The world of SEO can be confusing, with all the technical jargon and confusing terms it’s no wonder why! Which is why I have put together a list of definitions for a range of internet marketing, SEO terminology, abbreviations and acronyms that you will need to know for when you enter the SEO world.

SEO Terms Explained

Affiliate An affiliate site markets products or services that are actually sold by another website or business in exchange for fees or commissions.

Algorithm A program used by search engines to determine what pages to suggest for a given search query. Google regularly updates its own algorithm’s which can change the way that search results are ranked.

Alt text Alt text is important because search engines can’t actually see images so it needs something to read in order to be able to tell what it is. Alt Text is a description of a graphic, which usually isn’t displayed to the end user. Special web browsers for visually challenged people rely on the alt text to make the content of graphics accessible to the users.

Anchor Text The actual text of a link to a web page. On most websites, this text is usually dark blue and underlined, or purple if you’ve visited the link in the past. Anchor text helps search engines understand what the destination page is about; it describes what you will see if you click through.

Back link Any link into a page or site from any other page or site. Part of Google’s algorithm is for a site to have good backlinks, so it’s important that you perform regular disavows in order for Google to discount the unvaluable backlinks.

Black hat SEO Search engine optimization that contains aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus only on search engines and not a human audience. Usually these techniques do not obey search engines guidelines.

Bot Can also be called a robot, spider and/or crawler. A bot is a program which performs a task that is uncontrolled. Search engines use bots to find and add web pages to their search indexes.

Bounce rate The percentage of users who enter a site and then leave it without viewing any other pages. It is important that a site has a low bounce rate, after all you do want people to stay on your site, surely?

Bread crumbs The web site navigation in the horizontal bar above the main content which helps the user to understand where they are on the site and how to get back to the root areas.


Canonical issues This refers to duplicate content. Canon = legitimate or official version.  It is often hard to avoid duplicate content, especially with a CMS like WordPress, but also due to the fact that and are seen as duplicates by the Search Engines. However these issues can be dealt with effectively in several ways including – using the noindex meta tag in the non-canonical copies, and 301 server redirects to the canon.

CMS Content Management System supports the creation and modification of digital content using a common user interface, which can have multiple users.

CTR Click Through Rate refers to the percentage of users who follow a hyperlink to a particular page or site.

Doorway – Also known as a gateway. A doorway is a web page that is designed specifically to attract traffic from a search engine. A doorway page will redirect users to another site or page. However it doesn’t for a spider.


Error Codes/status
200 Status OK – The file request was successful
301Moved Permanently – The file has been moved permanently to a new location.
302 Found – The file has been found, but is temporarily located at another URI.
404 Not Found – The server was unable to locate the URL.

The Fold The “fold” is the point on your website where the page gets cut off by the bottom of a user’s monitor or browser window. Anything below the fold can be scrolled to, but isn’t seen right away. Search engines place some priority on content above the fold, since it will be seen right away by new visitors. Having too many ads above the fold can be seen as a negative issue, this was addressed in the Panda update.

Googlebot Google’s spider program that crawls websites in order to rank them on the search results page.

HTML Hyper Text Markup Language is the language in which pages on the World Wide Web are created.

Impression Can also be called a page view. The event where a user views a webpage one time.

Index (Verb)  – This is to add a web page to a search engine index so that it can be displayed in the search results pages.

Landing page This is the page that a user lands on when they click on a link in a Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

Meta tags Statements within the head section of an HTML page which holds information about the page. Meta information may be used in the SERPs but is not visible on the actual webpage. It is very important to have unique and accurate meta title and description tags for every page on the website, because they contain information that the bot or crawler for the search engine will need in order to help rank the page. Also, they are the first impression that users get about your page within the SERP’s.

Nofollow A value that can be assigned to the rel attribute of an HTML an element to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index.

No index A command found in either the head section of a web page or within individual link which instructs robots to not index the page or the specific link. If you no index a page Google cannot index the page and therefore it cannot be found in search. Realistically you wouldn’t want any pages to be no index but sometimes there are pages that you might not want the public to see therefore you would no index them.

Non reciprocal link if site A links to site B, but site B does not link back to site A, then the link is considered non reciprocal. Search engines tend to give more value to non-reciprocal links than to reciprocal ones because they are less likely to be the result of collusion between sites.

Organic link organic links are those that are published only because the webmaster considers them to add value for users.

Reciprocal link Two sites which link to each other. Search engines usually don’t see these as high value links, because of the reciprocal and potentially incestuous nature.

Redirect Several methods used to change the address of a landing page such as when a site is moved to a new domain, or in the case of a doorway. The code for a redirected page is either a 301 (permanent) or a 302 (temporary).

Robots.txt A file in the root directory of a website use to restrict and control the behavior of search engine spiders. This file will outline the areas on a site in which a search engine spider should or should not crawl.

SERP Search Engine Results Page.

Site map A page or structured group of pages which link to every user accessible page on a website, and hopefully improves site usability by clarifying the data structure of the site for the users. An XML sitemap is often kept in the root directory of a site just to help search engine spiders to find all of the site pages.

Spider can be called a bot or a crawler. It is a specialised bot used by search engines to find and add web pages to their indexes so they are available in the search results.

Static page A web page without dynamic content or variables. Static pages are good for SEO work in that they are friendly to search engine spiders. Static pages are viewed how they have been stored in contrast to dynamic web pages which are generated by a web application.

Trust Rank Search relevancy algorithm which places additional weighting on links from trusted seed websites that are controlled by major corporations, educational institutions, or governmental institutions.

URL  – Uniform Resource Locator. AKA Web Address e.g.

White hat SEO techniques which conform to best practice guidelines, and do not attempt to unscrupulously manipulate SERPs.These are the best techniques in SEO as opposed to Black Hat SEO (See Black Hat SEO for definition)


While you can manage to complete some SEO techniques, you might need professional help for others. If you need professional help with SEO for your site then get in touch with Ricemedia to put our expertise to use.