We’ll be the first to admit that all the definitions and terms relating to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be confusing and overwhelming for the average business person. Our team has developed this glossary to help you better understand SEO and several of its activities, focuses, strategies and more. We hope that by better understanding these concepts and terms, you’ll be more confident in how different parts of the practice will help you rise in Google rankings!
301 Redirect: An HTTP status code sent by a web server to a browser that signals a permanent redirect from one URL to another.
302 Redirect: An HTTP status code sent by a web server to a browser that signals a temporary redirect from one URL to another.
404 Not Found: An HTTP status code indicating that a server could not find the requested webpage (URL).
Alt Text: Short for Alternative Text, Alt Text is the HTML code that describes a media files’ appearance and function.
Algorithm: A search engine uses a complex algorithm to determine which web page will rank where for a specific query. Google is reported to use over 200 factors and signals in their algorithm.
Anchor Text: A visible and clickable text in a hyperlink. (Often, an anchor text has a highlight or underline to make it distinguishable from normal text.)
Audit: An analysis conducted to assess a website’s current SEO performance, strengths, weakness and opportunities.
Backlinks: An incoming hyperlink from one website to another website.
Bing: Bing is a search engine like Google and Yahoo. When conducting SEO, it is important to optimise your website for Bing and other search engines despite Google’s monopoly.
Black Hat: Any SEO practice that violates Google’s quality guidelines. (Information about the Webmaster Guidelines can be viewed here.)
Blog: A regularly updated website or webpage that presents content in chronological order.
Bots: A search engine’s web crawlers that are responsible for crawling pages for indexing. regularly updated website or webpage that presents content in chronological order.
Bounce Rate: A percentage of users who leave your website without visiting another page.
Branded Keywords: A keyword that includes your brand or product name, and/or a variation of them.
Breadcrumb: A navigation that helps a user understand the relationship between their current page and others (such as higher-level category pages).
Broken Link: A broken or dead link that doesn’t work anymore, potentially due to a range of different issues including incorrect formatting, removed or behind a firewall.
Cached: A common state in which your browser is displaying an old version of a website.
Caching: A hardware or software that stores data so future requests are served more efficiently.
Canonical URL: A HTML element that defines the main version of a page used for duplicates, near-duplicates and/or similar pages.
CDN (Content Delivery Network): A distribution of servers, often across the world, to help a website load faster for users.
Citations: An online reference of a business’ NAP – name, address and phone number.
Clicks: The total count of how many times your advertisement was clicked including multiple engagements from a single/repeat user.
CMS (Content Management System): A software that helps individuals create, manage and/or modify content on a website such as WordPress.
Compressing: A process of reducing the website’s file size and load time.
Conversions: When a user completes an action such as clicking the call button or subscribing to the newsletter.
Core Web Vitals: A set of specific factors that Google deems as important in a webpage’s overall user experience. Currently, Core Web Vitals consist of cumulative layout shift, first input delay and largest contentful paint.
Crawling: Process in which a search engine such as Google discovers your site’s pages.
Crawl Error: An error that prevents search engine bots from successfully crawling a website and/or webpage.
CSS: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) dictates how HTML elements are to be displayed on a device.
Deep Link: Any hyperlink which directs a user past a website’s homepage and to a webpage within it.
De-Indexed: When a website or web page is taken out of a search engine’s index and consequently, does not appear in the search engine results for any searches.
Disavow: A process of informing Google not to consider a backlink.
D0-Follow: A HTML attribute that is used to allow bots to follow the links; a default state for links.
Dopgile: A metasearch engine that fetches results from Google, Yahoo! and other search engines.
Domain Authority: A ranking score, introduced by Moz, used to gauge the relevancy of a website.
Domain: The URL or the name used to identify a website and its pages.
Duck Duck Go: A search engine that emphasises privacy and security for its users.
Duplicated Content: Content that appears on the Internet more than once.
External Link: Also known as an Outbound Link, refers to any link from one website to another.
Featured Snippets: An instant answer to a search query placed in a box above the organic SERP.
Findability: Ability of a user to find the necessary information on a website.n instant answer to a search query placed in a box above the organic SERP.
Google Analytics: A free web analytics service provided by Google that tracks and reports on a website’s traffic. One can access Google Analytics here.
Google Search Console: A Google software which helps webmasters monitor, maintain and trouble their site’s visibility in Google Search. One can access Google Search Console here.
Gray Hat: Are practices that fall between Black Hat and White Hat SEO.
Guest Blogging: Practice of writing a post that is published on another site (often blog) as a featured author.
Header Tags: Refers to the six different HTML tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 & H6) available to separate content in regards to importance.
Hidden Text: Any text that is hidden on a website from people but visible to Google bots that index and rank a page.
Hosting: Code and software are stored on a server so that a website can be accessed.
HTML: Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the standard markup language for website creation.
Indexing: Process of a search engine collecting, parsing and storing data for indexing.
IP Address: A unique numerical label that identifies a device on the internet or a local network.
Keywords: Words and phrases that describe the content on a web page or post.
Keyword Cannibalisation: Occurs when too many web pages on one website are intentionally or unintentionally targeting the same keyword.
Keyword Density: Refers to the number of times a target keyword is used on a webpage.
Knowledge Panel: An information box that appears on Google’s search engine result pages when searching for entities including businesses and people.
Keyword Research: Process which involves identifying popular keywords and phrases people use when searching on platforms like Google.
Landing Page: A standalone web page, which is usually created specifically for audience segmentation or digital marketing.
Link Building: A process of acquiring backlinks to build a site’s profile.
Link Juice: All the equity or value passed from one website or web page to another due to a link.
Log File: A file containing every single resource on a website that is being requested by bots or users.
Local Pack: A section of Google’s search results that show local businesses relating to the search.
Local SEO: Practice of optimising a website for local searches (whether suburb or state-related).
Long-Tail Keyword: A longer, highly specific phrase used when a user is searching online.
Manual Penalty: A “Manual Action” applied by Google after one of their human raters has determined a webpage has violated their quality guidelines.
Map Pack: Also known as Local Pack, is the map results that appear on Google search engine result pages.
Meta Description: An HTML element that describes the contents of a webpage.
Meta Tag: Are HTML tags that provide data about a webpage to search engines and searchers.
Mobile-First Indexing: A term to describe how Google predominantly uses the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking.
Navigation: A system that facilitates movement through a website.
No-Follow Link: A HTML tag that specifies a bot shouldn’t follow the link.
No-Index Tag: An HTML tag that indicates a web page shouldn’t be indexed by search engines.
No-Snippet Tag: An HTML tag that prevents search engines from showing a snippet (image, text or video) on the search engine results page.
Off-Page SEO: Practice of optimising web pages via its content and HTML to earn higher rankings and search traffic.
On-Page SEO: Practice of optimising web pages via actions external to the website to earn higher rankings and search traffic.
Optimisation: Also known as Search Engine Optimisation, and is all the activities conducted to improve a website’s organic visibility on search engines.
Organic Listing: Also known as Natural Links, the searches which appear organically and not through paid means.
Organic Search: All searches conducted on a search engine.
Organic Traffic: A site visit that has been acquired naturally via a search results placement.
Orphan Page: A published web page without any internal links to it.
Outbound Link: A link from one website to another website.
Paid Search: Any website traffic generated on a search engine result page through paid advertising.
PageRank: An algorithm used by Google to rank web pages in their search engine results.
Page Speed: A measure of how fast a website fully loads.
Pageview: Any instance a web page is loaded in a browser.
PHP: Stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and is a popular general-purpose scripting language suited for website development.
Pogo Stick: A journey where a searcher navigates between a search engine results page and web pages on it.
Position: A website’s spot on a search engine result page i.e. 1 or 15th.
Query: A word or string of words that a user enters into a search engine’s search box.
Ranking: Order in which search results are placed and based on their relevance to the query.
Ranking Factor: A criteria that search engines consider as evaluating what web page should rank and where for each search query.
Redirect: A way to send users from one URL / web page to another URL / web page.
Rich Snippet: Any organic search result with enhanced information displayed alongside a website’s URL, title and meta description.
Robots.txt: A file which suggests the parts of your website that search engines should and shouldn’t crawl.
Schema: Semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML to improve the way search engines read and represent your page in SERPs.
Scrape: A process of collecting data from a website.
Search Engine: A program which allows Internet users to search for content via the WWW. Bing, Google and Yahoo are all examples of search engines.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM): All activities conducted to improve search engine visibility including PPC. SEM encompasses both organic and paid traffic.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): All the activities conducted to improve a website’s organic visibility on search engines.
Search Volume: A total number of searches for a particular query.
SERP: Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is the page/s seen when making a search.
Server: A computer system that provides data to other computer over a network.
Slug / Permalink: A part of a URL that specifies a page’s location on a domain.
Sitemap: A hierarchical list of pages belonging to a website. Often a XML document which helps search engine’s crawl your site.
SSL Certificate: Stands for “Secure Sockets Layer” Certificate used to encrypt data transferred between a web server and the search browser.
Status Code: Also known as response status codes, are issued to inform a server if a request can be fulfilled or not.
Subdomain: An extension of an existing domain. Often used to organise and navigate different parts of a website.
Taxonomy: A group of URLs with a common attributed and shared relevance.
Title Tag: An HTML code tag that specifies the title of a webpage.
Top-Level Domain (TLD): Refers to the last part of a domain name such as .com, .org and .gov.
Traffic: Refers to the number of visitors a website and/or webpage receives.
TrustRank: An algorithm which utilises trust signals to determine the legitimacy of core ranking signals.
URL: Uniform Resource Locations are the addresses (locations) for content on a website.
URL Parameter: Are used to pass on information about
User Experience (UX):
Vertical Search Engine:
Voice Search: A search completed through vocal input rather than text input.
Website: All the web pages and content under a single domain.
White Hat: All the ethical practices used to acquire backlinks. Opposite to Black Hat and consequently, is SEO practices which comply with Google’s quality guidelines.
Word Count: Number of words within a web page or post. (Google suggests that a page with ranking intentions has a minimum word count of 300.)
XML: An extensible markup language (XML) is a markup language of codes and tags that describes the text in a digital document.
XML Sitemap: A file that lists a website’s pages to support Google in crawling and indexing them all.
Yoast: A popular plugin that helps optimise WordPress websites.
Youtube: A free video-sharing platform with opportunities for paid marketing.
Zero Click Searches: A search that resolves in an individual getting an answer without clicking on a website.