Glossary Of SEO Terms
Confused by all the technical terms flying around? This glossary will explain everything you need to know about SEO.

Glossary Of SEO Terms

Above the fold

The “above the fold” refers to the visible portion of a web page that can be seen without scrolling. The term originated from print media, where it referred to content on the top half of the front page of a newspaper – literally, above the paper’s physical fold.

Algorithm

Basically, an algorithm is a set of equations that Google (and other search engines) use to place websites in order from most relevant to least relevant on the SERP.

Alt attribute

The “alt attribute,” or “alt text” is the textual replacement for an image displayed on a website. This informs search engines of the image’s function and appearance on a page whenever the image is not available.

Black hat SEO

Black hat SEO is a term used to describe optimization strategies and tactics that violate search engine guidelines in order to get a quick boost in search rankings. Black hat tactics include cloaking, buying backlinks, keyword stuffing, content farms and more. These often result in a penalty from the search engines.

Bounce rate

The bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who land on your website and then leave without viewing any other pages. While not an SEO metric, it is useful in understanding how well your pages are converting visitors.

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs help users see where they are on a website and how to get back to the home page. They typically appear near the top of a page.

Cache

Cache is a saved version of a web page that Google and other search engines create after they have indexed the page. The cached page is shown to the user in place of your most recent version if the original is unavailable.

Canonical URL

The canonical URL, also known as an HTML link element (rel=”canonical”), allows you to specify your desired URL to search engines. If you have duplicate pages and want Google or another search engine to use a particular page in its results, the canonical tag is extremely beneficial.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate (CTR) is the number of clicks advertisers receive on ads divided by the number of impressions. It measures the effectiveness of paid search advertising and email campaigns.

Cloaking

Cloaking your content is an SEO technique where the user sees different information than what the search engine crawler does. It’s considered a black hat technique.

CMS

A content management system (CMS) is a platform that helps you manage digital content from creation to publishing to optimization. The most popular examples of CMS are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

Conversion

The process of getting a user to respond to your call-to-action is called conversion. For example, if you want a customer or newsletter subscriber, the user must be “converted” from being a web visitor.

Crawl error

Crawl errors happen when a search engine bot is trying to access a page on your website but can’t for some reason. If you want to excel in technical SEO, then minimizing or getting rid of these errors should be one of your priorities.

Customer journey

The customer journey is the process of a customer interacting with your brand. This can be anything from the first time they see your ad to when they unsubscribe from your emails. Understanding and mapping out the customer journey is important because it can help you optimize every touch point to create a better experience for users and, hopefully, turn them into customers or repeat customers.

Dead-end page

Dead-end page is a page with no internal links or calls to actions are called dead-end pages, and they don’t give visitors any options of what to do next on your website.

Deep link

A deep link, also known as an internal link, is a hypertext link that point to any page other than the home page. The term “deep” refers to the fact that this type of links goes deeper into the website’s structure on pages within the site.

De-index

If you de-index a page from your website, Google will no longer be able to find it or include it in the search engine results.

Directory

Online directories are useful resources for building backlinks and online citations to support your website. Registering your site in web directories is considered an effective off-page SEO tactic.

Disavow

The disavow process pertains to webmasters reporting inorganic inbound links, or those that were not naturally earned or given as payment. Typically Google wants links that are gained by natural means, so it has a disavow tool for when unnatural links have been received by domains. This way, site owners can report these back to Google.

Domain authority

You can think of domain authority, or DA, as a search engine metric that predicts how well your website will rank on SERPs. It’s an important consideration for any business with an SEO strategy.

Domain rating

Domain Rating (DR) is a method used by search engines to assess how authoritative a website may be perceived.

Do-follow link

Backlinks that contain a rel=”nofollow” HTML tag are not as useful to your site’s ranking as do-follow links, which don’t include the tag.

Doorway page

Doorway pages are created to website rank highly for specific search queries. However, they adversely affect users as too many similar pages in search results can lead the user astray from their intended destination.

Dwell time

Dwell time is a search engine optimization metric that monitors the duration spent by a visitor on your site before they go back to the search results. It’s one of, if not the most indispensable SEO metrics because it demonstrates how invested visitors are in your content.

Engagement

Engagement is a key component of the search engine ranking algorithm from an SEO perspective. The engagement metric lets search engines know how useful and relevant people find your site. Engagement can be measured by Dwell time, bounce rate, and time on page metrics.

Featured snippets

Google’s featured snippets are featured answers to searchers’ questions that appear in a box at the top of organic results, below ads. They help websites gain higher exposure and visibility.

Footer link

The links at the bottom of a web page are called footer links. You can use them to convert visitors or provide navigational assistance.

Google Bomb

A Google bomb is a tactic used by some web users to manipulate Google’s search results. By deliberately linking a particular word or phrase to a specific website, they can artificially boost that site’s ranking in the search results. This technique is considered “black hat” and is usually motivated by political agendas, pranksters, or self-promotion.

Gray hat SEO

Gray hat SEO lies in the grey area between white and black hat practices. They may not result in search engine penalties for your site, but they’re definitely riskier than playing it safe with ‘white hat’ methods.

Guest blogging

Writing blog posts for other websites, known as guest blogging, is a useful strategy for increasing web traffic, backlinks and authority.

Heading

Headings serve as an organizational tool on a web page that guides the user through its content. By optimizing headings with keywords, you can improve your SEO ranking – 80% of results on the first Google search page use a H1 header.

Headline

Headlines are crucial for any website because not only do they engage the user, but grabbed attention and make visitors want to read more of the page.

Hidden text

Text that is visible to search engine bots but not readers is called hidden text. For example, one way to stuff keywords and improve rank without frustrating visitors would be to use hidden text. Keep in mind though, using hidden text for the purpose of inflating your ranking is a frowned-upon black hat SEO tactic.

HTML

HTML is the ubiquitous language for coding webpages. HTML tags are like legos, in that they are small pieces that build a larger whole.

HTTP

HTTP, or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, is the way data travels from a browser to a website. This communication occurs through HTTP Requests (sent from the browser) and HTTP Responses (received by the website).

HTTPS

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP. The ‘S’ at the end stands for ‘Secure’, meaning that all communications between a browser and the website are encrypted.

Inbound link

A backlink is an external site’s hyperlink that goes to your website. Getting high-quality backlinks on a regular basis is a dependable SEO strategy as it’s believed to be one of Google’s most important ranking factors.

Index

When you type something into a search bar, the search engine looks through its index to find webpages that match what you typed in. An index is simply a database of information on websites that the search engine has found. To create an index, the search engine uses crawlers or bots which scan websites and add them to the database.

Indexed page

Indexed pages are the ones that show up when you do a search. The search engine bots find these pages and think they’re good enough to be in the index. That means that people searching for something will see your page as a result.

Information architecture

Information architecture (IA) encompasses how you arrange and organize your web page’s contents to improve user experience. This includes features such as sitemaps, navigation, page types, wireframes, content organization, and so forth.

Internal link

Internal links are hyperlinks that point to other pages or resources on the same website. They can be used to link between different sections of a single page, or from one page to another within the same domain. For example, you might use an internal link to jump from one blog post to another, or from a web page to an eBook.

IP address

An IP address is a number that identifies a piece of hardware, like a computer or phone, within a network. It looks something like this: “123.456.789”. IP stands for Internet Protocol.

JavaScript

JavaScript is a programming language used to create and control dynamic content on HTML websites. With JavaScript, you can add interactive elements like forms, animated graphics, photo slideshows and more to your website.

Keyword cannibalizations

Keyword cannibalizations occurs when multiple pages on your website are vying for the same keyword or phrase in Google. Not only can this potentially damage your organic search rankings, but it also forces Google to choose between the pages which one appears to be most valuable to the search query.

Keyword density

In SEO, keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on a page compared to the total number of words on the page. Although it was traditionally used to determine whether a page is relevant to specific search term, it’s now less important.

Keyword research

Discovering popular and related words/phrases pertaining to your target market is an essential SEO task. Optimize both your content and website components according to these keywords for the best results.

Keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing is an unethical SEO tactic in which a page contains too many keywords, usually out of context, in an attempt to improve its ranking in search results.

LSI

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) optimizes a page’s content by using terms and phrases that are similar or related to the target keyword.

Lead

A lead is a potential customer who has shown an interest in your company, but hasn’t convert to a paying customer.

Link bait

Link bait content is designed to get other websites to link to yours, so you can improve your ranking on search engine results pages.

Link equity

Link equity, also referred to as “link juice”, is the term used to describe how a link can pass authority from one page to another. For example, if you have an internal link (a link on your website that goes to another page on your website) and an external link (a link on someone else’s website that goes to your website), both of these links will be passing Equity.

Link farm

A link farm is created when someone or a group of people want more links coming into their website from other websites. Usually, the page looks like any other web page, but most of its content are just links to different sites – often times totally irrelevant ones.

Link juice

Link juice is a term used to describe how authority can be passed from one page to another via links. Links coming from both other websites (external) and within the same website (internal) can pass link juice.

Link velocity

Link velocity is how quickly links to a page or domain increase over time. It’s often expressed in new links per month or new linking root domains per month.

Link profile

The types of links coming into your site from other sites are called your link profile. Creating a high-quality link profile becomes aim number one in good SEO practices. This is done by earning links from various high-authority websites..

Meta description

The meta description, an HTML tag, is a short piece of text summarizing a page’s content. This snippet can be up to 155 characters long. Optimizing the meta description is crucial for on-page SEO because search engines often display the meta description in results when the keyword or phrase appears in the description.

Meta keyword

In the past, using relevant keywords in this tag helped search engines to more easily match a page’s topic with users’ queries. However, as companies started stuffing it full of keywords, it is now not as important to search engines.

Meta tag

Meta tags are brief texts in HTML code that summarize a page’s content for search engines. They aren’t visible to readers on the actual webpage.

Negative SEO

Negative SEO is the use of shady techniques (or black-hat SEO) against other websites in order to get them penalized by Google.

Niche

When we talk about a niche in SEO terms, we are referring to a market segment that is small and very specific. This impacts your buyer personas, price point, keywords and more.

Noarchive tag

The NOARCHIVE tag tells Google not to store a cached copy of your page in the index. This means that your cached page will not appear in search engine results.

No-follow attribute

Nofollow is an HTML attribute that tells search engine bots not to followed the hyperlink when indexing a website.

No-follow link

Nofollow links are backlinks which you instruct search engines to ignore when determining your site’s ranking. They include a rel=”nofollow” HTML tag which informs search engines not to consider them while tabulating the page rank.

No-index tag

By including a no-index tag in the HTML code of a page, that page will not be indexed or appear in any search results.

No-snippet tag

The no-snippet tag tells Google not to display a description for your search listing.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual pages on a website to rank higher in search engines. There are many different on-page SEO elements, including meta tags, headlines, images and more.

Orphan page

An orphan page is a stand-alone webpage that cannot be found through your usual website navigation because it is not linked to any other pages on your site.

Organic search results

Results on a search engine that are not advertisements, but rather appear because they are deemed most relevant to the searcher’s query by an algorithm, are called organic results. Ranking highly in these results can bring a lot of traffic and potential customers to your website.

Outbound link

Outbound links are hyperlinks that send internet users who are on your website to a different site. They’re commonly used within content to back up claims with sources, or guide readers to more helpful information.

PageRank

PageRank is an algorithm utilized by Google in order to assess the quality and quantity of links pointing towards a given webpage. By doing this, Google can better determine how important or authoritative this page is.

Penalty

If you break Google’s rules or policies, they may penalize your website by lowering its ranking. This could be because of an update to their algorithm or a manual review that found evidence of black hat SEO on your page.

Pageview

A pageview, also called a pageview hit or page tracking hit, is when a browser loads a single instance of a page. As an SEO metric, it is the total number of pages viewed.

Reciprocal links

Reciprocal links, or link exchanges, are when two webmasters agree to put a hyperlink on each other’s sites. In simpler terms, “I’ll link to you if you link to me”. However, too many of these types of links can reduce a site’s ranking in search results according to Google.

Redirect

A redirect occurs when users and/or search engines are automatically transferred to a different URL than the one they originally requested. The most common types of redirects include 301 and 302.

Referrer

If you want to drive traffic and visitors to your website, then you need a referrer. A referrer could be an online directory, social media post, pay-per-click ad or something else entirely. By utilizing a referrer service, you can increase the number of potential customers who see your site which in turn increases business opportunities for conversions.

Reinclusion

You can request that a previously penalized or punished webpage be relisted by a search engine through reinclusion.

Relevance

The term “relevance” in SEO refers to how well the page content corresponds to the search query. Relevance is a critical ranking factor for Google, and thus hugely important to search engines. The more relevant your page is, the better chance it has of ranking high.

Reputation management


Reputation management is the creation of a positive online image for a brand or company. It encompasses social media strategy, guest blogging, reviews and more.

Rich snippet

A rich snippet is the extra information that appears on a search engine results page when you add structured data markup to your HTML code. This tells search engines how to display the information contained on a page, and can be used to improve your click-through rate and organic traffic.

Robots / Crawlers / Spiders

Crawlers, also known as spiders or robots, are search engine programs that browse the web and index content. They can look at codes, text, links, sitemaps, images and videos.

Robots meta tag

Robots meta tag is a piece of code that tells search engines what content to follow and index, and what to ignore. Depending on whether you want your page visible or hidden from search engine crawlers, place the code in the <head> section of your web page.

Robots.txt

The robots.txt file is a set of instructions for search engine crawlers that tells them how to index the pages on your site. This file is also known as the Robots Exclusion Protocol or Standard.

ROI

ROI is a financial metric that tells you whether or not your investment in search engine marketing (SEM) is paying off.

Schema

Schema is a vocabulary of tags that you can use to improve the way your content is displayed and understood by search engines.

Scrape

A content scrape, also known as a web scrape, collects data from various websites through automated means. This process allows you to view the content and SEO tactics that your competitors are using to achieve success.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a term for any strategies used to improve Search engine results pages (SERP) ranking through paid or organic means. tactics can include pay-per-click ads, display advertising, and SEO optimization.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is how you make your website more visible in organic search results. This can be done through tactics like improving your website’s title and description tags, as well as developing backlinks from other websites.

Search engine results page (SERP)

A search engine results page, or SERP, is a term that refers to the list of results given by a search engine in response to an inquiry. The paid and organic listings are both included on a SERP. Generally speaking, the more prominently a page appears on the SERPs, the greater likelihood there is that searchers will click on it.

Sitemap

A sitemap is a document that you create which provides information on the pages of your website, their hierarchy, and how they are related. This makes it easier for search engines to understand the structure of your site so they can index it accordingly.

Split testing

A/B testing, also called split testing or multivariate testing, is the process of experimentation aimed at improving a site performance metric—for example clicks or conversions. A/B tests headline, images, colours scheme , page layouts and more. The theory behind it is to change one element only so that you can easily identify what brings about the difference in results.

SSL certification

The SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol is used to create encrypted links between a web server and browser. When it is installed on a web server, the SSL certificate encrypts the site using HTTPS (Hypertext Transport Protocol Security), instead of HTTP (Hypertext Transport Protocol). This way, any data that goes back and forth between your web server and browser remains private.

Status codes

The HTTP status code is a server’s response to a browser’s request. What happens is this: when somebody visits your website, their browser sends a request to your server. Your server responds with a code called the HTTP status code. For example, if the server can’t find what the user is looking for, it might respond with 401. As far as SEO goes, there are two codes you need to know about: 301 (permanent redirect) and 302 (temporary redirect).

Subdomain

Subdomains are created to help organize your website and make navigation simpler. For instance, seo-audit.outrankco.sg is a subdomain of outrankco.sg.

Top level domain

The top-level domain (TLD) is the section of the domain name that appears after the dot. The most commonly used TLDs are .com, .net, and .org. Some TLDs have restrictions placed on them. For example, in order to use a .edu domains, you must be representing an educational entity. Additionally, some TLDs correspond with different country codes – like Singapore’s .com.sg

Time on page

Time on page is an SEO metric that quantifies the amount of time users stay on a single web page. It is typically averaged across all users’ total time spent on that particular webpage.

Title tag

The title tag is an HTML element that establishes the title of the webpage. Good title tags take into account usability, SEO, and social media sharing. They also appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the headline above each result.

URL

A Uniform Resource Locator, more commonly known as a URL, is the internet address of a specific page or file. A URL typically consists of two parts: the protocol identifier and the resource name. For example, in https://outrankco.sg, the protocol identifier is https while the resource name would be­­ outrankco.sg.

Usability

“Usability” is a term that refers to how easy it is to use a website. It’s synonymous with “user experience”. Generally, the goal of website design is to make the user experience as smooth as possible, which may improve the site’s ranking in search engine results.

User experience

User experience, often abbreviated as UX, is a term that refers to how users interact with and feel about a website or product. It’s closely related to usability in that the goal is to make the user experience as positive as possible. Good user experiences may result in better search engine rankings.

User interface

User interface (UI) is the means by which users interact with a computer system. It comprises everything from the buttons and icons on the screen to the way that windows are arranged on the desktop. Good user interface design makes using a computer system easy and intuitive, while bad design can make even simple tasks frustrating.

Web hosting

Web hosting refers to the storage of a website’s files on a server, where they can be accessed by visitors. In order for a website to be accessible on the internet, it must be hosted on a server.

White hat SEO

White hat SEO is a set of optimisation methods that help your website rank higher on a search engine results page, without breaking any rules or policies set forth by the search engine. Typically, these practices are meant to improve user experience in some way.

XML

XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a means of storing and transporting data, as opposed to HTML which is used to format and display that data.

XML sitemap

XML sitemaps lay out the structure of your website for search engines, acting as a guide to your most important pages. If done correctly, it will lead Google to indexing those pages.

Yahoo

Yahoo is a search engine, email platform, news site and content company. In fact, Yahoo’s homepage is fourth most visited website globally according to their own data.

Yandex

Yandex is a search engine created for the Russian market. It excels in handling specific Russian language search challenges that other engines may struggle with.

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