SEO Glossary

There are many terms used when discussing Search Engine Optimization and internet marketing. The following list provides an explanation of some of the most frequently used terms.

Algorithm
The formula, or secret recipe, that a search engine uses to determine the order in which websites will be ranked for any given search. It is important to remember that each search engine has their own algorithm – and therefore, different results.

ALT-tags
Search engines cannot read the content of images and therefore must use other means of determining what the image represents. Alt tags or Alternative text is used to create a small description of each image for the visually impaired visitors and search engine bots. Alt tags can be an advantage in the SERPs if the targeted keywords in them are used with moderation. For example, a picture of a pair of Nike tennis shoes on a page that is being optimized for “tennis shoes” could have an ALT-tag like “Nike tennis shoes”. Alt tags are often misused by stuffing them with keywords, which may have a negative impact in the SERPs (search engine results page). The improper method would be to fill the Alt tag with something like “tennis shoes, nike tennis shoes, tennis sneakers, Nike”. Using Alt tags is also extremely important when the image is a link (see internal linking above).

Example of an image using alt text (scroll over image to see alt text):
Color Changing Blob

Anchor Text
The anchor text is the actual words that appear on the page. If you have a link that says, “Click Here” and links to another page, the “Click Here” would be considered the anchor text.

Below the fold
This term is borrowed from the printing industry. Newspapers are folded in half and the content that is located below the fold is called just that. So, a similar concept is used with web pages. The content that is further down that page – in a location that you need to “scroll to” in order to view – is called “below the fold.

Blind Traffic
Traffic that has come to your website that got there by mistake or just isnt in the market for your goods or service is called blind traffic. Generally, blind traffic is considered to have a very low value to your website and if it happens frequently – can become a liability.

CPA
This term is used by advertisers and is an attempt in determining the cost of an advertisement. The letters stand for Cost Per Action and means that the advertiser only pays when the consumer makes a defined action – such as completing a form.

CPC
This term is used by advertisers and is an attempt in determining the cost of an advertisement. The letters stand for Cost Per Click and is often reffered to as PPC (Pay Per Click). and means that the advertiser only pays when the consumer clicks on the advertisement.

CPM
This term is used by advertisers and is an attempt in determining the cost of an advertisement. The letters stand for Cost per 1,000 (M is the greek letter for 1,000). The 1,000 implies the number of impression; or the number of times the advertisement is displayed. So, the advertiser pays a fee based on every 1,000 times their ad is viewed.

CTR
CTR stand for Click Through Ratio. The click through ratio is the number of users who view an advertisement divided by the number of people who click on the ad. So, if 100 people view and ad and 3 of them click on the ad, your click through ratio is 3%.

Doorway Page
Doorway pages are typically considered unethical and are against the guidelines of most search engines. A doorway page is a web page designed to draw traffic from search engines, and direct this traffic to another page. Usually doorway pages use manipuative techniques that exploit searh engines to increase traffic un-naturally.

EPV
EPV stand for Earnings Per Visitor. The earnings per visitor is a number that helps a website owner to determine the value of each of their visitors. The EPV is determined by dividing the amount of revenue your website produces with the number of visitors. So, if you earned $100 dollars from your website and only had 20 visitors, your EPV would be $5.

Hit
A website “hit” is a single access request made to the server. This value is very different from a website visitor. One visit to one page of your site can be many hits. Each element on each page of your site gets it’s own access request. So, if you have a page with 20 images and 10 other elements, one visitor to that one page can generate 30 hits.

IBL / BL
Inbound Link or Backlink. An inbound link/backlink is a hyperlink from another website that points to your website.

Internal Linking
Links that point ot pages that are in the same website. Good internal linking can provide a boost in the search rankings. Good internal linking is the use of key terms in the link text. Many web sites use internal links with a link text like “Click here” or “Learn more”. These link texts (anchor texts) are not optimal from an SEO stand point. Instead, the anchor text should briefly describe (using some keywords) the contents of the page that it is pointing to. For example, the internal links that are pointing to a page about Wilson tennis rackets should have keyword-rich anchor text like “Wilson tennis rackets”, “tennis rackets” or “Wilson rackets”.

ODP / DMOZ
The Open Directory Project www.dmoz.org is a website directory that indexes other website. This directory is completely edited by humans.

Outbound Link
A link on your website that points to another website.

Page Views
The number of times a page of your website is viewed.

PPC (Pay Per Click)
PPC is advertising on search engines. This model for this advertising system is a system of bidding for particular keywords and phrases. If you find a particular word to be valuable in generating traffic to your site, you can bid on that word and your website will be listed when someone searches for that word. The advertiser only pays for the ad when the ad is clicked.

Overture was the first company to introduce PPC several years ago. Since that time, Google has started their own PPC advertiing system call adwords. And, Overture has been purchased by Yahoo!.

SE
Acronym for Search engine.

SEM
Search engine marketing.

SEO
Search engine optimization.

SERP
Search Engine Results Page.

Stemming
Word variations. For example, if I entered the query “swim”, a search engine that supports stemming might return results that include “swimming” or “swims”.

Stop Word
A word which is ignored in a query because the word is so commonly used that it makes no contribution to relevancy. Examples are common net words such as computer and web, and general words like get, I, me, the and you.

Unique Visitor
An instance of a unique site connecting to your server.

We hope this list of terms has been helpful to you. If you would like to learn more about SEO terms, a more comprehensive list of terms is available here

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