The SEO Consultant’s Glossary

SEO Consultants Glossary

This search marketing glossary is continually expanding, please bookmark it and use it as a reference point.  All images can be clicked on to enlarge.


301 – 301s are commonly used to permanently redirect a webpage to another location using a “htaccess” file in the root of the server directory. 301 redirects are considered useful because they are not penalized by search engines and redirected content will retain link equity. Individual pages may also be redirected in this way. To check you have correctly 301’d a page, use a header checker.  If you want to be 100% sure get a live header checker plugin for Firefox. 301 redirect will lose up to 10% link equity.

302 – The page is found but temporarily moved to another URI.

404 – Error Page seen when a user goes on a dead link or types the wrong URL into the address bar.  These do not have to be boring (see mine) and can also be optimised to stop people leaving your site.

Adsense – Google’s Ad network.

Advanced Search Operators – Using search engines as an SEO tool with specific queries. e.g., to show you how many pages they have indexed by Google.

Adwords – Google Adwords are a popular way to promote content via PPC (Pay Per Click) contextual advertising. Users are able to create their own advertisements and control their budget.

Affiliate – An affiliate is a partner who sells products or services on behalf of apparent company in exchange for commission fees.

Affiliate Links – Links on a web page that will pay the webmaster commission if a sale is achieved from clickthrough.  These links will look like /?id=123, unless they have been cloaked.

Affiliate Networks – Platforms where you can find products to sell. See my ultimate list.

AJAX – Asynchronous Javascript & XML.

Algorithm – A search engine algorithm is the means or logic by which search engines rank queries on a given topic.

Alt text – Meta tag used to describe images to search engine spiders.  Used for SEO and usability and are now best practice.

Analytics – Software used to track visitor site usage. Free programs exist like, Google Analytics – which is a very powerful free software.

Anchor Text – Anchor text refers to the visible and clickable portion of a hyperlink. Anchor text is used by search engines to determine the relevancy and content of a webpage e.g. SEO Consulting

API – Application Program Interface.  Used by people to get to the core functionality of software. Example is the Twitter API

Astroturfing – Astroturfing is the artificial creation of a grassroots movement in order to promote a political or commercial agenda. Astroturfers generally use message-boards, podcasts, blogs and other methods of anonymous communication to further their goals.

Authority – A metric used by search engines to measure the overall authority of a domain or page.  SEO Tools can now give a measure of this metric, which is very useful.  Domains with high authority will have pages ranked welll for search queries e.g. Wikipedia – if  you rank above a wikipedia page for a search query, then you are doing well.

B2B – B2B stands for Business to Business and refers to a transaction between two separation companies. For instance, a company that offers goods or services to another company is said to have offered a B2B transaction. B2B SEO relates to doing SEO for these types of businesses.

B2C – Refers to a transaction between a business and a consumer.

Backlink – Is a link from a website or page that points back to your own.  Also known as’ links’, ‘inbound links’, ‘external links’.  Backlinks are THE most important SEO factor.

Black Hat – A number of techniques used to promote content and websites that are considered aggressive and contrary to search engine guidelines (keyword stuffing and invisible text are two common examples).  The opposite of blackhat is whitehat SEO – the type of SEO that will not get you banned.  Most quality SEOs will be greyhat seo, experimenting with Google’s algorithm changes and keeping one-step-ahead.

Blog – Blogs are online journals that post content chronologically through posts. Blogs are usually driven by the topic or reflections of the blogger.

Blogroll – Sitewide links used by bloggers to link to their ‘friends’ or sites they like.

Bookmarking – Web browsers have bookmarking functionality built in, allowing users to save webpages.  Social Bookmarketing refers to the process of sharing your favourite webpages through websites like Digg.  See 125 social bookmarking sites if you are looking for a complete list.

Bot – Bots are programs which execute commands autonomously. Search engines use bots (such as crawlers or spiders) to scan the internet for content which they index among their results.

Bounce Rate – Is the percentage of visitors to a website that leave without viewing any other content. For instance, a bounce rate of 60% indicates that 60% of viewers left the page after entering the site without viewing other pages. Find out more about the importants of measuring bounce rates on Avinash’s blog.

Bread Crumbs – Horizontal menu navigation placed above the page’s content which helps users find their way around the website.

Broken Links – A link that does not work.  Software can be used to check your own website for broken links.

Browser – The software used to view web pages like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Firefox. The best for SEO research is Firefox with its many extensions.

Cache – The storage of a webpage by a search engine.  When you search in Google, you will see they provide the user the ability to view the cached page along with the date when the page was cached.  Google will allow you to see the text only version of a cached page, which is a great way to see if there are any problems.

Caffeine – Google’s latest big update, with a big emphasis on speed.  Find out more.

Canonical URL – Refers to the true url of the content that is important.  Duplicate content issues are caused by (mainly CMS systems) pages being indexed by Google with the same content on.  Google recently lauched the rel=canonical tag to help webmasters fight duplicate pages.

Click Fraud – With reference to PPC contextual advertising, click fraud is the attempt by the publisher (or his friends) to increase profits by purposefully clicking on their own ads.

Cloaking – Cloaking is a black hat practice that attempts to deliver different content to a search engine spider than to a visitor. Sites that are caught cloaking are usually removed from a search engine’s index.

Content Management System (CMS) – Is an approach to website design that simplifies the publishing and storage process so that even webmasters with very little technical knowledge are able to be effective. Popular examples are many blog platforms such as Blogger or WordPress.

Code Swapping – Refers to the practice of changing and replacing content after a page has achieved search engine authority. For instance, webmasters may use bait to attract traffic and back links and then remove the bait and replace it with their product, thus guaranteeing them a healthy source of traffic.

Comment Spam – Spamming websites for the sole purpose of garnering valuable back links. This has led many websites to adopt a No-Follow policy rule for links in the comment section of their articles.

Content – The part of the webpage that contains information and value to the end-user.

Content Farm – Sites that produce lots of content to rank fo thousands of keywords. The content is often poor or scraped (stolen).  See ehow as an example.

Content Marketing – Content Marketing is the creation and distribution of digital content to achieve business goals.

Contextual Advertisement – Refers to advertisements which related to the content it appears beside.

Conversion – A series of achievable goals on a website such as registering, participating or sales.

Conversion Rate Optimization – The process of optimizing landing page to increase the number of visitors that convert.

Conversion Funnel – A visualization tool in Google Analytics which shows you key metics in your conversion process.

conversion funnel

Cookie – Data file placed on users machines in oeder to track them.  Example are seen with Google Analytics, which uses 1st party cookies to get its data.

Cost Per Click (CPC) – For advertisers, this is the price that is paid for every click to their website. In essence, the inverse of PPC.

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) – A statistic that shows the average cost of PPC advertisements.

Crawler – A bot which “crawls” the web to gather data, commonly used by search engines to find content to index in its listings.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets.  Used to style a page and aree great for SEO as they reduce the amout of code on  a web page.

CTR – Click Through Rate refers to the amount of clicks a link gets.

Cybersquatting – The process used by domainers to purchase an sit on brand rich domain names.

Deep Links – Links going to pages of your website that are not your home page.

Directory – A website that collects links based upon specific categories and displays them in a concise manner. Directories are comprised of directory pages, which are lists of links relevant to the page’s category. Directories can be a great way to pick up easy links, and a way to get authority links – see my authority directory list.

Doorway – A doorway or a gateway is a webpage whose purpose is to attract attention from search engines rather than from visitors. Doorway pages are a prime example of cloaking.

DMOZ – The outdated, rarely updated directory that Google still loves so much.

Duplicate Content – Content which is identical to content found elsewhere on the Internet. Due to the inevitability of duplicate content on the web, search engines do not penalize the original owner of the content, but assign very little authority to pages or websites that offer duplicate content.

E-Commerce Site – A website that deals with online retail sales.

External Links – see Backlinks.

Facebook ID – Your unique FB id page nummber which FB never tells you! You this tool

Favicon – Icon displayed in the url address bar.

Feed – Feeds are content that are automatically distributed to users via specialized programs or websites.

Firefox – Open source web browser allowing users to add extensions and addons to get various jobs done.  The essential SEO & web developers tool.

Florida Update – The big Google algorithm change (2003) which put and end to a great deal of SEO manipulation.

Many pages that exhibited the following characteristics simply disappeared from the search results

  • repetitive inbound anchor text with little diversity
  • heavy repetition of the keyword phrase in the page title and on the page
  • words in a phrase exhibiting close proximity with few occurrences of the keywords spread apart
  • a lack of related/supporting vocabulary in the page copy

The Google Florida update was the first update that made SEO complicated enough to where most people could not figure out how to do it. Before that update all you needed to do was buy and/or trade links with your target keyword in the link anchor text, and after enough repetition you stood a good chance of ranking.

Source: Aaron’s Blog

Free-For-All (FFA) – Pages with little or no value due to being crammed with irrelevant content (such as link farms). FFA websites are generally ignored by search engines due to their lack of value to visitors.

Frames – Frames separate a number of documents within the same webpage. Frames have become increasingly unpopular in recent times due to the problems associated with search engine crawling and awkward and often unclear display of content.

FTP – File transfer protocol.

Gizmo (Gadget) – Gadgets are applications which aggregate data and present it in a concise and appealing way for the user.

Google Bomb (link bombs) – An attempt to orchestrate search engine rankings by exploiting the way Google tallies its ranking. Example are when SEOs had great fun by getting George Bush ( to rank #1 for the search term ‘miserable failure’.  See Danny’s article.

Google Bowling – Creating malicious back links (usually from bad neighborhoods) in order to lower a specific website’s ranking. Can this work? If your competitor has an aged domain, then NO.  If its a new site then yes, you can keep it in the sandbox.

Google Dance – A period in which Google updates their databases or algorithm leading to a shift in website search engine ranking.

Google Juice – The amount of authority or trust a website has with Google.

Googlebot – This is the name of Google’s notorious website crawler.

Google OneBox – The one box the Google shows for results such a video, news, and shopping one boxes.

Google One box

Google Trends – Great tool for looking at keyword trends.

Lets stop on the Google stuff…its getting boring. OK one more..

Google Website Optimiser – Google’s free conversion rate optimisation tool.

GYM – Is an acronym which summarizes the three largest search engines, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.

.htaccess – File used to create many great SEO activities like 301 redirects.

Hit – Every time a server is prompted for an object (a picture, for instance) it is defined as a single hit. It is now considered an irrelevant term and is superseded by other terms such as page views (which can add up to a large sum of hits) and impressions.

Hijacking – Blackhat SEO activity that can include 302 Hijacking, SERP Hijacking, Domain Hijacking and more recently Local SEO listing hijacking.

Hub – A hub is defined as a page of informative and high-quality content which connects the reader with other relevant, quality links.

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) – Are a set of rules that is used to create webpage content.

HTML5 –  The latest major update in HTML.

HTML Sitemap – Sitemap consisting of html links created for users, internal links and bots.

Impression – An impression, as opposed to a hit, is a single view of a webpage.

Incoming Link – Is a link which points towards your webpage from another webpage. The relevancy and quality of the linking page determine its importance and impact when calculating search engine ranking positioning.

Index – Is a list of WebPages used by search engines containing their information.

Indexed Pages – Refers to a list of pages on a particular website that are present within a search engine’s index.

Internal links – Links bewtween your pages on your website. Internal link optimisation can be very powerful, why else was this glossary created!

Information Architechture – Sounds complicated, but it means common sense.  Look at any good website and mimic.

Keyword – The phrase a user enters on a search engine in order to achieve his goal.

Keyword Cannibalization – Refers to targeting the same keywords/phrases on multiple pages of a website, (often unintentionally) causing ranking problems. See Rand Fiskin’s detailed article on this topic.

Keyword Density – The amount of times a specific keyword is used on the same page.

Keyword Research – Is the difficult process through which webmasters decide which keywords are the most useful for their website.

Keyword Spam (Keyword Stuffing) – The utilization of too many identical keywords on the same page.

Landing Page – Is the webpage where a user “lands” after having found the site via a search query on a search engine.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) – The process by which search engine index groups of words as well as single words into their search rankings due to the nigh-impossibility of ranking everyone for the same keywords. These groups of words are often called “long tail” keywords (such as “buying a cake”).

Link – An access point on a webpage that allows the user to travel to another part of the website or another website entirely.

Link Bait – Making a webpage with content that is designed to attract links from other webmasters/bloggers. See my linkbait examples post.

Link Building – The continuous process of adding incoming links to a website in order to increase its search engine rankings.

Link Condom – A variety of techniques aimed at preventing the indexing of unwanted links on a webpage.

Link Exchange – A linking exchange system where users benefit from a reciprocal back link in the hopes of increasing rankings and traffic.

Link Farm – Refers to a group of websites which point links to each other in an attempt to accrue authority and traffic. Link farming is generally frowned upon by search engines.

Link Juice – A total ‘weight’ passed by a links.

Link Love – The term used by webmasters to acknowlegde other sites content by giving them links.

Link Partner – Another term for a link exchange between two sites.

Link Popularity – The level popularity given to a webpage based on the amount of links which point to it. Try our tool to see how many links your website has – ViralSpy.

Link Spam – Irrelevant and undesirable links such as those posted on forum signatures. These links are usually the target of link condom techniques.

Link Rot – Links may become ‘broken’ over time. The majority of the the worlds online publishers are clueless , pages get moved, changed, deleted at random.

Link Text (see also Anchor Text) – The visible portion of a hyperlink which determines the relevancy of the page’s content.

Local SEO – The optimisation of your business listing in Google Local Business Centre, achieved using local seo services. Please see my local seo citations blog post for more information in this area.

Local SERPs –  Results for local listings.  These are becoming increasingly imporant for local businesses like Hotels.  A search for london hotels gives a good example.

Local SEO

Long Tail – The term used to describe keywords and phrases longer than 2 words.

Long tail keywords

Mashup – Pages which offer specific software programs and tools that are easy to create and often used as link bait.

META Tags – Are statements founds within the HEAD ( <HEAD>) section of a page’s HTML that informs the search engine about the page’s content. Specific tags help webmasters reach a target audience.

Metric – The standard of measurement used by programs.

MFA (Made for ads) – Websites whose sole purpose is host advertisements.

Microformats – A set of open data formats like hcard, hcalender. See rich snippets.

Mirror Site – A site which is identical to another and is hosted on a separate address.

Monetize – The process through which a user can extract revenue from a website. Popular choices include the addition of affiliate or PPC advertisements.

Natural Search Results – Unsponsored search results.

Nofollow – A command that informs crawlers and robots not to index the link (a popular link condom technique).

Noindex – Similarly to the nofollow command, then on index command instructs crawlers and robots not to index the selected link or page.

Non-Reciprocal Link – These are one way links that unlike link exchanges are not reciprocated. Non-reciprocal links grant greater authority to the linked site in the eyes of a search engine.

Organic Link – A link within content or on a webpage that adds value or relevant information to the reader.

Pagerank – Often confused with toolbar page rank, page rank is a numerical value attributed to a page between 0 and 1 that measures authority and trust.

Pay For Inclusion (PFI) – The practice of buying rapid inclusion in a trusted directory or search engine.

Portal – These are multi-purpose entry pages that offer users many useful services in the hope that their portal page will become their default browser homepage.

Pay Per Action (PPA)– A contextual advertisement system that differs from Pay per Click in that publishers are paid only when traffic is actively converted.

Per Per Click (PPC) – A contextual advertising system where advertisers pay search engines or websites for every click they receive to their site.

Proprietary Method – A singular method that some SEO companies and individuals advertise can allow them to occupy a top 10 spot in the search rankings.

Real Time Search Results – Live search results delivered by sites like Twitter.  Google’s desire to show real time results lead to them displaying the  latest blogs and tweets in their search results for some search queries.  These types of results can be easily manipulated and abused…


Reciprocal Link – Websites which link towards each other. Search engines do not give reciprocal links much weight.

Redirect – A method which changes the address of a webpage (an example is a 301 redirect).

Regional Long Tail (RLT) – Keywords which include a region so as to entice users who are looking for goods of services within a specific area.

Robots.txt – A file that restricts the crawling and behavior of search engine bots.

Return On Investment (ROI) – A cost/benefit analysis of a user’s return on investment usually performed by analytical software.

Rich Snippets –  Refers to search engines now showing additional information in the snippet.  Here the snippet is pulling review data from a 3rd party website.  This can be achieved by using microformats.

Rich Snippets

RSS – Really Simple  Syndication.

Sandbox – Sandboxing is the theory that Google places new websites in a “sandbox” limiting their influence and rankings until a certain amount of time has passed. There is little consensus among SEO experts.

Scraping – The act of “scraping” or stealing content from a website which is usually performed by bots.

SE – Search Engine

Search Engine – Is an index of web content which is scanned for specific keywords and subsequently presents the end-user with related content.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Is the process through which marketers attempt to optimize and position a website on search engines  to achieve as much quality traffic as possible.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Optimization of a website in order to achieve visibility on search engines. There are many ways to increase trust and ranking, some of which include quality links, paid directories and link popularity.

SEO Doctor – That’s me, don’t be fooled by any other people who use my name to build tools.

SEO Tools – Tools used by SEOs to gain competitive advantage.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page

Site links – The term used to describe the additional links shown by google for a domain.

Site Links

Sitemap – Is an overview (or map) of the pages within a website. The creation of complete and up-to-date sitemaps helps but the user and search engines correctly index and browse WebPages.


SMM (Social Media Marketing) – The use of social media to promote websites and website pages.

SMP (Social Media Poisoning) – An ethically questionable black hat technique that attempts to under demine a competitor by posting inappropriate comments in their name.

Snippet – The title & description used to display your webpage in the search results page.

Spam Ad Page (SpamAd Page) – A page created (usually automatically, or with scraped content) that spams an entire page for of ads. Some people will contrast their lack of quality with quantity, making thousands of such pages.

Spamdexing – An attempt to place a web page at the top of search engine rankings by modifying them deceptively.

Spammer – Someone who uses spam as means to an end.

Spider Trap – A web of links that is used to trap search engine bots sometimes used in order to prevent scraping of content or information.

Splash Page – A colorful and graphical intense webpage that is used to entice users. Due to the way search engines navigate using text links, a splash page while colorful, and mean bad SEO.

Splog – A blog which contains very little quality content, and is usually comprised of scraped or stolen content.

Stickiness – Methods which are used to counter unacceptable bounce rates on websites. Some examples include the revision of content, or improving page navigation.

Subdomain –  Refers to the url which comes before the main root domain. e.g. is a subdomain on the root domain.  When you create more subdomains along with www, these are viewed as entirely different urls by search engines.  A search for ‘SEO Book’ shows 4 results due to Aaron’s subdomain usage, Google will only show 2 results from 1 url per search query.


Supplemental Index – A secondary index of WebPages that a search engine uses to house pages with very low page rank.

Text Link – Is the text contained within a hyperlink, without the addition of other special code.

Text to code Ratio – Ratio of code to the amount of text on a page as seen by a search engine.  High text, low code is good.

Time On Page – A numerical value that counts the amount of time a user spends on a page. This value is useful in understanding how valuable or relevant the content on a page is.

Toolbar Pagerank – A value between 1 and 10 granted by Google’s algorithm which attempts to measure the importance of a webpage. Not to be confused with page rank (which is a measurement from 0 to 1).

Trust Rank – The method through which the trust of a website is measured by scrutinizing the quality and quantity of its links. It is an attempt to separate valuable links and spam.

URI – Uniform resource Indicator.

URL – A web address (Uniform resource locator)

Universal Search Results – Google showing rich search results for search queries such as images, videos and news.

User generated Content (UGC) – Content which is generated by users that often enriches a website. An example would be Wikipedia, which is an encyclopedia of user generated content.

Vanity Terms – These are term that people want to be 1 up on competitors, they have no real monetry value. uk seo, is a great example of this…every SEO in the UK wants it, but the reality is the only people searching on it are the SEOs.

Walled Garden – A group of pages which link to each other, but are separated from other content and are often not indexed (unless they are included in the sitemap). Wall Garden’s generally have very little page rank.

Web 2.0 – Websites which endorse user interactivity.

White Hat – These are techniques that abide by legitimate SEO and search engine policies.

White Label SEO – Delivering SEO services to a company so it can be re-packaged and sold to their client. See White Label SEO Consulting.

Widget (Gizmo) – Widgets are applications which aggregate data and present it in a concise and appealing way for the user.

WordPress – The most powerful content management stystem in the world.  WordPress

Vanity Terms – These are term that people want to be 1 up on competitors, they have no real monetry value. uk seo, is a great example of this…every SEO in the UK wants it, but the reality is the only people searching on it are the SEOs.

XML Sitemap – List of website pages in an XML format.

XSS Attacks – Refers to cross site scripting, a form of hacking.