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SEO Terms

There are many terms you will hear whilst discussing Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Marketing. Below we attempt to describe the major ones.

Agent Name Delivery
Delivering a custom page based upon the user agent string a browser or spider uses to identify itself. This technique is used in Cloaking.

ASP
Active Server Pages a server based scripting language that is used to provide dynamic content and build database driven web sites .

CGI
Common Gateway Interface. CGI refers to programs that are used to produce content for browser delivery. Common CGI programming languages include Perl, C, and PHP.

CGI-Bin
One of the most common names for a directory on a web server that contains CGI files.

Click Through
When a user clicks on a hyper text link.

Cloaking
A system to hide code or content from a user and deliver different content to a search engine spider.

  • IP based cloaking delivers custom pages based on the users IP address.
  • User Agent cloaking delivers custom pages based upon the users Agent.

Neither of these are recommended good methods of SEO and will ultimately get you banned

Combined Logfile
A log file format that collects all the data in the Common Log File format in addition there is information found in the referrer and user agent fields added to the file. A separate scripting error log file is often included also.

Common Logfile
The standard log file format developed by the NCSA.

CPC
Cost Per Click. Some search engines charge a cost per click to advertisers. There are over 290 search engines including Google Adsense, Overture, FindWhat and LookSmart.

Crawler
A type of a Spider that will download multiple pages from the same web site. This is for search engine indexes.

Cross Linking
Cross linking is linking across content within the same site. This is often used for navigation. This is not an acceptable form of linking if you are looking for link popularity.

CSS Cascading Style Sheets
CSS is an external file used to as styles to your web pages. This helps keep your coding clean.

Dead Link
An html link that the destination page no longer exists. Search engines check for "dead links" by spidering the page again.

Directory
A directory lists websites by individual topics. Open Directory Project is a directory.

Domain Name Registration
The act of registering a domain name with an approved registrar such as Domain Direct. The process is overseen by ICANN.

Doorway Page
An entrance to a website. Doorway pages are usually created to rank high on a particular search engine. Again not a particularly good way to optimize your web site.

Download
The act of retrieving information from any computer is called Downloading.

Dynamic Content
A page that is generated at the time the user requests it. The content delivered to the user is stored in an online database. Most search engines will index dynamic content now, however only a few will spider dynamic sites.

Dynamic IP Address
An IP address that changes each time you connect to the internet. Most ISPs use dynamic IP addresses.

FFA
Free For All links pages. These are sites that allow anyone to add a link. These sites are looked down upon by search engines and should be avoided. These FFA pages are also a cause of much spam around the world and today that is about the only use they have.

Frames
An HTML coding for making a website appear to have more than one windows within one browser. Most search engines do not like these types of sites because there is no content on the index page of the site. Many search engines read this as a site without value. If you are going to use a frames site, you need to remember to use a no frames tag.

Gateway Domain Names
A domain name that direct traffic to a main site. The these usually will be keyword rich. If these are found by the search engines, they will be removed from the index.

Heading Tag
Also known as h-tags. There are 6 different sizes. They are used as headings of different sections of a site. Search engines tend to put added weight to keywords within these tags.

Hidden Text / Tiny Text
This is text in the body of a webpage that is not seen or hard to read. This is considered a form of spam to search engines and is not recommended.

Hit
A request for a file on a webserver. If you have a webpage with 5 images, you will get 6 hits each time this page is viewed. One for the html document and 5 for the images.

HTML
Hyper Text Markup Language. This is the primary language of websites.

HTML Link
This is a website link. It is also known as a Hyper Link.

HTTP
HyperText Transfer Protocol. This is the agreed upon system to transfer data between a web server on the browser.

Image Map
A system of associating parts of an image with hyper links. An example would be a map of the world. Each country would have a link associated with it that would lead to a different page

Inbound Link
A hyper link pointing to your site from another. Inbound links effect your link popularity and your rankings in many search engines. The text associated with this link can also effect your ranking.

IP Address
Like a mailing address tells the mailman where to deliver your mail, your Internet Protocol Address (IP Address) is how data finds its way back and forth from your computer to another.

Your IP address may change each time you attach to your ISP. If your IP address stays the same from connection to connection, you are said to have a static IP address. If it changes each time you connect, you are said to have a Dynamic IP Address. Web Sites have a static IP address so they can always be found.

IP Delivery
The act of delivering customized content based upon the users IP address. This is used in cloaking so you can deliver specific pages to spiders.

IP Spoofing
Connecting to a web site and reporting an IP address different than the one you are actually connected to. This is a highly unethical tactic and may break some laws in your area.

ISP
Internet Service Provider. This is how you connect to the internet.

Java
A computer language designed to deliver a small program from websites to a users browser. This program is executed on the users system.

JavaScript
A computer language used with HTML that is executed after an HTML page is transferred to the users browser.

Keyword
Also Keyword Phrase. A word or combination of words used to find information on a subject.

An example: The keyword Brampton Real Estate would be used to find information about real estate in the city of Brampton.

Keyword Buys
Most search engines sell some type of advertising. The search engines use keywords to help these sales. When a user types in a keyword, a specific set of ads or sponsored entries are displayed to the user.

Keyword Density
The amount of times a keyword or keyword phrase is used in the body of a page. This is a percentage value determined by the number of word on the page.

Keyword Stuffing
The act of adding way too many keywords to a page in either the text or meta information. This is frowned upon by the search engines and regarded as SPAM.

Link Popularity
The number of inbound links to a site. Link popularity is a major factor in search engine rankings now along with the associated text on the link.

MetaSearch
Searching more than one source at a time.

MetaSearch Engine
A search engine that searches several different search engines in order to return a SERP.

MetaTag
These are informational and command tags that are placed in the head section of a webpage.

Mirror Site
This would be an identical site with a different URL. Many people feel this will help them obtain better rankings, however search engines feel this is a form of spam.

Non-Reciprocal Link
When one sites link to another. This is counted in a sites inbound links. A non-reciprocal link can be a text link (example: Webmaster Key - Discussion Forums) or it can be in the form of an image.

Off Page Optimization
The factors not contained within a Web Page that effect it's position in the SERP

On Page Optimization
The factors contained within a Web Page that effect it's position in the SERP

Optimization
Creating or editing a webpage so that it will rank well in the search engines.

Page Views
The amount of times a webpage has been delivered to a browser.

Perl
Practical Extraction and Report Language. This is one of the most common languages used for CGI.

Portal
Refers to search engines and directories such as Yahoo! and AltaVista.

Positioning
The position that a sites entry is display in any search engine query.

PPC
Pay Per Click. The act of paying for each time a user clicks on your listing in certain search engines. This would include Google Adwords, Overture, FindWhat and LookSmart.

PSA
Public Service Announcement. This would be free advertising usually given to Non-Profit organizations.

Ranking
The position that a sites entry is display in any search engine query.

Reciprocal Link
When two sites link to each other. This is counted in a sites inbound links. A reciprocal link can be a text link (example: Real Estate Brampton) or it can be in the form of an image.

Referrer
The URL of the web page a user came from before entering another site. If the referring URL is a search engine, the keyword search terms are usually shown.

Refresh Tag
This is a tag that refreshes or reloads a webpage at a set time period.

Registration
The act of submitting a site to a search engine.

Robot
A programs that goes to websites for search engines. This program reads a website and determines if it belongs in the search index. Also know as a spider as it crawls all over the web.

Robots.txt
A text file kept in the root of a website. It tells robots, spiders and crawlers where they are allowed to go and not allowed to go on a website.

Search Engine
A web site that has crawled the web and lists 1000's of entries ranked by their own code. Google, Yahoo, MSN are the biggest 3 search engines.

Search Term
Also know as a Keyword. A word or combination of words used to find information on a subject.

SEO
Search Engine Optimization is optimizing a web site to gain the best position in the SERP

SEM
Search Engine Marketing not only optimizes the web site, but makes use of other marketing tools like PPC.

SERP
Search Engine Results Page. The page(s) generated by a search engine in response to a search query.

Spamdexing
The act of submitting webpages to a search engine using techniques that are considered unethical by search engines.

Spamming
For email, it is sending out mass unsolicited emails.
For webpages, it is using unethical practices.

Spider
Also known as Crawlers and Robots. These programs are used by search engines to retrieve web pages to include in their database. Most spiders have cute or unusual names.

Spidering
The act of a spider crawling through your website in order to add it to an index.

SSI
Server Side Includes. HTML Comment commands placed in an HTML file which causes a webserver to execute an action when the page is viewed by a user.

Static IP Address
An IP Address that does not change. Web sites use static IP addresses.

Submission Service
A service that submits a website to the search engines. There are ethical and unethical submission services.

Title
This is the name of the webpage usually displayed at the top of the browser window.

Traffic
The visitors to a website.

Unique Users
The count of unique visitors to a website.

URL
Universal Resource Locator. This is a website address.

URL Submission
The act of submitting a website to the search engines.