SEO Glossary

Above the Fold: For a layman, the term “above the fold” is used to describe the front portion of  “Newspaper”. In terms of SEO also, the definition is quite similar. In general any online media like “email”, “A Web Page” or “A website” requires people to use the down scroll to view the entire media. However, anything that displays instantly without the user intervention to scroll down is considered as “above the fold”.

Algorithm: A set of programs or code snipets which any search engine uses to display results for any Keyword or key phrase entered by any user. In layman terms, algorithm is the back-end process any search engine uses to rank different pages based on various factors which they may give varying weight-age to rank the pages. In other words, every search engine gives different weightage to each page depending on their back-end program calculations which determine the ranking.

ALT Tags: Search engines are image blind. What this means is they are unable to view images. The only way a search engine may understand an image is by way of an ALT Tag (alternate text description) which is used to explain to the search engine what the image is all about. Based on the ALT description of any image, the search engine can then index the image appropriately. An ALT Tag is basically an HTML tag which attaches text to an image.Thus it is also called the IMG ALT Tag.

Anchor Text: Any text on a web page or website which is linked by HTML a webpage or website is called “Anchor Text”. Anchor text is generally used to improve the navigation of a website. Proper use of anchor text helps improve the navigation for both the website visitor and also for search engines to better index the pages on a website.

Authority (web page authority or website authority): Be it print media or online media, in order to rank highly, both need authority. In terms of websites and web pages also, authority is important. Any website or webpage which has quality content and provides value to the reader is an Authority. Many search engines have varying factors on which they calculate the authority of each webpage and website that they index within their search results. The higher the authority of a web page or website, the higher will be it’s ranking in search results.

Backlinks: Any website’s ranking is determined by it’s importance and how many websites refer or link back to it. Thus, links that are inbound from another website to yours are called backlinks. As opposed to outgoing links links on your website which take people to other websites and internal links (links that are within your website and link internal pages to each other). Backlinks are used by search engines and search engine algorithms to evaluate the value and importance of a web page or website. Thus the more the high quality and linkbacks from important websites, the higher will be your own website’s value in terms of search engines.

Banned Pages: A search engine sometimes de-indexes or removes your website or it’s pages from showing up in search results. This is usually done to penalize wrong doing or mis-conduct by website owners or webmasters. Each search engine has it’s own set of do and don’ts also known as guidelines which need to be followed by webmasters and website developers. They usually list out the don’ts as well. Usually, if any website owner or web master uses spamming of any kind or black hat activities to gain an unfair competitive edge, search engines penalize the website or webpages by manually banning their pages from the search results. Banning is either temporary or permanent. If your website pages are banned by any search engine, you should consider reviewing your SEO strategy and start adopting white-hat ways and following the guidelines and directives provided by the concerned search engines to get the ban removed.

Black Hat SEO: Any technique to instantly rank higher in search results that is beyond the search engine’s guidelines is considered as a “Black Hat SEO” technique. On the other hand, all methods and techniques that search engines provide in their guidelines are considered as “White Hat SEO” techniques. Although, there is very thin line between what is black hat and what is white hat technique, one thing is clear: all ethical techniques are white hat SEO, any unethical way to gain a competitive advantage by way of spammy content or copied content is considered as black hat SEO.

Blogger and Blogging: Blogger is a free blogging platform provided by Google. If you are a web content publisher you may have heard heard about blogging and may even have been referred to as a blogger by people at large. Both the terms blogger and blogging are common terms used for web publishers who constantly publish content over the web. Usually, they either use their own web publishing platforms or sometimes even use free blogging platforms provided by providers like Google & WordPress.

Boolean Search: A search that helps limits your terms with AND, OR, or NOT to get specific and most relevant results. For example, you may type into a search field: “Travel AND India NOT Taj”. So your results will be about Indian travel destinations specifically, with no results about Taj.

Breadcrumb & Breadcrumb Navigation: A method to display the relative path to a webpage in comparison to the the website. It is both a visual aid to the visitor and an indexing aid to the search engines. Breadcrumbs are generally also used to display relationships of pages and hierarchy. Using breadcrumbs is a white hat SEO technique to improve a website’s authority.

Broken Links: Menu Links, Textual Links & Anchor Text on a webpage that do not direct to the desired location or link page. As a website get’s larger, it is imperative that some links my not work. It is important from time to time to check all links on a website and correct the broken links as doing this helps improve the authority and ranking of a website.

Browser: A Software used to view web pages or surf online: such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox or Netscape.

Cache or Browser Cache: Anything that is stored and displayed by retrieving the stored content is called a Cached retrieval. Thus a cache is a stored copy of a web page or website. Both web browsers and search engines alike cache web pages and websites. Search engines do it to display a cached copy of a website or webpage when and if a webpage or website is temporarily or permanently not available. Browsers use their caching system to store images and heavy content which may not necessarily be downloaded every time a web page is presented to the visitor. For SEO pursposes both the search engine cache and the browser cache have their significance in terms of both search ranging and website speed.

Clickthrough Rate or CTR: It is the number of people who click through a particular link (an advertisement) out of a total number of people who viewed the link. For example, 10 people view a web page that serves a link on it, and 4 of them actually click on the link, then, the link’s click through rate is 40%. Clickthrough rate is also called the CTR in short.

CMS (Content Management System): A system that can be installed on a web hosting account which helps non coding users to easily manage information on a website or webpage.  A CMS typically helps both manage content and add functionality to a website. Examples of CMS are Joomla CMS, WordPress etc.

Crawl Rate or Crawl Frequency: How often a search engine visits a website to index the changes in it is called the “crawl rate” or “crawl frequency” of a website. Crawl rages vary from website to website. Generally, the more frequent the change in content on a website, the more frequently will search engines crawl it.

De-listing: As opposed to listing, de-listing indicates getting removed. In terms of SEO, it is general used for websites or web pages which get temporarily or permanently removed from search results or directories. De-listing is generally done as a penalty to any kind of black hat SEO or inappropriate content.

Description (A webpage meta description): Meta Description or Description as it is generally referred to as is usually a short sentence of around 150 characters which best describes the content and importance of the web page. Search engines display this description below the page title on each search result.

Directory (Web Directory): Catalog of websites categorized and listed on a directory website. Such directory websites are organized and maintained on regular basis and listing in such directories is either free or in some cases, paid. Examples of such directories include: DMOZ and Yahoo! Directory.

Domain or Domain Name: Domain or domain names are used to name websites. The entire web uses IPs to identify machines. However, it is not user-friendly to remember IPs. Thus, the domain or domain name system helps bridge the problem by using words and alphabets instead of numbers to identify web pages or websites.

Duplicate Content: Copied or almost 90% similar content that may already be available on other websites or web pages and a clear indication of copying is evident. Search engines usually have a penalty for such content. This penalty may be imposed till the content is either proved original or completely modified or removed.

Emphasis: The dictionary meaning of Emphasis is “special importance, value, or prominence given to something“. In SEO, the meaning is a little different. Here emphasis means importance given to key words or key phrases and their placement in prominent positions and the number of times they are used.

Ethical SEO (White Hat SEO): Any easy way to gain unfair advantage and rank high in search results within a short span of time is generally considered unethical SEO by search engines. On the contrary, methods that help you gain authority and content that helps people visiting your website or webpage, are considered as ethical SEO.

Expert SEO: A web design professional who has experience and knowledge of how search engines work, what are best practices in the SEO industry and deploys white-hat methods to help website and web page owners or businesses to attain the deserved ranking for them.

External Links:  Any link back to a website or web page from any external webpage. Any external link helps improve the authority of a website. Varying on the authority of the referring page, link juice is passed to the referred page. External links are more effective if they are from related websites with higher authority.

Fresh Content: Content which is new, adds value to the topic and appeals to the visitors to ensure that they keep revisiting your website for more. Providing up-to-date content with a fresh approach is not enough. Adding value to the content by providing examples, case-studies & emphasis on emerging trends helps keep the visitors interested.

Headings: HTML tags which are used to include the heading text for a webpage. Varying heading tags are available to indicate importance of the heading. For example: H1 H2 H3 etc. They are also used to display hierarchy of headings as H1 is higher than H2 and H2 is higher than H3 this helps nest content in a way and show search engines the importance of each segment of a webpage.

.htaccess: A file which is used to provide “Apache” web server configuration details for a web hosting account. This file is used for usual tasks like: granting access or denial to directories, providing caching details for various files like images, creating permanent redirects for non existing or moved away pages etc.

HTML: The full form: HyperText Markup Language is the language used by website designers to create web pags & web applications for the internet. Now, XHTML and HTML5 are also used.

HTML5: It’s the 5th revision of the HTML standards. Content can be structured and presented in HTML5 in a better way as compared to HTML.

HTTP: The full form: HyperText Transfer Protocol is used to communicate between servers and also user end web browsers. When data from one server needs to be transferred, HyperText Transfer Protocol is used. Between server to server or between server to client browser.

Inbound Links: Incoming links from other websites to the website or webpage in question. The quality and quantity of inbound links determines the authority and importance of a webpage or website. Along with the inbound links, the link text is also an important factor in calculating the popularity and ranking of a web page.

Internal Links: For better navigation both for website visitors and search engines, it is a good practice to have textual internal links within a website. The internal links link one page of a website to another page and vice versa.

Internet: A network or “World Wide Web” of computers and servers connected via TCP/IP.

IP Address: The full form: Internet Protocol Address is a internet addressing system that assigns an address to each computer or server. In order for any computer to be connected to the Internet, it has to be assigned an Internet Protocol Address in order to locate and identify it. Websites and web pages are hosted on computers or servers which can be accessed through their IP address.

Java Script: As the name suggest it is a scripting language. It is used by web designers to add interactivity and dynamic features to web pages or websites. Usually the Java Script codes are used on the client side to perform one or multiple functions.

Keywords: When a visitor is looking for something, he or she will probably use a search engine to locate what they are looking for. While using a search engine, they generally type out the keywords related to their search. These words which the visitor types in search engine are referred to as “KeyWords”.

Key Phrases: As compared to KeyWords, key phrases are phrases containing one or more keywords and are more specific to what a visitor may be looking for as compared to keywords.

Keyword Density: A measure to calculate the number of times a keyword is contained within a website or webpage. Ideally a keyword density of 2-4% is considered good. Anything higher or lower than this is usually not desirable. Depending on the search engine in question, the desired ideal keyword density may vary. However, keyword density is currently not given much importance by search engines. The reason is that website owners have misused the use of keywords and now search engines give importance to many other factors apart from keyword density.

Keyword Popularity: An evaluation of the number of times a keyword is searched by internet users over a given period of time. Keyword popularity is generally used to gauge the ammount of organic traffic a keyword may attract. The more the number of searches for a keyword the more popular it is.

Keyword Prominence: The placement, emphasis and visibility (particularly for search engines) of a keyword within various elements of a web page or web site. The more weightage that is given to a keyword by way of :placement in key locations, emphasis by bolding, underlining or including within heading tags and increasing the size of the text for visual appeal and search engine emphasis.

Keyword Research: A research done to identify important and profitable keywords which will bring visitors and interested buyers to your website. Keyword research empowers you to decide which keywords are usually inserted by visitors to locate your website and your competitive websites. Keyword research helps narrow down SEO efforts and helps choose the most profitable and result giving keywords to target to rank higher for.

Landing Page: The page on which a visitor arrives after clicking on a search result listing. Depending on what the visitor is searching for he or she may arrive on different web pages of a website.

Link Building: Each website needs both Authority and Trust in order to rank high on search result pages. Related and trustworthy links from authority websites help improve the ranking a website or webpage in search results. Link Building is an exercise to acquire quality link from authority websites with relevant linking text to help rank the webpage or website higher for target keywords.

Link Popularity: The number of links pointing to a website. Here it is important to also consider the authority of the websites linking to your website. Sometimes just one or two links can result in very high link popularity. Thus link popularity considers both quality and quantity of links your website my have.

Manual Markdown: A markdown or penalty that is applied to a website if they violate any of the guidelines or frameworks laid down my search engines. Usually such a markdown is either temporary or permanent. Temporary markdowns can be revoked once the time frame or the violation is eliminated.

Manual Review: Search engines and their algorithm need to keep updating from time to time. The whole idea and reason for success of a search engine is to provide relevant and quality search results to it’s visitors. Over time, however, spammy content may creep up (due to black hat SEO) and reduce visitor experience. Search engines from time to time do a Manual Review of the results pages to check this and ensure that quality results are provided to it’s searchers.

Meta Description: See Description

Meta Keywords: Meta tags that can be used for a web page to provide keywords to search engine robots in order to help them understand the keywords that apply for a webpage. Due to keywords spam, many search engines have started giving reduced or no importance to the meta keywords tag on a webpage.

Meta Tags: For any webpage, HTML gives you the option to provide information regarding the Title, Keywords and Description. These HTML tags are also referred to as Meta Tags as they help in providing the Meta information of a webpage. There are three most common meta tags in use today: Meta Title, Meta Keywords & Meta Description.

Mirror Site: A website which duplicates or mirrors the content of another website. Usually such a website may get duplicate content markdown or even get de-listed from search results all-together.

Navigation: A resource, usually a section on a website that helps people understand the structure of the website’s pages and helps them find their current location and helps them move around comfortable within the website and it’s pages.

No-Follow: An attribute to an HTML link which helps stop the passage of link juice to the linked page. The No-Follow attribute is usually a good tool to prevent link spamming on various sections of websites where users can insert links to their websites and misuse is possible.

Open Source: Software that is usually distributed with it’s source code so that other developers can modify it to their requirements. Usually open source software is also provided free and the development platform for such software is also open source in nature.

Organic Search Results: Search engines have two result sections. Paid or AD results and unpaid or Organic Results. Visitors know the difference and give more importance and value to Organic Results in comparison to AD results. Thus Organic Search Result listings give a very high conversion rate.

Outbound Links: Any links from your website or web page pointing to any outside website or webpage. Depending on the use of the REL attribute, these outbound links may or may not pass the link juice to the outbound websites.

Page Rank: An algorithm by Google that based on the links to a webpage or website provides a rank to each indexed webpage and website. Based on this rank, deserving importance is given to the concerned webpages and this in turn helps decide the web page or website’s ranking in result pages.

Penalty: If a website or web page uses spamming to rank higher in search results, search engines demote or penalize the website for the same. Such a penalty usually results in lowered ranking of the website in result pages. Such a penalty may or may not be permanent & may or may not be revocable.

PDF: Full form – Portable Document Format is a file format by Adobe for documents to be stored and viewed. This format also allows people viewing the documents to print them (it’s a print friendly format).

Portal: Any website which offers News, Comments, Search & Downloads to its visitors.

Proximity: Usually for multi-keyword search, words placed in close proximity to each other help the page rank higher in search results than other pages. This is a tool used by search engines to identify relevant pages for multiple keyword input queries.

Quality Content: Any authoritative content that is unique, informative & link-worthy is called quality content.

Quality Links: Search engines count link backs as votes of trust. Link backs from quality or authority websites are given higher value and are considered as quality links. Low quality website link-backs are considered low-quality links.

Redirect: If you have permanently moved a page or renamed it, search engines may take time to index the change. Also, once the change is indexed, there may be duplicate page listings with different URLs. To eliminate this issue, a redirect 301 or 302 redirect is needed and should be used as a safe SEO practice. Redirecting the old indexed page URL to the new page URL indicates the search engines that the page has shifted and to make necessary modifications at their end.

ROI: Full form – Return On Investment. The return you receive when you spend one rupee.

SEM: Full form – Search Engine Marketing. When you use tools to promote your website with search engines like SEO, Google AdWords PPC or any other marketing with other search engines.

SEO: Full form – Search Engine Optimization. The science of publishing web pages and websites in a way that is search engine friendly and follows their guidelines. Identifying the right and most effective keywords that will work for the website and positioning them to improve search result rankings in organic result pages.

SERPs: Full form – Search Engine Result Pages. When a user inputs a query in a search engine, the search engine display the query results by populating a list of relevant listings on pages. These pages which display the resulting listings are called search engine result pages.

Site Map: A page which helps understand the content and pages and their relation to other pages in a website. For search engines, the Sitemap is an XML sitemap which lists pages that need to be indexed for a website. For visitors the sitemap is a reference guide to see a complete one page listing of all pages on a website.

Social Media: Any website that allows people to register with them and create content or communicate other members of the website.

Spider: A web crawler which looks for pages that are not already indexed in the search engine, indexes the non-indexed pages with the search engine.

Submission: Submitting information about your website to search engines and directories in order for them to display either your website or web pages in their listing or to create presence & records with directories which have visitors who may view your listing and visit your website.

Taxonomy: A category based classification system which organize topical subjects or content. It may usually be hierarchical in nature.

Title: An HTML tag used to include the title for a webpage’s content. It is by search engines to create the listing of the website page within the result pages. Usually a title should be between 50-70 characters and should provide a glimpse of what the page may contain.

Trust Rank: A ranking algorithm which search engines use to give additional importance to distinguish content and it’s ranking in search result pages. Each search engine has a different way to analyse the trust rank that it should provide to a webpage or website.

URL Rewrite: A method used to make the URLs more user and search engine friendly. Inclusion of page descriptive keywords in URLs help search engines and visitors alike.

White Hat SEO: All techniques and methods which search engines allow and advocate to use while trying to rank a webpage or website high in search result pages.

XHTML: Full form – Extensible HyperText Markup Language. A class of specs designed to make use of HTML and XML.