SEO Terms And Jargon

There is a lot of lingo exclusively used amongst SEO/SEM professionals. It can sometimes get confusing trying to make sense of all the jargon.

Here is an A to Z list of some of the most common terms in the SEO/SEM industry:


0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


0 – 9

Status OK – The file request was
successful. For example, a page or image was found and loaded
properly in a browser.

Some poorly developed content management systems return 200
status codes even when a file does not exist. The proper
response for file not found is a 404.

See also:

Moved Permanently – The file has been moved
permanently to a new location.

This is the preferred method of redirecting for most pages or
websites. If you are going to move an entire site to a new
location you may want to test moving a file or folder first, and
then if that ranks well you may want to proceed with moving the
entire site. Depending on your site
and crawl frequency
it may take anywhere from a few days to a month or so for the
301 redirect to be picked up.

See also:

Found – The file has been found, but is
temporarily located at another URI.

Generally, as it relates to SEO, it is typically best to
avoid using 302 redirects. Some search engines struggle with
redirect handling. Due to poor processing of 302 redirects some
search engines have allowed competing businesses to
hijack the listings of competitors.

See also:

Not Found – The server was unable to locate
the URL.

Some content management systems send 404 status codes when
documents do exist. Ensure files that exist do give a
200 status code and requests for files that
do not exist give a 404 status code. You may also want to check
with your host to see if you can set up a custom 404 error page
which makes it easy for site visitors to

  • view your most popular and / or most relevant
    navigational options
  • report navigational problems within your site

Search engines request a robots.txt
file to see what portions of your site they are allowed to
crawl. Many browsers request a favicon.ico
file when loading your site. While neither of these files are
necessary, creating them will help keep your
log files clean so you can focus on
whatever other errors your site might have.

See also:


the Fold
A term traditionally used to describe the top portion of a
newspaper. In email or web marketing it means the area of
content viewable prior to scrolling. Some people also define
above the fold as an ad location at the very top of the screen,
but due to banner blindness
typical ad locations do not perform as well as ads that are well
integrated into content. If ads look like content they typically
perform much better.

See also:

A link which shows the full URL of the page being linked at.
Some links only show relative link paths instead of having the
entire reference URL within the a href tag. Due to
canonicalization and
hijacking related issues it is
typically preferred to use absolute links over relative links.

Example absolute link

<a href=””>Cool

Example relative link

<a href=”../folder/filename.html”>Cool

Microsoft’s cost per click ad network.

While it has a few cool features (including dayparting and
demographic based bidding) it is still quite nascent in nature
compared to Google AdWords. Due to
Microsoft’s limited marketshare and program newness many terms
are vastly underpriced and present a great arbitrage

See also:

  • AdCenter
    sign up for an account
  • Microsoft AdLabs
    – view many of the free search marketing tools Microsoft
Google’s contextual
network. Publishers large and small may
automatically publish relevant advertisements near their content
and share the profits from those ad clicks with Google.

AdSense offers a highly scalable automated ad revenue stream
which will help some publishers establish a baseline for the
value of their ad inventory. In many cases AdSense will be
underpriced, but that is the trade off for automating ad sales.

AdSense ad auction formats include

  • cost per click
    advertisers are only charged when ads are clicked on
  • CPM – advertisers are charged a
    certain amount per ad impression. Advertisers can target
    sites based on keyword, category, or demographic

AdSense ad formats include

  • text
  • graphic
  • animated graphics
  • videos

In some cases I have seen ads which got a 2 or 3% click
through rate (CTR), while sites that are
optimized for maximum CTR (through aggressive ad integration)
can obtain as high as a 50 or 60% CTR depending on

  • how niche their site is
  • how commercially oriented their site is
  • the relevancy and depth of advertisers in their vertical

It is also worth pointing out that if you are too aggressive
in monetizing your site before it has built up adequate
authority your site may never gain enough authority to become
highly profitable.

Depending on your vertical your most efficient monetization
model may be any of the following

  • AdSense
  • affiliate marketing
  • direct ad sales
  • selling your own products and services
  • a mixture of the above

See also:

Google’s advertisement and link auction network. Most of
Google’s ads are keyword targeted and
sold on a cost per click basis in an auction
which factors in ad clickthrough rate as well
as max bid. Google is looking into expanding their ad network to
include video ads, demographic targeting,
affiliate ads, radio ads, and
traditional print ads.

AdWords is an increasingly complex marketplace. One could
write a 300 page book just covering AdWords. Rather than doing
that here I thought it would be useful to link to many relevant

See also:

Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing programs allows merchants to expand
their market reach and mindshare by paying independent agents on
a cost per action (CPA) basis. Affiliates
only get paid if visitors complete an action.

Most affiliates make next to nothing because they are not
aggressive marketers, have no real focus, fall for wasting money
on instant wealth programs that lead them to buying a bunch of
unneeded garbage via other’s affiliate links, and do not attempt
to create any real value.

Some power affiliates make hundreds of thousands or millions
of dollars per year because they are heavily focused on
automation and/or tap large traffic streams. Typically niche
affiliate sites make more per unit effort than overtly broad
ones because they are easier to focus (and thus have a higher
conversion rate).

Selling a conversion is typically harder than selling a click
(like AdSense does, for instance). Search
engines are increasingly looking to remove the noise low quality
thin affiliate sites ad to the search results through the use of

See also:

Some social networks or search systems may take site age,
page age, user account age, and related historical data into
account when determining how much to trust that person, website,
or document. Some specialty search engines, like blog search
engines, may also boost the relevancy of new documents.

Fresh content which is also cited on many other channels
(like related blogs) will temporarily rank
better than you might expect because many of the other channels
which cite the content will cite it off their home page or a
well trusted high PageRank page. After
those sites publish more content and the reference page falls
into their archives those links are typically from pages which
do not have as much link authority as their home pages.

Some search engines may also try to classify sites to
understand what type of sites they are, as in news sites or
reference sites that do not need updated that often. They may
also look at individual pages and try to classify them based on
how frequently they change.

See also:

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML is a
technique which allows a web page to request additional data
from a server without requiring a new page to load.
Alexa owned search service which
measures website traffic.

Alexa is heavily biased toward sites that focus on marketing
and webmaster communities. While not being highly accurate it is

See also

Search engine which was created by Fast, then bought by
Overture, which was bought by
Yahoo. Yahoo may use AllTheWeb as a test
bed for new search technologies and features.

See also:

Blind people and most major search engines are not able to
easily distinguish what is in an image. Using an image alt
attribute allows you to help screen readers and search engines
understand the function of an image by providing a text
equivalent for the object.

Example usage

<img src=””
height=”140″ width=”120″ alt=”Press Your Luck Whammy.”

See also

Search engine bought out by Overture
prior to Overture being bought by Yahoo.
AltaVista was an early powerhouse in search, but on October 25,
1999 they did a major algorithmic update which caused them to
dump many websites. Ultimately that update and brand
mismanagement drove themselves toward irrelevancy and a loss of
mindshare and marketshare.

See also:
The largest internet retailing website. is rich
in consumer generated media. Amazon also owns a number of other
popular websites, including IMDB and Alexa.

See also:

Software which allows you to track your page views, user
paths, and conversion statistics based upon interpreting your
log files or through including a JavaScript tracking code on
your site.

Ad networks are a game of margins. Marketers who track user
action will have a distinct advantage over those who do not.

See also:

Anchor Text
The text that a user would click on to follow a link. In the
case the link is an image the image alt
may act in the place of anchor text.

Search engines assume that your page is authoritative for the
words that people include in links pointing at your site. When
links occur naturally they typically have a wide array of anchor
text combinations. Too much similar anchor text may be a
considered a sign of manipulation, and thus discounted or
filtered. Make sure when you are building links that you control
that you try to mix up your anchor text.

Example of anchor text:

<a href=””>Search Engine
Optimization Blog</a>

Outside of your core brand terms if you are targeting Google
you probably do not want any more than 10% to 20% of your anchor
text to be the same. You can use Backlink Analyzer to compare
the anchor text profile of other top ranked competing sites.

See also:

Popular web portal which merged with Time Warner.
Application Program Interface – a series of
conventions or routines used to access software functions. Most
major search products have an API program.
Exploiting market inefficiencies by buying and reselling a
commodity for a profit. As it relates to the search market, many
thin content sites laced with an Overture
feed or AdSense ads buy traffic from the
major search engines and hope to send some percent of that
traffic clicking out on a higher priced ad. Shopping search
engines generally draw most of their traffic through arbitrage.

See also:

Active Server Pages – a dynamic Microsoft
programming language.

See also:

Ask is a search engine owned by InterActive Corp. They were
originally named Ask Jeeves, but they dumped Jeeves in early
2006. Their search engine is powered by the
search technology, which is largely reliant upon
Kleinberg‘s concept of
and authorities.

See also:

The ability of a page or domain to rank well in search
engines. Five large factors associated with site and page
authority are link equity, site
age, traffic trends, site history, and
publishing unique original quality

Search engines constantly tweak their algorithms to try to
balance relevancy algorithms based on topical authority and
overall authority across the entire web. Sites may be considered
topical authorities or general authorities. For example,
Wikipedia and DMOZ
are considered broad general authority sites. This site is a
topical authority on SEO, but not a broad general authority.

Topical authorities are sites which are well trusted and
well cited by experts within their topical community. A topical
authority is a page which is referenced from many topical
experts and hub sites. A topical hub is page
which references many authorities.

Example potential topical authorities:

  • the largest brands in your field
  • the top blogger talking about your subject
  • the Wikipedia or DMOZ page about your topic

See also:

Automated Bid Management Software
Pay per click search engines are growing increasingly
complex in their offerings. To help large advertisers cope with
the increasing sophistication and complexity of these offerings
some search engines and third party software developers have
created software which makes it easier to control your ad spend.
Some of the more advanced tools can integrate with your
analytics programs and help you focus
on conversion, ROI,
and earnings elasticity
instead of just looking at cost per click.

See also:

If you want to program internal bid management software you
can get a developer token to use the
Google AdWords API.

A few popular bid management tools are


Backlink (see
Inbound Link

and Switch
Marketing technique where you make something look overtly
pure or as though it has another purpose to get people to
believe in it or vote for it (by linking at it or sharing it
with friends), then switch the intent or purpose of the website
after you gain authority.

It is generally easier to get links to informational websites
than commercial sites. Some new sites might gain authority much
quicker if they tried looking noncommercial and gaining
influence before trying to monetize their market position.

During the first web boom many businesses were based on
eyeballs more than actually building real value. Many ads were
typically quite irrelevant and web users learned to ignore the
most common ad types.

In many ways text ads are successful because they are more
relevant and look more like content, but with the recent surge
in the popularity of text ads some have speculated that in time
people may eventually become text ad blind as well.

Nick Denton

Imagine a web in which Google and Overture text ads
are everywhere . Not only beside search results, but
next to every article and weblog post. Ubiquity breeds
contempt. Text ads, coupled with content targeting, are more
effective than graphic ads for many advertisers; but they
too, like banners, will suffer reader burnout.

Battelle, John
Popular search and media blogger who co-founded The
Industry Standard
and Wired, and authored a
popular book on search called The Search.

See also:

Behavioral Targeting
Ad targeting based on past recent experience and/or implied
intent. For example, if I recently searched for mortgages then
am later reading a book review the page may still show me
mortgage ads.
A prejudice based on experiences or a particular worldview.

Any media channel, publishing format, organization, or person
is biased by

  • how and why they were created and their own experiences
  • the current set of social standards in which they exist
  • other markets they operate in
  • the need for self preservation
  • how they interface with the world around them
  • their capital, knowledge, status, or technological
    advantages and limitations

Search engines aim to be relevant to users, but they also
need to be profitable. Since search engines sell commercial ads
some of the largest search engines may bias their
organic search results
toward informational (ie: non-commercial) websites. Some search
engines are also biased toward information which has been
published online for a great deal of time and is heavily cited.

Search personalization biases
our search results based on our own media consumption and
searching habits.

Large news organizations tend to aim for widely acceptable
neutrality rather than objectivity. Some of the most popular
individual web authors / publishers tend to be quite biased in
nature. Rather than bias hurting one’s exposure

  • The known / learned bias of a specific author may make
    their news more appealing than news from an organization
    that aimed to seem arbitrarily neutral.
  • I believe biased channels most likely typically have a
    larger readership than unbiased channels.
  • Most people prefer to subscribe to media which matches
    their own biases worldview.
  • If more people read what you write and passionately
    agree with it then they are more likely to link at it.
  • Things which are biased in nature are typically easier
    to be cited than things which are unbiased.

See also:

Bid Management Software (see
Automated Bid Management Software)

Search engines set up guidelines that help them extract
billions of dollars of ad revenue from the work of publishers
and the attention of searchers. Within that highly profitable
framework search engines consider certain marketing techniques
deceptive in nature, and label them as black hat SEO. Those
which are considered within their guidelines are called white
hat SEO techniques. The search guidelines are not a static set
of rules, and things that may be considered legitimate one day
may be considered deceptive the next.

Search engines are not without flaws in their business
models, but there is nothing immoral or illegal about testing
search algorithms to understand how search engines work.

People who have extensively tested search algorithms are
probably more competent and more knowledgeable search marketers
than those who give themselves the arbitrary label of
white hat SEOs while calling others
black hat SEOs.

When making large investments in processes that are not
entirely clear trust is important. Rather than looking for
reasons to not work with an SEO it is best to look for signs of
trust in a person you would like to work with.

See also:

Level Analysis
A method used to break a page down into multiple points on
the web graph by breaking its pages down into smaller blocks.

Block level link analysis can be used to help determine if
content is page specific or part of a navigational system. It
also can help determine if a link is a natural
editorial link, what other links
that link should be associated with, and/or if it is an
advertisement. Search engines generally do not want to count
advertisements as votes.

See also

A periodically updated journal, typically formatted in
reverse chronological order. Many blogs not only archive and
categorize information, but also provide a feed
and allow simple user interaction like leaving comments on the

Most blogs tend to be personal in nature. Blogs are generally
quite authoritative with heavy link equity because they give
people a reason to frequently come back to their site, read
their content, and link to whatever they think is interesting.

The most popular blogging platforms are
, Blogger,
Movable Type, and

Blog Comment Spam
Either manually or automatically (via a software program)
adding low value or no value comments to other sites.

Automated blog spam:

Nice post!
Discreat Overnight Viagra
Online Canadian Pharmacy Free Shipping

Manual blog spam:

I just wrote about this on my site. I don’t know you, but
I thought I would add no value to your site other than
linking through to mine. Check it out!!!!!

cluebag manual spammer (usually with keywords as my name)

As time passes both manual and automated blog comment spam
systems are evolving to look more like legitimate comments. I
have seen some automated blog comment spam systems that have
multiple fake personas that converse with one another.

Blogger is a free blog platform owned by

It allows you to publish sites on a subdomain off of, or to FTP content to your own
domain. If you are serious about building a brand or
making money online you should publish your content to your own
domain because it can be hard to reclaim a website’s
link equity and age
related trust if you have built years of link equity into a
subdomain on someone else’s website.

Blogger is probably the easiest blogging software tool to
use, but it lacks many some features present in other blog

See also:

Link list on a blog, usually linking to other blogs owned by
the same company or friends of that blogger.
A way to make words appear in a bolder font. Words that
appear in a bolder font are more likely to be read by humans
that are scanning a page. A search engine may also place
slightly greater weighting on these words than regular text, but
if you write natural page copy and a word or phrase appears on a
page many times it probably does not make sense or look natural
if you bold ever occurrence.

Example use:

  • <b>words</b>
  • <strong>words</strong>

Either would appear as words.

Most browsers come with the ability
to bookmark your favorite pages. Many web based services have
also been created to allow you to bookmark and share your
favorite resources. The popularity of a document (as measured in
terms of link equity, number of bookmarks, or usage data) is a
signal for the quality of the information. Some search engines
may eventually use bookmarks to help aid their search relevancy.

Social bookmarking sites are often called tagging sites. is the most popular social
bookmarking site. Yahoo! MyWeb also allows you to tag results.
Google allows you to share feeds and / or tag pages. They also
have a program called Google Notebook which allows you to write
mini guides of related links and information.

There are also a couple meta news sites that allow you to tag
interesting pages. If enough people vote for your story then
your story gets featured on the homepage.
is a tech news site primarily driven by central
editors. Digg created a site covering the
same type of news, but is a bottoms up news site which allows
readers to vote for what they think is interesting.
Netscape cloned the Digg business model
and content model. Sites like Digg and Netscape are easy sources
of links if you can create content that would appeal to those

Many forms of vertical search, like Google Video or
YouTube, allow you to tag content.

See also:

  • – Yahoo!
    owned social bookmarking site
  • Yahoo! MyWeb
    similar to, but more integrated into Yahoo!
  • Google
    – allows you to note documents
  • Slashdot – tech news
    site where stories are approved by central editors
  • Digg – decentralized
    news site
  • Netscape – Digg
  • Google Video
    Google’s video hosting, tagging, and search site
  • YouTube – popular
    decentralized video site

Boolean Search
Many search engines allow you to perform searches that
contain mathematical formulas such as AND, OR, or NOT. By
default most search engines include AND with your query,
requiring results to be relevant for all the words in your


  • A Google search for
    SEO Book

    will return results for SEO AND Book.
  • A Google search for
    will return results for the phrase SEO
  • A Google search for
    Book -Jorge
    will return results containing SEO
    AND Book but NOT Jorge.
  • A Google search for
    will find results with words related to
    that do not contain SEO.

Some search engines also allow you to search for other unique
patterns or filtering ideas. Examples:

See also:

The emotional response associated with your company and/or

A brand is built through controlling customer expectations
and the social interactions between customers. Building a brand
is what allows you to move away from commodity based pricing and
move toward higher margin value based pricing.

See also:

Branded Keywords
Keywords or keyword phrases associated with a
brand. Typically branded keywords occur
late in the buying cycle, and are
some of the highest value and highest converting keywords.

Some affiliate marketing programs prevent affiliates from
bidding on the core brand related keywords, while others
actively encourage it. Either way can work depending on your
business model and marketing savvy, but it is important to
ensure there is synergy between internal marketing and affiliate
marketing programs.

Breadcrumb Navigation
Navigational technique used to help search engines and
website users understand the relationship between pages.

Example breadcrumb navigation:

Home >
SEO Tools > SEO for

Whatever page the user is on is unlinked, but the pages above
it within the site structure are linked to, and organized
starting with the home page, right on down through the site

Brin, Sergey
Co-founder of Google.

See also:

Broken Link
A hyperlink which is not functioning. A link which does not
lead to the desired location.

Links may broken for a number of reason, but four of the most
common reasons are

  • a website going offline
  • linking to content which is temporary in nature (due to
    licensing structures or other reasons)
  • moving a page’s location
  • changing a domain’s content management system

Most large websites have some broken links, but if too many
of a site’s links are broken it may be an indication of outdated
content, and it may provide website users with a poor user
experience. Both of which may cause search engines to rank a
page as being less relevant.

Xenu Link Sleuth is a free software
program which crawls websites to find broken links.

Client used to view the world wide web.

The most popular browsers are Microsoft’s
Internet Explorer
, Mozilla’s Firefox,
Safari, and Opera.

Bush, Vannevar
WWII scientist who wrote a seminal research paper on the
concepts of hypertext and a memory extension device titled
As We
May Think
A well trusted directory of
business websites and information. is also a large
pay per click

See also:

Before making large purchases consumers typically research
what brands and products fit their needs and wants.
Keyword based search marketing allows you
to reach consumers at any point in the buying cycle. In many
markets branded keywords tend to
have high search volumes and high conversion rates.

The buying cycle may consist of the following stages

  • Problem Discovery: prospect discovers a
    need or want.
  • Search: after discovering a problem
    look for ways to solve the need or want. These searches may
    contain words which revolve around the core problem the
    prospect is trying to solve or words associated with their
  • Evaluate: may do comparison searches to
    compare different models, and also search for negative
    information like product sucks, etc.
  • Decide: look for information which
    reinforces your view of product or service you decided upon
  • Purchase: may search for shipping
    related information or other price related searches.
    purchases may also occur offline
  • Reevaluate: some people leave feedback
    on their purchases . If a person is enthusiastic about your
    brand they may cut your marketing costs by providing free
    highly trusted word of mouth marketing.

See also:

Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?
– book by Brian & Jeffrey
Eisenberg about the buying cycle and Persuading Customers
When They Ignore Marketing


Copy of a web page stored by a search engine. When you
search the web you are not actively searching the whole web, but
are searching files in the search engine index.

Some search engines provide links to cached versions of pages
in their search results, and allow you to strip some of the
formatting from cached copies of pages.

Calacanis, Jason
Founder of Weblogs, Inc. Also pushed AOL
to turn Netscape into a

See also:

Canonical URL
Many content management systems are configured with errors
which cause duplicate or exceptionally similar content to get
indexed under multiple URLs. Many webmasters use inconsistent
link structures throughout their site that cause the exact same
content to get indexed under multiple URLs. The canonical
version of any URL is the single most authoritative version
indexed by major search engines. Search engines typically use
PageRank or a similar measure to
determine which version of a URL is the canonical URL.

Webmasters should use consistent linking structures
throughout their sites to ensure that they funnel the maximum
amount of PageRank at the URLs they want indexed. When linking
to the root level of a site or a folder index it is best to end
the link location at a / instead of placing the index.html or
default.asp filename in the URL.

Examples of URLs which may contain the same information in
spite of being at different web addresses:


Catalog (see Index)

Catch All
A listing used by pay per click search engines to monetize
long tail terms that are not yet
targeted by marketers. This technique may be valuable if you
have very competitive key words, but is not ideal since most
major search engines have editorial guidelines that prevent bulk
untargeted advertising, and most of the places that allow catch
all listings have low traffic quality. Catch all listings may be
an attractive idea on theme specific search engines and
directories though, as they are already pre qualified clicks.
Common Gateway Interface – interface
software between a web server and other machines or software
running on that server. Many cgi programs are used to add
interactivity to a web site.
A program, computer, or process which makes information
requests to another computer, process, or program.
Displaying different content to search engines and
searchers. Depending on the intent of the display discrepancy
and the strength of the brand of the person / company cloaking
it may be considered reasonable or it may get a site banned from
a search engine.

Cloaking has many legitimate uses which are within search
guidelines. For example, changing user experience based on
location is common on many popular websites.

See also:

Manifesto, The
Book about how the web is a marketplace, and how it is
different from traditional offline business.

See also:

In search results the listings from any individual site are
typically limited to a certain number and grouped together to
make the search results appear neat and organized and to ensure
diversity amongst the top ranked results. Clustering can also
refer to a technique which allows search engines to group
hubs and authorities
on a specific topic together to further enhance their value by
showing their relationships.

See also

  • Google Touchgraph
    – interesting web application that
    shows the relationship between sites Google returns as being
    related to a site you enter.
Content Management System. Tool used to
help make it easy to update and add information to a website.

Blog software programs are some of the
most popular content management systems currently used on the
web. Many content management systems have errors associated with
them which make it hard for search engines to index content due
to issues such as duplicate content.

In topical authority based search
algorithms links which appear near one another on a page may be
deemed to be related to one another. In algorithms like
latent semantic indexing words which appear
near one another often are frequently deemed to be related.
Many blogs and other content management systems allow
readers to leave user feedback.

Leaving enlightening and thoughtful comments on someone
else’s related website is one way to help get them to notice

See also:

  • blog comment spam – the
    addition of low value or no value comments to other’s
Some web developers also place comments in the source code
of their work to help make it easy for people to understand the

HTML comments in the source code of a document appear as
<!– your comment here –>
. They can be viewed if someone
types views the source code of a document, but do not appear in
the regular formatted HTML rendered version of a document.

In the past some SEOs would stuff keywords in comment tags to
help increase the page keyword
, but search has evolved beyond that stage, and at
this point using comments to stuff keywords into a page adds to
your risk profile and presents little ranking upside potential.

Compacted Information
Information which is generally and widely associated with a
product. For example, most published books have an ISBN.

As the number of product databases online increases and
duplicate content filters are forced to get more aggressive the
keys to getting your information indexed are to have a site with
enough authority to be considered the most important document on
that topic, or to have enough non compacted information (for
example, user reviews) on your product level pages to make them
be seen as unique documents.

Conceptual Links
Links which search engines attempt to understand beyond just
the words in them. Some rather advanced search engines are
attempting to find out the concept links versus just matching
the words of the text to that specific word set. Some search
algorithms may even look at co-citation
and words near the link instead of just focusing on
anchor text.

Concept Search
A search which attempts to conceptually match results with
the query, not necessarily with those words, rather their

For example, if a search engine understands a phrase to be
related to another word or phrase it may return results relevant
to that other word or phrase even if the words you searched for
are not directly associated with a result. In addition, some
search engines will place various types of
vertical search results at the
top of the search results based on implied query related intent
or prior search patterns by you or other searchers.

Contextual Advertising
Advertising programs which generate relevant advertisements
based on the content of a webpage.

See also:

Many forms of online advertising are easy to track. A
conversion is reached when a desired goal is completed.

Most offline ads have generally been much harder to track
than online ads. Some marketers use custom phone numbers or
coupon codes to tie offline activity to online marketing.

Here are a few common example desired goals

  • a product sale
  • completing a lead form
  • a phone call
  • capturing an email
  • filling out a survey
  • getting a person to pay attention to you
  • getting feedback
  • having a site visitor share your website with a friend
  • having a site visitor link at your site

Bid management,
affiliate tracking, and
analytics programs make it easy to
track conversion sources.

See also:

The legal rights to publish and reproduce a particular piece
of work.

See also:

Small data file written to a user’s local machine to track
them. Cookies are used to help websites customize your user
experience and help affiliate program managers track
Cost per action. The effectiveness of many
other forms of online advertising have their effectiveness
measured on a cost per action basis. Many
affiliate marketing programs
and contextual ads are
structured on a cost per action basis. An action may be anything
from an ad click, to filling out a lead form, to buying a
Cost per click. Many search ads and
contextually targeted ads are sold in auctions where the
advertiser is charged a certain price per click.

See also:

Cost per thousand ad impressions.

Many people use CPM as a measure of how profitable a website
is or has the potential of becoming.

Crawl Depth
How deeply a website is crawled and indexed.

Since searches which are longer in nature tend to be more
targeted in nature it is important to try to get most or all of
a site indexed such that the deeper pages have the ability to
rank for relevant long tail keywords. A large site needs
adequate link equity to get deeply
indexed. Another thing which may prevent a site from being fully
indexed is duplicate content

Crawl Frequency
How frequently a website is crawled.

Sites which are well trusted or frequently updated may be
crawled more frequently than sites with low trust scores and
limited link authority. Sites with highly artificial link
authority scores (ie: mostly low quality spammy links) or sites
which are heavy in duplicate content or near duplicate content
(such as affiliate feed sites) may be crawled less frequently
than sites with unique content which are well integrated into
the web.

See also:

Cascading Style Sheets is a method for
adding styles to web documents.

Note: Using external CSS files makes it easy to change the
design of many pages by editing a single file. You can link to
an external CSS file using code similar to the following in the
head of your HTML documents

<link rel=”stylesheet” href=””
type=”text/css” />

See also

  • W3C: CSS
    official guidelines for CSS
  • CSS Zen Garden
    – examples of various CSS layouts
    examples of various CSS layouts, links to other CSS
Clickthrough rate – the percentage of
people who view click on an advertisement they viewed, which is
a way to measure how relevant a traffic source or keyword is.
Search ads typically have a higher clickthrough rate than
traditional banner ads due to being highly relevant to implied
searcher demand.
Cutts, Matt
Google’s head of search quality.

See also:

Registering domains related to other trademarks or brands in
an attempt to cash in on the value created by said trademark or


Turning ad campaigns on or off, changing ad bid price, or
budget constraints based on bidding more when your target
audience is available and less when they are less likely to be
Dead Link
A link which is no longer functional.

Most large high quality websites have at least a few dead
links in them, but the ratio of good links to dead links can be
seen as a sign of information quality.

Deep Link
A link which points to an internal page within a website.

When links grow naturally typically most high quality
websites have many links pointing at interior pages. When you
request links from other websites it makes sense to request a
link from their most targeted relevant page to your most
targeted relevant page. Some webmasters even create content
based on easy linking opportunities they think up.

Dedicated Server
Server which is limited to serving one website or a small
collection of websites owned by a single person.

Dedicated servers tend to be more reliable than shared (or
virtual) servers. Dedicated servers usually run from $100 to
$500 a month. Virtual servers
typically run from $5 to $50 per month.

Link Ratio
The ratio of links pointing to internal pages to overall
links pointing at a website.

A high deep link ratio is typically a sign of a legitimate
natural link profile.

Temporarily or permanently becoming de-indexed from a
directory or search engine.

De-indexing may be due to any of the following:

  • Pages on new websites (or sites with limited link
    authority relative to their size) may be temporarily
    de-indexed until the search engine does a deep spidering and
    re-cache of the web.
  • During some updates search engines readjust crawl
  • You need a significant number of high quality links
    to get a large website well indexed and keep it well
  • Duplicate content
    filters, inbound and outbound link quality, or other
    information quality related issues may also relate to
    re-adjusted crawl priorities.
  • Pages which have changed location and are not properly
    redirected, or pages which are down when a search engine
    tries to crawl them may be temporarily de-indexed.
  • Search Spam:
    • If a website tripped an automatic spam filter it may
      return to the search index anywhere from a few days to a
      few months after the problem has been fixed.
    • If a website is editorially removed by a human you
      may need to contact the search engine directly to
      request reinclusion.
    Popular social bookmarking website.

    See also:

    Statistical data or characteristics which define segments of
    a population.

    Some internet marketing platforms, such as
    AdCenter and AdWords,
    allow you to target ads at websites or searchers who fit amongst
    a specific demographic. Some common demographic data points are
    gender, age, income, education, location, etc.

    Denton, Nick
    Publisher of Gawker, a popular ring of topical weblogs,
    which are typically focused on controversy.

    See also:

    • Nick
      – official blog, where Nick often talks about business and
      his various blogs.
    Directories and search engines provide a short description
    near each listing which aims to add context to the

    High quality directories typically prefer the description
    describes what the site is about rather than something that is
    overtly promotional in nature. Search engines typically

    • use a description from a trusted directory (such as
      DMOZ or the
      Yahoo! Directory
      ) for homepages of sites listed in those
    • use the page meta
      (especially if it is relevant to the search
      query and has the words from the search query in it)
    • attempt to extract a description from the page content
      which is relevant for the particular search query and
      ranking page (this is called a snippet)
    • or some combination of the above
    Social news site where users vote on which stories get the
    most exposure and become the most popular.

    See also:

    A categorized catalog of websites, typically manually
    organized by topical editorial experts.

    Some directories cater to specific niche
    topics, while others are more comprehensive in nature. Major
    search engines likely place significant weight on links from
    DMOZ and the
    Yahoo! Directory
    . Smaller and less established general
    directories likely pull less weight. If a directory does not
    exercise editorial control over listings search engines will not
    be likely to trust their links at all.

    The Open Directory Project is the largest
    human edited directory of websites. DMOZ is owned by AOL, and is
    primarily ran by volunteer editors.

    See also:

    Domain Name Server or Domain Name
    System. A naming scheme mechanism used to help resolve
    a domain name / host name to a specific TCP/IP
    Scheme used for logical or location organization of the web.
    Many people also use the word domain to refer to a specific
    Pages designed to rank for highly targeted search queries,
    typically designed to redirect searchers to a page with other

    Some webmasters cloak thousands of
    doorway pages on trusted domains, and rake in a boatload of cash
    until they are caught and de-listed.
    If the page would have a unique purpose outside of search then
    search engines are generally fine with it, but if the page only
    exists because search engines exist then search engines are more
    likely to frown on the behavior.

    Popular web development and editing software offering a what
    you see is what you get interface.

    See also:

    Duplicate Content
    Content which is duplicate or near duplicate in nature.

    Search engines do not want to index multiple versions of
    similar content. For example, printer friendly pages may be
    search engine unfriendly duplicates. Also, many automated
    content generation techniques rely on recycling content, so some
    search engines are somewhat strict in filtering out content they
    deem to be similar or nearly duplicate in nature.

    See also:

    Dynamic Content
    Content which changes over time or uses a dynamic language
    such as PHP to help render the page.

    In the past search engines were less aggressive at indexing
    dynamic content than they currently are. While they have greatly
    improved their ability to index dynamic content it is still
    preferable to use URL rewriting to
    help make dynamic content look static in

    Dynamic Languages
    Programming languages such as PHP or
    ASP which build web pages on the fly upon


    Per Click
    Many contextual
    publishers estimate their potential earnings
    based on how much they make from each click.

    Editorial Link
    Search engines count links as votes of quality. They
    primarily want to count editorial links that were earned over
    links that were bought or bartered.

    Many paid links, such as those from quality
    directories, still count as signs of
    votes as long as they are also associated with editorial quality
    standards. If they are from sites without editorial control,
    like link farms, they are not likely
    to help you rank well. Using an algorithm similar to
    TrustRank, some search engines may
    place more trust on well known sites with strong editorial

    An HTML tag used to emphasize text.

    Please note that it is more important that copy reads well to
    humans than any boost you may think you will get by tweaking it
    for bots. If every occurrence of a keyword on a page is in
    emphasis that will make the page hard to read, convert poorly,
    and may look weird to search engines and users alike.

    <em>emphasis</em> would appear as emphasis

    Entry Page
    The page which a user enters your site.

    If you are buying pay per click ads it is important to send
    visitors to the most appropriate and targeted page associated
    with the keyword they searched for. If you are doing link
    building it is important to point links at your most appropriate
    page when possible such that

    • if anyone clicks the link they are sent to the most
      appropriate and relevant page
    • you help search engines understand what the pages on
      your site are associated with
    Ethical SEO
    Search engines like to paint SEO services which manipulate
    their relevancy algorithms as being unethical. Any particular
    technique is generally not typically associated with ethics, but
    is either effective or ineffective.

    Some search marketers lacking in creativity tend to describe
    services sold by others as being unethical while their own
    services are ethical. Any particular technique is generally not
    typically associated with ethics, but is either effective or

    The only ethics issues associated with SEO are generally
    business ethics related issues. Two of the bigger frauds are

    • Not disclosing risks: Some SEOs may use
      high risk techniques when they are not needed. Some may make
      that situation even worse by not disclosing potential risks
      to clients.
    • Taking money & doing nothing: Since
      selling SEO services has almost no start up costs many of
      the people selling services may not actually know how to
      competently provide them. Some shady people claim to be SEOs
      and bilk money out of unsuspecting small businesses.

    As long as the client is aware of potential risks there is
    nothing unethical about being aggressive.

    Major search indexes are constantly updating. Google refers
    to this continuous refresh as everflux.

    In the past Google updated their index roughly once a month.
    Those updates were named Google Dances, but since Google shifted
    to a constantly updating index Google no longer does what was
    traditionally called a Google Dance.

    See also:

    Expert Document
    Quality page which links to many non-affiliated topical

    See also:

    Link which references another domain.

    Some people believe in link hoarding,
    but linking out to other related resources is a good way to help
    search engines understand what your site is about. If you link
    out to lots of low quality sites or primarily rely on low
    quality reciprocal links some search engines may not rank your
    site very well. Search engines are more likely to trust
    high quality
    editorial links (both to and from
    your site).


    Fair Use
    The stated exceptions of allowed usage of work under
    copyright without requiring permission
    of the original copyright holder. Fair use is covered in section
    107 of the Copyright code.

    See also:

    Favorites Icon is a small icon which
    appears next to URLs in a web browser.

    Upload an image named favicon.ico in the root of your site to
    have your site associated with a favicon.

    See also:

    • HTML
      – generate a favicon from a picture
      create a favicon online painting one pixel at a time.

    Favorites (see

    Many content management, systems such as blogs, allow
    readers to subscribe to content update notifications via
    RSS or XML feeds. Feeds
    can also refer to pay per click syndicated feeds, or merchant
    product feeds. Merchant product feeds have become less effective
    as a means of content generation due to improving
    duplicate content filters.
    Feed Reader
    Software or website used to subscribe to feed update

    See also:

    Free for all pages are pages which allow
    anyone to add a link to them. Generally these links do not pull
    much weight in search relevancy algorithms because many
    automated programs fill these pages with links pointing at low
    quality websites.
    Certain activities or signatures which make a page or site
    appear unnatural might make search engines inclined to filter /
    remove them out of the search results.

    For example, if a site publishes significant
    duplicate content it may get a
    reduced crawl priority and get filtered out of the search
    results. Some search engines also have filters based on link
    quality, link growth rate, and anchor
    . Some pages are also penalized
    for spamming.

    Popular extensible open source web browser.

    See also:

    Vector graphics-based animation software which makes it
    easier to make websites look rich and interactive in nature.

    Search engines tend to struggle indexing and ranking flash
    websites because flash typically contains so little relevant
    content. If you use flash ensure:

    • you embed flash files within HTML pages
    • you use a noembed element to describe what is in the
    • you publish your flash content in multiple separate
      files such that you can embed appropriate flash files in
      relevant pages

    Forward Links (see Outbound Links)

    A technique created by Netscape used
    to display multiple smaller pages on a single display. This web
    design technique allows for consistent site navigation, but
    makes it hard to deep link at relevant content.

    Given the popularity of server side includes,
    content management systems, and
    dynamic languages there really
    is no legitimate reason to use frames to build a content site

    Content which is dynamic in nature and gives people a reason
    to keep paying attention to your website.

    Many SEOs talk up fresh content, but fresh content does not
    generally mean re-editing old content. It more often refers to
    creating new content. The primary advantages to fresh content

    • Maintain and grow mindshare: If you
      keep giving people a reason to pay attention to you more and
      more people will pay attention to you, and link to your
    • Faster idea spreading: If many people
      pay attention to your site, when you come out with good
      ideas they will spread quickly.
    • Growing archives: If you are a content
      producer then owning more content means you have more
      chances to rank. If you keep building additional fresh
      content eventually that gives you a large catalog of
      relevant content.
    • Frequent crawling: Frequently updated
      websites are more likely to be crawled frequently.
    File Transfer Protocol is a protocol for
    transferring data between computers.

    Many content management systems (such as blogging platforms)
    include FTP capabilities. Web development software such as
    Dreamweaver also comes with FTP capabilities. There are also a
    number of free or cheap FTP programs such as Cute FTP, Core FTP,
    and Leech FTP.

    Search which will find matching terms when terms are
    misspelled (or fuzzy).

    Fuzzy search technology is similar to
    technology, with the exception that fuzzy search
    corrects the misspellings at the users end and stemming searches
    for other versions of the same core word within the index.


    Google Advertising Professional is a
    program which qualifies marketers as being proficient
    AdWords marketers.

    See also:

    Gladwell, Malcolm
    Popular author who wrote the book titled The Tipping

    See also:

    Godin, Seth
    Popular blogger, author, viral marketer and business

    See also:

    • Seth’s blog
      – Seth talks about marketing
    • Purple Cow
      – Probably Seth’s most popular book. It is about how to be
      remarkable. Links are citations or remarks. This book is a
      highly recommended for any SEO.
    • All
      Marketers Are Liars
      – Book about creating and marketing
      authentic brand related stories in a low trust world.
    • The Big Red Fez
      – Small quick book about usability errors common to many

    • Google speech
      – see Seth’s speech at Google.
    • Squidoo
      community driven topical lens site created by Seth Godin
    The world’s leading search engine in terms of reach. Google
    pioneered search by analyzing linkage data via
    PageRank. Google was created by Stanford
    students Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

    See also

    Google’s search engine spider.

    Google has a shared crawl cache between their various
    spiders, including vertical search spiders and spiders
    associated with ad targeting.

    See also:

    Google AdSense (see

    Google AdWords (see

    Google Base
    Free database of semantically structured information created
    by Google.

    Google Base may also help Google better understand what types
    of information are commercial in nature, and how they should
    structure different vertical search products.

    See also:

    Making a pank rank well for a specific search query by
    pointing hundreds or thousands of links at it with the keywords
    in the anchor text.

    See also:

    Knocking a competitor out of the search results by pointing
    hundreds or thousands of low trust low quality links at their

    Typically it is easier to bowl new sites out of the results.
    Older established sites are much harder to knock out of the
    search results.

    Google Checkout
    Payment service provided by Google which helps Google better
    understand merchant conversion rates and the value of different
    keywords and markets.

    See also:

    In the past Google updated their index roughly once a month.
    Those updates were named Google Dances, but since Google shifted
    to a constantly updating index, Google no longer does what was
    traditionally called a Google Dance.

    Major search indexes are constantly updating. Google refers
    to this continuous refresh as everflux.

    The second meaning of Google Dance is a yearly party at
    Google’s corporate headquarters which Google holds for search
    engine marketers. This party coincides with the San Jose Search
    Engine Strategies conference.

    See also:

    Keyword Tool

    Keyword research tool
    provided by Google which estimates the competition for a
    keyword, recommends related keywords, and will tell you what
    keywords Google thinks are relevant to your site or a page on
    your site.

    See also:

    Portion of the search results page above the
    organic search results
    which Google sometimes uses to display
    vertical search results from
    Google News, Google Base, and other
    Google owned vertical search services.

    Google Sitemaps
    Program which webmasters can use to help Google index their

    Please note that the best way to submit your site to search
    engines and to keep it in their search indexes is to build high
    quality editorial links.

    See also:

    Google Sitelinks
    On some search results where Google thinks one result is far
    more relevant than other results (like navigational or
    brand related searches) they may list
    numerous deep links to that site at the top of the search

    Google Supplemental Index
    Index where pages with lower trust scores are stored. Pages
    may be placed in Google’s Supplemental Index if they consist
    largely of duplicate content, if the URLs are excessively
    complex in nature, or the site which hosts them lacks
    significant trust.

    Google Traffic Estimator
    Tool which estimates bid prices and how many Google
    searchers will click on an ad for a particular keyword.

    If you do not submit a bid price the tool will return an
    estimated bid price necessary to rank #1 for 85% of Google’s
    queries for a particular keyword.

    See also:

    Tool which allows you to see how Google search volumes for a
    particular keyword change over time.

    See also:

    Google Website Optimizer

    Free multi variable testing platform used to help
    AdWords advertisers improve their
    conversion rates.

    See also:

    Guestbook Spam
    A type of low quality automated link which search engines do
    not want to place much trust on.


    The heading element briefly describes the subject of the
    section it introduces.

    Heading elements go from H1 to H6 with the lower numbered
    headings being most important. You should only use a single H1
    element on each page, and may want to use multiple other heading
    elements to structure a document. An H1 element source would
    look like:

    <h1>Your Topic</h1>

    Heading elements may be styled using CSS.
    Many content management systems place the
    same content in the main page heading and the page
    title, although in many cases it may be
    preferential to mix them up if possible.

    See also:


    The title of an article or story.

    Hidden Text
    SEO technique used to show search engine spiders text that
    human visitors do not see.

    While some sites may get away with it for a while, generally
    the risk to reward ratio is inadequate for most legitimate sites
    to consider using hidden text.

    Algorithm which ranks results largely based on unaffiliated
    expert citations.

    See also:

    Link based algorithm which ranks relevancy scores based on
    citations from topical authorities.

    See also:

    Making a search engine believe that another website exists
    at your URL. Typically done using techniques such as a
    302 redirect or meta
    Home Page
    The main page on your website, which is largely responsible
    for helping develop your brand and setting up the navigational
    schemes that will be used to help users and search engines
    navigate your website.

    As far as SEO goes, a home page is typically going to be one
    of the easier pages to rank for some of your more competitive
    terms, largely because it is easy to build links at a home page.
    You should ensure your homepage stays focused and reinforces
    your brand though, and do not assume that most of your visitors
    will come to your site via the home page. If your site is well
    structured many pages on your site will likely be far more
    popular and rank better than your home page for relevant

    Host (see Server)

    Apache directory-level configuration file which can be used
    to password protect or redirect files.

    As a note of caution, make sure you copy your current
    .htaccess file before editing it, and do not edit it on a site
    that you can’t afford to have go down unless you know what you
    are doing.

    See also:

    HyperText Markup Language is the language
    in which pages on the World Wide Web are created.

    Some newer web pages are also formatted in

    See also:

    HyperText Transfer Protocol is the foremost
    used protocol to communicate between servers and web browsers.
    Hypertext transfer protocol is the means by which data is
    transferred from its residing location on a
    to an active browser.

    Topical hubs are sites which link to well trusted within
    their topical community. A topical
    is a page which is referenced from many topical
    hub sites. A topical hub is a page which references many

    See also:


    Inverse Document Frequency is a term used
    to help determine the position of a term in a
    vector space model.

    IDF = log ( total documents in database / documents
    containing the term )

    Link pointing to one website from another website.

    Most search engines allow you to see a sample of links
    pointing to a document by searching using the link: function.
    For example, using would show pages linking
    to the homepage of this site (both
    internal links
    and inbound links). Due to
    canonical URL issues
    and may show different linkage data. Google typically
    shows a much smaller sample of linkage data than competing
    engines do, but Google still knows of and counts many of the
    links that do not show up when you use their link: function.

    Collection of data used as bank to search through to find a
    match to a user fed query. The larger search engines have
    billions of documents in their catalogs.

    When search engines search they search via
    reverse indexes by words and return
    results based on matching relevancy vectors. Stemming and
    semantic analysis allow search engines to return near matches.
    Index may also refer to the root of a folder on a web server.

    Link from one page on a site to another page on the same

    It is preferential to use descriptive internal linking to
    make it easy for search engines to understand what your website
    is about. Use consistent navigational anchor text for each
    section of your site, emphasizing other pages within that
    section. Place links to relevant related pages within the
    content area of your site to help further show the relationship
    between pages and improve the usability
    of your website.

    Information Architecture
    Designing, categorizing, organizing, and structuring content
    in a useful and meaningful way.

    Good information architecture considers both how humans and
    search spiders access a website. Information architecture

    • focus each page on a specific topic
    • use descriptive page titles and
      meta descriptions which
      describe the content of the page
    • use clean (few or no variables) descriptive file names
      and folder names
    • use headings to help break up
      text and semantically structure a document
    • use breadcrumb
      to show page relationships
    • use descriptive link anchor text
    • link to related information from within the content area
      of your web pages
    • improve conversion rates by
      making it easy for people to take desired actions
    • avoid feeding search engines duplicate or near-duplicate

    Information Retrieval
    The field of science based on sorting or searching through
    large data sets to find relevant information.
    Search engine which pioneered the
    paid inclusion
    business model. Inktomi was bought by Yahoo!
    at the end of 2002.

    Internal Navigation (see

    Vast worldwide network of computers connected via TCP/IP.
    Internet Explorer
    Microsoft’s web browser. After they beat out Netscape’s
    browser on the marketshare front they failed to innovate on any
    level for about 5 years, until Firefox
    forced them to.

    See also:

    Inverted File (see
    Reverse Index

    Invisible Web
    Portions of the web which are not easily accessible to
    crawlers due to search technology limitations,
    copyright issues, or
    information architecture
    IP Address
    Internet Protocol Address. Every computer
    connected to the internet has an IP address. Some websites and
    servers have unique IP addresses, but most web hosts host
    multiple websites on a single host.

    Many SEOs refer to unique C class IP addresses. Every site is
    hosted on a numerical address like In some cases
    many sites are hosted on the same IP address. It is believed by
    many SEOs that if links come from different IP ranges with a
    different number somewhere in the part then the link
    may count more than links from the same local range and

    IP delivery (see

    Internet Service Providers sell end users
    access to the web. Some of these companies also sell usage data
    to web analytics companies.

    Italics (see emphasis)


    A client-side scripting language that can be embedded into
    HTML documents to add dynamic features.

    Search engines do not index most content in JavaScript. In
    AJAX, JavaScript has been combined with
    other technologies to make web pages even more interactive.


    A word or phrase which implies a certain mindset or demand
    that targeted prospects are likely to search for.

    Long tail and brand
    related keywords are typically worth more than shorter and vague
    keywords because they typically occur later in the
    buying cycle and are associated with
    a greater level of implied intent.

    Keyword Density
    An old measure of search engine relevancy based on how
    prominent keywords appeared within the content of a page.
    Keyword density is no longer a valid measure of relevancy over a
    broad open search index though.

    When people use keyword stuffed copy it tends to read
    mechanically (and thus does not convert well and is not link
    worthy), plus some pages that are crafted with just the core
    keyword in mind often lack semantically related words and
    modifiers from the related vocabulary (and that causes the pages
    to rank poorly as well).

    See also:

    Keyword Funnel
    The relationship between various related keywords that
    searchers search for. Some searches are particularly well
    aligned with others due to spelling errors, poor search
    relevancy, and automated or manual
    query refinement

    See also:

    • MSN Search
      – shows keywords people search for before or
      after they search for another keyword

    Keyword Research
    The process of discovering relevant keywords and keyword
    phrases to focus your SEO and
    marketing campaigns on.

    Example keyword discovery methods:

    • using keyword research
    • looking at analytics data or
      your server logs
    • looking at page copy on competing sites
    • reading customer feedback
    • placing a search box on your site and seeing what people
      are looking for
    • talking to customers to ask how and why they found and
      chose your business

    Keyword Research Tools
    Tools which help you discover potential keywords based on
    past search volumes, search trends, bid prices, and page content
    from related websites.

    Short list of the most popular keyword research tools:

    • SEO
      Book Keyword Research Tool
      – free, driven by Overture,
      this tool cross references all of my favorite keyword
      research tools. In addition to linking to traditional
      keyword research tools, it also links to tools such as
      Google Suggest, Buzz related tools, vertical databases,
      social bookmarking and tagging sites, and
      latent semantic indexing
      related tools.

    • Overture
      – free, powered from Yahoo! search data.
      Heavily biased toward over representing commercial queries,
      combines singular and plural versions of a keyword into a
      single data point.

    • Google
      – free, powered from Google search data.
    • Wordtracker
      paid, powered from Dogpile and MetaCrawler. Due to small
      sample size their keyword database may be easy to spam.

    Please note that most keyword research tools used alone are
    going to be highly inaccurate at giving exact quantitative
    search volumes. The tools are better for qualitative
    measurements. To test the exact volume for a keyword it may make
    sense to set up a test Google AdWords

    Keyword Stuffing
    Writing copy that uses excessive amounts of the core

    When people use keyword stuffed copy it tends to read
    mechanically (and thus does not convert well and is not link
    worthy), plus some pages that are crafted with just the core
    keyword in mind often lack semantically related words and
    modifiers from the related vocabulary (and that causes the pages
    to rank poorly as well).

    See also:

    Keyword Suggestion Tools (see
    Keyword Research Tools)

    Kleinberg, Jon
    Scientist largely responsible for much of the research that
    went into hubs and
    based search relevancy algorithms.

    See also:


    The page on which a visitor arrives after clicking on a link
    or advertisement.

    Landing Page Quality Scores
    A measure used by Google to help filter noisy ads out of
    their AdWords program.

    When Google AdWords launched affiliates and arbitrage players
    made up a large portion of their ad market, but as more
    mainstream companies have spent on search marketing, Google has
    done many measures to try to keep their ads relevant.

    A citation from one web document to another web document or
    another position in the same document.

    Most major search engines consider links as a vote of trust.

    The art of targeting, creating, and formatting information
    that provokes the target audience to point high quality links at
    your site. Many link baiting techniques are targeted at
    social media and

    See also:

    The process of building high quality linkage data that
    search engines will evaluate to trust your website is
    authoritative, relevant, and

    A few general link building tips:

    See also:

    Link Bursts
    A rapid increase in the quantity of links pointing at a

    When links occur naturally they generally develop over time.
    In some cases it may make sense that popular viral articles
    receive many links quickly, but in those cases there are
    typically other signs of quality as well, such as:

    • increased usage data
    • increase in brand related search queries
    • traffic from the link sources to the site being linked
    • many of the new links coming from new pages on trusted

    See also:

    Link Churn
    The rate at which a site loses links.

    See also:

    Link Equity
    A measure of how strong a site is based on its inbound
    link popularity and the
    authority of the sites providing those
    Link Farm
    Website or group of websites which exercises little to no
    editorial control when linking to
    other sites. FFA pages, for example, are link
    Log Files
    Server files which show you what your leading sources of
    traffic are and what people are search for to find your website.

    Log files do not typically show as much data as
    analytics programs would, and if they
    do, it is generally not in a format that is as useful beyond
    seeing the top few stats.

    A method of trying to keep all your
    link popularity by not linking
    out to other sites, or linking out using
    or through cheesy redirects.

    Generally link hoarding is a bad idea for the following

    • many authority sites were at one point hub sites that
      freely linked out to other relevant resources
    • if you are unwilling to link out to other sites people
      are going to be less likely to link to your site
    • outbound links to relevant resources may improve your
      credibility and boost your overall relevancy scores

    “Of course, folks never know when we’re going to adjust our
    scoring. It’s pretty easy to spot domains that are hoarding
    PageRank; that can be just another factor in scoring. If you
    work really hard to boost your authority-like score while trying
    to minimize your hub-like score, that sets your site apart from
    most domains. Just something to bear in mind.” –

    Quote from Google’s Matt Cutts

    See also:

    The number of links pointing at a website.

    For competitive search queries link
    counts much more than link quantity. Google
    typically shows a smaller sample of known linkage data than the
    other engines do, even though Google still counts many of the
    links they do not show when you do a link: search.

    The combination of your link equity
    and anchor text.
    Link Rot
    A measure of how many and what percent of a website’s links
    are broken.

    Links may broken for a number of reason, but four of the most
    common reasons are:

    • a website going offline
    • linking to content which is temporary in nature (due to
      licensing structures or other reasons)
    • moving a page’s location
    • changing a domain’s content management system

    Most large websites have some broken links, but if too many
    of a site’s links are broken it may be an indication of outdated
    content, and it may provide website users with a poor user
    experience. Both of which may cause search engines to rank a
    page as being less relevant.

    See also:

    • Xenu Link Sleuth is a free software
      program which crawls websites to find broken links.
    New search platform provided by Microsoft.

    See also:

    Long Tail
    Phrase describing how for any category of product being sold
    there is much more aggregate demand for the non-hits than there
    is for the hits.

    How does the long tail applies to keywords? Long Tail
    keywords are more precise and specific, thus have a higher
    value. As of writing this definition in the middle of October
    2006 my leading keywords for this month are as follows:

    #reqs search term
    1504 seo book
    512 seobook
    501 seo
    214 google auctions
    116 link bait
    95 aaron wall
    94 gmail uk
    89 search engine optimization
    86 trustrank
    78 adsense tracker
    73 latent semantic indexing
    71 seo books
    69 john t reed
    67 dear sir
    64 link harvester
    64 google adwords coupon
    55 adwords coupon
    15056 [not listed: 9,584 search terms]

    Notice how the nearly 10,000 unlisted terms account for
    roughly 10 times as much traffic as I got from my core brand
    related term (and this site only has a couple thousand pages and
    has a rather strong brand).

    See also:

    Company originally launched as a directory service which
    later morphed into a paid search provider and vertical content

    See also:

    Latent Semantic Indexing is a way for
    search systems to mathematically understanding and representing
    language based on the similarity of pages and keyword
    co-occurance. A relevant result may not even have the search
    term in it. It may be returned based solely on the fact that it
    contains many similar words to those appearing in relevant pages
    which contain the search words.

    See also:

    • Quintura
      – free LSI type keyword research tool.

    • Patterns in Unstructured Data
      – free paper
      describing how LSI works
    • SEO Book articles on LSI:
      & #2
      (Google may not be using LSI, but they are certainly using
      technologies with similar functions and purpose.)

    • Johnon Go Words
      – article about how adding certain
      relevant words to a page can drastically improve its
      relevancy for other keywords


    Malda, Rob
    Founder of, a popular
    editorially driven technology news forum.
    All major search engines combine a manual review process
    with their automated relevancy algorithms to help catch search
    spam and train their relevancy algorithms. Abnormal usage data
    or link growth patterns may also flag sites for manual review.

    See also:

    Mechanical Turk program which allows you to hire humans to
    perform easy tasks that computers are bad at.

    See also:


    The Selfish Gene
    Richard Dawkins defines a meme as “a
    unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation.” Many
    people use the word meme to refer to self spreading or viral

    See also:

    • Techmeme – meme
      tracker which shows technology ideas that are currently
      spreading on popular technology blogs

    Meta Description
    The meta description tag is typically a sentence or two of
    content which describes the content of the page.

    A good meta description tag should:

    • be relevant and unique to the page;
    • reinforce the page title; and
    • focus on including offers and secondary keywords and
      phrases to help add context to the page title.

    Relevant meta description tags may appear in
    search results
    as part of the page
    below the page title.

    The code for a meta description tag looks like this

    <meta name=”Description” content=”Your meta description here.
    ” / >

    See also:

    The meta keywords tag is a tag which can be used to
    highlight keywords and keyword phrases
    which the page is targeting.

    The code for a meta keyword tag looks like this

    <meta name=”Keywords” content=”keyword phrase, another
    keyword, yep another, maybe one more “>

    Many people spammed meta keyword tags and searchers typically
    never see the tag, so most search engines do not place much (if
    any) weight on it. Many SEO professionals no longer use meta
    keywords tags.

    See also:

    A meta tag used to make a browser refresh to another URL

    A meta refresh looks like this


    Generally in most cases it is preferred to use a
    301 or 302 redirect over a
    meta refresh.

    A search engine which pulls top ranked results from multiple
    other search engines and rearranges them into a new result set.

    See also:

    People generally refer to meta descriptions and meta
    keywords as meta tags. Some people also group the page title in
    with these.
    Maker of the popular Windows operating system and Internet
    Explorer browser.
    A measure of the amount of people who think of you or your
    product when thinking of products in your category.

    Sites with strong mindshare, top rankings, or a strong
    memorable brand are far more likely to be
    linked at than sites which are less memorable and have less
    search exposure. The link quality of mindshare related links
    most likely exceeds the quality of the average link on the web.
    If you sell non-commodities, personal recommendations also
    typically carry far greater weight than search rankings alone.

    See also:

    Mirror Site
    Site which mirrors (or duplicates) the contents of another

    Generally search engines prefer not to index
    duplicate content. The one
    exception to this is that if you are a hosting company it might
    make sense to offer free hosting or a free mirror site to a
    popular open source software site to
    build significant link equity.

    For sale blogging software which allows you to host a
    blog on your website.

    Movable Type is typically much harder to install that
    WordPress is.

    See also:

    MSN Search
    Search engine built by Microsoft. MSN is the default search
    provider in Internet Explorer.

    See also:

    Multi Dimensional Scaling
    The process of taking shapshots of documents in a database
    to discover topical clusters through the use of
    latent semantic indexing
    . Multi dimensional scaling is more
    efficient than singular
    vector decomposition
    since only a rough approximation of
    relevance is necessary when combined with other ranking
    One of the most popular social networking sites, largely
    revolving around connecting musicians to fans and having an easy
    to use blogging platform.

    See also:


    Natural Language Processing
    Algorithms which attempt to understand the true intent of a
    search query rather than just matching results to keywords.

    Natural Link (see
    Editorial Link

    Natrual Search (see
    Organic Search Results)

    Scheme to help website users understand where they are,
    where they have been, and how that relates to the rest of your

    It is best to use regular HTML navigation
    rather than coding your navigation in JavaScript, Flash, or some
    other type of navigation which search engines may not be able to
    easily index.

    Originally a company that created a popular web browser by
    the same name, Netscape is now a social news site similar to

    See also:

    A topic or subject which a website is focused on.

    Search is a broad field, but as you drill down each niche
    consists of many smaller niches. An example of drilling down to
    a niche market

    • search
    • search marketing, privacy considerations, legal issues,
      history of, future of, different types of vertical search,
    • search engine optimization, search engine advertising
    • link building, keyword research, reputation monitoring
      and management, viral marketing, SEO copywriting, Google
      AdWords, information architecture, etc.

    Generally it is easier to compete in small, new, or
    underdeveloped niches than trying to dominate large verticals.
    As your brand and
    grow you can go after bigger markets.

    Attribute used to prevent a link from passing link
    authority. Commonly used on sites with user generated content,
    like in blog comments.

    The code to use nofollow on a link appears like

    text </a>

    Nofollow can also be used in a robots meta tag to prevent a
    search engine from counting any outbound links on a page. This
    code would look like this


    Google‘s Matt Cutts
    also pushes webmasters to use nofollow on any paid links, but
    since Google is the world’s largest link broker, their advice on
    how other people should buy or sell links should be taken with a
    grain of salt. Please note that it is generally not advised to
    practice link hoarding as that may
    look quite unnatural. Outbound links
    may also boost your relevancy scores in some search engines.


    In philosophy it is the study of being. As it relates to
    search, it is the attempt to create an exhaustive and rigorous
    conceptual schema about a domain. An ontology is typically a
    hierarchical data structure containing all the relevant entities
    and their relationships and rules within that domain.

    See also:

    Open Directory Project, The (see

    Open Source
    Software which is distributed with its source code such that
    developers can modify it as they see fit.

    On the web open source is a great strategy for quickly
    building immense exposure and mindshare.

    A fast standards based web browser.

    See also:

    Organic Search Results
    Most major search engines have results that consist of paid
    ads and unpaid listings. The unpaid / algorithmic listings are
    called the organic search results. Organic search results are
    organized by relevancy, which is largely determined based on
    linkage data, page content, usage data, and historical domain
    and trust related data.

    Most clicks on search results are on the organic search
    results. Some studies have shown that 60 to 80% + of clicks are
    on the organic search results.

    A link from one website pointing at another external

    Some webmasters believe in link
    , but linking out to useful relevant related
    documents is an easy way to help search engines understand what
    your website is about. If you reference other resources it also
    helps you build credibility and leverage the work of others
    without having to do everything yourself. Some webmasters track
    where their traffic comes from, so if you link to related
    websites they may be more likely to link back to your site.

    See also:

    The company which pioneered search marketing by selling
    targeted searches on a pay per click
    basis. Originally named GoTo, they were eventually bought out by
    Yahoo! and branded as Yahoo! Search Marketing.

    See also:

    Overture Keyword Selector Tool
    Popular keyword research tool, based largely on Yahoo!
    search statistics. Heavily skewed toward commercially oriented
    searches, also combines singular and plural versions of a
    keyword into a single version.

    See also:


    Page, Larry

    Co-founder of Google.

    A logarithmic scale based on link equity which estimates the
    importance of web documents.

    Since PageRank is widely bartered Google’s relevancy
    algorithms had to move away from relying on PageRank and place
    more emphasis on trusted links via algorithms such as

    The PageRank formula is:

    PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + … + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))

    PR= PageRank
    d= dampening factor (~0.85)
    c =
    number of links on the page
    PR(T1)/C(T1) = PageRank of page
    1 divided by the total number of links on page 1, (transferred

    In text: for any given page A the PageRank PR(A) is equal to
    the sum of the parsed partial PageRank given from each page
    pointing at it multiplied by the dampening factor plus one minus
    the dampening factor.

    See also:

    Page Title (see Title)

    A method of allowing websites which pass editorial quality
    guidelines to buy relevant exposure.

    See also:

    Paid Link (see Text
    Link Ads

    Pay for
    Payment structure where affiliated sales workers are paid
    commission for getting consumers to perform certain actions.

    Publishers publishing
    contextual ads
    are typically paid per ad click.
    Affiliate marketing programs
    pay affiliates for conversions – leads, downloads, or sales.

    Search engines prevent some websites suspected of
    spamming from ranking highly in the
    results by banning or penalizing them. These penalties may be
    automated algorithmically or manually applied.

    If a site is penalized algorithmically the site may start
    ranking again after a certain period of time after the reason
    for being penalized is fixed. If a site is penalized manually
    the penalty may last an exceptionally long time or require
    contacting the search engine with a
    request to remedy.

    Some sites are also filtered for
    various reasons.

    See also:

    Altering the search results based on a person’s location,
    search history, content they recently viewed, or other factors
    relevant to them on a personal level.
    PHP Hypertext Preprocessor is an open source server side
    scripting language used to render web pages or add interactivity
    to them.

    See also:

    Poison Word
    Words which were traditionally associated with low quality
    content that caused search engines to want to demote the
    rankings of a page.

    See also:

    Portable Document Format is a universal
    file format developed by Adobe Systems that allows files to be
    stored and viewed in the original printer friendly context.
    Web site offering common consumer services such as news,
    email, other content, and search.
    Pay Per Click is a pricing model which most
    search ads and many contextual
    ad programs
    are sold through. PPC ads only charge
    advertisers if a potential customer clicks on an ad.

    See also:

    The ability of a search engine to list results that satisfy
    the query, usually measured in percentage. (if 20 of the 50
    results match the query the precision is 40%)

    Search spam and the complexity of
    language challenge the precision of search engines.

    Profit Elasticity
    A measure of the profit potential of different economic
    conditions based on adjusting price, supply, or other variables
    to create a different profit potential where the supply and
    demand curves cross.
    A measure of how close words are to one another.

    A page which has words near one another may be deemed to be
    more likely to satisfy a search query containing both terms. If
    keyword phrases are repeated an excessive number of times, and
    the proximity is close on all the occurrences of both words it
    may also be a sign of unnatural (and thus potentially low
    quality) content.


    Quality Content
    Content which is linkworthy in nature.

    See also:

    Search engines count links votes of trust. Quality links
    count more than low quality links.

    There are a variety of ways to define what a quality link is,
    but the following are characteristics of a high quality link:

    • Trusted Source: If a link is from a
      page or website which seems like it is trustworthy then it
      is more likely to count more than a link from an obscure,
      rarely used, and rarely cited website. See
      TrustRank for one example of a way
      to find highly trusted websites.
    • Hard to Get: The harder a link is to
      acquire the more likely a search engine will be to want to
      trust it and the more work a competitor will need to do to
      try to gain that link.
    • Aged: Some search engines may trust
      links from older resources or links that have existed for a
      length of time more than they trust brand new links or links
      from newer resources.
    • Co-citation: Pages that link at
      competing sites which also link to your site make it easy
      for search engines to understand what community your website
      belongs to. See Hilltop for an
      example of an algorithm which looks for co-citation from
      expert sources.
    • Related: Links from related pages or
      related websites may count more than links from unrelated
    • In Content: Links which are in the
      content area of a page are typically going to be more likely
      to be editorial links than
      links that are not included within the editorial portion of
      a page.

    While appropriate anchor text may
    also help you rank even better than a link which lacks
    appropriate anchor text, it is worth noting that for competitive
    queries Google is more likely to place weight on a high quality
    link where the anchor text does not match than trusting low
    quality links where the anchor text matches.

    The actual “search string” a searcher enters into a search

    Query Refinement
    Some searchers may refine their search query if they deemed
    the results as being irrelevant. Some search engines may aim to
    promote certain verticals or suggest other search queries if
    they deem other search queries or vertical databases as being
    relevant to the goals of the searcher.

    Query refinement is both a manual and an automated process.
    If searchers do not find their search results as being relevant
    they may search again. Search engines may also automatically
    refine queries using the following techniques:

    • Google OneBox: promotes a vertical
      search database near the top of the search result. For
      example, if image search is relevant to your search query
      images may be placed near the top of the search results.
    • Spell Correction: offers a did you
      link with the correct spelling near the top of the
    • Inline Suggest: offers related search
      results in the search results. Some engines also suggest a
      variety of related search queries.

    Some search toolbars also aim to help
    searchers auto complete their search queries by offering a list
    of most popular queries which match the starting letters that a
    searcher enters into the search box.


    The portion of relevant documents that were retrieved when
    compared to all relevant documents.

    Reciprocal Links
    Nepotistic link exchanges where websites try to build false
    authority by trading links, using three
    way link trades, or other low quality link schemes.

    When sites link naturally there is going to be some amount of
    cross linking within a community, but if most or all of your
    links are reciprocal in nature it may be a sign of ranking
    manipulation. Also sites that trade links off topic or on links
    pages that are stashed away deep within their sites probably do
    not pass much link authority, and may add more risk than reward.

    Quality reciprocal link exchanges in and of themselves are
    not a bad thing, but most reciprocal link offers are of low
    quality. If too many of your links are of low quality it may
    make it harder for your site to rank for relevant queries, and
    some search engines may look at inlink and outlink ratios as
    well as link quality when determining how natural a site’s link
    profile is.

    See also:

    A method of alerting browsers and search engines that a page
    location moved. 301 redirects are for
    permanent change of location and 302 redirects
    are used for a temporary change of location.
    A company which allows you to register domain names.
    If a site has been penalized for spamming they may fix the
    infraction and ask for reinclusion. Depending on the severity of
    the infraction and the brand strength of the site they may or
    may not be added to the search index.

    See also:

    The source from which a website visitor came from.
    A link which shows the relation of the current URL to the
    URL of the page being linked at. Some links only show relative
    link paths instead of having the entire reference URL within the
    a href tag. Due to canonicalization
    and hijacking related issues it is
    typically preferred to use absolute links over relative links.

    Example relative link

    <a href=”../folder/filename.html”>Cool

    Example absolute link

    <a href=””>Cool

    A measure of how useful searchers find search results.

    Many search engines may also bias
    organic search results to
    informational resources since commercial ads also show in the
    search results.

    See also:

    Reputation Management
    Ensuring your brand related keywords
    display results which reinforce your brand. Many hate sites tend
    to rank highly for brand related queries.

    Much like search engine submission,
    resubmission is generally a useless program which is offered by
    businesses bilking naive consumers out of their money for a
    worthless service.

    Rewrite (see URL

    An index of keywords which stores records of matching
    documents that contain those keywords.

    See also:

    A file which sits in the root of a site and tells search
    engines which files not to crawl. Some search engines will still
    list your URLs as URL only listings even if you block them using
    a robots.txt file.

    Do not put files on a public server if you do not want search
    engines to index them!

    See also:

    Return on Investment is a measure of how
    much return you receive from each marketing dollar.

    While ROI is a somewhat sophisticated measurement, some
    search marketers prefer to account for their marketing using
    more sophisticate profit elasticity

    Rich Site Summary or Real Simple
    Syndication is a method of syndicating information to a
    feed reader or other software which
    allows people to subscribe to a channel they are interested in.


    A popular Apple browser.
    Salton, Gerard
    Scientist who pioneered the information retrieval field.

    See also:

    Intrusive software and programs which usually target ads,
    violate privacy, and are often installed without the computer
    owner knowing what the software does.
    Many search engines store user search history information.
    This data can be used for better ad targeting or to make old
    information more findable.

    Search engines may also determine what a document is about
    and how much they trust a domain based on aggregate
    usage data. Many
    related search queries is a strong signal of quality.

    A tool or device used to find relevant information. Search
    engines consist of a spider,
    index, relevancy
    algorithms and search results.
    Search engine marketing.

    Also known as:

    Search engine optimization is the art and
    science of publishing information and marketing it in a manner
    that helps search engines understand your information is
    relevant to relevant search queries.

    SEO consists largely of keyword
    , SEO copywriting,
    information architecture,
    link building,
    building, building mindshare,
    reputation management, and
    viral marketing.

    Writing and formatting copy in a way that will help make the
    documents appear relevant to a wide array of relevant search

    There are two main ways to write titles and be SEO friendly

    1. Write literal titles that are well aligned with things
      people search for. This works well if you need backfill
      content for your site or already have an amazingly
      authoritative site.
    2. Write page titles that are exceptionally compelling to
      link at. If enough people link at them then your pages and
      site will rank for many relevant queries even if the
      keywords are not in the page titles.

    See also:

    Search Engine Results Page is the page on
    which the search engines show the results for a search query.

    Search Marketing
    Marketing a website in search engines. Typically via
    SEO, buying pay per click
    ads, and paid inclusion.
    Computer used to host files and serve them to the WWW.

    Dedicated servers usually run
    from $100 to $500 a month. Virtual
    typically run from $5 to $50 per month.

    Server Logs
    Files hosted on servers which display website traffic trends
    and sources.

    Server logs typically do not show as much data and are not as
    user friendly as analytics software.
    Not all hosts provide server logs.

    Singular Value Decomposition
    The process of breaking down a large database to find the
    document vector (relevance) for various items by comparing them
    to other items and documents.

    Important steps:

    • Stemming: taking in account for various
      forms of a word on a page
    • Local Weighting: increasing the
      relevance of a given document based on the frequency a term
      appears in the document
    • Global Weighting: increasing the
      relevance of terms which appear in a small number of pages
      as they are more likely to be on topic than words that
      appear in most all documents.
    • Normalization: penalizing long copy and
      rewarding short copy to allow them fair distribution in
      results. a good way of looking at this is like standardizing
      things to a scale of 100.

    Multi dimensional
    is more efficient than singular value decomposition
    because it requires exceptionally less computation. When
    combined with other ranking factors only a rough approximation
    of relevance is necessary.

    Techniques used to steal another web sites traffic,
    including the use of spyware or
    Site Map
    Page which can be used to help give search engines a
    secondary route to navigate through your site.


    • On large websites the on page navigation should help
      search engines find all applicable web pages.
    • On large websites it does not make sense to list every
      page on the site map, just the most important pages.
    • Site maps can be used to help redistribute internal link
      authority toward important pages or sections, or sections of
      your site that are seasonally important.
    • Site maps can use slightly different or more descriptive
      anchor text than other portions of your site to help search
      engines understand what your pages are about.
    • Site maps should be created such that they are useful to
      humans, not just search engines.
    Central editorially driven community news site focusing on
    technology and nerd related topics created by
    Rob Malda

    See also:

    Snippit (see

    Websites which allow users to create the valuable content. A
    few examples of social media sites are social bookmarking sites
    and social news sites.

    See also:

    Unsolicited email messages.

    Search engines also like to outsource their relevancy issues
    by calling low quality search results spam. They have vague ever
    changing guidelines which determine what marketing techniques
    are acceptable at any given time. Typically search engines try
    hard not to flag false positives as spam, so most algorithms are
    quite lenient, as long as you do not build lots of low quality
    links, host large quantities of duplicate content, or perform
    other actions that are considered widely outside of relevancy
    guidelines. If your site is banned from a search engine you may
    request reinclusion after fixing the

    See also:

    The act of creating and distributing spam.
    Search engine crawlers which search or “spider” the web for
    pages to include in the index.

    Many non-traditional search companies have different spiders
    which perform other applications. For example, TurnItInBot
    searches for plagiarism. Spiders should obey the

    Splash Page
    Feature rich or elegantly designed beautiful web page which
    typically offers poor usability and does not offer search
    engines much content to index.

    Make sure your home page has
    relevant content on it if possible.

    Spam blog, typically consisting of
    stolen or automated low quality content.
    Software programs which spy on web users, often used to
    collect consumer research and to behaviorally targeted ads.

    See also:

    • Ad Aware
      – spyware removal software
    • Stop Badware
      site about fighting spyware and other adverse sleazy
      software programs
    Topical lens site created by Seth Godin.

    See also:

    Server Side Includes are a way to call
    portions of a page in from another page. SSI makes it easier to
    update websites.

    To use a server side include you have to follow one of the

    • end file names in a .shtml or .shtm extension
    • use PHP or some other language which makes it easy to
      include files via that programming language
    • change your .htaccess file to
      make .html or .htm files be processed as though they were
      .shtml files.

    The code to create a server side include looks like this:

    <!–#include virtual=”/includes/filename.html” –>

    Content which does not change frequently. May also refer to
    content that does not have any social elements to it and does
    not use dynamic programming

    Many static sites do well, but the reasons
    fresh content works great for
    SEO are:

    • If you keep building content every day you eventually
      build a huge archive of content
    • By frequently updating your content you keep building
      mindshare, brand
      equity, and give people fresh content worth linking at
    Using the stem of a word to help satisfy search relevancy
    requirements. EX: searching for swimming can return
    results which contain swim. This usually enhances the
    quality of search results due to the extreme diversity of word
    used in, and their application in the English language.
    Stop Words
    Common words (ex: a, to, and, is …) which add little
    relevancy to a search query, and are thus are removed from the
    search query prior to finding relevant search results.

    It is both fine and natural to use stop words in your page
    content. The reason stop words are ignored when people search is
    that the words are so common that they offer little to no
    discrimination value.

    Sullivan, Danny
    Founder and lead editor of, who later

    See also:

    The act of making information systems and related websites
    aware of your website. In most cases you no longer need to
    submit your website to large scale search engines, they follow
    links and index content. The best way to submit your site is to
    get others to link to it.

    Some topical or vertical search
    systems will require submission, but you should not need to
    submit your site to large scale search engine.

    Supplemental Results
    Documents which generally are trusted less and rank lower
    than documents in the main search index.

    Some search engines, such as Google, have multiple indicies.
    Documents which are not well trusted due to any of the following

    • limited link authority relative to the number of pages
      on the site
    • duplicate content or near duplication
    • exceptionally complex URLs

    Documents in the supplemental results are crawled less
    frequently than documents in the main index. Since documents in
    the supplemental results are typically considered to be trusted
    less than documents in the regular results, those pages probably
    carry less weight when they vote for other pages by linking at

    You can find document’s on this site that are in Google’s
    supplemental results by searching for *** -view:randomstring


    Tagging, tags (see

    Classification system of controlled vocabulary used to
    organize topical subjects, usually hierarchical in nature.
    Blog search engine which tracks popular stories and link

    See also:

    Topical community based search engine largely reliant upon
    Kleinberg‘s concept of
    and authorities. Teoma
    Internet service allowing a remote computer to log into a
    local one for projects such as script initialization or
    A measure of how frequently a keyword appears amongst a
    collection of documents.
    Vector Database
    A weighted index of documents which aims to understand the
    topic of documents based on how similar they are to other
    documents, and then match the most relevant documents to a
    search query based on vector length and angle.

    See also:

    Link Ads
    Advertisements which are formatted as text links.

    Since the web was originally based on text and links people
    are typically more inclined to pay attention to text links than
    some other ad formats which are typically less relevant and more
    annoying. However, search engines primarily want to count
    editorial links as votes, so links
    that are grouped together with other paid links (especially if
    those links are to off topic commercial sites) may be less
    likely to carry weight in search engines.

    Synonym directory search engines use to help increase return

    Thesaurus tools can also be used as a
    keyword research tool to
    help search marketers find related keywords to target.

    The title element is used to describe the contents of a

    The title is one of the most important aspects to doing SEO
    on a web page. Each page title should be:

    • Unique to that page: Not the same for
      every page of a site!
    • Descriptive: What important ideas does
      that page cover?
    • Not excessively long: Typically page
      titles should be kept to 8 to 10 words or less, with some of
      the most important words occurring near the beginning of the
      page title.

    Page titles appear in search results as the links searchers
    click on. In addition many people link to documents using the
    official document title as the link
    anchor text
    . Thus, by using a descriptive page title you are
    likely to gain descriptive anchor text and are more likely to
    have your listing clicked on.

    On some occasions it also makes sense to use a title which is
    not literally descriptive, but is easily associated with human
    emotions or a controversy such that your idea will spread
    further and many more people will point quality
    editorial links at your document.

    There are two main ways to write titles and be SEO friendly

    1. Write literal titles that are well aligned with things
      people search for. This works well if you need backfill
      content for your site or already have an amazingly
      authoritative site.
    2. Write page titles that are exceptionally compelling to
      link at. If enough people link at them then your pages and
      site will rank for many relevant queries even if the
      keywords are not in the page titles.

    See also:

    Many major search companies aim to gain marketshare by
    distributing search toolbars. Some of these toolbars have useful
    features such as pop-up blockers, spell checkers, and form
    autofill. These toolbars also help search engines track
    usage data.

    Topic-Sensitive PageRank
    Method of computing PageRank which
    instead of producing a single global score creates topic related
    PageRank scores.

    See also:

    Automated notification that another website mentioned your
    site which is baked into most popular blogging software

    Due to the automated nature of trackbacks they are typically
    quite easy to spam. Many publishers turn trackbacks off due to a
    low signal to noise ratio.

    Tragedy of the Commons
    Story about how in order to protect the commons some people
    will have to give up some rights or care more for the commons.
    In marketing attention is the commons, and Google largely won
    distribution because they found ways to make marketing less

    See also:

    Search relevancy algorithm which places additional weighting
    on links from trusted seed websites that are controlled by major
    corporations, educational institutions, or governmental

    See also:

    Hosted blogging platform provided by
    SixApart, who also makes Movable Type.

    It allows you to publish sites on a subdomain off of, or to publish content which appears as though it is
    on its own domain. If you are serious about building a
    brand or making money online you should publish your content to
    your own domain because it can be hard to reclaim a
    website’s link equity and
    related trust if you have built years of link equity
    into a subdomain on someone else’s website.

    See also:



    Some search engine marketers lacking in creativity try to
    market their services as being ethical, whereas
    services rendered by other providers are somehow unethical. SEO
    services are generally neither ethical or unethical. They are
    either effective or ineffective.

    SEO is an inherently risky business, but any quality SEO
    service provider should make clients aware of potential risks
    and rewards of different recommended techniques.

    Search engines frequently update their algorithms and data
    sets to help keep their search results fresh and make their
    relevancy algorithms hard to update. Most major search engines
    are continuously updating both their relevancy algorithms and
    search index.

    See also:

    • Google Terminology
      – Video where Google’s Matt Cutts
      discusses various commonly used terms inside Google.
    Uniform Resource Locator is the unique
    address of any web document.
    URL Rewrite
    A technique used to help make URLs more unique and
    descriptive to help facilitate better sitewide indexing by major
    search engines.

    See also:

    • Apache Module mod_rewrite
      – Apache module used to
      rewrite URLs on sites hosted on an Apache server.
    • ISAPI Rewrite
      – software to rewrite URLs on sites hosted on a Microsoft
      Internet Information Server.
    How easy it is for customers to perform the desired actions.

    The structure and formatting of text and hyperlink based
    calls to action can drastically increase your website usability,
    and thus conversion rates.

    See also:

    Usage Data
    Things like a large stream of traffic, repeat visitors,
    multiple page views per visitor, a high clickthrough rate, or a
    high level of brand related search queries may be seen by some
    search engines as a sign of quality. Some search engines may
    A search service which is focused on a particular field, a
    particular type of information, or a particular information

    See also:


    Vector Space Model (see
    Term Vector Database)

    Vertical Search
    A search service which is focused on a particular field, a
    particular type of information, or a particular information

    For example, would be a
    B2B vertical search engine, and YouTube
    would be a video based vertical search engine.

    Viral Marketing
    Self propagating marketing techniques. Common modes of
    transmission are email, blogging, and word of mouth marketing

    Many social news sites and social bookmarking sites also lead
    to secondary citations.

    See also:

    Virtual Domain
    Website hosted on a virtual server.

    Virtual Server
    A server which allows multiple top level domains to be
    hosted from a single computer.

    Using a virtual server can save money for smaller
    applications, but dedicated hosting should be used for large
    commercial platforms.Most domains are hosted on virtual servers,
    but using a dedicated server on your most important domains
    should add server reliability, and could be seen as a sign of
    quality. Dedicated servers usually run from $100 to $500 a
    month. Virtual servers typically run from $5 to $50 per month.


    Wales, Jimmy
    Co-founder of the popular Wikipedia.

    Weblog (see Blog)

    Each domain has an owner of record. Ownership data is stored
    in the Whois record for that domain.

    Some domain registrars also allow you to hide the ownership
    data of your sites. Many large scale spammers use fake Whois

    See also:

    Hat SEO
    Search engines set up guidelines that help them extract
    billions of dollars of ad revenue from the work of publishers
    and the attention of searchers. Within that highly profitable
    framework search engines consider certain marketing techniques
    deceptive in nature, and label them as
    black hat SEO
    . Those which are considered within their
    guidelines are called white hat SEO techniques. The search
    guidelines are not a static set of rules, and things that may be
    considered legitimate one day may be considered deceptive the

    Search engines are not without flaws in their business
    models, but there is nothing immoral or illegal about testing
    search algorithms to understand how search engines work.

    People who have extensively tested search algorithms are
    probably more competent and more knowledgeable search marketers
    than those who give themselves the arbitrary label of white hat
    SEOs while calling others black hat SEOs.

    When making large investments in processes that are not
    entirely clear trust is important. Rather than looking for
    reasons to not work with an SEO it is best to look for signs of
    trust in a person you would like to work with.

    See also:

    Software which allows information to be published using
    collaborative editing.
    Free online collaborative encyclopedia using

    See also:

    A lexical database of English words which can be used to
    help search engines understand word relationships.

    See also:

    Popular open source blogging
    software platform, offering both a downloadable
    program and a hosted solution.

    If you are serious about building a brand or making
    money online you should publish your content to your own domain
    because it can be hard to reclaim a website’s
    link equity and age
    related trust if you have built years of link equity into a
    subdomain on someone else’s website.

    See also:

    Feature rich paid keyword
    research tool
    which collects data from a couple popular meta
    search engines, like Dogpile.

    Due to Wordtracker’s small sample size their data may be easy
    to game.

    See also:


    Xenu Link Sleuth
    Popular free software for checking a site for broken
    internal or external links and creating a sitemap.

    See also:

    • Xenu
      – official site
    Extensible HyperText Markup Language is a
    class of specifications designed to move HTML
    to conform to XML formatting.

    See also:

    Extensible Markup Language is a simple,
    very flexible text format derived from SGML, used to make it
    easy to syndicate or format information using technologies such
    as RSS.

    See also:


    Internet portal company which was started with the popular
    Yahoo! Directory.

    See also:

    Free question asking and answering service which allows
    Yahoo! to leverage social structures to create a bottoms up
    network of free content.

    See also:

    Yahoo! Directory
    One of the original, most popular, and most authoritative
    web directories, started by David Filo and Jerry Yang in 1994.

    The Yahoo! Directory is one of a few places where most any
    legitimate site can pick up a trusted link. While the cost of
    $299 per year may seem expensive to some small businesses, a
    Yahoo! Directory link will likely help boost your rankings in
    major search engines.

    See also:

    Yahoo! Search Marketing
    Yahoo!’s paid search platform, formerly known as

    See also:

    Site Explorer
    Research tool which webmasters can use to see what pages
    Yahoo! has indexed from a website, and what pages link at those

    See also:

    Feature rich amateur video upload and syndication website
    owned by Google.

    See also:


    Non-commercial directory which was bought by
    Looksmart for $20 million, then
    abruptly shut down with little to no warning.

    Other Search & Marketing Glossaries and Dictionaries

    One thought on “SEO Terms And Jargon

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