SEO Definitions, Glossary, Dictionary

Welcome to the SEO Dictionary of Terms, Definitions, and Glossary

We hope you find this resource valuable. 

Over time we have had many new employees, prospects, and customers ask what a certain term one of our people used meant.  With a lot of effort we went all over the web looking for resources and definitions that were Search Engine Marketing / Search Engine Optimization related.  We’re still not done formatting this page, but we thought we’d get it up here as a resource nevertheless.  Many Sites are to be credited as sources for this information. We just felt like the sources were out there had extraneous, insufficient, or outdated information so we’ve collected all the relevant, current, and hopefully comprehensive list here.  Please see the bottom of the page for citations, and source credits. 


200  – OK – The request has succeeded. The information returned with the response is dependent on the method used in the request.

301 Redirect – A message that the URL has moved permanently. This is commonly used when a URL has a new location and will not be appearing again at the old URL.

302 Redirect – A “found” message. (Also referred to as a “temporary redirect.”) This form of redirection is commonly used — and in some cases abused — when a URL has been moved to a different location; but, it will be returning to the original location eventually.

307 Temporary Redirect – The requested resource resides temporarily under a different URI. Since the redirection MAY be altered on occasion, the client SHOULD continue to use the Request-URI for future requests.

400 Bad Request – The request could not be understood by the server due to malformed syntax. The client SHOULD NOT repeat the request without modifications.

401 Unauthorized – The request requires user authentication. The response MUST include a WWW-Authenticate header field containing a challenge applicable to the requested resource.

403 Server Code – A “forbidden” message. Prevents access to a URL and displays the reason for preventing access.

404 Server Code – A “not found” message. Server cannot find the URL requested.

410 Gone – The requested resource is no longer available at the server and no forwarding address is known. This condition is expected to be considered permanent.

500 Internal Server Error – The server encountered an unexpected condition which prevented it from fulfilling the request.

501 Not Implemented – The server does not support the functionality required to fulfill the request. This is the appropriate response when the server does not recognize the request method and is not capable of supporting it for any resource.



AJAX – Stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. Ajax is a programming language that allows for the updating of specific sections of content on a web page, without completely reloading the page.

API – Acronym for Application Programming Interface. This is a program that advertisers create to manage their SEM campaigns, bypassing the search engines’ interfaces.

A/B Testing – A/B testing, at its simplest, is randomly showing a visitor one version of a page – (A) version or (B) version – and tracking the changes in behavior based on which version they saw. (A) version is normally your existing design (“control” in statistics lingo); and (B) version is the “challenger” with one copy or design element changed. In a “50/50 A/B split test,” you’re flipping a coin to decide which version of a page to show. A classic example would be comparing conversions resulting from serving either version (A) or (B), where the versions display different headlines. A/B tests are commonly applied to clicked-on ad copy and landing page copy or designs to determine which version drives the more desired result. See also Multivariate Testing.

Above the fold – With reference to the top part of a newspaper, the term is used on the Net to describe the top part of the page that the user can see without scrolling down.

Absolute URL’s Link – Absolute URLs use the full-path address, such as (See also Relative URL’s link.)

Acquisition Strategy – A process of finding those potential customers who are in the market and ready to buy. The attempt to lead customers to a web site and to welcome them, answer their questions and close the sale.

Acquisition –  A term used in Internet marketing to describe the point at which a visitor becomes a qualified lead / customer. Generally this is the point where the visitor buys a product or provides contact details and indicates an interest in the product or subscribes to a newsletter.

Acquisition Cost – Total cost of an advertising / marketing campaign divided by the number of visitors (visitor acquisition cost) or divided by the number of customers (customer acquisition cost). Monitoring of acquisition cost is an important factor in effective PPC advertising.

Adjacency – Referring to the relationship between words, particularly words used in a search engine query. Search engines typically assign higher value to pages where the search terms appear next to one another (as in the query) than to pages where the search terms are separated by other words.

Ad – Advertisements a searcher sees after submitting a query in a search engine or web site search box. In PPC, these ads are usually text format, with a Title, Description and Display URL. In some cases, a keyword the searcher used in his or her query appears boldfaced in the displayed ad. Ads can be positioned anywhere on a search results page; commonly they appear at the top – above the natural or organic listings – and on the right side of the page,also known as “Right Rail.”

Ad broker – An Internet advertising specialist. Ad brokers act as middlemen between web site owners with advertising space to sell and advertisers.

Ad Copy – The main text of a clickable search or context-served ad. It usually makes up the second and third lines of a displayed ad, between the Ad Title and the Display URL.

Ad inventory – The number of potential page views a site has available for advertising.

Ad Title – The first line of text displayed in a clickable search or context-served ad. Ad Titles serve as ad headlines.

AdSense – Google’s contextual based ad program.

Advanced search – An option at most of the major search engines that allow users to specify certain search criteria. For example, users can elect to see only documents added to the database after a certain date, documents in specific languages etc.

Adwords  – Google Pay Per Click contextual advertisement program, very common way of basic website advertisement.

Adwords site  – (MFA) Made For Google Adsense Advertisements – websites that are designed from the ground up as a venue for GA advertisements. This is usually, but not always a bad thing. TV programming is usually Made For Advertisement.

Affiliate Marketing – Affiliate marketing is a process of revenue sharing that allows merchants to duplicate sales

efforts by enlisting other web sites as a type of outside sales force. Successful affiliate marketing programs

result in the merchant attracting additional buyers, and the affiliate earning the equivalent of a referral fee,

based on click-through referrals to the merchant site.

Algorithm – A set of rules that a search engine uses to rank listings in response to a query. Search engines guard

their algorithms closely, as they are the unique formulas used to determine relevancy. Algorithms are sometimes

referred to as the ”secret sauce.”

AllTheWeb  – A search engine.

AltaVista Pioneering search engine purchased by Overture in February of 2003.

ALT Text – Also known as alternative text or alt attribute. An HTML tag (ALT tag) used to provide images with a text

description in the event images are turned off in a web browser. The images text description is usually visible

while “hovering” over the image. This tag is also important for the web access of the visually impaired.

Anchor Text – Words used to link to a page, known as anchor text are an important signal to search engines to

determine a page’s relevance.

Arbitrage – A practice through which web publishers – second tier search engines, directories and vertical search

engines – engage in the buying and reselling of web traffic. Typically, arbitrage occurs when such publishers pool

client budgets to engage in PPC campaigns on Tier I search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN). If the publishers pay

$0.10 per click for traffic, they typically resell those visitors to clients who bid $0.20 or more for the same

keywords. Successful arbitrage requires that the arbitrageur must pay less per click than what the traffic sells

for. The variation called Affiliate Arbitrage involves a web site owner or blogger bidding on keywords from programs

such as Yahoo! Search Marketing or Google AdWords, who then links the ads, either to their own web site, or directly

to a merchant site displaying ads (from programs such as the Yahoo! Publisher Network or Google AdSense).

Abbreviation for AllTheWeb, a search engine powered by FAST.

Ask – Jeeves Previously knows as "Ask Jeeves".

ASP – Active Server Pages. A server-side scripting language used to deliver dynamic content.

Astroturfing – (the opposite of full disclosure) attempting to advance a commercial or political agenda while

pretending to be an impartial grassroots participant in a social group. Participating in a user forum with the

secret purpose of branding, customer recruitment, or public relations.

Auction Model Bidding – The most popular type of PPC bidding. First, an advertiser determines what maximum amount

per click they are willing to spend for a keyword. If there is no competition for that keyword, the advertiser pays

their bid, or less, for every click. If there is competition at auction for that keyword, then the advertiser with

the highest bid will pay one penny more than their nearest competitor. For example, advertiser A is willing to bid

up to $0.50; advertiser B is willing to bid up to $0.75. If advertiser A’s actual bid is $0.23, then advertiser B

will only pay $0.24 per click. Also referred to as market or competition-driven bidding.

Automatic Optimization – Search engines identify which ad for an individual advertiser demonstrates the highest CTR

(click-through rate) as time progresses, and then optimizes the ad serve, showing that ad more often than other ads

in the same Ad Group/Ad Order.

Audience reach – In the context of search engines, the term refers to the percentage of the total Internet

population that use a particular search engine during a given month. Together with search hours, audience reach is

an important measure when calculating the popularity of the different search engines.

Authority  – (trust, link juice, Google juice) The amount of trust that a site is credited with for a particular

search query. Authority/trust is derived from related incoming links from other trusted sites.

Automated submission – The practice of machine-based, automatic submission of URLs to search engines, usually with

the use of submission software or submission services.


B2B – Stands for “Business to Business.” A business that markets its services or products to other businesses.

B2C – Stands for “Business to
Consumer.” A business that markets its services or products to consumers.

Backlinks – All the links pointing at a particular web page. Also called inbound links.

Ban – Also known as Delisting. Refers to a punitive action imposed by a search engine in response to being spammed.

Can be an IP address of a specific URL

Banner blindness – Refers to a "condition" amongst experienced web users who tend to automatically ignore banner

ads. Banner blindness is arguably the main cause of low click-through rates in banner advertising.

Baseline Metrics – Time-lagged calculations (usually averages of one sort or another) which provide a basis for

making comparisons of past performance to current performance. Baselines can also be forward-looking, such

establishing a goal and seeking to determine whether the trends show the likelihood of meeting that goal. They

become an essential piece of a Key Performance Indicator (KPI).

Behavioral Targeting – The practice of targeting and serving ads to groups of people who exhibit similarities not

only in their location, gender or age, but also in how they act and react in their online environment. Behaviors

tracked and targeted include web site topic areas they frequently visit or subscribe to; subjects or content or

shopping categories for which they have registered, profiled themselves or requested automatic updates and

information, etc.

Bid – The maximum amount of money that an advertiser is willing to pay each time a searcher clicks on an ad. Bid

prices can vary widely depending on competition from other advertisers and keyword popularity.

Bid Boosting – A form of automated bid management that allows you to increase your bids when ads are served to

someone whose age or gender matches your target market. This level of demographic focus and the “bid boosting” tool

are current Microsoft adCenter offerings.

Bid Management Software – Software that manages PPC campaigns automatically, called either rules-based (with

triggering rules or conditions set by the advertiser) or intelligent software (enacting real-time adjustments based

on tracked conversions and competitor actions). Both types of automatic bid management programs monitor and change

bid prices, pause campaigns, manage budget maximums, adjust multiple keyword bids based on CTR, position ranking and


Black Box Algorithms – Black box is technical jargon for a when system is viewed primarily in terms of input and

output characteristics. A black box algorithm is one where the user cannot see the inner workings of the algorithm.

All search engine algorithms are hidden.

Black Hat SEO – The practice of using spam techniques (link farms, cloaking) to increase search engine positions.

Blacklists – A list of Web sites that are considered off limits or dangerous. A Web site can be placed on a

blacklist because it is a fraudulent operation or because it exploits browser vulnerabilities to send spyware and

other unwanted software to the user.

Blogs – A truncated form for  “web log.” A blog is a frequently updated journal that is intended for general public

consumption. They usually represent the personality of the author or web site.

Abbreviation for robot (also called a spider). It refers to software programs that scan the web. Bots vary in

purpose from indexing web pages for search engines to harvesting e-mail addresses for spammers.

Bounce rate  – The percentage of users who enter a site and then leave it without viewing any other pages.

Bread crumbs –  Web site navigation in a horizontal bar above the main content which helps the user to understand

where they are on the site and how to get back to the root areas.

Brand – Customer or user experience represented by images and ideas, often referring to a symbol (name, logo,

symbols, fonts, colors), a slogan and a design scheme. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the

accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service, both from its use, and as influenced by

advertising, design and media commentary.  Brand is often developed to represent implicit values, ideas and even

personality. Source: Wikipedia

Brand and Branding – “A brand is a customer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas; often, it

refers to a symbol such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme. Brand recognition and other reactions are

created by the accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service, both directly relating to its use,

and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary.”  (Added Definition) “A brand often includes

an explicit logo, fonts, color schemes, symbols, sound which may be developed to represent implicit values, ideas,

and even personality.” Source: Wikipedia

Brand Lift – A measurable increase in consumer recall for a specific, branded company, product or service. For

example, brand lift might show an increase in respondents who think of Dell for computers, or WalMart for “every

household thing.”

Brand Messaging – Creative messaging that presents and maintains a consistent corporate image across all media

channels, including search.

Brand Reputation – The position a company brand occupies.

Branding Strategy – The attempt to develop a strong brand reputation on the web to increase brand recognition and

create a significant volume of impressions.

Bridge Page – Often used to describe the web pages that linked together many doorway pages on a web site. Also see:

Doorway Page, Hallway Page.

Bucket – An associative grouping for related concepts, keywords, behaviors and audience characteristics associated

with your company’s product or service. A “virtual container” of similar concepts used to develop PPC keywords,

focus ad campaigns and target messages.

Burst – A rapid increase in the popularity of a new topic. In the search engine world a burst refers to a

significant but usually short-lived increase in both the number of searches done on a specific topic and the number

of relevant documents on that topic. Bursts are often related to news stories, new technological advances etc.

Buying Funnel – Also called the Buying Cycle, Buyer Decision Cycle and Sales Cycle, Buying Funnel refers to a

multi-step process of a consumer’s path to purchase a product – from awareness to education to preferences and

intent to final purchase.

Buzz Monitoring Services – Services that will email a client regarding their status in an industry. Most buzz or

publicity monitoring services will email anytime a company’s name, executives, products, services or other

keyword-based information on them are mentioned on the web.  Some services charge a fee; others, such as Yahoo! and

Google Alerts, are free.

Buzz Opportunities – Topics popular in the media and with specific audiences that receive news coverage or pass

along recommendations that help increase exposure for a brand. Ways to uncover potential buzz opportunities include

reviewing incoming traffic to a web site from organic links and developing new keywords to reach those visitors, or

scanning special interest blogs and social media sites to learn what new topics attract rising interest, also to

develop new keywords and messages.



COA – Acronym for Cost of Acquisition, which is how much it costs to acquire a conversion (desired action), such as

a sale.

CPA – Acronym for Cost Per Acquisition (sometimes called Cost Per Action), which is the total cost of an ad campaign

divided by the number of conversions. For example, if a campaign cost $100 and resulted in 5 conversions, the CPA is

$20 ($100 / 5). It cost $20 to generate one conversion.

CPA or “Cost Per Acquisition” – Also referred to as “Cost Per Action.” This is a metric used to measure the total

monetary cost of each sale, lead or action from start to finish.

CPC – Acronym for Cost Per Click, or the amount search engines charge advertisers for every click that sends a

searcher to the advertiser’s web site. For an advertiser, CPC is the total cost for each click-through received when

its ad is clicked on.

CPC or “Cost Per Click” – Some search engines charge advertisers a cost for every click sent to their web site. The

“CPC” is the total cost for each click received.

CPM – Acronym for Cost Per Thousand Impressions (ad serves or potential viewers). Compare to CPC pricing (defined

above). CPM is a standard monetization model for offline display ad space, as well as for some context-based

networks serving online search ads to, for example, web publishers and sites.

CPM or “Cost Per Thousand” – A unit of measure typically assigned to the cost of displaying an ad. If an ad appears

on a web page 1,000 times and costs $5, then the CPM would be $5. In this instance, every 1,000 times an ad

appeared, it would incur a charge of $5.

CPO – Acronym for Cost Per Order. The dollar amount of advertising or marketing necessary to acquire an order.

Calculated by dividing marketing expenses by the number of orders. Also referred to as CPA (Cost Per Acquisition).

CTR – Acronym for Click-Through Rate, the number of clicks that an ad gets, divided by the total number of times

that ad is displayed or served. (Represented as: total clicks / total impressions for a specific ad = CTR). For

example, if an ad has 100 impressions and 6 clicks, the CTR is 6%. The higher the CTR, the more visitors your site

is receiving; CTR also factors into you advertiser search engine Quality Score and, therefore, your minimum keyword

bids on Tier I engines.

Campaign Integration – Planning and executing a paid search campaign concurrently with other marketing initiatives,

online or offline, or both. More than simply launching simultaneous campaigns, true paid search integration takes

all marketing initiatives into consideration prior to launch, such as consistent messaging and image, driving

offline conversions, supporting brand awareness, increasing response rates and contributing to ROI business goals.

Canonicalization – The process of picking the best URL when there are several choices; this usually refers to home

pages. “Canonicalization is the process of converting data that has more than one possible representation into a

"standard" canonical representation. This can be done to compare different representations for equivalence, to count

the number of distinct data structures (e.g., in combinatorics), to improve the efficiency of various algorithms by

eliminating repeated calculations, or to make it possible to impose a meaningful sorting order.” Source: Wikipedia

captcha – Usually a picture representing a group of letters and numbers for a human visitor to enter as a code. This

method is used to put a stop to automated submissions, since it’s quite difficult for non humans to interpret

(possibly distorted) pictures and distil the correct information. In short: captchas are pictures showing passwords

used to combat automated blog and comment spamming.

Cascading Style Sheets or CSS – An addition to your HTML, a web site’s “cascading style sheet” contains information

on paragraph layout, font sizes, colors, etc. A cascading style sheet has many uses as far as search engine

optimization and web site design are concerned.

Click Bot – A program generally used to artificially click on paid listings within the engines in order to

artificially inflate click amounts.

Click Fraud – Clicks on a Pay-Per-Click advertisement that are motivated by something other than a search for the

advertised product or service. Click fraud may be the result of malicious or negative competitor/affiliate actions

motivated by the desire to increase costs for a competing advertiser or to garner click-through costs for the

collaborating affiliate. Also affects search engine results by diluting the quality of clicks.

Click Through – When a user clicks on a hypertext link and is taken to the destination of that link

Click Through Rate – The percentage of those clicking on a link out of the total number who see the link. For

example, imagine 10 people do a web search. In response, they see links to a variety of web pages. Three of the 10

people all choose one particular link. That link then has a 30 percent click-through rate. Also called CTR. Source:

Webmaster World Forums

Click tracking – Search engines can track user clicks in order to "learn" from users which pages are most relevant

to a query. The best-known example is that of "Direct Hit", a discontinued search engine that not only tracked

clicks but also logged the amount of time users spent on pages returned in order to improve relevance.

Client-side Tracking – Client-side tracking entails the process of tagging every page that requires tracking on the

Web site with a block of JavaScript code. This method is cookie based (available as first or third party cookies)

and is readily available to companies who do not own or manage their own servers.

Cloaking –  Cloaking describes the technique of serving a different page to a search engine spider than what a human

visitor sees. This technique is abused by spammers for keyword stuffing. It is also a process by which a web site

can display different versions of a web page under different circumstances. It is primarily used to show an

optimized or a content-rich page to the search engines and a different page to humans. Most major search engine

representatives have publicly stated that they do not approve of this practice.

Comment – The text contained within a “comment” tag in a web page. “Comments” are used in a variety of situations,

such as communication between web developers and Cascading Style Sheets (See Above).

Comment Spam Posting blog comments for the purpose of generating an inlink to another site. The reason many blogs

use link condoms.

Competitive Analysis – As used in SEO, CA is the assessment and analysis of strengths and weaknesses of competing

web sites, including identifying traffic patterns, major traffic sources, and keyword selection.

Consumer Generated Media (CGM)  – Refers to posts made by consumers to support or oppose products, web sites, or

companies, which are very powerful when it comes to company image. It can reach a large audience and, therefore, may

change your business overnight.

Content Management Systems (CMS) – In computing, a content management system (CMS) is a document centric

collaborative application for managing documents and other content. A CMS is often a web application and often it is

used as a method of managing web sites and web content. The market for content management systems remains

fragmented, with many open source and proprietary solutions available. Source:

Content Network – Also called Contextual Networks, content networks include Google and Yahoo! Contextual Search

networks that serve paid search ads triggered by keywords related to the page content a user is viewing.

Content Targeting – An ad serving process in Google and Yahoo! that displays keyword triggered ads related to the

content or subject (context) of the web site a user is viewing. Contrast to search network serves, in which an ad is

displayed when a user types a keyword into the search box of a search engine or one of its partner sites.

Contextual Advertising – Advertising that is automatically served or placed on a web page based on the page’s

content, keywords and phrases. Contrast to a SERP (search engine result page) ad display. For example, contextual

ads for digital cameras would be shown on a page with an article about photography, not because the user entered

“digital cameras” in a search box.

Contextual Distribution – The marketing decision to display search ads on certain publisher sites across the web

instead of, or in addition to, placing PPC ads on search networks.

Contextual Network – Also called Content Ads and Content Network, contextual network ads are served on web site

pages adjacent to content that contains the keywords being bid upon. Contextual ads are somewhat like traditional

display ads placed in print media and, like traditional ad buys, are often purchased on the same CPM (cost per

thousand impressions) model for purchased keywords, rather than a CPC basis

Contextual Search – A search that analyzes the page being viewed by a user and gives a list of related search

results. Offered by Yahoo! and Google.

Contextual Search Campaigns – A paid placement search campaign that takes a search ad listing beyond search engine

results pages and onto the sites of matched content web partners.

Conversion refers to site traffic that follows through on the goal of the site (such as buying a product on-line,

filling out a contact form, registering for a newsletter, etc.). Webmasters measure conversion to judge the

effectiveness (and ROI) of PPC and other advertising campaigns. Effective conversion tracking requires the use of

some scripting/cookies to track visitors actions within a website. Log file analysis is not sufficient for this


Conversion Action – The desired action you want a visitor to take on your site. Includes purchase, subscription to

the company newsletter, request for follow-up or more information (lead generation), download of a company free

offer (research results, a video or a tool), subscription to company updates and news.

Conversion Rate – Conversion rates are measurements that determine how many of your prospects perform the prescribed

or desired action step. If your prescribed response is for a visitor to sign up for a newsletter, and you had 100

visitors and 1 newsletter signup, then your conversion rate would be 1%. Typically, micro-conversions (for instance,

reading different pages on your site) lead to your main conversion step (making a purchase, or signing up for a


Conversion Rate – The number of visitors who convert (take a desired action at your site) after clicking through on

your ad, divided by the total number of click-throughs to your site for that ad. (Expressed as: total click-throughs

that convert / total click-throughs for that ad = conversion rate.) For example, if an ad brings in 150

click-throughs and 6 of the 150 clicks result in a desired conversion, then the conversion rate is 4% (6 / 150 =

0.04). Higher conversion rates generally translate into more successful PPC campaigns with a better ROI.

Copyright – Protection and ownership of works or expressions fixed in a tangible form, including words, art, images,

sounds, and music. Copyright gives the owner the exclusive right to copy, display, license, or expand the work.

Copyrights cover virtually any original expression; and the protection arises under common law as soon as the

original expression is created (fixed in tangible form). However, proving ownership of the original expression may

be difficult legally, unless the work was displayed or used publicly at a verifiable point in time.

Crawler – Automated programs in search engines that gather web site listings by automatically crawling the web. A

search engine’s crawler (also called a spider or robot) “reads” page text contents and web page coding, and also

follows links to other hyperlinked pages on the web pages it crawls. A crawler makes copies of the web pages found

and stores these in the search engine’s index, or database.

Crawler: Also known as a bot and spider, a crawler is a program that search engines use to seek out information on

the web. The act of “crawling” on a web site is referred to when the crawler begins to search through documents

contained within the web site. Also see Index.

Creatives – Unique words, design and display of a paid-space advertisement. In paid search advertising, creative

refers to the ad’s title (headline), description (text offer) and display URL (clickable link to advertiser’s web

site landing page). Unique creative display includes word emphasis (boldfaced, italicized, in quotes), typeface

style and, on some sites, added graphic images, logos, animation or video clips.

Custom Feed – Create custom feeds for each of the shopping engines that allow you to submit XML feeds. Each of the

engines has different product categories and feed requirements.



DHTML – Stands for Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language.

DKI – Acronym for Dynamic Keyword Insertion, the insertion of the EXACT keywords a searcher included in his or her

search request in the returned ad title or description. As an advertiser, you have bid on a table or cluster of

these keyword variations, and DKI makes your ad listings more relevant to each searcher.

DMCA – Acronym for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. “The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States

copyright law which….criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services that are used to

circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works (commonly known as DRM), and criminalizes the act of

circumventing an access control, even when there is no infringement of copyright itself. [Circumvention of

controlled access includes unscrambling, copying, sharing, commercial recording or reverse engineering copyrighted

entertainment or software.] It also heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.” Source:


DMOZ: Short for Open Directory Project. See Open Directory Project.

Dayparting – The ability to specify different times of day – or day of week – for ad displays, as a way to target

searchers more specifically. An option that limits serves of specified ads based on day and time factors.

Deep Linking – Linking that guides, directs and links a click-through searcher (or a search engine crawler) to a

very specific and relevant product or category web page from search terms and PPC ads.

Description Tag – Refers to the information contained in the description META tag. This tag is meant to hold the

brief description of the web page it is included on. The information contained in this tag is generally the

description displayed immediately after the main link on many search engine result pages.

Directory Search – Also known as a search directory. Refers to a directory of web sites contained in an engine that

are categorized into topics. The main difference between a search directory and a search engine is in how the

listings are obtained. A search directory relies on user input in order to categorize and include a web site.

Additionally, a directory usually only includes higher-level pages of a domain.

Display URL – The web page URL that one actually sees in a PPC text ad. Display URL usually appears as the last line

in the ad; it may be a simplified path for the longer actual URL, which is not visible.

Distribution Network – A network of web sites (content publishers, ISPs) or search engines and their partner sites

on which paid ads can be distributed. The network receives advertisements from the host search engine, paid for with

a CPC or CPM model. For example, Google’s advertising network includes not only the Google search site, but also

searchers at AOL, Netscape and the New York Post online edition, among others.

Domain – Refers to a specific web site address.

Doorway Page – A web page specifically created in order to obtain rankings within the natural listings of a search

engine. These pages generally are filled with keywords and are meant to funnel surfers into the main web site. This

practice is generally considered an outdated spam tactic. This term is not to be confused with a “landing page.”

Duplicate content  – Obviously content which is similar or identical to that found on another website or page. A

site may not be penalized for serving duplicate content but it will receive little if any Trust from the search

engines compared to the content that the SE considers being the original.

Dynamic Landing Pages – Dynamic landing pages are web pages to which click-through searchers are sent that generate

changeable (not static) pages with content specifically relevant to the keyword search. For example, if a user is

looking for trucks, then a dynamic landing page with information and pictures on multiple models and, possibly,

geographically localized dealerships might be served. The term truck would trigger a data dump into a web site

template for all possible vehicles, that serves all truck-related information.

Dynamic Text (Insertion) – This is text, a keyword or ad copy that customizes search ads returned to a searcher by

using parameters to insert the desired text somewhere in the title or ad. When the search query (for example,

“hybrid cars”) matches the defined parameter (for example, all brands of electric/gasoline passenger cars AND SUVs),

then the associated term (hybrid) is plugged into the ad. Dynamic insertion makes the ad mirror exact terms used in

the search query, creating very relevant ads. See also DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion).



eCPM – Acronym for Effective Cost Per Thousand, a hybrid Cost-Per-Click (CPC) auction calculated by multiplying the

CPC times the click-through rate (CTR), and multiplying that by one thousand. (Represented by: (CPC x CTR) x 1000 =

eCPM.) This monetization model is used by Google to rank site-targeted CPM ads (in the Google content network)

against keyword-targeted CPC ads (Google AdWords PPC) in their hybrid auction.

EOC – Email Optimization Consultant

EPC – Earnings Per Click

Ecommerce – Conducting commercial transactions on the internet where goods, information or services are bought and


Editorial Review Process – A review process for potential advertiser listings conducted by search engines, which

check to ensure relevancy and compliance with the engine’s editorial policy. This process could be automated – using

a spider to crawl ads – or it could be human editorial ad review. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. Not all PPC

Search Engines review listings.

Entry Page – Refers to any page within a web site that a user employs to “enter” your web site. Also see Landing


Eye Tracking Studies – Studies by Google, Marketing Sherpa and Poynter Institute using Eyetools technology to track

the eye movements of web page readers, in order to understand reading and click-through patterns.



FAQ – Stands for “Frequently Asked Questions.”

F.F.A – Abbreviation for Free For All. FFA sites post large lists of unrelated links to anyone and everyone. FFA

sites and the links they provide are basically useless. Humans do not use them and search engines minimize their

importance in ranking formulas. These are seen as outdated and were used in an attempt to artificially inflate link


F.T.P – Stands for “File Transfer Protocol.”

Feeds – A web document that is a shortened or updated (revised content only) version of a web page created for

syndication. Usually served at user request, through subscription; also includes ad feeds to shopping engines and

paid-inclusion ad models. Ad feeds are usually in Extensible Markup Language (XML) or Rich Site Summary (RSS)


Flash – “Flash technology has become a popular method for adding animation and interactivity to web pages; several

software products, systems, and devices are able to create or display Flash. Flash is commonly used to create

animation, advertisements, various web page components, to integrate video into web pages, and more recently, to

develop rich internet applications.” Source: Wikipedia

Frames – HTML technique that allows two or more pages to display in one browser window. Many search engines had

trouble indexing web sites that used frames, generally only seeing the contents of a single frame. See also “No




GAP  – Google Advertising Professionals

G.U.I – Stands for “Graphical User Interface.” Means a visual representation of the functional code. Or, is a way

for the average web user to interface with a database, program, etc.

Gateway page – See Doorway Page.

Geo-Targeting – The geographic location of the searcher. Geo-targeting allows you to specify where your ads will or

won’t be shown based on the searcher’s location, enabling more localized and personalized results.

Gizmo  – (gadget, widget) small applications used on web pages to provide specific functions such as a hit counter

or IP address display. Gizmos can make good link bait.

Google bomb  – The combined effort of multiple webmasters to change the Google search results usually for humorous

effect. The “miserable failure” – George Bush, and “greatest living American” – Steven Colbert Google bombs are

famous examples.

Google bowling Maliciously trying to lower a sites rank by sending it links from the “bad neighborhood” –

Google 24 Queries: This is an estimated number of queries the particular keyword might appear in the current 24 hour

period on Google

Google Dance
Up to June, 2003, Google has updated the index for their search engine on a roughly monthly basis. While the update

is in progress, search results for each of Google’s nine datacenters are different. The positions of a site appears

to "dance" as it fluctuates minute to minute. "Google dance" is an unofficial term coined to refer to the period

when Google is performing the update to its index. Google may be changing their index calculation method to allow

for a continuous update (which will effectively end the roughly monthly dances).

Google juice – (trust, authority, pagerank) trust / authority from Google, which flows through outgoing links to

other pages.

Googlebot  – Google’s spider program

GYM Google – Yahoo – Microsoft, the big three of search




.htaccess file – A file with one or more configuration directives placed in a web site document directory. The

directives apply to that directory and all subdirectories.

HTTP – Stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol.”

HTTPS – Stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.”

HTTP Referrer Data – A program included in most web analytics packages that analyzes and reports the source of

traffic to the user’s web site. The HTTP referrer allows webmasters, site owners and PPC advertisers to uncover new

audiences or sites to target or to calculate conversions and ROI for future ad campaigns.

Head Terms – Search terms that are short, popular and straightforward; e.g., "helicopter skiing." These short terms

are called "head terms" based on a bell-curve distribution of keyword usage that displays the high numbers of

most-used terms at the “head” end of the bell curve graph. See also Tail Terms.

Hidden text — (Also known as Invisible text.) Text that is visible to the search engines but hidden to a user. It

is traditionally accomplished by coloring a block of HTML text the same color as the background color of the page.

More creative methods have also been employed to create the same effect while making it more difficult for the

search engines to detect or filter it. It is primarily used for the purpose of including extra keywords in the page

without distorting the aesthetics of the page. Most search engines penalize or ignore URLs from web sites that use

this practice.

Hit – The request or retrieval of any item located within a web page. For example, if a user enters a web page with

5 pictures on it, it would be counted as 6 “hits.” One hit is counted for the web page itself, and another 5 hits

count for the pictures. Once the standard by which web traffic was often judged, but now a largely meaningless term

replaced by pageviews AKA impressions



IBL – Inbound Link

ICANN – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

ICRA – Internet Content Rating Association

IFRAME – “IFrame (from inline frame) is an HTML element which makes it possible to embed another HTML document

inside the main document. The size of the IFrame is specified in the surrounding HTML page, so that the surrounding

page can already be presented in the browser while the IFrame is still being loaded. The IFrame behaves much like an

inline image, and the user can scroll it out of view. On the other hand, the IFrame can contain its own scroll bar,

independent of the surrounding page’s scroll bar. Source: Wikipedia

IPTV – Acronym for Internet Protocol Television, which delivers digital television service using the Internet

Protocol over a network. IPTV delivery may be through a high capacity, high speed broadband connection. Compared to

traditional broadcast and cable television, IPTV may offer new venues for PPC search advertisers through program

interfaces and stored individual preferences. Source: Wikipedia

Impression – One view or display of an ad. Ad reports list total impressions per ad, which tells you the number of

times your ad was served by the search engine when searchers entered your keywords (or viewed a content page

containing your keywords).

Index – A search engine’s “index” refers to the amount of documents found by a search engines crawler on the web.

Indexability – Also known as crawlability and spiderability. Indexability refers to the potential of a web site or

its contents to be crawled or “indexed” by a search engine. If a site is not “indexable,” or if a site has reduced

indexability, it has difficulties getting its URLs included.

Indexed Pages  – The pages on a site which have been indexed by a search engine.

Abbreviation for Inktomi, the back-end search engine acquired by Yahoo. The Inktomi search engine is being phased

out as Yahoo built a new search engine incorporating Inktomi’s technology with elements of Yahoo’s other search


IP Address – “Dedicated and shared IPs. –(An IP address is) an identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP

network. Networks using the TCP/IP protocol route messages based on the IP address of the destination. The format of

an IP address is a 32-bit numeric address, written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number can be zero to

255. For example, could be an IP address.” Source: Webopedia.  (Added definition) An IP Address can be

dedicated for one web site or shared by multiple web sites.

IP Address – Abbreviation for Internet Protocol Address, a unique combination of numbers assigned to individual

electronic devices or networks that communicate over the Internet. Basically, it’s a trackable address for any

computer, and it can be used to localize results (see Geo-Targeting). Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)

oversees global IP address allocation.

IP Address Lookup – The process of determining a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address.

IASAPI_rewrite – ISAPI_rewrite is a powerful URL manipulation engine based on regular expressions. It acts mostly

like Apache’s mod_rewrite, but is designed specifically for Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS).

ISAPI_rewrite is an ISAPI filter written in pure C/C++ so it is extremely fast. ISAPI_rewrite gives you the freedom

to go beyond the standard URL schemes and develop your own scheme. Source:



JavaScript – JavaScript is a scripting language based on prototype-based programming. It is used on a web site as

client-side JavaScript, and also to enable scripting access to objects in other applications.



KDA – Keyword Density Analyzer

KEI – Keyword Effectiveness Index

Keyword – A single word that relates to a specific subject or topic. For example, “glossary” would be a keyword for

this document. See also Keyword Phrase.

Keyword / Keyword Phrase – A specific word or combination of words that a searcher might type into a search field.

Includes generic, category keywords; industry-specific terms; product brands; common misspellings and expanded

variations (called Keyword Stemming), or multiple words (called Long Tail for their lower CTRs but sometimes better

conversion rates). All might be entered as a search query. For example, someone looking to buy coffee mugs might use

the keyword phrase “ceramic coffee mugs.” Also, keywords – which trigger ad network and contextual network ad serves

– are the auction components on which PPC advertisers bid for all Ad Groups/Orders and campaigns.

Keyword cannibalization  – The excessive reuse of the same keyword on too many web pages within the same site. This

practice makes it difficult for the users and the search engines to determine which page is most relevant for the


Keyword Density – The number of times a keyword or keyword phrase is used in the body of a page. This is a

percentage value determined by the number of words on the page, as opposed to the number of times the specific

keyword appears within it. In general, the higher the number of times a keyword appears in a page, the higher its


Keyword Phrase – Two or more keywords relating to a specific topic. For example, “Mind numbingly boring glossary”

would be a keyword phrase to describe this document.

Keyword Stemming – To return to the root or stem of a word and build additional words by adding a prefix or suffix,

or using pluralization. The word can expand in either direction and even add words, increasing the number of

variable options.

Keyword Stuffing – Generally refers to the act of adding an inordinate number of keyword terms into the HTML or tags

of a web page.  Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of adding superfluous keywords to a web page. The words are

added for the ‘benefit’ of search engines and not human visitors. The words may or may not be visible to human

visitors. While not necessarily a violation of search engine Terms of Service, at least when the words are visible

to humans, it detracts from the impact of a page (it looks like spam). It is also possible that search engines may

discount the importance of large blocks of text that do not conform to grammatical structures (ie. lists of

disconnected keywords). There is no valid reason for engaging in this practice.

Keyword Tag – Refers to the META keywords tag within a web page. This tag is meant to hold approximately 8 – 10

keywords or keyword phrases, separated by commas. These phrases should be either misspellings of the main page

topic, or terms that directly reflect the content on the page on which they appear. Keyword tags are sometimes used

for internal search results as well as viewed by search engines.

Keyword Targeting – Displaying Pay Per Click search ads on publisher sites across the Web (see also Contextual

Networks) that contain the keywords in a context advertiser’s Ad Group.

KPI, Key Performance Indicators — KPI are metrics used to quantify objectives that reflect the strategic

performance of your online marketing campaigns. They provide business and marketing intelligence to assess a

measurable objective and the direction in which that objective is headed. (See Module 5, Lesson 2, for key

definitions for general and SEO-specific KPIs.) 



LSA – Latent Semantic Analysis

LSI – Latent Semantic Indexing

LVHA  – a:link, a:visited, a:hover, a:active (CSS Link Order)

Landing Page / Destination Page – The web page at which a searcher arrives after clicking on an ad. When creating a

PPC ad, the advertiser displays a URL (and specifies the exact page URL in the code) on which the searcher will land

after clicking on an ad in the SERP. Landing pages are also known as “where the deal is closed,” as it is landing

page actions that determine an advertiser’s conversion rate success.

Latent Semantic Indexing – LSI uses word associations to help search engines know more accurately what a page is

about. SEOs refer to these same groups of words as “Long Tail Searches”. The majority of searches consist of three

or more words strung together. See also “long tail”.

Lead Generation – Web sites that generate leads for products or services offered by another company. On a lead

generation site, the visitor is unable to make a purchase but will fill out a contact form in order to get more

information about the product or service presented. A submitted contact form is considered a lead. It contains

personal information about a visitor who has some degree of interest in a product or service.

Link bait  – A webpage with the designed purpose of attracting incoming links, often mostly via social media.

Link Cardinality – See “Link Popularity.”

Link condom – Any of several methods used to avoid passing link love to another page, or to avoid possible

detrimental results of endorsing a bad site by way of an outgoing link, or to discourage link spam in user generated


Link exchange  – a reciprocal linking scheme often facilitated by a site devoted to directory pages. Link exchanges

usually allow links to sites of low or no quality, and add no value themselves. Quality directories are usually

human edited for quality assurance.

Link Farming – The attempt to substantially and artificially increase link popularity. Typically a link farm is a

group of separate, highly interlinked websites for the purposes of inflating link popularity (or PR). Engaging in a

link farm is a violation of the Terms Of Service of most search engines and could be grounds for banning.

Link juice  – (trust, authority, pagerank)

Link love  – An outgoing link, which passes trust, unencumbered by any kind of link condom.

Link Partner  – (link exchange, reciprocal linking) Two sites which link to each other. Search engines usually don’t

see these as high value links, because of the reciprocal nature.

Link Popularity – Link popularity generally refers to the total number of links pointing to any particular URL.

There are typically two types of link popularity: Internal and External. Internal link popularity typically refers

to the number of links or pages within a web site that link to a specific URL. External link popularity refers to

the number of inbound links from external web sites that are pointing to a specific URL. If you have more “links”

than your competitors, you are typically known to have link cardinality or link superiority.

Linking Profile – A profile is a representation of the extent to which something exhibits various characteristics. A

linking profile is the results of an analysis of where of your links are coming from.

Link text (Anchor text)  – The user visible text of a link. Search engines use anchor text to indicate the relevancy

of the referring site and link to the content on the landing page. Ideally all three will share some keywords in


Log File – All server software stores information about web site incoming and outgoing activities. Web log files

function like the “black box” that records everything during an airplane’s flight. The log file is usually in the

root directory but it may also be found in a secondary folder. If you do not have permission to access these files,

then you will need the help of the server administrator.

Log File Analysis – The analysis of records stored in the log file. In its raw format, the data in the log files can

be hard to read and overwhelming. There are numerous log file analyzers that convert log file data into

user-friendly charts and graphs. A good analyzer is generally considered an essential tool in SEO because it can

show search engine statistics such as the number of visitors received from each search engine, the keywords each

visitors used to find the site, visits by search engine spiders etc.

Long Tail – Keyword phrases with at least three, sometimes four or five, words in them. These long tail keywords are

usually highly specific and draw lower traffic than shorter, more competitive keyword phrases, which is why they are

also cheaper. Oftentimes, long tail keywords, in aggregate, have good conversion ratios for the low number of

click-throughs they generate.

Long-tailed Keywords – Keyword phrases with at least 2 or 3 words in them.



Mashup  – A web page which consists primarily of single purpose software and other small programs (gizmos and

gadgets) or possibly links to such programs. Mashups are quick and easy content to produce and are often popular

with users, and can make good link bait. Tool collection pages are sometimes mashups.

Meta Feeds – Ad networks that pull advertiser listings from other providers. They may or may not have their own

distribution and advertiser networks.

META Refresh redirect – A client-side redirect.

Metrics – A system of measures that helps to quantify particular characteristics. In SEO the following are some

important metrics to measure: overall traffic, search engine traffic, conversions, top traffic-driving keywords, top

conversion-driving keywords, keyword rankings, etc.

Minimum Bid – The least amount that an advertiser can bid for a keyword or keyword phrase and still be active on the

search ad network. This amount can range from $0.01 to $0.50 (or more for highly competitive keywords), and are set

by the search engine.

In SEO parlance, a mirror is a near identical duplicate website (or page). Mirrors are commonly used in an effort to

target different keywords/keyphrases. Using mirrors is a violation of the Terms Of Service of most search engines

and could be grounds for banning.

Mod_rewrite – URL Rewrite processes, also known as “mod rewrites,” are employed when a webmaster decides to

reorganize a current web site, either for the benefit of better user experience with a new directory structure or to

clean up URLs which are difficult for search engines to index.

Multivariate Testing – A type of testing that varies and tests more than one or two campaign elements at a time to

determine the best performing elements and combinations. Multivariate testing can gather significant results on many

different components of, for example, alternative PPC ad titles or descriptions in a short period of time. Often it

requires special expertise to analyze complex statistical results. (Compare to A/B Testing which changes only one

element at a time, alternately serving an “old” version ad and a changed ad.) In search advertising, you might do

A/B Split or Multivariate testing to learn what parts of a landing page (background color, title, headline, fill in

forms, design, images) produce higher conversions and are more cost effective.



NDA – Non-Disclosure Agreement

NSI – Network Solutions Inc

Naked Links – A posted and visible link in the text of a web page that directs to a web site.

Natural search results  – The search engine results which are not sponsored, or paid for in any way.

Negative Keywords – Filtered-out keywords to prevent ad serves on them in order to avoid irrelevant click-through

charges on, for example, products that you do not sell, or to refine and narrow the targeting of your Ad Group’s

keywords. Microsoft adCenter calls them "excluded keywords." Formatting negative keywords varies by search engine;

but they are usually designated with a minus sign.

No Frames Tag – A tag used to describe the content of a frame to a user or engine which had trouble displaying /

reading frames. Frequently misused and often referred to as “Poor mans cloaking”.

No Script Tag – The noscript element is used to define an alternate content (text) if a script is NOT executed. This

tag is used for browsers that recognizes the <script> tag, but does not support the script in it.

NoFollow – NoFollow is an attribute webmasters can place on links that tell search engines not to count the link as

a vote or not to send any trust to that site. Search engines will follow the link, yet it will not influence search

results. NoFollows can be added to any link with this code: “rel="nofollow"."

noindex A command found in either the HEAD section of a web page or within individual link code, which instructs

robots to not index the page or the specific link. A form of link condom.

non reciprocal link if site A links to site B, but site B does not link back to site A, then the link is considered

non reciprocal. Search engines tend to give more value to non-reciprocal links than to reciprocal ones because they

are less likely to be the result of collusion between sites.


OBL – Outbound Link

ODP – Open Directory Project

OOP – Over Optimization Penalty

Off-page SEO: The aspect of a website that is not located on the site itself, rather elsewhere on the web, but can

influence the ranking of this website. More precisely this aspect is the incoming links from other websites. It is

much more difficult to control the off-page factors, than the on-page SEO.

On-page SEO: Optimization of a website’s content, text, tags, links and other elements.

One Way Link: Getting a link from a site without linking back to that same website. One way links are very valuable.

ODP: Short for Open Directory Project. See Open Directory Project.

Open Directory Project: The largest human edited directory on the internet. Google and thousands of other websites

are using its data throughout the web.

Organic Results – Listings on SERPs that were not paid for; listings for which search engines do not sell space.

Sites appear in organic (also called “natural”) results because a search engine has applied formulas (algorithms) to

its search crawler index, combined with editorial decisions and content weighting, that it deems important enough

inclusion without payment. Paid Inclusion Content is also often considered "organic" even though it is paid

advertising because paid inclusion content usually appears on SERPs mixed with unpaid, organic results.

Organic Search Listings – Listings that search engines do not sell (unlike paid listings). Instead, sites appear

solely because a search engine has deemed it editorially important for them to be included, regardless of payment.

Paid Inclusion Content is also often considered "organic" even though it is paid for. This is because paid inclusion

content usually appears intermixed with unpaid organic results.

Organic Search Rankings – Search engine ranking of web pages found in SERPs.



P4P – Acronym for Pay for Performance, also designated as PFP. See also PPC Advertising.

PFI  – Pay For Inclusion

PFP – Acronym for Pay for Performance; also designated as P4P. See also PPC Advertising.

PPC – Acronym for Pay Per Click. See also PPC Advertising.

PPCSE – Acronym for Pay-Per-Click Search Engine.

Pay For Inclusion – Many search engines offer a PFI program to assure frequent spidering / indexing of a site (or

page). PFI does not guarantee that a site will be ranked highly (or at all) for a given search term. It just offers

webmasters the opportunity to quickly incorporate changes to a site into a search engine’s index. This can be useful

for experimenting with tweaking a site and judging the resultant effects on the rankings.

PageRank (PR) – PR is the Google technology developed at Stanford University for placing importance on pages and web

sites. At one point, PageRank (PR) was a major factor in rankings. Today it is one of hundreds of factors in the

algorithm that determines a page’s rankings.

Paid Inclusion – Refers to the process of paying a fee to a search engine in order to be included in that search

engine or directory. Also known as “guaranteed inclusion.” Paid inclusion does not impact rankings of a web page; it

merely guarantees that the web page itself will be included in the index. These programs were typically used by web

sites that were not being fully crawled or were incapable of being crawled, due to dynamic URL structures, frames,


Pay Per Call – A model of paid advertising similar to Pay Per Click (PPC), except advertisers pay for every phone

call that comes to them from a search ad, rather than for every click-through to their web site landing page for the

ad. Often higher cost than PPC advertising; but valued by advertisers for higher conversion rates from consumers who

take the action step of telephoning an advertiser.

Personas – These are "people types" or sub-groups that encompass several attributes, such as gender, age, location,

salary level, leisure activities, lifestyle characteristics, marital/family status or some kind of definable

behavior. Useful profiles for focusing ad messages and offers to targeted segments.

Podcasts – “A podcast is a media file that is distributed over the internet using syndication feeds, for playback on

portable media players and personal computers. Like ‘radio,’ it can mean both the content and the method of

syndication. The latter may also be termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster.”

Source: Wikipedia

Designation for websites that are either authoritative hubs for a given subject or popular content driven sites

(like Yahoo) that people use as their homepage. Most portals offer significant content and offer advertising

opportunities for relevant sites.

Position – In PPC advertising, position is the placement on a search engine results page where your ad appears

relative to other paid ads and to organic search results. Top ranking paid ads (high ranking 10 to 15 results,

depending on the engine) usually appear at the top of the SERP and on the “right rail” (right-side column of the

page). Ads appearing in the top three paid-ad or Sponsored Ad slots are known as Premium Positions. Paid search ad

position is determined by confidential algorithms and Quality Score measures specific to each search engine.

However, factors in the engines’ position placement under some advertiser control include bid price, the ad’s CTR,

relevancy of your ad to searcher requests, relevance of your click-through landing page to the search request, and

quality measures search engines calculate to ensure quality user experience.

Position Preference – A feature in Google AdWords and in Microsoft adCenter enabling advertisers to specify in which

positions they would like their ads to appear on the SERP. Not a position guarantee.

PPC Advertising – Acronym for Pay-Per-Click Advertising, a model of online advertising in which advertisers pay only

for each click on their ads that directs searchers to a specified landing page on the advertiser’s web site. PPC ads

may get thousands of impressions (views or serves of the ad); but, unlike more traditional ad models billed on a CPM

(Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions) basis, PPC advertisers only pay when their ad is clicked on. Charges per ad

click-through are based on advertiser bids in hybrid ad space auctions and are influenced by competitor bids,

competition for keywords and search engines’ proprietary quality measures of advertiser ad and landing page content.

PPC Management – The monitoring and maintenance of a Pay-Per-Click campaign or campaigns. This includes changing bid

prices, expanding and refining keyword lists, editing ad copy, testing campaign components for cost effectiveness

and successful conversions, and reviewing performance reports for reports to management and clients, as well as

results to feed into future PPC campaign operations.



Quality Score – A number assigned by Google to paid ads in a hybrid auction that, together with maximum CPC,

determines each ad’s rank and SERP position. Quality Scores reflect an ad’s historical CTR, keyword relevance,

landing page relevance, and other factors proprietary to Google. Yahoo! refers to the Quality Score as a Quality

Index. And both Google and Yahoo! display 3- or 5-step indicators of quality evaluations for individual advertisers.

Query – The keyword or keyword phrase a searcher enters into a search field, which initiates a search and results in

a SERP with organic and paid listings.



ROAS – Acronym for Return On Advertising Spending, the profit generated by ad campaign conversions per dollar spent

on advertising expenses. Calculated by dividing advertising-driven profit by ad spending.

ROI – Acronym for Return On Investment, the amount of money you make on your ads compared to the amount of money you

spend on your ads. For example, if you spend $100 on PPC ads and make $150 from those ads, then your ROI would be

50%. (Calculated as: ($150 – $100) / 100 = $50 / 100 = 50%.) The higher your ROI, the more successful your

advertising, although some practitioners in search advertising consider ROAS a more useful metric, as it breaks down

cost and expenses by conversions per advertising dollar spent.

RSS – Acronym for Rich Site Summary or Real Simple Syndication, a family of web feed formats that leverages XML for

distributing and sharing headlines and information from other web content (also known as syndication).

Rank – How well positioned a particular web page or web site appears in search engine results. For example, if you

rank at position #1, you’re the first listed paid or sponsored ad. If you’re in position #18, it is likely that your

ad appears on the second or third page of search results, after 17 competitor paid ads and organic listings. Rank

and position affect your click-through rates and, ultimately, conversion rates for your landing pages.

Raw Data Feed – Raw data is information that has been collected but not formatted, analyzed or processed. This raw

data can be used to build an optimized XML feed.

Reciprocal Link – Two different sites that link out to each other. Also referred to as Cross Linking.

Relative URL’s Link – Relative URLs link to just the file, for example, “page1.htm”. (See also Absolute URL’s link.)

Relevance – In relation to PPC advertising, relevance is a measure of how closely your ad title, description, and

keywords are related to the search query and the searcher’s expectations.

Reverse DNS – A process to determine the hostname or host associated with an IP or host address.

Revshare / Revenue Sharing – A method of allocating per-click revenue to a site publisher, and click-through charges

to a search engine that distributes paid-ads to its context network partners, for every page viewer who clicks on

the content site’s sponsored ads. A type of site finder’s fee.

Rich Media – Media with embedded motion or interactivity. A growing option for PPC advertisers as rates of broadband

connectivity increase.

Right Rail – The common name for the right-side column of a web page. On a SERP, right rail is usually where

sponsored listings appear.

Robots.txt – A text file present in the root directory of a website which is used to direct the activity of search

engine crawlers. This file is typically used to tell a crawler which portions of the site should be crawled and

which should not be crawled.

RSS (Really Simply Syndication, Rich Site Summary, RDF Site Summary) – A family of web feed formats used for

distributing frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news, podcasts, and videos

RSS Aggregators – “A client software that uses web feed to retrieve syndicated web content such as blogs, podcasts,

vlogs, and mainstream mass media websites, or in the case of a search aggregator, a customized set of search

results….Such applications are also referred to as RSS readers, feed readers, feed aggregators, news readers or

search aggregators. These have been recently supplemented by the so-called RSS-narrators [such as TalkingNews or

Talkr] which not only aggregate news feeds but also converts them into podcasts.” Source: Wikipedia



SEM – Abbreviation for Search Engine Marketing. SEM encompasses SEO and search engine paid advertising options

(banners, PPC, etc.)

SEMPO  – Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization

SEO – Acronym for “Search Engine Optimization.” This is the process of editing a web site’s content and code in

order to improve visibility within one or more search engines. When this term is used to describe an individual, it

stands for “Search Engine Optimizer” or one who performs SEO.

SERP – Acronym for Search Engine Results Page, the page delivered to a searcher that displays the results of a

search query entered into the search field. Displays both paid ad (sponsored) and organic listings in varying

positions or rank.

SEU – Search Engine Usability

SMM – Social Media Marketing

SMO – Social Media Optimization

SSP Feed  – See Search Submit Pro and Feeds.

Scrape  – copying content from a site, often facilitated by automated bots. –

Saturation (Search Engine Saturation) — A term relating to the number of URLs included from a specific web site in

any given search engine. The higher the saturation level or number of pages indexed into a search engine, the higher

the potential traffic levels and rankings.

Search Directory – Similar to a search engine, in that they both compile databases of web sites. A directory does

not use crawlers in order to obtain entries in its search database. Instead, it relies on user interaction and

submissions for the content it contains. Submissions are then categorized by topic and normally alphabetized, so

that the results of any search will start with site descriptions that begin with some number or non-letter

character, then moving from A-to-Z.

Search Engines – A search engine is a database of many web pages. Most engines display the number of web pages they

hold in their database at any given time. A search engine generally “ranks” or orders the results according to a set

of parameters. These parameters (called algorithms) vary among search engines; they are always improving in order to

identify spam as well as improve relevance. See also SERP, Algorithm.

Search Funnel – Movement of searchers, who tend to do several searches before reaching a buy decision, that works

from broad, general keyword search terms to narrower, specific keywords. Advertisers use the search funnel to

anticipate customer intent and develop keywords targeted to different stages. Also refers to potential for switches

at stages in the funnel when, for example, searchers start with keywords for a desired brand, but switch to other

brands after gathering information on the category. Microsoft AdCenter tested a search funnel keyword tool in 2006

to target keywords to search funnel stages.

Search Query – The word or phrase a searcher types into a search field, which initiates search engine results page

listings and PPC ad serves. In PPC advertising, the goal is to bid on keywords that closely match the search queries

of the advertiser’s targets. See also Query.

Search Submit Pro (SSP) – Search Submit Pro is Yahoo!’s paid inclusion product that uses a “feed” tactic. With

Search Submit Pro, Yahoo! crawls your web site as well as an optimized XML feed that represents the content on your

site. Yahoo! applies its algorithm to both the actual web site pages and the XML feed to determine which listing is

most appropriate to appear in the organic search results when a user conducts a search for relevant terms. Yahoo!

charges a CPC, determined by category, for each time a listing established through SSP is clicked.

Secondary Links – Links that are indirectly acquired links, such as a story in a major newspaper about a new product

your company released.

Semantic Clustering – A technique for developing relevant keywords for PPC Ad Groups, by focusing tightly on

keywords and keyword phrases that are associative and closely related, referred to as "semantic clustering.” Focused

and closely-related keyword groups, which would appear in the advertiser’s ad text and in the content of the

click-through landing page, are more likely to meet searchers’ expectations and, therefore, support more effective

advertising and conversion rates.

Server-side Tracking — The process of analyzing web server log files. Server-side analytics tools make sense of raw

data to generate meaningful reports and trends analysis.

Session Id’s – dynamic parameters, such as session IDs generated by cookies for each individual user.  Session IDs

cause search engines to see a different URL for each page each time that they return to re-crawl a web site.

Share of Voice –”A brand’s (or group of brands’) advertising weight, expressed as a percentage of a defined total

market or market segment in a given time period. SOV advertising weight is usually defined in terms of expenditure,

ratings, pages, poster sites, etc.” Source: Wikipedia

Siloing – Siloing (also known as Theming) is a site architecture technique used to split the focus of a site into

multiple themes. The goal behind siloing is to create a site that ranks well for both its common and more-targeted


Site map  – A page or structured group of pages which link to every user accessible page on a website, and hopefully

improves site usability by clarifying the data structure of the site for the users. An XML sitemap is often kept in

the root directory of a site just to help search engine spiders to find all of the site pages.

Site-Targeted Ads – Site targeting lets advertisers display their ads on manually-selected sites in the search

engine’s content network for content or contextual ad serves. Site-targeted ads are billed more like traditional

display ads, per 1000 impressions (CPM), and not on a Pay-Per-Click basis.

Social Media or Social Search – Sites where users actively participate to determine what is popular.

SPAM – Any search marketing method that a search engine deems to be detrimental to its efforts to deliver relevant,

quality search results. Some search engines have written guidelines on their definitions and penalties for SPAM.

Examples include doorway landing pages designed primarily to game search engine algorithms rather than meet searcher

expectations from the advertiser’s clicked-on ad; keyword stuffing in which search terms that motivated a

click-through are heavily and redundantly repeated on a page in place of relevant content; attempts to redirect

click-through searchers to irrelevant pages, product offers and services; and landing pages that simply compile

additional links on which a searcher must click to get any information. Determining what constitutes SPAM is

complicated by the fact that different search engines have different standards, including what is allowable for

listings gathered through organic methods versus paid inclusion (referred to as spamdexing), whether the listing is

from a commercial or research/academic source, etc. Source: Webmaster World Forums

Spamdexing was describes the efforts to spam a search engine’s index. Spamdexing is a violation of the Terms Of

Service of most search engines and could be grounds for banning.

Spamming – Spamming refers to a wide array of techniques used to “trick” the search engines. These tactics generally

are against the guidelines put forth by the search engines. Tactics such as Hidden text, Doorway Pages, Content

Duplication and Link Farming are but a few of many spam techniques employed over the years. (Also see: delicious


Spider – See Crawler.

Spider Trap
A spider trap refers to either a continuous loop where spiders are requesting pages and the server is requesting

data to render the page or an intentional scheme designed to identify (and "ban") spiders that do not respect


Splash Page – Refers to an entry page or main page of a web site that is interactive or graphically intense. Many

splash pages are designed using Flash.

Splog – Short for "spam blog," a splog is a blog offering no unique content that is set up soley to attract search

engine spiders.

Sponsored Listing – A term used as a title or column head on SERPs to identify paid advertisers and distinguish

between paid and organic listings. Alternate names are Paid Listings or Paid Sponsors. Separating paid listings from

organic results enables searchers to make their own purchase and site trust decisions and, in fact, resulted from an

FTC complaint filed by Commercial Alert in 2001 alleging that the confusion caused in consumers who saw mixed paid

and unpaid results constituted fraud in advertising.

Statistical Validity – The degree to which an observed result, such as a difference between two measurements, can be

relied upon and not attributed to random error in sampling or in measurement. Statistical Validity is important to

the reliability of test results, particularly in Multivariate Testing methods. Source:

Stickiness  – Mitigation of bounce rate. Website changes that entice users to stay on the site longer, and view more

pages improve the sites “stickiness”.

Stop Word – Stop words are words that are ignored by search engines when indexing web pages and processing search

queries. Common words that often appears in a page’s copy or content, but it has no significance by itself. Examples

of stop words are: and, the, of, etc.

Submission – The act of submitting a web site to search engines and search directories. For some search engines,

this is performed simply by typing in the absolute home page URL of the web site you wish to submit. Other engines

and directories request that descriptions of the web site be submitted for approval.

Super Verbs – Compelling verbs that trigger emotions or visual images.



TLP – Acronym for Top Level Page, a reference to the home page, category pages, or product pages that have unique

value for the site and so are structured in the top levels of the site directory.

TLP Feed – Acronym for Top Level Page feed, the often automatic and on-subscription feed of an advertiser’s home

page or unique category pages. See also Feeds.

Tail Terms – Search terms that are very specific, long phrases that include one or more modifiers, such as "cheapest

helicopter skiing near Banff BC." These longer, more specific terms are called "tail terms" based on a bell-curve

distribution of keyword usage that displays the low numbers of little-used terms at the “tail” end of the bell curve

graph. (See “The Long Tail” by Wired editor Chris Anderson.) Although long, specific and lesser-used tail terms have

low CTRs, they are less competitive (and therefore cheaper) and often catch buyers at the end of the purchase

decision process. This means that, even with low click-through numbers, tail terms can have good conversion rates.

See also Head Terms.

Targeting – Narrowly focusing ads and keywords to attract a specific, marketing-profiled searcher and potential

customer. You can target to geographic locations (geo-targeting), by days of the week or time of day (dayparting),

or by gender and age (demographic targeting). Targeting features vary by search engine. Newer ad techniques and

software focus on behavioral targeting, based on web activity and behaviors that are predictive for potential

customers who might be more receptive to particular ads.

Themes – A theme is an overall idea of what a web page is focused on. Search engines determine the theme of a web

page through analysis in the algorithm of the density of associated words on a page.

Tier I Search Engines – The top echelon, or top three, search engines that serve the vast majority of searcher

queries. Also referred to as Major Engines, Top Tier Engines or GYM, for Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft Live Search.

Tier II Search Engines – Smaller, vertical and specialized engines, including general engines, such as and

AOL; meta-engines that search and display results from other search engines, such as Dogpile; local engines,

shopping and comparison engines, and business vertical engines. Tier II Search Engines don’t offer the search query

market share or features of the Tier I engines; however, Tier II engines can target specific, niche markets and are

usually lower cost.

Tier III Search Engines – Contextual distribution networks, through which marketers’ ads appear on pages within the

PPC engine’s content network, triggered by user web site page views at the moment that contain the advertiser’s

keyword in its content. Cost is usually through Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions (CPM) charges, rather than Pay Per

Click (PPC). As discussed in Fundamentals coursework, Google’s contextual distribution program is called AdSense;

Yahoo!’s is called Content Match.

Title Tag – An HTML tag appearing in the <head> tag of a web page that contains the page title. The page title

should be determined by the relevant contents of that specific web page. The contents of a title tag for a web page

is generally displayed in a search engine result as a bold blue underlined hyperlink.

Trackbacks – A protocol that allows a blogger to link to posts, often on other blogs, that relate to a selected

subject. Blogging software that supports Trackback includes a "TrackBack URL" with each post that displays other

blogs that have linked to it. Source: Blog Terms Glossary Tech at

Tracking URL – A specially designed and/or unique URL created to track an action or conversion from paid

advertising. The URL can include strings that will show what keyword was used, what match type was triggered, and

what search engine delivered the visitor.

Trademarks – Distinctive symbols, pictures or words that identify a specific product or service. Received through

registration with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Tier I search engines prohibit bids on trademarks as keywords

if the bidder is not the legal owner, though this keyword bid practice is still allowed by Google.

Traffic – Refers to the number of visitors a website receives. It can be determined by examination of web logs.

Traffic Analysis – The process of analyzing traffic to a web site to understand what visitors are searching for and

what is driving traffic to a site.
Trusted Feed – Also known as Paid Inclusion, a trusted feed is a fee-based custom crawl service offered by some

search engines. These results appear in the “organic search results” of the engine. Typically, the fee is based on a

“cost per click,” depending on the category of site content. It has been called a “Trusted Feed” due to the ability

to actually alter the content in the feed, without changing the existing website. Also see: Paid Inclusion.

TXT//AD – Text ads as mobile device text messages.



UBE – Unsolicited Bulk Email

UCE – Unsolicited Commercial Email

USPTO – Acronym for United States Patent & Trademark Office. See also Trademarks.

Unique Visitor – Identifies an actual web surfer (as opposed to a crawler) and is tracked by a unique identifiable

quality (typically IP address). If a visitor comes to a web site and clicks on 100 links, it is still only counted

as one unique visit.

Usability – This term refers to how "user friendly" a web site and its functions are. A site with good usability is

a site that makes it easy for visitors to find the information they are looking for or to perform the action they

desire. Bad usability is anything that causes confusion or problems for the user. For example, large Flash

animations served to a visitor with a dial up connection causes poor usability. Easy, intuitive navigation and

clear, informative text enhance usability.

User Agent – This is the identity of a web site visitor, spider, browser, etc. The most common user agents are

Mozilla and Internet Explorer.



Value Propositions – “A customer value proposition is the sum total of benefits a customer is promised to receive in

return for his or her custom and the associated payment (or other value transfer).“ A customer value proposition is

what is promised by a company’s marketing and sales efforts, and then fulfilled by its delivery and customer service

processes.” Source: Wikipedia

Vertical Creep – Positioning trends when vertical listings appear at the top of organic search engine results and

below top sponsored listings (when they are displayed on the SERP).

Vertical Portal / Vortal – Search engines that focus on a specific industry or sector. Such vertical search engines

(also called “vortals”) have much more specific indexes and provide narrower and more focused search results than

the Tier I search engines.

Verticals – A vertical is a specific business group or category, such as insurance, automotive or travel. Vertical

search offers targeted search options and PPC opportunities to a specific business category.

Viral Marketing – Also called viral advertising, viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that use

pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness. The awareness increases are the result of

self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can often be

word-of-mouth delivered and enhanced online; it can also harness the network effect of the internet and can be very

useful in reaching a large number of people rapidly. Source: Wikipedia


Google dance watchers use these terms as short-hand to refer to Google’s different datacenters. You can add to the end of them to visit the data center that corresponds to the term.

Web Forwarding – Web forwarding allows for redirects to exist within an .htaccess file on a separate server.

Web Server Logs – Most web server software, and all good web analytics packages, keep a running count of all search

terms used by visitors to your site. These running counts are kept in large text files called Log Files or Web

Server Logs. Useful for developing and refining PPC campaign keyword lists.

Web TV – Television set-top boxes that allow users to browse the Internet from their televisions without a computer

system. Perennial future opportunity as new PPC ad channel offering the option to use rich media formats.

White Hat SEO – The practice of using positive techniques (keyword-rich text, optimized title tags) to increase

search engine positions

Wiki — Software that allows people to contribute knowledge on a particular topic. A wiki is another web publishing

platform that makes use of technologies similar to blogs and also allows for collaboration with multiple people.

Wikipedia – “Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project. Wikipedia is written

collaboratively by volunteers; its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the web site.” Source: Wikipedia

Word Count – The total number of words contained within a web document.


XML – Stands for “Extensible Markup Language,” a data delivery language.

XML Feeds – A form of paid inclusion in which a search engine is fed information about an advertiser’s web pages via

XML, rather than requiring that the engine gather that information through crawling actual pages. Marketers pay to

have their pages included in a spider-based search index based on an XML format document that represents each page

on the advertiser site. Advertisers pay either annually per URL or on a CPC basis – and are assured of frequent

crawl cycles. New media types are being introduced into paid inclusion, including graphics, video, audio, and rich


XML Feeds — A form of paid inclusion where a search engine is "fed" information about pages via XML, rather than

gathering that information through crawling actual pages. Marketers can pay to have their pages included in a

spider-based search index either annually (per URL), or on a CPC basis (based on an XML document representing each

page on the client site). New media types are being introduced into paid inclusion, including graphics, video,

audio, and rich media.

XML Maps – XML maps are specially formatted links to your pages. They will never replace the need for HTML site



Credits and Sources:

The Search Engine Marketing Glossary (link no longer working) by noted SEO Aaron Wall

Search Engine Optimization and Marketing Glossary by SEMPO, an organization of professional Search Engine Marketers.

The SEO Glossary, The Search Engine Term Wiki
Anyone can contribute information to a wiki and it is then edited by other contributors.This gives a wiki the power of the collective intelligence of all
its users.

The Search Engine Dictionary, A Complete Guide to Search Engine Terminology
You can read this specialized dictionary by Pandecta Magazine online or download it free in PDF form.

A Complete Glossary of Essential SEO Jargon by DrDave, who wrote this guide while educating himself about SEO.

SEO Glossary of Terms – SEO Acronyms – SEO Abbreviations by SEO Consultants explains what all those letters stand for. (old link was seo-terms-and-definitions which is no longer up) (link no longer up) (link no longer working)