An SEO Glossary Common SEO Terms Defined



Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an​ essential weapon in​ the​ arsenal of​ every online business. Unfortunately,​ for most business owners and marketing managers (and even many webmasters),​ it's also somewhat of​ an​ enigma. This is​ partly due to​ the​ fact that it's such a​ new and rapidly changing field,​ and partly due to​ the​ fact that SEO practitioners tend to​ speak in​ a​ language all of​ their own which,​ without translation,​ is​ virtually impenetrable to​ the​ layperson. This glossary seeks to​ remedy that situation,​ explaining specialist SEO terms in​ plain English...

AdWords

See ‘Sponsored Links’.

algorithm

A complex mathematical formula used by search engines to​ assess the​ relevance and importance of​ websites and rank them accordingly in​ their search results. These algorithms are kept tightly under wraps as​ they are the​ key to​ the​ objectivity of​ search engines (i.e. the​ algorithm ensures relevant results,​ and relevant results bring more users,​ which in​ turn brings more advertising revenue).

article PR

The submitting of​ free reprint articles to​ many article submission sites and article distribution lists in​ order to​ increase your website's search engine ranking and Google PageRank. (In this sense,​ the​ "PR" stands for PageRank.) Like traditional public relations,​ article PR also conveys a​ sense of​ authority because your articles are widely published. And because you're proving your expertise and freely dispensing knowledge,​ your readers will trust you​ and will be more likely to​ remain loyal to​ you. (In this sense,​ the​ "PR" stands for Public Relations.)

article distribution lists

User groups (e.g. Yahoo,​ MSN,​ Google,​ Smartgroups,​ and Topica groups) which accept email submissions of​ articles in​ text format,​ and then distribute these articles via email to​ all of​ the​ members of​ the​ group. See also 'article PR'.

article submission sites

Websites which act as​ repositories of​ free reprint articles. Authors visit these sites to​ submit their articles free of​ charge,​ and webmasters visit to​ find articles to​ use on​ their websites free of​ charge. Article submission sites generate revenue by selling advertising space on​ their websites. See also 'article PR'.

backlink

A text link to​ your website from another website. See also ‘link’.

copy

The words used on​ your website.

copywriter

A professional writer who specializes in​ the​ writing of​ advertising copy (compelling,​ engaging words promoting a​ particular product or​ service). See also ‘SEO copywriter’ and ‘web copywriter’.

crawl

Google finds pages on​ the​ World Wide Web and records their details in​ its index by sending out ‘spiders’ or​ ‘robots’. These spiders make their way from page to​ page and site to​ site by following text links. to​ a​ spider,​ a​ text link is​ like a​ door.

domain name

The virtual address of​ your website (normally in​ the​ form www.yourbusinessname.com). This is​ what people will type when they want to​ visit your site. it​ is​ also what you​ will use as​ the​ address in​ any text links back to​ your site.

ezine

An electronic magazine. Most publishers of​ ezines are desperate for content and gladly publish well written,​ helpful articles and give you​ full credit as​ author,​ including a​ link to​ your website.

Flash

A technology used to​ create animated web pages (and page elements).

free reprint article

An article written by you​ and made freely available to​ other webmasters to​ publish on​ their websites. See also 'article PR'.

Google

The search engine with the​ greatest coverage of​ the​ World Wide Web,​ and which is​ responsible for most search engine-referred traffic. of​ approximately 11.5 billion pages on​ the​ World Wide Web,​ it​ is​ estimated that Google has indexed around 8.8 billion. This is​ one reason why it​ takes so long to​ increase your ranking!

Google AdWords

See ‘Sponsored Links’.

Google PageRank

How Google scores a​ website’s importance. it​ gives all sites a​ mark out of​ 10. By downloading the​ Google Toolbar (from http://toolbar.google.com),​ you​ can view the​ PR of​ any site you​ visit.

Google Toolbar

A free tool you​ can download. it​ becomes part of​ your browser toolbar. It’s most useful features are it’s PageRank display (which allows you​ to​ view the​ PR of​ any site you​ visit) and it’s AutoFill function (when you’re filling out an​ online form,​ you​ can click AutoFill,​ and it​ enters all the​ standard information automatically,​ including Name,​ Address,​ Zip code/Postcode,​ Phone Number,​ Email Address,​ Business Name,​ Credit Card Number (password protected),​ etc.) Once you’ve downloaded and installed the​ toolbar,​ you​ may need to​ set up how you’d like it​ to​ look and work by clicking Options (setup is​ very easy). NOTE: Google does record some information (mostly regarding sites visited).



HTML

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is​ the​ coding language used to​ create much of​ the​ information on​ the​ World Wide Web. Web browsers read the​ HTML code and display the​ page that code describes.

Internet

An interconnected network of​ computers around the​ world.

JavaScript

A programming language used to​ create dynamic website pages (e.g. interactivity).

keyword

A word which your customers search for and which you​ use frequently on​ your site in​ order to​ be relevant to​ those searches. This use known as​ targeting a​ keyword. Most websites actually target ‘keyword phrases’ because single keywords are too generic and it​ is​ very difficult to​ rank highly for them.

keyword density

A measure of​ the​ frequency of​ your keyword in​ relation to​ the​ total wordcount of​ the​ page. So if​ your page has 200 words,​ and your keyword phrase appears 10 times,​ its density is​ 5%.

keyword phrase

A phrase which your customers search for and which you​ use frequently on​ your site in​ order to​ be relevant to​ those searches.

link

A word or​ image on​ a​ web page which the​ reader can click to​ visit another page. There are normally visual cues to​ indicate to​ the​ reader that the​ word or​ image is​ a​ link.

link path

Using text links to​ connect a​ series of​ page (i.e. page 1 connects to​ page 2,​ page 2 connects to​ page 3,​ page 3 connects to​ page 4,​ and so on). Search engine ‘spiders’ and ‘robots’ use text links to​ jump from page to​ page as​ they gather information about it,​ so it’s a​ good idea to​ allow them traverse your entire site via text links. (See ‘Link paths’ on​ p.21. for further information.)

link partner

A webmaster who is​ willing to​ put a​ link to​ your website on​ their website. Quite often link partners engage in​ reciprocal linking.

link popularity

The number of​ links to​ your website. Link popularity is​ the​ single most important factor in​ a​ high search engine ranking. Webmasters use a​ number of​ methods to​ increase their site's link popularity including article PR,​ link exchange (link partners / reciprocal linking),​ link buying,​ and link directories.

link text

The part of​ a​ text link that is​ visible to​ the​ reader. When generating links to​ your own site,​ they are most effective (in terms of​ ranking) if​ they include your keyword.

meta tag

A short note within the​ header of​ the​ HTML of​ your web page which describes some aspect of​ that page. These meta tags are read by the​ search engines and used to​ help assess the​ relevance of​ a​ site to​ a​ particular search.

natural search results

The ‘real’ search results. the​ results that most users are looking for and which take up most of​ the​ window. For most searches,​ the​ search engine displays a​ long list of​ links to​ sites with content which is​ related to​ the​ word you​ searched for. These results are ranked according to​ how relevant and important they are.

organic search results

See ‘natural search results’.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising)

See ‘Sponsored Links’.

PageRank

See ‘Google PageRank’.

rank

Your position in​ the​ search results that display when someone searches for a​ particular word at​ a​ search engine.

reciprocal link

A mutual agreement between two webmasters to​ exchange links (i.e. they both add a​ link to​ the​ other’s website on​ their own website). Most search engines (certainly Google) are sophisticated enough to​ detect reciprocal linking and they don’t view it​ very favorably because it​ is​ clearly a​ manufactured method of​ generating links. Websites with reciprocal links risk being penalized.

robot

See ‘Spider’.

robots.txt file

A file which is​ used to​ inform the​ search engine spider which pages on​ a​ site should not be indexed. This file sits in​ your site’s root directory on​ the​ web server. (Alternatively,​ you​ can do a​ similar thing by placing tags in​ the​ header section of​ your HTML for search engine robots/spiders to​ read. See ‘Optimizing your web ’ on​ p.22. for more information.)

Sandbox

Many SEO experts believe that Google ‘sandboxes’ new websites. Whenever it​ detects a​ new website,​ it​ withholds its rightful ranking for a​ period while it​ determines whether your site is​ a​ genuine,​ credible,​ long term site. it​ does this to​ discourage the​ creation of​ SPAM websites (sites which serve no useful purpose other than to​ boost the​ ranking of​ some other site). Likewise,​ if​ Google detects a​ sudden increase (i.e. many hundreds or​ thousands) in​ the​ number of​ links back to​ your site,​ it​ may sandbox them for a​ period (or in​ fact penalize you​ by lowering your ranking or​ blacklisting your site altogether).

SEO

Search Engine Optimization. the​ art of​ making your website relevant and important so that it​ ranks high in​ the​ search results for a​ particular word.

SEO copywriter

A ‘copywriter’ who is​ not only proficient at​ web copy,​ but also experienced in​ writing copy which is​ optimized for search engines (and will therefore help you​ achieve a​ better search engine ranking for your website).

search engine

A search engine is​ an​ online tool which allows you​ to​ search for websites which contain a​ particular word or​ phrase. the​ most well known search engines are Google,​ Yahoo,​ and MSN.

site map

A single page which contains a​ list of​ text links to​ every page in​ the​ site (and every page contains a​ text link back to​ the​ site map). Think of​ your site map as​ being at​ the​ center of​ a​ spider-web.

SPAM

Generally refers to​ unwanted and unrequested email sent en-masse to​ private email addresses. Also used to​ refer to​ websites which appear high in​ search results without having any useful content. the​ creators of​ these sites set them up simply to​ cash in​ on​ their high ranking by selling advertising space,​ links to​ other sites,​ or​ by linking to​ other sites of​ their own and thereby increasing the​ ranking of​ those sites. the​ search engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated,​ and already have very efficient ways to​ detect SPAM websites and penalize them.

spider

Google finds pages on​ the​ World Wide Web and records their details in​ its index by sending out ‘spiders’ or​ ‘robots’. These spiders make their way from page to​ page and site to​ site by following text links.

Sponsored Links

Paid advertising which displays next to​ the​ natural search results. Customers can click on​ the​ ad to​ visit the​ advertiser’s website. This is​ how the​ search engines make their money. Advertisers set their ads up to​ display whenever someone searches for a​ word which is​ related to​ their product or​ service. These ads look similar to​ the​ natural search results,​ but are normally labeled “Sponsored Links”,​ and normally take up a​ smaller portion of​ the​ window. These ads work on​ a​ Pay-Per-Click (PPC) basis (i.e. the​ advertiser only pays when someone clicks on​ their ad).

submit

You can submit your domain name to​ the​ search engines so that their ‘spiders’ or​ ‘robots’ will crawl your site. you​ can also submit articles to​ ‘article submission sites’ in​ order to​ have them published on​ the​ Internet.

text link

A word on​ a​ web page which the​ reader can click to​ visit another page. Text links are normally blue and underlined. Text links are what ‘spiders’ or​ ‘robots’ use to​ jump from page to​ page and website to​ website.

URL

Uniform Resource Locator. the​ address of​ a​ particular page published on​ the​ Internet. Normally in​ the​ form http://www.yourbusinessname.com/AWebPage.htm.

web copy

See ‘copy’.

web copywriter

A ‘copywriter’ who understands the​ unique requirements of​ writing for an​ online medium.

webmaster

A person responsible for the​ management of​ a​ particular website.

wordcount

The number of​ words on​ a​ particular web page.

World Wide Web (WWW)

The vast array of​ documents published on​ the​ Internet. it​ is​ estimated that the​ World Wide Web now consists of​ approximately 11.5 billion pages.





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