SEO and Website Jargon Buster

SEO and Website Jargon Buster

Keep up to date with the latest Website and SEO Jargon, with our useful guide below

A-Z Guide

3 4 A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P R S U W


301 Redirects

– A change of address for a web page, which permanently redirects traffic from the original address to a new one. This is sometimes used when a site has been redesigned, and is useful for transferring any good attributes, such as Google Page Rank or links from an old webpage/website to a new one. in Add People’s case we have chosen and 301 redirected any duplicate pages to this page. A 301 status code means that a page has permanently moved to a new location.
If your website is hosted on an Apache server, you would need to access your servers .htaccess file. If your server is hosted using different software you will need to check with your host for more information.
302 Redirects

This is similar to a 301 redirect, but is seen as a temporary redirect. This is therefore not a search engine friendly way of redirecting one page to another.


404 Error

A 404 error is shown when the file or web page can not be found. This can occur when a page has been moved to a new address or no longer exists, or there is an invalid link on your website.
It is good practise to have a custom 404 error page on your website to show the user valid links to the most important pages of your website, should they stumble upon a missing page.


A/B testing

A/B testing, split testing or multi variance testing is the process of trialling multiple versions of the same web page to improve response rates.
Significant improvements to the response rate or conversion rate of a web page can be made through testing elements like copy text, layouts, image colours and buttons. By looking at the results from different tests it is possible to identify those elements that consistently tend to produce the best improvements.


A pay-per-click advertising service by Google. Advertisers select the words they wish to trigger their ads and also the maximum amount they will pay per click. When a user searches on Google, ads for relevant words are shown as “sponsored links” on the right side of the screen, and sometimes above the main search results. The effectiveness of Adwords can be measured by analysing CTR (click through rates) and Google Analytics.

An affiliate site markets products or services that are actually sold by another website or business in exchange for fees or commissions. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network, the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer.

This is a program used by search engines to determine what pages to bring up in search results for a given search query. It’s the technicality that goes on behind the scenes when we enter a search term and are updated on a regular basis to improve and refine their results.
Alt text

This is the description applied to a photo, so that when a search engine trawls a website it can tell one photograph from another. Alt text is the one place where it is acceptable for the spider to get different content than the human user, but only because the alt text is accessible to the user, and when properly used is an accurate description of the associated picture. Special web browsers for visually challenged people rely on the alt text to make the content of graphics accessible to the users.

A program that gathers all of the data on a website such as which keywords are used, and the geographic locations of your visitors. This is very useful for measuring the effectiveness of your SEO campaign. By evaluating this information, you can optimise your campaign to ensure it is performing to its highest standard.
Anchor text

This is the visible text in a hyperlink, which is used to link to another page. Search engines use anchor text to indicate the relevancy of the referring site and of the link to the content on the landing page.


Back Link

A link to a page within your website from another site, also known as incoming link. Having a good number of these can increase both your page rank, and the amount your site is trusted by Google. Back links to a given website can be measured using the Google Toolbar.
Black Hat

Search engine optimization tactics that are counter to best practices such as the Google Webmaster Guidelines. These tactics are frowned upon and some companies will use them to help get ahead of those abiding to the rules. Search engines will eventually spot such behaviour, and even ban those who are persistent offenders. This is not a method for any business with any long term online ambitions.

(crawler, robot and spider) A computer program that crawls the web and gathers information on websites. Search engines use bots to find and add web pages to their search indexes. This information is then used to configure the rankings within search results. Spammers often use bots to “scrape” content for the purpose of plagiarizing it for exploitation by the Spammer.
Bounce Rate

This is the exact percentage figure, which tells you how many users enter and leave a website, without viewing any further pages. This information can be found using the analytics program. Analysing this information can help to identify potential errors with the website.



Canonicalization is when the same content is accessible on your website by different URL’s, this is a real issue because search engines could see this as duplicate content.

Take a look at the below example: is the home page that you want users and search engines to see. the same content is also visible without the www’s. the same content is again visible if you click on your home page link on your website.
Google and other search engines recommend that you only have one index page online, this ensures that you get the full benefit of all links from other websites pointing at yours as they are not spread over multiple pages that are effectively the same page. Having only one version of a page online also gives you greater control over what results are shown in the search results.
Google offers a range of ways that you can indicate your canonical (preferred page) to them but we recommend overall the first option of the 301 redirect as this will also resolve the issues for all the other search engines in addition to Google.
Specifying your canonical
Another way to show search engines your preferred page is to add a element with the attribute rel=”canonical” to the section to the pages you do not want the search engines to index. By placing this tag into the non canonical pages (non preferred pages) you are telling the search engines to refer to your preferred page.
Specifying your canonical is a good alternative to the 301 redirect but search engines will not guarantee they will follow your preference every time.
Click Fraud

This is when a computer program, automated script or person imitates a user by repeatedly clicking on a PPC advertisement. This costs the advertiser money and could result in exhausting their daily budget, and therefore no longer allows their advert to be shown. The main reason behind this is to eliminate competitors advertisements being shown, allowing their own website to take a higher position.

This is the art of sending content to the search engine which differs from that seen by the user. This is commonly used by people employing black hat techniques and will quite often result in that website being banned from showing in any search results.

The Content Management System is the back door to the website, allowing the user to update the editorial information regularly, without needing to edit the whole of the website. It reduces repetitive duplicate content, allows access to data to be controlled, aids easy storage and retrieval of data.

This is the visual element of a website, which is intended to contain all of the value of the website. Content must be relevant to the website and can include text, images, videos, audio and animations.

The process of a prospective customer completing the marketer’s intended action. Examples include making a purchase and submitting a contact form for additional information.
Conversion rate

The ratio of visitors who convert casual content views or website visits into desired actions based on subtle or direct requests from marketers, advertisers, and content creators. Examples include making a purchase and submitting a contact form for additional information. The conversion rate can be calculated by the number of goals achieved, divided by number of visits.

(cost per click also known as PPC) the amount the advertiser pays for a single click through to their website. The CPC for any ad is determined by the advertiser; some advertisers may be willing to pay more per click than others, depending on what they’re advertising. Monitoring CPC is important to ensure the campaign budget isn’t being wasted on irrelevant and expensive keywords.

(cost per thousand impressions) this is the statistical way of getting the average value/cost of pay per click, giving you the amount you pay for every one thousand advertisements shown. As a publisher, you’ll earn revenue each time a CPM ad is served to your page and viewed by a user. CPM ads compete against cost per click (CPC) ads in ad auctions, and only the ad expected to earn more revenue for you, will be displayed. M is the Roman numeral for one thousand.



An identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control in the Internet. In general, a domain name represents an Internet Protocol (IP) resource, such as a personal computer used to access the Internet, a server computer hosting a website, or the web site itself or any other service communicated via the Internet.

This is a page which is designed to attract traffic and rank highly on a search engine for certain keywords. A doorway page which redirects users (but not spiders) to another site or page is implementing cloaking. This is a black hat technique and again could result in a websites expulsion from search engine results.
Duplicate content

Content which is similar or identical to another website. If duplicate content isn’t removed, it will have a direct effect on the pages rank within search engine results. And it is far more rewarding to come up with your own original content.


E Commerce site

(electronic commerce) A website which is solely dedicated to the sale of products, with no intermediary service involved. The sale or purchase transaction is completed electronically and interactively in real-time such as in However in some cases, an intermediary may be present in a sale or purchase transaction such as the transactions on



(web or news feed) A data format used for providing users with frequently updated content. Content distributors syndicate a web feed, thereby allowing users to subscribe to it. Making a collection of web feeds accessible in one spot is known as aggregation, which is performed by an aggregator.

A web page design which has two or more documents appearing on the same screen, both of which have their own frame. Frames are bad for SEO because spiders sometimes fail to correctly navigate them. Additionally, most users dislike frames because it is almost like having two tiny monitors neither of which shows a full page of information at one time.

(File Transfer Protocol) A standard network protocol used to transfer files from one host to another, over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet. FTP is built on a client-server architecture and utilizes separate control/data connections between the client and server. FTP users may authenticate themselves using a clear-text sign-in protocol but can connect anonymously if the server is configured to allow it.


Google bowling

This is where competitors maliciously try to lower one another’s site rank by sending a site links from a ‘bad neighbourhood’.
Google Dance

A change in SERPs caused by an update of the Google database or algorithm. The cause of great angst and consternation for webmasters who slip in the SERPs. Or, the period of time during a Google index update when different data centres have different data

Google’s web crawling bot (sometimes also called a “spider”). Crawling is the process by which Googlebot discovers new and updated pages to be added to the Google index. Googlebot uses an algorithmic process: computer programs determine which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site.

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft – which are the big 3 search engines.


Header Tag

The <h1> to <h6> tags are used to define HTML headings.
<h1> defines the most important heading. <h6> defines the least important heading.
Each page on your website should contain one <h1> tag. Search engines regard header tags as important pointers in what a web page is all about, so try to include your most important keywords and phrases in heading tags if you can.


Once the standard by which web traffic was often judged, but now a largely meaningless term replaced by page views (impressions). A hit happens each time that a server sends an object – documents, graphics, include files, etc. Thus one page view could generate many hits.

(Hyper Text Markup Language) Directives or “markup” which are used to add formatting and web functionality to plain text for use on the internet. HTML is the mother tongue of the search engines, and should generally be strictly and exclusively adhered to on web pages.



(page view) the number of times a web page has been requested by the computer server. Measuring the CTR (click-through-rate) of an online marketing campaign can be completed by dividing the number of clicks of an advert, with the number of impressions. This allows adverts to become more targeted.
Indexed Pages

The pages within a website which have been indexed.


Keyword/ key phrase

This is the word or phrase that is entered into a search engine when searching for something.
Keyword density

This refers to the percentage amount of times the keyword appears on a webpage. If this value is unnaturally high the page may be penalized.
Keyword Research

A practice used to find and research actual search terms people enter into the search engines when conducting a search. Keyword research is vital within an advertising campaign to achieve better rankings for desired keywords.
Keyword Spam (keyword stuffing)

The term given when too many mentions of the keyword occur on a page. It is considered to be an unethical SEO technique and occurs when a web page is loaded with keywords in the meta tags or in content. The repetition of words in meta tags may explain why many search engines no longer use these tags. Google no longer gives good rankings to pages employing this technique.


Landing Page

This is the page which a user lands on when they click on a link within the search results.

An element in a page that when clicked on takes the user to another website or webpage altogether, or to a specific part of the page they are on.
Link Building

the process of pointing hyperlinks back to websites from third party websites. These hyperlinks, or links for short, help to get traffic to your site, allow others to find your valuable site, create awareness for your website, adds credibility, and most importantly assists in having your site found by search engines such as Google.
Link exchange

Also referred to as reciprocal linking, where two websites agree to link to one another. Link exchanges usually allow links to sites of low or no quality, and add no value themselves. Such schemes can be dangerous as there are many so called ‘bad neighbourhoods’ which use such methods, therefore it can be seen as ‘black hat’ and therefore unethical practice.
Link Farm

any group of web sites that all hyperlink to every other site in the group. Although some link farms can be created by hand, most are created through automated programs and services. A link farm is a form of spamming the index of a search engine. Other link exchange systems are designed to allow individual websites to selectively exchange links with other relevant websites and are not considered a form of spamdexing.
Link Spam

Unwanted links such as blog posts where the only purpose is to include a link to your own site. Blog sites and forums hate this, as their purpose is for people to gives their views and opinions. Not use their set up to make personal gain.
Long tail searches

These are longer, more specific search queries, that are often less targeted than shorter broad queries. A large percentage of all searches are long tail searches.


META tags

These are located in the head section of the website, although not visible to the users anywhere else but in the initial search result page. Search engines rely very heavily on them to determine what a webpage is about.
Mirror Site

an exact copy of another Internet site. Mirror sites are most commonly used to provide multiple sources of the same information, and are of particular value as a way of providing reliable access to large downloads.

This is the term used when a site wants to start bringing in an income. You can monetise a website by selling advertising space.


Natural/organic search results

These are the results shown on a search engine results page that appear because of their relevance to the search terms and are not sponsored or paid for. Being naturally listed can be made possible using carefully planned search engine optimisation. In contrast, non-organic search results may include pay per click advertising.
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.


Organic link

organic links are those that are published only because the webmaster considers them to add value for users.



Often referred to as simply pagerank or PR. Pagerank is Google’s way of deciding a page’s importance. Based on a scale of 0-10, Pagerank is a metric for ranking a page based on the quality and quantity of its links. Google figures that when one page links to another page, it is effectively casting a vote for the other page. The more votes that are cast for a page, the more important the page must be. Also, the importance of the page that is casting the vote determines how important the vote itself is. Google calculates a page’s importance from the votes cast for it.
PPA (Pay per action)

Very similar to Pay Per Click except publishers only get paid when a click through results in a conversion.
PPC (pay per click also known as CPC)

an Internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites. Advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner) when their ad has been clicked. The CPC for any ad is determined by the advertiser; some advertisers may be willing to pay more per click than others, depending on what they’re advertising. Monitoring CPC is important to ensure the campaign budget isn’t being wasted on irrelevant and expensive keywords.



A convention to prevent cooperating web crawlers and other web robots from accessing all or part of a website which is otherwise publicly viewable. Robots are often used by search engines to categorize and archive web sites, or by webmasters to proofread source code. The standard is different from, but can be used in conjunction with, Sitemaps, a robot inclusion standard for websites.
ROI (return on investment)

A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. One use of analytics software is to analyze and quantify return on investment, and thus cost / benefit of different schemes.



There has been debate and speculation that Google puts all new sites into a “sandbox,” preventing them from ranking well for anything until a set period of time has passed. The existence or exact behaviour of the sandbox is not universally accepted among SEOs.

a computer software technique of extracting information from websites. Web scraping is closely related to web indexing, which indexes information on the Web using a bot and is a universal technique adopted by most search engines. In contrast, Web scraping focuses more on the transformation of unstructured data on the Web, typically in HTML format, into structured data that can be stored and analyzed in a central local database or spreadsheet.

The abbreviated term for a Search Engine.
Search engine spam

These are pages or websites created to cause irregularities within search results, for example a website optimised to sell information when a user searches for something as simple as a handbag.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

This is the term used to describe the different ways in which people market their websites. This involves researching, optimising and positioning a website within search engines to achieve maximum exposure. It refers to all forms of paid search engine traffic.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

This is the process of making changes to the structure of a website, in order to gain an increase in quality traffic. SEO, and the processes associated with it, help to ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be indexed and favourably ranked by the search engine. It also encourages users which are more likely to be interested in your products and even buy your products to visit your website.

shorthand for Search Engine Results Pages, and refers to the pages of search results that are generated when a user types in a key word or phrase into the search box.
Site Map

A Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site. Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling.
Sock Puppet

an online identity used to either hide a person’s real identity or to establish multiple user profiles.
Social Media

Social media platforms allow people to share their opinions, views and interests with the rest of the world. Users post information including news, photos, videos, podcasts, polls, blogs and more. Examples include Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, Wiki’s and forums.
SMM (Social Media Marketing)

Social media marketing involves creating content which attractions attention and builds an online presence for a brand using social networking sites. A corporate message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to the brand or company itself. Hence, this form of marketing is driven by word-of-mouth, meaning it results in earned media rather than paid media. Additionally, social media serves as a relatively inexpensive platform for organizations to implement marketing campaigns.

The use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media: instant messaging spam, Web search engine spam, blog spam, online classified ads spam, mobile phone messaging spam, Internet forum spam, social networking spam, television advertising and file sharing network spam. A person who creates electronic spam is called a spammer
Spider trap

A continuous loop of automatically generated links that can ‘trap’ search engine bots and prevent them from scraping content from your site. A spider trap also stops them from harvesting your e-mail address, which will later be spammed.
Static page

A web page without dynamic content or variables such as session IDs in the URL. Static pages are good for SEO work in that they are friendly to search engine spiders.

The stickiness of a page is the measure of how long a user stays and views the content within. To increase stickiness you can make changes to a webpage to make it more interesting to the user.

The process of submitting a web site directly to a search engine. While Search Engine Submission is often seen as a way to promote a web site, it generally is not necessary because the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing use crawlers, bots, and spiders that eventually would find most web sites on the Internet all by themselves. One reason for submitting a website would be to add an entirely new web site because the site operators would rather not wait for a search engine to discover them. Another reason is to have a web page or web site updated in the respective search engine.


URL (Uniform Resource Locater)

is a specific character string that constitutes a reference to an Internet resource. A URL is technically a type of Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) but in many technical documents and verbal discussions URL is often used as a synonym for URI. Also referred to as a website address.


White hat

SEO techniques, which conform to best practice guidelines, and do not attempt to unscrupulously “game” or manipulate SERPs.
Widget (gadget, gizmo)

small applications used on web pages to provide specific functions such as a hit counter or IP address display. These programs can make good link bait.