SEO can be very intimidating on its own and the last thing you need is heavy jargon and vocabulary to go with it. This is why we prepared this “SEO dictionary” to help you understand the ins and outs of Search Engine Optimization. You can also consider this your SEO handbook.
# Server Codes
What is redirecting? This happens when you enter a web page but are instantly and automatically taken to another web page with a different URL.
Now, there are two main types of redirections but their effects are not usually felt on the user’s end. The Permanent redirection and Temporary redirection. 301 Redirect is a permanent redirection that communicates to search engines that the desired page has permanently relocated to another URL.
2xx status codes
This type of status code communicates to users that the request for a page has been successfully accepted.
4xx status codes
This type of status code communicates to users that the request for a page has failed as a result of an error.
5xx status codes
This type of status code communicates to users the request for a page has failed as a result of the server’s inability to perform the request.
This is a common term that was first used by RandFishkin to describe content that has more value than any other on the web regarding a certain topic.
302 status code
This is a status code that tells users that the URL they are on has been temporarily been redirected.
404 status code
This code tells users that a certain webpage could not be found.
410 status code
This status code communicates to crawl bots that the webpage has been permanently removed and should be deleted from the search engine’s index list.
500 status code
This status code communicates to users that there’s a problem with the website’s server.
503 status code
This status code tells crawl bots that the webpage is undergoing maintenance and they will be able to analyze and index it at a future date.
Also referred to as Absolute link or path. This link is used for internal linking when you want to link an HTML page, image or just about anything that is within your website. It usually gives a full clear path as to where the file is.
This penalty usually leads to a decrease in rank on SERPs. It’s not that easy to spot at face value and you’ll have to check your traffic and take note of any drastic decrease. This penalty is as a result of your website not following some or all of Google’s guidelines.
This is when search engines add new features to their algorithms. If you are keen you will hear some upheaves in the SEO world once Google announces or launches a new Search engine update. It’s important to always stay up to date since such updates affect Search engine rankings.
Examples of major updates include Panda, Hummingbird, BrainRank, among many others
These are sites that have built positive reputations for themselves by offering valid and accurate information to users over the years. Users and industry experts usually quote these sites to verify facts and statements.
This is a group of words that has been hyperlinked. Once you click on them you are directed to another page or site. It is advised that you use simple and natural words when creating anchor texts and not spammy keyword-rich texts.
Also known as Alt attribute. It is usually added to the HTML of an Image tag to explain the alt text (title) for that image. Applying them with a little description will greatly boost your SEO score because you’ll be helping users and search engines in understanding what the image is all about.
Also known as a dead link. This refers to a link that doesn’t work. The reason might be an improper URL or someone deleted the destination page.
Also known as breadcrumb navigation. This helps a visitor map out and navigate your website. Here is an example:
This refers to the number of visitors that are leaving your page without even considering what you have to offer. Their average duration is usually less than 3 seconds. This might be caused by low-quality content or slow website loading.
Black Hat SEO
These are illegal strategies used to improve page ranking by doing things that directly violate search engine guidelines. These include link spamming, over-optimization and many more.
Bait and switch
Also known as code swapping. This is a black hat strategy where you publish content that gets a high ranking and after a while your swap the content for something else. Basically using the same URL and page for something else.
Also known as inbound, external or citation link. This is where another website creates content that might be related to your website and decides to link back to your website or mentions you as a citation. If done correctly, both of you score marks for overall SEO.
Also known as the canonical tag. If you sp happen to have two pages or blog posts with the same URL then Google will get confused and not show either of them. To solve this problem you are required to choose one of the URLs as the original one then a canonical tag (rel=”canonical”) to all other pages that point to it. All the other URLs will look like this href=”www.seoglossary.com” Google will now merge all other related pages and place them under the page with the original URL.
Churn and Burn SEO
Also known as Rank n Bank. This is a black SEO strategy where an owner mass spams his/her website with many unrelated links so that it can have a high ranking for a short period of time. Google later penalizes the website and the owner decides to delete it. But all this time the owner was earning revenue from the website.
Call to Action (CTA)
This is any onsite trigger that prompts visitors to make a move and do something. It might be a hyperlinked text or button with provocative words such as Buy Today, Call US, etc. Doing this helps in directing your visitors to do things that will have then engaging with your website and as a result, reduce your bounce rates.
Cascading style sheets (CSS)
This is a coding language that determines how your site’s HTML document will look like. All websites have CSS files that determine the layout, color, font styles, animations, etc of your website.
Click-through rate (CTR)
This is a ratio that shows you how many people click on your website once it has been listed on SERPs. It is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions made. The same formula and metrics are also used when calculating CTR for ads.
This refers to the process of getting your users to do something. It can be to open your email, make a purchase, or sign up for your newsletter.
This is a ratio that shows what percentage of your visitors have a completed a desired ask out of all the users that have seen or engaged with your website/ad or e-mail. There needs to be set goal by which the results can be measured for you to conclude whether the campaign was a success or failure.
This is can be a link or thumbnail that provokes a visitor click on it. It usually has some text that stirs the visitor’s curiosity such as “must see”, “you need this” or “don’t miss out”. The main goal is to increase your CTR and website engagement.
This refers to anything found on website pages such as text, images, videos, and animations. Ever heard the saying ‘Content is King’? The reason is, the quality of your website’s content contributes up to 70% of your overall SEO score.
Also known as Article spinning. This is a simple SEO technique to slightly boost your Search engine ranking. Website and blog owners hire writers to rewrite the existing content and restructure its sentences in such a way that it doesn’t become a duplicate of the original. The end result is then published and linked to the original piece.
Some websites opt to use spinning software which makes it an even risker black hat SEO strategy.
This is a major red flag as far as search engines are concerned. Copied content simply refers to original content that has been copy-pasted from one website to another but minor changes such as the use of synonyms and change in sentence structure have been made. This a very risky approach and will cost you your SEO ranking when Google finds you.
Some times referred to as Syndicated content. This refers to content that has been republished on another website as a means of boosting its reach audience. But this could be mean that the other site will have a high ranking than you even though it’s your own content. It’s a technique that would work for or against depending on how you use it.
This refers to content that is owned by another site but is value to your audience and you, therefore, decide to feature it on your website giving credit where it’s due.
This is about you creating, sharing, and promoting of valuable content to your target audience. People do this to establish themselves as a trusted authority in their field and as a result build brand awareness.
Content management system (CMS)
This is basically an all-in-one system that allows you to create edit publish and update your content. The most popular CMS is WordPress. You can do almost anything with WordPress, write content, save drafts, edit pictures, publish your content on your website, promote it, and so much more.
You are able to also create and publish your website on WordPress using their free themes and website building tools.
This is all about you checking out other websites in your niche that are above or below you when it comes to search engine ranking. The competitor analysis will help you in coming up with tactics to help you improve or maintain your current ranking.
This is done by search engines where they go through all the content on your website. In the process, all of your external and external links are followed. You can even consider it a form of a website audit.
Also known as WebCrawler.It sounds spooky but it is a name referring to the algorithms that are responsible for auditing your website.
This answers the question, how many clicks do you have to take from your website to reach a certain piece of content. The far or deeper the piece of content is the harder it will be for web crawlers to reach and as a result, your website will be ranked poorly. If your page is more than 4 clicks from the page then know that its ranking will be poor.
This is linking of pages and posts between domains that are owned by the same person and are topically related. Don’t overdo it and certainly don’t link exact sites and webpages.
Cost per click
This refers to the payment you’ll make per click should you decide to hire Google to publish and advertise your website on ad banners.
This simply a page with no links pointing elsewhere in your site and therefore your visitors find themselves “trapped” after consuming your content. Their only option is such as a case is to leave your site.
Also known as time spent on-page. This is the duration of time your visitors have spent on your website consuming its content. The longer is better since it increases the chances of them engaging with your website.
This is where your web page is removed from search engine results pages. You can do this for pages that have value but don’t need to be ranked for example “Thank for confirmation” pages.
Also known as Dynamic linking. This is a web page address referring to content that is stored in a web library on-site and is fetched when a user makes a query. This is seen in forum sites where users are able to search and find threads or conversations.
This is where you use internal links to link your web pages to other pages that are found on your website. For example, the “signup” link on your websites will direct visitors to your registration page.
These are bad backlinks from websites that are not in any way related to the content you have on your website. They might attract a penalty or cause a decrease in your SEO ranking.
Also known as the Gateway page or Portal page. This a manipulation used by owners to trick search engines into giving high ranking for certain keywords despite their sites having low-quality content.
This is your website’s location usually known as an IP address.
This is what people type in their browsers search bar in order to get your website. For example www.gmail.com. It is also the first thing Google checks for when ranking your website so try to make it SEO friendly.
This is a special type of search engine that doesn’t track its users. This means that all users get the same search time when they search for something and also are not followed around by ads. It’s all about the user’s privacy.
This refers to the number of visitors that make it to your website after keying in your exact URL on their browser’s search bar.
Also known as Natural Links. The is the holy grail of backlinks you should be looking for. This is when a high-status website quotes or cites your page in the middle of their content. It also means that the content found on your pages is trustworthy and of value.
This is an important process when it comes to getting backlinks from influential sites. It’s all about finding some trustworthy sites in your niche and inviting them to link back to one of your web pages.
This is a link building technique where you first mention or link another site in your content then contacting them with hopes that they’ll return the favor by giving you a backlink.
This is a separate webpage containing many links and citations, it is also considered to be rich in information. These webpages might be PDFs, e-books or guides.
Exact match keyword
This refers to an exact word or phrase that matches a keyword option on Google Ads. This means that your ads will only be listed on search engine results pages once a certain word or phrase is searched for.
Also known as Direct answer. This is the first detailed result that is usually shown at the top of the first page. It is usually enclosed in a box that contains text, links, pictures, or videos that give the user a more detailed answer to the query he or she searched for. The information can be so detailed that the user will not have to click on any other answer on the search engine results page.
This is a database that provides you with information about your website and how it is performing on search engine results. All you have to do is simply sign up for free by submitting your website tracking code to them. Once you are done you’ll get to see who are your visitors, their geographical location, the devices they use to visit your site, the demographics, and so much more.
Google Keyword planner
It is a tool used for keyword research in Google Ads. You can also use it to get information such as keyword ideas based on your niche words or phrases. You also see how certain keywords have been performing when it comes to their search volume, impressions, and clicks.
Google Mobile-Friendly test.
This is a tool used to test how mobile-friendly and responsive your website is. Smartphones have now taken over the world and Google has recently announced that mobile-friendly websites have a higher SEO ranking than slow and unresponsive sites.
Use it to test your website https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
Google My Business
This is a local business listing. All you have to do is sign up for free and upload your business information. It is a very big boost to local SEO since your business location, contact details and image will be shown once a local user searches on anything related to your industry.
Google Search Console
It was previously known as the Webmaster Tools. This is a free toolkit gifted to website owners that helps us track our website’s performance, see whether your site is being indexed, and also if there any penalties that have been placed against your site.
Grey hat SEO
As the name suggests these are SEO practices that neither black or white. They are permitted but ethically questionable. A good example is link buying/sell where money is exchanged for backlink privileges.
Google Rank Brain
This is one of Google’s many updates that was released on October 2015. It is an improvement of the Hummingbird update that involves Google search engine using AI-powered technology in reading and interpreting search queries.
This is a major algorithmic update released on October 2014. It basically lowers website ranks that have duplicated or pirated content.
This is another one of Google’s major algorithmic updates released in August 2013. It improves a user’s search results by matching his/her intent with keywords and phrases on the web.
Another of Google’s algorithmic updates released in March 2017. It automatically de-ranks website pages that were created and filled with nothing but affiliate and ad links.
This a major update in Google’s search algorithms that was released in 2014. It is the link between Google Search and Google Maps. Since then website ranking is also affected by the user’s location. The Google Possum update released in September 2016 is an improvement on the Pegion update.
This is a code used by multilingual websites to mark their pages. It makes sure your visitors are exposed to content in their language of choice based on the language they used to initiate the search.
This is the term used for a video, image, HTML file or anything that has been downloaded from your site. Studies have shown that every website page has an average of 15 hits.
This sitemap is specifically meant for visitors and is usually in a list in bullet format that has the links to all pages on your website. Many websites use it because it helps in content navigation. They might have the same high SEO value as XML sitemaps but they do carry some weight.
A clickable text or image that has an embedded link that directs you to another page that might be within the website or external.
HTML heading (H1, H2…H6)
These are simply headlines used to structure your web content in a way that will make it easier for your visitors to consume. Not only is this good for your users but also important to web crawlers so that can read, understand and rank your page.
HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
This is the main web protocol that allows us to access and use information over the internet. Search engines have announced that websites with secure protocols (HTTPS) get high SERPs ranking.
HTML Source code
This is the basic coding language used to create web pages and applications.
An impression is made every time you visit a web page and an ad appears on your screen.
This is an XML file all of your website’s images that you’ll like to be crawled and indexed by search engines. It can separate or inclusive of the sitemap.
This is a search engine database containing all web pages that web crawlers could find. If your site is not listed here then you’ll not appear on search engine result pages. You can go to Google Search Console and check if all your pages are indexed.
It is aimed at boosting your visibility on other countries and creating global growth. This means that search engines will be able to automatically provide the appropriate content based on the user’s location.
This is a link that leads to a page within your website.
This refers to a promotional page that appears on the content found on a normal web page and disrupts your user’s attention. They are annoying and not recommended. In fact, it might result in a penalty.
This is the unnatural use of keywords on the same page with the aim of having Google give the page a higher ranking. It is a Black Hat SEO strategy that is viable for penality because the text lacks value.
This is a percentage of the number of times a keyword is used on the page compared to the total number of words in the text.
This is based on the fact that there are certain stages in a buyer’s journey. Buyers use different search keywords when they are in different stages.
This happens when you use the same set of keywords for different pages. This negatively affects your SEO score because you’ll just be competing against yourself for traffic and ranking.
Key performance index
This is a chosen metric that is set and used to measure whether or not your business and team is working towards a particular goal or objective.
This is a metric that shows you how difficult and competitive it will be to get your page ranked using the chosen keywords.
This is the process of finding out what keywords are popular and valuable in your niche by analyzing their search volume and competition.
This is a very specific set of words that match what your website and pages are offering.
This refers to the processing your website with the aim of getting more traffic from users who are geographically near to you.
This is when many links are posted on comment sections, forums and other places with the aim of boosting your SEO. Most of the time the majority of these links are broken or ad links that negatively affect your ranking since they hold no value.
This happens when your web pages and links get old when they are followed by frequent page audits. In the end, you are left with old pages with broken links whose destination pages have been deleted or moved.
This is where a backlink is longer directing traffic to your website because its owner has deleted his/website.
This is when you use the “nofollow” attribute when linking other websites so that you don’t lose your SEO juice to them.
This refers to any content such as ebooks or newsletters that will require visitors to leave their email or other contact details in order to get access.
Latent semantic indexing keyword (LSI)
These are words that are directly related to your main keyword. For example, the LSI keywords for “keyword” is “keyword density”, “keyword funnel” and many more.
This is the page destination a visitor lands on after clicking a link. These pages are usually made for lead conversation and promotion.
This is a web page that has been optimized for the use of mobile phones. This can be by having a mobile version of your website or scaling down the one you currently have by compressing your images and changing your screen layout.
This is an exact copy of your website but with a different URL address. They are legally used when the traffic becomes too much to handle on one server.
This is information that describes what your website or page is about. The main examples include title, meta descriptions, and robots.
This is a specific metric used to track your website’s performance.
This is the short description below your page or post title on search engine result pages that tells users something about your page or post. It has no effect on SEO but it will affect how people respond to your result.
This is a meta tag that tells your browser to refresh a page once a certain duration of time has collapsed. But this technique is slow and 301 redirect is the best choice if you want.
This is a link has the “nofollow” attribute that instructs search engines not to share your SEO score with the web page you have linked to.
This refers to SEO strategies used by website owners to “trick” search engines into giving them high SERP ranking. It also refers to actions taken to reduce a competitor’s SEO ranking.
This refers to a link on your webpage that directs users to another external website page. They do help with your SEO score because Google sees that you are interested in providing value to users.
This refers to traffic that you get from Google searches and which you have not paid for. The formulae to use when calculating your organic traffic:
Click through rate x traffic volume = organic traffic
This refers to a website page that doesn’t have any link pointing to it.
This refers to all your SEO efforts that are not done directly on your website. A good example is marketing which is mainly done to improve your website’s awareness.
This is where a website owner over-employees strategies just to increase his website’s ranking. This act is always penalized by search engines and in the end, results in a lower ranking. A good example is spam linking.
This refers to the position your web page takes whenever matching keywords are searched. It is what SEO is majorly about. I higher ranking translates to more traffic.
This refers to all SEO efforts that are directly done on your web pages to increase its search engine ranking. A good example is optimizing your blog content.
This is a marketing strategy where you hit a visitor straight at the face with a promotion or advertisement that they hadn’t shown expressed any interest for.
Also known as the main keyword. This is the keyword that is used the most on a webpage and is likely to be used by users when they search for related things on search engines.
This is when you draw your visitor’s attention to your web pages using subtle techniques that don’t give make the visitor feel like he/she is being rushed into making a decision.
Paid search engine results
This is a risky practise where a website owner buys backlinks from authority sites.
It is made every time a page is viewed by a visitor.
This is a black SEO trick where the search engine is showing a webpage with different content from the one a visitor sees.
Paid search engine result
This is whereby you pay Google to have your ad at the top or bottom of the search engine results page. You can try this out at Google Ads.
This refers to traffic that gotten from visitors who clicked on an ad you paid for and got redirected to your web page. Facebook and Google offer these services.
Query Deserves Freshness (QDF)
This refers to one of Google’s many algorithms that rank specific pages based on how recent their content is. A good example is news pages.
Quantity Deserves Diversity (QDD)
This is one of Google’s many algorithms that provides you with more information that matches your search intent. This information is built by looking at your past queries where you didn’t find what you were looking for.
This refers to all the traffic that you are getting from anywhere else apart from the search. A good example of this source is Social media platform.
Also known as a relative path. This is a link used for internal linking. For example, you might be linking files or images from one of the pages on your website.
Return on investment (ROI)
This is a ratio showing the amount of profit you’ve made from a certain investment such as the number of leads converted after paying for advertising costs.
Robot meta tag
This refers to a code that tells crawl bots what to do. A good example is the “nofollow” tag that tells crawl bots not to follow a specific link.
This is a special file that gives instructions to search bots telling them how to read and process each of your website pages.
Search engine algorithms
This is a set of preset rules that determines how search engines rank web pages on search engine results pages.
Also known as web scraping. This is where a program automatically captures data from several websites. A good example is blog titles.
Search engine optimization
This refers to all efforts made to improve your website performance and in the process getting a higher ranking in search engine result pages.
Search engine result page (SERP)
This is a list of results that are produced once a user searches for certain keywords on the search engine bar. The results usually have titles followed by short descriptions that explain what the page is all about.
These are keywords that are related to the focused keyword and work to support it so as to improve on the page’s ranking and in the process avoid search engine penalization.
SEO site audit
There’s refers to a full analysis of your website to know whether it is visible in SERPS and its performance when it comes to page ranking.
There’s technical auditing and content auditing.
This refers to content that has been grouped together into categories or subcategories to help users and search engines in understanding the content’s relevance.
These are the most relevant keywords for certain content. Usually, it is one word that is found in all LSIs and longtail keywords.
These are links shows under result’s titles on search engine result pages. They usually belong o the page listed and tell the user where the page is located.
This is a very effective way of increasing your search engine ranking where you look for already written content form other pages, improve on them, publishing them, then contacting the initial publishers and requesting some backlinks.
This refers to the activities that take place in social media platforms that prove users are engaging with your content. For example likes, shares, comments, etc
This main page that introduces users to the website. It usually has a website logo, name, and mission statement. It serves as an invitation to users so that they can get to read your original content.
This refers to a page whose link never changes. They normally have the perfect balance of focused keywords and a high CTR.
Also known as structured data. This refers to the use of special HTML codes in your content to communicate to Google that specific parts have high-value information.
This is the part of your web page your visitor sees without scrolling. Make the right first impression and you’ll reduce your website’s bounce rate.
This is the basis of all SEO efforts that makes it easier for crawl bots to analyze and rank your web pages. Without properly handling technical SEO, your content SEO efforts will not have any huge impact on your SEO score and page ranking.
This is an algorithm update released in 2012 that decreases the rank for pages that have been flooded with ads in the fold portion.
This is the highest amount of traffic you’d get if Google ranked your webpages first according to your current keywords.
This is the first time a user finds and visits your website.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
This is the unique phrase users enter in their browsers to gain access to your website. For example:
User experience (UX)
This refers to how users interact with your website and whether or not they are having an easy time accessing and consuming its content. It greatly affects your websites SEO score.
This is an external link that is false and is put there as an attempt to trick Google into ranking your web page on a higher position.
This is anything on your website that users can interact with.
This is any content created and published by users. It might be a comment, social post, review or blog post. It will be a huge boost to your SEO if users mentioned your website and focused keywords in their content.
This is the process of boosting your video’s visibility on YouTube. You first need to optimize your channel before optimizing its videos.
Vertical search engine
There are search engines that are focused on a specific type of media. For example, YouTube is focused on video content.
This is an HTML document hosted on a domain and accessible worldwide.
This refers to a collection of webpage hosted on a domain and accessible worldwide.
This refers to how your web pages have been arranged and categorized.
These are good SEO practices that lead to higher ranking in SERPS because they take into account both the user’s and search engine’s experience.
This is a list you submit to search engines’ webmaster tools that contains all the URLs you’d want the web crawlers to analyze and index.
This is a must-have wordpress plugin that helps in measuring and improving your website’s SEO score.
‘Your Money of Your Life’ is a special Google search principle. YMYL pages normally contain news and other valuable information on lifestyle, finances, and happiness.
It’s been a long journey but finally, we’re done!