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Glossary of SEO Terms

Glossary of SEO Terms

In this glossary we cover all terms that you are likely to encounter in SEO and to a wider extent digital marketing. There are over 280 terms organised alphabetically within this SEO Glossary, if you think we are missing anything, please let us know.




Above the Fold

Content that appears on a website before the user scrolls. Google created the Page Layout Algorithm in 2012 to lower the rankings of websites featuring too many ads in this space.


Absolute Link

A link that uses the entire URL, a link that doesn’t use the domain is called a ‘relative link’, for example:

  • <Absolute
  • <Absolute
  • <Absolute
  • /seo/page/ <Relative
  • /seo/ < Relative


A/B Testing

The process of running competing ads or pages against each other, to improve performance:

  • Create two variants
  • Run against each other
  • See which one performs the best
  • Ensure statistical significance
  • Remove the lower performing variant
  • Make a copy of the higher performing variant with a slight change
  • Repeat

This process is commonplace in PPC advertising where ads are run against each other in pairs using this process. If more than two ads or entities are run against each other it is called MVT or multi-variant testing.


Adaptive Website

A website technology that allows the site to adapt its layout, design and features based on the screen size of the device accessing the site. This is one of several methods or technologies that are available to meet the need to scale a site to the devices and screen sizes that are used to access it. Other options include:

  • Responsive sites
  • Responsive adaptive sites
  • Mobiles sites

Learn more about Adaptive Website Design.


Adobe Analytics

Adobe Analytics is a web analytics solution for applying real-time analytics and detailed segmentation across all your marketing channels. You can use this tool within your business to discover high-value audiences and power customer intelligence.



Ahrefs is a well-known link and very popular backlink research tool. Ahrefs provide a range of tools for SEO but are most known for the backlink data. Using their own proprietary bot and index which they say uses a trillion webpage connections upon which to base their data.



AJAX is an acronym for ‘Asynchronous JavaScript and XML’. This is a type of programming and is used primarily because it provides the following benefits:

  • Update a web page without reloading it
  • Request data from a server after the page has loaded
  • Receive data from a server after the page has loaded
  • Send data to a server in the background



Search engines use algorithms, which are essentially process driven calculations performed on computers. In the context of search engines, they are used to determine where to rank webpages for search terms and what type of results to show.

Algorithms are the perfect solution for search engines as there are hundreds of components factors that need to be quantified, weighted and calculated when returning search results. Everything from your search history, browsing history, time of day, and device used are considered by the algorithm.

Google also use an algorithm to detect attempted manipulations of their algorithm when analysing content and links.

You are most likely to hear this term used in the context of ‘Google’s algorithm’.


Algorithm Change

The earliest iterations of Google’s algorithm are very different to their current version in complexity, volume of data and processing power.

It is fair to say that search engine algorithms are updated frequently with a wide range of potential impact to the SERPs. Although some updates are relatively minor and can go largely unnoticed, others can be complete game changers, effecting a sizable percentage of SERPs.

There are several types of changes that algorithms can undergo, such as:



Algorithm Update

This typically results in changes to the search results on the larger end of the spectrum. Algorithms can change or be updated at any moment, although noticeable changes are typically less frequent.


Data Refresh


With a data refresh, the algorithm doesn’t change just the data that it’s using, which can still have an impact on search results. Changes tend to be less-impactful and are often so insignificant that user won’t notice.


Alt Attribute

Alt tags or alt attributes are text alternatives to images and are used if an image is unable to be loaded or rendered by the browser. Hovering over an image on a webpage with the mouse should bring up a text box showing the contents of the alt tag.

The below is an example of the code used to call an image into a HTML webpage, with the alt attribute highlighted:

<img src="" alt="example text">

Learn more about Alt Attributes.



The process and components of tracking and analysing website data. This will provide data on your website’s users as well as indicators of its performance. You can track and produce a wide range of analytics data relatively easily with the free version of Google Analytics.

Most analytics tools provide you with tracking code which is copied onto every page of the site, as well as additional code for customised tracking of events like making a purchase. This allows you to track things like:

  • No. of people that visit your site and each page
  • Length of time people stay on site or on a page
  • No. of people that click a link or complete a form
  • The value of sales made

This is indispensable information to have if you are to understand website performance, attribution modelling, optimising performance, and ultimately measuring success.

Learn more about Web Analytics for SEO.


Analytics Platform

An analytics platform is a tool, typically web-based, that provides users with customisable tracking code to track web data. They also provide an interface to allow you to analyse and export the data that you track.
There are several analytics platforms such as:

Google Analytics provides a free version and is used almost ubiquitously, especially among smaller sites.


Anchor Text


The clickable text of a link on webpages that once clicked typically loads a new webpage. We show an example of the code used to make a text link and have highlighted the anchor text component:

<a href=>Anchor Text Example</a>

Using keywords within anchor text that are relevant to the target page helps to provide relevance to that page for the keywords used. Overuse of keywords within backlink anchor text can result in a penalty from Google. Consequently, it is considered best practice to vary the anchor text used when linking to pages with text.

Learn more about Anchor Text.



Understanding how much value to assign to each step in a path to purchase. Imagine a user comes to a site three times over a week and each time comes from a different source. If the last time the user comes to your site they convert, making a purchase, would you assign all the value to:

  • The last click
  • The first click
  • Distribute it between the first and last clicks
  • Distribute it among all clicks


Attribution Modelling

The process of assigning these values and performing the calculations is called ‘attribution modelling’. Understanding the value of each step in a path to purchase is important for many reasons:

  • Determining what marketing channels to assign time, money and resources
  • Seeing which channels are working and which are not
  • Improve / optimise the path to purchase
  • Determining channel specific ROI



There are many types of audit that can be conducted in SEO, typically they are done to identify opportunities and weaknesses either in your own site or competitor sites. The most common types of audit you will encounter are:

  • Technical audit
  • Optimisation audit
  • Backlink audit
  • Keyword audit
  • Competitor audit
  • Tag and data integrity audits

Audits can identify indexation or technical problems, assess the risk of penalty or simply provide a list of opportunities for backlinks or optimisation recommendations. Due to the pace at which sites and SERPs change many businesses perform all the above listed audits on a yearly cycle.

Learn more about technical & SEO audits.



This is based on backlinks and the interrelationship they create between sites and is a metric used to help algorithmically determine rankings. Many tools provide their own proprietary metrics for authority and trust, all of them are trying to emulate a score close to what Google give.

Consequently, these metrics often don’t match with each other, some are better than others and all of them are just guides.

The authority a site or webpage has is a massive ranking factor and is derived from backlinks.

Learn more about Authority.





Stands for business-to-business, which describes a fundamental type of business model. Businesses that sell their services and products to other businesses rather than individuals / consumers.



Stands for business-to-consumer, which describes a fundamental type of business model. Businesses that sell their services and products to individuals or consumers rather than to other businesses.



A link that points to a different domain to the one it is located on. When considering you own site’s backlinks, you are looking at links to your site from other sites. Backlinks deliver almost all the authority that a site or webpage has and are hence very valuable.

Not all backlinks are equal, there are a range of factors that can impact the quality and strength of a backlink such as:

  • Authority of the linking page
  • Authority of the linking site
  • Trust of the linking page
  • Trust of the linking site
  • Relevance of the link within the page
  • Relevance of the site to the linking page
  • Relevance of your page to the linking page
  • Type of link (image, text)
  • Indexation of the linking page
  • Quality of the linking page
  • The number of other links on the linking page
  • Crawlability of the link
  • If the link is follow or nofollow
  • The anchor text or alt attribute of the link
  • The amount of links you have from the same domain
  • If the link is reciprocal

Learn more about Backlinks.



Baidu is the largest and most popular search engine used in China, by a very large margin. Baidu was founded in January 2000 by Robin Li and Eric Xu.



Bing is Microsoft’s search engine that was launched in June 2009 replacing their older search engine, which was itself a replacement for an older version. Bing varies in popularity around the world, being more popular in the USA than elsewhere.

You can see the source of your traffic within web analytics tools like Google Analytics. These tools will illustrate the percentage of traffic coming from all search engines including Bing and Google.

Bing has its own algorithm and competes with Google to deliver the most relevant results based on their algorithm.


Bing Ads

Microsoft’s equivalent of AdWords, Bing Ads is a PPC management platform for buying traffic from Bing Search and its other networks.

This tool is so similar to AdWords that you can directly import your AdWords campaigns into Bing Ads with only a small loss in functionality. This makes the transition of management between these tools seamless.


Black Hat

SEO techniques that contravene Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. These tactics although they can be effective are short term strategies that do not match with the business objectives of most businesses. The chance of incurring a penalty from black hat SEO is somewhere between ‘very likely’ and ‘certain’.

This is primarily used with a burn and churn strategy where a cycle of new sites are launched, black hatted, and penalised. Typically, within those steps, sufficient money is made to justify the process.



A collection of content known as ‘posts’ or ‘blog posts’, posted chronologically on a website of a business, institution or individual. Often (but not always) these exist within a dedicated directory or subdomain on a site.

The content on a blog is often very different in nature and tone to that of the rest of the site, often being more conversational and less of a sales platform. Blog content fills the higher levels of the conversion funnel, attracting relevant traffic creating brand & product awareness.

Blogging is a great way to build an audience and relevance to a topic as well as giving Google a reason to more frequently index your site.



A website visitor/user that leaves without visiting any page other than the one they landed on to enter the site.


Bounce Rate

The percentage of website users that leave without visiting any page other than the one they landed on to enter the site.

Bounce rate is often used when assessing user engagement of a site under certain circumstances. It cannot be used either ubiquitously or in isolation to measure engagement and is not a direct ranking factor.

Learn more about Bounce Rate.



A bot comes by many names but is essentially software that runs automated tasks over the Internet. Typically, these tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, and performed at a massively higher rate than would be possible for humans to match.

At Raptor we have created ‘raptorbot’ which is a web crawler (or bot), that crawls websites and extracts a range of SEO data from those pages. Google have their bot called ‘googlebot’, which does the same thing as ours on a much larger scale.


Bot Traffic

When bots crawl a site, they can appear as users and this can mean that some of the traffic you see are bots, hence ‘bot traffic’. Most programs try to remove bot traffic before you see it, but this is never 100%.

Removing bot traffic from your traffic data is vital as it is not actual people using your site. The behaviour is very different, and this skews the traffic data making it inaccurate and less useful.


Branded Keyword

This is a keyword that uses your business brand name or part of it, for example; searching for ‘Raptor web crawler’ is a branded keyword, whereas ‘web crawler’ is not. You could include competitor brand names within this category or split them out depending on your preference.

If you are looking at ranking data, you will always split out branded keywords as you are very likely to rank higher on average for them than all other keywords. Including them in aggregated data would skew results making them less accurate and useful.



An unfinished or incomplete but serviceable version of software, often released in a ‘beta phase’ to ‘beta users’ to test its functionality. Many companies including Google release beta versions of products to test interest, usage and detect errors before launching.


Beta User

Someone who uses the beta version of software. People who are super keen to get the inside scoop on the latest technology that might help them up their game.


Breadcrumb / Breadcrumb Navigation

A navigational device otherwise referred to ‘breadcrumb navigation’ that helps users navigate a website. These take the form of a series of clickable text links at the top of a page in a structure that implies the location of the page within the site content.

Breadcrumbs often reflect the hierarchy or structure of the site and its content, meaning that if you land on a deep page you can easily navigate your way back up to find related content.
Breadcrumb navigation can also reflect the specific path a user has taken to get to their current page.

Learn more about breadcrumb navigation.


Broken Link/s

A link that leads to an inaccessible page or resource.

A page or resource could be inaccessible for any number of reasons and with several variations. A page can return any number of status code errors such as ‘404’ meaning the page cannot be found, to status ‘500’ errors which indicate a server-side issue preventing access.

Regardless of whether a page should or shouldn’t be present or accessible, you should not link to inaccessible resources. If clicked by a user, they are taken to a page that they cannot access, this can lead to them leaving the site entirely.

Learn more about broken links.






This is temporary held web content, such as CSS file or images, in storage on a computer. This is often done to improve load times, by not loading the same file multiple times.


Cached Page

When search engines crawl webpages they store that data in a cache (as described above). You can see what a webpage looked like when it was last crawled by looking at the cached version of a page called a ‘cached page’. The cached page will be updated once Google recrawl the webpage next.


Canonical Duplication

There are many types of this that can occur but in all cases a URL is accessible from multiple URLs. This occurs when a page is not handled properly with a canonical tag or redirect. This is a technical issue that can arise naturally on sites but can be very impactful under certain circumstances.

Types of canonical duplication are:

Learn more about canonical duplication.


Canonical Page

Also known as the canonical or preferred version of a page. This is a page with a canonical URL that matches the URL of the page. We call this a self-referential canonical tag, rather than a canonical tag that links to a different page.
A canonical page is the URL that you want to appear in the search results.

If a page is accessible from multiple URLs, you can use canonical tags to define which of those URLs is canonical / preferred. If you have lots of very similar pages, you can also use canonical tags for the same reason. In both cases, there is often a canonical page arising from a set of non-canonical pages.

Learn more about canonicals.


Canonical URL

This term can be used in the same way as the term above or it can be used to describe the URL within a canonical tag. We have highlighted the canonical URL within the canonical tag in the example code below:
<link rel="canonical" href="" />

Canonical URLs should always contain he full URL including everything from ‘http’, and these should be consistent across the whole site.

Learn more about canonicals.


Canonical Tag

Canonical tags stipulate to search engines what the canonical page (preferred URL) is for a page. For example; if a page can be accessed from several URL’s, you will want to stipulate which of those you want to be shown in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS).

The code below is an example of a canonical tag:

<link rel="canonical" href="" />

Every page on a site should have a canonical tag in the <head></head> section of the source code.

Learn more about canonical tags.



This is where a site mentions your site or brand but does not link to it. This is starting to become a more significant ranking signal and have many of the same features as a backlink. Relevance, context and whether it is a positive or negative mention as well as the authority of the page can impact the quality of a citation.

These are also called ‘mentions’.


Citation Acquisition

The process of acquiring citations or mentions.



An acronym for ‘Country Code Top-Level Domain’. These are domains specific to countries like for the United Kingdom or for Australia.


Click Bait

Content often headlines designed to encourage people to click. This has become associated with spurious content, underdelivering and general spam but can be used in a positive way also.


Click Depth

The minimum number of clicks required to navigate to a webpage from the home page. The more clicks away a page is, the less authority it will have and the harder it will be to find for users. Valuable pages should be a click away from the home page.


Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The percentage of people that click on a listing of those that saw the listing. So, if 10 people click a listing and 100 people saw the listing, the click through rate would be 0.1 or 10%. CTR is a direct and powerful ranking factor.

Having a CTR higher than average for the position of a listing will have a strong positive influence of ranking for that keyword.


Click to Call

This is a clickable phone number that a user can click to dial the number and call your business. With mobile search being increasingly popular; enabling users to more easily contact your businesses with this simple technology is a must.



Presenting something different to users than to bots, this is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This can take many forms such as redirecting users or hiding content from them that is visible to bots. Typically, this is done to game or manipulate Google’s search results and provides a very poor user experience, hence why Google dislike it so much.



An acronym for ‘Content Management System’.

As the name suggests this is an application that lets you manage the content on a site. A CMS allows the making of new pages, removing old ones, uploading images and linking videos, etc.

A CMS is essentially a way for people to manage websites without the need for professional web dev or coding skills (although they always help).



This is where two sites or even just webpages are mentioned (not necessarily linked to) within the same page of a third-party site. Specifically, they are looking for multiple iterations, or a frequency of co-citations to build a reliable image of the subject similarity.

This is one way that Google can determine subject similarity and is related to LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) in terms of how it works.


Comment Spam

Low quality comments written to get a link from a site.

Although old and outdated as a tactic, due to it being of no value anymore, it can still be seen here and there.



There are a several uses of the word ‘competition’ within SEO:

  • Other businesses with whom you directly compete for organic visibility
  • A metric used to measure how competitive a keyword is
  • In general, other businesses with whom you compete

Learn ore bout SEO competition.


Competitor Analysis

An analysis of either a single competitor or multiple competitors. Done for several reasons such as:

  • Benchmarking the competition
  • Link opportunities
  • SWOT analysis
  • Gap analysis
  • Keyword scraping / analysis

Learn more about competitor analysis.



The act of reducing the size of files or data to make page load times shorter and page speed faster.



The text, images, video, audio, interactive goodness in all its forms that propagates a website. Google require this to determine what a page is about and to build relevance between a site and its target keywords.

Learn more about content.


Contextual Relevance

The aggregate of relevance that a group of pages has to a group of target keywords. See LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) for more information.


Contextual Link

A link nestled in content relevant to the content on the page being linked to.


Conversion Funnel

The various touch points on a user’s path to conversion. You can look at this on a micro or macro scale, for example; on the micro scale, you can assess the pages a user visits on a site before converting to understand the conversion funnel.

You can also look at the bigger picture and map out all the different stages of the conversion funnel and how a user might move between sites to consume this content before converting. The most basic stages of a conversion funnel are:

  • Awareness (User becomes aware of your brand)
  • Interest (User starts having interest in the type of product or service you provide)
  • Consideration (user is considering buying from you specifically)
  • Conversion (user converts)

This is similar to the customer journey.
Learn more about conversion funnels.



The completion of an action by a user on your site, that you want them to take, such as:

  • Buying something
  • Clicking a link or button
  • Completing & sending a form
  • Calling a number
  • Adding an item to a shopping cart


Conversion Rate

The rate at which users convert… If 100 users visit your site and you get 10 conversions, you have a 10% conversion rate. Conversion rates are often a good measure of quality and success when used within the context of other conversion data.


Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

The techniques, processes and tools used to improve the rate at which users convert on a site. There are both best practices and techniques such as split testing or multi-variant testing for improving conversion rates. The aim of this to increase the amount of conversions by converting the existing users at a higher rate.

You start by creating a hypothesis and then a test, you run the test and apply statistical significance maths to the data to determine what variant won. By repeating this process over time, you can incrementally improve the value of the traffic coming to your site.

Imagine you have a site that gets 20K visitors per month from Google, and you convert those users at a rate of 1% resulting in 200 conversions per month. If you want to double the number of conversions, you either need to double the traffic or the conversion rate. Doubling the organic traffic won’t happen quickly but experimenting and optimising a conversion rate of 1% to 2% is not as difficult.

Consequently, conversion rate optimisation can return greater returns for less work under certain circumstances.



A cookie is a text file no bigger than 4Kb in size, created by a website and stored on a user's computer temporarily or permanently. Cookies allows all kinds of functionality on websites and in advertising. Some websites rely on cookies to work and function, without allowing them many sites would be rendered useless to the user.



Ana acronym for ‘Cost Per Click’, this is the most popular method for buying traffic through paid platforms like Google AdWords. Hence the phrase PPC (Pay Per Click), because you pay Google for every click of an ad / person that comes to the site through clicking a paid ad.

Learn more about CPC.


Crawl Budget

The amount of resources or time that search engines have allocated to crawl a website during a specific time period. This can depend on how frequently content is added or changed on a site and page speed among other factors.



A program that crawls URLs, scrapes and collects data. Search engines use these to crawl and index sites. We provide our web crawler SaaS solution for people who want to analyse websites for any number of reasons.



Acronym for ‘Cascading Style Sheet’ these files determine the look of a website on different devices.


Customised 404 error pages

A page made specifically for when a user clicks a broken link leading to a 404 error (page not found). These are designed to keep users on the site rather than have then hit a blank white page with ‘404 error’ written on it. Instead you can use these pages to direct users back to your content.


Customer Journey

This includes all the touchpoints along a user’s journey that lead to them becoming a customer. Often referred to as a ‘path to purchase’, these touchpoints could include seeing ads, reading blog posts, etc.
Also see ‘conversion funnel’.




Data Integrity

This is a term used to describe the validity of data to some extent. For example, if a site had tracking code missing from many pages, duplicated on others and implemented incorrectly on most pages; you would be likely receiving poor quality data as a result, this would be poor data integrity.


Dead-End Page

A webpage that doesn’t link to any other webpage.


Deep Link

A link that points to any webpage except the homepage. It is good to have a lot of these, they help specific pages rank and distribute authority around your site from multiple entrance points.


Deep Link Ratio

The ratio of deep links to homepage links. This can be represented as a percentage or a number for example 1:10 would be 10%, meaning that 1 in every 10 links is a deep link.



Also known as delisting, this is where Google removes anything from a page to a whole site from its index. A site or page can be ‘deindexed’ by Google.


Development Server

Otherwise known as a ‘staging server’, this is where either a new site or a new version of site is held until it is launched.



This is a specific piece of text used in the robots.txt file as a directive to Google to not crawl a URL or resource. This can be used with wildcards to prevent Google from crawling any file with a type of file extension for example.
Learn more about disallow.


Direct Ranking Factor

Something that Google factor into their algorithm, hence the similar phrase ‘direct algorithmic ranking factor’. Keyword usage with a page title is a good an example of this.



There is a process within Google Search Console that allows you to disavow links. Links are disavowed if you have already or are likely to receive a link penalty from Google.



Acronym for ‘Open Directory Project’. Closed since 2017.



The default link, without the additional ‘nofollow’ attribute. Allows authority to pass through it.
Learn more about internal linking.



The URL of a website excluding any page, for example:


Domain Authority

A proprietary metric created and provided by Moz to predict a sites strength and ability to rank for target  keywords.

Moz use 40 signals to create a (100-point scale; 1-100) score that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. It is also important to know that the score works along a logarithmic scale.


Doorway Page

Otherwise known as gateway pages, these are duplicitous webpages created to be listed in the results for specific keywords. However, once a user lands on the page they are redirected to another site. This is a black hat tactic and is not advised for long term SEO strategies.


Duplicate Content

If a significant amount of content on a webpage matches that of another webpage it could be seen as duplicate content by Google. Google will aim to show only one version of content with the SERPs, consequently you may find that duplicate content does not rank well.

Learn more about duplicate content.


Dwell Time

The amount of time it takes for a user to return to the SERP from a site after having clicked the listing to enter the site.





Buying and selling of products online. Ecommerce sites have functionality like carts or baskets that you can add items to, a checkout process and the ability to pay online for products.


Editorial Link/s

A naturally acquired link from a site, meaning that you did not seek out or commission someone to acquire the link.

Learn more about editorial links.


Engagement Metrics

Metrics used to measure the level of user engagement in a site and its content. Examples of metrics commonly used to measure engagement are:


External Link

A link on your site that points to another site… This is a matter of perspective, from the perspective of the site being linked to, this is a backlink, from the linking site it’s an external link. External links can leak authority but also create a relationship between sites that can be good or bad.

Learn more about external linking.




Facebook Tags

Also known as OpenGraph tags, these are tags that sit in the source code of a webpage and define components when sharing content on Facebook. The tags allow you to specify things like:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Image
  • URL

This allows you to customise how your content appears when being shared on Facebook.

Learn more about OpenGraph Tags.



The image that appears in the web browser tab to the left of the page title.


Featured Snippet

Google will often show a different type of result within the SERP such as Q&A, local listings, a calculator or any number of different snippets. This will depend on the search query, the location, time and a range of other indicators that Google factor in algorithmically.

Learn more about featured snippets.



The text and characters that are the name of an image, video, webpage, etc. In the example below, the filename of the jpeg is ‘image’:

  • Image.jpeg


File Size

The size in Kb or Mb of a file such as an image, CSS file, webpage or video.


Follow Link

The default setting for a link is ‘follow’, which means it will pass on authority and Google will follow it.


Footer Link

A link in the footer of a webpage. Often the footer exists on every page of a website.

#Learn more about footers.





Originally founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in September 1998, Google is a vast and global company that has many offerings and terms that often begin with the word ‘Google’. Google itself has become a verb; ‘to Google something’ meaning ‘to search for something in Google’.

Go to Google!


Google AdWords

Google AdWords is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform. They offer advertisers a choice of their search or display networks as well as other ways to target people with ads.


Google Analytics

Google offer both free and paid versions of this web analytics software. Used for tracking, analysing and reporting on user behaviour and site performance.

Sign up for Google Analytics.


Google Bomb

This is a process or attempt to manipulate the search results to show a site you would not expect for a search term. Often this is done for comedy or satire and is achieved typically through linking to the page or site in question with keyword rich anchor text backlinks.



This is Google’s web crawler, that they use to crawl sites, scrape data and build their index.


Google Dance

A phrase used to describe the period of volatility following and update to its search index, this happens about once per month.


Google Hummingbird

Although Google announced the Hummingbird algorithm update on September 26, 2013, it was actually in place for about a month at that time. This update was more of a complete overhaul of Google’s core algorithm.

Hummingbird focused on the user’s intent behind searches and uses this to deliver more relevant search results.


Google Panda Algorithm

This was a very impactful update to Google’s ranking algorithm, initially released in early 2011, there have been many subsequent updates to this part of their algorithm.

The reason this was so impactful was because it aimed to improve the visibility of higher quality sites with better content, while devaluing sites with thin or low-quality content. Specially, link farms and PBNs suffered from this update. However, many legitimate sites with high volumes of user generated content also got hit.


Google Penguin Algorithm

Released in 2012, shortly after the Panda update, Penguin targeted things search manipulation tactics like link schemes and keyword stuffing. The aim was to further improve the quality of the search results and like Panda this affected a lot of websites for an update.


Google Pigeon Update

Released in August 2013, the Pigeon update aim to bring Google local search and organic search algorithms closer together. This was another hugely impactful update specially for local listing and results. This included a front-end update that change the layout and appearance of local listings as well as algorithm changes at the back-end.



This was Google’s fourth attempt at a social media site like Facebook which Google plans to sunset the consumer version of in April 2019.


Google RankBrain

Released in October 2015, RankBrain is said by Google to be the third most important ranking signal in their algorithm. This is another improvement to their core algorithm and aims to better discern user intent behind searches to deliver better search results.

The thing that makes this update stand out is that it uses machine learning to constantly learn from the data and improve the algorithm and results.


Google Sandbox

Google sandbox is a filter that can be applied to sites to prevent them ranking for specific keywords. Although not a penalty it is similar in many ways as the implementation of the filter is based on a set of criteria which is determined algorithmically.

This can limit traffic, rankings and SEO performance more often for newer websites with unnaturally strong link profiles and highly keyword optimised content.


Google Search Console

Previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, this is a web-based app that allows web owners to monitor and track a range of information about your site and how it appears in the SERPs. Google Search Console provides a range of functionality like submitting sitemaps and exporting broken links.

Sign up to Google Search Console.


Google Tag Manager

This is a tag management system designed to manage HTML & JavaScript tags used for tracking and analytics on websites. This allows a more dynamic management of tags across sites and is especially useful on large sites. It also removes the need for ongoing code changes to update tracking.

Get Google Tag Manager.


Google Trends

A web-based app that allows users to look at historical search trend data for keywords. This provides data based on region, date range and allows you to compare terms.

Check out Google Trends.


Google Webmaster Guidelines

The guidelines that Google have set out for website owners and SEOs alike. They stipulate what practices they do and don’t want you to do.

Read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.


Grey Hat

SEO tactics & techniques that border the line between black and white hat.


Guest Blogging

Also known as guest posting, this is where a representative of a site gets some content placed on the blog of another website. Typically, this is done to get a backlink, but provides a mutually beneficial deal for both parties.

Learn more about Guest Blogging.


Gzip Compression

GZIP compression can be enabled for websites and can save at least 50% of bandwidth usage, this improves page load times.





Headers are defined as a HTML tag that encloses visible on-page content, these tags define the text as being a header. The code for a header can look like this:

<h1>example header goes here</h1>

There are six headers, numbered one to six, where you simply replace both numbers in the above code with another number between 1-6.

Learn more about headers and header tags.



An H1 header (see headers above).

Learn more about H1 headers.


Head Term/s

Typically, the most relevant, most commercially valuable keywords that are targeted by a site as part of their SEO strategy. This is essentially a segment of all keywords that are being targeted.


Hidden Text

Text that is not visible to users but is to robots, bots or crawlers. This is a black hat SEO technique that can result in a penalty from Google.


Hilltop Algorithm

This algorithm is used to find documents relevant to a specific keyword topic. Originally created by Krishna Bharat while, it was acquired and adopted in February 2003 by Google.

The Hilltop algorithm operates on a special index of expert documents. These documents are basically webpages that are about a particular topic and have links to many non-affiliated pages on that topic.

Non-affiliated pages are defined as; authored by people from non-affiliated groups and organizations.

Results are ranked based on the match between the query and relevant descriptive text for hyperlinks on expert pages pointing to a given result page. Websites which have backlinks from many of the best expert pages are authorities and are ranked well.


HITS Algorithm

An acronym for ‘Hyperlink-Induced Topic Search’ this algorithm is a backlink analysis algorithm. HITS assess a value based on content, inbound links, and outbound links.



The root domain of a website. On this website the homepage is but you can also have another page act as the homepage.



The hreflang tag is designed to be used on sites that use & target multiple languages, regions or both.

Hreflang first came out in 2011 and has been available for use for some time but is a little trickier than some other tags. This tag signals to Google that there is a relationship to an alternate language or region version at the URL specified in this tag.

Learn more about Hreflang.


.htaccess File

The .htaccess file is a server configuration file primarily used to implement redirection and rewrite URLs on websites that are hosted on Linux servers.



Acronym for ‘Hypertext Mark-up Language’, this is typically the code used to build webpages.


HTML Sitemap

A sitemap that is on a HTML webpage (as opposed to an XML sitemap), these are a navigational device used to link to all the content on a site.

Learn more about HTML sitemaps.



An acronym for ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol’, this is the network protocol that enables data to move between a website hosting server to your web browser.



HTTP/2 is a major revision of the HTTP network protocol (see above) used by the World Wide Web.



An acronym for ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure” is a secure version of HTTP. This network protocol uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) which encrypts the data being transferred between a hosting server and web browser.




Image Sitemap

This is an XML sitemap that lists all of the images on your site that you want to be indexed.

Learn more about Image Sitemaps.



When a user sees an ad or a listing, that is an impression.

Learn more about impressions.


Inbound Link

Also see backlink. A link from one site to another, where the site being linked to would call it an inbound link and the site doing the linking would call an external or outbound link.

Learn more about inbound links.



A list of all webpages that a search engine has built through crawling and scraping web data. To appear in the search results of any search engine a site must be in their index.

Learn more about indexation.



How likely or difficult it will be for a search engine to index a page.

Learn more about indexation.



This refers to the topic in general and can relate to the indexability of a page or indexation errors or problems that a site might suffer from.

Learn more about indexation.


Indexed Page

A webpage that is in the index of a search engine, meaning that is was successfully crawled by a search engine bot and added to their index.

Learn more about indexation.


Indirect Ranking Factor

Something that Google doesn’t factor into their algorithm, but which has an impact on something they do factor into their algorithm. For example, the meta description is not something that Google factor into their algorithm, but it has a huge impact on CTR, which is a direct ranking factor. Hence, the meta description is an indirect ranking factor.


Information Architecture

The structure of a website.


Internal Link

A link on a pointing to a page on the same domain.

Learn more about internal linking.


IP Address

IP is an acronym for ‘Internet Protocol’, meaning that IP Address is Internet Protocol Address. This is essentially an address for devices on the internet.




JavaScript (JS)

A programming language that allows dynamic functionality on webpages but can be difficult for Google and other search engines or web crawlers to crawl.




Kb (Kilobyte)

1,000 bytes or 1/1000 of a megabyte (Mb).



A word or phrase (multiple words) that a user might search for in a search engine that you would like your site to rank for. Often a keyword may differ from a search term or query in that it is being specifically targeted by a site, whereas the others may not be.

Lear more about keywords.


Keyword Cannibalization

Definition 1:

Self-competition where a paid channel is essentially taking organic traffic and turning into paid traffic. For example, you may find that turning off a paid CPC brand campaign might mean that you get the same total traffic (from all sources) as you did when running the campaign. The main difference being that you aren’t and often don’t need to buy your brand traffic.

People will often click an organic listing for the brand they are searching for if there are no paid ads, hence you are cannibalising your organic traffic.

Definition 2:

Self-competition within a site where multiple pages rank poorly for the same term. Arguably not really canonicalization at all, the biggest downside is not controlling which page ranked the highest for the term. This can mean a page not designed to convert users could rank better for a commercially valuable term than the preferred landing page.

Consolidating content can resolve this issue.


Keyword Density

The percentage of instances of a keyword compared to the content on a page. If a page had 200 words of content and the keyword was used 5 times, this would be 5/200 = .025 or 2.5%.

Learn more about keyword density.


Keyword Research

The process of finding keywords to target.

Learn more about keyword research.


Keyword Stuffing

Warned against within Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, this is a spammy tactic where keywords are overused or unnaturally used throughout content or tags on a webpage.

Learn more about keyword stuffing.


Knowledge Graph

The Knowledge Graph is a database / knowledge base that Google use to improve and visually enhance their SERPs with information gathered from a range of sources. The information is presented to users in a knowledge panel or infobox within or next to the top of the search results.

Learn more about Knowledge Graph.


Knowledge Panel

This is the ‘infobox’ that appears at the top or right of Google’s SERPs for certain types of search query. The knowledge panel is a container for data, facts and information on a range of thing like:

  • Brands
  • Businesses
  • People
  • Places




Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

A technology used to understand / assess the relevance of a keyword or group of keywords to a site and relating this back to a search query.


Lazy Load

Lazy loading images means that images are loaded asynchronously, after the above-the-fold content is fully loaded, or even conditionally, only when they appear in the browser's viewport. This is done to save on load times but can impact the ability of Google to index images that are lazy loaded.



A sales term used to describe a potential customer. In the digital space, this is someone who has signed up, called a number or provided personal information through a website. A lead isn’t someone who has made a purchase or become a customer.



A hypertext link that once clicked takes a user to another page or part of the same page. Often used instead of the term ‘backlink’, but really this term can be any of the following:

  • Internal link / inbound link
  • External link / outbound link
  • Backlink


Link Acquisition

The process of acquiring backlinks / links in a way that doesn’t violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Often this term is used instead of ‘Link Building’ as it implies a safer more legitimate set of techniques.

Learn more about link acquisition.


Link Bait

Content designed to grab the attention of people and attract backlinks / links. This is often something that is very:

  • Useful
  • Funny
  • Revealing
  • News worthy
  • interesting

Learn more about link bait.


Link Building

An older name for link acquisition that is sometimes seen as a less safe or sustainable version of the more modern ‘link acquisition’. Because there is no objective standard like a dictionary for SEO terms, both phrases can and are used interchangeably by people.

Learn more about link building.


Link Equity

This refers to the value provided by a backlink or a backlink profile principally in terms of its authority and trust.


Link Farm

a group of web pages or sites that have been created with the singular purpose of linking to a set of target pages. This is done to manipulate Google’s SERPs for better keyword rankings. Often this includes poor quality content, significant automation and provides no value to users. This is something to avoid as a tactic.


Link Juice

A colloquial or ‘fun’ term to describe ‘link equity’.


Link Profile

The aggregate of all backlinks and referring domains pointing to a site.

Learn more about backlink profiles.


Link Velocity

The frequency / rate at which a site acquires backlinks.

Learn more about link velocity.



Can refer to any type of listing within the SERPs, such as a paid listing, local listing or organic listing.

Learn more about listing types.


Long-Tail Keyword

A keyword with more than four words would typically be considered long-tail, these are likely to be much more specific terms and have lower search volume but higher intent.




Machine Learning

An automated way for algorithms to self-teach through an iterative process of testing and improvement based on the data being fed into them.


Majestic (Previously Majestic SEO)

Majestic is a well-known link intelligence tool.


Manual Action

Google’s term for a penalty. Google will take manual action on a website after a human reviewer (i.e., a Google employee) manually reviews a website to confirm whether it has failed to comply with Google’s Webmaster guidelines. Penalized websites can either be demoted or removed entirely from search results. Manual actions can be assessed to the entire website or just certain webpages.


Mb (Megabyte)

A unit of measurement for file size, a Megabyte is 1,000,000 bytes or 1,000 Kb.



This is where a site mentions your site or brand but does not link to it. This is starting to become a more significant ranking signal and have many of the same features as a backlink. Relevance, context and whether it is a positive or negative mention as well as the authority of the page can impact the quality of a citation.

These are also called ‘citations’.


Meta Data

Information about a webpage, located on a webpage, but not visible to users.

Learn more about meta data.


Meta Description

An indirect ranking factor, the meta description is a short sales message for a page that will appear in the organic search results under the headline for the listing. The meta description should encourage a user to click on the listing.

Learn more about meta descriptions.


Meta Keywords

This tag is only used by Bing and therefor has no relevance to SEO for Google. This tag can contain the target keywords for the page.

Learn more about meta keywords.


Meta Robots

A meta robots tag can instruct search engine web crawlers like Googlebot to index or not index a page. They can also have a range of other functionality such as stipulating whether links should be followed or not.

Learn more about meta robots.


Meta Tags

Information about a webpage, located on a webpage, but not visible to users.

Learn more about meta tags.


Meta Title

A meta tag that determines the title for the page which is shown as the headline of an organic listing. Keyword usage within this tag is a direct ranking factor and so optimising meta titles (otherwise known as page titles) for keywords is standard practice.

Learn more about meta title.



A unit or standard of measurement. For example, the number of users to visit a page or the time they spent on the site are both considered metrics.

Learn more about metrics.


Mobile Search

Searches performed on mobile devices and the search results that appear on mobile device. Mobile search is often different to desktop or tablet search results.

This has been rapidly growing for years and now accounts for a large percentage of all searches. Sites that perform well on mobile devices are typically going to perform better in the mobile search results.


Mobile Site/s

A site designed for use on mobile devices typically housed on a sub domain such as:


Although a mobile site can be housed in a sub-directory such as:


Use of this method for providing customised mobile access to a site is less popular now. Other more advanced technologies such as responsive and adaptive sites are a better and more elegant solution.



The go to source of SEO information and has been for ages, Moz fosters a huge community of SEOs and they provide a range of SEO tools.


Ms (Millisecond)

A unit of time often used when measuring the different components loaded during the process of accessing / requesting a webpage.


Multi-Variant Testing (MVT)

A test done with more than two variants. You may test multiple landing pages, ads or versions of something concurrently as part of a process like conversion optimisation.




Natural Link

A naturally acquired link from a site, meaning that you did not seek out or commission someone to acquire the link. This is the same as an ‘editorial link’.


Negative SEO

A set of techniques that aim to reduce the rankings and organic visibility for a site in a malicious and deliberate attack. These tactics are designed to violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and result in the site being penalised or sandboxed.


News Sitemap

An XML sitemap that lists the most recent news stories on your site, used for Google News results.

Learn more about news sitemaps.


New vs returning users

This is a ‘metric’ used to assess a range of things like engagement, as it shows the ratio of users that have previously been on your site vs those that are new.


Noarchive Tag

This is a type of meta tag that instructs search engines not to store a cached copy of the page this tag is located on.

Learn more about the Noarchive tag.


Nofollow Attribute

The nofollow attribute prevents authority from passing through any link it is added to, for example:

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Example Anchor Text</a>

This is often implemented in a protectionist way on all external / outbound links on a site to preserve authority.

Learn more about nofollow.


Noindex Tag

The noindex tag instructs search engines not to index the page this tag is located on.

Learn more about noindex.


Non-canonical Page

A page with a canonical URL that links to another page. Any page with a canonical that is not self-referential is a non-canonical page.

Learn more about canonicals.


Non-indexable Page

A page that cannot be indexed by a search engine.

Learn more about indexation.


Nosnippet Tag

The nosnippet tag is a type of meta tag that instructs search engines not to show excerpted or cached content.

Learn more about nosnippet tags.


“(not provided)”

In 2011 Google started grouping keyword data (in Google Analytics) into the ‘not provided’ category if users were logged into Google. This was because those searches were encrypted, now however, all web browsers have made all searches encrypted. Consequently, the keyword data is not provided.




Off-Page SEO

SEOI activities that take place off page but online like link or citation acquisition or social media.

Learn more about off-page SEO.


On-Page SEO

SEO that takes place on a site even if it’s in the source code or server side, such as optimising page titles or improving page load times.

Learn more about on-page SEO.


Opengraph Tags

These are tags that sit in the source code of a webpage and define components when sharing content on Facebook. The tags allow you to specify things like:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Image
  • URL

This allows you to customise how your content appears when being shared on Facebook.

Learn more about OpenGraph Tags.



The process of improving a site both on and off page for a set of target keywords with the aim of increasing the site’s organic visibility for those keywords.

Learn more about optimisation.



This is used as a prefix to other words and phrases to specify that you are talking about the organic version of that thing, like traffic for example. By organic, we mean things to do with SEO.


Organic Search

The organic listings and results and searches relating to a search engine.

Learn more about organic search.


Organic Search Results

The search results that are not paid ads or knowledge graph listings.

Learn more about the organic search results.


Organic Traffic

The traffic from search engines that is not paid for.

Learn more about organic traffic.


Organic Conversions, Revenue, etc

Conversions, revenue and profit arising from organic traffic.

Learn more about organic conversions & organic revenue.


Organic Visibility

A composite metric that considers the following for a keyword or group of keywords:

  • Ranking for keyword/s
  • Estimated search volume for keyword/s
  • Estimated traffic derived from ranking and search volume

This is a powerful measure of SEO success because of the weighting and aspects considered.

Learn more about organic visibility.


Orphan Page

A webpage with no internal links pointing to it or a page with no follow links pointing to it.


Outbound Link

A link on your site that links to another domain / site.

Learn more about outbound linking.




Page Depth

Same as ‘click depth’, this is the minimum number of clicks a page is from the home page.


Page Load Time

The time taken to load a webpage, often measured in seconds. This is a very powerful direct ranking factor.

Learn more about page load times.



This is Google’s metric used to measure the authority that a page has based on the backlinks that page has pointing to it.

Learn more about PageRank.


Page Speed

The speed (load time) of a webpage and all the components and factors that play a role in affecting it. This is a very powerful direct ranking factor.

Learn more about page speed.


Page Title/s

Also known as a meta title, this is a HTML meta tag that defines the title of a page, these are shown in the search results as the headline of a listing. Keyword usage within this field is a direct ranking factor.

Learn more about page titles.



A user viewing a webpage within a web browser.



Splitting content up into smaller chucks and the process of handling this from a canonical perspective. You can create a paginated series of content using the rel next and prev tags.

Learn more about pagination.


Paid Advertising Platform/s

Platforms like Google AdWords & Bing Ads, but could also include native advertising platforms like Outbrain or Rev Content and social media sites like Facebook or LinkedIn.

Learn more about PPC.


Paid Search

The paid listings within the SERPs.

Learn more about SERPs.


Path to Purchase

The path or journey that users take prior to making a purchase on your site. This can be mapped out as an on-page path such as the journey through webpages on your site. It can also be seen as a path through channels such as:

  • Organic listing (blog post)
  • Paid ad (product feature page)
  • Direct (product page)
    • Purchase



An acronym for ‘Private Blog Network’, these are like link farms.



A penalty is where Google restricts traffic to your site by reducing or removing rankings for any number of keywords. This is done because they have detected or determined your site to be using tactics and techniques that are against their webmaster guidelines.

There are two types of penalty that a site can receive from Google, these are:


You will be notified of this via a message in Google Search Console. They typically tell you what you have done to some extent and this provides you with the chance to remedy the situation.


These are not reported in Google Search Console and are hence harder to detect.



Otherwise known as a ‘buyer persona’, this is a is a semi-fictional portrayal of a customer, the concept stems from traditional marketing. You would typically base a persona on the data you have about existing customers and various types of research. The most common components of a persona are things like:

  • Demographics
  • Motivation
  • Aims & goals
  • Behaviour

Building personas allows you to form strategies around how to meet their needs at different stages of the conversion funnel.



Search engines can use a range of data such as location, time, day, browsing history, sites you’ve previously visited from Google, and device to deliver personalised results. This means that when you and three others search for something in Google, you can all get different results.

To reduce some (but not all) the effects of personalisation, you can use an incognito browser.


Personalised Results

The consequence of personalisation, which are SERPs that are personalised to the person searching.



An acronym for ‘Hypertext Preprocessor’ which is a server scripting language. This is primarily used because it enables the use of dynamic content and interfaces on webpages.


Placeholder Text

Text that is left in or entered by default by a tool in a field like a page title or meta description. Often something like ‘enter text’ or ‘untitled’ would represent placeholder text.



The act of a user moving between the search results and the pages listed in the results.



The position (otherwise known as ‘rank’) of a site / page listed within the search results. Often this refers to the organic position or organic rank and only counts other organic positions. For example, if there were three paid ads then an organic listing, that listing is considered position 1 (organically).

Learn more about organic positions.


PPC (Pay Per Click)

The colloquial term given to the management, use or implementation of various paid advertising platforms like Google AdWords & Bing Ads. This acronym is ubiquitous in both the US and UK but is referred to as ‘SEM’ in countries like Australia.

Learn more about PPC.





An acronym for ‘Query Deserves Freshness’, this is when Google my show results that are related to current trends rather than older content in order to deliver more relevant results.


Quality Content

As the term implies, this is content of a high standard and delivering results in whatever form you measure them in.

Learn more about content.


Quality Link

Despite the word ‘link’ having multiple uses, this phrase exclusively refers to the quality of a backlink. Quality should be measured using the following:

  • Authority
  • Relevance
  • Trust
  • Natural / safe
  • Legitimate

Learn more about Backlinks.



The word or phrase that is entered into a search engine, delivering search results.

Learn more about search queries.





The organic rank of a site in the search results for a specific keyword. This only counts other organic positions, for example; if there were three paid ads then an organic listing, that listing is considered position 1 (organically).

Learn more about rankings.


Ranking Factor

Often called a ‘ranking signal’ this is something that’s considered as part of a ranking algorithm such as keyword use within a page title or the strength of a backlink profile. This can also include things that do not directly affect the rankings, but indirectly affect them such as meta descriptions.


Ranking Signal

Same as Ranking factor.



The aggregate of the ranks a site has for its target keywords.

Learn more about rankings.


Raptor Digital Marketing Tools

This is us! We are a SaaS company making SEO Tools to automate processes, data collection, analysis and reporting.


Reciprocal Links

If two sites link to each other, those links are reciprocal.

Learn more about reciprocal linking.



This is where you visit a page, but the URL changes and you end up on a different URL. This is done for many reasons from removing canonical duplication to pages that have moved or are retired. There are many ways to implement a redirect but only two types of status code returned by redirected pages, which are:

  • 301 (Permanent)
  • 302 (Temporary)

Learn more about redirections.


Referral Traffic

Traffic that comes from other websites to your website but is not from a search engine or social media site or a pad ad or any kind.



The place (URL) on the web where a user came from immediately before visiting your site.



This is what you try to do when a site or page has been removed from Google’s index, to try and get it back into the index.



This tag is used with the ‘Hreflang attribute’ to define other regional or language versions of the page and its content. The rel alternate tag could look like this:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-gb" href="" />

Learn more about rel alternate and hreflang.


Relative Link

A link that does not include the domain vs a link that does, which is called an absolute link:

  • /seo/page/ <Relative
  • /seo/ <Relative
  • <Absolute
  • <Absolute
  • <Absolute



Typically, this refers to the relevance a page or site has to a target keyword or group of keywords. Relevance is driven by having quality content, optimised for target keywords, supported by relevance backlinks & citations.

Learn more about relevance.



Used as part of pagination, this defines the next page in a series of paginated content.

Learn more about rel next & prev.



Used as part of pagination, this defines the previous page in a series of paginated content.

Learn more about rel next & prev.


Reputation Management

The process of controlling the search results for a brand or certain keywords, typically to prevent bad press or negative information being prevalent in the search results.


Response Code/s

These are the codes that are returned when a page is accessed. For example, if a page is accessible it would get a status code of ‘200’. A permanently redirected page would give a response code of ‘301’, whereas a page that cannot be found would be a ‘404’. There are many response codes.

Also see ‘Status codes’.

Learn more about status codes.


Responsive Website

A website technology that allows the site to adjust its layout, design and features based on the screen size of the device accessing the site.

Learn more about responsive websites.


Rich Snippet

These are the enhanced listing information that can appear in the SERPs for organic listings, this is drawn from structured data added to the code of webpages.



This is a little text file that sits on the root of your domain (see below example) and can instruct search engines crawling your site what to crawl and what not to crawl.

Learn more about the robots.txt


Return on Investment (ROI)

Calculated by dividing revenue by cost. For example, if you spent $10K and you made $15K, you would have an ROI of 1.5 or 150%. 100% ROI is break even, anything less is a loss and anything more is a profit.





An acronym for ‘Software as a Service’, this is our business model, we build software and allow people to login and use it at a cost. SaaS is provided over the internet and typically requires no installation of any software on your local computer or device.



Schema is a type of structured data that is added to the HTML of webpages to mark it up such that search engines can understand what components of the page are. Schema provides contextual information about a page and its contents or the site and business itself.

Learn more about Schema.



This is what a web crawler or web scraper do, they collect information from webpages such as meta data or content.

Learn more about web scraping.



Also see ‘web crawler’, these are automated programs that scrape data from sites.

Learn more about web scraping.


Search Engine

A web-based app that delivers webpages and ads as results based on searches.

Learn more about Search Engines.


Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

A catch-all term for the different disciplines such as SEO, PPC, Analytics, CRO and such like. In Australia ‘SEM’ is used instead of ‘PPC’.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The collection of processes, tactics and techniques used to improve a website’s organic visibility for a set of target keywords.

Learn more about SEO.


Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

The SERPs are the result pages that are returned after a search and encompass all the different results such as ads, organic listings, rich snippets, knowledge graph, etc.

Learn more about SERPs.


Search History

The previous searches performed by a user.


Search Query

The search entered into a search engine that returns search results.

Learn more about search queries.


Search Term/s

The search entered into a search engine that returns search results.

Learn more about search terms.



A collection of actions such as pageviews and conversions that a user takes during a single visit to a site.


Session Duration

The duration in minutes/seconds that a session lasts for.


Session ID/s

Session IDs are appended to URLs in order to deal with / handle user sessions. This may look something like this in the URL:


Learn more about session ids and session id duplication.


Share of Voice

The percentage of the either the impressions or traffic that a site receives versus the total available for a keyword or set of keywords.



A website/s.



These are additional text links sometimes with descriptions that can appear under an organic listing. There can be up to six sitelinks shown at one time, these are deep links or links to pages other than the homepage. Google determines these algorithmically.



A sitemap is a list of webpages, images, video or news articles on a website. There are two types of sitemaps which are determined by the file type:


This is a navigational device.


Designed to provide a comprehensive list of all content you want to be indexed on a site, used for indexation.

Learn more about sitemaps.


Sitewide Link/s

These are links that appear on every page of a site, typically in the footer or navigation.


Social Media

Web based apps (also known as platforms) where users can share content and engage with one another. These include things like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Learn more about social media.



A top-level analysis where you look at things the list below, for both your site and a range of competitor sites:

  • Content
  • Page speed
  • Backlinks
  • Rankings
  • Social media

This is done to identify opportunities and weaknesses as well as to benchmark your site against your competitors.


Social Signal

Everything from shares, like, tweets, engagement, followers, etc all signal to Google relevance, influence and authority. Google state that this does not play a part in their algorithm, but many studies have shown otherwise.



Webpages and content that exists only to manipulate the search results.



A spider (otherwise known as a bot or crawler) is software that runs automated tasks over the Internet. Typically, these tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, and performed at a massively higher rate than would be possible for humans to match.


Split Testing

Also known as ‘a/b testing’ this is the process of running two competing ads or pages against each other, to improve performance:

  • Create two variants
  • Run against each other
  • See which one performs the best
  • Ensure statistical significance
  • Remove the lower performing variant
  • Make a copy of the higher performing variant with a slight change
  • Repeat


SSL Certificate

An acronym for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’, these are small data files that allow secure connections from a web server to a browser.


Staging Server

A hosting server used to hold websites still in development (being built).


Statistical Significance

Statistically significant is the likelihood that a relationship between two or more variables is caused by something other than chance. This is used to determine whether the result of a data set is statistically significant. You do not act on data that is not statistically significant, but you can on data that is.


Status Code/s

These are the codes that are returned when a page is accessed. For example, if a page is accessible it would get a status code of ‘200’. A permanently redirected page would give a response code of ‘301’, whereas a page that cannot be found would be a ‘404’. There are many status codes.

Also see ‘response code/s’.

Learn more about status codes.


Stop Word

These are words like:

  • A
  • At
  • For
  • Is
  • Of
  • On
  • The

Historically these are words that Google would ignore but that is as consistent as it used to be.


Structured Data

This is code that’s added to the HTML of webpages to mark it up such that search engines can understand what components of the page are. Schema provides contextual information about a page and its contents or the site and business itself.

Learn more about structured data.



A subdomain is a different part to a domain, that can be added, such as:




Tap Targets

An essential part of mobile SEO, tap targets are the areas that a user can tap to click on mobile devices when accessing your site.


Target Keyword/s

A keyword (see keyword/s) that is being targeted by a site or as part of a strategy. Often used when performing keyword research to differentiate between keywords being targeted and keywords not being targeted.

Learn more about keywords.



The classification of content and its structure on a website.


Technical Audit

The process of analysing a website for technical issues such as page speed, canonical issues or missing meta tags.

Learn more about technical audits.



A smaller version of an image or the image that is shown as the cover shot for a video.


Time on Page

The amount of time a user or users spent on a page.


Title Tag

Also known as a meta title, this is a HTML meta tag that defines the title of a page, these are shown in the search results as the headline of a listing. Keyword usage within this field is a direct ranking factor.

Learn more about page titles.


Top-Level Domain (TLD)

The domain suffix such as .com or .org and are sometimes known as gTLD (general Top Level Domain).



Users / people that visit a site or page. This can include bot traffic.

Learn more about organic traffic.


Trailing Slash

The final “/” forward slash at the end of a URL, such as:




A written account of the words spoken in a video, used for subtitles and to provide Google with the content of a video helping a video rank.



This typically refers to how trustworthy a link or site is.

Learn more about trust & quality.


Twitter Cards

Like OpenGraph tags, these are tags that sit in the source code of a webpage and define components when sharing content on Twitter. The tags allow you to specify things like:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Image
  • URL

This allows you to customise how your content appears when being shared on Twitter.

Learn more about Twitter Cards.




User-Generated Content (UGC)

Content such as comments or reviews that are generated by the users rather than the owners of website.


User Journey

This includes all the touchpoints along a user’s journey that lead to them becoming a customer. Often referred to as a ‘path to purchase’, these touchpoints could include seeing ads, reading blog posts, etc.

You can also map user journeys through a site regardless of whether the user converts.

Learn more about user journeys.


Universal Search

In contrast to the SERPs of the past, modern result pages include a range of different media such as videos, images, local listings, to name a few. This new landscape is referred to as universal search.


Unnatural Link

A backlink that is manipulative or designed to deceive Google and alter rankings.



An acronym for ‘Uniform Resource Locator’ this is the address of web-based content.

Learn more about URLs.


URL Parameter/s

Additional characters after a URL… At the end of a URL you can add a question mark, and this denotes the end of the URL and the beginning of URL parameters. Often used for attaching additional tracking to ads or links.



A part of UX (User Experience) is the usability of a website, including the analysis of things like browser and device compatibility.

Learn more about UX.



A person who visits your site.


User Agent

A web crawler.


User Experience (UX)

The process and techniques used to improve the experience a user has on a site.

Learn more about UX.




Vertical Search

A search engine that specialises in a specific topic.


Video Sitemap

An XML sitemap that lists the videos on your site.

Learn more about video sitemaps.


Viewport Tag

Without a viewport meta tag, mobile devices render pages at typical desktop screen widths, and then scale the pages to fit the mobile screens.



A composite metric that considers the following for a keyword or group of keywords:

  • Ranking for keyword/s
  • Estimated search volume for keyword/s
  • Estimated traffic derived from ranking and search volume

This is a powerful measure of SEO success because of the weighting and aspects considered.

Learn about organic visibility.



A collection of video content known as ‘posts’ or ‘video blog posts’, posted chronologically on a website of a business, institution or individual.


Voice Search

The technology that allows people to search using their voice.




Web Analytics

The process and components of tracking and analysing website data.

Learn more about Web Analytics for SEO.



A ‘page’ of a website that you visit on the web such as the page you are now on.



A domain and all its pages, content and resources.


Website Navigation

The various components and features that allow users to navigate a website such as:

  • Internal linking
  • Side menus
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Sitemaps

Learn more about website navigation.


Website Migration

The process of moving from an old website to a new website. There are many SEO considerations during this process that are required to preserve organic visibility.

Learn more about website migrations.



Webpages and content that exists only to manipulate the search results.


White Hat

SEO techniques and tactics that are in line with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.


Word Count

The number of words on a page or site.



A CMS used to make websites.



Acronym for ‘World Wide Web’.





An acronym for ‘Extensible Mark-up Language’, this is a mark-up language used by Google and other search engines to understand website data.


XML Sitemap

A list of all the pages on a website that search engines need to know.

Learn about XML sitemaps.





Yahoo is a search engine powered by Microsoft’s Bing.



Yandex is the most widely used search engine in Russia.




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