Essential SEO Glossary

SEO can be challenging at the best of times, so I've put together a list of SEO terms that you can read anytime at your own leisure to help you understand how it all works.

A

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

An HTML framework designed by Google for creating condensed fast-loading web pages optimised for mobile.

Alt Text

Alternative text or ALT text is the description given to an image on a web page used by search engines and screen readers.

Anchor Text

The visible text used when clicking on a hyperlink.

Article Spinning

A method used to spin content or articles, can be done manually or using software.

Article Syndication

Usually done by a third-party site to republish an exact copy of an article that has appeared elsewhere on the web.

Auto-Generate Content

Content generated by a program or code.

B

Backlinks

Links that are linked from one website to another website on the internet.  

Black-hat SEO

A strategy or technique used to violate a search engine's guidelines in order to exploit algorithmic loopholes.

Bounce Rate

The amount of visitors who navigate to a particular site then go somewhere else after looking at one  web page.

Branded Keywords

Keywords used that refer to brands, services and products.

Breadcrumb Navigation

Internal links that are left within a website for visitors and search engines to show a clear trail of links.

Bridge Page

Purely designed to send users elsewhere, most commonly used by affiliate marketers to direct traffic to their own affiliate links.

Broken Link

A dead link or resource that no longer exists on a website.

C

Cached Page

Web pages saved by Google on their servers from a previous visit.

Canonical Tag

Usually specifies a preferred website URL when numerous URLs have similar or the same content.

Co-citation

Arises when two documents are cited together by another document.

Co-occurrence

Two things occurring simultaneously on web pages.

Computer-Generated Content

Content generated by software that is supposed to be just like human writing.

Content hub

A curated collection of content on a specific subject.

Core Web Vitals

Metrics used to measure user experience on Google's Page Experience.

Cornerstone Content

Content on your website that you want search engines to rank high.

Crawl budget

Number of URLs crawled by search engines during a specific time period.

Crawlability

The ability of a search engine to access all of the content on a web page.

Crawler

A search engine program used to crawl the internet visiting web pages to collect information to index.

D

Dofollow link

A link that doesn't use the "nofollow" attribute.

DR (Domain Rating)

Website authority derived from a backlink profile.

Doorway page

Pages that are made specifically to rank high in search engines using particular keywords in order to send users from a particular link to a different website.

Duplicate Content

Similar or the same content appearing on other webpages

Dwell Time

The time that is measured between clicking on a search result and then returning to a search engine.

Dynamic URL

URL containing text that requires variable parameters.

E

Editorial Link

An unpaid link that points directly to a website.

Email outreach

The method used to let relevant people see products or content via personalised emails.

Entry Page

The page first seen when someone clicks on a website.

Evergreen Content

Content that's never outdated.

External Link

A link from one website to another.

F

Faceted Navigation

The system used to enable visitors to a website to narrow down their search through various filters such as, brand, size and colour.

G

Gated Content

Content that is only available after contact information is given.

Gateway Page

A page designed to rank highly with search engines that has no useful information to offer.

Google Alerts

A free service offered by Google which is a content notification and detection.  It sends emails when new results are found.

Google Algorithm

A complicated system used to retrieve data from its search index and immediately deliver the best query.

Google Analytics

A free web tracking tool provided by Google to analyse visitor interaction on a website.

Google autocomplete

Suggestions given by Google when entering a search.

Google Bombing

When someone uses black-hat SEO tactics to rank higher in Google in unrelated or irrelevant searches.

Google Business Profile

A free business listing set up in Google that will show up on a map or web search.

Google Caffeine

Created in 2010 by Google in order to index more content and provide better search results..

Google dance

Slang term used to describe the instability of a new website when Google is ascertaining where it should rank.

Google Hummingbird

Update released by Google in 2013 that emphasised the meaning of search queries over individual keywords.

Google Knowledge Graph

A knowledge base which Google services current information in an information box alongside its search results.

Google Knowledge Panel

The information boxes that appear on Google when you search for a particular entity.

Google Panda

Algorithm launched in order to filter out sites with thin or low quality content.

Google Penalty

A punishment a human can impose on a website that violates Google's webmaster quality guidelines.

Google Penguin

A Google algorithm update released in 2012 to downgrade websites that employ manipulative link schemes and keyword stuffing.

Google Pigeon

A 2013 update release to improve search results in local search queries.

Google Sandbox

A purported filter that Google used to prevent new websites from ranking high in its results.

Google Search Console

A free service offered by Google that enables site owners to monitor and troubleshoot their website appearance online.

Google Webmaster Guideline

The best practices Google uses to help, find, index and rank a site.

Googlebot

Software used by Google to collect documents from the web to build a searchable index for Google Search engine.

Grey Hat SEO

SEO strategies used to blur the line between black-hat and white-hat methods.

Guest Blogging

The method used for writing and publishing a blog post or article on another company/person's site.

H

H1 tag

A commonly used HTML heading to mark up a web page title.

Header Tags

Tags used to filter out headings from subheadings on a webpage in descending order from H1 to H6.

Hilltop Algorithm

Used by Google in 2003 to determine authoritative web pages for ranking.

Holistic SEO

The system used to improve all qualities of a website for it to rank higher in a search engine.

Hreflang

An HTML attribute used to let Google know about alternate versions of a web page for different languages and regions.

HTTP 200 Response Code

The status response code from a server telling the client the HTTP request was successful.

HTTPS

An encrypted version of HTTP that protects the communication between a browser and server that stops any website from attack from attackers.

I

Inbound Link

A link from one site to another.

Indexability

The ability of a search engine to analyse and add pages to its index.

Informational Query

An information not product based query.

Internal link

Linking from one to another within a website.

J

JavaScript SEO

The discipline of technical SEO that centres on optimising websites built with JavaScript for visibility by search engines.

K

Keyword Cannibalisation

A system used by a single website to unintentionally target keywords across numerous blog posts and pages.

Keyword Clustering

The practice used in SEO to combine similar relevant keywords into clusters.

Keywords Density

A metric used that tells you how frequently a keyword is used within content in relation to overall word count.

Keyword Difficulty.

Standard used by SEO tool providers to evaluate a keyword's ranking difficulty.

Keyword Ranking

A website's organic ranking position in search results for a particular keyword.

Keyword Stemming

A procedure used to reduce a word to its 'stem' or 'root'.

Keyword Stuffing

When a single word or phrase is repeated in content to manipulate search engine rankings.

Keywords

Phrases and words that people use to find what they're looking for on a search engine. 

L

Link Bait

Content solely created to attract links.

Link Building

Method used to get other websites to link to pages on another website.

Link Equity

Link equity, also known as 'link juice,' is the idea that 'authority' is passed when one website links to another.

Link exchange

The process of exchanging links with other websites.

Link Farm

Web pages solely created to link to a target page in order to improve that page's search engine ranking.

Link Popularity

Refers to the number of backlinks or incoming links that point to a website.

Link Profile

The makeup of links that are directed to a website.

Link reclamation

The system used to get back lost links.

Link rot

A slang term used when hypertext links that are broken.  This happens when a web page is moved, taken down or reorganised.  

Link Scheme

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a website's ranking in Google search results.

Link Spam

The process of using out-of-context links on a website, blog comments, discussion forum or any other online place that might display comments.  Also known as comment spam.

Link Velocity

The speed at which backlinks to a website are added over a specific amount of time.

Log file analysis

An SEO task that allows you to see how Googlebot and other web crawlers and users interact with your website.

Long-tail keyword

A keyword or keyphrase that is more specific, and normally longer than commonly used keywords.

M

Manual action

Is a penalty imposed by Google for not following webmaster guidelines.

Meta Description

An HTML tag that describes what a page is about.

Meta Keywords

A specific type of meta tag that appears in the HTML code of a page that will tell search engines what the topic of the page is all about.

Meta refresh

The method of instructing a web browser to automatically refresh the current web page or frame after a given time interval.

Meta robots tag

An HTML tag that goes to the head tag of a page and provides instructions to bots.

Meta tags

Pieces of code that tell search engines important information about a website.

Mirror Site

A copy of a principal website that is placed under a different URL, but is otherwise identical in nature.

Mobile-first indexing

The version of a website Google mainly uses for indexing and ranking a website.

N

Natural Link

A link that occurs naturally.

Navigational Query

An internet search with the intent of finding a particular website or page.

Negative SEO

Also called 'black-hat SEO' refers to the use of malicious tactics on a site to tarnish its reputation with Google and steal search engine rankings for important keywords in order to be used on a competitor's website.

Nofollow

A tag that lets Google know not to take that particular link into account when ranking.

Noindex tag

A tag that tells Google not to index a page.

Noopener

An attribute added to links to open in a new browser window or tab for security reasons.

Noreferrer

An attribute that stops referrer information passing through a link.

O

Off-page SEO

Actions used outside of a website to impact search rankings.

On-page SEO

Measures taken directly within a website to improve its position in search rankings.

Open Graph meta tags

The snippet of code that controls how URLs are displayed when shared on social media.

Organic Search Results

Results that are natural and not paid for, or can be influenced by advertisers.

Organic traffic

Traffic that comes from a search engine.

Orphan Page

A page with no internal links pointing to it.

Outbound link

A link that points to a page not featured on a site.

P

Page Speed

The time taken for a web page to load.

PageRank

A formula used to judge the value of a page that looks at the quantity and quality of other pages linked to it.

Paid link

A paid for link.

Pillar Page

A page that covers the overall topic in-depth and links to the clusters of related content.

PBN (Private Blog Network)

Network of websites created solely to link to another site and improve its organic search visibility.

R

RankBrain

A component of Google's core algorithm that uses machine learning to decide on the most relevant results to search engine queries.

Reciprocal link

Links that are created and link to each other because they cover similar topics.

Reconsideration request

A request made to Google to review a site after fixing problems found in a manual action or security issue notification.

Related Searches

The eight results that appear at the bottom of a search page.

Resource Pages

A web page that provides helpful information for a specific topic.

Rich Snippet

A search result on Google that provides additional data usually taken from structured data from a page.

Robots.txt

A file on a website that tells search engine crawlers which URLs the crawler can access on a website.

S

Schema Markup

The code used by search engines to read and understand the content on webpages.

Search algorithm

The formula used by search engines to retrieve specific information stored within data structure to determine the significance of a web page and its content.

Search engine poisoning

A method used by cybercriminals to create malicious sites and use SEO tactics to make them more prominent in search results.

SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages)

Google's response to a search query.

Search History

A recent list of visited sites.

Search Intent

The purpose of a search online.

Search Results

Refers to the list of web pages that appear in response to a particular search engine query.

Search Term

The words entered into a search engine when someone is looking for something specific.

Search Visibility


Is the metric that tells you what percentage of organic clicks a site is receiving for a keyword.

Search Volume


The number of search engine queries for a particular search term in a search engine such as Google within a given timeframe.

Secondary Keywords


Words related to the keywords in a search.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

Technology used to keep an internet connection safe.

Seed Keywords or Short-Tail Keywords

Typically one or two words long, without modifiers.

SEO

The process of improving your website visibility when people search for products and services related to a business online.

SEO audit

The method of evaluating and assessing a site to how it performs on search engines.

SEO silo

The organising of topically-related web pages through internal links.  

Sitemap

An XML file listing the pages of a website that search engines index.

Sitewide link

A static outbound link that appears on every page of a site.

The intentional manipulation of search engine results using techniques that are against their guidelines.

T

Taxonomy SEO

Optimising a website for search engines by organising the structure of content.

Thin Content

Content that is low quality and of little to no value to the user.

Title Tag


An HTML meta tag that is used to specify the title of a webpage.

TLS (Transport Layer Security)

Is the cryptographic protocol designed to provide communications security over a computer network.

Traffic

The people and bots that visit a website.

U

UGC (User-Generated Content)

Any kind of content - blog posts, videos, comments, reviews etc, that is created by a user.

Universal Search

Introduced in 2007 to expand on search results by including images, news, videos, shopping any other type of result.

Unnatural Links


Links that Google thinks may be suspicious or manipulative or deceptive.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

The acronym for Uniform Resource Locator, or more commonly known as the address of a website on the internet.

Usability

Is the term used to describe how easy it is to use a website in practice.

User Agent

Software designed to crawl the web.

V

Vertical Search

A different search to a general web search, focussing on a specific segment of online content.

Voice search


Interacting with the internet using voice instead of text.

W

Webpage

A hypertext document found on the world wide web.

Website

A collection of pages of information usually containing hyperlinks and made available to anyone online.

Website Navigation


The process of navigating information on the internet.

Webspam

Content created to manipulate ranking on search engines.

White-hat SEO


Google-approved tactics, strategies and techniques.

X


XML


Short for extensible markup language which uses a set of codes, tags, and describes the text in a digital document.

X-robots-tag


A piece of HTML code that can be found in the <head><head/> part of a web page and is used to control how a search engine crawls and indexes an URL.

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