Search Engine Optimization Terms and Marketing Glossary

I remember when I started out learning Search Engine Optimization back in 2001 and being confused with all the terms and jargon associated with SEO and Internet Marketing such as 301’s, .htacess and 404 pages.

Therefore I put together this handy Search Engine Optimization Term and Marketing Glossary that you can bookmark and use as a reference.

If there are terms you feel that I feel that I have missed, are unclear or are inaccurate please use the comment box at the bottom of this page.



301 Redirect – A method to redirect a webpage on your website to another page on your website, or to redirect an entire website to another website. The code “301” is interpreted as the page/site has been moved permanently

302 Redirect – A method to redirect a webpage on your website to another page on your website, or to redirect an entire website to another website. The code “302” is interpreted as the page/site has been moved on a temporary basis and will be returning to its original location eventually.

403 Forbidden Page/Code – A page/code from a web server indicating that the server understood the request but is refusing to fulfill it while also displaying the reason(s) the server is refusing this request.

404 Error Page/Code – A page/code from a web server indicating that the server cannot locate the request for a URL located on its server.

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AJAX – Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. A programming language on the client side (users side) used to create interactive web applications that allows updating of specific sections of content on a web page in the background without completely reloading the page.

API – Application Programming Interface an interface software program that enables it to interact/communicate with other software programs.

A/B Testing – Also called Split testing or Multivariate Testing is a method of market testing a baseline control example against a variety of single-variable test samples. Some of the items that maybe split tested on a webpage could include page colors, images, text, banner ads. This form of testing typically occurs on a landing page that promotes a particular product and/or service.

Absolute URL’s Link – Absolute URL is the full-path address to a website example; (Also see Relative URL links.)

Affiliate Marketing – A marketing practice involving revenue sharing where merchants enlists other web site owners to sell/promote their products. Affiliates can be paid on Cost Per Action Basis where a user may fill out a form for more information, or a referral fee based upon a percentage of a sale.

Algorithm – A formula that applies to search engines when they are ranking a site’s listing within its index.

ALT Text – Alternative Text or alt attribute is a HTML tag (ALT tag) used to provide image text description. These description will appear if the user is browsing a website with their images turned off or when a user hovers their mouse pointer over an image and the text description is displayed. Vision impaired users that visit your website may use a text reader and when the text reader reaches the placement of an image, it may read out the alt tag to the visitor.

Anchor Text – Words within a link to a page are called anchor text and are an important segment for SEO in allowing a search engines to determine a page’s relevance. A good practice is to avoid using words such as “click here” or “home page” and to use keywords specific to the product or service your site is promoting.

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B2B – “Business to Business.” A business that provides products and/or services to other businesses.

B2C – “Business to Consumer.” A business that provides services and/or products to consumers.

Backlinks – Links pointing to a particular web page, also called inbound links

Ban – Penalizing action from a search engine for violating the terms of services (TOS) typically because of spamming

Behavioral Targeting – Technique of targeting a certain demographic audience by serving ads to these groups of people

Bid – An advertiser making a maximum price offer for a keyword in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.

Blacklist – A register of Web sites that are being denied access to a particular service

Blog – An online diary or journal that is updated where users can post messages and others may view and respond to the posts.

Buying Funnel – Term that describes the multi-step process of a consumer’s path in purchasing a product or service. Understanding the buying funnel on your website is an important concept to understand to improve your websites conversion factors.

Browser – A program used to view websites such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome.

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Caching – When a search engine saves information from a web page for future reference.

Canonicalization – Practice of selecting the best URL when the same page is accessible with other URLs.

Call to action – A call to action can be a link, a button, a form or even a telephone number to call that is placed on a webpage and the user performs some sort of interaction with the company. Typically this would be an “add to cart” function.

Cascading Style Sheets or CSS – Computer language designed primarily to form document presentation of a webpage such as layout, colors and fonts that is typically included in a web pages HTML code.

Click Fraud – A type of Internet crime that occurs in Pay-Per-Click advertising when a person, BOT (computer program) initiates illegitimate clicks on an advertisement.

Click Through – When a user clicks on a link and is taken to the destination of that link

Click Through Rate – A percentage of clicks of a link in relation to the number of times a link is displayed.

Client-side Tracking – The process of integrating java code into a website to provide visitor tracking. An example would be placing Google’s Analytics tracking code on your website so it could provide the data back to Google’s Analytics program.

Cloaking – When a website uses one version of content for a human visitor and a different version of content to the search engine. This practice violates the TOS of most search engines.

COA – Also called Pay per Action (PPA) is an Acronym for Cost of Acquisition, where an advertiser pays for a specified action, such as a user filing out a form or purchasing a product.

Content Management Systems (CMS) – Is a computer software system employing a database to manage documents and other content. The most popular CMS system used today on the Internet is WordPress.

Contextual Advertising – Advertising automatically generated and placed on a web page based on the page’s content, keywords and phrases. Google’s Adsence program is an example of this type of advertising.

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.

Conversion Rate – The ratio of visitors who take a desired action on your website. An example would be the ratio of visitors who visit your website and purchases a product.

Copyright – A set of exclusive rights granted by law to the author or creator of a tangible form such as content, photos, images, sounds, and music. Copyright protection gives the owner the exclusive right to copy, display, license, or expand their work.

CPA – Also called Cost per Action (CPA) is an Acronym for Cost per Acquisition is an online advertising pricing method for a specified action.

CPC – Acronym for Cost per Click is the amount of money a Pay per Click (PPC) advertising program charges advertisers for every click that sends a searcher to the advertiser’s web site.

CPM – Acronym for Cost Per Thousand Impressions (ad serves or potential viewers). This model is often employed with banner advertising and opt in email advertising.

CTR – Acronym for Click-Through Rate, percentage of clicks of a link in relation to the number of times a link is displayed.

Crawler: Also known as a bot and spider, is an automated computer program that browses the Internet searching for documents, videos, images and other content and then indexes this information into a search engine

CSS or Cascading Style Sheets– Computer language designed primarily to form document presentation of a webpage such as layout, colors and fonts that is typically included in a web pages HTML code.

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DMCA – Acronym for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. is a United States copyright law that implements 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that criminalizes production and dissemination of copy written works.

Deep Linking – A link that points to a specific page, image, video or other content other then the home page of a website.

Delisting – The process when a search engine removes a website/webpage from their search engine index. Typically websites can be delisted for violating the TOS of a search engine or when someone files a DMCA complaint against a website owner with the search engine.

Description Tag – The information contained in the META description area of the HTML code of a webpage. This tag is used to provide a brief description of the web page and typically used by search engines to list the description of the webpage on their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

A description tag usually looks like:

<meta content=”Why buy dried flowers at retail when you can buy at wholesale direct from the grower? Schusters of Texas.”>

Directory – A web directory is NOT a search engine and typically does not display lists of websites by keywords, but instead by category and subcategory. Most web directories entries are human generated. One of the most popular web directories is

Display URL – The web page URL that is displayed a PPC ad to users. The reason to use a display URL would be to provide users a clear idea of what website/webpage the user will be taken to once they click on the link.

Domain – A specific web site address for an IP address. Domain names have various suffixes such as .com, .org, .net, .edu

Doorway Page – A web page specifically created to spam the search engines by inserting particular keywords and phrases into the document. This tactic violates the TOS of most search engines.

Domain Name – A name for an IP address, which may have various suffixes, such as .com, .net, .edu,

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Ecommerce – Conducting commercial business transactions on the internet such as selling goods or information.

Eye Time – The amount of time a visitor spends on your website/web page. This time can be measured utilizing an analytics program such as Google Analytics.

Eye Tracking – The process of measuring the eye movements of web page readers, in order to understand reading and click-through patterns.

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FAQ – “Frequently Asked Questions.”

Fantasy Result – A benefit that far exceeds the expectations of a potential customer.

Feeds – A data format used to provide frequently updated content to a website or other Internet based service.

Flash – A multimedia platform developed by Adobe typically used to ad animation, video and interactivity to a webpage. Search Engines may have a difficult time indexing Flash content and also Apple’s mobile devices do not support it. Therefore you should only use Flash sparingly on your website.

Frames – A HTML technique that allows two or more web pages to display in one browser window. Typically search engines have a difficult time indexing these types of websites.

F.T.P – “File Transfer Protocol” transferring files from one computer to another computer.

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Geo-Targeting – The method of determining the geographic location of a website visitor based upon their location enabling more localized and personalized results.

Google Page Rank– A system which ranks pages within the Google search engine and determines the importance of the web page, based on a scale of 1 to 10.

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.htaccess File – A server side file that is used to manage your web server and web pages configuration that is

Headline – Bolded short title(s) that are typically inserted at the top of a web page. In HTML there are six different heading tags ranging from <H1> to <H6>. Headlines are very important is SEO as it immediately informs the human user and the search engines of the topic of that particular page.

Hidden Text — Also known as Invisible text that is visible to the search engines but hidden to a user. This method employs using text of the same color as the back ground color such as white text on a white background and used to inflate keyword density. This tactic violates most search engines TOS and could get your website banned from the search engines.

HTTP –  “Hypertext Transfer Protocol.” Is a networking protocol that is the foundation for the World Wide Web

HTTPS – “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.” Combination of the HTTP protocol along with encrypted identification and communication. Typically HTTPS is used on secure pages where one would enter personal information such as credit card data.

Hyperlink – An underlined word or phrase, which is blue in color, and when it is clicked on it will take a person to another web page.

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IFRAME – The Iframe tag allows other content such as a video or webpage to be imbedded inside a webpage.

IP Address – An Internet Protocol numerical address assigned to each device connected on a computer network. The domain name of your website resolves to an IP address that can be unique to you or shared with many other websites.

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JavaScript – JavaScript is a client side scripting language based on prototype-based programming typically used to make a webpage more interactive. Search Engines typically ignore Java Script code therefore it is not a good practice to use this type of coding in the navigation structure of your website unless you also have text based links on your website that the spiders can follow.

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Keyword – A word or combination of words that a searcher may use when typing in a query into a search engine.

Keyword Density The ratio a keyword or keyword phrase is used in the body of a page in relation to the number of words on a page. The higher number of times a keyword is used on a page the higher the keyword density will be.

Keyword stuffing – When one or more keyword or keyword phrases are overly used or repeated within meta tags or web page content. This practice violates most search engines TOS as it is considered spamming.

Keyword Tag – A meta tag which is used to describe the relevant keywords or keyword phrases for the web page.

A keyword tag usually looks like:

<meta content=”flowers, dried flowers, roses”>

Keyword Phrase – A phrase of two or more keywords words used together that an individual may search for, such as “Arizona Flower Shop”

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Landing Page / Destination Page – The web page that is provided to a searcher after clicking on an ad, social media campaign or Email campaign. A goal when developing landing pages is to “seal the deal” and when utilizing Google PPC is to develop a landing page that has a high quality score so that your CPC is minimized.

Latent Semantic Indexing – Also called Natural Language Processing uses keyword and keyword phrase associations to help search engines know more accurately what a page is about.

Link Bait – Content on a website that people will take notice of and link to because they find it interesting. When other websites link to your site they are giving you a vote of confidence thereby increasing the Page Rank of your website.

Link Exchange – A linking program where a website owners exchanges links with other website owners. When exchanging links it is a good practice to exchange links with other websites similar in nature.

Link Farm – A web page/site developed solely  to accept incoming links which violates the TOS of most search engines as a form of spam.

Link Popularity – A factor which affects a website’s ranking, due to the amount and ranking of inbound links there are to the site. Link popularity is based on the amount of backlinks a site has.

Long Tail – Keyword phrases with three or more words in them. Long tail keywords are usually highly specific and draw lower traffic than shorter, more competitive keyword phrases.

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Meta Tag – Information in the HEAD section of a web page that is commonly used to provide the search engines with information about the webpage and in some cases to provide instructions to the search engine about indexing.

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Negative Keywords – Used in PPC advertising to filter out keywords to prevent ads from appearing on searches not relevant to the website to help reduce costs.

NoFollow – An attribute webmasters can place into hyperlinks that direct the search engines not to count the link as a vote and give up “link juice” to that site. NoFollows can be added to any link with this code: “rel=”nofollow”.”

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Organic Results – Typically called the “Free Listing” area in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). By utilizing an effective SEO campaign one can influence their rankings in the Organic Results of a search engines.

Optimized content – A form of copywriting that is both optimal for the human readers and the search engines targeting your “target audience” and using relevant keywords and keyword phrases.

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PageRank (PR) – Once a major factor in the Google Algorithm used to place the importance of a webpage based upon the Page Rank or the number of incoming links to a webpage. Today PR is only one of the hundreds of other factors in Google’s algorithm that will determine a page rankings.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising, a form of online advertising in which websites pay for each click for advertising that directs clients to a specified landing page on the advertiser’s web site.  Cost per Click is based upon auctions with other competitors and the quality score of the landing page and the campaign.

Perfect Customer – The customer who is perfect for your product and/or service. I can better explain your perfect customer this way. If you close your eyes and envisioned that one perfect customer walking into your store who would that person be? What would they look like, what would they be wearing.

PPC – Acronym for Pay Per Click Advertising.

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Quality Score – A score that is displayed by Google on a scale from 1 to 10 that together with the maximum bid amount of CPC determines each ads rank in the AdWords PPC program. Having a high quality score in your campaign can reduce your CPC while also increasing your placement in their index.

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Rank – Also known as “position,” in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

Reciprocal link – The exchange of a links between two or more websites.

ROI – Acronym for Return on Investment, the amount of money you make on your advertising in comparison to the amount of money you spend.

Typically Organic SEO has a higher ROI then PPC in the long term.

RSS – Acronym for Real Simple Syndication is a web feed format used to publish frequently updated content, such as blogs, news and video. RSS utilizes XML for distributing and sharing this type of web content (also known as syndication).

Relative URL’s Link – Relative URLs are links that go to other pages within your website that do not require the “absolute link” which is required when linking to other outside websites.

An example of a relative link is;  “page1.htm”. (See also Absolute URL’s link.)

Robots.txt – A text file in the root directory of a website which is used to direct the search engine robots. This file is typically used to tell a robots what portions of the website should be crawled and which should not be crawled.

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Search Engines – A database of web pages and websites. A search engine generally “ranks” a website based upon an algorithm unique for that particular search engine. By utilizing an effective SEO campaign one can influence their rankings in the Search Engines.

Search engine marketing (SEM) – A form of internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs).  SEM methods include: search engine optimization (SEO), paid placement, contextual advertising, digital asset optimization, and paid inclusion.  When this term is used to describe an individual, it stands for “Search Engine Marketer” or one who performs SEM. (provided by

Search engine optimization (SEO) – Acronym for “Search Engine Optimization.” This is the process of editing a web site’s content and code in order to improve visibility within one or more search engines. When this term is used to describe an individual, it stands for “Search Engine Optimizer” or one who performs SEO. (provided by

SERP – Acronym for Search Engine Results Page, the page delivered by the search engines to a  searcher that displays the results of their search query entered into the search field.

Sitemap – A page which contains an organized listing of links to all pages within the website that helps visitors find the internal web pages of your website. There are two types of sitemaps, a HTML sitemap typically designed for your human visitors and an XML sitemap for the search engine spiders.

Social Media or Social Search – Typically called Web 2.0 sites are websites where users actively participate in an online community. The most popular Social Media sites today are Facebook and Twitter.

Spider – An automated computer bot that crawls the Internet to index pages for the search engines.

SPAM – Any SEO or Internet Marketing method that violates the terms of service of a search engine that they consider detrimental to its efforts to provide relevant, quality search results to their customers. Utilizing spam techniques on your website will get you banned by the search engines!

Splash Page – An entry page or main page to a web site that is interactive or graphically intense. Many splash pages are designed using Flash therefore are counterproductive in a good SEO program.

Stop Word A word that often appears in a page’s copy or content, but it has no significance by itself and ignored by the search engines. Examples of stop words are: and, the, of, etc.

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Target Audience – The audience you are targeting with your website/campaign based upon demographics and\or geographical location.

Title Tag – One of the most important elements of your webpage/website. This meta tag is located at the top of of your HTML document and should contain relevant keywords for your webpage. The title tag is limited to 70 characters by Google, anything longer will be truncated in the SERPs/

A title tag usually looks like:

<title>Arizona Personal Injury Attorney – AZLaw</title>

Traffic – The number of people who have visited a website. Utilizing an analytics program such as Google Analytics will keep track of the number of visitors that go to your website along with the date, time of visit, the length of time spent on your website and the browser they used. This information is critical when optimizing your website.

Trackbacks – A protocol used in blogging that allows a user to link related posts.

Tracking URL – A designated URL used to track an action or conversion from paid campaign. The tracking URL can include a set of parameters that will show what keyword was used, what campaign was used along with many other factors.

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USP – Acronym for Unique Selling Proposition a benefit provided to your customers that sets your website/offer apart from your competition.

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Verticals – Specific business category, such as health, automotive or business. Vertical search provides targeted search options and PPC opportunities to a specific business category.

Viral Marketing – Marketing techniques that utilize the power of Social Internet Marketing to increases in brand awareness. An example would be the “Will it Blend” video campaign by Blentec. In their video campaign they blended items such as Iphones, shoes and other items and these videos were shared by other users who watched the videos on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

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Web Forwarding – redirects within an .htaccess file on a separate server.

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.

Word Count – The total number of words contained within a web document.

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`X – Y – Z

XML – “Extensible Markup Language” data delivery language typically used for sitemaps for the search engines.

XML Site Map – A sitemap in XML that is created specifically for the search engines.

Certified Master SEO Instructor by the Search Engine Academy and CEO and founder of SEO Training SW.
Roy Reyer
Roy Reyer
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4th December 2010 5 Comments

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