The Beginner’s Guide to SEO Essential Phrases

Below are some of the important http:// status codes: look out for when coding your website pages format:

301 A permanent server redirect – Also useful for dealing with canonical issues.

400 Bad Request: The server will not process the request due to an apparent client error

401 Unauthorized: when authentication is required and has failed or has not yet been provided.

403 Forbidden: The request was valid, but the server is refusing action.

404 Not Found: resource could not be found but may be available in the future.

500 Internal Server Error: A generic error message


Glossary of Essential SEO Phrases:


Above the Fold In email or web marketing it means the area of content viewable prior to scrolling. Some people also define above the fold as an ad location at the very top of the screen, but due to banner blindness typical ad locations do not perform as well as ads that are well integrated into content.

Absolute Link A link which shows the full URL of the page being linked at. Some links only show relative link paths instead of having the entire reference URL within the a href tag.

Example absolute link

<a href=”“>Cool Stuff</a>

Activity Bias Any attempted form of ad targeting might be targeted toward people who are more likely to engage in a particular activity, especially with ad retargeting. Correlation does not mean causation.

adCenter- The old name for Microsoft’s cost per click ad network, later rebranded as Bing Ads.

While it can optimise dayparting and demographic based bidding the program is still quite nascent in nature compared to Google AdWords. Due to Microsoft’s limited market share and program newness many terms are vastly under-priced and present a great arbitrage opportunity.

 AdWords: Google Pay Per Click contextual advertisement program.

Affiliate Sites: market services that are sold by another business in exchange for fees or commissions.

AJAX – Asynchronous JavaScript and XML is a technique which allows a web page to request additional data from a server without requiring a new page to load.

Algorithm: A program used to determine what pages to suggest for a given search query.

Alt Attribute – allows you to help screen readers and search engines understand the function of an image by providing a text equivalent for the object.

Alt Text: Describes a graphic. Alt text is important because search engines can’t tell one picture 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.

Analytics: A program which assists in gathering and analysing data about website usage. Google analytics is a feature rich, popular, free analytics program.

Anchor Text: The user visible text of a link. Search engines use anchor text to indicate the relevancy of the referring site and of the link to the content on the landing page. Ideally all three will share some keywords in common.

Android – Google’s operating system which powers cell phones & some other consumer electronics devices like TVs.While Google pitches Android as being an “open” operating system, they are only open in markets they are losing & once they establish dominace they shift from open to closed by added many new restrictions on “partners.”

Application Program Interface – a series of conventions or routines used to access software functions. Most major search products have an API program.

Arbitrage – Exploiting market inefficiencies by buying and reselling a commodity for a profit. As it relates to the search market, many thin content sites laced with an Overture feed or AdSense ads buy traffic from the major search engines and hope to send some percent of that traffic clicking out on a higher priced ad. Shopping search engines generally draw most of their traffic through arbitrage.

Astroturfing: attempting to advance a commercial or political agenda while pretending to be an impartial grassroots participant in a social group.

Authority: The amount of trust that a site is credited with for a particular search query.

Authority Site: A website which has many incoming links from other related expert sites.

Automated Bid Management Software – Pay per click search engines are growing increasingly complex in their offerings. To help large advertisers cope with the increasing sophistication and complexity of these offerings some search engines and third party software developers have created software which makes it easier to control your ad spend.

B:Back Link (In bound, In Link, Incoming Link): A link into a page or site from any other page or site.

Bait and Switch Marketing technique where you make something look overtly pure or as though it has another purpose to get people to believe in it or vote for it (by linking at it or sharing it with friends), then switch the intent or purpose of the website after you gain authority.

Banner Blindness During the first web boom many businesses were based on eyeballs more than actually building real value. Many ads were typically quite irrelevant and web users learned to ignore the most common ad types.

Behavioral Targeting – Ad targeting based on past recent experience and/or implied intent. For example, if I recently searched for mortgages then am later reading a book review the page may still show me mortgage ads.

Bing Ads – Microsoft’s paid search program, which rivals Google AdWords and powers paid search results on Yahoo! Search

Black – Hat SEO: It’s a practice to add keywords and their alternatives into the copy of a webpage. It’s called Keyword Stuffing and Google will decrease your rankings for employing it, if they don’t issue you with a Manual Penalty.

Block Level Analysis – A method used to break a page down into multiple points on the web graph by breaking its pages down into smaller blocks.

Blog: A website which presents content in a more or less chronological series. Content may or may not be time sensitive.


Most browsers come with the ability to bookmark your favourite pages. Many web based services have also been created to allow you to bookmark and share your favourite resources. The popularity of a document (as measured in terms of link equity, number of bookmarks, or usage data) is a signal for the quality of the information. Some search engines may eventually use bookmarks to help aid their search relevancy.

Social bookmarking sites are often called tagging sites.

Bot (Robot, Spider, Crawler): A program which performs a task more or less autonomously. Search engines use bots to find and add web pages to their search indexes.

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

Branded Keywords Keywords or keyword phrases associated with a brand or entity. Typically branded keywords occur late in the buying cycle, and are some of the highest value and highest converting keywords. These searches may be used as relevancy signals in algorithms. 

Bread Crumbs: Web site navigation in a horizontal bar above the main content which helps the user to understand where they are on the site and how to get back to the root areas.

Broken Link A hyperlink which is not functioning. A link which does not lead to the desired location.

Most large websites have some broken links, but if too many of a site’s links are broken it may be an indication of outdated content, and it may provide website users with a poor user experience. Both of which may cause search engines to rank a page as being less relevant.

B2B (Business to Business)

B2C (Business to Consumer)


Canonical Issues (Duplicate Content): canon = legitimate or official version

Click Fraud: Improper clicks on a PPC advertisement usually by the publisher for the purpose of undeserved profit.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): is a digital marketing metric that measures the ratio of total impressions to clicks in search and display advertising, email marketing, and other online mediums. CTR can indicate the effectiveness of ad copy, meta data (titles & descriptions), and email subject lines. Source:

Cloak: A Black Hat tactic of delivering different content to the search engine spider than that seen by the human users.


In search results the listings from any individual site are typically limited to a certain number and grouped together to make the search results appear neat and organized and to ensure diversity amongst the top ranked results.

CMS (Content Management System) – Programs which separate most of the mundane Webmaster tasks from content creation so that a publisher can be effective without acquiring or even understanding sophisticated coding skills.

Code Swapping: Changing the content after high rankings are achieved.

Comment Spam: Posting blog comments for the purpose of generating an in link to another site.

Conceptual Links – Links which search engines attempt to understand beyond just the words in them. Some rather advanced search engines are attempting to find out the concept links versus just matching the words of the text to that specific word set.

Concept SearchA search which attempts to conceptually match results with the query, not necessarily with those words, rather their concept.

For example, if a search engine understands a phrase to be related to another word or phrase it may return results relevant to that other word or phrase even if the words you searched for are not directly associated with a result. In addition, some search engines will place various types of vertical search results at the top of the search results based on implied query related intent or prior search patterns by you or other searchers.

Content: Includes your websites writing, images, PDFs, Videos and infographics. Should be 100% original to avoid duplication of content and Google penalties. Each page of your website should not include less than 100 words. Ideally, you want more (around 500 words is a far better minimum to aim for). This includes pages serving forms, landing pages with video, blog posts, product pages, etc. The content on each page should be unique, as Google recognises duplicate content and lower your organic search rankings, or may even penalise your website with a Manual Penalty.

Contextual Advertisement: Advertising which is related to the content.

Conversion (Goal): Achievement of a quantifiable goal on a website.


The legal rights to publish and reproduce a particular piece of work.

See also:


Small data file written to a user’s local machine to track them. Cookies are used to help websites customize your user experience and help affiliate program managers track conversions.

 CPC (Cost Per Click): the rate that is paid per click for a Pay Per Click Advertiser

CPM (Cost Per Thousand impressions): A statistical metric used to quantify the average value / cost of Pay Per Click advertisements. M – from the Roman numeral for one thousand.

Crawl Depth

How deeply a website is crawled and indexed.

Since searches which are longer in nature tend to be more targeted in nature it is important to try to get most or all of a site indexed such that the deeper pages have the ability to rank for relevant long tail keywords. A large site needs adequate link equity to get deeply indexed. Another thing which may prevent a site from being fully indexed is duplicate content issues.

Crawl Frequency

How frequently a website is crawled.

Sites which are well trusted or frequently updated may be crawled more frequently than sites with low trust scores and limited link authority.


Cross-Linking: links back to your own site from partners sites.

CTR: A measurement of the effect of your online marketing strategy, paid or organic. CTR changes on various factors from what type of ad (Banner ad, Google AdWords, Bing and Facebook Advertising) in industry or organic listings among other things. Using a CRT metric is one of the best ways to see if it’s working efficiently.

How to calculate CTR:

Number of impressions/ total clicks x 100

Interpreting CTR across marketing channels

  • varies in the application of medium
  • High CTR indicates relevant content with engaging copy
  • Not a sole indicator for success


Directory: A site devoted to directory pages.

Directory Page: A page of links to related WebPages.

Duplicate Content: content which is similar or identical to that found on another website or page.



E-Commerce site: A website devoted to retail sales.

Email Marketing: Also known as EDM (Email Direct Marketing) includes ecommerce email campaigns include tracked links to the stores website, sent directly to customers who have subscribed their email address to stimulate public awareness.

External links: Link which references another domain.



Feed Content: which is delivered to the user via special websites or programs such as news aggregators.

FFA (Free for All): A page or site with many outgoing links to unrelated websites, containing little if any unique content.

Frames: a web page design where two or more documents appear on the same screen, each within its own frame. Frames are bad for SEO because spiders sometimes fail to correctly navigate them.


Gateway Page: A web page designed to attract traffic from a search engine and then redirect it to another site or page.

Google AdWords: You will need a Google AdWords account to use this tool, but it’s invaluable when looking for additional keyword opportunities for your website. You can also use to look into search volume data and trends, which is invaluable if you’re investigating potential audience numbers. If you’re not sure where to start looking for keywords, or focus words, for the pages of your website, this tool will allow you to search for new keywords simply by using a phrase, category or a website.

Google Analytics – In Australia, Google accounts for approximately 67% of all search engine traffic. It also offers some of the most powerful analytics available for website owners. On the surface, Google Analytics will allow you to track traffic into your website, how they interact with your content, what they are buying of the forms they are filling out. There are much more powerful capabilities, but for those starting out in SEO, these will provide valuable insights into the performance of your website.

Googlebot Google’s spider program

Google Keyword Planner

Google my Business:

Competitors can edit your listings on Google my Business

Merchants who manage their business listing info through Google My Business (which is free to use), are notified via email when edits are suggested. Spammers and others with negative intent are a problem for consumers, businesses, and technology companies that provide local business information. We use automated systems to detect for spam and fraud, but we tend not to share details behind our processes so as not to tip off spammers or others with bad intent.- Google

Google Search Console – is another of Google’s very powerful product offerings to website owners. Formerly known as Webmaster Tools, adding this to your SEO toolkit will allow you to see how your website is performing in search results, and how you can improve that performance.

Google Trends: Tool which allows you to see how Google search volumes for a particular keyword change over time.



Headline: In the SEO world of headline writing we’re trying to rank well, earn high click-through rate by earning links through engagement.

Hidden Text: An SEO technique used to show search engine spiders text that human visitors do not see.


Hit: each time that a server sends an object – documents, graphics, include files, etc.


Hub (Expert Page): a trusted page with high quality content that links out to related pages.

HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language) directives or “mark-up” which are used to add formatting and web functionality to plain text for use on the internet.


Images: add to the SEO of each page of your website, if employed correctly with descriptive ALT attributes and file-names. When uploading images to your website, make sure that the filename is descriptive of the content of the image itself. No one likes to see “IMG122017_35122.jpg” and it doesn’t help Google understand the content of the picture.

Impression: The event where a user views a webpage one time.

In-Bound Link: Inbound links from related pages are the source of trust and page rank.

Index: a database of Webpages’ and their content used by the search engines.

Indexed Pages: The pages on a site which have been indexed.

In link (incoming link, inbound link): Inbound links from related pages are the source of trust and PageRank.

Internal-Linking: Helpful for Google and website viewers as you are laying out a roadmap of your website and is good for on-site SEO. Linking from one page of your website to another can take visitors to your website on a journey through your content, keeping them on your site for longer, leading them towards a potential conversion point. It also adds valuable authority to deeper pages of your website, aiding higher search engine rankings. Don’t overdo it though, or this can turn visitors off, having them bounce from your website to a competitor’s.


Keyword Research: Incorporates research for the main keywords you think best describes your business and scatter them throughout your website’s content. Google’s Keyword Planner – see a range of statistics including search volume and how competitive a particular keyword is.

Notable conflicts in Keyword Research:

  1. Keywords for SEO can be really boring on Social Media sites.
  2. Creating mystery on social media- harms the creativity that you need for search in order to rank well.
  3. the need for engagement and brand reputation is really going to harm your businesses performance if you’re trying to develop those clickbait-style pieces.
  4. Ranking for low-relevance keywords is going to drive very unhappy visitors.

Resolution for notable conflicts:

  1. Determine who your primary audience is, your primary goals and some prioritisation of those channels
  2. For non-conflict elements – optimise the most damaging channel
  3. Author the straightforward headline first
  4. Now write the socially-friendly / Click-likely version without other considerations
  5. Merge 3&4 and add critical keywords


Keyword Stuffing (keyword spam): Inappropriately high keyword density.


Landing Page: the page that a user lands on when they click on a link in a SERP

Link: An element on a web page that can be clicked on to cause the browser to jump 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

The process of building high quality linkage data that search engines will evaluate to trust your website is authoritative, relevant, and trustworthy.


Link Exchange: a reciprocal linking scheme often facilitated by a site devoted to directory pages. Link exchanges usually allow links to sites of low or no quality, and add no value themselves. Quality directories are usually human edited for quality assurance.

Link Spam (Comment Spam): Unwanted links such as those posted in user generated content like blog comments.

Link Text (Anchor text): The user visible text of a link. Search engines use anchor text to indicate the relevancy of the referring site and link to the content on the landing page. Ideally all three will share some keywords in common.

Long Tail: Phrase describing how for any category of product being sold there is much more aggregate demand for the non-hits than there is for the hits.


LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing): is a way for search systems to mathematically understanding and representing language based on the similarity of pages and keywords.


Meta Description: Provides potential customers with details about your services. Google is trialling meta descriptions greater than 160 characters, but it is still currently safer to build to this character limit.

Meta Keywords: a tag that can be used to highlight keywords and keyword phrases the page is targeting.

META Tags: Statements within the HEAD section of an HTML page which furnishes information about the page. It is very important to have unique and accurate META title and description tags, because they may be the information that the search engines rely on to determine what the page is about.

Metric: A standard of measurement used by analytics programs.

MFA (Made For Advertisements): websites that are designed from the ground up as a venue for advertisements.

Mirror Site: An identical site with a different address.



Negative SEO: Attempting to adversely influence the rank of a third-party site.

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.


Organic Search Results: SEO – 30% of natural search clicks went to the highest ranking result

Outgoing-Links: In particularly for highly-technical industries. Shows Google you are trying to be helpful to your customers and considers you as more liable and trustworthy and ranks you higher on search results.


Paid Media

  • In Google AdWords and BingAds
  • Every ad and keyword have a unique and trackable CTR


Page Headlines: Tells Google what you page is about and gives you an idea as to what search enquiries you have. Google pays the most attention to the 1st and 2nd headlines.

Page Rank: a value between 0 and 1 assigned by the Google algorithm, which quantifies link popularity and trust among other (proprietary) factors.

Pay for Inclusion (PFI) The practice of charging a fee to include a website in a search engine or directory.

Penalty: Search engines such as Google penalises webpages that the search engine’ algorithms have uncovered spam information on the site, and prevents them from ranking highly and results in banning or penalising the site all together.

Portal: A web service which offers a wide array of features to entice users to make the portal their “home page” on the web for example; Google, Yahoo, and MSN are portals.

PPA (Pay Per Action): Very similar to Pay Per Click except publishers only get paid when click throughs result in conversions.

PPC (Pay Per Click): a contextual advertisement scheme where advertisers pay add agencies (such as Google) whenever a user clicks on them add. AdWords is an example of PPC advertising.

Purchasing Funnel:


Reciprocal Link: Two sites which link to each other. Search engines usually don’t see these as high value links, because of the reciprocal and potentially incestuous nature.

Redirect: Any of several methods used to change the address of a landing page such as when a site is moved to a new domain, or in the case of a doorway.

Relative Link: A link which shows the relation of the current URL to the URL of the page being linked at.


Repeat Visits: The number of websites visitors who are returning to the website.


Reputation Management: The brand management of online reputation through optimising brand related keywords to reinforce your brand.


Retargeting: An advertising technique that targets a previously targeted audience whom have either; revisited the company’s website, viewed their products or added a brand product to their shopping cart online.

Advertising programs targeted at people who have previously visited a given website or channel, viewed a particular product, or added a particular product to their shopping cart.


Reviews: Website visitors – delivering on promises so that we do not create a bad brand reputation and detract from future leads.

Robots.txt File: Like an xml sitemap, a robots.txt tells indexing robots which pages to look at and which ones to ignore. You can choose to disallow certain pages from being indexed, which can be useful for pages like client portals.

ROI (Return on Investment) One use of analytics software is to analyse and quantify return on



Search Engine (SE): a program which searches documents for relevant matches of a user’s keyword phrase and returns a list of the most relevant matches.

Search Engine Spam: Pages created to cause search engines to deliver inappropriate or less relevant results.

SERP: Search Engine Results Page

Site Map: A page or structured group of pages which link to every user accessible page on a website, An XML sitemap is often kept in the root directory of a site.

SEM (Search-Engine Marketing): a type of online marketing in which a company, organization, or website owner drives traffic to a website by optimizing its ranking or by paying for the website to appear in search-engine results pages. Source: SEM is often used to describe acts associated with researching, submitting and positioning a Web site within search engines to achieve maximum exposure of your Web site.

SEO (Search-Engine Optimization): the methods used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine, in an effort to maximize user traffic to the site: Source: SEO is important as it gets you on the top of organic searches, thus gets you more traffic and more leads.

Sitemap: An xml sitemap will help search engines understand how your website is constructed, and which pages are for everyday visitors to your site. Submitting it to Google and other search engines will allow indexing of your website to happen faster and with less potential errors.

Site-Speed: advances when you reduce the size of your images.

SMM (Social Media Marketing): Website or brand promotion through social media

Social Bookmark: A form of Social Media where users bookmarks are aggregated for public access.

Social Media: Updates to connect to your target audience on a more personal level. Earning amplification through clicks, comments, engagement on the post.

Social Media Marketing (SMM): Website or brand promotion through social media

Spamdexing or search engine spamming: is the practice of deceptively modifying web pages to increase the chance of them being placed close to the beginning of search engine results

Spammer: A person who utilises spam to pursue a goal.

Spider (bot, crawler): A specialized bot used by search engines such as Google to find and add web pages to their indexes.

Spider Trap: a loop of automatically generated links which can “trap” a spider program. Sometimes intentionally used to prevent automated scraping or e-mail address harvesting.

Splog (Spam Blog): which usually contains little if any value and is often machine generated or made up of scraped content.

Stickiness: Mitigation of bounce rate. Website changes that entice users to stay on the site longer, and view more pages improve the sites “stickiness”.

Supplemental Index: (supplemental results) Pages with very low page rank, which are still relevant to a search query, often appear in the SERPs with a label of Supplemental Result.


Text Link: A plain HTML link that does not involve graphic or special code such as flash or java script.

Time on Page: The amount of time that a user spends on one page before clicking off. An indication of quality and relevance.

Title Tags: are commonly overlooked and should stand out to a user looking for your services and engage them to click on your website. Each page of your website should cover a main idea of your business. As such, you want to ensure that the title tag contains that keyword. This will allow search engines to index your page quickly, get an idea of what the page offers audiences and serve your page well in search engine results.

Toolbar Page Rank (PR): a value between 0 and 10 assigned by Google’s algorithms, indicating page importance, yet is not the same as Pagerank. Toolbar Pagerank is only updated a few times a year, and is not a reliable indicator of current performance.

Trustrank: a way of differentiating between valuable pages and spam through link relationships from trusted human evaluated seed pages.



URL Uniform Resource Locator: AKA Web Address

User generated content (UGC) Social Media, wikis, Folksonomies, and some blogs rely heavily on User Generated Content.


Vertical Search: A search service which is focused on a particular field, a particular type of information, or a particular information format.


Viral Marketing: Self-propagating marketing techniques, sources of transmission are email, blogging, and word of mouth marketing channels.


Virtual Domain: Website hosted on a virtual server.


Virtual Server: An online server which allows multiple top-level domains to be hosted from a single computer device.


Visibility Online: How prominent your brand and products presence is in the general consumer environment. Your website’s visibility is increasing the visibility of your brand using search engine optimisation or through a web page in organic search results.


Walled Garden: a collection of pages linked together, but are not linked to by any other pages. A walled garden can be indexed if it is included in a sitemap, but will possibly have a very low pagerank.

White Hat SEO: techniques, which conform to practice guidelines, and do not attempt to unscrupulously “game” or manipulate SERPs.

Widget: 1) 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. 2) a term borrowed from economics which means “any product or commodity.” Source:




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