SEO Glossary

Online Ownership will add new terms to the Glossary as they become accepted terminology by the SEO community, or if they become more mainstream and we get asked a lot of questions relating to them.

If you have any Technical SEO questions feel free to post your Questions on our Google+ page

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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.

This is the cost for Microsoft for every click in the ad network.

This is Google’s advertising network that allows all sizes of publishers to post advertisements near content and share the click profits with Google.

This is the link auction and advertisement network.

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.

Anchor Text
This is what users click to follow a link. If the link is an image, then the image alt attribute might be here in its stead.

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

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
This is a marketing technique where one works to make something look like it has one purpose but suddenly switch the purpose of the website after gaining authority.

Banner Blindness
Businesses used to be based on eyes rather than value, so ads were irrelevant as users ignored common ones, or banner blindness.

Behavioural Targeting
This is targeting ads based on recent experience.

Black Hat SEO
Search engines set considering some techniques to be deceptive of trying to rank high, and this is known as black hat SEO.

This is a journal 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 under Google fresh have become an integral part of a sites structure now to serve freshly dated content

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.

Most browsers let you bookmark a page, and many Web services allow you to share these resources.

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

Branded Keywords
These are the keywords associated with a brand

Breadcrumb Navigation
This is a technique used for search engines to understand page relationship

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.

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.

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 AdSense.

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.

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 trawled 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.

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.

Being removed from a search engine whether temporarily or permanently.

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.

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

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.

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
Also known as a splash page, this is what users see upon entering your website.

Ethical SEO
The opposite of black hat SEO, this is avoiding using techniques that search engines consider to be exploitative and unethical.

Search engines update all the time, and Google refers to this as everflux.

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.

A popular Web browser.

Animation software based on vector graphics that makes it easier to make a website look interactive.

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.

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


Google Advertising Professional, or marketers proficient with AdWords.

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. See Negative SEO

Google Checkout
Google’s payment service.

Google Dance
This refers to back when Google updated their indexes once every month.

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 Rich Snippet Testing Tool
This allows you to test whether you have correctly installed rich snippets

Google Sitemaps
Webmasters use this to help Google index a website.

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 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 is a popular SEO technique to show text to spiders that humans do not see. Possible penalty waiting

This is an algorithm ranking based on relevancy scores.

Making a search engine think there is another website at your URL through 302 redirects.

Home Page
The main website page that is generally the easiest to rank in a search engine results page.

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.

Sites that link to trusted sites within the community.


Short for Inverse Document Frequency.

Inbound Link
A link that posts from one site to another.

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.

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

Internet Service Provider.


A scripting language used to add dynamic features to HTML.


A phrase that people may search for to retrieve a certain sector of websites that offer this information

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 Research Tools
These tools help with discovering the keywords.

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


Landing Page
The linked destination of an ad.

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 point 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.

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.

Long Tail
this is a more detailed search term rather then a generic one, it can include three words or more

Latent Semantic Indexing


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.

Meta Keywords
A tag that can highlight targeted keywords.

Meta Refresh
A tag used to refresh to another URL.

Meta Search
An engine that pulls top results and rearranges them.

Meta Tags
Meta descriptions and 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.

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. Under the Google Penguin algorithm, this site would then be penalised 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.


Scale based on link equity and estimates how important some documents are.

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.

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, 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.


Quality Content
Content worth linking to.

Quality Link
Search engines count these links as votes of trust more than any other kind.

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.

The source that linked to a website.

Relative Link
Links that show the relation from one URL to the other.

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 Copywriting
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.

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.

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.