SEO & Digital Marketing Glossary

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A - F

4xx Status Codes:

A class of status codes that tell you that the request for a page resulted in error.

5xx Status Codes:

A class of status codes that tell you that the server’s inability to perform the request.

Algorithms:

A process or formula by which stored information is retrieved and ordered in meaningful ways.

Alt Text:

Alternative text is the text in HTML code that says what the images on web pages are.

AMP:

These are accelerated mobile pages (AMP) and are intended to make the user experience lightning fast for mobile visitors.

Amplification:

Sharing or spreading the word about your brand. This is often used in the context of social media, paid advertisements, and influencer marketing.

Anchor Text:

The text with which you link to pages.

API:

An application programming interface (API) creates a “back-end” connection, that allows you to share data or use features from other applications.

Async:

Short for “asynchronous”. Async related to how your webpage loads. It means that the browser doesn’t have to wait for a task to finish before moving onto the next one, which allows your webpage to load faster for the user.

Backlinks:

Backlinks, also known as “inbound links”, are links from other websites that point to your domain/website. Backlinks are very important in building page and domain authority which tells Google that your site is credible and important.

Black Hat SEO:

Search engine optimization shortcuts and practices that go against Google’s quality guidelines.

Bots:

Also known as “crawlers” or “spiders”, bots are what scour the Internet to find new content.

Bounce Rate:

The percentage of total visits that did not result in a secondary action on your site. For example, if someone visited your home page and then left before viewing any other pages, that would be a bounced session.

Browser:

A web browser, like Chrome or Firefox, is software that allows you to access information on the web. When you do a search in your browser (ex: “google.com”), you’re telling your browser to get the resources necessary to render that page on your device.

Bundling:

Bundling is when you combine multiple resources into a single resource.

Caching:

A saved version of your web page. Your browser often will cache versions of a website, so that it loads faster the next time you visit that site.

Caffeine:

This is what Google calls its’ web indexing system. Caffeine is the database, or collection of web content, whereas Googlebot is the crawler that goes out and finds the new content.

ccTLD:

Short for “country code top level domain”. ccTLD refers to domains associated with countries. For example, .de is the recognized ccTLD for Germany.

Channel:

The different segments or ways by which you get attention and acquire traffic. For example, organic search, direct, and social media.

Citations:

Also known as a “business listing”. A citation is a web-based reference to a local business name, address, and phone number (NAP).

Click-through Rate (CTR):

The ratio of impressions to clicks. So if your page was seen 1000 times in search results, and clicked on 100 times, then your CTR would be 10%.

Client-side & Server-side Rendering:

Client-side and server-side rendering refer to where the code executes. Client-side means the file is executed by the browser. Server-side means the files are executed on the server and then the server sends them to the browser in their fully rendered state.

Cloaking:

Showing different content to search engines than you show to human visitors.

Conversion Rate:

The ratio of visits to conversions. Conversion rate shows how many of your users are filling out forms, signing up for your newsletter, purchasing products, etc.

Crawling:

The process by which search engines discover your content and web pages.

CSS:

A Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) is the code that determines how a website will look (ex: fonts, styling, colors, etc).

De-indexed:

When a URL, or an entire domain gets removed from a search engine index. This means that the URL or website would no longer be able to be found in search engines. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as when a website receives a manual penalty for violating Google’s quality guidelines.

DNS:

A Domain Name Server (DNS) allows domain names (ex: “apple.com”) to be linked to IP addresses (ex: “17.254.0.91”). DNS essentially translates domain names into IP addresses so that browsers can load the website content.

DOM:

The Document Object Model (DOM) is the structure of an HTML document. It defines how that document can be accessed and changed by things like JavaScript.

Domain Authority:

Domain Authority (DA) is a metric used to predict a domain’s ranking ability. It gives you an idea of how a website might rank in relation to competitors and how much credibility that site may have.

Domain Name Registrar:

A company that manages the reservation of internet domain names. Example: Hostgator, GoDaddy, SiteGround.

Duplicate Content:

Content that is copied from another domain or between multiple pages of a single domain.

Featured snippets:

Organic answer boxes that appear at the top of SERPs for some searches.

Follow:

The default state of a link, “follow” links pass PageRank.

G - M

Google Analytics:

A tool that helps website admins see how people are engaging with a website. Examples of reports you can see in Google Analytics include audience information, acquisition reports, behavior reports that show how users are interacting with your site, and conversion reports that show how people are completing goals or purchases on your website.

Google Analytics Goals:

Goals are things that you are driving users to do on your site. Forms, product purchases, etc.

Googlebot / Bingbot:

Search engines like Google and Bing crawl the web with their “crawlers” or “spiders”, also known as “bots”.

Google My Business Listing:

A free listing available to local businesses.

Google Search Console:

A free service from Google that allows site admins to assess how their site is doing in search.

Google Tag Manager:

A service by Google that provides a single place for managing multiple website tracking codes.

Guest Blogging:

Guest blogging is when you offer your content to another website in the hopes that they will publish your content and link back to your website.

Header Tags:

An HTML element used to designate headings on your page.

Hreflang:

A tag that indicates to search engines which language the content is in.

HTML:

HyperText Markup Language is the language used to create web pages.

Image Carousels:

A sliding image apparatus that shows several images. Sometimes shown in SERP results.

Image Compression:

The function of minimizing the size of content on web pages to speed up how fast webpages load.

Indexing:

The storing and organizing of content found during crawling.

Index Coverage Report:

A report in Google Search Console that tells a website admin if URLs are indexed in Google’s database or not.

Internal Links:

Links on your own site that point to your other pages on the same domain.

IP Address:

An internet protocol (IP) address is a string of numbers that’s unique to each specific website. We assign domain names to IP addresses because they’re easier for humans to remember (ex: “moz.com”) but the internet needs these numbers to find websites.

JavaScript:

A programming language that adds dynamic elements to static web pages.

JSON-LD:

JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data (JSON-LD) is a format for structuring your data. For example, schema.org can be implemented in a number of different formats, JSON-LD is just one of them, but it is the format preferred by Google.

Keyword Difficulty:

At Moz, Keyword Difficulty is an estimate, in the form of a numerical score, of how difficult it is for a site to outrank their competitors.

Keyword Stuffing:

A spammy tactic involving the overuse of important keywords and their variants in your content and links.

KPI:

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

Lazy Loading:

A way of deferring the loading of an object until it’s needed. This method is often used to improve page speed.

Link Accessibility:

The ease with which a link can be found by human visitors or crawlers.

Link Building:

While “building” sounds like this activity involves creating links to your website yourself, link building actually describes the process of earning links to your site for the purpose of building your site’s authority in search engines.

Link Exchange:

Also known as reciprocal linking, link exchanges involve “you link to me and I’ll link to you” tactics. Excessive link exchanges are a violation of Google’s quality guidelines.

Link Equity:

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

Link Profile:

A term used to describe all the inbound links to a select domain, subdomain, or URL.

Link Volume:

The quantity of links on a page.

Login Forms:

Refers to pages that require login authentication before a visitor can access the content.

Local Pack:

A pack of typically three local business listings that appear for local-intent searches such as “oil change near me.”

Local Queries:

A query in which the searcher is looking for something in a specific location, such as “coffee shops near me” or “gyms in Brooklyn.”

Long-tail Keywords:

Longer queries, typically those containing more than three words. Indicative of their length, they are often more specific than short-tail queries.

Manual Penalty:

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

Meta Descriptions:

HTML elements that describe the contents of the page that they’re on. Google sometimes uses these as the description line in search result snippets.

Meta Robots Tag:

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

Minification:

To minify something means to remove as many unnecessary characters from the source code as possible without altering functionality. Whereas compression makes something smaller, minification actually removes things.

Mobile-first Indexing:

Google began progressively moving websites over to mobile first indexing in 2018. This change means that Google crawls and indexes your pages based on their mobile version rather than their desktop version.

N - R

Navigation:

A list of links that allow users to know, and access, what other pages are on your site. Navigation can appear at the top of your website, along the side, or in the footer. It’s possible to include navigation links in widgets and other areas as well.

NoFollow:

Links designated with rel=”nofollow” do not pass “link juice” or PageRank. There are situations where these should be used. For example, Google advises the use of nofollow tags when a link is paid for.

NoIndex Tag:

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

Organic Traffic:

Search result performance that is earned, as opposed to paid advertisements.

Page Authority:

Similar to Domain Authority, Page Authority (PA) indicates an individual page’s ranking ability.

Pages Per Session:

Pages per session tells you the average number of webpages people view in a single session.

PageRank:

PageRank deals with Google’s core algorithm. In essence it assesses a webpage’s importance by measuring the quantity and quality of inbound links.

Page Speed:

Page speed is made up of a number of equally important qualities, such as ttfb (time to first byte), first meaningful paint, and page fully loaded times.

People Also Ask Boxes:

A section present in some search results showing a list of questions related to the query and their answers.

Personalization:

Personalization is the way a search engine will cater results based on a users location and/or search history.

Protocol:

The “http” or “https” preceding your domain name. If it’s “https”, then it requires browsers to only serve secure data. This is essential for e-commerce and any time PII (personally identifiable information) is transferred.

Pruning:

In the content of SEO, pruning usually refers to removing or revising of low-quality or thin pages in order to increase the overall quality of the site.

Query:

Words typed into the search bar. Also known as a “search”.

Ranking:

Ordering search results by relevance to the query.

Redirection:

When a URL is changed, it must be moved from the previous address (url) to the newer one. Most of the time this is a permanent (301 redirect).

Referral Traffic:

Traffic sent to a website from another website. For example, visits that you get to your website sent from your social media channels, is a referral. It could also be from another site on the web.

Rel=canonical:

A tag that allows you to tell the Googlebots which version of a piece of content (article, etc) is the original and which are duplicates.

Relevance:

In the context of the local pack, relevance is how well a local business matches what the searcher is looking for.

Render-blocking Scripts:

These are scripts that cause your browser to wait to be fetched before the page can be rendered. These basically add time to your page load speed. You’ll want to minimize these.

Responsive Design:

Responsive design of websites will adjust the look of the website to whatever screen size it is being viewed on. This is extremely important today as over 50% of all search traffic is done on a mobile device.

Rich Snippet:

A snippet is the title and description that search engines show of URLs on its results page. A “rich” snippet is an “enhanced” version of the regular snippet. Structured data markup or review markup displaying as rating stars next to search result URLs, are an example of this.

Robots.txt:

A tag that tells Googlebots which part(s) of your site, search engines should and shouldn’t crawl.

S - Z

Schema.org:

Code that gives additional information to search engines about what is on a webpage. It basically give the bots exactly what they are looking for in the way that they like it.

Scraped Content:

Content copied from websites that you do not own and republishing it without permission on your own site.

Scroll Depth:

This refers to tracking how far users on a webpage scroll down the page. This is usually tracked by 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%, and can be viewed as an “event” in Google Analytics.

Search Engine:

Search engines are the platform by which you can ask for information, and it goes out onto the web and retrieves the information for you. Examples of this is Google, Yahoo, and Bing, among others.

Search Traffic:

Users sent to your websites from search engines. This can be viewed as pageviews, users, sessions, and more.

Search Volume:

The number of times a keyword was searched. In search tools, this is usually showed as monthly searches.

SERP:

Stands for “search engine results page”, the page you see after making a search.

Sitemap:

A “map” or list of URLs on your site that bots/crawlers can use to discover and index your webpages.

SSL Certificate:

SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer”. It is used to encrypt (make secure) data passed between the web server and browser of the searcher.

Thin Content:

Webpages that typically have fewer than 300 words and add little-to-no value to the visitor.

Thumbnails:

Image thumbnails are a smaller version of a larger image.

Time On Page:

Time on page is the amount of time a user spends on a webpage before navigating to another page.

Title Tag:

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

URL:

URL stands for “Uniform Resource Locators” and is the location or address for individual pages or even pieces of content on the web.

URL Parameters:

This is extra information following a question mark that is added to a URL. This is done to change the page’s content (active parameter) or track information (passive parameter).

UTM Code:

UTM stands for “Urchin Tracking Module” and is code that you can add to the end of your URL to track additional details about the click, such as its source, medium, and campaign name.

White Hat:

Search engine optimization (SEO) practices that comply with Google’s quality guidelines. White hat practices will not get you penalized by Google.

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