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SEO Glossary

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 called organic, natural or editorial listing.

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

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.

Crawl. The operation of reading or analyzing pages of a website by an automated program called a spider or robot. Spiders crawl your web 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.

Deep crawl. Deep crawls are performed once a month by the main Google spider Googlebot; all pages of a site are visited during a deep crawl. Also known as the main crawl.

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 (OPD).

FreshBot. A version of the Google spider that visits high-ranking sites, or sites that change content frequently. Freshbot may visit sites daily, while Googlebot visits sites once a month.

Fresh crawl. Fresh crawls are performed as often as daily by the Google spider Freshbot. Freshbot only crawls portions of your site and looks for new pages and updated content on existing pages only.

Google AdWordsTM. 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 small box. For every visitor that clicks on your AdWords link, you pay Google a fee, up a maximum daily limit. This type of advertising involves an auction where you bid, along with your competitors, for the cost per click for a specific keyword.

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

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

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 http://seohoustonweb.com so that Web servers will display this page by default.

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 called 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.

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

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.

Main crawl. Main crawls are performed once a month by the main Google spider Googlebot; all pages of a site are crawled during a main crawl. Also known as the deep crawl.

META tags. HTML tags located in the 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.

Natural 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 called organic, algorithmic or editorial listing.

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

PageRankTM. 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 is.

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.

Rank, ranking. a website’s actual placement or position on a search engine results page for a certain search term or phrase.

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

Search Engine Marketing (SEM). A general term that encompasses both paid and free forms of advertising a website using search engines. Often used interchangeably with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is actually 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 favorably with search engine. A good example of SEO is the proper use of keywords in specific locations on a web page.

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

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.

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

Tracking URL. Typically 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.

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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