SEO Glossary

SEO Glossary


SEO is a field that takes the time to be understood, especially with the jargons used in it. In order to help you with certain commonly used terms, we have compiled an SEO and SEM glossary, which would give you a better understanding of the various terminologies used in this field.


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  • 200 – The requested page has been loaded successfully in the web browser.
  • 301 – The particular web page has been moved to the required destination or location permanently. This is used while redirecting pages in a site. It might be used either for a file, or few pages or a whole site to be redirected. Usually, it takes a month or more for 301 sites to be made visible in websites.
  • 302 – The required page has been found, but has been placed in a different URL, for a temporary basis. This is usually not a good practice with respect to SEO, as not all search engines pick up 302 quite faster.
  • 404 – The URL is not traceable or locatable, by the web server.
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  • Absolute Link – A link that shows the complete URL of the web page that is being linked.
  • adCenter – This is Microsoft’s search advertising service, wherein the user has to create an adCentre account and set the market details belonging to them. The payments are done on a Cost-per-click method
  • AdSense – An advertising network from the house of Google, wherein the ads are posted next to the web content. Once the ads are clicked and profits made, the same is shared with Google. The ads might include text, videos, animation and the likes
  • Affiliate Marketing – A kind of marketing program, wherein merchants pay the agents, once the visitors complete a specific action, on a Cost Per Action (CPA) basis.
  • Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) – A technique wherein additional information from the web server is picked by a website’s page on the same page, without having to open a new page altogether. As the name suggests, JavaScript is used along with few other high-end technologies in order to create interactivity in the web pages.
  • Alexa – A free information service that measures the traffic that comes in a website
  • Algorithm – Set of rules followed by search engines while ranking websites in their indices
  • Alt Attribute – When images are used in websites, it proves advantageous to add relevant text equivalent for that image, for search engines to know what the function of that particular image is. This text equivalent is called an image Alt Attribute.
  • Anchor text – This is the text that has to be clicked, to follow a link. When links are given in images, the image Alt Attribute becomes the anchor text
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  • Backlinks – These are links that point from any website to your website. Using the link: function in search engines, it is possible to check the backlinks that point to any website. Also, refer to Inbound links
  • Black Hat SEO – Unethical or illegitimate techniques used in SEO that does not follow the search engine guidelines, in order to get quicker results. But these do not last for long and if picked up by Google, would also end up in penalizing or even banning of the website
  • Blog – A journal that is updated on a regular basis. It could be both personal and business blogs as well, wherein readers can leave their comments on the write-ups, thereby resulting in user interactivity, in a smaller sense.
  • Blogroll – A list of links on the blog, which is usually of other blog sites of the same company or related companies.
  • Bounce Rate – The count of visitors who visit a site but do not go deeper into the site and leave it almost immediately
  • Branded Keyword – These are keywords or phrases, that relate to a brand.
  • Breadcrumb Navigation – This helps website navigators and search engines to know the exact location of a particular web page and its relation to the other pages. An example: Home > Services > SEO
  • Broken Link – A given link that is not functioning properly, thereby not guiding to the expected location
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  • Cache – When searching sites using the search engines, the results that pop up are those that are available in the index of the search engines. A cache is a replicate of the web page that the search engine has saved.
  • Cloaking – The process of exhibiting different web content in a website, to different users and search engines is called Cloaking. This is ethical to a certain extent and the practice is allowed, when followed according to the norms. If the guidelines of search engines are not followed, then it could also lead to banning of the website
  • Clustering – Grouping of search results from the same site, when shown in a search engine for a specific search, in order to make the results look organized and orderly.
  • CMS – Content Management System. Assists in adding and updating content to any website. Example: Blog software
  • Contextual Ad – Creating advertisements for websites, depending on the web page subject or content.
  • Cost Per Action (CPA) – This is the cost that is involved in performing an online action, which includes clicking of an ad, enquiring about a product or even buying a product online. The success of online ways of advertising is measured using the CPA.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC) – One of the online advertising methods wherein the advertisers are charged only when any user clicks the particular ad.
  • Cost Per thousand (CPM) – This is a type of advertising, wherein definite charges incur to the advertiser, for every ad impression. Here, “M” in CPM represents the Roman numeral for thousand.
  • Crawl – The process of web crawlers or web spiders, that are programs, going through the whole of World Wide Web, in an automated fashion. These create copies of the web pages that are visited and then store them in the index of the search engines.
  • Crawl Depth – The depth for which the crawl extends in a website is called Crawl Depth.
  • Crawl Frequency – The frequency with which sites are crawled is called Crawl Frequency. The more frequent the sites updated and the longer the crawl on a website, the better from the SEO point of view.
  • Cloud Tag – Also called as Tagging.
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  • Dead Links – Links that do not function any longer. The quality of information of a site depends on the ratio between dead links and useful links. The lower the dead links, the better.
  • Digital Marketing – Promotion of products and services digitally, using SMS facilities, Banners, Ads, outdoor digital means, apart from using the Internet.
  • Deep link – Linking of one interior page of a site, to another interior page of another site. It is always best to link between pages that correspond or relate to the same thing, in different websites.
  • Dedicated IP – An IP address that is designated or dedicated to a single and unique website.
  • Dedicated Server – More reliable servers that serve a single or a group of websites whose proprietor is the same.
  • Description – Small snippets seen in directories and search engines, against the site URL, that actually describes the site.
  • DMOZ – It is the largest directory with the biggest collection of websites. It is called the Open Directory Project and is edited and maintained by voluntary editors from all over the world.
  • DNS – Known as the Domain Name System, is a method to name computers and any other resources, that is available on the Internet.
  • DoFollow – This is given in the HTML page or the Robot.txt of the website, in order to direct the search engines to follow that particular web page.
  • Doorway Pages – These are web pages that are appropriately designed in order to land the search queries to this page, which would redirect the searches to another page containing advertisements. However, these should have relevant content on the search that is being made, and should not be unnecessarily disguised for getting high rankings in specific searches conducted.
  • Duplicate content – Web page content that has already been duplicated in any other page or website. This is strictly against the search engine rules and it most often filters out such duplicated contents when they encounter one.
  • Dynamic Content – Web pages that contain content that keeps changing over time. It is developed using languages like PHP, ASP.Net, ASP so on. When a ? a symbol is added to the URLs, the search engines would treat the content as dynamic. But sometimes there is also a chance that if a ? a symbol is used in the URL, search engines might also ignore the URL altogether.
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  • Entry Page – The page where the given link lands in, while searches are performed.
  • Ethical SEO – SEO methodology that is performed according to the standard rules and regulations followed by the search engines.
  • External Link – Links that refer to a web page on another website, from a page in your website. It is always better to have many high-quality external and inbound links,
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  • Feed – A data format that provides content that is updated quite often to subscribers.
  • Free for all – FFA, these are sites that can be linked by any other sites. It is not advisable to link to such sites, as these links carry no importance at all.
  • Filter – If certain sites contain web content that is more unnatural or duplicated data, then search engines filter out certain content from these sites using appropriate filters.
  • Frames – This is a method, using HTML, which permits website developers to present two or more pages within a single browser window. This not only reduces the number of pages in a website but also makes the search engines believe that there is only one overall page in the website, thereby reducing the crawl frequency.
  • Fresh Content – Content that is not duplicated or rephrased, but is completely new and created afresh.
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  • Google Adwords – The keywords that match our kind of business and requirements, are chosen, and when searches are performed using those keywords on Google, your ad gets displayed at the side of the Google searches page. Here too, payments are done on a Cost Per Click method.
  • Google Analytics – Was previously called as Urchin. A free software from Google that helps you login to get your site details like user paths, sales conversion details, trailing of page views and the likes.
  • GoogleBot – The spider name used by Google .
  • Google AdSense – Same as AdSense.
  • Google Base – Was called as Froogle previously. The database prepared by Google that contains meaningfully structured data. This is free to be used.
  • Google Bombing – Efforts taken to rank a particular web page well in searches performed in search engines. This is done by linking the page with many external links that contain the same keywords.
  • Google Bowling – This is a practice wherein many low-level links from low-quality sites are pointed to the competitor’s sites. This reduces their page ranking, thereby bowling them off the search engine results.
  • Google Traffic Estimator – This tool helps in finding out the volumes of searches being performed for specific keywords and also calculates the bid amount for these keywords as well.
  • Google Sitemap – A structured program that helps Google to index the contents of any website.
  • Google Sitelinks – A collection of links from a website, that come below the search results when the same website is listed as a result, in a search engine. These links appear automatically under the search results.
  • Google Supplemental Index – Google index where certain links of websites are stored, which contain less trust factor from Google. This could be because they have more of duplicate content and Meta tags, if URLs are quite confusing and the likes.
  • Google Website Optimizer – A free platform specifically used for advertisers in Adwords, to help them get good sales conversion.
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  • Headings – Concisely explains the content that it introduces.
  • Hidden text – A type of SEO black hat method wherein keywords are blended with the background page of the website, so that it is not visible to the eyes, yet gets placed in search results for the keywords that are hidden in the page. This method should not be followed as search engines can also go to the extent of banning your site, once they get to know about this unethical practice followed in your website.
  • Hijacking – This is one of the ways to make the search engine come to a conclusion that a particular website occupies another URL. This is an unethical method followed by spammers. For example, a site is a real website and is a hijacked site wherein spammers use various strategies to ensure that this site ranks well above the real site.
  • HTML – The web pages are created in the Hyper Text Markup Language or the HTML language. A newer version of the HTML is the XHTML language.
  • .htaccess – A directory level configuration file for redirection of files or protecting the password, especially in Apache web servers.
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  • Inbound Links – A link that is pointing from one website to your website. Also, refer to Backlinks.
  • Index – A collection of all the websites that is used by the search engine as a record, while posting results that match a particular query.
  • Internal Link – These are links inside the same site that point from one location to another. This type gives a better idea to the search engines as to what the site is all about. It forms as an explanatory factor for the website.
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  • JavaScript – This is a scripting language that helps in adding dynamic features to the website when embedded inside HTML.


  • Keyword – A word or a phrase that is more liable to be used by target audience to search for a particular product.
  • Keyword Density – A measure of the usage of keywords in any content. The usage of keywords should not be more or less in any content; this measure is calculated using the keyword density analysis tool. Also called as Keyword Weight.
  • Keyword Frequency – The number of times a keyword appears in the content of a web page. The more the number of keywords used, the better the search engines would notice your website. However, if you stuff the web page with too many keywords, then the website can get penalized on grounds of spamming.
  • Keyword Prominence – The place where the keywords are used in a web page. The more occurrences of keywords on the top portions of the web page, the easier it is for the search engines to identify the keywords and index your site to higher search ranks.
  • Keyword Relevancy – This is a measure of the relevance of a particular keyword with respect to the query that is searched in a search engine.
  • Keyword Research – The process of analyzing and researching on various keywords and keyword phrases that would suit the particular business for which the site is being created.
  • Keyword Stuffing – contents that are written only for the sake of including keywords for search results placing. This makes the content more mechanical and does not convey the exact message to the readers, thereby decreasing the page rank of that website.
  • Keyword Weight – Also called as Keyword Density.
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  • Landing Page – The place that the web surfer lands on when clicked on a particular referrer link. This link could be either on your website ad, an email or from another website/directory.
  • Landing Page Quality – These are scores that are given by Google to the ads that come as part of their Google Adwords program. This helps in keeping a tab on the relevancy of ads
  • Link Baiting – Techniques used to attract links from high quality and ranking sites to your site. These techniques include formatting of quality web content, using Social media sites and other community sites as well
  • Link Building – In order to prove a site’s credibility and reliability to search engines, they should have high-quality links pointing out from other authoritative and exclusive sites. This process is called Link Building.
  • Link Equity – This is a measure of the importance of a website, depending on the inward link popularity done on the site and the importance of the sites from where inbound links are coming.
  • Link Farm – These websites have no control in linking out to other sites, they are similar to FFA sites
  • Link Popularity – Based on the number of backlinks that a site has, Link Popularity is a factor for ranking of sites, that depends on the number and quality of links that point to your website.
  • Link Reputation – The proximity of matching between the anchor text and the title and content in the link that the particular text points to.
  • Long Tail – Keyword phrases that contain up to even 5 words per phrase, in order to cater to highly specific keywords. These usually have less traffic, but the conversion rate would be very high, as searchers often land exactly on what they are looking for
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  • Meta Description – Description comprising of a line or two, explaining about the web page content
  • Meta Keyword – A tag used to spotlight the keywords used in a web page.
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  • Natural Link – A link to your link from any other link, because they found the content in your website to be more useful or relevant to their website content. This usually results from having a very well written and managed relevant content in a website.
  • New Visitor – The number of visitors who have landed on a particular website for the first time and has made no visits before to the website
  • Nofollow – This is usually embedded inside an HTML page or in the website’s Robot.txt so that search engines can be stopped from following that particular web page. This is usually used in user-generated content like in the comments section in blogs.
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  • Organic Search Results – When search results are displayed, they contain both unpaid results and paid ads. The unpaid results that are ranked based on the relevancy of the keywords used and the content inside the website, along with the importance of the website and trust on the data that the site extends, is called Organic Search Results
  • Outbound link – a link that originates from one website pointing to another external website
  • Open Directory Project – Abbreviated as ODP, also known as DMOZ
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  • Page Rank – Importance of a particular website is provided in terms of a numerically ranking procedure called PageRank.
  • Page Title – Explains what the page contains. When searchers search for content, the page title1 is taken into account and so is very important from the SEO point of view.
  • Paid Inclusion – Buying of exposure and popularity to your website by adding site URLs to directories that add it for a charge.
  • PPC – Pay Per Click. This is a type of online pricing model for search ads. Keywords are bid and payments are made if a particular ad is clicked.
  • Pay for performance – Payment model that pays sales people if they get prospectus clients and thereby sales to the websites
  • Penalty – When websites follow unethical SEO means to promote their website in searches, then as soon as search engines detect this, which happens almost immediately, they penalize that website, and remove them from their index.
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  • Quality Content – Web content that is worth being linked to, because of its high quality
  • Quality Link – Links that are from reliable websites, from aged domains, sites that are related to your website and the likes, are called Quality links. It is always best to link to such links, as search engines give high priority or preference to such links.
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  • Reciprocal Links – A link exchange that goes double-way. That is, if a link is pointing site A from B, then another link is also pointing from site B to A.
  • Redirect – When the location of a page has been changed, then the site is redirected to inform the search engines that the switchover has happened. This is done using 301 or 302, as the case may be.
  • Re-inclusion – After a site has been penalized by search engine, the website would request the search engines to include them back to their index, and this is called Re-inclusion
  • Referrer – A page in the website that consists of a link to your site and helps in getting your visitors.
  • Relative Link – Relative link does not mention the complete domain URL, but gives only the specific file name, unlike an Absolute link. For example, the test is a relative link, whereas test is an absolute link.
  • Reputation Management – The procedure of tracking of activities performed by an organization, the responses received for those activities, preparing a report on them and finally responding to the responses received.
  • Return Visitors – A visitor who has visited a website or clicked an ad previously as well. This is identified with the IP address. In ads, if clicks come from the same IP address more than once between 24 hours, then the same is not counted.
  • Reverse Index – A collection that contains related documents of specific keyword searches
  • Robots.txt – These files are available in the website root and they direct the search engines as to where all to crawl in the website and where not to
  • ROI – Return on Investment. This is the measure of how much return that the organization has received when compared to the money invested
  • RSS – Real Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. Here, information in the Internet syndicates together in any software wherein people can register and subscribe to get the information on a regular basis. It originates from web feeds.
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  • Search Engine – A collection of numerous web pages. When a search is performed in a search engine, it generates results that match the requirements posed in front of it.
  • SEM – Search Engine Marketing: This includes creating and marketing a website along with site optimization done to improve its web rankings in search engines. SEM is a combination of SEO along with marketing and advertising methodologies put together.
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimization is the procedure followed to optimize sites in such a way so that search engines rank them in top positions, in their indices, when appropriate queries are put forth in search engines. This includes researching of keywords and phrases, SEO content writing, link building, brand building and much more.
  • SEO Copywriting – Rational website content writing that is understood by the readers and also includes keywords and phrases, thereby assisting in SEO
  • SERP – Search Engine Results Page: The page where the search results are populated for the particular search inquiry
  • Search Marketing – Website Marketing, using PPC, paid inclusions and the likes
  • Sitemap – The page that proves to be an alternate means of surfing a particular website, with complete details of all the pages present in the website
  • Social Media Site – Bookmarking and community sites wherein users can share links to anything that has interested them most. This could be websites as a whole, links of blogs or other web contents or articles and the likes. A great way for site popularity
  • Spam – Emails or comments that are unsolicited or search results that are of low quality
  • Spider – Also called as crawlers that crawl or spider through the websites and store information in the search engine indexes.
  • Stopword – These are words that are not indexed by the search engines. They are omitted when the search engine puts terms from the web page into its index. Words like “a”, “an”, “to” and the likes are examples of Stopword
  • Supplemental results – Sites that are less trusted and do not have high ranks, are kept as supplemental results. The search engines do not crawl much in such sites and so the page ranks of these sites are also less.
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  • Tagging – Also called as bookmarking, these are the  abilities  given by websites to bookmark their websites.
  • Trackback – A method of notification to the website owners when any other website is trying to link with their website.
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  • Unethical SEO – SEO methodologies that are performed against the search engine ethics and rules. Black Hat methodologies are also part of Unethical SEO. If such practices are performed in websites, then search engines can also go up to the extent of banning or penalizing a website
  • Unique Visitor – A count of traffic that a website gets, counting each and every visitor just once, during a fixed period of time, usually a month. This report helps the webmaster and the advertisers to know how many unique surfers have visited the site, thereby knowing the reach capacity of the website.
  • URL Rewrite – A method used to rewrite URLs to make them more search engine friendly at the same time descriptive as well
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  • Viral Marketing – Self advertising of one’s own websites through word of mouth, emails or even social bookmarking sites.


  • White Hat SEO – Ethical techniques that use acceptable standards of search engines, in SEO. Though the initial results might be slow, it generates long-lasting and stable results.


  • XHTML – Extensible Hyper Text Markup Language is an updated version of HTML that makes HTML pages adapt itself to the XML format.
  • XML – Extensible Markup Language. This is a very simple, easy to use and free open format specification that helps in distributing structured information to various systems, in order to encode and format data, through the Internet. It is recommended by W3C and is used in application languages like RSS, XHTML, and the likes.