SEO Terms Definitions
When creating a website with SEO in mind there are lots of factors to consider and lots of buzz words to help you along the way. A lot of these buzz words won't mean much to you in less you know what they mean.
The following article shows an a-z of the most popular SEO related term definitions
Credit for these definitions goes to www.sempo.org
Affiliate Marketing ? Affiliate marketing is a process of revenue sharing that allows merchants to duplicate sales efforts by enlisting other web sites as a type of outside sales force. Successful affiliate marketing programs result in the merchant attracting additional buyers, and the affiliate earning the equivalent of a referral fee, based on click-through referrals to the merchant site.
Algorithm ? A set of rules that a search engine uses to rank listings in response to a query. Search engines guard their algorithms closely, as they are the unique formulas used to determine relevancy. Algorithms are sometimes referred to as the ?secret sauce.?
ALT Text ? Also known as alternative text or alt attribute. An HTML tag (ALT tag) used to provide images with a text description in the event images are turned off in a web browser. The images text description is usually visible while ?hovering? over the image. This tag is also important for the web access of the visually impaired.
Anchor Text - Words used to link to a page, known as anchor text are an important signal to search engines to determine a page?s relevance.
B2B ? Stands for ?Business to Business.? A business that markets its services or products to other businesses.
B2C ? Stands for ?Business to Consumer.? A business that markets its services or products to consumers.
Backlinks ? All the links pointing at a particular web page. Also called inbound links. Source: Webmaster World Forums
Brand Messaging ? Creative messaging that presents and maintains a consistent corporate image across all media channels, including search.
Brand Reputation - The position a company brand occupies.
Branding Strategy ? The attempt to develop a strong brand reputation on the web to increase brand recognition and create a significant volume of impressions.
Campaign Integration ? Planning and executing a paid search campaign concurrently with other marketing initiatives, online or offline, or both. More than simply launching simultaneous campaigns, true paid search integration takes all marketing initiatives into consideration prior to launch, such as consistent messaging and image, driving offline conversions, supporting brand awareness, increasing response rates and contributing to ROI business goals.
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 Bot ? A program generally used to artificially click on paid listings within the engines in order to artificially inflate click amounts.
Click Fraud ? Clicks on a Pay-Per-Click advertisement that are motivated by something other than a search for the advertised product or service. Click fraud may be the result of malicious or negative competitor/affiliate actions motivated by the desire to increase costs for a competing advertiser or to garner click-through costs for the collaborating affiliate. Also affects search engine results by diluting the quality of clicks.
Click Through - When a user clicks on a hypertext link and is taken to the destination of that link
Click Through Rate ? 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
Cloaking - The process by which a web site can display different versions of a web page under different circumstances. It is primarily used to show an optimized or a content-rich page to the search engines and a different page to humans. Most major search engine representatives have publicly stated that they do not approve of this practice.
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 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.
Content Targeting ? An ad serving process in Google and Yahoo! that displays keyword triggered ads related to the content or subject (context) of the web site a user is viewing. Contrast to search network serves, in which an ad is displayed when a user types a keyword into the search box of a search engine or one of its partner sites.
Contextual Advertising ? Advertising that is automatically served or placed on a web page based on the page?s content, keywords and phrases. Contrast to a SERP (search engine result page) ad display. For example, contextual ads for digital cameras would be shown on a page with an article about photography, not because the user entered ?digital cameras? in a search box.
Contextual Distribution ? The marketing decision to display search ads on certain publisher sites across the web instead of, or in addition to, placing PPC ads on search networks.
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 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 - Conversion rates are measurements that determine how many of your prospects perform the prescribed or desired action step. If your prescribed response is for a visitor to sign up for a newsletter, and you had 100 visitors and 1 newsletter signup, then your conversion rate would be 1%. Typically, micro-conversions (for instance, reading different pages on your site) lead to your main conversion step (making a purchase, or signing up for a service).
Conversion Rate ? The number of visitors who convert (take a desired action at your site) after clicking through on your ad, divided by the total number of click-throughs to your site for that ad. (Expressed as: total click-throughs that convert / total click-throughs for that ad = conversion rate.) For example, if an ad brings in 150 click-throughs and 6 of the 150 clicks result in a desired conversion, then the conversion rate is 4% (6 / 150 = 0.04). Higher conversion rates generally translate into more successful PPC campaigns with a better ROI.
Crawler ? Automated programs in search engines that gather web site listings by automatically crawling the web. A search engine's crawler (also called a spider or robot) ?reads? page text contents and web page coding, and also follows links to other hyperlinked pages on the web pages it crawls. A crawler makes copies of the web pages found and stores these in the search engine's index, or database.
Crawler: Also known as a bot and spider, a crawler is a program that search engines use to seek out information on the web. The act of ?crawling? on a web site is referred to when the crawler begins to search through documents contained within the web site. Also see Index.
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 - 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.
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.
Doorway Page ? A web page specifically created in order to obtain rankings within the natural listings of a search engine. These pages generally are filled with keywords and are meant to funnel surfers into the main web site. This practice is generally considered an outdated spam tactic. This term is not to be confused with a ?landing page.?
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).
Entry Page ? Refers to any page within a web site that a user employs to ?enter? your web site. Also see Landing Page.
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.
.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.
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.
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.
Hit ? The request or retrieval of any item located within a web page. For example, if a user enters a web page with 5 pictures on it, it would be counted as 6 ?hits.? One hit is counted for the web page itself, and another 5 hits count for the pictures.
Impression ? One view or display of an ad. Ad reports list total impressions per ad, which tells you the number of times your ad was served by the search engine when searchers entered your keywords (or viewed a content page containing your keywords).
Index ? A search engine?s ?index? refers to the amount of documents found by a search engines crawler on the web.
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 / Keyword Phrase ? A specific word or combination of words that a searcher might type into a search field. Includes generic, category keywords; industry-specific terms; product brands; common misspellings and expanded variations (called Keyword Stemming), or multiple words (called Long Tail for their lower CTRs but sometimes better conversion rates). All might be entered as a search query. For example, someone looking to buy coffee mugs might use the keyword phrase ?ceramic coffee mugs.? Also, keywords ? which trigger ad network and contextual network ad serves ? are the auction components on which PPC advertisers bid for all Ad Groups/Orders and campaigns.
Keyword Density - The number of times a keyword or keyword phrase is used in the body of a page. This is a percentage value determined by the number of words on the page, as opposed to the number of times the specific keyword appears within it. In general, the higher the number of times a keyword appears in a page, the higher its density.
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 Stuffing ? 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.
Landing Page / Destination Page ? The web page at which a searcher arrives after clicking on an ad. 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 uses word associations to help search engines know more accurately what a page is about.
Link Farming ? The attempt to substantially and artificially increase link popularity.
Link Popularity ? Link popularity generally refers to the total number of links pointing to any particular URL. There are typically two types of link popularity: Internal and External. Internal link popularity typically refers to the number of links or pages within a web site that link to a specific URL. External link popularity refers to the number of inbound links from external web sites that are pointing to a specific URL. If you have more ?links? than your competitors, you are typically known to have link cardinality or link superiority.
Mod_rewrite - URL Rewrite processes, also known as ?mod rewrites,? are employed when a webmaster decides to reorganize a current web site, either for the benefit of better user experience with a new directory structure or to clean up URLs which are difficult for search engines to index.
Naked Links ? A posted and visible link in the text of a web page that directs to a web site.
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.
NoFollow - NoFollow is an attribute webmasters can place on links that tell search engines not to count the link as a vote or not to send any trust to that site. Search engines will follow the link, yet it will not influence search results. NoFollows can be added to any link with this code: ?rel="nofollow"."
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.
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.
Position Preference ? A feature in Google AdWords and in Microsoft adCenter enabling advertisers to specify in which positions they would like their ads to appear on the SERP. Not a position guarantee.
PageRank (PR) ? PR is the Google technology developed at Stanford University for placing importance on pages and web sites. At one point, PageRank (PR) was a major factor in rankings. Today it is one of hundreds of factors in the algorithm that determines a page?s rankings.
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.
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.
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.
Reciprocal Link ? Two different sites that link out to each other. Also referred to as Cross Linking.
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.
Robots.txt - A text file present in the root directory of a website which is used to direct the activity of search engine crawlers. This file is typically used to tell a crawler which portions of the site should be crawled and which should not be crawled.
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.
SERP ? Acronym for 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.
Search Directory - Similar to a search engine, in that they both compile databases of web sites. A directory does not use crawlers in order to obtain entries in its search database. Instead, it relies on user interaction and submissions for the content it contains. Submissions are then categorized by topic and normally alphabetized, so that the results of any search will start with site descriptions that begin with some number or non-letter character, then moving from A-to-Z.
Search Engines - A search engine is a database of many web pages. Most engines display the number of web pages they hold in their database at any given time. A search engine generally ?ranks? or orders the results according to a set of parameters. These parameters (called algorithms) vary among search engines; they are always improving in order to identify spam as well as improve relevance. See also SERP, Algorithm.
Search Funnel ? Movement of searchers, who tend to do several searches before reaching a buy decision, that works from broad, general keyword search terms to narrower, specific keywords. Advertisers use the search funnel to anticipate customer intent and develop keywords targeted to different stages. Also refers to potential for switches at stages in the funnel when, for example, searchers start with keywords for a desired brand, but switch to other brands after gathering information on the category. Microsoft AdCenter tested a search funnel keyword tool in 2006 to target keywords to search funnel stages.
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.
Semantic Clustering ? A technique for developing relevant keywords for PPC Ad Groups, by focusing tightly on keywords and keyword phrases that are associative and closely related, referred to as "semantic clustering.? Focused and closely-related keyword groups, which would appear in the advertiser?s ad text and in the content of the click-through landing page, are more likely to meet searchers? expectations and, therefore, support more effective advertising and conversion rates.