Home Search Engine Optimization Glossary highlighting SEO in a text book

Algorithm - Rules which apply to search engines when they are ranking a site’s listing within its index.

Blog - An online diary where people can post messages and others may view and respond to the posts.

Browser - A program, such as AOL, Internet Explorer, or Firefox which allows a user to view the internet.

Caching - When a search engine saves information from a web page for future reference.

Cloaking - When a website uses one version of content for the site which is seen by the user, and sends a different version of content to the search engine. In some cases, cloaking will result in a website being banned from the search engines because of its unethical practices.

Call to action - A link, which when clicked on, sends the user to a different page, typically an online form page, or other page where the user inputs information.

Delisting - This is a process in which a webpage is removed from a search engine index. There are a variety of reasons that a site may be removed, sometimes because they have been banned for unethical practices.

Directory - A compilation of websites that is categorized and sorted by a topic. Within every directory listing you will find an informative description of each site. When a site is listed on a popular directory, the site’s link popularity will increase.

There are two different types of directories, (1) organic and (2) spider built directories. In an organic listing the directories are put together by people who accept or deny the site that has requested placement in the directory. In a spider built directory, a spider (also known as a crawler) follows a URL’s hyperlinks to certain web pages and puts the relevant hyperlinks into its directory.

Description tag - A meta tag which describes the purpose of the website or web page. Some search engines use all or part of the description tag in their own description of the site. Typically, all tags can be viewed when a user right clicks on a web page and clicks “view source.”

A description tag usually looks like:

<meta name="description" content="At Blank & Associates we represent injured clients throughout the state.">

Domain name - A name for an IP address, which may have various suffixes, such as .com, .net, .edu, or.org.

Google Page Rank- A system which ranks pages within the Google search engine and determines the importance of the web page, based on a scale of 1 to 10.

Headline - A bolded short title located at the top of a web page, informing the user what the page’s topic is, such as what type of service or product the website offers. Headlines are very important because it immediately informs the user of the topic, allowing them to decide whether or not they want to read the content on the page.

Hyperlink - An underlined word or phrase, which is a different color, and when it is clicked on it will take a person to another web page.

IP Address - A set of numbers used for a computer or device to acknowledge a website address.

Keyword - A word that people may type into a search window to find related information, services, or consumer products. For example a person may search for “fruit” and find results which point to websites which have something to do with fruit, such as growing, buying, health properties, etc.

Within a website important keywords should be placed in the keyword tag in the meta tags and throughout the content.

Keyword stuffing - When one or more keyword or keyword phrases are overly used or repeated within meta tags or web page content. This is considered spam and the website may be penalized.

Keyword tag - A meta tag which is used to emphasize relevant keywords or keyword phrases for the web page or website. Typically, all tags can be viewed when a user right clicks on a web page and clicks “view source.”

A keyword tag usually looks like:

<meta name="keywords" content="attorney, lawyer, personal injury lawyer, personal injury attorney,">

Keyword phrase - A phrase of two or more words used together that an individual may search for, such as “personal injury attorney.”

Link exchange - A linking program where a site exchanges links with a high ranking site (typically with something in common, such as both being retail sites) as a way to improve visibility in the search engines and increase page rank.

Link farm - A web page which was designed to only accept incoming links, which is seen by the search engines as a form of spam. In many cases link farms will be banned from the search engines for spamming.

Link popularity - A factor which affects a website’s ranking, due to the amount and ranking of inbound links there are to the site. Link popularity is based on the amount of backlinks a site has.

Meta tag - Written information that is on a web page and is used by search engine crawlers to view the site. The search engines use the meta tags to collect, sort, and classify information which helps the search engines determine the relevance of the site and assists users in finding the site when they perform a search for a keyword or keyword phrase which is in the meta tags. Typically, all tags can be viewed when a user right clicks on a web page and clicks “view source.” Meta tags usually consist of a title, description, keyword and subject tag, and may also include rating, robot, and search engine tags.

Paid inclusion - A type of paid advertising in which a website or web page is assured inclusion within a search engine’s index. Many times paid inclusions do not affect or improve the web page’s ranking

Paid placement - An advertising program in which a website is listed with a guarantee that when a user searches for a certain term the website will appear. In this type of advertising it is common for a website to rank higher if they pay more for the placement.

Rank - Also known as “position,” this informs a person how their website or web page’s is listed on the internet within various search engines, such as on the first page or which number the site is listed on a page.

Reciprocal link - The exchange of a link between two website.

Search engine - A service which lets users view and search websites or databases by searching (typically with a spider) for documents with meta tags, then reading and indexing the web pages.

Search engine marketing (SEM) - Online marketing of a website through search engines using proven strategies and advertising to make the website rank high in the search engines.

Search engine optimization (SEO) - Creating and improving a website so that it will rank high in the search engines and help potential customers or clients find the website.

Sitemap - A page which contains an organized listing of links to all pages within the website. Having a well structured sitemap will help a search engine spider and index the pages.

Spider - An automated program which is sent out by search engines to index websites on the internet.

Title tag - This important meta tag is located at the top of page and contains highly searched relevant keywords. The title should not be too long, because if there are too many characters or spaces the viewer may not be able to read the entire title because it will get cut off. Typically, all tags can be viewed when a user right clicks on a web page and clicks “view source.”

A title tag usually looks like:

<title>California Personal Injury Lawyers - Firm Name</title>

Traffic - The number of people who have visited a website. Search engine optimization companies keep track of the traffic for the sites they optimize, as a way evaluate the effectiveness of their procedures and show the client how the optimization is improving the amount of people the website is being viewed by.

Optimized content - A form of content writing which is optimal for websites due to the amount and placement of relevant keywords and keyword phrases. Properly written content will help the web page or website receive greater positioning in the search engines.

Spam - The term used to describe commercial emails (junk mail) which are unsolicited by the receiver. This unethical practice is used by many companies as a means to improve their website’s position within the search engines.

Splash page - A home page which lacks content, except for a couple of words, such as “enter site here” or “click here to enter.” Splash pages are not beneficial to search engine rankings or internet users due to the lack of content.

Pay-per-click - A type of search engine marketing and advertising in which a person sets up an account and pays a predetermined price every time someone clicks on their ad.