SEO Glossary

ALT text
text used in HTML or XHTML to describe something on a web page that a search engine bot (or human user) may not be able to see or understand. Using ALT text to describe an image is the most common example.
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Anchor
the clickable text that appears to a human user on a website.
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Black Hat
unethical SEO practices; convincing a search engine that your content is something other than what it is; or that it's more important than it is. Search engines that suspect a site of Black Hat practices will penalize the site by lowering its Page Rank, or by de-indexing the site.
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Bot
a program used by search engines to crawl the Internet looking for content
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Cloaking
creating two versions of a web page, one for humans and one for search engines. A Black Hat technique.
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CPM
cost per thousand; the advertising rate charged for a thousand impressions of an ad. Contrasted with Pay Per Click.
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CSS
a website language used to affect the appearance of website content.
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Flash
a programming language for the web; at this time Flash programs, in general, are not SEO friendly.
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HTML
hypertext markup language; the primary programming language used for websites
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Inbound link
a link that points to your site.
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Indexing
the cataloguing of website pages by a search engine; an indexed page is a page of which Google is aware
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Java
a programming language for the web; more SEO friendly than Flash
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Juice, SEO Juice
the halo of legitimacy your site receives when a site with good Page Rank links to you. Juice works both ways: when a site with good juice links to you, you benefit. If you have good juice and link to a site, it benefits. However, if you link to a site that a search engine has determined to be Black Hat, your juice may suffer.
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Keyword density
the number of times a keyword appears on a page, relative to the volume of text on the page, usually expressed as a percentage. An artificially high keyword density is keyword stuffing.
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Keyword research
the practice of finding the most-used keywords that are relevant to your site, and therefore most likely to drive traffic to you.
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Keyword
a term entered into a search engine
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Keyword stuffing
an artificially high keyword density; an ineffective Black Hat technique
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Link farm
a site that accepts payment in exchange for links back to your site; a Black Hat practice.
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Meta tags
a variety of HTML tags, invisible to the human user, that describe a site or its content to a search engine
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Natural Search
search results obtained without paying a search engine; or traffic gained from those results
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Nofollow tag
HTML code that tells a bot not to follow a link; a way to protect SEO Juice.
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No-index
an HTML tag that tells spiders not to index a given page.
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Off-page SEO
activities to improve the search engine factors that live outside of your website; link building is the most important off-page tactic.
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On-page SEO
changes and enhancements you can make on your web pages to help spiders read your content, and to have that content interpreted favourably by Google's algorithms. e.g., page titles, keyword density, H1/H2/Hx tags
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Organic Search
see Natural Search
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Page Rank
a score assigned by some search engines (notably Google) giving a site an authority ranking; all else being equal, a site with a higher page rank will appear higher in search engine results.
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Page title
the label that appears in the bar at the top of a web browser page. The title is set in the "head" section of an HTML document. Title is distinct from the filename or URL. It is also distinct from any headlines that appear in the body of a page.
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Paid Search
search results that appear on a search engine results page in exchange for payment. e.g., Google Adwords
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Pay per click
advertising that is billed on the basis of the number of users who click on an ad; as opposed to CPM (cost per thousand) advertising, where the advertising rate is fixed regardless of the response the ad receives.
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Rank
the position at which a website appears on a search engine resluts page; distinct from Page Rank
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Sandbox
a (possibly fictional) "place" where Google categorizes new websites for an undetermined time, to discourage black hat sites, link farms etc. In theory, if a site is in the sandbox, Google knows that it exists but won't show it in search results.
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SEM
search engine marketing; the practice of buying advertising positions on search engine results pages (SERPs), resulting in paid search results
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SEO Juice
see Juice
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SEO
search engine optimization, or a search engine optimizer (a person or company providing optimization services)
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SERP
search engine results page
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Sitemap
a document that lists all of the pages on your website. Sitemaps can be created for human users, but these are of limited value to most human users. Sitemaps created for bots or for search engine spiders are very important in getting all your pages indexed.
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SMM
social media marketing; the practice of using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and (infrequently) MySpace to get your message to your consumers.
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Social media
interactive technologies such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr and other sites where people form communities and exchange information.
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Spider
see Bot
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White Hat
ethical SEO practices; showing off your content to search engines in a powerful way; convincing a search engine that your content is what it is. See Black Hat.
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XHTML
extensible hypertext markup language; an evolution of HTML