The Ultimate Glossary of SEO Terms You Should Know

Do you know what the following terms stand for? Bounce Rate Disavow Tool Technical SEO Cloaking To help you navigate the world...

Written by Deepanshu Gahlaut · 14 min read >
The Ultimate Glossary of SEO Terms You Should Know

Do you know what the following terms stand for?

  • Bounce Rate
  • Disavow Tool
  • Technical SEO
  • Cloaking

To help you navigate the world of the marketing and what these terms mean, I have created a list of A to Z glossaries of SEO terms that:

– define and simplify technical terminology
– will help you manage your website and SEO work
– will help you prepare for SEO interview questions
– will help you brush up on your SEO knowledge

So let’s start.
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


200 Status Code: (OK) It means the request to the server has succeeded. The response depends on the HTTP methods that includes GET, POST, HEAD and TRACE.
301 Redirect: (Moved Permanently) Commonly called by SEOs, indicates that the page has permanently moved to a new location. It passes 90-99% link juice to the redirected page.
302 Redirect: (Found) Indicates that the page has temporarily moved to the location. It passes 0% link juice to the redirected page.
404 Status Code: (Page/File Not Found) It means that the requested page or file is not found or simply, doesn’t exist.
410 Status Code: (Gone) It means that the requested content or resource has been deleted from the server.
500 Status Code: (Internal Server Error) The server encountered a condition that server doesn’t know how to handle.
503 Status Code: (Service Unavailable) It means the server is unable to handle your request at that moment of time. In SEO, you can use a 503 HTTP status code to tell Google Bot that the website is temporarily unavailable due to maintenance or overloading.


Above the Fold:  Area of a web page that is visible to users without scrolling down. Also, note that content placed above the fold receives more viewer attention.
Alexa: Alexa is a ranking number that defines the traffic metrics of a website. Lower Alexa means higher traffic.
Anchor Text: Visible text of a hyperlink that you can click to open the linking page.
Affiliate Marketing: In this type of marketing, you refer your friends, family or someone to any product or service and if that person chooses that product or service based on your recommendation, you receive a sum of money, called commission.
Alt Tag: It is used to specify alternative text for an image which helps search engine better understand and rank it.
Acquired Links:  These are the links which are acquired by the website owner via payment or distribution.


Bookmarking: It simply means saving the address of a web page or website that you can access or re-visit in the future.
Backlinks: Backlinks, also known as inbound links or incoming links are the links, a website gets from other domains i.e. an incoming link to your website from other domains.
B2B: (Business to Business) is a business model in which products, information or services are exchanged between businesses.
B2C: (Business to Consumer) is the model in which products, information or services are exchanged between businesses and consumers.
Blackhat SEO: SEO techniques that manipulate search engines to try to rank a site higher and doesn’t comply with search engine guidelines.
Blogroll: It is a list of blogs or websites that a site owner or a blogger recommend, like or read.
Bounce Rate: It is the percentage of visitors who enter to your website and then exit rather than continuing on to view other pages on the site.
Branded Keywords: Search terms that include your brand domain, domain name or business name.
Breadcrumbs:  Breadcrumbs indicate the page’s position in the site hierarchy and help users better navigate to the site.
Broken Links: Dead links or 404 are the link (or pages) that doesn’t exist.


Crawler: is a program, a bot or a web spider that scans a website, read the content and put them into the search engine index or database.
Comments: a written remark expressing an opinion or reaction.
Canonicalization:  is a process that tells search engines which page to choose between the two duplicate or similar pages. It is implemented by rel=canonical tag.
CSS: Cascading Style Sheets is a technique to add styles (font, colors etc.) to web pages for better presentation.
CMS: Content Management System is a software that lets you build websites – write, organize, edit and publish content in an easy manner with advanced settings and administration.
Cloaking: It is a black hat SEO method by which you present different content or URLs to visitors and search engines.
Content: is anything that shares a message to the audience. It may be blogs, articles, comments, videos, images, infographics etc.
Conversions: is something that user takes action after he visits your site and fulfills your business objectives or goals. For-ex. sign ups, completing free trials or transactions.
CTR: Click Through Rate i.e. clicks divided by impressions, where Impressions are the number of your ad or web page shown to the users.
Content Marketing: It’s a form of marketing that makes use of content to achieve goals for your organization. That could be increasing brand awareness, acquiring new customers, retaining existing one or anything else.
Citation Flow: It is a number ranging between 0-100 that predicts the link equity or power an URL or a website carries.


Domain: is the name of a website.
Do-Follow Link: are the links that pass PageRank and Google counts these links in their ranking calculations.
Domain Authority: is a score (1-100) calculated by Moz, that predicts how well a website will rank in search engines. The higher your DA, the more likely you are to have a high rank in search engines.
Directory: a website that lists products, services, businesses or individuals alphabetically or category wise.
Doorway Page (Gateway Page): Doorway pages are low-quality pages that are created to rank high for specific keywords.
Dwell Time: is the actual length of time that a visitor spends on a page before returning to the SERPs. In simple terms, it is the amalgam of bounce rate, session duration and click-through rate (CTR).
Duplicate Content: Content that appears more than one place or websites.
Dead link: a link that doesn’t exist (404 page).
Disavow Tool: Google’s disavow tool allows website owners to tell Google to remove certain external links that Google considers in their ranking calculations.
DMOZ: An Open Directory Project (ODP) that is a human crafted directory of the World Wide Web links.
Dynamic Content: is an HTML content on your website that is generated every time you request it. For example,  forms,  emails, and landing pages change based on the request.


Editorial Links: are the natural and non-paid links that a website earns through their content marketing efforts, public relations or social media.
External Link: links pointing from your website to another website.
Evergreen Content: is simply a content that remains valid over time, it is fresh, valuable, timeless, relevant and always attracts new visitors.


Fresh Content: is simply changing the old content with new, valid and relevant content. It’s one of the Google’s ranking factors.
Forum Posting: Forums are the place to discuss on a particular topic or subject. Using forums to participate and starting or engaging in a conversation is called forum posting technique.


Google Bomb: Google bombing is a practice of biasing Google search result by targeting a specific page, so that when that keyword is searched it will rank no #1 on Google.
Google Dance: It is a time period when Google rolls out its search updates or make some ranking changes, the rankings of websites may fluctuate on SERP during 3 to 5 days period.
Google Authorship: Google authorship is a way to claim the content you create by linking it with your Google+ profile.
Google Algorithm:  Google algorithms are the computer programs and that take your questions and turn them into answers. Today Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals or “clues” that make it possible to guess what you might really be looking for. These signals include things like the terms on websites, the freshness of content, your region, and PageRank.
Google Update: Used interchangeably with Google Algorithm, includes many algorithm updates, search index changes and refreshes such as Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin and Mobile-Friendly Update.
Google Adwords: Google’s free tool for Online Advertising.
Google Analytics: Google’s free tool for getting website statistics – visits, traffics, conversions etc. It helps you know how people interact with your site.
GoogleBot: Google’s crawler that scans a website, read the content and put them into the search engine index.
Google Adsense: Google’s free tool for website owners and publishers to earn money online by showing ads on their site.
Google Trends: Google’s free tool to explore trending topics.
Google Webmaster: Now known as Search Console, is a free tool from Google for site owners, developers, and marketers to manage and improve the presence on Google search.
Google Keyword Planner: Google’s free keyword research tool for estimating search traffic of keywords and much more.
Google HummingBird: Released in September 2013, and is designed to better understand the meaning behind words. It takes whole query, sentence or conversation into account — rather than particular words.
Google Panda: Released in February 2011, this update aims to remove low or poor quality sites (poor & low-quality content) that are ranking high in Google search result.
Google Penguin: Released in April 2012, this update aims to catch sites those with spammy links or low-quality link profile acquired to boost ranking on Google search.
Google EMD Update: This update launched in September 2012 for “Exact Match Domains”  prevents poor quality sites from ranking well simply because they had exact match keywords in their domain name.
Google Top Heavy Update: Launched in January 2012, prevents sites from ranking well that are top heavy with ads i.e. too many ads and not much content above the fold. It is also known as Page-Layout and Above the Fold update.
Google Mobile-Friendly Update: Launched in April  2015, gives the boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results.
Google Pigeon Update: Launched in July 2014, this update aims to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals by taking location and distance into the account.
Google PayDay Update: Launched in June 2013, aims to clean up the search results for traditionally “spammy queries” such as payday loan, pornographic and other heavily spammed queries.
Google Pirate Update: Launched in august 2012, aims to prevent sites with copyright infringement reports, filed using Google DMCA system from ranking well in SERPs.


Heading Tag (H1 – H6): defines the heading, H1 is the most important heading with larger text and H6 is the least significant with smaller text.
HTML: Hypertext Markup Language is a markup language used to create web pages.
Hyperlink: is a link that user follows on the web to go to other pages or navigate through the web.
Hidden Text: is a blackhat SEO technique that aims to hide text and links in order to manipulate search rankings. Common examples include using white text on white background, setting font-size to 0 and hiding a link by linking it to a single character in the middle of a paragraph.
Hit: Every time your device loads a content, a hit or page view is recorded i.e. a data packet that contains information about the user’s activity is sent to the Google Analytics server.
.htaccess file: is a small and powerful text file that controls how your website or pages are displayed to the user. You can do things like redirecting, re-writing URLs, browser caching etc. by adding some code to it.
HTTP and HTTPS: HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and HTTPS  (HTTP Secure) are the protocols for communication over a computer network.


Impressions: is a measure of the number of time your ad is shown on a Google search result page or other partner sites.
Inbound Link: also known as backlinks, that point from other domains to your domain or website.
Internal Link: links that help you navigate you from one page to another within a same domain or website.
Indexing: is a process in which Google lists all the web pages from a domain to its database.


Juice: in other words, ranking power, the value, relevance or authority that a link transmits to another page it’s linking to.
JSON Markup: JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a data-interchange format that stores information in an easy to access and organized manner.
jQuery: is a feature-rich javascript library that helps you to write less and do more.


Keyword: is a word that a user searches on the search engine.
Keyword Density: percentage of times a keyword appears on the web page content compared to the total number of words.
Keyword Stuffing: another blackhat technique, in which a keyword is used many times or abnormally distributed throughout the content of web page.
Knowledge Graph: is a visual representation that collects information about the real-world objects – people, places, and things.
Keyword Research: is an activity that marketing professionals perform to find and analyze the right keywords – keywords that your customers find to reach you or can help you meet your business objectives by ranking higher in search engines.


Link: a reference or connection that help you navigate from one page to another.
Landing Page: is a web page where your visitor lands or arrives. In context to advertising, it is a standalone page with a specific call-to-action and conversion objective.
Link Building: is a process of acquiring backlinks in order to rank higher in search engines.
Link Churn: is the rate at which a link and/or its anchor text change over a given period of time from an origin’s page. In simple terms, it means a rapid decrease in the number of links pointing a page or website.
Link Bursts: simply means the rapid increase in the number of links pointing to a webpage or website. It’s the opposite of link churn.
Link Farm: another black hat technique, a link farm is a group of web pages or websites that all link to a specific page in order to improve the search ranking of that page.
Link Equity: or link juice, is the value or authority passed from a page to a linking page.
Link Juice:  in other words ranking power, or the value, relevance or authority that a link transmits to another page it’s linking to.
Link Exchange: It is the process of exchanging links with other websites with the objective of ranking higher in search engines and getting traffic.
Longtail Keywords: keywords with three or four phrases or words. For-ex. what is SEO?
LSI: Latent Semantic Indexing is a technique in which Google gives more weight-age to a website’s central themes than to the specific keyword densities throughout the site.
Link Pyramid: Link Pyramid is a pyramid similar structure that passes link juice from one site to the next, in such a structure where lowest quality sites link upwards to the next higher quality sites in your network.
Link Wheel: it is a circle structure where several similar themed websites or Web 2.0 properties link to each other and link your website.


Meta Title: is a tag that defines the title of a web page which displays on the tab of the browser.
Meta Description: is a tag that describe a web page or what that page is about in 160 characters.
Mirror Site: is an exact copy of a website and are useful to relieve server load when the original site generates too much traffic.
Manual Penalty: is an action taken by a Google official that may lead to de-indexing of a web page or an entire website.
Meta Keywords: is a tag that tells search engines the topic or keywords of the page.
Microdata: is a standard that allows data or semantic metadata to be embedded in HTML documents that can be read by machines.
Mobile friendly: a web page or website that loads correctly on the mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets without disturbing the user experience.
MozRank: a number calculated by Moz that determines the link popularity or popularity of a page on Internet.


Negative SEO: is a technique that involves black hat methods and unethical practices to a competitor’s website with aim to decrease their organic search presence or even penalize.
No-Follow Link: is a link that doesn’t pass a value or vote to the target link.
No-Index: this value tells search-engine to not to index the page or website.


Organic Results: natural and free-listing of pages that appear on Google when someone makes a search.
Outbound Link: or external links that take you to another specific page or website.
On page optimization: refers to the aspects of a web page that can be taken directly in order to improve search presence. Most common are the content of the page, title, and URL.
Off page optimization: refers to the aspect or factors that website owners can not control directly. Most common includes blogging, social media, directory, reviews, blog comments etc.
Open Graph Protocol: is a protocol that enables any web page to integrate with social graph i.e you can customize how the information flows from a website to social channels such as Facebook when a page is shared.


Page Title: is the title of a web page or document, defined by <title> tag and shows up in search engine results.
PageRank: is an algorithm used by Google that determines the importance of a web page.
PPC: Pay per Click is an advertising model used by Google in which an advertiser pays only when someone clicks his ads.
Penalty: is a manual action taken by the Google that may lead to de-indexation of a web page or a website.
Pageview: refers to the number, each time a visitor views a page during a period of time.
Press Release: or news release or media release is a brief written summary or statement issued to the media and newspapers.
Pagination: is a process of separating content into discrete pages and assigning numbers to those pages.
Page Authority: is a score (1-100) calculated by Moz, that measures the strength of a particular page i.e. how well a page will rank in Google search.


Query: a search term or keyword that a user searches on the search engine.
Quality Content: It is a fresh, unique, user-oriented, engaging and evergreen content.


Ranking Factor: Google uses more than 200 factors to calculate the rank of a page. These are known as ranking factors.
Reciprocal Link: when two site owners give links to each other, this type of link scheme is known as the Reciprocal link.
Robots.txt: is a simple text file that controls how a search engine can access your website and tells what should they index and what not.
Relevency: In context to backlinks, relevancy refers to the websites or web pages that carry similar content.
RSS: short for Rich Site Summary is a standard format to deliver web content i.e. frequently publish information, blogs, news etc.
Responsive Web Design: means that your web page is designed in a way that responds to the user’s behavior, and environments such as screen and platform.
Referring Domain: is a domain from where backlinks point to your website or web page.
Reviews: are the evaluation of a product, service or a business.


Sandbox: The Google Sandbox effect is a theory that defines a time period during which Google restricts the performance of newly registered domains and limit their ability to rank well in SERPs for certain search terms.
Scraping: or web scraping is a technique that involves extracting data from websites such as their content.
SEO: short for Search Engine Optimization, is a technique that optimizes a website for search engine users and aims to improve organic search presence in search engines.
SEM: short for Search Engine Marketing, is a technique that aims to achieve business goals and increase traffic and awareness through paid advertising.
Search Engine: is a program that searches information on the World Wide Web.
SERP: short for Search Engine Result Pages, is the listing of results returned by a search engine in response to search terms.
Sitemap: is an XML file that consists of all the pages that a website owner wants to index by a search engine.
Social Media: are the websites that enable people to communicate, network, create and share content.
Social Bookmarking: is a way to add, edit, organize and search the bookmarks of web pages. Most common examples include StumbleUpon, Delicious etc.
Spamming: something suspicious, unsolicited and done in order to rank higher in search engines or get the attention of people. Common methods include cloaking, pure spam, junk emails, hidden text etc.
Spider: also known as a crawler, is a program that scans a website, read the content and put them into the search engine index. It’s a set of extensible schemas that enables webmasters to embed structured data on their web pages for use by search engines and other applications.
SSL: short for Secure Socket Layer, that creates an encrypted connection between your web server and your web client i.e your browser.


Technical SEO: refers to SEO work that deals with the technical aspects of a website such as changing or adding meta tags to a web page, adding javascript in the source code, 301 or 302 redirects, robots.txt files etc.
TrustRank: simply refers to a trust score that Google provide to each site or page basis on the quality and other relevant factors.
Text Link: simply refers to a link on a text
TLD: short for Top Level Domain is a domain such as .com, .org from the top level of Domain Name System (DNS) of Internet.
Trust Flow: a number calculated by Majestic SEO that determines the trustworthiness of a web page.


URL: short for Uniform Resource Locator that is used to specify references or addresses on the World Wide Web.
URI: short for Uniform Resource Identifier, that identifies a resource either by location, or a name, or both.
UTM: Urchin Tracking Module, are the codes that are added to an URL in order to measure his success (such as visits, clicks etc.) from different channels and campaigns.
UX: short for User Experience
Universal Analytics: is a new version of Google Analytics, that contains a new set of features to track user behavior and activities on the different type of devices such as a ticket kiosk.
UGC: short for User Generated Content, simply means the content or new pages added by the users such as forums and blog comments.


Viral Marketing: a marketing technique that tries to convince users or websites to pass on a promotional or marketing message using channels such as social media to other users.
Visitor: a person that visit a website or web page.


Whitehat SEO: These SEO techniques aim to improve a site by focusing on the visitors instead of on ranking higher in search engines and adhere to the Google or Bing Webmaster guidelines.
Web 2.0: or Internet 2.0 or also called the second stage of development of the Internet, described by the dynamic or user-generated content and the growth of cloud computing and social media.
Webpage and Website: a hypertext document is called a web page and collection of web  pages is called a website.
WordPress: one of most popular and widely used Content Management System (CMS) to manage blogs and websites.
Wiki: is a website or database that is added, edited and organized collaboratively by a community of users.


XML: stands for Extensible Markup Language that is used to store and transport data that can be read by both humans and machines.


Youtube: Google’s free video-sharing website.
Yoast: Yoast offers several plugins for WordPress to optimize your SEO, analytics and more.


Zero Moment Of Truth: ZMOT,  which refers to a point in the way buying cycle when a consumer search for information online and make decisions about brands. This decision-making moment is called ZMOT.
Zeitgeist: is the  Google’s annual roundup of search trends from around the world.

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Written by Deepanshu Gahlaut
I write on SEO, content marketing, latest technologies, and social media. You can find me online, or at home watching sci-fi movies, listening songs, or sleeping. In addition, my latest obsession is creating, collecting and organizing visual content on my new blog - Infopixi, to help bloggers, marketers, and businesses. Profile

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