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  • Google SEO Glossary

    Here is a list of terms that were either used in this book, or represent terms in the Internet marketing industry that you may encounter :

    Aging delay. Term describing a set of filters applied to new websites whereby the site cannot rank wel  (or at all) for any competitive keywords for 6 – 24 months. Also called the Sandbox.

    Algo, Algorithm. A specific mathematical process for achieving a desired result. Google uses a proprietary algorithm that contains over 100 different criteria to rank Web sites in a specific order based on a specific search request.

    Algorithmic listing. Any search engine listing that is on the “free” or unpaid section of a search results page. These listings are obtained using SEO techniques without the use of paid advertising. Also cal ed organic, natural or editorial listing.

    Anchor text.  The clickable portion of text displayed (usually as blue, underlined text) for a link. Also known as link text.

    Authority. Site with a high number of incoming links and a relatively low number of outgoing links. Opposite of hub.

    Backlinks, backward links.  Links from other sites that point to your site. Also known as inbound or incoming links.

    Cascading Style Sheet (CSS).  Code that defines the visual appearance, style (size, color, font), or positioning of text on a Web page. This code can be located either on the page it is used on or can be stored in a separate (.css) file.

    Conversion rate. The percentage of visitors to a website that end up performing a specific action that leads to a sale. Such actions can include the purchase of a product, the submission of a form, or an email requesting more information.

    Cost-Per-Click (CPC). See Pay-per-click (PPC).

    Crawl.  The operation of reading or analyzing pages of a website by an automated program called a spider or robot. Spiders crawl your site by following links on each page of your site. After crawling, the spider will return the results back to the search engine for later inclusion into it’s database for indexing. See also Index.

    CSS. See Cascading Style Sheet.


    Directory. As opposed to search engines, search directories use humans to review and place websites in alphabetical order under defined categories and sub-categories. The best-known directories are Yahoo! and the Open Directory Project (ODP).

    DMOZ. Another term for the Open Directory Project.

    Editorial listing. Any search engine listing that is on the “free” or unpaid section of a search results page. These listings are obtained using SEO techniques without the use of paid advertising. Also cal ed organic, algorithmic or natural listing.

    Everflux. Term used for the constantly changing search results that occur regularly.

    External links. Links located on websites other than your own.

    Googlebot. The name given to the main Google spider that crawls sites.

    Google AdWords™. Google’s Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising program, whereby your site is listed in the right-hand side of Google search result pages in a smal  box. This type of advertising involves an auction where you bid, along with your competitors, for the cost per click for a specific keyword.

    Google bombing. Term used to describe the process of artificially altering the ranking of a page by the use of links. It requires a concerted group effort from many different site owners who all agree to use the exact same link text in links that point to the same site. The linked-to site may not even contain the text used anywhere on the page.

    Google dance.  Older term designating the time period where Google updates their index, which results in site rankings that jump around, sometimes minute by minute. This is caused by Google running PageRank calculations for all pages repeatedly until the values reach a steady-state.

    Google Directory™. The Google Directory lists those websites that are in the Open Project Directory (ODP), then ranks them according to PageRank alone.

    Google Toolbar™.   A downloadable program that attaches to your browser, allowing you to see a public approximation for the PageRank (PR) value of a page, along with the external sites that link to that page.

    Hub. Site with a high number of outgoing links and a relatively low number of incoming links. Opposite of authority.

    Inbound, incoming links.   Links that reside on another website that point to your website. Also known as backlinks or backward links.  The opposite of inbound links are outbound links.

    Index. Term used to denote the database that stores information about every web page for every website that a search engine has crawled (visited). If your website is included in the Google database (index), it is said to be indexed.

    Index page. Another name for a home page. Many home pages are named index.html so that Web servers will display this page by default.

    Internal links.  Links that are located on pages within the same website. As opposed to external links, which are links that are located on a different website.

    Inline links. Links that are part of a sentence in a paragraph on a page, rather than simply listed in a menu bar or a links page without any surrounded text.

    IYP. Internet Yel ow Page directories such as Verizon Superpages, SMARTPages and other local-based directories like Google Local and Yahoo Local.

    KD.  See Keyword density.

    Keyword phrase.  General term used to define a specific word phrase that best describes the main topic of a web page. Synonymous with a search phrase that a visitor enters into a search engine to find specific information.

    Keyword.  General term used to define the main topic of a page. Synonymous with search term. A group of keywords used together in a phrase is cal ed a keyword phrase. Google looks for keywords on a page that match searched-for terms.

    Keyword density. The number of times a keyword is used on a web page divided by the total number of words on the page. Expressed as a percentage.

    Keyword prominence. How close to the beginning or top of a web page that a keyword is found.

    Keyword proximity. How close together the individual words that make up a keyword phrase are to one another, and in what order.

    Keyword weight.  Also known as keyword density.

    Landing page. General y speaking, the web page that a person reaches when clicking on a search engine listing or ad. This may be any page of the site.  For paid advertising, it is common to have multiple ads, each one linking to a specific landing page on the site that is targeted specifically for that ad.

    Latent Semantic Indexing. A technology used by Google that factors in synonyms and related keyword phrases when ranking a page for a specific keyword. A page could rank wel  for a related keyword that may not even appear on the page.

    Link quality. A general term referring to link reputation and link strength. Links with high quality are those where the PageRank of the linking page is high,  and where your keywords are used in the link text and in the page title that the link is.

    Link popularity. A term referring to the number of incoming links to your site.

    Link reputation.  A term referring to how closely link text matches the title of thepage the link is on and, more importantly, the text on the page that the link points to.

    Link strength.  Dependent on the PageRank of the linking page as wel  as the number of other links on the page. Also referred to as link voting power.

    Link text. The clickable portion of text displayed (usually as blue, underlined text) for a link. Also known as anchor text.

    LocalRank. A variation of basic PageRank whereby links from sites that share the same Class C IP address block are weighed less (are worth less) than links from a variety of different IP addresses (different servers owned by different businesses).

    LSI. See Latent Semantic Indexing.

    META tags.  HTML tags located in the <HEAD> section of a web page that specify information that is viewable only to a search engine. The two most commonly-used META tags are the “Keywords” META tag and the “Description” META tag. Most search engines ignore META tags today due to their abuse in the past – however Google and others still use the contents of the Description META tag when listing web pages. In addition, the “Robots” META tag can be used to prevent search engines from indexing a web page.

    Natural listing. Any search engine listing that is on the “free” or unpaid section of a search results page. These listings are obtained using SEO techniques without the use of paid advertising. Also cal ed organic, algorithmic or editorial listing.

    Off-page factors.  Those elements of a website that are not located on your website (such as incoming links). Off-page factors are largely out of your control.

    On-page factors.  Those elements of a website that are located on your website (such as keywords). You are in control of on-page factors.

    ODP.  See Open Directory Project. Also known as DMOZ.

    Organic listing. Any search engine listing that is on the “free” or unpaid section of a search results page. These listings are obtained using SEO techniques without the use of paid advertising. Also cal ed algorithmic, editorial or natural listing.

    Orphan pages. Pages with an incoming link but without any outgoing links.

    Outbound, Outgoing links.  Links on your website that point to other websites. Opposite of inbound or incoming links.

    Paid placement. Similar to pay-per-click. See below.

    Pay-Per-Click (PPC).  A paid advertising mechanism  whereby you bid to have your site listed in a specific position on a search engine. You bid, along with your competitors, for the cost per click of a specific keyword. Every time a visitor clicks on your listing (ad), you pay the PPC company the bid price. Google AdWords is the name of the PPC program that Google offers.

    PPC.  See Pay-Per-Click.

    PR.  See PageRank.

    Page.  Synonymous with web page. The actual HTML file and associated graphics that are displayed in a browser.

    PageRank™.  Google’s patented system for measuring page importance. PageRank analyzes the quantity and quality of links that point to a web page. The more high-quality links that point to your web page from other sites, the higher your PageRank.

    Page importance.  Synonymous with PageRank.

    Page relevance. How closely keywords on your page match a search request.

    Page reputation: what other sites “say” about your site. Google looks to see if your keywords are used in the link text, page title, and in the link text of other links on the page that links to your site.

    Page topic. What your page is about. Google looks at keywords on your page to determine the page topic.

    Popularity.  A general term referring to how “important” your web site is in terms of how many external links point to it.

    Rank, ranking: a website’s actual placement or position on a search engine results page for a certain search term or phrase. It is meaningless to speak of website rank without specifying what search  words or phrase you are ranked for. Sometimes confused with PageRank – the two are totally separate concepts.

    Robot.  The software program which a search engine runs to read and analyze your site. See also spider. Google robots is called Googlebot.

    ROI. Return On Investment. The amount of revenue generated from a specific marketing expense, expressed as a percentage.

    Sandbox. Term describing a set of filters applied to new websites whereby the site cannot rank wel  (or at all) for any competitive keywords for 6 – 24 months. Also called the aging delay.

    Search Engine Marketing (SEM).  A general term that encompasses both paid and “free” forms of advertising a website using search engines. SEO is one type of SEM. The other major type of SEM is Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC).

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  A general term used to describe specific techniques that can be used on websites in order to rank them favorably with search engine.

    Search Engine Positioning (SEP).  A term used interchangeably with SEO. However, since search engine optimizers do not actually “position” pages within the search engines, this is. SEP more closely describes Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, since that is the only way a site can be positioned in a search engine.

    Search Term. The word or words a person enters into a search engine’s search box. Also synonymous with keyword or query term.

    SE.  Acronym for search engine.

    SEM.  See Search Engine Marketing.

    SEMPO. Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization. A non-profit group whose focus is increase the awareness of and educate people on the value of search engine marketing.

    SEO.  See Search Engine Optimization.

    SEP.  See Search Engine Positioning.

    SERP.  Search Engine Results Page. The page or pages that a search engine displays after a search query for a certain search term or phrase.

    Server log. The data file that a Web server produces (usually daily) that lists website traffic activity by domain. Web statistics programs use the server log file to produce graphic reports. See statistics.

    Spider.  The software program, also known as a robot, which a search engine runs to read through and analyze your site. Google’s spiders is cal ed Googlebot.

    Statistics, stats.  The data associated with visitor traffic to your site over time.

    Theme.  The overall subject area, topic, or category of a web site.

    Topic-Sensitive PageRank. A variation of basic PageRank whereby a web page is assigned different PageRank scores for each different topic a page covers.

    Tracking URL. Typical y used in paid ads, such as Google AdWords, where unique code is added to the end of a link in order to track visitors who click on that ad. Tracking URLs allow you to measure the popularity of an ad.

    TrustRank. A variation of basic PageRank whereby links from site that are “trusted” or “white-listed” by Google carry more weight (are more valued) than other links.

    Vote, voting. When one website links to another website, it “casts a vote” for the other website. The strength or weight of this “vote” depends on the PageRank of the page and the number of other links on the page.

     Yahoo.   A popular search directory (as opposed to a search engine). All Web sites listed on Yahoo are first reviewed by a human editor.

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