Adult words

Definition: Certain words of an adult nature that are censored by some search engines. These phrases often cause a search engine to limit the inclusion of a web page to the adult area of the search engine. These pages are then excluded from the general search.

Agent

Definition: A piece of software, such as a browser or spider, that interprets the content on a web server and presents it to the user as a web page. Examples include Internet Explorer, Opera, Netscape and various search engine spiders.

Examples: MS Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Googlebot, Slurp, T-Rex

Agent name delivery

Definition: The act of presenting one set of content to search engine spiders based on the name of that spider and another set of content to human web users. This is done to present content that has been specifically optimized to rank well at each search engine while still presenting the same content to each human visitor to the web site.

This technology is easily detected as web surfers are able to use an agent name faking program to appear as if they are the named spider and view the cloaked content.

Algorithm

Definition: The defined set of rules put in place by a search engine to measure and sort the web page listings that will be displayed in response to a search query.

Backlink

Definition: A hypertext link on a web site other than your own that points to your web site. Inbound links are an important part of web site marketing as they can deliver targeted visitors directly from another web site, and can help to improve the ranking position of your web site on engines that use link popularity as a part of their algorithm. (also known as inbound link.)

Blog

Definition: A style of Internet publishing that uses content management software to allow for quick and easy posting of articles, personal journals and news stories. Also known as "web log."

Bookmark

Definition: A method of saving a link with a personal notation for a web site that you wish to visit again. Most browsers have some form of storage system that allows for sites to be catalogued in folders. Also known as "favorites."

Boolean search

Definition: A search function that allows a user to include or exclude documents containing certain words by using the words "AND," "NOT," and "OR."

Pronunciation: boo-leen search (noun)

Cache

Definition: The storing of a web site on either a computer's hard drive, or in a search engine's index. On personal computers, cache is used to save a copy of web sites images, text and code to help speed up download upon future visits to the site. On search engines, cache serves as a record of the content of a web page when a search engine last visited and indexed it.

CGI

Definition: The standard interface between software on a web server and any other programs running on the same machine.

Also Known As: Common Gateway Interface

CGI Program

Definition: A program that handles data input or output according to CGI standards. These types of programs are used to handle database queries, forms and dynamic web content.

Click thru

Definition: The act of a visitor clicking on a link displayed within a set of search engine results in order to reach the web page represented by that link. Click thru amounts related to each keyword search can be tracked as a method of determining if a particular keyword will entice visitors to a web site.

Cloaking

Definition: The act of hiding true page content from either a human or robot visitor. This technique is used both to camouflage actual page content from page thieves and to artificially present a more search engine friendly web site to visiting spiders.

Clustering

Definition: The process of listing a single page from a web site within a search engine or directory's search results. This is a common practice in order to provide a wider variety of relevant results and is aimed to keep one company from occupying all of the top positions.

Comment tag

Definition: HTML tag that is used to hide text from browsers. Often used to hide java script code from browsers that are unable to accommodate it. Although some engines will read and index the content contained within these tags, most engines ignore it.

Conceptual Search

Definition: The act of searching for a document based on words that are related to a concept rather than a document that contains the actual search word or phrase.

Content rich

Definition: Refers to a web page that contains relevant content to the topic at hand. Usually used to refer to the need to repeat keyword phrases within the body copy of a web site. Search engine algorithms give higher ranking to a site that contains the keyword phrases that a user is searching for.

Conversion rate

Definition: The mathematical equation that determines what percentage of visitors to a site completes a specified action.

Examples: If 4 out of 100 individuals signs up for an online newsletter, the conversion rate for that site is 4%.

CPA

Definition: An advertising deal in which the purchaser agrees to pay a set price for each action that is taken by the viewer of the advertisement.

Also Known As: Cost Per Action

Examples: An advertising deal that has a newsletter signup of $0.25 CPA would cost the site owner $0.25 for every user that signed up for the newsletter though that program.

CPC

Definition: An advertising deal in which the purchaser agrees to pay a set price for each click thru that results from the advertisement.

Also Known As: Cost Per Click

Examples: An advertising deal that has a $0.25 CPC would cost the site owner $1.00 for every four clicks that their site receives.

CPM

Definition: An advertising deal in which the purchaser agrees to pay a set price to purchase blocks of 1000 page views.

Also Known As: Cost Per Thousand (think M=1000 in Roman Numerals)

Examples: An advertising deal that has a $5.00 CPM and recieved 6000 views would cost the site owner $30.00.

Crawler

Definition: An automated robot program that follows links to visit web sites on behalf of search engines or directories. Crawlers then process and index the code and content of a web page to be stored in the search engine's database.

Examples: Googlebot is the crawler that travels the web finding and indexing pages for the Google search engine.

Cross browser

Definition: A reference to the need to test and adjust web site code, java script and CSS so that it displays properly on multiple browsers.

Examples: Some CSS will not display properly on both Internet Explorer and Netscape. In order to be cross browser compatible, a webmaster must design work arounds that are tailored to each browser so that the site always displays properly.

Cross linking

Definition: The act of linking to content contained on a web site from elsewhere in that web site.

Examples: Linking each page of your web site back to the home page is an example of cross linking.

CSS

Definition: Coding option that allows webmasters to apply simple display styles to each page of a web site by setting up templates.

Also Known As: Cascading Style Sheets

Examples: CSS can be used to redefine the look of standard HTML tags. For instance, search engines place higher value on text contained within the tags, but the default size for these tags is generally too large for modern web design. CSS can be used to redefine the size, color, font and emphasis of these tags so that webmasters can properly utilize them in search engine optimization.

De-listing

Definition: The removal of a web page from a search engine or directory's index. Removal can occur as a result of a cleanup of dead links, as a penalty for spamming, or because of server issues at a site's host.

Dead link

Definition: The name given to a link that leads to a web page or site that has either moved or no longer exists. Search engines are directories continually work to remove dead links from their indexes in order to improve the overall quality of search results.

Examples: When a web site is redesigned to include new pages and remove old pages, the old pages that remain in search engine listings lead no where and are referred to as "dead links."

Deep link

Definition: The act of linking to a page (deep) within a web site rather than linking to the main URL. Directories discourage the submission of deep links as a way to keep their indexes clean and organized.

Description

Definition: The descriptive text associated with a web site or page's listing on a search engine results page.

Examples: Descriptions that appear in results pages from search engines usually consist of the text of the Meta Description tag, or a snippet of relevant text taken from the web page.

Descriptions that appear in results pages from directories usually consist of an assigned snippet of text created by the editor who has reviewed the web site or page in question.

Directory

Definition: Searchable subject guide organized by topical subject or geographical region and consisting of web sites that have been reviewed and compiled by human editors. Directories are often provided as a browsable alternative to the searchable indexes of search engines.

Examples: Yahoo!, The Open Directory Project and Looksmart are some of the most popular directories on the web.

Dns lookup

Definition: A process which converts a unique IP address into a domain name. Often used by webmasters to research listings contained in server log files.

Domain

Definition: The name given to the address of a web site. Domains are written in a hierarchical manner with lower-level domains referring to sub-sections of the base web site. Domains are available with a variety of extensions, the most popular of which are .com, .edu, .gov, and .org. Domains are unique and must be registered and assigned to a web host to become effective.

Example: http://www.searchengineguide.com is the domain of the Search Engine Guide web site.

Domain name registration

Definition: The act of registering a domain name with an approved registrar.

Doorway domain

Definition: A domain that has been specifically created to be highly ranked for particular keywords in search engine results pages, but that directs visitors toward the actual domain of a web site.

Doorway page

Definition: A specially created web page that is designed to rank highly on a particular search engine by utilizing the methods that are known to produce the best results on that engine. These pages are most often designed to be visible to a search engine spider, but to be hidden from a human visitor. Doorway pages are currently considered a recognized spam tactic and are banned by most of the major engines and directories.

Dynamic content

Definition: Web content that is generated out of a database to create dynamic web pages.

Dynamic IP address

Definition: An IP address that changes with each connection to the Internet.

Favorites

Definition: A method of saving a link with a personal notation for a web site that you wish to visit again. Most browsers have some form of storage system that allows for sites to be catalogued in folders. Also known as "bookmarks."

FFA link pages

Definition: Web pages specifically designed to allow anyone to submit a link to their site. FFA sites tend to rotate new links in and old links out. They have little use in search engine optimization and provide minimal traffic.

Also Known As: Free For All Link Pages

Fields

Definition: The act of specifying which location of a page a search term should appear on. For example, users can specify that the search term should appear in the URL or in the incoming link text.

Filter words

Definition: Common words such that search engines remove from web pages before they add them to their index in order to save space. These words tend to have very little impact on search engine ranking and are usually discounted from search phrases as well.

Examples: of, is, the, and, for, it

Frames

Definition: A coding style that is used to combine multiple HTML documents into a single web page. Frames are often used to allow certain areas of a web site to remain in place (i.e. navigation, header graphic) while other areas of the site are scrollable.

Framed web sites are more difficult to optimize for high search engine rankings because most spiders are unable to read and index the content within a < FRAMESET > tag. Sites that are designed using frames need to place optimized content in the < NOFRAMES > in order to provide the search engine spiders with something to index.

FTP

Definition: The protocol used to upload and download content from web servers.

Also Known As: File Transfer Protocol

Gateway domain

Definition: A domain that has been specifically created to be highly ranked for particular keywords in search engine results pages, but that directs visitors toward the actual domain of a web site.

Gateway page

Definition: A specially created web page that is designed to rank highly on a particular search engine by utilizing the methods that are known to produce the best results on that engine. These pages are most often designed to be visible to a search engine spider, but to be hidden from a human visitor. Doorway pages are currently considered a recognized spam tactic and are banned by most of the major engines and directories.

Heading tag

Definition: An HTML tag that designates headlines in the body copy of a website. These tags use the format and are designated in importance by the numbers 1 through 6. (1 being the largest headline.) Heading tags are important to SEO efforts because most engines will give extra weight to keywords contained within these tags.

Hidden text

Definition: Content on a web site that is coded in a manner that makes it invisible to human visitors, but readable by search engine spiders. This is done in order to artificially inflate the keyword density of a web site without affecting the visual appearance of it. Hidden text is a recognized spam tactic and nearly all of the major search engines recognize and penalize sites that use this tactic.

HTML

Definition: The scripting language used to define the content and appearance of a web page.

Also Known As: Hypertext Markup Language

HTTP

Definition: The main protocol used to communicate between web servers and Internet browsers.

Also Known As: HyperText Transfer Protocol

Inbound link

Definition: A hypertext link on a web site other than your own that points to your web site. Inbound links are an important part of web site marketing as they can deliver targeted visitors directly from another web site, and can help to improve the ranking position of your web site on engines that use link popularity as a part of their algorithm. (also known as a backlink)

Index

Definition: The database of web pages that is maintained by a search engine or directory.

This phrase can also refer to the main page (the index page) of a web site.

Indexed

Definition: The act of being reviewed and stored in a database by a visiting spider from a search engine.

Invisible text

Definition: Content on a web site that is coded in a manner that makes it invisible to human visitors, but readable by search engine spiders. This is done in order to artificially inflate the keyword density of a web site without affecting the visual appearance of it. Hidden text is a recognized spam tactic and nearly all of the major search engines recognize and penalize sites that use this tactic.

Invisible web

Definition: The name given to the content of dynamic or database driven sites that are unable to be indexed by search engines.

IP address

Definition: Unique numerical identifier given to each Internet connection. The IP address is how data finds its way from a web site back to your computer.

IP addresses that are attached to dialup ISP accounts usually dynamic and change with each connection.

IP addresses that are attached to a permanent Internet connection like a T1 line or a cable modem are static and stay the same all the time.

IP delivery

Definition: The act of presenting one set of content to search engine spiders and another set of content to human web users. This is accomplished by presenting different sets of content based on the IP address of a visitor. IP Delivery is a form of cloaking that is used to present content that has been specifically optimized to rank well at each search engine while still presenting the same content to each human visitor to the web site.

This technology is difficult to detect, as it requires that a user present the IP address of a search engine spider in order to view the hidden web site content. (see also: agent name delivery, cloaking.)

IP spoofing

Definition: A method of connecting to the Internet or a particular web site and reporting a different IP Address than your assigned one. IP Spoofing is used in SEO in order to trick a spider into indexing one site, while actually presenting another site to the end user. This tactic can also be used to redirect a user to a site other than the one they have clicked on.

This tactic is considered highly unethical and is illegal in some areas.

ISP

Definition: The designation given to companies that provide access to the Internet.

Also Known As: Internet Service Provider

Examples: AOL, Earthlink, Juno

Keyword

Definition: A word or phrase that is used in a search engine query. Optimizing a site entails researching the keyword or keyword phrases that users enter in order to find web sites, and optimizing a web site around those terms.

Keyword buys

Definition: A type of advertising that entails paying for high placement in search engine results for pre-selected keywords and keyword phrases.

Keyword density

Definition: Refers to a web page that contains relevant content to the topic at hand. Usually used to refer to the need to repeat keyword phrases within the body copy of a web site. Search engine algorithms give higher ranking to a site that contains the keyword phrases that a user is searching for.

Also Known As: keyword rich, keyword dense

Keyword domain name

Definition: The act of purchasing a domain name that contains the main keyword or keyword phrase that a site is being optimized for. Traditionally this entails placing a hyphen between each word in the domain. This is done because most search engines read hyphens as a space, thus allowing the domain to contribute to increased positioning for that keyword.

Examples: If the main keyword for your web site was "blue widgets," and keyword domain name would be www.blue-widgets.com.

Keyword research

Definition: The act of researching what particular words and phrases are used to search for web sites. This is one of the most important aspects of SEO as it allows a webmaster to write the content of their site in a manner that will help them rank highly on these particular phrases.

Keyword stuffing

Definition: The act of repeating keywords or keyword phrases excessively in body copy, hidden text, meta tags, or any other code on the site. Originally done in order to increase rankings in search engines, this tactic is now recognized and penalized by most of the major search engines.

Link farm

Definition: A set of web pages that have been built for the sole purpose of increasing the number of incoming links to a web site. This is done in order to increase link popularity and search engine rankings. Link farms usually require a reciprocal link from sites seeking listings.

Link farms are a known spam tactic and sites that participate in them are likely to be penalized or banned from the major search engines.

Link popularity

Definition: The act of a search engine counting the number of inbound links to a web site. Many search engines now use this information as part of their ranking system.

Link Popularity is measured by a combination of factors that are designed to weigh the importance of each incoming link. Links from sites with high link popularity will have more weight in a search engine algorithm than links from unpopular sites. In addition, links from sites with complimentary content count as more than links from sites that have no relevance.

Link rot

Definition: The name given to a link that leads to a web page or site that has either moved or no longer exists. Search engines are directories continually work to remove dead links from their indexes in order to improve the overall quality of search results.

Meta data

Definition: The information that is contained within the meta tags of a web site.

Meta search engine

Definition: A search engine that collects results from other search engines and directories and then presents a summary of that information as the results of a search.

Examples: Dogpile, Metacrawler

Meta tag

Definition: An HTML tag placed within the header area of code for a web site. This information is visible only to spiders and does not appear as a visual part of the web site. These tags were originally used be webmasters to provide information about the content of a web site in order to assist search engines in indexing the content. Because these tags were so easy to abuse, few search engines still read the content within these tags.

Mirror sites

Definition: Sites that are designed to be duplicates of an original site, but are hosted at a separate domain. Mirror sites are often used in SEO to allow for the use of keyword rich domain names. This is a recognized spam tactic and is penalized by many of the major search engines.

Optimization

Definition: The changes that are made to the content and code of a web site in order to increase it's rankings in the results pages of search engines and directories.

Examples: These changes may involve rewriting body copy, altering Title or Meta tags, removal of Frames or Flash content, and the seeking of incoming links.

Outbound link

Definition: A link from a web site that leads the user to a page on another web site.

Page jacking

Definition: The act of stealing content, code or images from a web site to place on your own.

Page popularity

Definition: Determined by measuring the quality and amount of incoming links to a specific web site or web page. This information is often used by search engines to help determine the proper placement for a web site in its search engine results.

PFI

Definition: The act of paying a search engine or directory to include your web site in their index. Paying this fee does not affect the placement of a web site in search results, it simply assures that the web site will be visited and indexed within a specified time frame.

Also Known As: Pay for Inclusion

PPC engine

Definition: A search engine that allows webmasters to purchase their positions within the search results based on the amount of money they are willing to pay for each click thru their site's listing receives.

Also Known As: Pay Per Click Engine

PR

Definition: The name given to Google's link popularity measuring system. PR is determined by measuring both the quantity and quality of incoming links to a web site and is a major factor in the Google ranking algorithm.

Also Known As: Page Rank

PR0

Definition: A site that has been penalized for spamming Google will be given a Page Rank of 0. The PR0 acts to lower the placement of a web site or page in Google's search results pages.

Precision

Definition: How well a search engine is able to list documents that match a specific keyword or phrase query. Precision is calculated by dividing the number of returned documents that contain the search words by the number of documents returned.

Proximity search

Definition: A type of search in which the user specifies which words should be near each other on the pages that are returned in the search results.

Qualified traffic

Definition: This term describes traffic that is produced by users that find a web site by searching for a product of concept that is offered on that web site. These visitors are thought to be more likely to interact with or purchase from your web site and are therefore of higher quality than other visitors.

Query

Definition: A word, a phrase or a group of words, possibly combined with other syntax used to pass instructions to a search engine or a directory in order to locate web pages.

Ranking

Definition: The placement of a web site within a particular search engines results pages.

Examples: A ranking within the top 20 listings is generally considered to be a strong ranking.

Re-submission

Definition: The repeated submission of a web site to search engines or directories.

Recall

Definition: The degree to which a search engine is able to return all possible matching documents in their index.

Examples: If a search engine has 1000 pages indexed that contain the phrase "car sales" and it produces 8500 of them in response to a search for that phrase, it is said to have 85% recall.

Reciprocal link

Definition: An exchange where two sites agree to link to each other.

Common Misspellings: reciprical link, reciprecal link

Referrer

Definition: The URL of the web site that a visitor has come from. This information is stored in the server's referrer log file and can be used to discover which search engines or web sites are delivery traffic to your web site.

Registration

Definition: The process of selecting and reserving a domain name.

or

The process of submitting your web site to a search engine or directory in order for it to be indexed.

Relevancy

Definition: How well a search engine result matches the intention of the searcher.

Robot

Definition: An automated program that follows links to visit web sites on behalf of search engines or directories. Robots then process and index the code and content of a web page to be stored in the search engine's database.

Examples: Googlebot, Slurp, T-Rex

Robots.txt

Definition: A text file that is stored in the top-level directory of a web site to be accessed by robots or spiders that might visit the site. Robots that comply with the "Robots Exclusion Standard" will read the commands in this file and will obey them.

The primary purpose of the robots.txt file is to direct spiders to ignore directories that may contain private or unnecessary information.

Examples: The example below attempts to prevent all robots from visiting the /test files directory:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /testfiles

Scooter

Definition: Alta Vista's search engine spider.

Search

Definition: The act of using an online directory or database of web sites to locate a web page on a specific topic.

Search engines

Definition: A searchable index of web sites that is traditionally compiled by a spider that visits web pages and stores the information from each page in a database.

Examples: Google, Inktomi, Alta Vista

Search Term

Definition: The word or words that a search engine user types into the search box in order to find web page results. Also known as a query.

SEM

Definition: The changes that are made to the content and code of a web site in order to increase its rankings in the results pages of search engines and directories. These changes may involve rewriting body copy, altering Title or Meta tags, removal of Frames or Flash content, and the seeking of incoming links.

Search Engine Marketing also entails non-optimization methods of drawing traffic through search engines, including management of paid advertising listings on search engines.

Also Known As: search engine marketing

SEMPO

Definition: Acronym for the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, an international industry group.

SEO

Definition: The changes that are made to the content and code of a web site in order to increase its rankings in the results pages of search engines and directories. These changes may involve rewriting body copy, altering Title or Meta tags, removal of Frames or Flash content, and the seeking of incoming links.

Also Known As: search engine optimization

SEP

Definition: The changes that are made to the content and code of a web site in order to increase its rankings in the results pages of search engines and directories. These changes may involve rewriting body copy, altering Title or Meta tags, removal of Frames or Flash content, and the seeking of incoming links.

Also Known As: search engine placement

SERP

Definition: The list of search results that are returned by a search engine or directory in response to a search query.

Also Known As: Search Engine Results Page

Siphoning

Definition: The act of "stealing" another site's traffic by copying content, tags or trademarked names and phrases.

Slurp

Definition: Inktomi's search engine spider.

Spam

Definition: The act of using optimization techniques that are designed to artificially increase the rank of a web site or web page.

Spider

Definition: An automated program that follows links to visit web sites on behalf of search engines or directories. Robots then process and index the code and content of a web page to be stored in the search engine's database.

Examples: Googlebot, Slurp, T-Rex

Stemming

Definition: The ability of a search engine to recognize word roots and match them with multiple endings. (i.e. run, running, runs) Also known as "truncation."

Stop word

Definition: Words that are so commonly used that they have no impact on the relevancy of a search query. These words are rarely indexed by search engines and are often ignored in query strings.

Examples: the, of, is, an, a, and, if

Submission

Definition: The process of submitting your web site to a search engine or directory in order for it to be indexed.

Submit

Definition: The process of submitting your web site to a search engine or directory in order for it to be indexed.

Truncation

Definition: The ability of a search engine to recognize word roots and match them with multiple endings. (i.e. run, running, runs) Also known as "stemming."

Web Log

Definition: A style of Internet publishing that uses content management software to allow for quick and easy posting of articles, personal journals and news stories. Also known as "blog."


January 3, 2009





Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.





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