SEO-dictionary with all useful terms

Are you lost in 301 redirects, Title Tags and other concepts from the SEO world? Don't worry, we've put together a little guide to SEO terms - from A to Z. Click through and get ready for the top of the search results.

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Table of contents

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301 Redirections

Permanent redirection from one web page to another. The user does not experience any delay as redirection happens instantly. Webmasters often use 301 redirects for canonical URLs and deleted pages.

302 Redirections

Unlike 301 redirects, a 302 redirect is temporary. Webmasters may place a 302 redirect during the rebuilding of a website or to avoid sending spam-like link juice.

307 Redirections

Similar to a 302 redirect but can only be used for HTTP 1.1.

404 Error

An error message is displayed on the screen to the user when a page cannot be found. 404 messages are often returned if a page has been deleted or the URL is entered incorrectly.


Above the Fold

A term used to refer to the area that users see when they first visit a web page and have yet to scroll down. Also see: 'The Fold'.


A bidding platform owned by Google. Users bid to appear to searchers in Google's search results. Adwords results appear in a box at the top of results pages, separate from organic results.

Affiliate Website

An affiliate website exists to sell another website's products or services. Usually they act as a referral scheme set up to ensure that advertisers pay commission to the affiliate website.

Alexa Rank

A global traffic ranking system provided by, based on a large panel of users and their activity over a 3 month period. The website Alexa Rank determines data through a combination of unique visitors and page views. The ranking is updated on a daily basis.

Algorithmic Penalty

An automatic sanction that Google gives to a website. Unlike manual sanctions, algorithmic sanctions are automated and sometimes not accompanied by a notification in Webmaster Tools. As such, the reason for an algorithmic penalty can be harder to identify and equally difficult to recover from. See also: 'Google Penalty'.

Alt Text

A piece of code attached to an image that provides a description of the image itself. The user does not usually see the alt-text - rather, since search engines are unable to 'see' what an image depicts, the alt-text shows a description of what they are depicting. Alt-text is displayed to the user in case the browser is incompatible with the page. Although it should be used to provide true descriptions of images, alt-text is often used in the case of stuffed keywords. Also known as: 'Alt tag' or 'Alt Attribute'.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

An open source project driven by Google (and to some extent Twitter) to provide coding structure that loads websites faster on mobile devices.

AMP project

The name is given to an initiative by Google to provide a web technology that enables mobile pages to load faster. See above.

Anchor Text

Anchored Text is the characters that contain a link that is displayed to the user. Anchored text is a useful way of inserting links into words, sentences and paragraphs without having to type the URL.

API (Application Programming Interface)

Intended for programmers, the API is a set of instructions that provide access to a specific piece of software. APIs essentially in the context of allowing other developers to connect what they have designed to that particular piece of software, usually to either include it on their website or run their website.

Article Spinning

This practice of rewording an article several times, either for link building purposes or as content for a website. Article spinning is considered low quality and therefore a spamming tactic by Google and other search engines. 'Spun' articles are usually relatively easy to spot because sentences are not structured correctly and because strange synonyms are used.


A SEO term used to describe the credibility and popularity of a website.


Backlink Profile

An overview of all available backlinks to a website or webpage. Backlink profile descriptions can include 'strong', 'spam' or even 'non-existent'.


Refers to links from external websites that point to another web page. For example, if a web page were to contain a link to this page, it would count as a backlink. Also called external link, inbound link or incoming link.

Bad Neighbourhood

A group or network of websites that practice various spam tactics. Collecting backlinks from bad neighbourhoods can thus link your website to spam.

Below the Fold

See the definition of 'The Fold' for more information. "Below the Fold" refers to the area of a web page that is not immediately visible when visiting a given web page, i.e., in order to see this area of the page, the user must scroll down.

Black Hat SEO

Also described as spam, black hat SEO involves practices that violate search engine guidelines, particularly Google's Webmaster Guidelines.


Usually a content management system like WordPress is used for blogging. It acts as sites that document things in a time-based format. Often used by individuals, blogs can be about anything from the speculations of a programmer to someone traveling the world and wanting to document the journey online.

Blogger Outreach

As part of the link building process, bloggers are approached to identify and contact bloggers, usually for SEO purposes.


Refers to a community of bloggers. Can also refer to all blogs on the web. Much like 'Twittersphere' anything posted on a blog and any engagement on a blog can be considered part of the blogosphere.


Recording a website address for later use. Many web browsers have their own built-in bookmarking system.


Also known as robot, spider, crawler and probably many other variants! A computer program that can interact independently. When bots are mentioned in reference to SEO it is usually in reference to search engine bots which are used to crawl the web and read or 'index' web pages for the search engine. Black Hat SEOs often use bots for automated, spammy link building purposes (see social bookmarking) or to scrape content from other sites.

Bounce Rate

A 'bounce' refers to a visitor to your site who leaves after viewing only a single page. Google defines a 'bounce' as a 'single-page session'. Therefore a website bounce rate is the percentage of single page sessions compared to total visitors. For more information see

Brackets Update

A core algorithm update to promote previously undervalued content.

Branded Keywords (Branded Keywords)

Also known as brand keywords, branded searches or branded search terms. These are search terms that contain the name of a company or organisation. It can also be related to their product or service. For example, 'Coca Cola' would be a branded keyword, 'Oracle' or 'Oracle ERP' could also be considered as a branded keyword.


An element on a website that displays the user's navigation on a website.

Broken Links

Links that no longer connect to a web page. This may be because the page no longer exists and therefore returns a 404 error, the URL is correctly entered in the code, or the link code is incorrect.

Browser Cache

Browsers store information from websites to speed up processes such as optimising loading speed.


Caffeine update

A change in the way Google indexes content on the web, which rolled out in June 2010. Google claimed it would create 50% better results for searchers compared to the old system.

Call to Action (CTA)

A feature of a web page that prompts the user to perform a specific action. Call to Action (CTA) usually refers to a button or link that the user clicks to buy something or get in touch, although the desired action could be something as simple as reading more information or watching a video. For example, a classic call to action would be a 'buy now' button next to a product on a web page.

Canonical URL

This designates the referenced or designated URL for a page. For SEO this is compared to choosing a canonical URL for the entire site and 301 redirecting all duplicate pages to that canonical URL. For more information see: canonical tag


A security feature placed on websites that separates real users from spam bots. There are a number of versions of CAPTCHA but all of them exploit the natural differences between human and machine thinking.

flow quote

Part of MajesticSEO's trademarked Flow Metrics, Citation Flow is a score given to one URL out of 100 (1 being the lowest, 100 the highest). It is an indicative score based on the amount of links pointing to that URL.

Click Bait

See also 'link-bait' a link or title on a page on the Internet that entices people to click on it. Often used on social media platforms, these links or titles can be particularly controversial or enticing. For example, instead of "20 shocking photos", a click-bait article would be "20 shocking photos, No.7 is too sick!". A great example of a website that enjoys using click-agn is Vice - just follow Vice on Facebook and you'll see why!

Click Fraud

In direct relation to Google Adwords or other pay per click advertising platforms. Click fraud is when people click on an ad with the purpose of sending the cost to the advertiser.


Also known as keyword cloaking. It is a black hat SEO technique where webmasters try to hide text from the user but make it visible to search engines in order to manipulate search rankings. A common version of cloaking is to place text on a web page that is the same colour as the background.

CMS (Content Management System)

A software platform used by many websites that allows users to modify content without any specific coding knowledge. There are a number of different Content Management Systems, some are open source such as WordPress (this website is built in WordPress CMS). Many Content Management Systems also provide access to easily change aspects relating to search engine optimisation such as meta-data and alt-tags without any knowledge of coding. There are several SEO 'plugins' for WordPress CMS with one of the most popular and highly recommended being 'WordPress SEO by Team Yoast'.


A SEO concept based on communities. This co-citation concept works in principle by good websites linking to/talking about other relevant and good websites. There is a lot of confusion about the difference between co-citation and co-occurrence. Many believe that co-citation is the order that a website (website A) will receive by linking to relevant websites (let's say website B), which in turn are linked to other high-quality relevant websites (website C). While website A may not receive a direct inbound link from either website B or website C, the fact that website A links to website B means that the same topic is being discussed in the same community as websites B and C. Others believe that the co-citation order is beneficial in that a website can gain prominence by being cited in the article along with another relevant website (but not necessarily receiving a link). Whatever the definition, the concept is still relatively the same: being cited with your peers is beneficial, even if it doesn't come with an incoming link.

A difficult concept to understand, so here is more information and more views:


See co-citation for more information on the difference between co-occurrence and co-citation. Co-occurrence is based on latent semantic indexing. This is significant, due to the proximity of certain keywords to your brand name around the web, a website could receive a ranking and benefit from this co-occurrence, even without a direct inbound link. For example, if Yellowball were to be mentioned in an article about SEO-education, then the fact that our brand name is mentioned in the same sentence/paragraph or an article containing the keyword (or variations of) SEO education, then we would receive a ranking as part of using that search term.

Comment Spam

A black hat SEO technique which involves commenting on websites to get a backlink, without adding any value to the discussion. Comment spam is often automated by bots, but can be prevented through a captcha on the website. Comment spam is an obvious black hat technique due to the fact that the comments (and link) are usually completely irrelevant and of low quality. For more information see our explanation of different types of link spam

Competition Research

In relation to SEO , this is where you look at online competitors and can document their SEO efforts. For example, you can research the keywords they are currently targeting or identify link building opportunities. We learn that competitor research should mean that you have all the information on what the market is trying to do with their SEO and therefore will be able to create a SEO strategy from there, and this can save a lot of time!


Usually this refers to text, images or video on a website.

Content Farming

Google's definition of a website with low quality or insubstantial content.


Based on the objectives of a website, for example, an e-commerce website's objective is to sell products. A conversion can be classified as when a user of the website meets this objective. For example, it could be when a user confirms payment for a product. A conversion does not necessarily have to be a transactional decision and websites can have multiple conversion points. A further example would be of a business classifying a website conversion as one by either calling them or them filling in a form.

Conversion Rate

For more information, see 'restructuring'. The conversion rate of a website is defined by its goals and is calculated by the ratio of visitors completing those goals to the total number of visitors, usually given as a percentage.


Data sent from a website to a user's web browser when they are on the site. This data is stored to track activity and also make visiting the site faster in the future.

CPC (cost per click)

It is paid by the advertiser when a user clicks on their ad. This cost can vary widely depending on the competitiveness of the targeted keywords or the popularity of the website on which the advertiser displays their ad.


When a bot is on a web page or website. Search engine bots will 'crawl' a website in order to index the site. More popular websites will be 'crawled' more often by search engine bots.

Crawl Budget

The concept that a certain amount of time is allocated to a bot to crawl and index a website and thus put more emphasis in onsite optimization.


An automated computer program that navigates web pages via links. Usually referred to as bots, it is used by search engines to constantly read and index web pages and websites.

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)

This practice of analyzing and improving a website's conversion rate. This can include greater calls to action, more compelling content or easier navigation.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

CSS on a website will determine how elements in an html code will be displayed. It is easiest to think of CSS as the design aspect of programming.

CTR (Click Through Rate)

The proportion of people who click on the link or image compared to the number of people who view the image. In SEO, CTR is commonly used to describe the percentage of people who click on a search result relative to the amount of people who have viewed the search result. For example, all else equal, the CTR for a website is first page ranking on all Google search results and generally to be higher than if they were ranked on the fourth page. CTR can also be useful in determining the success of an online banner ad.



Also known as being 'removed from the index', see 'index' for more information. If a website has been de-indexed it means it has been removed from a search engine database. This is most regularly as a result of the website violating search engine guidelines. For example, sorthat SEO tactic can result in a ranking penalty or being removed from a search engine index altogether. This in turn means that the website will not be shown by the search engine for any search terms, even if the exact web address is searched for.


When a hyperlink does not work. This can happen for several reasons, e.g. the destination web page may not work, there may be problems with the links' code or the web page containing the link does not work.

Deeplink Ratio or Percent

The amount of links pointing to the inside pages of a website compared to the total amount of links pointing to a page on a website.


Links that point to a web page that is not the home page of a web site. Sites that only have links pointing to their home page may with their ability to rank due to the fact that it may indicate insubstantial content.

Direct traffic

Visitors to a website who have navigated to the site by typing the URL directly into their browser, rather than entering the site through referral channels such as search engines or advertising.

Directory (Stifinder)

A web page or site devoted to listing other sites, businesses or organizations. For example, Yelp is a directory.

Display Advertising

Normally these work on a 'Pay Per Click' basis. The use of images or video to advertise on another website. Various platforms facilitate displaying advertisements, one of the most extensive of which is the 'Google Display Network'.

DNS (Domain Name System)

The system that allows computers to make sense of alphabetical addresses such as


A unique address where web pages or sites are located on the world wide web.

Domain Authority

A score assigned to a website's domain (out of 100), based on its ability to rank on search engines, 100 being the highest score. This score was developed by, for their definition see

Domain name

A unique set of letters, dashes and dots that make up the address where a web page or site can be found, followed by a standard Internet extension. For more information see:

Domain Name Server (DNS)

A server is responsible for connecting a user to the destination website or address. There is a global network of domain name servers. See also 'Domain Name System'.

Doorway Page

A page that is specifically designed to attract traffic from search engines, but then redirect them (not the search engine) to another page. Hidden pages are considered to be against Google's guidelines for webmasters due to the fact that they offer little to no value to the user and are created solely to rank in conjunction with specific keywords and redirect traffic from those searchers. Hidden pages often use exact match domains and keyword stuffing, they are generally poorly designed as well. For Google's definition of a doorway page see

Drop Off

A term that refers to a user navigating away from (or 'jumping off') your site. This can be used to identify problems with user flow and can be accessed via Google Analytics' User Flow.

duplicate content

A web page (or website) that displays exactly the same or very similar content as another web page, either on the same website or on another website.

Duplicate URL

A form of copied content, duplicate URLs mean that the same content appears on multiple web pages (therefore making it copied content). There are several ways this can happen: printer pages, URL parameters and session IDs. The webmaster must also choose a canonical URL because,, and all other variations of the home page will count as copied content. As such, all two copy URLs must be 301 redirected to a canonical.


E-commerce (electronic commerce)

Transactions occur using the Internet. A website that can conduct a transaction online without face-to-face contact would be considered an e-commerce site.

Earned Links

See link building, which here is another method to get links. A website can earn links by providing content, or having other websites link to it naturally. This is considered to be a sign of high quality content or design.

EMD update

See also 'EMD' (exact match domain). A Google update designed to reduce the impact of spammy exact match domains released in October 2012.


Used to refer to the constant change of websites in the search engine results pages. Stems from Google's constant review, indexing and ranking of the website across the internet.

Evergreen Content

A SEO buzzword is used to describe content that is no longer relevant. See 'content decay' for more information. An example of evergreen content would be this index - as long as definitions don't magically change over time!

External Anchor Text

See 'anchor text' and 'external links'. The clickable text of a link pointing to your site from another website.

External link

A link that points to a web page from another web page that is not on the same domain/website. i.e. if another website would link to this website, it would count as an external link.


Florida update

The first Google update that got real time "on air" and caused havoc among webmasters!

Followed Links

Links are by their nature 'followed'. There is no 'follow' tag to be placed on a hyperlink, it is only because of the 'no follow' tag that links without this tag are referred to as 'followed'.

Forum Spam

See 'Linkspam'. A manipulative method of using forums to drop spammy links for the purpose of increasing a backlink portfolio.

'Fred' update

A suspected Google Update that was released in March 2017 without any official announcement. Initial reports pointed towards content heavy websites focused on ad revenue being affected.


Gateway Side

Another name for a doorway side.

Google Algorithm

A program used by Google to determine which websites rank in search results for a given search term.

Google Analytics

A platform that allows users to read and analyse data from their website. Google Analytics requires a piece of code to be added to the website in order for the platform to track data. The data is based on visitors to the site and their behaviour, such as bounce rates, visitor flow and location. Best used with (and linked to) Google's webmaster tools.

Google Authorship

Inextricably linked to Google + profile. Google authorship allows content creators to link said content with their Google+ profile. Google trialled Google authorship for 3 years but on August 28th 2014 John Meuller from Google announced that it would be discontinued.

Google bot

See also 'bot'. A program used by Google to navigate and index web pages throughout the Internet. Bots can travel between websites via hyperlinks.

Google Bowling

A black hat-SEO technique designed to reduce a website's rankings through penalties (or get them de-indexed altogether). Google bowling involves creating multiple spammy links that link to a website, thereby incurring a Google penalty.

Google Carousel

An evolution of Google's 'one-box' concept, which was discontinued after local results in late 2014. The carousel appeared at the top of Google's search results and attempted to display relevant results, mostly for local results such as hotels and restaurants.

Google Dance

No longer an occurrence, Google Dance used to be a time each month when Google updated its web servers and added new pages that it identified during that time. As such during the Google dance there could be significant fluctuations in rankings. Google now crawls the web 24/7 and updates its results in real time, therefore making Google dance obsolete.

Google Direct Reply

Part of the 'one-box' approach that Google's trying provide searchers with an answer to their question, or search term without them having to click on a result. This information is scraped by sites that they believe have delivered the most accurate result. Strongly linked to Google's Hummingbird Update.

Google Rejection Tool

A platform provided by Google so that webmasters can submit a list of links that they want to be ignored by Google. Much has been written about the effectiveness of Google's rejection tool. The rejection tool is part of the request process for those websites that have received a penalty. Links can also be taken down prior to a website receiving a penalty.

Google Display Network (GDN)

A group of sites that have available advertising space and are connected to the Google Display Network. Google collects this information and lists sites that can either be manually selected by the advertiser or groups of sites that Google will then display the ad on according to the type of user targeted or by cost. See:

Google index

See 'Google bot' and 'bot' for more information on the process of Google indexing websites. The Google index is Google's database of what they have seen on the internet. Google's bots are constantly crawling the world wide web, reading web pages and collecting this information into their index. The evolution of Google's index meant that the data was much easier (more importantly - much faster) to decipher and return the most relevant result for a search term.

Google Keyword Planner

Part of the Google Adwords platform. The keyword planner is a system provided by Google which allows you to check the monthly search volume, competition and average price per click for selected search terms. Search volumes should be treated as indicative rather than exact and competition is either low, medium or high. Geographic locations can be designated, or new keyword ideas automatically generated. Used by many companies as one of the starting points for keyword research

Google Local Listing

Created through a Google+ profile. A local listing will mean you'll turn up on Google Maps for relevant keywords. For applicable searches, Google will display a Google Local listings box on the first page of results.

Google OneBox

Google's attempt to give searchers all the information they need without having to click through to another site or scroll down. A similar concept to Google's direct response. A good example of this is when you type an actor's name into Google and their information will appear on the right hand side. This information can include a picture, height, weight, age, recent movies, related information, personal website, IMDB profile, etc.

Google Penalty

A penalty awarded to sites that have violated Google's guidelines for webmasters. Penalties can be assigned algorithmically by Google's system or manually by a webspam team. The effect is reduced ranking in Google's results or removal of the website from Google's results altogether (de-indexed).

Google Plus (G+)

Google's social network, it also provides a platform for businesses to provide information such as location and opening hours.

Google Sandbox

A controversial concept that has not been confirmed. It is a theory that Google ranks restrictions on new websites for a period of time.

Google Update

Updates made by Google's search engine algorithm.

Google Webmaster Guidelines

A set of rules for webmasters published by Google. These rules were designed to help webmasters make their websites more visible to Google and ultimately rank better.

Grey Hat SEO

A popular term used to describe SEO techniques that could be considered to be in the borderland. These are usually techniques that have not necessarily been openly condemned by Google, but are likely to be in the future. In fact, one might say, grey hat SEO is still black hat SEO and should be avoided.

Guest Blogging

This practice of writing content for someone other than your own website. People usually guest blog to get a backlink to their own website (rather than for the sake of their blue eyes!) Or to increase exposure for themselves or their website on the internet.

Guest Post

See 'guest blogging'. A guest post is a piece of content on a website that has been written by someone who is not associated with that website or company.


Heading Tags

Also known as H1, H2, H3 and so on. H1s are considered to be more powerful in targeting search terms than H3s, heading tags usually make text appear in a larger font or as bold to the user on the web page. In layman's terms, heading tags are used to create a title and subtitles for pages. For more information and technical implementation see how to use position tags at SEO.


Generally, Hit is understood as when someone visits a web page or a website.


The first and usually the main page of a website. It is the page from which the user can then navigate the website. The home page is considered to be the most powerful page on the site in terms of targeting search terms.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

A computer language that is the core for the creation of web pages. For more information on exactly what HTML means see


A procedure by which information is exchanged securely between users and websites on the Internet. HTTPS works to authenticate websites and encrypt all information communicated between clients and servers, thereby also protecting against compromise by hackers.

Hummingbird update

An update to Google's algorithm released in late 2013. The update focuses on conversational search terms rather than keywords. Google will look at the meaning behind the words to provide a more accurate result, rather than just looking at keywords. Many believe this is due to an increase in voice enabled searches on smartphones.


A link hat points to either information about the same document or another web page.



A tag used to embed one document in another document. This is used on websites that seek to display information from another source without the user having to visit another page.


The number of times something has been viewed on the Internet. An impression does not count as a click or a 'hit'. For example, if your website were to be seen as part of Google's search results this would count as an impression even if the person clicked on a different result. Doesn't have to be in the search results, can also mean the amount of people who have seen an advertising banner.

Incoming link

Same as 'external link'. This is a link to your web page from another website or domain name.


See 'Google index.


See 'Google index' for more information. 'Indexed' is used by companies to describe when a site has been reviewed by a search engine and subsequently added to their index. Once a page is indexed, Google (or other search engines) will then display your site in relation to search terms that they consider relevant.

Information Architecture

When used simultaneously and talking about SEO, information architecture means the structure and organization of a website. A clean and simple information architecture is not only beneficial for SEO, but can also improve the user experience.

Informative searches

When someone types a term into a search engine in order to find information, rather than a transactional or navigational search term.

Inside page

A page on a website that is not the home page. An internal page is separated from the home page by a '/'.

Internal Anchor Text

See 'anchor text' and 'internal links'. The clickable text of links pointing to the same website.

Internal links

Hyperlinks pointing to a page on the same domain / website.

Penetrating Interstitial Penalty

A Google update released in early 2017 that penalized websites with pop-ups and ads that are detrimental to a mobile user experience.


John Mueller

A Google webmaster trends analyst, he's an important person to listen to about SEO.



When a keyword is used too many times on different pages of the same website. Google and other search engines then have difficulty figuring out which page to return as a result for the user. A similar concept to copy content.

Keyword Density

See 'keywords' for definition. Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword appears on a page or site relative to the total number of words. It is an outdated metric that should not be considered anymore.

Keyword Domain

See 'Exact Match Domain'.

keyword research

SEOpractices that identify which keywords will be targeted through an ongoing SEO campaign. We convey here that keyword research should be incredibly thorough as it is one of the driving factors behind campaigns. Keyword research can be conducted through brainstorming, Google's keyword planner, competitor research and search engine auto-complete.

Keyword Propning (Stuffing)

Considered spam, this is where keywords are included on a web page unnaturally. This can repeat the keyword over and over, or obscure the repetition of the keyword. Keyword stuffing is easily avoided by asking yourself the question, if I didn't know about SEO, would I include this phrase?

(Keyword) Keywords

A word or phrase considered to be of high priority for targeting through a SEO campaign. May also be referred to as search terms.

(Knowledge Graph)

Similar to latent semantic indexing, Google's collation of data in order to understand how people search and how everything is connected. They can then associate relevant information and display it on the right-hand side of search results. For example, typing an actor's name, Google can also give you other actors that have been searched for and are relevant.


(Landing Page) Destination page

The first page that a user sees when visiting a website. This could be the first page after clicking on a Google result, or the page a banner ad links to. Remember, first impressions count so make this page a good one!

Latent Semantic Indexing

A form of computer learning based on fuzzy set theory. Probably easiest explained as Google learning about relevance between search terms by their proximity to each other on the web. A bit like Google developing a large thesaurus and constantly evolving this by looking at which words are repeatedly seen next to each other across the web. For example, Google will know that link spam and black hat SEO are related phrases because they will both be mentioned in hundreds of articles on SEO. Co-occurrence is a fairly similar theory to LSI; they both mean that you can target search in phrases without actually using the named phrase (in theory at least!).

Lighthouse PageSpeed Insights Update

In November 2018 Google released version 5 of its PageSpeed Insights API. It now uses Lighthouse along with data from the Chrome User Experience report.

Link Bait

This practice of producing content on a website that will earn links from other websites. While in an ideal world all content should be produced to 'earn' links, most people use the term link bait to describe a particular style of earning links. Link bait content is often controversial, so its controversy will entice people into wanting to share it.

Link Building

A common SEO practice, this is where someone will proactively seek to get links to a site. Link building is possibly the most notorious aspect of SEO, see 'Penguin Update' for more information. Ironically, while most SEO agencies claim to provide 'high quality natural links' to their clients, by their very nature links obtained through a link building campaign are completely unnatural.

Link Decay

See 'rotten links'.

link dropping

See 'Linkspam'. A Black Hat tactic where companies or automated systems identify websites, blogs and forums in which they may contain links in comments or posts, thus 'dropping' a link.

Link Equity

The strength of a website in relation to the subsequent external links pointing to the site.

Link Exchange

Link exchange is where two (or more) websites agree to link to each other either for referral traffic or as part of their link building strategy.

Link Farming

Also known as link farming. When websites are created to provide a link to a destination website. They usually do not link to each other in any way, but are built with only a link to a specific website. Link farming is against Google's guidelines for webmasters.

Link Hamstring

Also known as 'PageRank hamstring'. Because of the rel="nofollow" (introduced in 2005) which can be applied to links, webmasters started to place this on all outbound links in order to preserve as much PageRank as possible.

Link Juice

See also the definition of 'Page Rank'. Link juice is the perceived value passed from one website to another when linking to said website. Think of the power SEO-power links have. In basic terms it is the page rank that has gone to a website with a link, the higher the page rank of a linked site, the more link juice is given. Link juice was traditionally thought of as something that flows one way (to the destination rather than to the link), however the theory of co-citation argues in a different way.

Link Metrics

all the factors taken into account to determine the value of a link to a website. For more information see:

Link Network

A type of link spam exploited by spammers to quickly build links. Link networks can be defined as a group of websites that are linked together. While sites that are linked appear naturally, 'link networks' are most regularly used to describe spammy sites that are tied together in order to increase the amount of inbound links each site has, and therefore manipulate Google's search results. They are often poorly designed websites and may have links from other completely irrelevant sites.

Link Rot (Rot) / Link Decay

Links are not always permanent. Pages get deleted, display irrelevant information and websites change their content. Link rot or link decay is the process by which links become broken or devalued due to lack of relevance.


A term used to describe the various link building tactics and used by spammers to try and boost search rankings.

Loading speed

The amount of time it takes for a web page or site to fully load on a browser.

Long Tail (keyword)

Longer phrases used by searchers. See 'Hummingbird Update' to learn more about Google's response to the increased use of long-tail searches/keywords. These search terms are usually more targeted and have less search volume than more generic searches. For example, instead of searching for "restaurant London", a long-tail keyword/keyword could be "Italian restaurant in Mayfair" or "best luxury restaurant in Mayfair, London". Long tail keywords are often best targeted through extensive content on the topic.



Transactions made via a mobile device. See also 'e-commerce'.

Maccabees Update

Released in December 2017, the unofficially titled Maccabees Update is designed to tackle the problems of over-optimisation, with a particular focus on sites that use overly-targeted landing pages - a way of targeting more keyword permutations.

Majestic SEO

Also known simply as 'Majestic', it is a data analytics and insights provider that is the main rival with MOZ. Creators of Trust Flow and Citation Flow, their tools help companies create and manage SEO campaigns.

Manuel Penalty

See also 'Google Penalty'. A manual penalty, which refers to a Google penalty incurred by a person (not a computer algorithm) looking at your site and determining whether your behaviour is in violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines. Webmasters are usually informed of a manual penalty through the messaging system on Google's webmaster tools.

Matt Cutts

Head of Google's Webspam team. When Matt Cutts gave news of a Google Update, the SEO world listened intently!

Medic Update

Released August 1, 2018, this broad core algorithm update appears to target Your Money sites or Your Life sites; with a particular focus on sites involved in the medical and healthcare sectors.


Any information about a site that has a meta tag, such as title tags, meta descriptions and meta keywords.

Meta description

Can be seen as a follow-up to the title tag, where meta description is a more detailed (but still reasonably short) description of the web page. While Google does not take the meta description into account for ranking purposes, it is still a very important piece of text-for-click-through-rates due to the fact that the meta description appears in search results. For more information, please read our guide to meta descriptions

Meta Keywords

An area within a page's code where relevant keywords for that page can be entered. Google no longer takes meta keywords into account when ranking web pages or sites. Read why meta keywords are useless for SEO and should be avoided

Meta Tags

Information in a page's HEAD that describes the content of that page. Also used by search engines to display information about the site in the results.


Values or parameters related to SEO. For example, the amount of links pointing to a site could be described as a site's link metrics. Read our definitive guide to SEO metrics to find everything you need to know.

Micro data

See the form, 'mark up'. Micro data is the embedding of information about a web page into specific parts that help search engines understand more about the content on the page.

Mobile Friendly Update

An update to Google's mobile search algorithm that favours websites that display correctly on mobile devices. Read our articles on its conceptualisation in the form of #mobilegeddon and the reaction following the release of the mobile-friendly update

Mobile Speed Update

A recent update to Google's mobile search algorithm that favours web pages that load quickly on mobile devices.

Mobile-First Indexing

In November 2016, Google announced that they would be shifting their algorithms to prioritise content displayed on mobile devices over desktops.

Mobilegeddon (#Mobilegeddon)

Nickname given to mobile-friendliness as a result of the 2015 Update.


A popular web-based, inbound marketing platform, Moz, provides services search like Opensite Explorer. Visit their website:



Stands for Name, Address and Phone Number. Commonly used in reference to how a website or company's contact information is found on the web.

NAP Consistency

See 'NAP'. NAP Consistency refers to whether a website or company's contact information is the same across the Internet, or whether there is conflicting information. NAP Consistency is often considered to be a fundamental requirement for local search ranking or specific ranking.

Navigating Searches

A search term used to find a particular website can be very similar to brand searches.

Needs Met Rating

Needs Met Rating is a metric developed by Google to determine the usefulness of a search result. It assesses the relevance of a particular result, focusing on how satisfying it is for the user's search. Several specifications are provided in the Google Search Rater guidelines and range from "fully meets" to "does not meet expectations."

No Script

Similar to an 'alt attribute', but for scripts. The code will tell if a browser cannot display the content.

Nofollow (rel = "nofollow")

Introduced in 2005 by Matt Cutts and the webspam team at Google. It is designed to help prevent webspam. Nofollow is a piece of code (part of the 'rel attribute') for a hyperlink intended to prevent the forwarding of link juice to the destination of the link, and here it is intended to prevent search engine bots from following the link and crawling the destination site.


A meta tag that prevents search engine bots from indexing a page. It essentially makes the web page (or website) invisible to search engines, so it won't show up in search results. However, the page can still be seen by the user if navigated to.


Offsite SEO

See 'onsite optimisation' for a comparison. Describes work done outside the website in question to improve its rankings on search engines. The most common offsite SEO practices are link building and social media.

Onsite optimization

Work is performed on the pages of a website to help with your SEO. This may include (but is not exclusive to) populating meta-data, improving load speed or information architecture, all tags or content. See 'offsite SEO' for a comparison.


An API developed by Facebook to allow developers to connect their website with Facebook. It allows activity on 3rd party websites to be connected to Facebook. For example the Facebook comments plug-in is part of Facebook's opengraph.

open source

Open source software is software that can be viewed and changed or modified by anyone. Many popular platforms like WordPress are open source platforms. Think of it as something developed by a community rather than a private organization.


Organic Links

Used in a SEO sense, this can mean when something seems natural (see 'earned links'). It can also refer to the organic results on search engines - these are the results that are not paid for, i.e. not adwords or display advertising.

Organic Link

See 'earned links'. A naturally occurring link.

Organic Ranking

The results are displayed by search engines that have not been paid for.

Original source

A meta tag is used in conjunction with a syndication source to show which website published the original news story, to be used exclusively on Google News. See syndicating source for more information.

Outgoing Links

A link from your website to another website, i.e. pointing out of your website.

Over Optimised

When an aspect of SEO has been misused. Common sites on over optimization are link anchor text and over use of keyword rich alternative text on images


(Page) Page

Also known as web pages. Refers to a single web page (not a website's domain).

(Page Authority) Page Authority

A metric developed by Moz to determine how likely a particular page is to rank on Google. Page Authority is ranked on a scale of 0-100 (100 being the highest score).

Page layout update

An update that punishes sites with excessive advertising 'above the fold'. It also looks at how content is displayed to the user. Also known as 'Top Heavy Refresh'.

PageRank (also PR)

An algorithm developed by Google that assigns a score of 0-10 (with 10 being the highest) to websites. PageRank is determined by the value of links pointing to a website. Named after one of Google's founders, Larry Page.

Page views

The number of times a page is visited.


See also 'link building'. Links acquired through a transaction. Does not necessarily have to be a monetary transaction; a paid link could also be defined as an acquired gift of a product.

Panda update

A Google update released in February 2011, one of Google's major updates and designed to prevent onsite spam. It meant that Google placed more emphasis on high quality content on a website, and penalised those who had low quality, spammy content.

Penguin update

A Google update released in April 2012 that merged with the Panda Update. This update focuses on penalising websites that engage in link spam.

Phantom Updates

Google updates that have been released without warning or explanation. They are rare, but the two phantom updates so far have had some serious consequences for websites that have been caught out by them!


A programming language commonly used by developers. For more information see

Pigeon Update

A Google update released in 2014 designed to improve local search results by searcher location.

Pirate Update

A Google update released in August 2012 that works to penalize websites for using copyright infringement notices.

Plug Ins

A piece of software that can be installed into another software to provide a specific piece of functionality.

Possum update

An update released in the last half of 2016 that had a profound impact on local searches, affecting 2/3 of local searches.

PPC (Pay Per Click)

Bid platforms for advertisers. PPC is also used to describe Google Adwords. PPC can be for any type of digital advertising that charges the advertiser each time the ad is clicked on.

Preferred Domain

Also known as a canonical domain, this is the domain (or URL) that you want the search engines to index. Viewed through the search console.


Quality results (PPC)

A term used by Google Adwords that can affect the rank and cost of an ad. It scores on a scale of 1-10. Quality score is based on the relevance and usage of the website to the user for a given keyword.

(Quality Update) Quality Update

See also Phantom Update. This was an unannounced update looking to reward sites with high quality content and user experience.

(Query) Inquiry

When a computer requests information. It can also be used to refer to a 'search term', i.e. what someone types into a search engine.


Rand Fishkin

Co-founder of and co-author of "The Art of SEO". He is possibly the most famous person in the SEO world, followed by Matt Cutts.


A form of AI tested by Google in conjunction with their Hummingbird search algorithm designed to provide better results for queries that have never been engaged with Google before (15% of all searches are thus brand new).

Ranking / Rangering

Usually given as a number, the position that Google returns your website within their results for given search terms.

(Reciprocal Linking) Gensidig Linking

When two websites link to each other. Reciprocal links are naturally occurring, but can be considered link spam if proactively developed. See also 'link exchange'.

(Reconsideration Request) Anmodning om ny vurdering

See also 'Google Penalty' and 'Rejection Tool'. A reconsideration request is sent to Google once a website has removed any spam, so that Google can check and subsequently remove a Google penalty. 


See '301 redirect' and '302 redirect'. A piece of code that automatically redirects a browser to another web page.

(Referral Traffic) Referral of Traffic

Web Traffic that has come from other websites. For example, if a blog were to link any traffic that arrived on the site via that link to a website, it would then be considered as referred traffic.

Rel Attributes

A piece of code indicating the relationship between two documents.

rel=canonical tag

A rel attribute associated with a page that identifies the web page where the original content is located.


An often used term in SEO to describe how closely aligned either content or other website is to your content or website. May include keywords.


Most commonly used by display advertisers, renewed displays your ad on third-party websites that are within a specific network to customers and who have visited your website. Popular with e-commerce sites, remarketing usually runs through established platforms such as the Google Display Network and runs on a PPC Basis.

Reputation Management

Also known rep management, online reputation management or ORM. It is the monitoring of an online presence through either manipulating websites, exploiting SEO techniques to push more positive material higher up in the results or in rare cases using Black Hat techniques such as Google Bowling.


Using networks such as the Google Display Network and Facebook to display ads for recent visitors to your site, on another platform. For example, showing an ad to someone on Facebook who has recently visited your website. See also remarketing.

Reverse Panda

see Quality Update and Phantom Updates.

Rich Snippets

A type of markup data that adds more information to content. Introduced to Google's algorithm in 2009 expanded snippets appear in Google's results to give the user more information about results. This could be in the form of user rating or price. Read more about Rich Snippets here.


See 'bots'. Automated computer programs that navigate and store data from the Internet.


Also known as Robot Exclusion Standard, it is a file added to a website with instructions for robots that enter the site. These instructions may contain pages that you don't want the bot to index or a request on how often the search engine should visit your site.


Stands for 'Return On Investment'. Usually quantified in monetary terms, this is a question that is often asked in relation to the business and how long a service or product will take to recover costs and how much money will be spent as a result of operating costs. For example, if I were to hire your SEO agency for £1000 per month, how long will it take for my website to start yielding £1000 per month in profits (or rather) as a direct result of your service?

RSS Feed

A feed that allows you to collect information from other sources in one place. Think of an RSS feed as a constant news feed that's gathering information from your favourite places, whether that's BBC News or Twitter. Many argue that RSS stands for 'Really Simple Syndication'.


Scheme Mark Up

Essentially a labelling scheme that gives search engines more information. Schema mark up is structured data that can be attributed to certain aspects of a web page in order for search engines to provide more information to the searcher. See also 'rich snippets'.

A collaboration between Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! to provide a mark up language.


Takes content from another website and places it on your website (or another). This is often completed with automated bots. While scraping content is not necessarily spam, scraping content and then 'spinning' it as if it is yours is, thus, considered your spam.

Search engine

An application that allows the user to search for documents on a database or on the world wide web. Search engine is a term used mostly in reference to applications such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing, which allow users to search for websites or pages on the Internet.

Search Query

The keyword or phrase typed into a search engine by a user.

Search results

See also 'search engine'. These are the results returned to the user by a search engine for a given search term.

Search term

Same as 'search query'.

Searcher Intent

An incredibly useful principle in ensuring that your keyword research is effective and that the keywords you target in a SEO campaign will bring you the best results. It is used to define a person's target when searching using a search engine.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

This practice of gaining increased exposure for a website or webpage via is offered by search engine services. This may include 'SEO', 'display advertising' or 'PPC'. Learn more about SEM.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The practice of increasing a website's ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) using various tactics. 

SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

A web page that offers results according to the searcher's query, i.e. the page you see when you search for something on Google. By default, Google has often been found to provide around 10 results per page (or 10 results per SERP).


A metric via Google Analytics that represents a visitor to your site. They may visit multiple pages in a session or have multiple sessions (tabs) open, but the maximum time limit for a session is 30 minutes. It's often easiest to think of a session as a person visiting your website in a given period of time.

Site Structure

A website's layout. Site structure can be incredibly important for SEO and should be taken into consideration while designing the site.


Sitelinks are the useful sub-links that appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) below the main first link, allowing users to dive into internal pages with the same topic.


A page that documents the layout of each page on the website and provides a link to that page. Traditionally thought of as allowing a search engine bot to easily index and entire site from one page. Learn more about sitemaps in our Academy - both XML and HTML sitemaps.


Also known as 'carousel'. A popular way of displaying images that rotate on a web page, usually on the home page of a website.

SMM (Social Media Marketing)

The technique of increasing exposure for a person, company or website through the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat or Google+.


A series of events around the world put on by These events are focused on search engine marketing.


A Snippet is a short summary of the content of a web page that appears below the web address on an organic search result. It describes how the content of this page is relevant to the user and highlights keywords from the search. The length of these descriptions is influenced by various factors and can vary in length.

Social Bookmark

A convenient way to bookmark websites online. In other words, instead of listing a useful website in a book, or using a bookmarking system on your computer, social bookmarking allows the user to do this online and therefore also access the bookmark wherever the user is located. On public sites, these social bookmarks also provide a backlink and have thus been overused by spammers.

Social Sharing

Sharing of information via social media platforms. For example, the 'Share' button on Facebook or retweeting on Twitter.


See also 'Black Hat SEO'. There are different definitions of spam (but not canned meat!). Internet spam can come in many different forms, the most popular of which is email spam. Spam is usually unspecific, irrelevant and low quality, 'pray and spray' methods of either increasing exposure on the web or more damagingly, attempts at money or identity theft. In a SEO sense, spam is something that goes against Google's Webmaster Guidelines. For more information on what Google treats as spam, see the Webmaster Guidelines or

Spam Score

A metric that is featured on MOZ Open Site Explorer to indicate how many spam flags there are on a given website. It is a score out of 17 (zero being best) with indications of each of the flags to help you improve your spam score.


See 'spam'. Someone who deals with spam on the web.

Spammy Guest Blog

Also known as a 'splog', they gained their vindication in the wake of guest posting being considered a legitimate form of 'link building'. SEO'er decided to ignore quality as a factor and therefore built blogs solely for the purpose of hosting articles with links.


See 'bot'. An automated program used by search engines to index the world wide web.


When someone takes content from a website and rewrites it. Spinning is often of low quality and used by spammers.


A spam blog. A splog is set up solely to help manipulate search engines by providing backlinks to other sites, splogs are an evolution of link directories. They are relatively easy to spot due to low user engagement, quality of articles and irrelevant topics.

Static Content

The name says it all. Content that remains the same. Think of it as the opposite of a Twitter feed.

Structured Content

In general, this means all data that has been organized (in any format). In relation to SEO, structured data is usually used to describe 'mark up' languages such as ''. Essentially a previously agreed language for 'marking' content correctly, making it easier for search engines to display results and information.

Syndication-Source Tag

A type of meta-tag released by Google so websites can tag content scraped from other websites. For example, if an article from a news site has been posted on your site, you can then place a syndication source tag on the page to tell Google that it is not the original source of the content.


Text Link

Also called 'Anchor Text', this is the clickable text that a user can follow a link with on the Internet.

The Fold

Refers to space on a freshly loaded page where information above that point 'the fold', does not require the user to scroll down. The Fold is a concept that has arisen because of printed newspapers. Newspapers are usually folded in half and as a result anything above the dividing line would be seen by the reader first thus making it more attractive to advertisers.

Thin Content

Content that provides little or no benefit to the user. Thin content is often used by spammers to increase the amount of content and therefore keywords on a website.

Time Decay

Most often used in relation to the relevance of the content. If a piece of content is very specific to a point in time, it is likely to have significant decay because it quickly becomes irrelevant. For example, a promotional piece of content related to an event. In contrast, see Evergreen Content.

Title Tags

Also known as 'title elements', the title tag describes the content of a web page. It is often one of the first places that keywords are inserted into a web page. Unless automatically changed by Google, it is also often the text seen in search results. Read more on title tags.

Top Heavy update

See Page Layout Algorithm. Its nickname is given due to an update which sought to improve the user experience and prevent large amounts of advertising being displayed to the user when they visit a site.


The people who visit a website. Do not necessarily have to be human, as traffic from robots can also be considered spam traffic.

Transactional Keywords               

See also 'search query'. Transactional Keywords are keywords (or searches) used by a person with the intention of finding something to buy. For example 'brown leather shoes' is a keyword dealing with a transactional decision.

Trust Flow

As part of Majestic SEO, trademarked Flow Metrics, Trust Flow analyzes a website's ability to rank based on the reliability of their backlink profile. Like Domain Authority, MajesticSEO assigns a score of 100 for Trust Flow, with 100 being the best.


URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A unique web address. See Oracle's definition:

User (User)

A person who uses the Internet.

user acquisition

How a website attracts and engages people online. User acquisition could be in relation to advertising or marketing on third-party sites, but could also refer to how a website converts visitors into customers.

User Engagement

When someone uses your website. There are different levels of user engagement, from reading content or playing a video to writing reviews or filling in a questionnaire. For the most part, increased user engagement is good for websites.

User Experience (UX)

Also known as UX. It's the experience someone has when they visit a web page or site. UX takes into account everything from how content is written, to the design of the website and how easy it is to find information or buy something.

(User Flow) User Flow

The way a user navigates the site and the route they can take. Analysing user behavioural flows can help web designers drive higher conversion rates on websites and even identify key drop-off points.

User-generated content

The content of a website that is produced by visitors to a website. A common form of user-generated content is reviews.

User Intent

When a SEO talks about 'user intent' it is usually in relation to search intent, i.e. what were the searcher's actual wishes in writing their search?

User Interface (UI)

Often confused with UX, UI most often refers to the design of a website and how a user interacts with it. Think men structures and layout.

User Journey

The way a person navigates a website (or the internet as a whole!). Analysing user journeys can help you increase how effectively your website converts visitors into customers.


See also User Experience and User Interface. As a specialist area, this is a term used to broadly describe the thought processes behind how a user interacts with a website and how that website makes them feel. Remember, you can be a specific UX designer or a specific UI designer.


Venice Update

A Google update based on the user's location. When relevant, Google will return local results in the organic results rather than just in the Google local box. 

(Voice Search) Voice search

Voice Search is a way to search a search engine database by vocalising your query to an eyes-free device, such as a mobile phone, computer or virtual assistant, and which tells the results back to you. Voice search is becoming an increasingly popular way for users to find information on the Internet. But how does this shape the future of SEO?


Web 2.0

A term used to describe a shift in how the internet has been used. Broadly categorised into dynamic web pages (rather than static pages) and heavily used by social media.


The person responsible for the administration of a website. This may include, but is not exclusive to the purchase and registration of the domain, designing and developing the website, along with the ongoing maintenance, growth and planning of the website.

Webmaster Tools

A free platform provided by Google that tracks how a website performs on the Google search engine and also allows webmasters to submit sitemaps. It can also be connected to Google Analytics. For mere information se


See 'spam'.

White Board Fridays

A weekly video and writeup created on for the purpose of discussing SEO techniques and updates.

White Hat SEO

SEO-techniques that comply with search engine guidelines. In general, White Hat SEO is focused on the user rather than outright trying to manipulate search rankings.


A program that can be embedded in a website to perform a function.


An opensource content management system popular with bloggers.


XML Sitemap

See also 'sitemap'. An XML file that documents all pages on a website and can be submitted to search engines. Read about XML sitemap



Zero-Result SERPs

In March 2018, Google rolled out an update that removed organic results for a number of final search queries such as dates and times, famous birthdays and math equations. The update was stopped at the end of March, but a return was subsequently seen.

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