SEO Glossary: Everything you need to know

  1. SEO glossary seo terms

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can be quite confusing to those in the industry let alone those who are starting out or happen to hear some SEO jargon. So to help, we have devised this SEO glossary which displays popular terms and their meanings. Just scroll down to the letters you need help with and the answer will be there. Or grab a cup of your favorite beverage and read through all terminology.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Response Codes


Absolute link – This is a links which displays the full URL address including http:// Example

AJAX – Asynchronous JavaScript and XML

Alt Tag – This is to be completed when using an image on your website and should include Image caption and a descriptive tag

Anchor Text – This is the text used to display a web link

API – This is an Application programme interface which allows you to access software functions without using the software directly

Authority – This informs you of how powerful a domain is which will be decided on various factors including; Trust, Backlinks, Age…


Black Hat SEO – Bad, very bad, SEO techniques. Which includes article directories, link directories, spam websites, keyword stuffing etc…

Boolean Search – Searches that use mathematical formulas such as “AND, OR or NOT”

Breadcrumb – This is the navigation displayed to a user which tells them the paths they used to reach their current page

Broken Link – This is a link that goes nowhere. It can be to the wrong page or generates a 404


Cache – This is a copy of a web page stored by a search engine

Canonical Tag / URL – A duplicate page of content that supplies slightly different variables. An example of this is pricing pages (sales, offers) This is then deliberately mentioned to search engines as a duplicate page to avoid being penalised. Google will find out & hunt your site down

Cloaking – Displays different content to search engines than it does to users. Avoid this practice at all costs

Clustering – This is when a selection of results that are for the same domain appear for one search term

Co Citation – This is falls under related search and is where two links that point to similar websites sit near to each other

Conceptual search – Some search engines try to match the concept of the search, not just the words within it, to provide a better user experience by delivering more relevant results

Cookie –  Unfortunately, not the type you can eat. This is a small data file that is attributed to a specific users machine which tracks your movements online

Crawling – How robots and search engines travel through your website to help index your website.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is the backbone to a website


Deep link – A links that links to a page deeper in the site

De- Listing –  This is where a website is removed from Natural search, for many different reasons

Disavow – Asking Google to remove a link to your website from an external linking source. This is done after you have made several attempts to get the webmaster to remove it themselves

Duplicate Content – Website content that is duplicated over more than one page

Dynamic Content –  Content that changes over time; using the possibilities of PHP or ASP


Editorial Link –  A link that sits in an editorial (usually paid for) and best to avoid

Ethical SEO – Being open about exactly what links you plan on getting and how it can affect a website

External Link – A link that comes from another domain


Favicon – This is the small image (16px x 16px) that displays at the top of a browser when the site has loaded. This should be a brand image

Flash –  Whilst this may look good, at times, it is very bad for SEO as it cannot be read by search engines

FTP – File Transfer Protocol: A quick way to upload flies to a site


Google Bot – The robot (bot) that Google uses to crawl a website

Google Bombing – This is a frowned upon technique of making a page rank highly by pointing 100’s of thousands of links to it. Another technique used in Black Hat SEO.

Google Dance – Sounds pretty but is very annoying. This is where rankings move around frequently from day to day for specific search terms. Usually whilst Google is indexing / ranking your pages

Google Sitelinks – The links displayed by Google underneath your main organic listing. You can also add these as an ad extension within your PPC (Pay Per Click) Google AdWords campaign


Hidden Text – Another Black Hat SEO technique for text that is hidden (usually white text on a white background) to show Google key terms but not users

HTAccess – A page used to create a large volume of redirects

HTML – Hyper Text Mark-up Language


Index – A selection of results that are displayed for a search query

IP Address – Internet protocol location. In SEO we use C class IPs to identify if a website sits on a different server to another


Javascript – Now readable by Google and can be embedded onto a site to add dynamic features which increase user experience


Keywords – What we target within search for a website

Keyword Density – The amount a specific keyword appears in one web page avoid going over 2% keyword density

Keyword Research – The process we use to determine which key terms would be best for us to rank for

Keyword Stuffing – Constantly using the same keyword on one web page in an attempt to demonstrate the relevance of that page. Not only does it spam Google, it will be confusing for a user to read through repetitive text.


Link Baiting – A technique used to attract people to link to a particular document

Link Building – A process by which links are the main goal to be produced, this is an endless area to discuss especially since the dreaded Penguin Algorithm update from Google

Link Equity – A measure of a sites strength based on its link popularity and authority . This includes anchor text

Link Hoarding – Websites that don’t link out to other websites but expect people to link to them

Long Tail – Search terms that are usually more than three words long


Manual Review – When a website is manually reviewed by a Google employee for penalisation

Meta Description – The description websites should use to describe your website in less than 170 characters. For mobile search use less, around 70 characters

Meta Keywords – A tag in the head, that allows you to display keyword that your website should rank for. This can still be used but provides no advantages to your website

Meta Search – A search that pulls in results from multiple search engines and ranks them as they have desired


No Follow – A tag that prevents any page rank from being distributed through a link. It looks like this rel=”nofollow”>Your Link

No Index A tag that prevents your web page from being added to Google’s index


Organic Search Results – The natural search listing just below paid ads in search engines

Outbound Link – When you link from your site to another


Page Rank –The rank a website / web page or document is provided to demonstrate its trust from Google

Payday Update – A targeted update that specifically targeted terms such as “Payday Loans”

Panda Update – More generic update aimed at all sites, and penalising those with content issues. These include; thin content, irrelevant content, over optimised content (keyword stuffing) and duplicate content

Penguin Update – An update that targeted domains with very low quality back links, or back links from sites that used Article spinners, directories, editorials etc.

Penalty – This is when Google penalises a website for going against their guidelines

PPC – Pay Per Click. Google’s paid for advertising displayed within search results also known as Google AdWords


Quality Content – Content worth linking to – This is the kind of content you should be creating

Query – A search of any key term performed in a search engine


Reciprocal Links – Links produced by two or more websites pointing to each other’s websites, essentially passing page rank between each other

Redirect – This mainly focuses on a 301 redirect (permanent) or 302 redirect (temporary)

Reconsideration Request – This is a request sent to Google to ask them to reconsider indexing your website after it being hit by an update (Panda, Penguin or both)

Referrer – Where a visitor previously arrived from

Robots.txt – A file that controls everything (bots) that comes into your website, and what it is permitted to do / pages to index


SERP – Search Engine Results Page

Siphoning – Techniques developed to steal traffic from another site

Sitemap – A web document that allows crawlers and people to immediately see all of your web pages

Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Instagram, Pinterest and so on…

Spam – Those dreaded emails and more common blog comments

Spider – A bot that crawls your website site to help index pages

SSI – Server Side Includes, they call in parts of another page to the one you are visiting, such as shtml

Static content – Content that doesn’t change very often


Text Link Ads – These are ads that have text links sitting within them and greatly considered to be a black hat SEO practice

Title – aka Page Title which is your headline for each page on your website


Unique Visitor – A count of individual (new) users who have accessed your web site

URL –  The web address of a page on website


Vertical Search –  A search that focuses around one particular area for example; digital marketing

Visit – Website traffic metric


Whois – The record for each domain on the internet

White Hat SEO –  The correct way to carry out SEO. This is easily done by following the guidelines set out by the likes of Google and listening to frequent updates from Matt Cutts

W3C –  World Wide Web Consortium.

Response Codes

301 Redirect – This is a permanent redirect and tells search engines that a webpage has permanently moved and its new address

302 Redirect – This is a temporary redirect. Use this when your original URL will be returning

403 Server Code – A “forbidden” message. Prevents access to a URL and displays the reason for preventing access.

404 Server Code – Returns  “page not found” this will need to then be redirected or removed from SERPs.

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