Since I spent a lot of time in forums explaining what SEO myths are, what some SEO terms mean I decided to create a complete SEO dictionary with explanations, so read carefully. This will be a long list of SEO terms, so if I miss anything feel free to add a comment and let me know. For those of you new to SEO be sure to bookmark this page whenever you need to remind yourself of something, trust me, this SEO dictionary will come very useful at some point in your SEO adventure.
When mentioned in SEO world it usually refers to search engine algorithms which is a complicated mathematical formula that sorts out web pages and gives them rank. These algorithms are constantly updated to follow up changes and to keep relevant results, also to avoid being understood by SEO wizards and exploited in that way.
ALT tag/ALT text/Alternative text is the text appearing while an image is loading on a site or while you hold your mouse over that image. The text that appears is good for SEO as search engines look for that part of the text and locate the keyword. In WordPress you have this as an option while adding an image, in HTML the code would be: <img src=”/randomimage.jpg” alt=”Random Image ALT tag KEYWORD” width=”240″ height=”300″ />
Everyone needs to know what anchor text is and how to use it. Anchor text is the link text, the clickable part of the text that is linked to another related web page. Use of anchor text hyperlinks is good for SEO as search engines calculate the relevance of the anchor text keyword and consider it related to the site it points to. Sites like HubPages or platforms like WordPress offer an editor where you can just input the URL for the keyword you want to use as a hyperlink, in HTML the anchor text like would look like: <a href=”http://www.somewebsite.com”>Anchor Text Keyword</a>
Backlink or inbound link is a link from one site pointing to another website. Backlinks are used in SEO to increase the understanding of a website and to get it higher in the SERP, the two most important factors of a backlink are the anchor text used and the relevancy of the website it comes from and to which it points to.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO stands for unethical methods of search engine optimization that are considered as spam and can get a site penalized by search engines. Most common techniques considered as Black Hat SEO are cloaking, spam, redirects, and other violations of search engine rules.
Broken link is a self explanatory term, means that the link is pointing to a non existing page. Remove broken links on your site as soon as you discover them as they are not liked by the search engines.
Click through is the act of clicking on a link that leads to another web page.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Click Through rate is the percentage of clicks vs numbers of times the link has been displayed. If a website link is displayed 1000 times and it has been clicked on 10 times the click through percentage is 1%, which is the average click through rate, the goal of SEO is to increase this rate by targeting specific visitors.
Cloaking is one of the famous Black Hat SEO techniques where one page is displayed for the users and one for the search engine spiders. The idea is to get a higher rank by providing search engines what they want to see while on the other hand creating a highly attractive page for the visitors that will force better conversions.
Text, images, videos or any other types of visible media, information found on the website or a certain webpage.
Conversion is the number of visitors that complete a goal set by the web owner, buying a product, subscribing to a newsletter, or any other similar thing. This is a good way to measure the success of your SEO campaign.
CPC, Cost Per Click
CPC or cost per click is a PPC (Pay per click) advertising system where a user places an ad and only pays when that ad is clicked on. One of the most popular ways to drive traffic to your site.
Crawler, Spider, Bot is a part of search engine algorithms, basically it is a program that crawls the web pages, gathers data following links from one site to another while making copies (cache, index) in search engine database.
The URL (Main Address) of a webpage.
Doorway page is a mediator page, jump page, gateway page, a web page with some content well optimized for a certain keyword that redirects to another page. This is sometimes considered as Black Hat SEO and search engines don’t like it very much.
Two or more pages on the web that have a great amount of duplicate content, search engines will penalize one or both pages by removing the gain of page rank they would have received if there was no duplicate content issue. So basically, the penalty is that you will not get any Page Rank from that link, nothing else, you can still get free organic traffic. (PS. I don’t encourage duplicate content, just stating the obvious)
Dynamic content refers to the pages that follow a database user system which shows results based upon users query, like search engines results page or e-commerce sites. Not very good for SEO, Google is improving but all search engines have difficulties indexing dynamic pages.
Gray Hat SEO
Something between White hat and Black hat SEO, in some cases allowed and in some not allowed. A very blurry area, while some may be penalized for using so called Gray Hat SEO techniques, others have great success. Recommended only for advanced SEO’s.
Parts of the HTML code that signify the importance of some parts of the text, ranging from h1 to h6 tags. <h1>Very Important Text on Your Page.</h1>
Hidden text refers to text visible to the search engines but not to the visitors of the site, that is done by making the text on your webpage in the same color as the background. HTML comments and title tag repetition are some of the forms of hidden text, this is considered as Black hat SEO.
Hyperlink is a text to image link pointing to another website, when clicked it directs user to the page it points to. See Anchor text.
Search Engine Database. A place where all of the info spiders collected is stored.
A number of times a site or an ad has been displayed for a visitor.
SEO is mostly based on keywords, this is a word or a phrase used to optimize a website. When a user types a keyword into the search engine search box he will get a list of relevant sites to that keyword arranged by the relevancy found by the search engines. Better your website is optimized for a certain keyword the better your results will be in the SERP.
The number of times your keyword is appearing in the text compared to the overall number of words. Article with 500 words that has a keyword repeating 10 times in the article has a keyword density of 2%.
Keyword Meta Tags
A list of HTML tags that are used to describe the entire website or webpage, some of the search engines use meta tags to rank websites.
The recommended keyword density is 1% to 3%, but that varies, when a webpage has a high keyword density, usually more than 7% that is considered as keyword stuffing and is considered as Black Hat SEO.
This is a page where a visitor lands on after clicking on a link from another page, banner, ad, search engines listing etc.
See Anchor Link, Hyperlink
Very popular SEO method to drive traffic to your site and incite people to link to your webpage. It is made by creating a unique content or proving something like a tool or ebook, needs to be that is useful, amusing, generally attractive.
Common SEO practice to drive traffic to your website and increase the value of your website and the rank in the search engine results.
Exchanging links with another website, a web owner places a link on his site pointing to your website in return for a link from your site pointing to his.
A website or webpage that consists of a large number of links intended to increase a webpage’s ranking. Generally considered as Black Hat SEO>
A measure of how popular a website or webpage is by the number and quality of backlinks pointing to the site. While many “SEO’s” out there will promise a great number of backlinks and promise that will increase your rank, the number doesn’t count as much as the relevance and the authority of the website where the links are coming from.
Meta Description Tag
This is a short description located in the HTML code only visible to search engines. It is used to shortly describe the website, not used by most of the major search engines anymore, well, not for rankings.
Meta Keywords Tag
Meta keywords are used to show the search engines what the content on the webpage is all bout, they should help the overall rank of the website, but they have low significance now as the content keywords are what counts today.
Refers to SEO, optimization of a page, website, off page, intended to improve the ranking position, increase traffic and conversion.
Links that go from a certain page to other pages on the web or the same website. High number of outbound links can hurt the web page or even get the website penalized as the site can be seen as a link farm.
Page Rank – PR
The most common used term in SEO, page rank is the numerical rank of a page designed by Google ranging from 0 to 10, showing the importance and authority of a certain page. This rank shows how important Google finds a certain page to be.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
See CPC, Cost Per Click.
Penalty – Penalized
Refers to penalization by search engines for violating their rules or engaging in Black Hat SEO, may lead to lower rankings, lowering of PR or even de-indexing from the SERP.
Arrangement between two or more sites to exchange links with each other. One site places a link to the other site in return for a link from the other site to theirs.
A text file located in the root directory that tells the search engine bots to include all or to exclude some pages for indexing.
Search Engine Marketing – SEM
Search engine marketing is a large scale SEO that includes PPC and other paid advertising methods.
Search Engine Optimization – SEO
Process of improving a websites rank in the SERP by optimizing a website for certain keywords. Includes improving the website’s speed, usability, keyword optimization, content optimization, improving link quality, building quality links and other SEO strategies and techniques.
Search Engine Results Page – SERP
This is a report page that comes back once you enter a search query into the search engines, so when you do a keyword search, the result list you get is the SERP.
Spam can be number of things when related to SEO, in most cases it is a violation of search engine rules and terms. An attempt to increase a website’s rank by using Black Hat SEO techniques is considered as SPAM.
This is an HTML tag used as the official title of a page displayed in the SERP. You can use a series of keywords that best describe the page, this is one of the very important parts of keyword placement.
A number of times a page has been visited in a certain period of time.
This is a measurement of how many unique visitors, unique IP addresses, visited your site in a certain time period. For instance, if you visited a site 5 times in 24 hours you made 5 page impressions, but you are counted as one unique visitor.
Web address, URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, each website has its own unique URL: http://www.practicalseo.org
White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO is the right way to do search engine optimization. It does not use any of the Gray or Black Hat SEO techniques but relies on legitimate SEO methods supported by the search engines.
Well, this is it. I know I missed tons of terms, so again, feel free to add something I missed in the comment section. I know this will be of great value to anyone new to SEO, so I don’t regret spending a few hours creating this free Practical SEO Dictionary for you guys. Come back soon.