SEO – Glossary of Terms

Beginner’s Guide to SEO

When someone dives headfirst into SEO, it can start to feel overwhelming pretty quickly. That is because there is a lot to learn when it comes to SEO. Understanding all the terminology surrounding SEO can feel daunting, but with these helpful guide that goes chapter-by-chapter, it does not have to be a challenge.

SEO Glossary

Chapter 1: SEO Basics

Query: This is what a user types into the search bar and is also referred to as a search query. [1]

Search ranking: The way that search results are ordered on a search results page in relation to the search query.

Search engine: An automated system that generates a list of results that are pulled from an informational database, depending on what a user is entering. [2]

Traffic: The number of visitors that a website or webpage generates.

De-indexed: A page on a website or an entire website that has been removed from the Google index.

Crawling: What a search engine does so that it can index your page or website.

Ten blue links: Search results of the organic variety represented in a group of ten, which is how the search engine displays the results.

Black hat: Practices to enhance your website or web pages that violate the terms and services of Google.

White hat: Practices to enhance your website or web pages that follow the terms and services of Google.

Google My Business: A profile that is available to all businesses, which is free.[3]

Featured snippets: Depending on the search query, these may appear at the top of a search results page.[4]

Image Carousels: For some search queries, these may appear with an ability to scroll side to side for different images.

Page indexing: After a web page or website has been crawled, it will then be indexed to be able to show up in search results.

User intent: This is referring to what a user wants to gain from entering in their search query.[5]

KPI: This stands for a key performance indicator, which is a way that a website owner can gauge reaching certain goals.

Local pack: Searches that are intended for local search results may show three different local businesses at the top of search results.

Organic rank: When a page has ranked a certain level without paid ads

People also ask boxes: When a user enters a search query, they may get shown a list of other similar questions that other users have asked.

SERP features: Search results that are not displayed in the typical formatting.

SERP: This acronym stands for Search Engine Results Page and is generated after a user enters a search query.[6]

URL: These are used to locate specific websites or webpages to find information on the internet and stands for uniform resource locators.

Webmaster guidelines: Rules and tips that search engines have published to help those with websites better create information that will be helpful, relevant, and rank well.[7]

Chapter 2: How Search Engines Work

2xx status codes: These codes say that a request to view a certain page has worked.[8]

4xx status code: These codes say that a request to view a certain page has been met with an error.

5xx status code: These codes say that a request to view a certain page has resulted in the server having the inability to complete the action.

Advanced search operators: These allow users to get more specific results by allowing them to enter special characters or commands into the query box.

Algorithms: An automated process that organizes information according to specifications and then orders this information.[9]

Backlinks: Links that are placed on other websites or web pages that direct users back to your website.[10]

Bots: These are used to find information on the internet and are automated.

Caching: A version of a page that has been saved.

Caffeine: This is the name of the indexing system used by Google.

Citations: Whenever a local business is referenced, this could be by their name, phone number, or even their address.

Cloaking: A search engine will read a page differently than a user reads your page.

Crawl Budget: When a search engine bot is going to crawl your website but has a limited amount of crawls, it can run.

Crawler directives: These are directions you give to a crawler on how you want it to index your website.

Distance: How close a user is to the place they are searching for.

Engagement: Information that provides a website owner with how users interact with your website.

Google Quality Guidelines: Information provided by Google that outlines the terms and services of creating content, as well as interacting with search results.

Google Search Console: Tells users how their websites are performing in search results.[11]

HTML: Coding language that is utilized to create pages and websites.

Index Coverage report: Information generated by the Google Search Console that lets website owners view indexing status.

Index: An informational database that stores all pages that have been successfully crawled.

Internal links: Links that have been incorporated onto different website pages that lead to other pages that are part of the same website.

JavaScript: A specific programming language that adds elements to a website.

Login forms: A form presented to a user that needs to be filled out correctly in order to access information on a page.

Manual penalty: A real human who has evaluated a website page has concluded that the page violates quality guidelines put forth by Google.

Meta robots tag: Code that contains instructions for bots to crawl or index a page.

Navigation: These are helpful areas that guide users to utilize other areas of a website. These links are generally lumped together, either at the top or bottom of a website.

No-index tag: This tells a crawler not to index that certain page.[12]

PageRank: How Google determines the quality and relevance of a web page. [13]

Personalization: The modification of search results, depending on that user’s previous search history.

Prominence: Businesses that are well known in the community that is being searched.

RankBrain: Part of Google’s algorithm that helps with rankings by accessing helpfulness.

Relevance: This is how much a search result relates to a user’s search query.

Robots.txt: Specific files that tell search engines which web pages need to be crawled or which ones do not.

Search forms: Search boxes that are incorporated as part of websites for users to search that website.

Search Quality Rater Guidelines: Information for raters to access web pages that are of quality.

Sitemap: URLs that are present on your website that is available information for crawlers.

Chapter 3: Keyword Research

Local queries: When a user wants to find something near to them or in a certain location.

Long-tail keywords: These are search queries that are longer and can provide a user with more specific search results.

Navigational queries: When a user wants to get to a certain web page, so they enter a location-specific search query

Regional keywords: Keywords that are more popular in a certain location.

Search volume: How often a certain keyword or search query was searched.

Seasonal trends: Keywords and search queries that are more popular in certain seasons.

Transactional queries: The search intent is that a user is looking to take action when they make this search query.

Chapter 4: On-Site Optimization

Alt-text: This gives the text to images on a website.

Anchor text: Text that is used to link to pages.

Auto-generated content (AGC): Content that is automated. [14]

Duplicate content: Content that is linked between different pages or between different websites. [15]

Geographic modifiers: Search terms that are used for a certain location.

Header tags: Coding element for headings on a website

Image compression: How a user can make a page faster by changing the size of images.

Image sitemap: Sitemap on a website that is specifically for all of the images present.

Keyword stuffing: When there are too many keywords used per overall word count.

Link accessibility: How easily a link can be accessed by users, as well as bots.

Link equity: The authority that a link holds.

Link volume: The amount of links that are on a web page or website.

Link business schema: Data that allows search engines to read info about a business.

Meta descriptions: Elements of code that textually describe what is on a web page. These descriptors are sometimes included as part of a blurb on a search engine results page for a website.

Panda: An automated informational database powered by Google, aimed at content that is not top-tier.

Protocol: This is the beginning part of a domain name and often includes either “http” or “https”. This allows the browser to translate information with the server.

Redirection: This is when a URL is now in a different spot and a user will often get a message in the form of an error code.

Rel=canonical: A way for website owners to communicate with a Google bot on which pages are and are not duplicates.

SSL certificate: A data encryption method that protects data passed from a server and browser.

Thin content: Content that is of little value to a user.

Thumbnails: These are smaller sized images than the original image.

Title tag: This coding structure says what the title of a website is or page is.

Chapter 5: Technical Optimization

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages): Directed at mobile web pages and structured to help mobile users view web pages easier and quicker.

Async: A browser’s ability to start another task before it has yet completed the previous task.

Browser: Refers to a software that allows users to enter in information to be provided with information in return by making a request.

ccTLD: Certain parts of a domain that are specific to a certain country.

Critical rendering path: How a browser translates a coded page into a viewable page.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): This code is what shows a user what a website looks like and contains several different elements.

DNS (Domain Name System): Allows the linkage of domain names and IP addresses.[16]

Bundling: This is the process of putting different resources into one resource for users.

DOM (Document Object Model): This states how a specific document can be changed.

Domain name registrar: Refers to a company that has control over certain domain names that are up for companies or individuals to purchase from.

Faceted navigation: This is when a website allows users the option to sort and filter the results that they are shown to provide them with more specific results.

Fetch and Render tool: Tool provided by Google to help users view websites how the search engine sees those pages.

File compression: Making a file smaller.

IP address: This stands for internet protocol address and are varying numbers that are given uniquely to each site.

Minification: Avoiding hurting functionality and limiting characters in coding.

Programming language: Using specific code and terms that allow the computer to understand what is on a page.

Render-blocking scripts: This refers to a certain script that makes the browser wait before a page is shown to a user.

Responsive design: This type of design strategy put forth by Google lets a website become more adaptive, depending on the device it is being viewed on. This includes a mobile website viewing or a desktop website viewing.

Rich snippet: When the results page generates results, it will provide a short blurb on what is located on a website. [17]

Structured data: This is a type of organized information that can be useful for helping with search engines understand certain data.

Chapter 6: Link Building

Amplification: When a user spreads awareness on their brand through different means, including utilizing social media.

DA: This stands for domain authority and helps to determine how well a website will rank.

Deindexed: When a website or web page has been removed from the Google index.

Directory links: These links are composed of information regarding local business, such as their name and phone number.

Editorial links: Links that are put in content back to a user’s website or business that are not paid for.

Google Analytics: This free tool provides users with information on their website that can be useful for marketing strategies.

Google search operators: This when information is added to a query to give a user more specific results.

Guest blogging: A strategy used by website owners and business owners to get links to their website on different blogs. This is because a website or publication will publish something that a user has written and link back to that user’s blog.

Link building: When a user gets links in other places back to their website, which helps with ranking results in search engines.

Link exchange: This is a type of link trading that can occur between website owners. This form of link trading is considered to be a violation of Google’s terms and services if it is done excessively.

Link profile: This refers to all the links that link to a certain website.

Linked unstructured citations: This refers to information found on a business, but it is not the complete business information and only a snippet.

NoFollow: A form of code that does not allow users to follow a link.

Purchased links: When a link has been traded for with something else, typically with money, and is considered an ad.

Referral Traffic: Traffic that is sent to a users website from a referral, including links.

Resource pages: These pages are primarily used for link building purposes. These pages have links to other websites or web pages, similar to a directory.

Sentiment: This is the feeling that users get when thinking about your website.

Unnatural links: These are links that are placed without the permission of the site owner. These types of links are in violation of Google’s terms and services.

Chapter 7: Executing SEO

Bounce rate: The rate that a user lands on a website and then does not take another action, besides leaving the website.

Channel: The different means of generating traffic.

Conversion rate: The rate at which users are visiting a website and then taking an action.

Qualified lead: When users become potential customers because they have taken a secondary action.

Google Analytics goals: What goals users have when it comes to what they are tracking in Google Analytics. [18]

Pages per session: This refers to how many pages a user views on a website before they exit that website.

Page speed: How fast a web page and website is running.

Pruning: The removal of content or elements that are doing more harm than good to a website, such as slowing down the web page.

Scroll depth: A way for website owners to see how far down a user is scrolling on a page.

Scrum board: Track documenting to reach a certain goal.

Search traffic: Traffic that has been sent via search engines.

Time on page: How much time a user has spent on a specific web page before they then went onto another page on a website.

UTM code: A module that is used for tracking, so that website owners can track specific information about the click an individual is making.

Footnotes

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_search_query
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_search_engine
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Maps#Business_listings
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_Graph
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_intent
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_results_page
7. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HTTP_status_codes
9. https://www.google.com/search/howsearchworks/algorithms/
10. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/9049606?hl=en
11. https://search.google.com/search-console/about
12. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/93710?hl=en
13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank
14. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2721306?hl=en
15. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/139066?hl=en
16. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_Name_System
17. https://search.google.com/test/rich-results
18. https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1012040?hl=en


Published on: 2020-09-11
Updated on: 2021-03-28

Avatar for Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is an SEO Director, Full Stack Developer, and InfoSec enthusiast. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Western Sydney before joining various marketing positions in search portals, higher education, and addiction recovery marketing agencies.