SEO Glossary

Need help finding the meaning of the latest SEO buzzwords? Our SEO glossary is here to help.

Content

CMS

A CMS is a content management system, used to manage what is on the website. Content editors use the CMS to add new content and manage existing content. Popular Content Management Systems are Wordpress, Drupal and Squarespace.

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Homepage

The homepage is the starting point of a website. If you enther the domain name of a website (www.example.com) in the browser's address bar without adding anything to it, you'll get the homepage.

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Google

Algorithm

Google's algorith is used to rank relevant search results for a search query. It determines whether your website or your competitor's website is shown first.

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Google Search Console

Google Search Console is Google's tool for website owners. It's one of the most important tools for SEO's to see the website's search performance. GSC helps website owners track their rankings, clicks and search visibility.

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Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is the old name of Google Search Console. It was renamed in 2016 to Google Search Console.

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Sitelinks

Sitelinks are the links beneath the normal search results, pointing to different pages within the website of that result. Google adds these links if they think they're useful to the searcher.

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Keyword research

Branded Keyword

A branded keyword is a search keyword that includes your brand name. Normally it's relatively easy to rank for branded terms. People using branded terms are often already looking for your brand but find it easier to use a search engine than typing in the domain name.

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Google Trends

Google Trends is a useful tool from Google that shows you keyword trends over time. Enter a keyword and select the region, and Google Trends shows you how popular that keyword has been over time.

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Keyword

A keyword is what a user enters in the textfield in a search engine. it doesn't have to be just one word, quite often it includes multiple words or entire sentences.

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Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization happens if two pages within one website target the same keywords. You're basically competing with your own website.

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Long-Tail Keyword

A long-tail keyword is a keyword that doesn't get a lot of search volume in itself. The term comes from the graph that can be used to show search volume for keywords. You'll often see a small number of keywords accounting for the largest share of search volume.

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Non-branded keyword

Non-branded keywords are the opposite of branded keywords: searches that do not include your brand name.

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Query

A query is the search term that the searcher used. Google Search Console shows for which queries your website ranks and how many clicks it gets for every query.

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Seasonality

Seasonality refers to changes in search volume over the seasons. You can imagine that there's more searches for jetskis in the summer, and more searches for snowboards in winter.

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Share of Voice

Share of Voice is a metric to describe which percentage of all search traffic in a certain cluster of keywords comes to your website. It describes the market share within search.

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Links

Anchor Text

An anchor text is the clickable text of a link. Anchor texts are important for SEO, because the text signals meaning of the page that it links to. You don't always have control over the anchor text of links on external websites.

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Backlink

A backlink is a link from one website to another. Backlinks are important for SEO, because search engines use the quality and number of backlinks as an important ranking signal.

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Broken Link

A broken link, also known as dead link or link rot, is a link on a web page that is no longer accessible or can’t be found by a user. This can happen when a page is moved to a different URL without adding a redirect, when there's a (temporary) technical issue, or when a website goes out of business.

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Deep Link

A deep link is a link to a specific page, instead of to the homepage of a website. Deep linking can be done to specific landing pages, product pages or blogs. Despite it's fancy name, deep links are nothing special and very common.

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Do-follow

A do-follow link is a link that search engines are allowed to follow, and which contributes to the authority of your website.

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External Link

An external link is a link to a different website. Although SEOs rightly focus on inbound links, external links are also very relevant.

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Footer Link

A link in the footer of the website. This link is normally present on every page within the site. It's part of what's called boiler plate content. For SEO, these links are considered less relevant than links in the main text.

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Link Building

Link building is the activity of trying to get other websites to link to your website. Link building is an essential activity in SEO, because the number and the quality of links largely determain the authority of your website.

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Link Profile

The amount of links, and the quality of all those links pointing to your site, together make up the Link Profile of your website. The anchor text of those links also contribute to your link profile.

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Link Velocity

Link Velocity is the rate at which a website acquires new links. It is assumed that a high link velocity - so if you're gaining a lot of new links in a short period of time - is a red flag to search engines. However, Google has rejected this idea.

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Link rot

Link rot refers to the fact that as a website exists for some time, links on it will inevitably stop working. Either because internal pages have been moved but not redirected, or because external websites you're linking to changed their URL or went out of business.

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Marketing

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

CRO is about increasing the conversion rate by making changes to the website. Improving the checkout flow and reducing steps to conversions can help to increase conversions.

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Organic Search

Organic Search is what SEO focuses on. Contrary to paid search, organic is the traffic that comes to your site without paying for it. The SERP (Search Engine Results Page) shows a combination of paid and unpaid (organic) results.

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Pagespeed

CLS

CLS stands for Cumulative Layout Shift and is one of the Core Web Vitals. CLS is a number between 0 and 1, and describes how much a page layout shifts during loading. 1 means it is all over the place, while 0 means it's stable. Google recommends to have a CLS below 0.1, which means the page is very stable and doesn't move much during loading.

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Core Web Vitals

In May 2020, Google introduced the concept of Core Web Vitals. This consists of 3 important metrics that - among others - determine the user experience of a web page. It includes Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) and First Input Display (FID). As of May 2021, these web vitals will be included in Google's ranking algorithm,

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LCP

Largest Contentful Paint or LCP is one of the Core Web Vitals. It measures how long it takes for the main content of the page to be loaded. LCP is how much time it takes before the visitor sees the most important content on his screen. Anything that's not directly in the viewport, is not included in this calculation.

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Pagespeed Insights

Pagespeed Insights is a tool by Google that can be used to measure the performance of a web page. You enter the URL of a page, and Pagespeed Insights provides an extensive report of current performance and potential improvements.

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Search engines

Baidu

Baidu is a search engine origination from China. It is the second largest search engine in the world, after Google, and by far the biggest search engine in China.

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Bing

Bing is a search engine created by Microsoft. It's had various other names: MSN Search, Windows Live Search and Live Search. Bing is powered by Yahoo Search. Bing has a market share of just under 5%, making it the third largest search engine after Google and Baidu

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DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that focuses on privacy, and avoiding filter bubble for their searchers. It takes its data from sources including Yahoo, Bing, Yandex and its own web crawler

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Ecosia

Ecosia is an alternative to Google. It uses it's profits to plant trees across the world.

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Paid Search

Most search engines, like Google, offer paid advertisements in their search results. Advertisers can pick a set of keywords for which they want to appear in the search results, and bid an amount they want to pay per click. If a searcher clicks their ad, they'll pay the amount.

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Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

SERP, also known as Search Engine Results Pages are search engine responses of a query. It displays a ranked list of URLs related and other featured snippets.

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SEO performance

CTR Curve

The CTR curve shows the percentage of people that click on a search result, for the top 10 searches. A position 1 may have 25% of searchers click on it, while for position 10 only 1% might click.

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Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The percentage of users that click on something. Often used in advertising to measure how many people click an ad, but SEOs often refer to the clicks they get from Google's result page.

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Conversion

A conversion happens when a visitor's action contributes to your goals. The most common conversion is an online sale, but signing up for a newsletter or starting a free trial are also often counted as conversions. BR. Analytics tools like Google Analytics let you set up goals, so you can track conversions.

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Conversion Rate

The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your site that make a conversion, as a percentage of total visitors.

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Pageview

A page view is when a user views a page, and is normally part of a Session, also called a visit. These terms are important when using Analytics software.

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Pogo-sticking

Pogo-sticking is an SEO term for visiting a search results, and then directly going back to the search engine. These visitors will show up as bounced visitors in your Google Analytics.

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Position

The position of a search result on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). The first page normally shows the first 10 results. The higher your position (1 being highest), the more likely people will click on your site in the search results.

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Rank

The rank is the position in search engines for a certain search term. Ranking number 1 means you're the first result to show up in Google, after paid results and Featured Snippets.

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Ranking Factor

A ranking factor is something that Google can use to determine the ranking of your website. Google doesn't disclose what the ranking factors are, but there are hundreds of them, used together to come to a position for your website.

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Time on Page

The time a visitor spends on a specific page. If the time spend on a page is very short, this could be an indication that the page doesn't match the visitors's search intent.

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Time on site

Time on site is the total time a visitor spent on all pages combined during one session.

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Bounce Rate

A bounce is a visitor that lands on your website and leaves, without visiting any other pages. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that bounced, as a percentage of the total visitors. You can find your bounce rate in Google Analytics or other analytics tools. BR There is no good or bad bounce rate, but it normally varies between 40 to 70%

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SEO tactics

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO involves SEO activities that are not allowd by search engines. Some examples are cloaking, paid links, adding fake reviews and stealing content.

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Cloaking

Cloaking is the act of showing a different website to search engines to visitors. Cloaking is highly discouraged: always aim to show visitors the same content as the search engine.

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De-index

De-indexing is removing a URL from Google. If a website owner doesn't want a specific page, or it's entire website, to appear in Google, she can no-index that page. This can be done using no-index meta tags or HTTP headers.

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Disavow

Disavowing is used to optimize the link profile of a site. If a site has many low-quality, spammy inlinks, the site owner can disavow those links. It's asking Google not to take those links into account.

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Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is an old SEO tactic that no longer works. It's using a focus keywords excessively in a text, to a point that it's no longer readable.

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Landing Page

A landing page is a page on your website that is created with a single goal in mind. It's sole intent is to optimize conversion for that goal.

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Log File Analysis

By analyzing server log files, SEO's can find out how often search engine bots visit which pages. This can help to find crawl issues.

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Meta Description

A meta description is a short description of a web page. The meta description is not visible to the visitor: it is only in the source of the website, but it plays a large role in getting visitors to your site.

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Meta Keywords

In the early days of SEO, you could add a meta keyword tag to your page. Keywords could be used by early search engines like Altavista to rank your website.

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Youtube SEO

When you think of search engines, the first thing that comes into your mind is Google and maybe Bing. Not a lot of people think of YouTube as a search engine. But it is. It’s actually the second most used search engine after Google! That’s why it is smart to upload YouTube videos to reach people and create more traffic to your website. Just like the SEO you use to rank higher in Google, there is also SEO you can apply to rank higher with your videos on YouTube.

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SEO tools

Yoast

Yoast is a popular Wordpress plugin for SEO. Starting in 2007, Joost de Valk started developing an SEO plugin for Wordpress. As of today, Yoast has almost a 100 employees and is based in Wijchen, The Netherlands.

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Technical SEO

.htaccess File

An .htaccess file is a file that contains server configuration for Apache webservers. For SEO, the .htaccess file is relevant because it is a way to set up redirects.

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301 redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect. It takes the visitor and the browser to the new page, indicating it has permanently removed. 

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302 redirect

A 302 is a temporary redirect. It's followed by both visitors and search engines. 

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Alt Attribute

An alt text is an HTML attribute applied to image tags to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page. It's useful for people who are visually impaired, but search engines also rely on image alt texts to figure out what is displayed on the image.

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Breadcrumb

A breadcrumb is a small text path, often located at the top of a page indicating the user's location on a website. Every step of this path is clickable, all the way back to the homepage. This term comes from the Hansel and Gretel tale in which the two title children drop breadcrumbs to form a trail back to their home. These breadcrumbs ultimately became the model currently used on websites these days.

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CSS

CSS stands for Cascading Stylesheet. Stylesheets hold the design of the page. Think of the colors, fonts, margings, paddings and much more.

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Canonical URL

A canonical URL tells search engines that although there may be various URLs going to the same content, only that one canonical URL is the original one. Generally, Google will use that URL in their results. BR

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Crawler

Search engines crawl the internet to find meaningful sites to display in search results. One example is the GoogleBot.

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HTML

HTML is short for Hypertext Markup Language and is the language that is used to build web pages. It's the foundation of every website. HTML is enriched with styling using stylesheets (CSS) and made interactive with javascript (JS), but no website can function without HTML.

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Indexability

Indexabiliy is about whether a page can be indexed by search engines. There are several reasons why a page could not be indexable.

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Noindex Tag

Adding a noindex tag to a web page means Google and other search engines will not include it in their index. The noindex tag looks like this: <meta name="robots" content="noindex">.

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Orphan Page

An orphan page is a web page without any internal links pointing to it. It's not linked to in the main navigation, or from any links on pages.

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Pagination

Pagination is used to separate product pages and blog category pages into separate lists. Pagination makes it easier for sites to distribute their information on different pages conveniently. While pagination is a good thing, if done without paying attention to user experience and search engine indexation, some problems are likely to pop up.

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Responsive Website

A website that adjusts to the size of the screen, and works well on all devices. This is done using media queries in CSS, which let front-end developers set specific styling for scree width, screen height, resolution, and more.

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SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate secures the connection between a client and a server. An secured connection is encrypted, which means it cannot be understood by other parties.

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Server-side rendering

Server-side rendering is the traditional way of serving websites: a browser makes a request, and a server responds with a fully rendered HTML response. This is contrary to client-side rendering, which serves only part of the page, and where content is added later on using client-side scripts.

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Sitemap

A sitemap is like a guide to your website: it has all the pages that are relevant for visitors. There are 2 types of sitemaps: a HTML sitemap, meant for visitors, and an XML sitemap, meant for search engines. XML sitemaps are an important tool for SEOs to help search engines find all pages, speed up indexing, and monitor the index coverage.

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Status Codes

A status code is a code returned invisbily by the server, telling the client what the status of the request is. Some common status codes are 200 (OK), 301 (Permanent Redirect), 302 (Temporary Redirect), 404 (Not Found) and 500 (Internal Error).

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Structured Data

Structured Data is a way to tell Google and other search engines what the different elements on your page mean. It takes normal HTML and turns it into meaningful entities that search engines understand.

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Subdomain

A subdomain is anything that is not on the main domain. If your domain is example.com, and your blog is on blog.example.com, that content is on a subdomain.

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robots.txt

The robots.txt file is a file placed in the root of a website that has crawl instructions for search engines. It can tell bots which parts of the site it should not index, and can also be used to points bots to the sitemap of the page.

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