If you are new to the concept of SEO, some of the terms discussed on this website might be easily forgotten due to the sheer volume of information. To tackle this issue, we have provided you with a glossary of terms for quick reference. We hope that this will provide you with some clarity of common SEO terms in case their definition got lost among all the information here; we know it can be overwhelming! The terms in this glossary are all touched on in this website and are listed in alphabetical order.
Anchor Text: Anchor text refers to the words that are used on a webpage that contain a hyperlink. For example, the link might be <www.example/blog/about> but the a anchor text could be “find out more about my blog here with the “here” being the anchor text
Backlinks: Backlinks, also referred to as “inbound links,” or “incoming links,” refer to the link that connects one website to a different website. Backlinks serve as a “vote of confidence” from another web page, and subsequently pass “link juice,” or “link equity,” from the external web page to the page with the backlink.
Black Hat SEO: Black Hat SEO is a term used to describe the application of unethical tactics that go against Google guidelines to “trick” search engines into ranking a web page higher in the search engine results page.
Bots: Bots are one of the few terms used to describe the tools deployed by search engines to crawl and index websites and web pages. This term is synonymous with “spiders,” and are also commonly used as a synonym for any user-agent, such as Googlebots.
Canonical URL: Canonical URLs refers to the URL that is selected by Google or identified by the webmaster in the case where there are multiple URLs that lead to the same page, to be the “primary URL” and be seen by visitors. It’s (usually) the most SEO friendly URL and the one that you actually want visitors to see.
Crawl Budget: Crawl budget refers to the allocated amount of time and frequency that a search engine permits their bots to crawl a website. The crawl budget is determined through a combination of crawl rate limit and crawl demand.
Crawl Demand: Crawl demand is one of the two contributing factors that determine the crawl budget of a website. It is measured through URL popularity (how frequently the URL is visited) and staleness (how long it has been since last crawled).
Crawl Health: Crawl health is a term used to describe the rate at which a website is able to load and is commonly used in reference to the ability of a web page to respond quickly to viewers while also being crawled by bots.
Crawl Rate Limit: Crawl rate limit is one of the two contributing factors that determine the crawl budget of a website. This term refers to the limit at which bots are able to crawl a website and is determined through a combination of crawl health and the search console settings.
CTR (Click -through Rate): CTR is an SEO measurement usually applied to paid ads and is determined by dividing the number of times a link appears on a SERP by the number of times it is actually clicked on by a visitor.
Domain: A domain refers to the base IP address of a website, such as “www.example.com.” Further, the domain on a URL does not include extensions into other web pages, for example on “www.example.com/blog/readme” the “example.com” is the domain.
External Link: External links are hyperlinks on a web page that lead to a web page on a different domain as the one that the link exists on. It is essentially a link that leads you to a web page on a different website. This term is synonymous with outbound link.
Fresh Rank: Fresh rank is a term that is also referred to the “freshness” of a web page and is used to describe how up-to-date the information on the web page is and how often new content is added to a website. Fresh rank plays a role in determining crawl demand.
Grey Hat SEO: Gray Hat SEO refers to SEO practices that are in between white hat and black hat. While they aren’t explicitly breaking any rules that can result in getting a website/ web page banned, they do not adhere to best practices and are not entirely ethical.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): HTML is the text-based code behind every web page which contains meta tags to describe what the page is about and also includes the text itself. The code is used to tell the web page how to display the text, images and other forms of multimedia for viewers.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): HTTP refers to the basic formatting principle used by the world wide web that defines how messages are formatted and transmitted. For example, when you enter a URL in your browser, you are making a command since the URL always start as https://.Image Alt Text: Image alt text refers to the HTML attribute applied to images so that they can be “readable” to Googlebots since images can’t be interpreted without a description.
Inbound Links: Inbound links refer to links that are found on other websites that send visitors to your website. This term is used interchangeably with the term “backlinks” or “incoming links,” and it is one of the most important aspects of off-page SEO.
Infinite Spaces: Infinite spaces refer to a large number of links that provide little to no new or relevant content for bots to crawl. An example of this is a web page that has a calendar with a “next month” link in since the “next month,” kink could be clicked infinitely.
Internal Links: Internal links are hyperlinks on a web page that lead to a web page on the same domain as the link exists on. It is essentially a link that leads you to another web page within the same website.
Indexing: Indexing refers to the second step involved in a search engine process (crawling, indexing and ranking) where web pages that have been crawled by bots are stored in a search engine database based on keywords for when a search is performed by a user.
Link Equity: Link equity, also known as “link juice,” is the term used to describe the value of the “vote of confidence,” that one link passes to another. All links pass link juice, however some pass more than others, namely backlinks that come from an authoritative and reputable website.
Link Juice: Link juice, also known as “link equity,” is the term used to describe the value of the “vote of confidence,” that one link passes to another. All links pass link juice, however some pass more than others, namely backlinks that come from an authoritative and reputable website.
Long-tail Keywords: Long-tail keywords refer to phrases that are composed of three or four keywords that are commonly used to describe a specific search by users on search engines. As such, SEO best practices encourage the use of long-tail keywords in order to match user queries and provide the search engine with a better understanding of a web page.
Meta Description: Meta description is a meta tag in the HTML code that provides a brief summary of the contents of the web page. The meta description also appears on the SERP if the search engine deems it to be an accurate summary.
Meta Keywords: Meta keywords are found as a meta tag in the HTML code of a web page that indicates to search engines the topic of the web page. Meta keywords however, were historically spammed as part of black hat SEO practices and therefore have been discontinued as part of most search engine algorithms. Subsequently, meta keywords are widely seen as irrelevant in SEO today.
Meta Tags: Meta tags are placed in the head section of a web pages’ HTML code and is essentially an umbrella term for the various types of tags that can be used for the sole purpose of helping search engines (and in some cases, users) determine the contents of the web page.
Meta Title: Meta title is a meta tag found in the HTML code of a web page that indicates the name of the web page. The meta title appears in code and to viewers, visible in the web browser, on the SERP and when sharing the URL on social media.
Microformats: Microformats refer to small patterns of HTML that search engines, for example, can recognize when deploying bots. Microformats represent commonly published content like people, events, and tags in web pages.
Needs Met: Needs met refers to a score assigned by Google (human) agents called Search Quality Raters. This score is given to web pages that appear on the SERP and are primarily concerned with the compatibility of the web page for mobile users.
NoFollow: Nofollow refers to instructions that can be put on outbound links via HTML code that indicate to search engines to not to provide those specific links with a “vote of confidence” in favour of the connecting website.
No Index: No index refers to instructions that can be put in the HTML code of a webpage that indicate to bots during the crawling process to not index that specific web page. This means that they will not appear on the SERP.
Off-page SEO: Off-page SEO refers to the practice of optimizing activities associated with advertising a web page or web site and generating more traffic, mostly done through social media and link building. This is done to rank higher on the SERP.
On-page SEO: On-page SEO refers to the practice of optimizing both the content on a web page and the HTML code behind the web page. This is done in order to rank higher on the SERP and therefore generate more traffic to the web page.
Organic Search: Organic search is a term used to describe results on a SERP that are not paid ads. These are the majority of search results that you will find on a SERP and have gained their rank through the application of SEO rather than paying.
Orphan Links/ Pages: Orphan links/ pages refers to a hyperlink that points to a web page that has been deleted or moved, whether it be permanent or temporary. It is more formally known as a 404 error.
Outbound Link: Outbound links refer to links on a website that that have a connecting URL with a different domain that the link exists on. This essentially means that the link takes you to another web page on a different website. This term is synonymous with external link.
Paid Search: Paid search refers to search results that are not organic and have been paid for to be shown as “ads” usually on the top of the first page of the SERP.
Page Content Quality: Page content quality refers to a rating that Google (human) agents called Search Quality Raters give to web pages in order to judge the quality of that web page. This rating is based on guidelines provided to the Raters, and can range from “lowest” to “highest.”
Robots.txt: Robots.txt is a set of instructions that tells bots what they can or can’t crawl on a website /web page. (See Chapter 2)Search Index: Search index refers to where bots store the information that they crawl if they are (a) allowed to store it, and (b) if they think that it is valuable enough to be indexed. When a user types in a query in the search engine, the search engine pulls the results from the search index.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization): SEO refers to both on-page and off-page techniques that work to improve the organic rank of web pages on the SERP. The ultimate goal of applying SEO practices is to get a web page to appear organically on the first page of the SERP.
SERP (Search Engine Results Page): SERP is the term that describes the results pages shown on a search engine after a user searches a query. (See Chapter 1)Search Quality Raters: Search Quality Raters refers to the human agents employed by Google to manually look through web pages that appear on the SERP to determine their quality. Hey are required to assign a score to web pages using two guidelines: Page Content Quality and Needs Met.
Sitemap: A sitemap is essentially a list that tells Googlebots which pages you think are important in order to help them more intelligently crawl your website. The sitemap also provides the bot with other information, such as when the page was last updated.
Social Signals: Social signals are in reference to the number of “likes,” “retweets,” “shares,” “reposts,” etc. on any social media platform, including Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. This is a good indicator of off-page SEO and how your content is performing.
Spiders: Spiders are one of the few terms used to describe the tools deployed by search engines to crawl and index websites and web pages. This term is synonymous with “bots,” and are also commonly used as a synonym for any user-agent, such as Googlebots.
Status Code: Status codes, also known as “HTTP status codes” are standard response codes given by web site servers on the internet that can help to tell users why a web page is not loading properly.
URL (Universal Resource Locator): A URL refers to a web address of website or web page on the world wide web. An example of this is www.example.com URL Slugs: URL Slugs refer to the latter part of a URL following the domain. It expresses the exact location of a website. An example is: www.example.com/about, where the “/about” is the URL slug, since it follows the domain.
User-agent: User-agent is the umbrella term used to describe the name for “bots” or “spiders” that are specific to a particular search engine. For instance, “Googlebots” refer to the bots that are deployed by Google to crawl and index.
Web Crawling: Web crawling refers to the action by “bots,” or “spiders,” deployed by a search engine to “read” websites and their web pages to determine the content and topic of the web page. Search engines crawl the web in order to store the bots’ findings in the search index, which is where the search engine pulls the information from when a user conducts a search.
Webmaster: Webmaster refers to a person or persons that are responsible for the creation or maintenance of a website and it’s web pages
White Hat SEO: White hat SEO refers to techniques used on a website/ web page that work to increase its rank on the SERP. Unlike black hat SEO, white hat SEO applies techniques that are “by the Google rulebook.”
XML (Extensible Markup Language): XML refers to the metalanguage similar to HTML, which is used to create common information formats and is commonly used to store or transport data.