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Our search marketing glossary is designed to help you learn more about all things search. Scroll through our glossary to get a high-level definition of each term, or click through the provided links to deep-dive into the corresponding topic. If you still want to learn more, head over to our blog for more educational resources.
A method of comparing two versions of a webpage or mobile app experience against each other in order to test the accuracy of the testing tool.
A web address that potentially has links pointing to it, but has not been renewed and is available for purchase. The process of buying an abandoned domain and then using a 301 status code to automatically redirect to another website is a common link building strategy.
“Above the fold” refers to the content that is visible to viewers without scrolling down the page. This is an important part of SEO, and there are certain things you can do to encourage scrolling.Read Full Description
Google AdSense is an advertising platform that can help you generate revenue by allowing Google to place ads on your website.Read Full Description
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy that allows marketers to expand their reach by rewarding affiliates for promoting their product, service, or site.Read Full Description
Refers to pages on a site that have lost their timeliness and relevance. Unlike evergreen content, aging content can drag the entire site down.
A series of steps used by a computer or program to solve a problem. The major search engines use proprietary algorithms to measure rank and display web pages in their SERPs. Google claims its search algorithms rely on over 200 measurable factors, some of which are thought to be keywords and inbound links.
Alt text is HTML code that is used to describe an image for visually impaired users that rely on screen-readers.Read Full Description
Anchor text is the part of a hyperlink or link that is visible to web users.Read Full Description
The practice of using a computer program to take an existing article and “rewrite” it. This is done by replacing certain nouns, verbs, and descriptors with synonyms. Webmasters then repost the “new” article to various sites in order to build links. This type of content is considered highly dubious, and search engines target sites that use spun articles for potential penalties.
The practice of linking to a website that is considered an authority (or at least authoritative) in its field.
A site that uses a program to automatically submit its web pages to the search engines, social media sites, and directories. The risk in using such automated programs is that your website may be listed in places that are not relevant or appropriate for your purposes.
A calculated metric used for ranking; comprised of its domain’s age, content, inbound link profile (quality and quantity), and search query.
A link that is inbound from an external and independent site. The amount and quality of backlinks a site has will influence its search ranking.Read Full Description
The process of examining a website’s backlink portfolio and making recommendations for link removal and/or disavowal.
This refers to the appraisal of the number, quality, variety, and general health of the backlinks a website possesses.
The world’s second-largest search engine behind Google, used primarily in China.
Refers to a set of SEO tactics that attempt to increase the rankings of target sites through manipulation such as cloaking, keyword stuffing, and robot-driven link building. Search engines have tried to limit these strategies by penalizing websites using (or abusing) this practice.
Short for “weblog,” is an online journal with ongoing posts. Blogs are an integral part of an overall strategy to create an online presence, have a stake in the online community, and attract people to your site. Great blog posts encourage links to your content and increase your perceived authority on the subject you are blogging about.
Boolean operators are a set of commands used to narrow or expand a search and can be effective tools for optimizing your search process to find the most relevant pages online.Read Full Description
Programs designed to crawl and copy web pages for later processing and indexing by search engines. They generally begin with a list of URLs to crawl, and while crawling, the bot identifies all the hyperlinks and adds those URLs to the list of sites to be crawled next. Also known as spiders and web crawlers.
Bounce rate is calculated as the number of single-page sessions on your site divided by all sessions.Read Full Description
The degree to which consumers are acquainted with or knowledgeable of the qualities/image of a particular brand. Brand awareness is managed by utilizing social media, content marketing, and various other resources that increase public knowledge of a company’s presence.
The natural or organic mention of a company’s brand online, often as a link. Business owners should monitor not only their brand mentions but those of their competitors.
A broken link is a link on a website that no longer takes the user to its designated target. Broken links are bad for user experience and having many broken links will make a website less trustworthy.
The search engine’s copy of your website on its server. Every time the search engine crawls and indexes your site, it replaces the cached copy of your website.
A call to action is a statement that encourages the reader to do something, such as click, download, contact, etc.Read Full Description
Canonical tags help search engines differentiate between web pages with very similar or duplicate content, which can negatively affect rankings.Read Full Description
Citation flow (CF) is a metric from the SEO software company Majestic, that expresses how authoritative a website is based on a score from 0 to 100.Read Full Description
Click-through rate (CTR) is a metric that measures the frequency with which people click on a link as a percentage of those who have viewed that link.Read Full Description
A black hat SEO strategy that makes a web page look different to a search engine than it does to a site visitor.
The act of exploring a competitor’s backlink profile for a wealth of information such as market reach, SEO strategy, and keywords.
A term used to describe the available information on a website comprised of all forms of media such as text, links, images, .gifs, graphics, videos, etc.
Crucial information about an industry or market that should be covered but was somehow overlooked. If the gap is discovered, creating content to fill the gap can be a powerful way to build relevant links.
CMS platforms are a great way for individuals who aren’t as tech-savvy to create, edit, and publish content for their website all from one source.Read Full Description
Content that is used to advertise a company web site; such content is created and used across a broad network of sites, social media outlets, forums, etc. to increase sales and brand awareness.Read Full Description
Content syndication is the act of re-publishing content on another platform to boost the visibility and reach of that content.Read Full Description
Represents the number of site visitors that respond with a sign-up, purchase, or call to action.
Conversion rate optimization is the process of increasing the number of users who visit your site that complete a desired action or goal.Read Full Description
Cost per click is the monetary value assigned to each click you earn from paid search advertising.Read Full Description
Cost per thousand, or CPM, refers to how much it costs to reach 1,000 people with your advertisement.Read Full Description
Refers to how often a website is crawled. A site with more authority and unique content will be crawled more frequently than a site with low link authority.
A link that does not work. A dead link differs from that of a broken link because a broken link may still be working, just not for the intended purpose.
Links that point not to a site’s homepage, but to a page deeper in the website. For example, www.samplesite.com/page/information.
The relation between the number of deep links to home page links on your site.
A site that has been removed from a search index and not included in the SERPs anymore. Deindexing is different from a site penalty, which means that the site has only lost rankings.
Web or link directories are online lists or indexes of websites. Their value for SEO and link building has become more nuanced, though they can have value in other ways too when used correctly.Read Full Description
A link that allows link equity to flow to the URL being linked to.
Domain Authority (DA) is a metric used to estimate how your page could be ranking relative to other pages on the same topic. It was created by the SEO software company Moz, and is not a part of PageRank or Google’s ranking factors.Read Full Description
Duplicate content is exactly what it sounds like — content (usually text) on one site that identically matches the content on another site or page. Duplicate content can be damaging to a website's SEO.Read Full Description
A site that is frequently changed and will sometimes change based on the unique user’s interaction with it.
The popular SEO acronym E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. It comes from Google’s search quality evaluator guidelines, and though it is not actually a ranking factor, it can be a useful way to assess content for search.Read Full Description
A tactic that involves posting flattering content about an individual in an effort to get them to link to your site or content.
HTML code that allows users to obtain the content for inclusion on their own site. e.g. YouTube includes embed code for the videos on its site.
A type of hyperlink that has been embedded by the author into the existing text of an article or website.
In the context of SEO, “evergreen” refers to an asset with value that will not diminish quickly, or a strategy that is effective over time, not just in the near term.Read Full Description
Denotes the first time a website or page was crawled by a web bot.
A type of multimedia technology that allows Web developers to incorporate interactive content and animations onto their websites. Flash animations will only look the same on different browsers if they are equipped with the necessary plug-ins.
The section of web content located at the bottom (or foot) of the page. Most often contains technical information such as copyright information for the website, the name of the website’s author and business, address, and the date of the most recent update (if applicable). The footer is also treated as its own section of the web page, separate from the header, content, and sidebars.
Online discussion sites where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. Depending on the forum’s settings, users can be anonymous or may have to register and log-in to post messages.
GEO targeting is a marketing strategy that utilizes searcher location data. This data is gathered from a variety of sources to help local businesses directly target their priority audiences.Read Full Description
A formula employed by the Google search engine to determine which pages are most relevant to a user’s search query.
A tool offered by the search engine that allows site owners to view all of the available statistics regarding the site’s traffic, page rank, unique site views, and other demographic data.
Even though Google Authorship is a thing of the past, there are still ways to build up your Author Rank. Authorship was a program that helped verify well-established authors by showcasing their credentials alongside their article on the search engine result pages.Read Full Description
Google Trends can be extremely valuable in understanding the popularity of topics and associated keywords. However, if you don’t know what it is for and how to interpret the data, you’ll be hard-pressed to use it successfully in an online marketing campaign.Read Full Description
Refers to link building tactics that are neither perfectly white nor obviously black hat. The term grey is similar to a “grey area” where exceptions to the rule reside.
Header tags — such as H1, H2, and so on — are one of several HTML elements that affect on-page search engine optimization (or SEO).Read Full Description
Heat maps are data visualizations representing user interactions on a webpage. They are used in content marketing campaigns and can represent several types of engagement.Read Full Description
The first page that visitors will see when they visit your website. It is important that the home page is focused and provides a clear picture of the services the site offers and the brand.
Hreflang tags help sites with similar content in multiple languages serve the correct version of the web page to a user based on language and region.Read Full Description
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is a markup language that is used for documents and pages being displayed in a web browser. HTML is everywhere online, powering the World Wide Web as we know it today.Read Full Description
HTTP status codes — short for hypertext transfer protocol status codes — are codes that are issued by the server in response to a user’s request. There are five different classes, all of which serve a different purpose.Read Full Description
The Hummingbird update was a major rewrite of Google's search algorithm that endeavored to understand natural language and context.Read Full Description
Text on a website that contains HTML code. When that text is clicked, it directs the user to the linked target or site on the web.
Digital marketing impressions, also known as ad views, describe the moment at which an ad is loaded on a web page.Read Full Description
A link to your site from another site.
Refers to “earning” leads to your site with good content, social shares, and other strategies. With inbound marketing, potential conversions come to you; not the other way around.
Indexing refers to the process of search engines crawling the internet to discover webpages and storing that information within an organized database called an index.Read Full Description
Short for information graphic, is a graphic visualization of data or other information.
Web content that responds to a user’s input such as playing a song, game, or video on a site. Compelling interactive content can earn quality backlinks.
Links between web pages on the same domain. Internal links help visitors navigate your site and help search engines understand your site's hierarchy.
The primary procedure for relaying and routing data across networks. It has been used since its development in the 1970s, and it essentially makes the internet possible.
A form of Internet advertising that involves force-loading a full-page advertisement when a user navigates between pages on a domain. Usually, it will provide a link allowing the user to skip past it.
A numeric representation of a computer’s “location” when it is connected to the internet. IP addresses are part of the overall way computers network and interact with one another.
Commonly referred to as link juice, it’s the quality and authority of the links in your backlink portfolio. Links from authoritative and relevant websites pass more value to your website, potentially increasing your site’s position in search engine rankings.
Keyword density describes the ratio of SEO keywords on a webpage as a percentage of the total words on that page.Read Full Description
The amount of authority or relevancy assigned to a domain based on the keywords in that website’s tags, URL, and content.
A keyword’s popularity refers to how many times that keyword was searched for during a set amount of time. This is similar to “trending” terms on social media sites such as Twitter.
The investigation of a search term’s popularity used to determine the best search terms and anchor text to increase a given website’s search engine visibility.Read Full Description
Keyword stuffing is the unnecessary repetition of keywords or phrases that site owners use in an attempt to boos their search rankings for said keywords.Read Full Description
The destination of a given hyperlink. That hyperlink might be embedded in the text, an image, an advertisement, a flash game or a video.
The last time a website or page was crawled by a search engine bot. This information used to be available in Google’s Webmaster Tools, but they have since removed it. To check your site’s last crawl date you can use the “cache” search operator. For example, entering the search cache:example.com will display the last cached copy of the site along with its last crawled date.
Lead generation describes the marketing process that is implemented in order to capture and convert interested customers.Read Full Description
A linkable asset is a page that is designed to earn backlinks from other relevant websites, in order to boost the authority of your site.Read Full Description
A system of tools, tactics, marketing strategies, and sometimes schemes created with the purpose of gaining links back to your website. Gaining links can increase the position of a website in search engine rankings, and that leads to increased traffic and revenue.Read Full Description
A formal request to Google to disregard certain harmful links accompanied by evidence of attempts to have those link removed by the responsible webmasters.
Link juice, also called link equity, is one of the primary factors that determine rankings within search engine results pages.Read Full Description
Link neighborhoods refer to the sites that you link to on your site, and sites that link to your site. There are good and bad link neighborhoods, and you want to be sure to live in a good link neighborhood.Read Full Description
Link spam refers to backlinks that are placed on pages and websites regardless of context or user experience, as an attempt to boost search rankings. Search engines have clear guidelines warning against link spam and will punish or devalue spammy links.Read Full Description
The speed at which a site gains new links. Generally, a steady and reasonable increase of links enhances a website’s potential to rank in the SERPs. Acquiring a large number of links quickly is a red flag for search engines and usually indicates some type of automation at work.
The domains that have given links to your site. The greater the variety the better.
Local citations include your business’s name, address, phone number, and sometimes, a link to your website. These citations can increase online visibility for a physical business.Read Full Description
A geotargeted optimization strategy that focuses on name, address, and phone number citations to build an association between a website/business and a certain location.
Phrases that are usually specific to a niche or industry. These are easier to rank for than more general, high traffic keywords. Optimizing for many different long tails can help rank a website for important individual keywords without the danger of over-optimization.
Web pages contain main and supplementary content. Main content is focused on fulfilling the premise of the page’s title and is usually found in the body copy of the page, while supplementary content is used to enhance the user experience on the page and should be designed to function without distraction.Read Full Description
The process of submitting URLs to search engines manually rather than using software that automates the process. Manual submission tends to be a more effective and inexpensive method of ensuring that your pages are indexed.
The marketing funnel is a concept that identifies stages on the road to customer conversion, including top, middle, and bottom.Read Full Description
A meta description is a short synopsis of a webpage that displays in search, underneath the title of the corresponding page.Read Full Description
These are special HTML tags which define metadata about a particular HTML document. They can specify things such as page descriptions, keywords, author’s name, and date last modified. This information is used by web browsers and search engines but is not displayed on the web page itself.
Mobile-first design refers to the practice of designing a website in a way that prioritizes mobile visitors and their experience with the site.Read Full Description
Mobile optimization is the practice of creating the best possible user experience for site visitors using mobile devices.Read Full Description
A link whose anchor text is the same as the website’s URL. For example pageonepower.com.
NAP, or Name, Address, and Phone Number, is an acronym that refers to how physical location information is cataloged for your business online.Read Full Description
A static list of links that lead to other locations on the site. The navigation bar serves as the primary means for easily navigating a website.
The nofollow tag was originally created to deter spam comments from making an impact on comment sections of blogs, advertisements, paid links, and more.Read Full Description
Refers to optimization practices that occur externally from your site. The most common off-page optimization strategy is link building.
A part of SEO that involves optimizing the source code of a website. More particularly: HTML, header tags, URLs, and the robots.txt.
A link that your site attracts naturally with quality content. It’s the objective of link bait or any other quality-driven web initiative.
Returned search results that appear because of their relevance to the search query and/or keywords. In contrast to paid search results, these results have not been purchased and show up based on their own merit.Read Full Description
A link from one website leading to another website. Relevant outbound links can help build credibility and boost rankings.
Google PageRank evaluates and scores your page’s external and internal links, and is one of Google’s oldest and well-known ranking algorithms.Read Full Description
Pageviews are metrics in Google Analytics that refer to when a user loads a webpage on a site and sessions (also from Google Analytics) consists of every action they take during the entirety of their visit to that site.Read Full Description
Page Authority (PA) is a metric used to estimate how your page could be ranking relative to other pages on the same topic. It was created by the SEO software company Moz, and is not a part of PageRank or Google’s ranking factors.Read Full Description
Page speed — also known as load speed — refers to the amount of time that a webpage on a site takes to load. There are various ways to optimize your site for page speed.Read Full Description
When one website offers a link to another website for money. Paid links are a violation of Google’s quality guidelines, and therefore buying or selling links is a high-risk proposition.
Panda is a Google algorithm update that was designed to filter low-quality content out of Google's search results.Read Full Description
Pay Per Click (PPC) is an advertising campaign with the intention of driving user activity to a given business's website, where the advertiser pays for each ad click.Read Full Description
A virtual reprimand against site owners for engaging in practices that search engine companies find unacceptable such as black hat SEO. A penalty typically consists of a site losing rankings in the SERP. Many penalties are timed (30, 60, or 90 days), while some are permanent, remaining in place until the offending issue is resolved.
Google Penguin is an update to Google's search algorithm that is specifically designed to combat link spam and manipulative link building tactics.Read Full Description
A search query refers to the words and phrases that people use in order to search for something through a search engine.Read Full Description
RankBrain is a machine-learning system that is used by Google Search to better understand the meaning and intent of queries that use natural language.Read Full Description
Rank tracking is the process of monitoring a page’s position on the search engine results pages to help detect changes in the website’s visibility for different keywords.Read Full Description
Occurs when one site offers to link to another site if they get a link in return. Technically, reciprocal links are a violation of Google’s quality guidelines which means websites can be penalized if caught engaging in this practice.
A formal written request accompanied by an extensive link disavowal request that’s submitted to Google’s webspam team through Webmaster Tools in order to have a manual ranking penalty removed from a website.
A redirect occurs when a user’s requested URL automatically forwards them to another URL, either on a new webpage or website.Read Full Description
Referring domains and referring URLs are the sites and pages that have backlinks pointing to your content and site.Read Full Description
Relevance in SEO can refer to searcher intent, a brand, breadth of appeal, and keywords. Leveraged correctly, relevance can be beneficial to your site’s SEO overall.Read Full Description
An HTML command that can be used to tell robots to index a specific link or page, even if the respective page or section of the website has a blanket noindex command.
An HTML command that tells robots not to index either a page (if it’s in the header) or an individual link.
A site that collects and aggregates websites and content related to a specific online niche and publishes this information into a list of web pages. Many specialized markets have websites that host resource pages and it can be worthwhile to pursue them for relevant links.
Responsive web design is an approach to designing websites on a fluid grid that responds to the media device of the user.Read Full Description
Multimedia and rich media represent similar ideas, but serve different purposes. Rich media refers to specific types of ads, while multimedia is more broadly applicable.Read Full Description
Robots.txt is a text file that tells search engines what to crawl on a site by using certain commands.Read Full Description
A root domain is the base domain of a site. For example, www.ebay.com, not www.ebay.com/felines/kittens/kittenbeds.
Short for RDF Site Summary, RSS feeds are subscriptions to the posts the user selects for aggregation into a personalized stream of content.
Schema is data markup within HTML that helps search engine crawlers better understand a webpage.Read Full Description
Scraped content refers to data that is stolen or “scraped” off your site and then used on someone else’s domain. The practice is illegal and disrespectful to webmasters that have invested time, money, and resources into building their site.Read Full Description
Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to the paid side of search marketing which involves paying for advertisements within search engine results and on webpages.Read Full Description
The webpages that search engines display after a searcher inputs a question or query into their platform.Read Full Description
Searcher intent, also called user intent, is the primary goal a user has when entering a query into a search engine.Read Full Description
Types of modifiers used in a web search to affect the results of the search. For example inurl, intitle, quotation marks, and intext modifiers.
Search ranking or SEO ranking refers to the position a website or webpage holds within a specific search engine results page.Read Full Description
Google’s move to improve search accuracy by incorporating more intuitive artificial intelligence and focusing more on searcher intent with the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable data space.
Acronym for Search Engine Optimization which involves using technical tools and strategies to maximize a website’s potential for ranking highly in the page results from a web search.Read Full Description
A competitor, in the context of SEO, is a website or webpage that is competing with your target page for ranking in the search engine results.Read Full Description
SEO keywords are the terms and phrases associated with your business that people use when entering a query into search engines to find your website.Read Full Description
A sitewide link on a page remains in the same location on the website, no matter what page of the site you are on. These are typically in a static header or footer of a website.
A search engine robot (bot) that crawls a site for information to determine site-relevance to a queried term.
A page that is not the top-level domain. Pages following the forward-slash (/) of a site’s root domain are the site’s subpages.
A target audience is a strategically selected group of consumers that your content and products or services are intended for. Understanding your target audience is crucial to any content creation campaign.Read Full Description
A positive affirmation on a company or its products. Writing and submitting testimonials to sites that publish these increases links, brand awareness, etc.
A link pyramid where very low quality and low trust sites link to slightly higher quality and more trustworthy sites that then link to better sites in turn. This is repeated in layers until a pool of fairly high value, high trust sites are created with acceptable backlink portfolios. These can be used to link to high-value sites without compromising that website's backlink portfolio. This technique is considered black hat SEO.
The title that shows when you look at a webpage on a search engine results page (SERP).Read Full Description
Acronym for Top Level Domain, the highest point of a given domain in the hierarchical Domain Name System.
The numbers of web visitors to your site. Google offers a free tool called Google Analytics which will provide traffic data for your site.
User generated content is a form of online content that is created by users or a website's audience rather than by someone affiliated with that website or business.Read Full Description
A unique selling proposition (USP) is a feature that distinguishes a business from competitors while meeting a defined consumer need.Read Full Description
Unlinked mentions are mentions of your site, brand, or related product and services on a published site that does not link back to your site, representing a missed SEO opportunity.Read Full Description
A link that has been intentionally placed by a webmaster on a site for the sole purpose of deceiving the search engines.
An unnatural link warning is a notice to a webmaster from a search engine such as Google. These warnings typically say that a site has unnatural links that can negatively impact a site’s rankings.
A uniform resource locator, more commonly abbreviated as “URL,” is an address given to each specific website, image, CSS document, and any other type of file that can be found on the internet.Read Full Description
Refers to the organization of a URL.
For example, http://www.example.com/subject/specific/ being good.
http://www.example.com/KJFKUH823hf being bad.
Also known as impressions, viewable impressions are a metric used to estimate how many people view a given advertisement.
A metric tracked through Google's display ad network which refers to visitors that converted within 30 days of viewing your ad even though they never clicked the advertisement.
A seminar or class held online. Users can watch via live video feed or listen in over the phone when invited to from the webinar hosts.
Refers to the organizational structure of a domain. This structure should create an information hierarchy from the home page to deep links ranging from general to specific and organizing various topics into groups with similar topics to make it easier to navigate.
Web crawlers — also known as “crawlers,” “bots,” “web robots,” or “web spiders” — are automated programs that methodically browse the web for the sole purpose of indexing web pages and the content they contain.Read Full Description
Sites that allow a user to interact with an online community by uploading content and commenting on other users’ content.
Search engine optimization practices that are in line with published search engine best practices and webmaster guidelines. Typically, white hat SEO involves optimizing a website with useful and fresh content and natural link building.
A site that allows all users to contribute information and constantly seeks new information or contributions to make existing information more accurate, complete, and authoritative. However, a wiki site is only as reliable as the contributors on it and the people who moderate the content for accuracy.
An XML file that provides a map of a website by listing all pages to help search engines better understand site structure and crawl the site more quickly and effectively.
An element of the HTTP header reponse for a given URL that can instruct the same directives as a robots meta tag.
Zero-click searches are searches conducted within Google that don't result in the searcher clicking one of the results or leaving the search engine.
Zero position or position zero refers to the Featured Snippet results which appear above the first position on a SERP. Since these results appear before position one, ranking here is commonly referred to as "ranking zero".