SEO Glossary | Search Engine Optimization Glossary

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SEO Glossary

Some of the terms related to Search Engine Optimization can be difficult to understand for people inexperienced in the industry – our glossary provides definitions of these terms to make it easier to get to grips with SEO.

Anchor Text

The text a link uses to refer to your site. This can create abig difference in your site’s search engine results. See also: Backlink.


Backlinks are links from other sites back to your own. they are sometimes Sometimes called “trackbacks” (especially on blogs). Backlinks have a huge impact on your sites search rankings. Lots of backlinks from high-ranking sites can greatly improve your search engine results, especially if those links use keywords in their anchor text.

Bad Neighborhood

A bad neighborhood refers to the server where your site is hosted. A site hosted on a server that hosts other sites that spam or use black-hat SEO practices can end up penalized by search engines solely because of their proximity to those sites. That is to say, be very careful about which web host you choose, what their terms of service are, and how strictly they enforce those terms if you want to avoid being penalized because of what your neighbors are doing. Linking to sites in bad neighborhoods can also have a negative effect on your search rankings.

Directory Page

A page of links to related WebPages – these can be useful for SEO, although it’s important to ensure that they are of a high quality and provide traffic to your website, otherwise, they do not add much to your link profile.

Duplicate Content

This refers to content which is similar or identical to that found elsewhere – either on your site, or another elsewhere.  In most cases, Google rank the original version of content above duplicates.


Google’s spider program that is used to index pages from around the web.  There are a number of different Googlebots covering images, mobile websites and advertising.

Hub (Expert Page)

A high authority page with high quality content that links out to related pages.

In Bound Link (Inlink, Incoming Link)

Inbound links from related pages are the source of trust and pagerank.  Recently, Google has been highly discerning about what constitutes a natural link and what should be considered for ranking purposes.

Index (noun)

The database of WebPages, links and content used by the search engines as the basis for their results.

Index (verb)

The process search engines like Google go through to add web pages to their database.

Indexed Pages

The pages on a site that are included in the search engine databases.

Keyword – Key Phrase

The word or phrase that a user enters into a search engine when they are searching.

Keyword Density

The percentage of words on a web page which are a particular keyword. If this value is unnaturally high the page may be penalized.  There is no “right” level of keyword density – in most cases, the target phrase will appear more than other similar length phrases on the page, but the content should still appear natural.

Keyword Research

The process of determining which keywords are appropriate for targeting based on user behaviour and search history.  Finding the terms with the best volume, conversion potential and competitiveness are key to a successful campaign.

Keyword Stuffing

Overly high keyword density.

Landing page

the page that a user enters the website via when they click on a link in a SERP.  Ideally this should be the page which is mos relevant to their query and provides the shortest route to conversion.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

This refers to the way that search engines group related words in a document. SEOs refer to these same groups of words as the “Long Tail of Search”. Most searches consist of three or more words strung together. This is significant, because it is often easier to rank for  longer tail terms and generate as much traffic as you can from the higher volume generic or “head terms”


An element on a web page that can be clicked on to cause the browser to go to another page or another part of the current page.

Link Bait

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

Link Building

Actively cultivating incoming links to a site.  too aggressive link building can result in penalization from Google as the link profile of a website is unnatural and subverts Google’s objectives to make the best content rank highest.

Link Popularity

This measure of the value of a site based upon the number of sites that link to it is the basis for Google’s PageRank algorithm, which also includes the quality of those links to make it more effective at determining the better websites.

Long Tail

This refers to specific search queries.  An example of a long tail search term would be “web design for small businesses” whereas a head term would be “web design”.  A large percentage of all searches are long tail searches.

Mirror Site

An identical site at a different address.  This is usually bad for SEO, due to duplicate content issues arising between the two versions of the site and the practice should be avoided.

Organic Search Results

The search engine results which are not sponsored, or paid for in any way and are ranked based on qualitiative metrics based on relevance.  These are also called algorithmic results..


A command found in either the HEAD section of a web page or within individual link code, which instructs robots to not follow either any links on the page or the specific link. THis prevents links from passing any value to their target pages and is often used to show sponsored links.


A command found in either the HEAD section of a web page or within individual link code, which instructs robots not to include the page or the specific link in their index – although the robots will still visit the page in most cases.

Organic Link

Organic or natural links are those that are published only because the webmaster considers them to add value for users.  Ideally, websites would just get natural links, however in some sectors, they can be difficult to acquire.

PageRank (PR)

PageRank is the algorithm used by Google to ascertain the authority of a web page based on the number and quality of links to and from the page. Google include an illustration version of PageRank on their toolbar as a green bar to provide an indicator of website quality, although this value is different fromt he actual PageRank score used to rank sites.


Short for “permanent link.” This is a term used by many Content Management Systems such as WordPress on blogs, a permalink is a link which is the permanent web address of a given blog post. Since most blogs have constantly-changing text, the permalink offers a way for readers to bookmark or link to specific posts even after those posts have moved off the home page or primary category page.


The file in the root directory of a website which provides information to search engines spiders about which pages of a site they should visit.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

This refers to both organic search engine optimization, and also paid search management – such as AdWords.

Semantic Mark-Up

In semantic markup, text is written within XHTML tags that offer context to what the text contains. Basic semantic markup is when using items like header and paragraph tags, and there are also specific elements which can be used to show that content on a page is an address, or a review, or a product.


This means Search Engine Results Page – what a user sees in Google after making a particular query.


A page or structured group of pages which link to every user accessible page on a website. Google support a standard XML sitemap which can be submitted through a Webmaster Tools account to help with indexing a website.

Static PAge

A regular HTML page which is friendly to search enignes, and has a simple URL,  Static pages are always the same until a webmaster makes changes to the content directly.

Text Link

A plain HTML link that does not use images or JavaScript to track the user.

Trust Rank

A method of differentiating between valuable pages and spam by measuring the proximity of a website – in terms of the number of links that would have to be followed to get ther – from a trusted human evaluated hub page.

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