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The dynamic landscape of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can often seem like an intimidating maze, filled with an array of terminologies, acronyms, strategies, and tactics. To navigate this complex field and maximize your online presence, understanding SEO jargon is crucial. Our comprehensive SEO Glossary aims to demystify this world by providing clear, concise definitions of key terms and concepts. Whether you’re a business owner looking to boost your website’s visibility, a marketer venturing into digital marketing, or a seasoned SEO professional needing a quick refresher, this glossary is designed to be a valuable resource. 

Covering a wide spectrum of SEO terms from algorithm updates to zero-click searches, this glossary organizes these terms alphabetically for easy navigation, explaining each in straightforward language. This invaluable guide aims to illuminate the complex world of SEO, equipping you with the knowledge to effectively optimize your website, rank higher in search engine results, and reach a broader audience.

The set of rules that search engines use to rank websites.

 

The description of an image in HTML, which helps search engines understand the content of the image.

 

The process of analysing data about website usage.

 

The visible text in a hyperlink that is clickable.

 

The level of trust that a website has earned for a particular search query.

 

A measure of website popularity.

 

A change or series of changes to the way Google determines the relevance or importance of a webpage.

 

In SEO, often related to the use of machine learning algorithms by search engines to improve the relevance of search results.

 

A demotion of a website’s search ranking caused by an update to Google’s ranking algorithms or a manual review.

 

A link one website gets from another website. Backlinks make a huge impact on a website’s prominence in search engine results. They are considered favorable for enhancing SEO.

 

Refers to the use of aggressive SEO strategies, techniques, and tactics that focus only on search engines and not a human audience, and usually do not obey search engines guidelines.

 

The percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.

 

An automated software program that visits websites and performs predefined tasks. In the context of SEO, bots are often used by search engines to discover new websites and pages.

 

A link that doesn’t work, often resulting in an error page.

 

A type of website navigation that breaks up content into categories and subcategories allowing users to navigate more easily.

 

A software application used to locate, retrieve and display content on the World Wide Web, including Web pages, images, video and other files.

 

Search queries that include the brand name or variations of it. They are important for establishing brand authority and recognition.

 

An online list or catalog of websites. It is a platform where users can submit their websites to be included in the directory. This is a common method for gaining backlinks.

 

This refers to a temporary storage area that keeps a record of a web page that has previously been visited. When you return to that page, the cache provides the stored data to load the page faster.

 

It is an HTML link element that helps prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the “canonical” or “preferred” version of a web page.

 

Any part of a website that communicates your message to the user, including text, images, videos, and more.

 

Software used to create, manage, and modify content on a website without the need for specialized technical knowledge.

 

When a user completes a desired action on your website, like making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a form.

 

The percentage of visitors to a website that complete a desired goal out of the total number of visitors.

 

The process by which search engines discover your web pages. A “crawler”, “bot”, or “spider” is sent out to gather all possible information from your page so it can be included in the search engine index.

 

A coding language used to make web pages look and feel a certain way. It’s used to style and design pages written in HTML or XHTML. CSS can impact SEO when used to hide content or links.

 

A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, ultimately driving profitable customer action. SEO plays a big part in this process, ensuring the content is optimized for search engines.

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The extent to which a search engine indexes pages within a website. It describes the level at which the URL is in the site’s hierarchy. URLs with a high crawl depth might be less likely to be crawled and indexed by search engines.

 

The main web address of your site (example.com). It’s one of the most important SEO keyword for your website.

 

A search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).

 

An organised list of websites that are arranged by category. High-quality directories can be beneficial for SEO.

 

Content that is similar or identical to that found on another page or website. Duplicate content can negatively impact SEO.

 

The practice of linking to pages deeper within a site’s architecture, as opposed to only linking to a homepage or main category page.

 

The default state for a link. It allows search engine bots to follow them and helps in passing link juice (ranking power).

 

A tool provided by Google and Bing allowing webmasters to distance their site from harmful backlinks.

 

When pages or entire websites are removed from a search engine’s index.

 

The length of time that a user spends on a page after clicking on a SERP entry before returning back to the SERPs.

 

Content on a webpage that changes based on specific parameters or user behavior. It’s often personalised to improve user experience.

 

An acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, three factors that Google uses to measure the quality of web pages.

 

The acronym “E-E-A-T,” stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The addition of the new “E” refers to “experience,” – and it means that Google values firsthand or life experience on the topic a page is about.

 

Interaction between users and your website. Higher levels of engagement can have a positive impact on your SEO performance.

 

Also known as outbound link, it is a hyperlink that points to a page on a different domain.

 

A keyword that exactly matches a search query that users type into a search engine.

 

Content that is always relevant and doesn’t become outdated, helping to attract traffic over a long period.

 

The first page that a user visits during a session on a website.

 

The last page a user visits before ending a session and leaving a website.

 

The practice of using SEO strategies to increase visibility and rankings for online product pages and ecommerce websites.

 

The error message that is displayed when a server can’t find the specific webpage a user is trying to reach.

 

Opposite of a “nofollow” link. A “follow” link, or a dofollow link, passes link equity (or “juice”) from one page to the next, and it can help with the SEO of the linked page.

 

A standard network protocol used for the transfer of computer files between a client and server on a computer network. It’s often used to upload files to web servers, including website files and sitemaps.

 

The bottom part of a webpage. It often contains links, copyrights, and other essential details. Overloading the footer with keyword-rich links was once an SEO tactic, but it can be seen as spammy in modern SEO.

 

A summary answer to a user’s search query, displayed at the top of Google search results. It’s extracted from a webpage and includes the page’s title and URL.

 

An online discussion site where people can converse in the form of posted messages. Forums can be valuable for SEO when they are used appropriately, as they can generate user-generated content and can be a source of backlinks.

 

This means that all pages on a website have a URL that is directly off the root domain, rather than being nested within multiple layers of directories. It’s believed that a flatter URL architecture can help in SEO by making pages more accessible to search engines and users.

 

This is Google’s web crawling bot (sometimes also called a “spider”). Googlebot discovers new and updated pages to be added to the Google index.

 

A popular free tool offered by Google that helps webmasters and SEO professionals track and analyse website traffic and user behaviour.

 

A free tool that lets business owners and organisations manage how their business information appears across Google, including Search and Maps.

 

Previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, this is a web service by Google that allows webmasters to check the indexing status and optimise the visibility of their websites.

 

The practice of writing and publishing an article on someone else’s website or blog. It’s a way to build relationships, exposure, authority, and links.

 

Refers to the complex systems used to retrieve data from its search index and instantly deliver the best possible results for a query. Google makes thousands of algorithm changes a year.

 

A free tool that allows you manage and deploy marketing tags (snippets of code or tracking pixels) on your website (or mobile app) without having to modify the code.

 

HTML elements (ranging from H1 to H6) used to designate headings on a webpage. They play a significant role in SEO by helping search engines understand the structure and content of a page. The H1 tag typically represents the main heading.

 

Text on a webpage that’s not visible to users but can be seen by search engines. Using hidden text is considered a black hat SEO tactic and can result in penalties.

 

An HTML attribute used to indicate the language and regional targeting of a page. It helps search engines serve the correct version of content to users based on their language or region.

 

A clickable link, either on a webpage or within a document, that directs users to another location, either on the same site (internal link) or to a different site (external link).

 

The standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. Proper HTML structure is essential for both user experience and SEO.

 

Server responses to browser requests. Common codes include “200 OK” (request successful), “404 Not Found” (page not found), and “301 Moved Permanently” (a permanent URL redirection).

 

An incoming link to a webpage from another website. Inbound links can significantly influence a site’s ranking power as search engines consider them as votes of confidence or endorsements of content quality.

 

The collection of information a search engine has that can be queried against to produce search results. When a site is “indexed,” it means it has been crawled and added to this collection.

 

These are the pages of a website that are stored by search engines and can be served to users in search results.

 

A hyperlink that points to another page on the same website. Internal links help with site navigation, establish information hierarchy, and spread link equity throughout the site.

 

A unique string of numbers separated by periods that identifies each device using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network. In SEO, knowing the IP address can help identify issues related to website hosting, location-specific SEO, or even negative SEO attacks.

 

The number of times a webpage or advertisement appears on a user’s screen in search results. In SEO terms, impressions in tools like Google Search Console indicate how often a page appeared in search results for a specific query.

 

Informally used to refer to the power or equity passed to a site via links from external or internal sources. Also known as “link juice”.

 

A scripting language used to create dynamic content on websites, such as interactivity, animations, and other effects. While search engines have become better at crawling and indexing JavaScript-generated content, there are still challenges and considerations to ensure optimal SEO performance.

 

These are small applications written in Java that can be embedded in web pages. Given their diminishing support in modern browsers and potential challenges in SEO, they’ve become less common in contemporary web design.

 

A method of encoding Linked Data using JSON. It’s often used to implement structured data on websites, which helps search engines understand the content of the pages and can lead to rich search results.

 

A common file format for images used on the web. Optimizing JPEGs for file size without compromising quality can improve page load speeds, which is a factor in search engine rankings.

 

A word or phrase indicative of the main content of a webpage. It’s what users type into a search engine when they’re looking for information. Optimising a webpage around relevant keywords is a fundamental SEO strategy.

 

The situation where multiple pages on the same website compete for the same keyword. This can confuse search engines and split authority, often leading to none of the pages ranking as well as they could have if the keyword efforts were consolidated.

 

The process of finding and analysing actual search terms that users enter into search engines. This research helps SEO professionals and content creators craft content that resonates with what users are actively looking for.

 

Metrics used to measure the success of an SEO campaign or strategy. KPIs can range from organic search traffic, conversion rates, bounce rates, SERP position, and more.

 

The overuse of keywords in a piece of content, often done to attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in search results. This is considered a black-hat SEO tactic, and search engines can penalise websites for this behaviour.

 

A specific web page designed to receive traffic from search engines, advertisements, or other online channels.

 

 

A mathematical method used to determine the relationship between terms and concepts in content.

 

 

The process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own.

 

A keyword phrase that consists of three or more words, often more specific and less competitive than shorter keyword phrases.

 

A strategy to optimise a website to rank better for a local audience.

 

A brief description of a web page’s content, which appears in search engine results.

 

 

HTML tags that provide metadata about a web page.

 

 

The process of ensuring that visitors who access your website from mobile devices have an experience optimised for their device.

 

Using multiple types of marketing channels (e.g., SEO, social media, email) in a coordinated way.

 

Google’s practice of using the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking. This approach prioritises the mobile experience in search results.

 

An HTML attribute that tells search engines not to follow the links on a page.

 

An HTML tag that instructs search engines not to index a particular page.

 

Links that are given naturally by other website owners linking to your content.

 

Unethical practices aimed at sabotaging a competitor’s search engine rankings.

 

A specialised segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.

 

The practice of optimising individual web pages to rank higher in search engines.

 

 

Actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages.

 

Search results that are earned through effective SEO, not paid for.

 

Links that point from your website to other websites.

 

Excessive SEO activities that can lead to a website being penalised by search engines.

 

An algorithm used by Google to rank web pages in their search engine results.

 

An online advertising model where advertisers pay each time a user clicks on one of their online ads.

 

A Google algorithm update aimed at down-ranking websites that provide poor user experience.

 

 

A Google algorithm update aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

 

The place where a website appears in search engine results.

 

The term or phrase that a user types into a search engine.

 

A metric used by Google Ads to measure the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages.

 

Content that is informative, engaging, and valuable to users.

 

 

A feature in Google Search that provides a direct answer to a user’s query at the top of the search results.

 

 

A Google algorithmic factor that ranks recent content for certain types of search queries.

 

The position a website occupies in search engine results.

A text file that tells search engine crawlers which pages or files the crawler can or can’t request from your site.

A way to send both users and search engines to a different URL from the one they originally requested.

Enhanced search results that include additional data, such as reviews and ratings.

A format for delivering regularly changing web content.

The page displayed by a search engine in response to a query.

Code that you put on your website to help search engines provide more informative results for users.

A list of pages on a website that is accessible to crawlers or users.

An examination of a website to evaluate its ability to appear in search engine results pages.

Unwanted or intrusive content in search engines.

An HTML element that specifies the title of a web page.

The number of visitors to a website.

A method for Google to separate valuable pages from spam.

The process of optimising your website for the crawling and indexing phase.

Web pages with very little informative content.

The address used to access a webpage.

The overall experience a user has when navigating a website.

Individuals who have visited a website at least once during a reporting period.

The integration of search results from multiple data sources such as videos, images, news, and web pages.

The process of choosing the best URL when there are several choices.

A search that is limited to a specific sector, such as images or videos.

Content that becomes extremely popular and is shared among users.

How prominently a website appears in search engine results.

A speech recognition technology that allows users to search by saying terms aloud rather than typing them.

Software that can perform tasks or services based on verbal commands.

Ethical SEO strategies that are in line with search engine guidelines.

A free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in search results.

A program that visits websites and reads their pages and other information to create entries for a search engine index.

The structure of a website, including how pages are organised and linked together.

Websites that emphasise user-generated content, usability, and interoperability.

A document that helps search engines understand the structure of a website.

An HTTP header that webmasters can use to control how search engines index their content.

A markup language that has the same depth of expression as HTML but also conforms to XML syntax.

A language used to navigate through elements and attributes in XML documents.

A security vulnerability typically found in web applications.

One of the early web search engines, now a web portal offering a variety of services.

A Russian search engine that also has a presence in some other countries.

The practice of optimising video content to rank well in YouTube’s search results.

A popular SEO plugin for WordPress websites that helps with on-page optimisation.

A term used by Google to describe web pages that could potentially impact a person’s health, happiness, safety, or financial stability.

A search query that is answered directly on the SERP, eliminating the need for the user to click through to another page.

Web traffic that does not engage with the site or convert in any meaningful way.

A CSS property that specifies the stack order of an element.

Refers to the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era. In SEO, Google Zeitgeist is an annual list of the most popular searches.

Text files that describe a DNS zone. These are part of the domain name system that helps resolve domain names to IP addresses.