs, such as having the “www” in and away from the URL.


Short for Common Gateway Interface. This adds interactivity to a site.


A citation is essentially a business profile of some description on a website other than your own. Typically they will appear on business directory type websites. They may be paid citations or free ones. Each citation will consist of at least the business name, address, contact details and, more often than not, a link to the official business website.

Business Citations for Local SEO


This is when one displays different content to searchers and to search engines. Penalty waiting to happen


Search result listings can be grouped together to appear more organised and ensure that top results are diverse. This can also refer to search engines grouping authorities to enhance value by showing relationships.


Content Management System like WordPress.


In some algorithms, links that appear near another one may be considered related.


Blogs and other CMS permit users to leave feedback in the form of comments.

Comments Tag

Some developers put comments in the source code to make it easier to learn which block of code is designed to perform certain tasks. In the past, marketers put keywords here to boost traffic, but this method is obsolete.

Conceptual Links

These are links that search engines try to understand based just on the words within them. Some advanced search engines try to match the text words to a word set, and co-citation can be taken into consideration as well.

Concept Search

This is a search that tries to match results with the query concept rather than the words themselves.

Contextual Advertising

Programs tend to generate advertisements based on a Web page content. The most popular example is Google AdWords.


It is easy to track online advertising, and conversions are reached when completing a desired goal, such as making a sale or filling out a survey, or calling the business from the website.


These are the legal rights to publish certain content.


This is a small data file stored on a user’s machine, used to customise his experience and track conversions for affiliates.


Short for Cost Per Action, this is a measure of how effective some online advertising campaigns are. This can be clicking an ad or buying a product.


Short for Cost Per click, many ads are sold based on a price per click.


Short for Cost Per Thousand Ad Impressions, this is used to measure how much potential a website has.

Crawl Depth

This refers to how deeply a website is crawled and indexed by a search engine bot

Crawl Frequency

This refers to how often a website is trawled by a search engine bot


Short for Cascading Style Sheets, this is a method of giving documents a style.


Short for Click through Rate, this is the percentage of people who click viewed ads or pages in a site, which works to see how relevant a keyword is.


Day Parting

This is when you turn your ad campaigns off or on, change the price of an ad bid or any kind of constraints on the budget based on when the audience is available and will not be available.

Dead Link

When a link no longer functions.

Deep Link

When a link goes to an internal page in a website.


Top Level Link:

Local SEO

Deep Link:

Local SEO Glossary

Dedicated Server

Servers limited to serving one website.

Deep Link Ratio

The number of links pointing to an internal page versus to a home page, also called internal linking.


Being removed from a search engine whether temporarily or permanently, also called de-indexed.


These are the characteristics that define parts of a websites global audience


Search engines give a small snippet of words to bring context to the title of a result, also known as a meta description.


This is a catalogue of websites often organised by topic.


Owned by AOL and run by volunteers, this is the Open Directory Project.


Either Domain Name System or Domain Name Server, which is a mechanism used to resolve a name to a TCP/IP address.

Doorway Pages

These are designed to rank high in search queries. Can get you Penalised


A popular program for developing websites.

Duplicate Content

Content that is the same or very similar to other content. Search engines do not want multiple versions of the same content and will not list duplicate content. Google Panda specifically targets duplicate, thin content and will filter these from search results.

Dynamic Content

This is content that changes over time or uses a language like PHP to render it. Search engines still are behind on playing nice with these, so consider rewriting the URLs to mask the dynamics.

Dynamic Language

ASP, PHP and other languages that quickly build Web pages on demand.


Earnings Per Click

This is how much money you make for every click on an ad. A lot of business don’t calculate this when embarking on Ads and as a result can actually loose money when advertising.

Editorial Link

Search engines consider links to be votes of quality, counting these links over others.


HTML tag that italicises text for emphasis.

Entry Page

This is the first page that a person sees when they visit a website. For a large majority of websites, this is also called the home page. A website’s choice of entry page can make all the difference when it comes to relevance and the user finding the site/page useful. Can also be referred to as a splash page.

Ethical SEO

The opposite of black hat SEO, this is avoiding using techniques that search engines consider to be exploitative and unethical. Can also be called White Hat SEO.


Search engines update all the time, and Google refers to this as everflux. If you are using a rank tracker you will notice that there are always slight variations in your positions.

Expert Document

This is a high quality page that links to other resources that are not affiliates of their own purposes.

External Link

Any link pointing a different domain.


Fair Use

The exceptions listed under Creative Commons or Copyright without first asking permission to post something.


The icon beside a URL.


Many CMS like blogs let readers subscribe to receive notifications of new posts.

Feed Reader

This is software used to read a feed.


Short for Free For All, these are pages where anybody can post links.


Some activities make a site look unnatural, which cause them to be removed from search results. They may do this by either decreasing their relevance for a search query or removing them all together.


A popular Web browser, typically used by apple and IOS systems.


Animation software based on vector graphics that makes it easier to make a website look interactive. Please don’t use this, search engines can’t read it.

Forward Links

See outbound links.


Created by Netscape, this displays smaller pages on one display for consistent site navigation. However, it’s difficult to link where necessary.

Fresh Content

This is dynamic content that lets readers come back later to see new posts. Or it can be content that has recently been published.


Short for File Transfer Protocol, it helps to transfer data between servers and computers.



Google Advertising Professional, or marketers proficient with AdWords. Now called Google Partners


The leading search engine when it comes to reaching the most users.

Google Bot

The search engine spider Google uses.

Google Base

A free database of information Google created.

Google Bombing

Pointing thousands of links to a page to make it rank well.

Google Bowling

Pointing thousands of links to knock out a competitor out of ranking. Now called negative SEO

Google Checkout

Google’s payment service.

Google Dance

This refers to back when Google updated their algorithms and SERPs fluctuate.

Google Keyword Tool

A research tool Google provides to estimate keyword competition.

Google OneBox

This is part of a results page that Google sometimes uses to display search from News, Base and other services. Google is also using this to display featured snippets that answers a question.

Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool

This allows you to test whether you have correctly installed rich snippets or schema markup:

Google Sitemaps

Webmasters use this to help Google index a website. Sitemaps should also be submitted to the attached sites Google Search Console to keep Google up to day with a sites pages.

Google Sitelinks

Google thinks one result may be more relevant than others, so it links several deep links at the top of the results page.

Google Supplemental Index

This is an index storing sites with low trust scores.

Google Traffic Estimator

This is a tool that estimates traffic based on a keyword or search term per the price you budget for a click

Google Trends

This is a tool that shows how a keyword changes over time.

Google Webmaster Guidelines

Google provides guidelines to best practice and what to avoid.

Google Website Optimiser

A free platform where AdWords advertisers can improve conversion rates.



This briefly describes the nature of the content it precedes.


The title of an article.

Hidden Text

This was a popular SEO technique to show text to spiders that humans do not see. Possible penalty waiting to happen, do not try this.


This is an algorithm ranking based on relevancy scores.


Making a search engine think there is another website at your URL through 302 redirects. In local SEO this is typically when a Google Business Listing gets hijacked and the tel number and or the url is changed.

Home Page

The main website page that is generally the easiest to rank in a search engine results page. In local SEO there are certain best practices which will help position a sites pages.

Search Ranking Factors for Local SEO


See server.


A configuration file that can be used to redirect or password protect files.


HyperText Markup Language with which pages are created.


HyperText Transfer Protocol which is used to communicate between browsers and servers. It is now recommended that websites use HTTPS which is a secure hypettext transfer protocol.


Sites that link to trusted sites within the community.



Short for Inverse Document Frequency.

Inbound Link

An inbound link is simply a link that directs users from one website to another. Inbound links are highly effective at increasing a pages value due to the fact that these links connect websites with one another. In other words, two or more websites linked with each other are likely to share some of the same traffic.

Internal Link

A link that goes from one page on a site to another on the same site.

Information Architecture

Structuring content in a useful way.

Information Retrieval

Science based on sorting large data sets for information.

Internal Navigation

See navigation.

Internet Explorer

The Web browser by Microsoft. Yes people still use this, just check your referral traffic in Analytics

IP Address

Internet Protocol Address; every computer on the Internet has one, and some servers have unique ones as well.


Internet Service Provider.



JavaScript is a well-known computer language that can be embedded into documents such as html. Believe it or not, a majority of search engines don’t index in this language. Google has only recently become confident in reading JS and now asks webmaster to allow their JS to be crawl-able.



A phrase that people may search for to retrieve a certain sector of websites that offer this information. They’re included in just about every web page as well. Search engine algorithms are now starting to become wiser, focusing primarily on content and understanding the actual words and meaning of a web page.

Keyword Density

A former measure of relevancy on how frequently keywords appear in content.

Keyword Funnel

The relationship between keywords.

Keyword Research

Discovering relevant keywords to focus SEO campaigns.

Keyword Stuffing

Excessively putting too much of the same keyword in one piece of content.

Knowledge Panel

The business knowledge panel is created from information extracted from a Google business page, which gets displayed in search results for the businesses name and in some cases for service related search terms.

Evolution of the Knowledge Panel


Landing Page

The linked destination to a page or ad. A landing page has a huge impact on their overall conversion rate because is the primary page that’ll grab the users attention.

Landing Page Quality Scores

Google’s measure to filter noisy ads.


Citing one document to another document.

Link Baiting

Targeting an audience and provoking them to provide a high quality link to your website.

Link Building

Building high quality data for search engines to trust your website and consider it authoritative.

Link Bursts

Rapidly increasing the number of links pointing to one domain.

Link Churn

The rate at which a website loses pointed links.

Link Equity

A measure of the strength of a website based on link popularity.

Link Farm

Website that offers no editorial control when linking elsewhere. A manual penalty waiting to happen.

Log Files

Files on a server that log where traffic comes in and what search terms are used.

Link Hoarding

Trying to retain link popularity by not linking out.

Link Popularity

Quantity of links pointing at a site.

Link Reputation

Quality of links pointing at a site.

Link Rot

Measuring what percent of the links of a website are broken.

Local SEO

Local SEO is driven by the same ideas and practices as traditional SEO with a vital difference being the businesses location or the area that the business serves.

What is local SEO?

Long Tail

This is a more detailed search term rather then a generic one, it can include three words or more, example : Local SEO Consultant


Manual Review

Search engines make manual reviews to catch spam and test algorithms.


Used to refer to viral ideas.

Meta Description

One or two sentences that briefly describe a page’s content in 160 characters. Like a landing page, the meta description plays a major role if whether or not a person clicks on the website link.

Meta Keywords

A tag that can highlight targeted keywords. These are no longer used by search engines within its algorithm.

Meta Refresh

A tag used to refresh to another URL.

Meta Search

An engine that pulls top results and rearranges them.

Meta Tags

Meta title, descriptions, keywords.


Measuring how many people think of your product.

Mirror Site

Site mirroring another site.

Multi Dimensional Scaling

Taking snapshots of documents for indexing.


Natural Language Processing

Algorithms attempting to understand a search query

Natural Link

See editorial link.

Natural Search

See organic search results


Scheme helping users understand where they are within a website. This could be drop down navigation, breadcrumbs of product lists on page.


Niche describes the primary topic that a website focuses on, whether it be sports, cars or anything else. However, a niche can usually be broken down into smaller sub-categories, including search marketing, privacy, legal issues and other things of the like.


An attribute preventing a link from passing link authority.

Negative SEO

The basic premise of Negative SEO is to point links at a competitor’s website. Then allow Googles own algorithm to penalise the website for low quality, “paid for” links.



The effort in creating a schema of a domain.

Open Source

Software that can be modified freely.

Organic Search Results

Search engines have paid and unpaid listings, the latter of which are organic search results.

Outbound Link

Linking from one website to an external one.

Overture Keyword Selector Tool

Keyword research tool that uses Yahoo statistics.


Page Rank

A page rank basically measures the importance of different websites pages. This is an internal process with Google. The old Page Rank toolbar that Google used to display for sites has been depreciated and no longer exists.

Page Title

See title.

Paid Inclusion

A way to let websites buy exposure after passing editorial quality.

Paid Link

See text link ads.

Pay For Performance

A structure of payment where workers receive commission to have others perform actions.


Search engines stop spamming websites from ranking high by penalising them. This is what a link penalty looks like.


Altering results based on history or location.


PHP Hypertext Pre-processor used to render sites or add interactivity.

Poison Word

Words generally considered to be part of low quality content.


Portable Document Format, a universal file format by Adobe that lets files be viewed as printer-friendly content.


Pay Per Click is a pricing model that only charges an advertiser when someone clicks the ad.


An engine’s ability to list satisfactory results.


Measuring the similarity between words. In local SEO this is also used to provide results based on the users location, businesses listed closest to the user.


Quality Content

Content worth linking to.

Quality Link

Search engines count these links as votes of trust more than any other kind. When it comes to SEO, or search engine optimisation, high quality links count significantly more than low quality ones. In general, a link is considered of high quality if it’s trustworthy, hard to obtain, aged, related and has good content.


The string of text entered into a search engine

Query Refinement

Some searchers can refine a query that isn’t pulling up desired results.


Reciprocal Links

Linking to one another.


Telling a browser that a page has moved. Use 301 for permanent changes and 302 for temporary ones.


A company that lets users register a domain name.


Sites can ask this after being penalised for spamming. In local SEO a user would need to request re-inclusion if the Google Business Listing had become suspended.


The source that linked to a website.

Relative Link

Links that show the relation from one URL to the other. A relative link is essentially a substitute for the absolute. Although both do pretty much the same thing, relative links are much harder to corrupt and hijack. Therefore, most websites and links used today are relative links.


View Glossary


Measuring the usefulness of a search engine result.

Reputation Management

Ensuring search engines show the right results for your brand.


See URL rewrite.


The file that tells search engines what documents to skip, but they can still appear.


Return on Investment, which is how much you get back for your investment.


Rich Site Summary, a method to syndicate information to a feed reader.



Apple’s browser.

Search History

Browsers keep a record of what pages you visit by default.

Search Engine

A tool used to find information using keywords.


Search engine marketing.


Search engine optimisation.

SEO Copy writing

Formatting copy in a way that makes a page look relevant to many search queries.


Search Engine Results Page.

Search Marketing

Typically through SEO, marketing sites through engines.


The computer that houses files and serves them to the Internet.

Server Logs

Files servers host that show traffic sources and trends.

Singular Value Decomposition

Breaking down a large database to find the relevance.


Stealing traffic from another website.

Site Map

The page used to give search engines a structured way to go through a website.


See description.

Social Media

Websites where users create, share, the content.


Unsolicited messages.


Creating and distributing spam.


Crawlers from search engines to help them learn what pages to index.

Splash Page

Web page that gives poor usability and little content to index.


Spam blog.


Programs used to spy on other users to create targeted ads and collect research.


Server Side Includes, a way to call parts of another page.

Static Content

Infrequently changing content, or content without social elements or dynamic parts.


Making information systems aware of your website. This is no longer required for most large search engines.

Supplemental Results

Documents that are less trusted and do not rank high.



See bookmarks.


Classification system that organises subjects and are often hierarchical.

Term Frequency

Measuring how often a keyword appears.

Term Vector Database

Weighted document index looking to understand the subject based on similarity to other documents.


Synonym search engines that help improve relevancy on return.


This element is used to describe the overall document contents. Also called meta title


Major search companies try to get market share by releasing these with features like spell checkers and tracking usage.


Automatically notifying a website that you mentioned them.

Trust Rank

Algorithm that places weighting on trusted website links controlled by government, educational and corporate institutions.


Unethical SEO

Some SEO marketers have no creativity when it comes to marketing services as ethical. However, SEO is generally neither ethical nor unethical; it is usually categorised as either effective or ineffective.


Vector Space Model

See term vector database.

Vertical Search

Search service focused on a particular field, much like Usenet.

Viral Marketing

Marketing techniques like blogging or video that gets shared by thousands of people – think chain reaction

Virtual Domain

A website on a virtual server.

Virtual Server

Servers that can host several top level domains on one computer.



A record that shows the ownership data for a domain.

White Hat SEO

SEO techniques considered to be within the confines of the search engine guidelines are considered to be white hat SEO. This differs from those that are somewhat deceptive in nature and are therefore known as black hat SEO.


The software that permits collaborative editing.


The most popular online collaborative encyclopaedia that runs on wiki software.


English word database used to help engines understand the relationship between words.


Popular platform for blogging using open source software, either in the form of a hosted solution or in a program that can be downloaded and self-hosted elsewhere.


Xenu Link Sleuth

Popular and free software used to create a sitemap and check for broken internal and external links.


Short for Extensible HyperText Markup Language to move HTML to XML formatting.


Short for Extensible Markup Language, which is a flexible format from SGML to make it easy to format information using RSS and other technologies.



Originally started as Yahoo Directory, it is now an Internet portal company and search engine.

Yahoo Answers

A free service where users can ask and answer questions and lets Yahoo create a network of free content.

Yahoo Directory

One of the original authoritative Web directories.


Feature rich video website owned by Google.

More Local SEO Tips / Resources

Business Citation FAQs for Local SEO

With Google moving towards returning localised results for search queries and users beginning to search for longer tail local phrases, the opportunities for local businesses has increased exponentially over the past year.


Opportunities with Structured Data

Between Google trying to become the new home page and stiff competition in search results, you want to make sure that your local business stands out from the crowd when you land on Page 1.


Choosing a Local SEO Service

So how does a business separate the wheat from the chaff. Naturally I would say come to Online Ownership but there are tons of great SEO consultants out there, but equally bad ones that can cause untold damage if let loose on your business.


What is Local SEO?

Ranking in Google is dependent on what: Google feels that a user is looking for, not how many times you have stuffed a phrase onto a page. In an age where Google returns results based upon a persons query and his location, local businesses have a real opportunity to position their businesses locally.


Online Ownership

Need a hand with your local SEO, Online Ownership provides local SEO consulting designed around your business and budget.