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Seo Terminology Defined

Algorithm: A set of rules or mathematical formula a search engine uses to rank websites online. Search engines guard their algorithms closely, as they are the unique formulas used to determine relevancy.

ALT Text: Also known as alternative text or alt attribute. An HTML tag (ALT tag) is 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 (also called “link text”) or the text associated with a hyperlink.

Backlinks: All the links pointing at a particular web page. Google ranks webpages according to the number of backlinks they have. Also called inbound links and helps determine a website’s popularity.

Ban: Also known as delisting. Refers to a punitive action imposed by a search engine in response to being spammed. Can be an IP address or a specific URL.

Black Hat: SEO practices designed to trick the search engines, often resulting in a negative mark by the search engines.

Blog: A truncated form of “web log.” A blog is a frequently updated journal that is intended for general public consumption.

Bookmark: A link to a website address saved electronically in a browser to facilitate quick access to the Web page. Social bookmarking sites such as let users share websites they like with each other. Having links to your site in social bookmarking sites is a sign to crawlers that your website content is interesting to searchers.

Cloaking: The process in which a website displays different versions of a web page under different circumstances. This is considered “black hat” and can result in the perpetrator being banned by the search engines.

Competitive Analysis: An assessment and analysis of strengths and weaknesses of competing web sites, including identifying traffic patterns, major traffic sources, and keyword selection.

Conversion Form: A form on your website that allows you to collect information about your site visitor. Conversion Forms convert traffic into leads. Collecting contact information helps you follow up with these leads and potentially turn them into customers or subscribers.

Crawler: Also known as a bot or 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 refers to the crawler searching through documents contained within the web site.

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: Just like directories for people and phone numbers, there are directories for websites. Web Directories specialize in linking to other sites and categorizing those links. Submitting your site to a directory gives you more than just an inbound link; it helps people find you.

Domain: Refers to a specific web site address.

Entry Page: Refers to any page within a website that a user employs to “enter” your website. Also see Landing Page.

The Fold: The “fold” is the point on your website where the page gets cut off by the bottom of a user’s monitor or browser window. Anything below the fold can be scrolled to, but isn’t seen right away. Search engines place some priority on content above the fold, since new visitors will see it right away.

Frames: HTML technique that allows two or more pages to display in one browser window.

Hidden Text: Text that is visible to the search engines but hidden to a user. This is considered black hat. Also called “invisible text.”

HTML: Acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language. The code part of your website that search engines read. Keep your HTML as clean as possible so that search engines read your site easily and often.

Inbound Link: A link from one site into another. A link from another site will improve your SEO, especially if that site has a high PageRank.

Indexability: Also known as crawlability and spiderability. Indexability refers to the potential of a website or its contents to be crawled or “indexed” by a search engine.

Internal Link: A hyperlink that is a reference or navigation element in a webpage to another section of the webpage or to another page that may be on or part of the same website or domain of the internet.

IP Address (Internet Protocol Address): A unique combination of numbers assigned to individual electronic devices or networks that communicate over the Internet.

JavaScript: A scripting language that allows website administrators to apply various effects or changes to the content of their website as users browse it.

Keyword: A single word that relates to a specific subject or topic (A keyword phrase is similar, but contains more than one word.) Used to find websites on search engines.

Keyword Density: The number of times a keyword or keyword phrase is used in the body of a page compared to the total text of the page.

Keyword Stuffing: 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 in addition to being viewed by search engines.

Link Building: The activity and process of getting more inbound links to your website for improved search engine rankings.

Link Farming: The attempt to substantially and artificially increase link popularity. This often results in a site being penalized by the search engines.

Link Popularity: A factor determined by search engines based on the total number of links pointing to any particular URL.

Long Tail Keyword: Keyword phrases with at least three, sometimes four or five, words in them. They are usually highly specific and draw lower traffic than shorter, more competitive keyword phrases.

Metadata: Data that tells search engines what your website is about.

Meta-Description: HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the content of web pages.  Meta-descriptions are commonly used on search engine result pages (SERPs) to display snippets for a given page.

NoFollow: 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.

Organic Results: Listings on SERPs that were not paid for (also called “natural results”).

PageRank: PageRank (PR) is a grade given to a website on a scale from 0 -10 based off the total quantity of links coming into a website. PageRank is one of the factors considered when increasing a website’s ranking.

Page Title: The name you give your web page, which is seen at the top your browser window. Page titles should contain keywords related to your business. Words at the beginning of your page title are more highly weighted than words at the end.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click): Advertising method in which an advertiser puts an ad in an online advertising venue and pays that venue each time a visitor clicks on his/her ad.  Google AdWords is the classic example of PPC.

Query: The keyword or key phrase a searcher enters into a search field.

ROI: Acronym for return on investment, the amount of money you make on your ads compared to the amount of money you spend on your investment. A way to measure profits compared to investment.

Rank: The position of a particular web page or website in search engine results.

Reciprocal Linking: The process of two different sites linking out to each other (also referred to as cross linking or link exchange). It is typically an ineffective way to build links.

RSS: Acronym for really simple syndication, a family of web feed formats used for distributing frequently updated digital content such as blogs, news, podcasts, and videos.

SEO: Acronym for search engine optimization. This is the process of editing a website’s content and code in order to improve visibility within one or more search engines.

SERP: Acronym for Search Engine Results Page, the page delivered to a searcher, which displays the results of a search query entered into the search field.

Search Funnel: Movement of searchers, who tend to do several searches before reaching a buy decision. Works from broad, general keyword search terms to narrower, more specific keywords.

Search Query: The word or phrase a searcher types into a search field.

Sitemap: A special document created by a Webmaster or a piece of software that provides a map of all the pages on a website to make it easier for a search engine to index that website.

Social Media: The means of interactions among people in which they create, share and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.

Spam: Any search marketing method that a search engine deems to be detrimental to its efforts to deliver relevant, quality search results.  It is named for Spam, the luncheon meat, by way of a Monty Python sketch in which Spam is included in almost every dish.

Spider: See Crawler.

Splash Page: An entry page or main page of a web site that is interactive or graphically intense. Many splash pages are designed using Flash.

Submission: The act of submitting a web site to search engines and search directories.

Title Tag: An HTML tag appearing in the <head> tag of a web page that contains the page title. The page title should be determined by the relevant contents of that specific web page. The contents of a title tag for a web page is generally displayed in a search engine result as a bold blue underlined hyperlink.

Tracking URL: A specially designed and/or unique URL created to track an action or conversion from paid advertising

Traffic: The number of visitors a website receives.

Traffic Analysis: The process of analyzing traffic to a website to understand what visitors are searching for and what is driving traffic to a site.

Unique Visitor: An actual web surfer (as opposed to a crawler) that is tracked by a unique identifiable quality (typically IP address). A unique visitor is different from “hits” or “visits” in that multiple hits or visits from the same person are counted only once.

URL: Acronym for Uniform Resource Locator – The web address of a page on your site (example:

Usability: This term refers to how “user friendly” a website and its functions are. A site with good usability is a site that makes it easy for visitors to find the information they are looking for or to perform the action they desire. Bad usability is anything that causes confusion or problems for the user.

User Agent: This is the identity of a website visitor, spider, browser, etc. Most commonly used top refer to the method a person uses to visit a website, most commonly the Internet Explorer browser.

Wiki: Software that allows people to contribute knowledge on a particular topic. A wiki is another web publishing platform that makes use of technologies similar to blogs and also allows for collaboration with multiple people.

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