Huge List of SEO and SEM Glossary

Here is a list of some important terms and phrases that at minimum a basic understanding is required to help promote and market any website in the most effective manner.

301 redirect

A server setting that redirects traffic from one URL to another while sending a 301, or “permanent” status code to the requesting client (or search engine). Also called a permanent redirect.

404 error

The error returned by a web server when a file requested cannot be found page not found.

A/B Split

A method of comparing the performance of two sponsored listings, landing pages or other promotional content. Also called A/B Testing.


A person who obsessively follows search engine algorithm changes (no we did not make this one up!)


Any step-by-step procedure for solving a problem… In SEO, a search engine algorithm is the ‘secret’ formula that search engines use to determine the ranking of websites on their results pages.

Alt Tag

A tag included in the source code of an image to define alternative text for site visitors who cannot or do not wish to view graphics. The Alt tag may also be displayed while an image is loading or when a mouse is placed over the image. Also called ALT text or IMG ALT tag.

Anchor text

HTML text that links to another location on the WEB. Also called linked text or linking text.


A web feed format.

authority page

A web page that search engines recognize as having an outstanding level of trust, as represented by inbound links, among other websites in a topical community.


Links or hyperlinks that are connected to a webpage from other webpages.

black hat

No not for funerals! It is an SEO methodology that includes techniques not in compliance with the search engines guidelines for webmasters. Also used to describe a person who engages in black hat techniques.


Shorthand for weblog, a regularly updated, journal-style web page that is generally presented in reverse chronological order (like this one) and allows readers to post comments and discuss topics or posts. Also used as a verb; to blog, meaning to write in a blog. See also vblog, splog.


A person who blogs.


The entire blog community of blogs and bloggers

bookmark search sites

Social bookmarking websites are designed to send links to other webpages using share features. This has been the “go to” websites for link building newbies.

broad matching

A pay-per-click keyword matching option in which an advertisement is displayed for all search queries that include a given keyword or phrase – in any order, with or without additional words.

Variants, synonyms, and plural forms are generally also included in broad matching.

canonical URL

The preferred, or primary, form of a URL. Many websites are displayed using more that one URL format, for example or and it can be difficult for search engines to determine which is the canonical form.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

A website coding method that allows developers to control the style (font, colour, background, and more) and placement of content, often in files that remain separate form the content itself.

Speeds load times when browsing the same site.


A program or computer or search engine that requests information from another computer over a network.

For example, when a web browser such as internet explorer requests a web page from a web server, that browser is the client in the client-server relationship.

client side tracking

A web analytics technique that includes adding small scripts or images to web pages and monitoring user activity via a third party server.

Also called on-demand, tag based or hosted tracking. Google Analytics is a popular version of this type of software.


A deceptive technique of showing different content to search engine robots that would be seen by visitors accessing a web page via a standard browser.

collaborative tagging

A process that allows many people to label shared content with their own keyword labels, called tags. See also social bookmarking.

consumer-generated media (CGM)

Information created and shared among consumers online using ventures such as blog entries, email, personal websites, social websites, social bookmarking sites and message boards.

contectual advertising

Pay-per-click listings that appear on websites other than search engines. Such listings are generally matched to the content of individual web pages through an automated matching algorithm. Also called contextual placement.

contextual placement

Contextual placement is an advertising technique that allows advertisers to embed ads in the body of an article or web content.

conversion funnel

A desired conversion path defined by a marketer or website owner. The conversion funnel is generally a linear setp-by-step process leading directly from site entry to conversion.

It is conceptualised as a funnel shape because some users will depart from the path, leaving fewer users at the end than were at the beginning, while others will be funneled into completing a transaction.

See also conversion path and scenario.

conversion (offline)

An offline action taken by a website visitor that accomplishes the site owners intended goal. Telephone tracking and other monitoring methods are often used to record this data.

conversion (online)

An online action taken by a website visitor that accomplishes the site owners intended goal. Examples include online purchases, downloads, and specific page views within a website.

conversion path

The web pages that a site visitor passes through between entering a website and completing a conversion. See also conversion funnel.

conversion tracking

The process of monitoring and measuring conversions.
(can you tell we care a lot about getting you sales… of course, we do how else will you be able to afford to pay us if you don’t sell anything!)


A piece of text placed on a user’s hard drive by a website. The information it contains can be accessed by the site that originally placed the cookie but generally not by other sites.


Crawl or Crawling is a method used by search engines to see what the website is all about.


A categorized, descriptive list of links to web pages, usually created and maintained by human editors.

doorway page

A web page, usually outside the parent website’s navigational structure, designed to serve primarily as a destination for search engine traffic to pages within the parent website.

This term is generally applied to spammy pages that are used strictly for search engine traffic. See also landing page

dynamic keyword insertion

Automatic placement of keywords into pay-per-click ads to match the keywords entered by a search engine user.

For example, the same ad may display the title ‘save 30% on dog food’ or the title ‘Save 30% on cat food’ depending on the keywords searched for by the user query with ‘dog food’ or ‘cat food’/

elevator speech

Marketing slang for a brief but informative overview that one gives about oneself or one’s business. So-called because all of the important points should be delivered in approximately the duration of a 30-second elevator ride.

entry page

Entry pages are webpages that are featured to users. It can function as a landing page for paid campaign, or a squeeze page.


Slang for visitors to a web page. Can be used as a synonym for market share.


A service that is offered by pay-per-click services like Google Ads and allows advertisers to specify the geographic regions for the ads to run, ie only visitors within 30miles of newcastle will see an advert for a small northeast chain of Pizza delivery shops when the user puts ‘pizza delivery’ into google.

global navigation

Links that are displayed on every page of a website.

graphical text

Text that is contained in image files such as JPEGs or GIFs. This text generally cannot be read by search engines.


No not the place you pump iron and drop bombs! Abbreviation for the big three ‘Google’ ‘Yahoo’ and ‘MSN’.


A communicatoin made from a web browser to a website server requesting an element of a web page. When a web page is viewed, each separate item (such as a graphics or media file) on the page will log as one hit to the server.

When discussing a websites traffic hit’s should be largely ignored.

HTML page title

Code contained in an HTML document that briefly describes its contents. The text is critical to any good SEO project. This text is usually displayed in a web browsers title window.

In search engine results, the HTML page title is displayed as the first line of a listing. Also called HTML title tag.


In online advertising, a single act of viewing a web page or advertisement.

inbound links

Links pointing to a website from other sites. Also called backlinks.


A search engine’s database of web page content. Also, the act by a search engine robot of following website links and gathering content.

When a web page is included in a search engines database it is said to be indexed. Used as a synonym for spider and crawl.

invisible text

Text on a website that is not visible to a site visitor using a standard browser.


A word or phrase describing an organisations product or service or other key content on its website. A word or phrase entered as a query in a search engine. Also called key term, keyphrase and keyword phrase.

keyword desnisty

The number of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page divided by the total number of words on the page. Usually expressed as a percentage.

keyword grouping

The practice of categorising sponsored keywords into groups to simplify pay-per-click campaign administration.

keyword exclusion

Keyword exclusion is a process of building negative keywords in Google Ads. This is to ensure that the ads are getting relevant clicks as possible.

landing page

A web page that is focused on a key audience or topic that serves as a destination for search engine traffic.

link bombing

A coordinated effort to manipulate search engine results for a certain search query by linking to a website using the keywords in the linking text.

Also called googlebombing.

link rot

The gradual increase over time in the number of broken links on the web or an individual website. Also called linkrot.

link validator

Software that checks that working status of links within a website.


A web page’s perceived potential for receiving inbound links.


Web content that has high linkability factor or that is specifically created to draw inbound links.

long tail

Search queries that are significantly longer, more focused, and less frequently used by searches than average search terms.

Short, more generalised, and more popular search queries are sometimes referred to as ‘short head’ in comparison. See also short head.


Hidden comments that describe characteristics of a document, such as its author, file structure, or keywords. Metadata can be used by search engines to help determine relevance and rank.

meta description tag
Metadata contained in an HTML document that describes the content of a web page. Search engines may display this tag in their results.

meta keywords tag

Metadata contained in an HTML document that lists keywords related to the content of a web page. Search engines may use this tag to determine relevance.

meta search engines

Search sites that display combined results from several search engines

meta tag

Code contained in an HTML Document that holds metadata. See also meta description and meta keywords.


Measurements or methods of evaluation.

mobile search

web search sites or tools designed to be accessed with mobile phones and mobile devices such as PDA’s.

negative match

A  pay-per-click keyword matching option that prevents a sponsored ad displaying if a particular keyword is used by a searcher. For example, a music store may want to advertise its drum selection so will requests searches for ‘drum’ but will add the negative keyword of ‘ear’ so as not to confuse with people search for info on ‘ear drums’. Also refered to as keyword exclusion.

niche directories

Directories that provide links to sites that focus on a similar theme or that relate to the same industry. Inclusion in niche directories can be paid or unpaid or reciprocal linking.

offline marketing

Methods of marketing that do not involve the internet. Examples include direct mail, billboards, and print advertising. Also referred to as traditional advertising.

off page factors

Optimisation factors that are not contained in an organisation’s own web pages. Off page factors, such as the number and quality of inbound links, cannot be directly edited by website owners and must be influenced indirectly.

on page factors

Optimization factors that are contained on an organisations own web pages. On page factors, such as HTML page title and text content, can be directly edited by website owners.

online marketing

Methods of marketing that utilize the internet. Examples include search engine optimization (SEO), direct mails, and banner advertising there are of course many more.

organic SEO

Optimisation efforts for areas of search other than pay-per-click.

Page Rank

Google’s proprietary measurement of the importance of a web page. Pagerank values vary from 0 to 10 with 10 being the highest level of importance. Also called PR.

page view

The group of hits that together make up a single viewing of a page.

paid inclusion

A service offered by some search engines that allows site owners to submit a list of URL’s for the search engine to index and recrawl on a frequent basis. See also trusted feeds.

paid listing

An advertisement displayed or directory in response to a search query entered by a user. Fees for advertisers are typically charged on a pay per clicks basis. Also called sponsored listing, PPC listing and PPC ad.

paid placement
See pay-per-click

path to conversion
See conversion path

pay-per-click (PPC)

A form of advertisement in which an advertiser designates the specific keywords for which its listings will appear in the search results. The advertiser pays a fee to the search engine each time the listing is clicked. The subset of SEO tasks that encompasses setup and management of such listings. Also called paid placement and pay for performance.


In SEO, a fictitious personality created by marketers or website owners to represent a potential user of a website. Generally, several perosnality traits are defined, and these are used to help determine and analyse likely behaviours on the website. See also scenario.

personalised search

Search results that vary based on the searcher’s profile and past behaviour.


Not the opposite of pong as you might expect. In programmers’ lingo, a way to check the validity of a link or connection by sending a small packet of data and waiting for a reply.

In the Blogosphere, a communication between a blog and a ping server indicating that the blog has been updated.

In more general parlance, any type of contact between two parties that checks on the status of the communication.

ping server

A service that receives notification ( a ping ) from a blog every time the blog is updated. Usually, the blog owner sets up this communication however more commonly the blog software has this functionality built in as a means of increasing popularity of blogs.

ping spam

The practice of using pings to miss represent content that is not genuine blog content or has not actually been recently updated.


Software used by search engines to travel the web and send content from web pages back to the search engine for indexing. Also called spider crawler. robots.txt A text file containing code that can exclude certain pages or folders from being indexed in the search engines.

Can also be used to block access for a particular robot. The robots.txt file must be located in the root directory of the website.

root directory

The top directory within the file structure of a website; it contains all other directories. Generally represented by a / after the domain name.


Abbreviated form of Really Simple Syndication, a web feed format. It can stand for other terms as well, such as Rich Site Summary and RDF Site Summary.


In SEO, a definition of a persona and a particular need of that persona (for example “college student seeking laptop covers”). The scenario may also define the actions that the persona may take on a website to reach satisfaction.


An automated technique of copying content from one website to another. Often used as a method of stealing content.

seach engine marketing (SEM)

Search marketing is the process of gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through both paid and unpaid efforts.

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

The term SEO may also refer only to organic SEO. But used by most companies (including ours) to describe the complete range of website marketing and advertising services on offer.

search marketing

A wide variety of tasks intended to improve a website’s ranking and listing quality among both paid and unpaid results on search engines, with the ultimate goal of increasing targeted traffic to the website and achieving more conversions.

Also called Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (Optimization)

search popularity

The frequency with which a keyword is used as a query on search engines.

search query

Keywords or phrase used to search something in search engines.


Abbreviation for search engine results page.

server-side tracking

A web analytics technique that includes setting up software directly on the server that hosts the website being tracked.


An SEO technique of distributing keywords across a large number of unique landing pages.

short tail keywords

Search queries that are short, generalized, and frequently used by searchers. Longer and more focused and less frequently used terms are sometimes referred to as ‘long tail’ in comparison.


Software that intercepts and monitors activities over a network. In SEO, a sniffer can be used for cloaking or for practices such as determining the speed of a users web connection or for filtering our suspicious traffic.


Strings of text taken from a web page and combined for use as a summary or description of the content of the page.

social bookmarking

The use of shared lists of Internet bookmarking sites allow registered users to save and share bookmarks for great sites that they find on the internet and classify them with user-defined keywords, called tags.

social networking

In internet terminology, creating person-to-person connections through participation in a website that facilitates social connections. Examples include dating sites, blog posts, and social bookmarking sites.

Social search

In SEO, the HTML text and tags that define a web page.


Any of a wide variety of deceptive or abusive online practices, including sending a website to search engines, and posting nonsensical comments to blogs in an attempt to increase web visibility of a website. Can be a noun or a verb (to spam).

spam comment

A blog or forum comment that contains gibberish or irrelevant content and is intended only to promote the website of the person posting the comment.


May also be used as a verb, “to spider,” in which case it is synonymous with “to index”

spider emulator

software that attempts to reproduce the way a search engine spider will see a test website. Also called spider simulator.


Shorthand for SPAM blog. A blog containing stolen or nonsense content, which exists only to promote affiliate sites or get page views for advertising.


Combining variant forms of words for one stem, or root, word. For example, car dealer, car dealers and car dealerships all share the same stem word’s

trusted feed

A service offered by some search engines that allows website owners to specify a list of pages to be indexed.

This is particularly helpful for websites that include content that would otherwise be hidden from search engines.

Usually, a paid service trusted feed does not guarantee an improvement in ranks. Also called XML feed. See also paid inclusion.

unique visitors

The number of different individuals who visited a website one or more times during a given period.

This measure is based on available – but often incomplete – information. For example, two visits by the same person using two different computers would generally be logged as tow unique visitors while two different people using one network or access point will result in only one visitor being logged as a single unique visitor.


The elements of the design of a website and copywriting that affect a site visitors ease of use and navigation.

Visible text

Text on a website that is visible to a site visitor using a standard browser.


Shorthand for video blog or video blogging.

web feed

A file that is created by a website owner and is intended to be retrieved and displayed by other websites. Generally includes summary information and a link to the primary content page.

Web feeds are often used for blog and news content. See also web syndication.

web analytics

The measurement and analysis of online activity, especially page visits, conversions, and search queries used to find individual pages. See also metrics.

web log analyser

A software program that parses raw server data and presents it in an easier to read format. also called log file analysis software.

web syndication

The practice of making content available to other sites through web feeds. Generally, a title and summary are displayed on the syndicating site with a link to the primary content page.

White hat

Something a cowboy might wear… Just kidding! An SEO methodology that includes only techniques that stay within the search engines guidelines. Also used to describe a person who engages in white hat techniques.


May also be used as a synonym for web feed.

These are some of the most common terms that are being used in both SEO and SEM. We will update the list for some more terms and their meaning.