Search Engine Optimization

SEO Terms and Definitions

Search Engine Optimization


As in most professions, Search Engine optimizers and marketers have a language all their own. It’s easy to get confused by similar terms and new words are being invented all the time.

Here are big compilation of SEO definitions to help you begin navigating through the world of SEO:

200: OK The file request was successful. For example, a page or image was found and loaded properly in a browser.

301: Moved Permanently A server response code, meaning “page has been permanently moved to x” A 301 redirect is commonly used to redirect sites or individual pages in cases where a domain or page name is changed and is usually the preferred method of redirection by search engines.

302: Found A server response meaning, “Page has temporarily moved form this location”.

304: Not Modified If the client has performed a conditional GET request and access is allowed, but the document has not been modified, the server SHOULD respond with this status code.

307: Temporary Redirect The requested resource resides temporarily under a different URI. Since the redirection MAY be altered on occasion, the client SHOULD continue to use the Request-URI for future requests.

400: Bad Request The request could not be understood by the server due to malformed syntax. The client SHOULD NOT repeat the request without modifications.

401:  Unauthorized The request requires user authentication. The response MUST include a WWW-Authenticate header field containing a challenge applicable to the requested resource.

403: Forbidden he server understood the request, but is refusing to fulfill it. Authorization will not help and the request SHOULD NOT be repeated.

404:  Not found The server was unable to locate the URL.

410: The requested resource is no longer available at the server and no forwarding address is known. This condition is expected to be considered permanent.

500:  Internal Server Error The server encountered an unexpected condition which prevented it from fulfilling the request.

501:  Not Implemented The server does not support the functionality required to fulfill the request. This is the appropriate response when the server does not recognize the request method and is not capable of supporting it for any resource.

Above the Fold: The part of a Web page that is visible once the page has loaded. It is normally the top part of a Web page. This term comes from the newspaper industry and refers to the top half of the front page, which is visible when the newspaper is folded in half.

Alexa Ranking: Alexa is a famous search engine that provides extra information such as traffic rankings. An Alexa ranking is an indicator used to gauge site performance.

Algorithm:  A set of mathematical equations or rules that a search engine uses to rank the content contained within its index in response to a particular search query.

ALT Image Tag: Spiders cannot able to read images as such, so the alt tag or text attribute describes what the specific image represents.

Analytics: Technology that helps analyze the performance of a website or online marketing campaign.

Anchor Text:  The visible text component of a hyperlink.

Associate: A synonym for “affiliate.”

Auto-Approve: An affiliate application approval process where all applicants are automatically approved for an affiliate program.

Auto-Responder: An email feature that automatically sends an email reply to anyone who sends it a message.

Banner Ad: An electronic billboard or ad in the form of a graphic image that comes in many sizes and resides on a Web page. Banner ad space is sold to advertisers to earn revenue for the website.

Benchmark Report:  A report used to market where a website falls on a search engine’s results page for a list of key words. Subsequent search engine position reporters are compared to that.

Black Hat:  A person engaged in or tactic used to increase search engine rankings using methods prohibited by search engines.

Blog: A chronological journal that is available on the Web. Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog.

Blogosphere or Blogsphere: The current state of all information available on blogs and/or the subculture of those who create and use blogs.

Bot: Used in reference to a search engine robot or spider; software applications that retrieve web page information to feed into a search engine database.

Browser:  A client software program such as Internet Explorer, Netscape or Opera that is used to look at various kinds of Internet resources.

Charge Back: An incomplete sales transaction (for example: merchandise is purchased and then returned) that results in an affiliate commission deduction.

Click and Bye: The process in which an affiliate loses a visitor to the merchant’s site once they click on a merchant’s banner or text link.

Click Fraud: The deceitful practice of posing as pay-per-click (PPC) traffic for the purpose of costing advertisers’ money or helping to generate false revenue by those affiliates serving the ads.

Click Through: The process of activating a link, usually on an online advertisement connecting to the advertiser’s website or landing page.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of those clicking on a link out of the total number who see the link. For example: if 20 people do a Web search and 10 of the 20 people all choose one particular link, that links has a 50 percent click-through rate.

Client: A software program that is used to contact and obtain data from a server software program on another computer, often across a great distance. Each client program is designed to work with one or more specific kinds of server programs and each server requires a specific kind of client. A Web browser is a specific kind of client.

Cloaking: A deceptive process that sends search engine spiders to alternative pages that are not seen by the end user. Also the process of getting a search engine to record content for a URL that is different from what the visitor sees. It is often done as a way to obtain more favorable search positions.

Co-branding:  The situation where affiliates include their own logo and branding on the pages to which they send visitors through affiliate links.

Collaborative Commerce Networks: An organization of merchants and websites that work together as true business partners. Merchants give their affiliates the same support that manufacturers would give to their resellers.

Commission: The income an affiliate receives for generating a sale, lead or click-through to a merchant’s website. Sometimes it is called a “referral fee,” a “finder’s fee” or a “bounty.”

Context-centric:  The process of matching your product or service offer closely to the visitors of an affiliate’s site. By placing the product or service in an area close to related or relevant item, more people will buy.

Contextual Link: The integration of affiliates links with related text.

Contextual Merchandising:  The act of placing targeted products near relevant content.

Conversion Rate:  The percentage of clicks that result in a commissionable activity such as a sale or lead.

Conversion Reporting:  A measurement for tracking conversions and lead generation from search engines queries. It identifies the originating search engine, keywords, specific landing pages entered and the related conversion for each.

Cookies: Small files stored on the visitor’s computer that record information of interest to the merchant site. With affiliate programs, cookies have two primary functions: to keep track of what a customer purchases and to track which affiliate was responsible for generating the sale and is due a commission.

Cost Per Acquisition: Online advertising ROI model in which return is based solely on qualifying actions such as sales and registrations as measured against the marketing costs associated with that sale or registration.

Cost Per Action (CPA):  The cost metric for each time a commissionable action takes place.

Cost Per Click (CPC): The cost metric for each click to an advertising link.

Cost Per Order (CPO): The cost metric for each time an order is transacted.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM): The cost metric for one thousand banner advertising impressions.

Crawl: The process by which search engine spiders fetch web page information.

Crawler: Component of a search engine that gathers listings by automatically trolling the Web and following inks to Web pages (also called a spider or robot or bot). It makes copies of the Web pages found and stores them in the search engine’s index.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets: Used mainly to decrease the amount of source code on a page, by referencing a single set of instructions on how to display various elements on web page.

Customer Bounty: The merchant payment to an affiliate partner for every new customer that they direct to a merchant.

Deep Linking:  Linking to a Web page other than a site’s home page.

Delisting: When Web pages are removed from a search engine’s index.

Directories:  A type of search engine where listings are gathered via human efforts rather than by automated crawling of the Web.

DMOZ: Directory MOZilla is a human reviewed directory, the contents of which appear on many sites, including Google. A listing in DMOZ said to assist boosting rankings in general search results.

Doorway Page: A page used for driving traffic form any page to another specific page and usually focusing on specific keywords. Generally, doorway pages are designed for search engines only, human visitors never see them – consequently, they are illegal one. Doorway pages must not be confused with landing pages, a legitimate strategy.

Dupe/Duplicate content: Usually used in reference to a penalty applied by a search engine for the same content appearing on different pages/sites.

Email Link:  An affiliate link to a merchant site in an email newsletter, signature or a dedicated email blast.

Email Marketing:  The promotion of products or services via electronic mail.

Email Signature (Sig File): The signature option allows for a brief message to be automatically inserted at the end of every email that a person sends.

eZine: The short term for an electronic magazine, which can be electronic versions of existing print magazines or exist only in digital format.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions): A document that answers the most common questions on a particular subject.

FFA: Free For All pages; basically a link farm. You add your site link to the page, it then gets pushed down as other links are added until your link is ultimately pushed off the page. Not a standard method of promotion or link building.

Flux: A term describes the shuffling of positions in search engine results in between major updates.

G: Google, also known as The Big G or The Mighty G.

Gateway Page: A Web page created in hopes of ranking well for a term in a search engine’s non-paid listings. Sometimes called a “doorway page.”

Geographical Segmentation: The ability to determine from which geographical area Web traffic is coming.

Geographical Targeting: The analytical process of deciding upon which regions and locales a company should focus its marketing efforts.

Google Algorithm: A mathematical formula used in calculating search engine ranking. The goal of any SEOP is to understand the algorithm as best as possible. Algorithms of course are very closely guarded secrets and possibly you’ll never meet anyone who has “cracked” an algorithm. Search engine algorithms change regularly to prevent anyone from guessing the system.

Graphical Search Inventory: Banners and other advertising units that can be synchronized to search keywords.

Grey Bar: A Google PR score that can indicate a ban in place on the page currently being viewed; i.e. the page does not appear in Google search results.

Grey Hat: Optimization strategies that are in a unknown area of reputability/validity.

Hidden Text: The deceptive process of filling Web pages with keywords that are not visible to visitors but will still be indexed by search engines to help achieve higher rankings.

Hit:  Request from a Web server for a graphic or other element to be displayed on a Web page.

HTML Code: The code used to build Web pages. Affiliates use HTML code to put links on their websites. Affiliate solution providers often provide a tool so that affiliates can simply copy the code for an affiliate link and paste it into their own HTML pages.

Hybrid Model: An affiliate commission model that combines payment options (i.e., CPC and CPA).

IBL: Inbound Link. Links pointing from another site into your site.

Impression:  An advertising metric that indicates how many times an advertising link is displayed.

Index: The collection of information a search engine has that can be queried against.

In-house: An alternative to using an affiliate solution provider; building an affiliate program architecture within a company.

Interactive Agency: An agency offering a mix of Web design and development, Internet advertising and online marketing, or e-business/e-commerce consulting.

Interstitial: An advertisement that loads between two content pages.

KDA: Keyword Density Analyzer or Analysis. The ratio of keywords or keyphrases in relation to other text on a page.

Keyword Marketing: A method of getting your message in front of people who are searching using particular words or terms.

Keyword Stuffing: Where a keyword or phrase is used excessively in page content or alt tags in an attempt to gain higher rankings. Can result in page penalties or bans.

Keyword/Keyphrase: A word or words that strongly relate to a page/site topic or search engine query.

Landing Pages: Pages that are optimized and very targeted towards a particular subject. An effective/valid site optimization and sales conversion strategy.

Lifetime Value of a Customer: The amount of sales in dollars that a customer will spend with a particular company over their lifetime.

Link Farms: Pages that consists of little else but links to other sites and usually the sites listed have links back to the farm page. The goal of a link farm is to artificially boost rankings through link popularity and is consequently at risk of penalty or ban.

Link Popularity – A gauge of a site’s popularity based on the number of inbound links. Link popularity is a major factor in search engine ranking and has greater strength (in theory) where inbound links are from other quality sites.

Listing: The information that appears on a search engine’s results page in response to a search.

Manual Approval: An affiliate application approval process where all applicants are manually approved for an affiliate program.

Merchant: An online business that markets and sells goods or services. Merchants establish affiliate programs as a cost-effective method to get consumers to purchase a product, register for a service, fill out a form or visit a website.

Meta Tag: These mainly refer to the title, keywords and description tags. They are summary of the content that is on the page in different formats. Metatags content does play a role in rankings for many search engines.

Mini-site:  A prefabricated HTML page for affiliates that displays new or specialized products with integrated affiliate links.

Mirror Site: A copy of a site with some content differences to target particular keywords. Not a recommended strategy as it can trigger a penalty or ban.

MSN: A reference to Microsoft’s search engine.

OBL:  Outbound Link. A link pointing from your site to another site.

ODP: Open Directory Project – DMOZ

Off-page Factors: Factors such as inbound links and the popularity of sites with links pointing into your site that you have little control over, but that still play a role in your site’s rankings.

On-page Factors: A reference to the elements on your site and their role in your rankings, for example, Meta Tags, Code Cleaning relevance etc.

OOP: Over Optimization Penalty. Where a search engine algorithm detects that changes you are making to a page or the way the page is constructed is to influence rankings over being useful to a site visitor.

Organic Search Results:  The results displayed after a search engine query that are not paid for by the listed site’s owner.

P2P – Pay To Play: Any search engine marketing strategy that requires payment to the search engine company.

Pagejacking: the copying of a page by unauthorized parties in order to filter off traffic to another site.

Paid Inclusion: Advertising program where pages are guaranteed to be included in search engine’s index in exchange for payment.

Paid Listings: Listings that search engines sell to advertisers, usually through paid placement or paid inclusion.

Paid Placement: Advertising program where listings are guaranteed to appear in response to a particular search term with high ranking, typically obtained by paying more than other advertisers. This is most often done in an auction or bidding environment.

Pay Per Click: A program where an affiliate receives a commission for each click (visitor) they refer to a merchant’s website. Pay-per-click programs generally offer some of the lowest commissions (from 1 cent to 25 cents per click), and a very high conversion ratio since visitors need only click on a link to earn the affiliate a commission.

Pay Per Lead: A program where an affiliate receives a commission for each sales lead that they generate for a merchant website. Examples would include completed surveys, contest or sweepstakes entries, downloaded software demos, or free trials. Pay-per-lead generally offers midrange commissions and midrange to high conversion ratios.

Pay Per Sale: A program where an affiliate receives a commission for each sale of a product or service that they refer to a merchant’s website. Pay-per-sale programs usually offer the highest commissions and the lowest conversion ratio.

Payment Threshold: The minimum accumulated commission an affiliate must earn to trigger payment from an affiliate program.

PFI:  Pay For Inclusion. Payment paid to a search engine company for inclusion in search results.

Podcasting:  A form of audio broadcasting using the Internet. Podcasting, which does not require the use of an Apple iPod, involves making one or more audio files available as “enclosures” in an RSS feed, which can be played back by the RSS subscriber at their convenience on an MP3 device.

Pop-Up Ad: An advertisement that displays in a new browser window.

Portal: A website that typically includes a catalog of websites, a search engine or both. A portal site may also offer email and other services to entice people to use that site as their main point of entry to the Web.

Position: How well a particular Web page or website is listed in a search engine’s results. Positions 1 through 10 are the most visible and the most desirable.

PPCSE: Pay Per Click Search Engine.

PR / PageRank™: A ranking used by Google that is meant to act as indication of the quality of a site and its authority status.

PR 0 / PageRank Zero: Another term relating to Google PageRank. It can indicate that a page has been spidered but appearing in general results as yet, or could also possibly indicate a penalty.

Query: The word (or words) a searcher enters into a search engine’s search box.

Rank: How well a particular Web page or website is listed in a search engine’s results.

Reciprocal Link: An agreement between two sites to exchange links between them. Sites exchanging links can risk a penalty or ban if they are not related topic with each other.

Residual Earnings:  The programs that pay affiliates not just for the first sale made by a shopper from their sites, but all additional sales made at the merchant’s site over the life of the customer.

ROAD / ROI: Return on Advertising Dollar, or Return on Investment. The measure of effective of expenditure vs. the number of visitors received or sales.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feed:  A data format for syndicating news and other content. People can subscribe to RSS feeds so they will be notified every time content is updated on a particular site.

SE: Search engine

Search Engine Optimization: The act of altering a website so that it does well in the organic, crawler-based listings of search engines. The process usually involves choosing targeted and relevant keywords and phrases that will drive traffic to the site.

SEM:  Search Engine Marketer/Marketing

SEO:  Search Engine Optimization

SEOP:  Search Engine Optimization Professional. Someone who claims to have the skills to increase a clients’ search engine rankings.

SEP: Seach Engine Placement (or Positioning/Promotion)

SERPs: Search Engine Results Pages. The pages that display after a query is submitted.

Server: A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is running. For example, “Our mail server is down today, that’s why email isn’t getting out.” A single server machine could have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network.

Spam (or Spamming): The electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings, generally email advertising for some product sent to a mailing list or newsgroup.

Spamming the index: Related to black hat optimization techniques. Pages that have high ranking but are non-relevant or exist purely to redirect traffic to other sites.

Spider: A software program used by search engine companies to visit web sites and return information about pages.

Spyware: A somewhat vague term generally referring to deceitful software that is secretly installed on a user’s computer and that monitors use of the computer in some way without the user’s knowledge or consent. Most spyware tries to get the user to view advertising and/or particular Web pages. Some spyware also sends information about the user to another machine over the Internet.

Stop Words: Common non-query specific words that are ignored by a search engine when a query is made. These can include words such as “I”, “and”, “if” depending on how the query is constructed.

Storefront: A prefabricated HTML page for affiliates that displays new or specialized products with integrated affiliate links.

Submission: The process by which a search engine is manually notified of a new site or page.

Super Affiliates: The top 1 percent of affiliates, based on performance and earnings, that generate the lion’s share of the revenue for your program. They are born marketers and are very successful with the affiliate program they promote from their sites.

Targeted Marketing: The act of making the right offers to the right customers at the right time.

Text Link: A link that is not accompanied by a graphical image.

Tracking Method: The way that a program tracks referred sales, leads or clicks. The most common are by using a unique Web address (URL) for each affiliate, or by embedding an affiliate ID number into the link that is processed by the merchant’s software. Some programs also use cookies for tracking.

Two-tier: An affiliate marketing model that allows affiliates to sign up additional affiliates below themselves, so that when the second-tier affiliates earn a commission, the affiliate above them also receives a commission. Two-tier affiliate marketing is also known as multilevel marketing, or MLM.

URL: Uniform Resource Locator. The web address of a site or page.

Viral Marketing: The rapid adoption of a product or passing on of an offer to friends and family through word-of-mouth (or word-of-email) networks. Any advertising that propagates itself the way viruses do.

Visitor Segmentation: Differentiating users to a site by categories such as age, sex, etc.

White Hat:  Legitimate optimization techniques employed that are agreeable to search engine companies, such as the proper use of meta-tags, an adequate keyword saturation and spider friendly page design.

If any thing missed here, please share them!

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Nagaraju Tadakaluri
Nagaraju Tadakaluri is a Professional Web Designer, Freelance Writer, Search Engine Optimizer (SEO), Online Marketer, Multi Level Marketer (MLM) and Business Promoter. Have developed Latest Updates in hopes to educate, inform and inspire.

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