Search Engine Optimization Glossary | SEO Glossary | SEO Keywords

Adsense - Contextual advertising by Google. Website publishers earn a portion of the advertising revenue for placing Google sponsored links on their site.

Adwords - This is the Pay Per Click advertising program offered by Google.

Algorithm: The search engine program that ranks sites based on certain criteria. Google has over 100 different ranking criteria that sites need to meet.

Automated Submissions: Services that use a web based tool or software to submit sites to search engines, free for all pages, and directories. CM SEO does not recommend using these services, these submissions can be viewed by the receiving party as spam.

Bid for click: A search engine under which you bid for your site to be ranked under a keyword. See Pay Per Click (PPC) and Paid Placement (PP).

Code: The background code that runs a web site. As well as HTML, this can include, JavaScript, ASP, PHP, JSP, Coldfusion and more.

Click popularity: a measure of how often a listing presented by a search engine is clicked. Some search engines and directories will rank a site higher on their results pages if the site proves to be popular among searchers.

Cloaking: also known as "stealth," involves serving a specific page to each search engine spider and a different one to human visitors. In most cases, frowned upon by search engines.

Comment tag: html code that describes or documents content. Most search engines ignore the content of comment tags.

Dead link: An Internet link which does not lead to a page or site. This usually occurs when a server is down, the page has moved, or it no longer exists.

Domain: A sub-set of internet addresses. Domains are hierarchical, and lower-level domains often refer to particular web sites within a top-level domain. The most significant part of the address comes at the end - typical top-level domains are .com, .net, .edu, .gov, .org.

Directory: directories are built from submissions made by website owners, and generally arrange site listings hierarchically. Yahoo! is the best known example.

Doorway page: a web page created solely to achieve high ranking in search engines for particular keywords, and perhaps for a specific engine. Today's doorway pages should contain valuable and useful content related to your site, and be fully linked to the site, and so are often referred to as "information pages."

Dynamic html: web pages generated on demand by data in databases or using similar technology. Can create ranking problems because a search engine's spider may not retrieve relevant content.

FFA Site: A so-called "free for all links" page, which is created for the sole purpose of compiling links. Submission software or companies that claim to submit your site to hundreds or thousands of "search engines" actually use these for most of that number. FFA sites are essentially worthless in terms of generating traffic, and links from them will count nothing towards your site's link popularity. Basically, they're a waste of time.

Frames: Some sites have pages that are made up of multiple HTML pages. Typically the navigation will be on one page and the content on another. You can tell if you scroll down the page and the navigation remains static. Frames are bad for a sites search engine promotion

Hand Submissions: A service to develop appropriate titles and descriptions for submission to directories, search engines, and advertising sites. The submission is often unique for each directory, being sure to be compliant with all guidelines. CM SEO always offers hand submissions and has great success in getting relevant listings in appropriate directories.

Hidden text: Text that is visible to the search engine spiders but not to site visitors. Used to add extra keywords in the page without actually adding content to a site. Most search engines will penalize Web sites which use hidden text.

Hit: In the context of visitors to web pages, a hit (or site hit) is a single access request made to the server for either a text file or a graphic. If, for example, a web page contains ten buttons constructed from separate images, a single visit from someone using a web browser with graphics switched on (a "page view") will involve eleven hits on the server.
In the context of a search engine query, a hit is a measure of the number of web pages matching a query returned by a search engine or directory.

Home page: The main page of a Web site.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language): The coding language that all Web sites use to exist on the Internet.

Hyperlinks: Hyperlinks are used to link one or more documents together.

Impression: A single display of an online advertisement.

Inbound link: Links that direct users to another Web site. When a user arrives at a site from another site, that link is known as an inbound link.

Informational page: a content-filled web page created to focus on particular keywords. Differs from a "doorway page" in that is wholly integrated into the site and is useful to human visitors, while a traditional "doorway page" is aimed only at search engines.

Invisible text: using a font color the same or close to the color of the background of a page, in an attempt to allow the content to be indexed by search engines while not being visible to humans. To search engines, this is spam.

IP delivery or IP-based delivery: the technique of serving a particular page in response to a page request from a specific IP address. Used in cloaking; a search engine is identified by the IP address it is using, and a page customized for that search engine is served.

Keyword: A word used to find pages when conducting a search.

Keywords: Due to abuse by many Web sites in the past, search engines have reduced the importance of the keywords meta tag when ranking a Web page for keyword relevance. Many have actually decided to not consider the keywords tag altogether. While it has reduced in significance, it is still an important meta tag to include in your Web pages.

Keyword density: Keyword density is the ratio of a keyword or key phrases to the total number of words on that page. Keyword density is one of the most critical aspects of successful search engine optimization.

Keyword phrase: A phrase used to find pages when conducting a search.

Keyword frequency: Keyword frequency is the number of times keywords occur in the text on a given page. Search engines want to see more than one repetition of a keyword in your text to make sure it's not an isolated case.

Keyword prominence: The general location of a keyword or phrase in relation to the overall text on that page. You'll want to make sure your important keywords appear early in your Web site copy and that they draw attention to themselves.

Keyword research: Researching the most relative and popular keywords for a given site.

Keyword Spamming: Deliberate repetition of keywords in a page by using invisible or tiny text to increase keyword density. This is banned by search engines.

Link popularity: Search engines often use link popularity as part of their ranking criterion. In simple terms, link popularity is the measurement of the number of other Web sites that include a link to your Web site on theirs. Each search engine, depending on their specific algorithms, determines it differently.

Link analysis: a measure of the quality and relevance of the set of links pointing to a given site; contrast with link popularity.

Link Farms: sites created and maintained solely for the purpose of constructing links between member sites. Should be avoided as a violation of most search engines' policies; their use won't build your site's link popularity, and may result in a ranking penalty.

META refresh tag: automatically replaces the current page with a different one within the website, or possibly offsite. In general, use of refresh tags is discouraged or penalized by search engines.

META tag: html tag in the header section of a web page, intended to offer content to search engines. Among them are the keyword and description tags, but these days most true search engines de-emphasize or completely ignore META tags.

Mirror sites: Sites designed as duplicates of an original site, but are hosted on a different server. Link cloaking and doorway pages, the creation of mirror sites is a recognized spam tactic and violators will be penalized by many of the major search engines.

ODP - Open Directory Project: The largest human edited directory on the Internet. The Open Directory provides listings for free but only for qualified sites and because editors are volunteers, wait times can be lengthy.

Outbound link: A link to a site outside of your own.

Page Rank: See also Link Popularity. A numerical rating of a site developed by Google as part of it's algorithms for determining search engine listings. To view page rank requires installing the Google tool bar in your browser. Yahoo also utilizes Page Rank calculations.

PPC: Pay Per Click. This is an advertising option in which the advertiser has typically a small textual ad on a search engine site and pays only if a user clicks on the link in the ad.

PFI: Pay for Inclusion. This is a fee charged by a search engine to be spidered on a periodic basis to be included in the search engine results. Yahoo has a service that is a combination of PFI and PPC.

Reciprocal link: An exchange of links between two sites.

Relevancy: how closely related a particular page is to the search term requested.

Re-index: How often a search engine updates its index. Google updates its index once a month.

Reputation: related to link popularity, a page will score highest for reputation when it is linked to by pages from other sites which themselves are highly ranked. Well-known sites recognized as "authoritive" are given high reputation scores on their own; it's for this reason that a link to your site from something like would be very valuable.

Search engine: A search engine is a database system designed to index and categorize internet addresses, otherwise known as URLs (for example,

Search engine marketing: encompasses several forms of marketing products and services on the internet through management of information presented by search engines and directories. Included are such elements as site optimization, and the purchase and placement of advertisements.

Search engine optimization (SEO): These are the techniques used to improve a Web page's results in a search.

Search engine positioning: the process of managing a page or site's positioning in the search engines.

Selective delivery: the technique answering browser's page request with a specific page selected via an automated process based on some piece of information gained from the browser. For example, reading the browser's language setting may allow a page in that language to be served. Similar to IP-based delivery.

SERP: A "search engine results page," the page of site listings that a search engine returns in response to a user's entry of a search query. Often used in discussion of the way such a page is laid out, for example: "Overture listings are the first sites presented on Yahoo's SERPs."

Spam: as it applies to search engines, any attempt to submit or place deceptive information, or to "trick" the search engine into placing a page in an inaccurate position.

Spider: A software program used by search engines to crawl the Web, storing URLs and indexing the keywords and text of pages. Spiders are also referred to as crawlers or robots.

Stop word: common words, or words considered by search engines to be irrelevant, are left out by search algorithms. Examples are "and," "the," etc. Generally, a stop word in a query is treated as a "wild card;" that is, the returned results usually won't be exactly the same as if the word had been left out of the query entirely.

Theme: a relatively recent change in search engine ranking algorithms, theme-based engines essentially try to determine what a page is "about" — and to compare it to other pages that seem to be related to the same topic — and rank it highly for certain keywords that are determined to be related to that page theme.

Traffic: The actual visitors to a Web page or Web site.

Unique Visitor: A real visitor to a web site. Web servers record the IP addresses of each visitor, and this is used to determine the number of real people who have visited a web site. If for example, someone visits twenty pages within a web site, the server will count only one unique visitor.

URL: The Uniform Resource Locator is used to specify the address of Web sites and Web pages.

Word stemming: a practice used to some search engines in which searches will return results for words based upon a particular stem. For example, a search for "develop" might return pages containing the words "development" or "developer."


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