SEO Glossary

When you skim through our starter SEO guide you will come across terms that you are not familiar with. We have taken the time to list them below with some of the meanings that will help you move forward.

Section 1: What is SEO

Black hat: Search engine optimization tricks and tactics that try to game rankings that go against Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Crawling: The way search bots move across the web from one website to another to discover content.

De-indexed: This is when a page, site has been removed from a search engines index.

Featured snippets: Is an extra area of the organic search results that show answers to questions taken from web pages.

Google My Business listing: A free listing available to local businesses.

Indexing: The storing and organizing of content found during crawling.

KPI: A “key performance indicator” is a measurable value that indicates how well an activity is achieving a goal.

Local pack: Is a section of the search engine results pages showing information related to local search terms.

Query: What the user enters into the search bar AKA keyword.

Ranking: Where your website is listed in the search engine results pages.

SERPs: Stands for “search engine results pages” — the page you see after conducting a search.

URL: Uniform Resource Locators are the locations or addresses for individual pieces of content on the web.

White hat: SEO plan that conforms to the search engine Guidelines.

Section 2: The Dynamics of a Search Engine

2xx status codes: A class of status codes that indicate the request for a page has succeeded.

4xx status codes: A class of status codes that indicate the request for a page has gone wrong and there is an error.

5xx status codes: A class of status codes that indicate the server’s inability to perform the request.

Advanced search operators: Special characters and commands you can type into the search bar to further specify your query.

Algorithms: A formula for the search engines to order data.

Backlinks: Links that point to a website.

Bots: The crawl the net to find content and are also known as spiders or crawlers.

Caching: A saved version of your web page.

Citations: Is a listing that includes your location data that will include your Name, Area, and Phone Number (NAP).

Cloaking: Hiding content from the search engines, and showing different content to human visitors.

Crawler directives: Instructions to the crawler regarding what you want it to crawl and index on your site.

Google Search Console: A free program provided by Google that allows site owners to monitor how their site is doing in search.

HTML: Hypertext markup language is the language used to create web pages.

Index: A database of all the URLs and content the search bots have uncovered.

Internal links: Links on your own site that point to your other pages on the same site.

JavaScript: A programming language that adds performs actions on a web page.

Manual penalty: Refers to a Google “Manual Action” where a human reviewer has determined certain pages on your site violate Google’s quality guidelines.

Meta robots tag: Pieces of code that provide crawlers instructions for how to crawl or index web page content.

NoIndex tag: A meta tag that instructions a search engine not to index the page it’s on.

RankBrain: the machine learning component of Google’s core algorithm that adjusts ranking by promoting the most relevant, helpful results.

Robots.txt: A text file in your root directory that tells the bots what to crawl and what not to crawl.

Sitemap: A list of URLs on a website.

Section 3: Keyword Research

Informational queries: A search “keyword” where the searcher is looking for informational content.

Keyword Difficulty: A score that is given to a keyword based on the ranked sites regarding how competitive they are. The lower the score the easier the tool states it is to rank for that keyword.

Local queries: A search term that is for a local listing, eg looking for something close to where you live.

Long-tail keywords: These are long search terms that are more than 3 words in length, these are highly targeted and have lower search volumes but higher conversion rates.

Section 4: On-Site SEO

Alt text: Alternative text is the text in HTML code that describes the images on web pages.

Anchor text: The text used in the link that goes to another web page.

Duplicate content: Content that can be found on another website, this is copied content.

Header tags: An HTML element used to determine headings on a web page page.

Keyword stuffing: A tactic where keywords are placed all over a web page in order to game the rankings.

Link equity: The value or authority a link can pass to its destination.

Meta descriptions: This is part of the HTML header and described the page content.

Panda: A Google algorithm update that targeted low-quality content.

Title tag: An HTML element that specifies the title of a web page.

Section 5: Technical SEO

Browser: A web browser is a software application for accessing information on the World Wide Web.

Bundling: Putting many resources into one.

CSS: Is a Cascading Style Sheet code to determine the look and feel of a website.

DOM: The Document Object Model (DOM) is the structure of an HTML document.

Section 6: Off-Site SEO – Backlinks and Promotion

Follow: When a crawler can pass through a link to the target web page.

NoFollow: When a crawler can’t pass from the link to the web page.

Section 7: Measuring SEO Results – Track Keyword Rankings

API: An application programming interface (API) allows for the creation of applications by accessing the features or data of another service like an operating system or application.

Bounce rate: A percentage given for the number of users that return to the SERPs after visiting a web page.

Click-through rate: A percentage given for how often user click to a web page from the SERPs after a search term has been used.

Pages per session: Is the number of pages people view on a web site during a single visit.

Scroll depth: Is how far visitors scroll down a web page.

Time on page: The time a user spends on a web page.


  1. What is SEO
  2. The Dynamics of a Search Engine
  3. Keyword Research
  4. On-Site SEO
  5. Technical SEO
  6. Off-Site SEO – Backlinks and Promotion
  7. Measuring SEO Results – Track Keyword Rankings
  8. SEO Glossary