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A dictionary of SEO terms.


301 A permanent server redirect - a change of address for a web page. An essential part of dealing with duplicate content, canonical issues or archiving pages.


Google's Pay Per Click program that allows users to advertise online.


A company or website that affiliates itself with the product or services sold by another in exchange for commission.

algorithm (algo)

The formula used by search engines to determine what pages to suggest for a given search query.


A software program that helps monitor and analyse website data. Google Analytics (GA) is a popular analytics program that is also free to use.

anchor text

Visible page text that also acts as a link. Authority or value can sometimes be passed via anchor text from one page to the next.


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.

Any link into a page or site from an external website or web page.

black hat

Search engine optimisation techniques that contradict Google's Webmaster Guidelines. Employing black hat SEO techniques can result in penalties which negatively affects PageRank.

bounce rate

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

canonical tags

Duplicate content is tricky to avoid for almost any website. Canonical tags prevent search engines from indexing and passing authority to the duplicate page rather than the original page.


Content management systems such as Joomla, Django and Wordpress that allow users to publish, edit and manage content online without the need for tricky coding.


Achieving a certain goal on a website. Clicks, e-newsletter sign ups, sales and enquiries all count as forms of conversion.

conversion rate

The percentage of site visitors who convert into paying customers, enquiries or leads.


Cost Per Click - the rate that is paid per click for a Pay Per Click Advertiser.

crawler (bot, spider)

A program which moves around websites recording and gathering data.


A directory is a folder or location containing resources or pages on the internet. It generally forms part of a URL. in the example - "/another/" denotes a directory. Directories are used to structure resources on the web.


Often short for "domain name" which is a labele that is ued to identify a website or resource somewhere online. In the example - "" is the domain name (coupled with the top level domain or TLD).


(Hyper Text Markup Language) A markup language used as the building blocks of web pages.


A database of WebPages and their content used by the search engines. Index also means to add a web page to a search engine index.


key phrase The word or phrase that a user enters into a search engine.

keyword research

The process of determining which keyphrases to target dependent on relevancy, competition and traffic levels associated with the term.

keyword stuffing

(keyword spam) High density of keywords which can prove detrimental to websites.

landing page

The page that a web user lands on when they click through from the SERP.

link bait

A feature such as a web page, graphic or article that is created with an eye to attracting – or baiting - backlinks and a social media buzz.

link building

The method of attracting and strengthening a website's backlink profile.

link exchange

a reciprocal agreement whereby two websites link to each other.

long tail

Search terms that are longer in word length and more specific than generic, short tail terms. For example, 'dog leads' is a highly generic term boasting large amounts of traffic, yet high levels of competition. 'Red leather dog leads' is a long tail search term that has less traffic associated with it but is much more targeted towards people searching for the specifics of dog leads.

META tags

Sets of tags that help search engines determine what a web page is about.


A command which instructs robots to not follow any links on a web page.


A command which instructs robots to not index the page or the specific link.


Onpage refers to HTML elements used on a web page

Organic search results

Listings on a search engine that appear in order of relevance for a specific search term. Organic traffic accounts for web users who visit a website via search engines rather than paid search adverts.


A link analysis algorithm that measures the authority of any given web page based on the number of links pointing to it.

PPC (Pay Per Click)

An internet auctioning system where prospective owners bid against one another for the rights to various keyphrase terms. The highest bidder then has an obligation to pay the host of their ad each time the ad is clicked through.


A file that must be named "robots.txt" and must sit in the root directory of a website (e.g. that instructs and controls the activity of search engine spiders. More information available here.

ROI (Return On Investment)

The means of analysing the value of an investment based on the rate of return.


Lifting or 'scraping' content from one site to be used on another. A black hat SEO technique.

search engine

A program designed to search the web for relevant matches to a user's search term in as short a space of time as possible. Google, Yahoo and Bing are the world's biggest search engines.


An acronym of search engine marketing. Search engine marketing includes services such as search engine optimisation, paid search, conversion rate optimisation, email marketing, social media, affiliate marketing and web design.


An acronym of search engine optimisation,the process of making a website more visible in search engine results pages by achieving a higher Page Rank.


An acronym for Search Engine Results Page – the page where indexed pages are presented.

site map

A web page with links to every accessible page on the site as a means of improving accessibility for users outwith the regular navigation.

social media

Online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging sites and user review sites where members can share opinions and engage with other users.


A lower-level label for identifying a location on the internet. It tends to prefix the domain name. For the example - "docs" is the subdomain

supplemental index

A secondary database of URLs that are considered to be of less worth due to low PageRank and not valuable enough to include in the main index.


Uniform Resource Locator also known as the web address

white hat

SEO techniques which conform to Google's Webmaster Guidelines and are considered best practice.

XML sitemap / sitemap.xml

Created to help search engines find all the indexable pages on a website, the sitemap XML should be listed in robots.txt. More information available here.

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