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SEO Glossary


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301 Redirect

A Permanent Redirect

This is the method used to alert the search engines that a page eitehr no longer exists, or has been moved to a new location. If you are changing the url structure of your site, you don’t want the search engines to index both the new and old pages… this will cause duplicated content issues. The search engine will replce it’s indexed page with the new page and you will not loose an of your rankings (theoretically).

This method is also used for pages that no longer exist. You can use the 301 redirect to send the search robots to the homepage of your site, thus salvaging any PR that page may have had.

404 Error

Page Not Found

This error page displays by the web browsers when a page requested is either not available or does not exist.

For SEO purposes, it is always best to have a custom 404 page for your website. If a link on your site leads to a page that does not exist for some reason, the custom 404 pages will contain the template of your websites with an error message letting teh visitor know that the page was not found and to resume searching your site.


Ad Center

Microsoft’s pay per click ad network.


Site owners can display google ads on their sites and receive a percentage of the cost per click revenue from clickthoughs. The actual percentage paid out is unfortunatly unknown and has decreased significantly.


Google Pay Per Click ad network for advertisers.

Affiliate Marketing

An affiliate is a webmaster or web site owner that sends traffic to other company’s websites in return for a commission.

Commission can be paid as a percentage of the sale, or a set amount for a defined action… like filling out a form or application.

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML is a technique which allows a web page to request additional data from a server without requiring a new page to load.

This is a great technology, but needs to be used only on pages that dont’ need to be indexed by the search engines. A site built completely in AJAX will have only one page indexed… the first page!


Amazon owned search service which measures website traffic and visitor data. The data is collected only from those that have the alexa toolbar installed on their web browser. Use trafficestimate.com for more accurate visitor stats.

Alt Tag

This is a tag that is used to describe an image used on a website. You can see the alt tag of most images by hovering over it with your mouse cursor. This was designed for blind people so they could have a description of what an image was. The Alt tag is aslo used for seo purposes in image searches and adding to the keyword density of a page. It is also part of W3C web compliance standards.


Software which allows you to track visitor statistics on your websites. We prefer to use Google Analytics as it is both the most full featured and free.

Anchor Text

Anchor Text is the text in the actual link used to link to your site. This is probably the most important thing in search engine optimization and link building.

An example of anchor text:

<a href=”http://www.seo-services.com/”>SEO Services</a>

The link will appear like this:

SEO Services


Application Program Interface – a series of conventions or routines used to access software functions. Most major search products have an API program.

API’s are backend scripts used to communicate to other outside software applications.


Active Server Pages – a dynamic Microsoft programming language. Similar to php, but it is not free. Used primarly on Windows Servers.


The ability of a website to rank well in search engines. Five large factors associated with site and page authority are the quality of incoming links, site age, traffic trends, site history, and quality content. This is also known as Trust Ranking.


Authority sites are those which are well trusted and already rank well in their industry. An authority is a page which is referenced from many topical experts and well respected sites.

Examples of some Authority sites are:

  • DMOZ
  • Wikipedia
  • Respected News and information sites



Backlinks are links that point to your targeted sites from other outside sites. Also know and inbound links.

Black Hat SEO

Black has seo are the techniques used to increase a sites natural search engine rankings using dissappoved seo techniques such as doorway pages, pop ups, paid links, or spam e-mails.

A periodically updated journal, typically formatted in reverse chronological order. Many blogs not only archive and categorize information, but also provide a feed and allow simple user interaction like leaving comments on the posts.

Most blogs tend to be personal in nature. Blogs are generally quite authoritative with heavy link equity because they give people a reason to frequently come back to their site, read their content, and link to whatever they think is interesting.

The most popular blogging platforms are WordPress and Blogger.

Blog Comment Spam

Filling out fictisious blog comments on do follow blogs in teh hop to gain relevant inbound links. Usually dont with automated software.


Blogger is a free blog platform owned by Google.


Link list on a blog, usually linking to other blogs owned by the same company or friends of that blogger.

A way to make words appear in a bolder font. Words that appear in a bolder font are more likely to be read by humans that are scanning a page. A search engine may also place slightly greater weighting on these words than regular text, but if you write natural page copy and a word or phrase appears on a page many times it probably does not make sense or look natural if you bold ever occurrence.

Example use:

  • <b>words</b>
  • <strong>words</strong>

Either would appear as words.

Most browsers come with the ability to bookmark your favorite pages. Many web based services have also been created to allow you to bookmark and share your favorite resources. The popularity of a document (as measured in terms of link equity, number of bookmarks, or usage data) is a signal for the quality of the information. Some search engines may eventually use bookmarks to help aid their search relevancy.

Social bookmarking sites are often called tagging sites. Del.icio.us is the most popular social bookmarking site.

Boolean Search
Many search engines allow you to perform searches that contain mathematical formulas such as AND, OR, or NOT. By default most search engines include AND with your query, requiring results to be relevant for all the words in your query.


  • A Google search for SEO Services will return results for SEO AND Services.
  • A Google search for SEO Services” will return results for the phrase SEO Services.
  • A Google search for SEO Services-Brian will return results containing SEO AND Services but NOT Brian.
  • A Google search for ~SEO -SEO will find results with words related to SEO that do not contain SEO.
Breadcrumb Navigation

Navigational technique used to help search engines and website users understand the relationship between pages.

Example breadcrumb navigation:

Home > SEO Services > Link Building

Whatever page the user is on is unlinked, but the pages above it within the site structure are linked to, and organized starting with the home page, right on down through the site structure.

Broken Link

A hyperlink which is not functioning. A link which does not lead to the desired location. Usually result in a 404 page error.



Copy of a web page stored by a search engine. When you search the web you are not actively searching the whole web, but are searching files in the search engine index.

Some search engines provide links to cached versions of pages in their search results, and allow you to strip some of the formatting from cached copies of pages.

To find if a page is cached you can type teh following in the search engine search box

Yahoo: http://[fulldomainname]

Google: info:http://[fulldomaind name]

Bing: http://[fulldomainname}

Canonical URL

This term is usually used to find out which is the preferred url if multiple urls are available to display the same page. Ex. http://wwww.domainname.com or http://domainname.com.

The Canonical Url is the preferred url to be indexed by the search engines.


Displaying different content to search engines and searchers. This is generally frowed upon, especailly if it is used to deceive.


Content Management System. Tool used to help make it easy to update and add information to a website. Examples of CMS systems are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.


Many blogs and other content management systems allow readers to leave user feedback in fthe form of comments. Within most comments a link can be left directing to the commenter’s site.

Contextual Advertising

Advertising programs which generate relevant advertisements based on the content of a webpage.


Many forms of online advertising are easy to track. A conversion is reached when a desired goal is completed.


Small data file written to a user’s local machine to track them. Cookies are used to help websites customize your user experience and help affiliate program managers track conversions.


Cost per action. The effectiveness of many other forms of online advertising have their effectiveness measured on a cost per action basis.


Cost per click. Many search ads and contextually targeted ads are sold in auctions where the advertiser is charged a certain price per click.

Crawl Frequency

How frequently a website is crawled by the search engines.


Cascading Style Sheets is a method for adding styles to web documents.


Clickthrough rate – the percentage of people who view click on an advertisement they viewed, which is a way to measure how relevant a traffic source or keyword is. Search ads typically have a higher clickthrough rate than traditional banner ads due to being highly relevant to implied searcher demand.


Dead Link

A link which is no longer functional.

Deep Link

A link which points to an internal page within a website.

Dedicated Server

Server which is limited to serving one website or a small collection of websites owned by a single person.

Dedicated servers tend to be more reliable than shared (or virtual) servers. Dedicated servers usually run from $100 to $500 a month.


Directories and search engines provide a short description near each listing which aims to add context to the listing.


A categorized catalog of websites, typically manually organized by topical editorial experts.


The Open Directory Project is the largest human edited directory of websites. DMOZ is owned by AOL, and is primarily ran by volunteer editors.


Domain Name Server or Domain Name System. A naming scheme mechanism used to help resolve a domain name / host name to a specific TCP/IP Address.


Scheme used for logical or location organization of the web. Many people also use the word domain to refer to a specific website.

Doorway Pages

Pages designed to rank for highly targeted search queries, typically designed to redirect searchers to a page with other advertisements. These are also sometimes referred to as landing pages when used correctly.


Popular web development and editing software offering a what you see is what you get interface.

Duplicate Content

Content which is duplicate or near duplicate in nature.

Search engines do not want to index multiple versions of similar content. For example, printer friendly pages may be search engine unfriendly duplicates. Also, many automated content generation techniques rely on recycling content, so some search engines are somewhat strict in filtering out content they deem to be similar or nearly duplicate in nature.

Webmasters should mark duplicate pages with no index tags in the meta data.

Dynamic Content

Content which changes over time or uses a dynamic language such as PHP to help render the page.

Dynamic Languages

Programming languages such as PHP or ASP which build web pages on the fly upon request.


Entry Page

The page which a user enters your site.

External Link

Link which references another domain.



Favorites Icon is a small icon which appears next to URLs in a web browser.


Many content management, systems such as blogs, allow readers to subscribe to content update notifications via RSS or XML feeds.


Free for all pages are pages which allow anyone to add a link to them. Generally these links do not pull much weight in search relevancy algorithms because many automated programs fill these pages with links pointing at low quality websites.


Certain activities or signatures which make a page or site appear unnatural might make search engines inclined to filter / remove them out of the search results.


Popular extensible open source web browser. Preferred by webmasters as it allows for custom extensions to aid in website development and seo.


Vector graphics-based animation software which makes it easier to make websites look rich and interactive in nature.

Search engines tend to struggle indexing and ranking flash websites because flash typically is hosted on just one url/webpage.


A technique used to display multiple smaller pages on a single display.


File Transfer Protocol is a protocol for transferring data between computers.



The world’s leading search engine in terms of reach. Google pioneered search by analyzing linkage data via PageRank.


Google’s search engine spider taht visits websites to form the Google index.

Google Base

Formally Froogle… Google Base is Googles free shopping comparison engine.

Google Bombing

Making a pank rank well for a specific search query by pointing hundreds or thousands of links at it with the keywords in the anchor text.

Google Bowling

Knocking a competitor out of the search results by pointing hundreds or thousands of low trust low quality links at their website.

Google Checkout

Payment service provided by Google .

Google Dance

When Google updates either their ranking index or Page Rank displays to webmasters via the Google Toolbar.

Google Keyword Tool

Keyword research tool provided by Google which estimates the competition for a keyword, recommends related keywords, and will tell you what keywords Google thinks are relevant to your site or a page on your site.

Google Sitemaps

A sitemap is a ducument containing all the pages a website owner would like to have indexed.



The heading element briefly describes the subject of the section it introduces.

Heading elements go from H1 to H6 with the lower numbered headings being most important. You should only use a single H1 element on each page, and may want to use multiple other heading elements to structure a document. An H1 element source would look like:

<h1>Your Topic</h1>

Hidden Text

SEO technique used to show search engine spiders text that human visitors do not see.

While some sites may get away with it for a while, generally the risk to reward ratio is inadequate for most legitimate sites to consider using hidden text.

Home Page

The main page on your website, which is largely responsible for helping develop your brand and setting up the navigational schemes that will be used to help users and search engines navigate your website.


Apache directory-level configuration file which can be used to password protect or redirect files. Typically used to form seo friendly urls using mod-rewrite.


HyperText Markup Language is the language in which pages on the World Wide Web are created.


HyperText Transfer Protocol is the foremost used protocol to communicate between servers and web browsers. Hypertext transfer protocol is the means by which data is transferred from its residing location on a server to an active browser.


Inbound Link

Links pointing to one website from another website.


Collection of data used as bank to search through to find a match to a user fed query. The larger search engines have billions of documents in their catalogs.

Internal Link

Link from one page on a site to another page on the same site.

Internet Explorer

Microsoft’s web browser. Also referred to as IE.

IP Address

Internet Protocol Address. Every computer connected to the internet has an IP address. Some websites and servers have unique IP addresses, but most web hosts host multiple websites on a single host.


Internet Service Providers sell end users access to the web. Some of these companies also sell usage data to web analytics companies.



A client-side scripting language that can be embedded into HTML documents to add dynamic features.

Search engines do not index most content in JavaScript. In AJAX, JavaScript has been combined with other technologies to make web pages even more interactive.



A word or phrase which implies a certain mindset or demand that targeted prospects are likely to search for.

Keyword Density

A measure of search engine relevancy based on how prominent keywords appeared within the content of a page. Keyword density is no longer a valid measure of relevancy over a broad open search index though.


Landing Page

The page on which a visitor arrives after clicking on a link or advertisement.


A text link or image that re-directed the user to another page either within the same website, or to another website.

Link Baiting

The art of targeting, creating, and formatting information that provokes the target audience to point high quality links at your site.

Link Building

The process of building high quality links that search engines will follow to your targeted website. Quality links are considered to be votes for the targeted website and help in search engine results pages (SERPS).

Link Farm
Website or group of websites which exercises little to no editorial control when linking to other sites.
Link Popularity

The number of links pointing at a website. Also measured by the Google Page Rank.

Long Tail

Keywords targeted that contain multiple keywords strung together.


Meta Description

The meta description tag is typically a sentence or two of content which describes the content of the page.

Meta Keywords

The meta keywords tag is a tag which can be used to highlight keywords and keyword phrases which the page is targeting.

Meta Tags

People generally refer to meta descriptions and meta keywords as meta tags. Some people also group the page title in with these.



Website architectural Scheme to help website users understand where they are, where they have been, and how that relates to the rest of your website.


Attribute used to prevent a link from passing link authority. Commonly used on sites with user generated content, like in blog comments.



Open Source

Software which is distributed with its source code such that developers can modify it as they see fit.

Organic Search Results

The unpaid / algorithmic listings on search engines are called the organic search results. Organic search results are organized by relevancy, which is largely determined based on linkage data, page content, usage data, and historical domain and trust related data. Also known as SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).

Outbound Link

A link from one website pointing at another external website.



Googles trust/authority ratings for websites. This has little effect anymore on actual rankings.

Paid Inclusion

A method of allowing websites which pass editorial quality guidelines to buy relevant exposure.


Search engines prevent some websites suspected of spamming from ranking highly in the results by banning or penalizing them.


PHP Hypertext Preprocessor is an open source server side scripting language used to render web pages or add interactivity to them.


Portable Document Format is a universal file format developed by Adobe Systems that allows files to be stored and viewed in the original printer friendly context.


Pay Per Click is a pricing model where ads only charge advertisers if a potential customer clicks on an ad.



The actual “search string” a searcher enters into a search engine.


Reciprocal Links

When two or more sites agree to exchange outgoing links to each other’s websites.


A method of alerting browsers and search engines that a page location moved. 301 redirects are for permanent change of location and 302 redirects are used for a temporary change of location.


A company which allows you to register domain names.


If a site has been penalized for spamming they may fix the infraction and ask for reinclusion to the search engines .


A file which sits in the root of a site and tells search engines which files not to crawl.


Return on Investment is a measure of how much return you receive from each marketing dollar.


Rich Site Summary or Real Simple Syndication is a method of syndicating information to software which allows people to subscribe to a channel they are interested in.


Search Engine

A tool or device used to find relevant information. Google, Yahoo, and Bing are search engines.


Search engine marketing.


Search engine optimization is the art and science of publishing information and marketing it in a manner that helps search engines understand if your site’s information is relevant to relevant search queries.

SEO Copywriting

Writing and formatting copy in a way that will help make the documents appear relevant to a wide array of relevant search queries.


Search Engine Results Page is the page on which the search engines show the results for a search query.


Computer used to host files and serve them to the WWW.

Site Map

Page which can be used to help give search engines a secondary route to navigate through your site.

Social Media

Websites which allow users to create the valuable content.


Unsolicited email messages or pop ups.


The act of creating and distributing spam.


Search engine crawlers which search or “spider” the web for pages to include in the search engine’s index.

Splash Page

Feature rich web page which typically offers poor usability and does not offer search engines much content to index. Ex. a flash intro page.


Software programs which spy on web users.

Static Content

Content which does not change frequently. May also refer to content that does not have any social elements to it and does not use dynamic programming languages.

Stop Words

Common words (ex: a, to, and, is …) which add little relevancy to a search query, and are thus are removed from the search query prior to finding relevant search results.


Text Link Ads

Advertisements which are formatted as text links.


The title element is used to describe the contents of a document.

The title is one of the most important aspects to doing SEO on a web page.


Search engines frequently update their algorithms and data sets to help keep their search results fresh and make their relevancy algorithms hard to update.


Uniform Resource Locator is the unique address of any web document.

URL Rewrite

A technique used to help make URLs more unique and descriptive to help facilitate better sitewide indexing by major search engines.


Viral Marketing

Self propagating marketing techniques. Common modes of transmission are email, blogging, and word of mouth marketing channels.



Each domain has an owner of record. Ownership data is stored in the Whois record for that domain.

White Hat SEO

Conducting seo techniques approved by the search engine guidlines of Google and the search engine optimization community.


Software which allows information to be published using collaborative editing.


Popular open source blogging software platform, offering both a downloadable blogging program and a hosted solution.



Extensible HyperText Markup Language is a class of specifications designed to move HTML to conform to XML formatting.


Extensible Markup Language is a simple, very flexible text format derived from SGML, used to make it easy to syndicate or format information using technologies such as RSS.


Yahoo Directory

One of the original, most popular, and most authoritative web directories, started by Yahoo in 1994.


Feature rich amateur video upload and syndication website owned by Google.