SEO And Internet Marketing Terms Glossary

The internet marketing services team at ProspectMX knows that some of the terminology we use can make some customers feel like we speak a completely different language.

In order to help our customers and anyone learning about internet marketing better understand the jargon that flows around the web marketing blogosphere, we have put together this handy SEO and internet marketing glossary.

Many of the terms and definitions used in this SEO glossary are used with the permission of In most cases we couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Why re-invent the wheel?

Use the numerical and alphabetical links below to directly jump to the specific section of the glossary.

SEO Glossary Navigation:

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Status OK - The file request was successful. For example, a page or image was found and loaded properly in a browser.

Some poorly developed content management systems return 200 status codes even when a file does not exist. The proper response for file not found is a 404.

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Moved Permanently - The file has been moved permanently to a new location.

This is the preferred method of redirecting for most pages or websites. If you are going to move an entire site to a new location you may want to test moving a file or folder first, and then if that ranks well you may want to proceed with moving the entire site. Depending on your site authority and crawl frequency it may take anywhere from a few days to a month or so for the 301 redirect to be picked up.

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Found - The file has been found, but is temporarily located at another URI.

Generally, as it relates to SEO, it is typically best to avoid using 302 redirects. Some search engines struggle with redirect handling. Due to poor processing of 302 redirects some search engines have allowed competing businesses to hijack the listings of competitors.

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Not Found - The server was unable to locate the URL.

Some content management systems send 404 status codes when documents do exist. Ensure files that exist do give a 200 status code and requests for files that do not exist give a 404 status code. You may also want to check with your host to see if you can set up a custom 404 error page which makes it easy for site visitors to

  • view your most popular and / or most relevant navigational options
  • report navigational problems within your site

Search engines request a robots.txt file to see what portions of your site they are allowed to crawl. Many browsers request a favicon.ico file when loading your site. While neither of these files are necessary, creating them will help keep your log files clean so you can focus on whatever other errors your site might have.

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Above the Fold
A term traditionally used to describe the top portion of a newspaper. In email or web marketing it means the area of content viewable prior to scrolling. Some people also define above the fold as an ad location at the very top of the screen, but due to banner blindness typical ad locations do not perform as well as ads that are well integrated into content. If ads look like content they typically perform much better.

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Absolute Link
A link which shows the full URL of the page being linked at. Some links only show relative link paths instead of having the entire reference URL within the a href tag. Due to canonicalization and hijacking related issues it is typically preferred to use absolute links over relative links.

Example absolute link

<a href="">Cool Stuff</a>

Example relative link

<a href="../folder/filename.html">Cool Stuff</a>


Microsoft’s cost per click ad network.

While it has a few cool features (including dayparting and demographic based bidding) it is still quite nascent in nature compared to Google AdWords. Due to Microsoft’s limited marketshare and program newness many terms are vastly underpriced and present a great arbitrage opportunity.

See also:

Google’s contextual advertising network. Publishers large and small may automatically publish relevant advertisements near their content and share the profits from those ad clicks with Google.

AdSense offers a highly scalable automated ad revenue stream which will help some publishers establish a baseline for the value of their ad inventory. In many cases AdSense will be underpriced, but that is the trade off for automating ad sales.

AdSense ad auction formats include

  • cost per click - advertisers are only charged when ads are clicked on
  • CPM - advertisers are charged a certain amount per ad impression. Advertisers can target sites based on keyword, category, or demographic information.

AdSense ad formats include

  • text
  • graphic
  • animated graphics
  • videos

In some cases I have seen ads which got a 2 or 3% click through rate (CTR), while sites that are optimized for maximum CTR (through aggressive ad integration) can obtain as high as a 50 or 60% CTR depending on

  • how niche their site is
  • how commercially oriented their site is
  • the relevancy and depth of advertisers in their vertical

It is also worth pointing out that if you are too aggressive in monetizing your site before it has built up adequate authority your site may never gain enough authority to become highly profitable.

Depending on your vertical your most efficient monetization model may be any of the following

  • AdSense
  • affiliate marketing
  • direct ad sales
  • selling your own products and services
  • a mixture of the above

See also:

Google’s advertisement and link auction network. Most of Google’s ads are keyword targeted and sold on a cost per click basis in an auction which factors in ad clickthrough rate as well as max bid. Google is looking into expanding their ad network to include video ads, demographic targeting, affiliate ads, radio ads, and traditional print ads.

AdWords is an increasingly complex marketplace. One could write a 300 page book just covering AdWords. Rather than doing that here I thought it would be useful to link to many relevant resources.

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Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing programs allows merchants to expand their market reach and mindshare by paying independent agents on a cost per action (CPA) basis. Affiliates only get paid if visitors complete an action.

Most affiliates make next to nothing because they are not aggressive marketers, have no real focus, fall for wasting money on instant wealth programs that lead them to buying a bunch of unneeded garbage via other’s affiliate links, and do not attempt to create any real value.

Some power affiliates make hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars per year because they are heavily focused on automation and/or tap large traffic streams. Typically niche affiliate sites make more per unit effort than overtly broad ones because they are easier to focus (and thus have a higher conversion rate).

Selling a conversion is typically harder than selling a click (like AdSense does, for instance). Search engines are increasingly looking to remove the noise low quality thin affiliate sites ad to the search results through the use of

See also:

Some social networks or search systems may take site age, page age, user account age, and related historical data into account when determining how much to trust that person, website, or document. Some specialty search engines, like blog search engines, may also boost the relevancy of new documents.

Fresh content which is also cited on many other channels (like related blogs) will temporarily rank better than you might expect because many of the other channels which cite the content will cite it off their home page or a well trusted high PageRank page. After those sites publish more content and the reference page falls into their archives those links are typically from pages which do not have as much link authority as their home pages.

Some search engines may also try to classify sites to understand what type of sites they are, as in news sites or reference sites that do not need updated that often. They may also look at individual pages and try to classify them based on how frequently they change.

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Asynchronous JavaScript and XML is a technique which allows a web page to request additional data from a server without requiring a new page to load.
Alexa owned search service which measures website traffic.

Alexa is heavily biased toward sites that focus on marketing and webmaster communities. While not being highly accurate it is free.

See also

Search engine which was created by Fast, then bought by Overture, which was bought by Yahoo. Yahoo may use AllTheWeb as a test bed for new search technologies and features.

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Alt Attribute
Blind people and most major search engines are not able to easily distinguish what is in an image. Using an image alt attribute allows you to help screen readers and search engines understand the function of an image by providing a text equivalent for the object.

Example usage

<img src="" height="140" width="120" alt="Press Your Luck Whammy." />

See also

Search engine bought out by Overture prior to Overture being bought by Yahoo. AltaVista was an early powerhouse in search, but on October 25, 1999 they did a major algorithmic update which caused them to dump many websites. Ultimately that update and brand mismanagement drove themselves toward irrelevancy and a loss of mindshare and marketshare.

See also:
The largest internet retailing website. is rich in consumer generated media. Amazon also owns a number of other popular websites, including IMDB and Alexa.

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Software which allows you to track your page views, user paths, and conversion statistics based upon interpreting your log files or through including a JavaScript tracking code on your site.

Ad networks are a game of margins. Marketers who track user action will have a distinct advantage over those who do not.

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Anchor Text
The text that a user would click on to follow a link. In the case the link is an image the image alt attribute may act in the place of anchor text.

Search engines assume that your page is authoritative for the words that people include in links pointing at your site. When links occur naturally they typically have a wide array of anchor text combinations. Too much similar anchor text may be a considered a sign of manipulation, and thus discounted or filtered. Make sure when you are building links that you control that you try to mix up your anchor text.

Example of anchor text:

<a href="">Search Engine Optimization Blog</a>

Outside of your core brand terms if you are targeting Google you probably do not want any more than 10% to 20% of your anchor text to be the same. You can use Backlink Analyzer to compare the anchor text profile of other top ranked competing sites.

See also:

Popular web portal which merged with Time Warner.
Application Program Interface - a series of conventions or routines used to access software functions. Most major search products have an API program.
Exploiting market inefficiencies by buying and reselling a commodity for a profit. As it relates to the search market, many thin content sites laced with an Overture feed or AdSense ads buy traffic from the major search engines and hope to send some percent of that traffic clicking out on a higher priced ad. Shopping search engines generally draw most of their traffic through arbitrage.

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Active Server Pages - a dynamic Microsoft programming language.

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Ask is a search engine owned by InterActive Corp. They were originally named Ask Jeeves, but they dumped Jeeves in early 2006. Their search engine is powered by the Teoma search technology, which is largely reliant upon Kleinberg’s concept of hubs and authorities.

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The ability of a page or domain to rank well in search engines. Five large factors associated with site and page authority are link equity, site age, traffic trends, site history, and publishing unique original quality content.

Search engines constantly tweak their algorithms to try to balance relevancy algorithms based on topical authority and overall authority across the entire web. Sites may be considered topical authorities or general authorities. For example, Wikipedia and DMOZ are considered broad general authority sites. This site is a topical authority on SEO, but not a broad general authority.

Topical authorities are sites which are well trusted and well cited by experts within their topical community. A topical authority is a page which is referenced from many topical experts and hub sites. A topical hub is page which references many authorities.

Example potential topical authorities:

  • the largest brands in your field
  • the top blogger talking about your subject
  • the Wikipedia or DMOZ page about your topic

See also:

Automated Bid Management Software
Pay per click search engines are growing increasingly complex in their offerings. To help large advertisers cope with the increasing sophistication and complexity of these offerings some search engines and third party software developers have created software which makes it easier to control your ad spend. Some of the more advanced tools can integrate with your analytics programs and help you focus on conversion, ROI, and earnings elasticity instead of just looking at cost per click.

See also:

If you want to program internal bid management software you can get a developer token to use the Google AdWords API.

A few popular bid management tools are


Backlink (see Inbound Link)

Bait and Switch
Marketing technique where you make something look overtly pure or as though it has another purpose to get people to believe in it or vote for it (by linking at it or sharing it with friends), then switch the intent or purpose of the website after you gain authority.

It is generally easier to get links to informational websites than commercial sites. Some new sites might gain authority much quicker if they tried looking noncommercial and gaining influence before trying to monetize their market position.

During the first web boom many businesses were based on eyeballs more than actually building real value. Many ads were typically quite irrelevant and web users learned to ignore the most common ad types.

In many ways text ads are successful because they are more relevant and look more like content, but with the recent surge in the popularity of text ads some have speculated that in time people may eventually become text ad blind as well.

Nick Denton stated:

Imagine a web in which Google and Overture text ads are everywhere . Not only beside search results, but next to every article and weblog post. Ubiquity breeds contempt. Text ads, coupled with content targeting, are more effective than graphic ads for many advertisers; but they too, like banners, will suffer reader burnout.

Battelle, John
Popular search and media blogger who co-founded The Industry Standard and Wired, and authored a popular book on search called The Search.

See also:

Behavioral Targeting
Ad targeting based on past recent experience and/or implied intent. For example, if I recently searched for mortgages then am later reading a book review the page may still show me mortgage ads.
A prejudice based on experiences or a particular worldview.

Any media channel, publishing format, organization, or person is biased by

  • how and why they were created and their own experiences
  • the current set of social standards in which they exist
  • other markets they operate in
  • the need for self preservation
  • how they interface with the world around them
  • their capital, knowledge, status, or technological advantages and limitations

Search engines aim to be relevant to users, but they also need to be profitable. Since search engines sell commercial ads some of the largest search engines may bias their organic search results toward informational (ie: non-commercial) websites. Some search engines are also biased toward information which has been published online for a great deal of time and is heavily cited.

Search personalization biases our search results based on our own media consumption and searching habits.

Large news organizations tend to aim for widely acceptable neutrality rather than objectivity. Some of the most popular individual web authors / publishers tend to be quite biased in nature. Rather than bias hurting one’s exposure

  • The known / learned bias of a specific author may make their news more appealing than news from an organization that aimed to seem arbitrarily neutral.
  • I believe biased channels most likely typically have a larger readership than unbiased channels.
  • Most people prefer to subscribe to media which matches their own biases worldview.
  • If more people read what you write and passionately agree with it then they are more likely to link at it.
  • Things which are biased in nature are typically easier to be cited than things which are unbiased.

See also:

Bid Management Software (see Automated Bid Management Software)

Black Hat SEO
Search engines set up guidelines that help them extract billions of dollars of ad revenue from the work of publishers and the attention of searchers. Within that highly profitable framework search engines consider certain marketing techniques deceptive in nature, and label them as black hat SEO. Those which are considered within their guidelines are called white hat SEO techniques. The search guidelines are not a static set of rules, and things that may be considered legitimate one day may be considered deceptive the next.

Search engines are not without flaws in their business models, but there is nothing immoral or illegal about testing search algorithms to understand how search engines work.

People who have extensively tested search algorithms are probably more competent and more knowledgeable search marketers than those who give themselves the arbitrary label of white hat SEOs while calling others black hat SEOs.

When making large investments in processes that are not entirely clear trust is important. Rather than looking for reasons to not work with an SEO it is best to look for signs of trust in a person you would like to work with.

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Block Level Analysis
A method used to break a page down into multiple points on the web graph by breaking its pages down into smaller blocks.

Block level link analysis can be used to help determine if content is page specific or part of a navigational system. It also can help determine if a link is a natural editorial link, what other links that link should be associated with, and/or if it is an advertisement. Search engines generally do not want to count advertisements as votes.

See also

A periodically updated journal, typically formatted in reverse chronological order. Many blogs not only archive and categorize information, but also provide a feed and allow simple user interaction like leaving comments on the posts.

Most blogs tend to be personal in nature. Blogs are generally quite authoritative with heavy link equity because they give people a reason to frequently come back to their site, read their content, and link to whatever they think is interesting.

The most popular blogging platforms are Wordpress, Blogger, Movable Type, and Typepad.

Blog Comment Spam
Either manually or automatically (via a software program) adding low value or no value comments to other sites.

Automated blog spam:

Nice post!
Discreat Overnight Viagra Online Canadian Pharmacy Free Shipping

Manual blog spam:

I just wrote about this on my site. I don’t know you, but I thought I would add no value to your site other than linking through to mine. Check it out!!!!!
cluebag manual spammer (usually with keywords as my name)

As time passes both manual and automated blog comment spam systems are evolving to look more like legitimate comments. I have seen some automated blog comment spam systems that have multiple fake personas that converse with one another.

Blogger is a free blog platform owned by Google.

It allows you to publish sites on a subdomain off of, or to FTP content to your own domain. If you are serious about building a brand or making money online you should publish your content to your own domain because it can be hard to reclaim a website’s link equity and age related trust if you have built years of link equity into a subdomain on someone else’s website.

Blogger is probably the easiest blogging software tool to use, but it lacks many some features present in other blog platforms.

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Link list on a blog, usually linking to other blogs owned by the same company or friends of that blogger.
A way to make words appear in a bolder font. Words that appear in a bolder font are more likely to be read by humans that are scanning a page. A search engine may also place slightly greater weighting on these words than regular text, but if you write natural page copy and a word or phrase appears on a page many times it probably does not make sense or look natural if you bold ever occurrence.

Example use:

  • <b>words</b>
  • <strong>words</strong>

Either would appear as words.

Most browsers come with the ability to bookmark your favorite pages. Many web based services have also been created to allow you to bookmark and share your favorite resources. The popularity of a document (as measured in terms of link equity, number of bookmarks, or usage data) is a signal for the quality of the information. Some search engines may eventually use bookmarks to help aid their search relevancy.

Social bookmarking sites are often called tagging sites. is the most popular social bookmarking site. Yahoo! MyWeb also allows you to tag results. Google allows you to share feeds and / or tag pages. They also have a program called Google Notebook which allows you to write mini guides of related links and information.

There are also a couple meta news sites that allow you to tag interesting pages. If enough people vote for your story then your story gets featured on the homepage. Slashdot is a tech news site primarily driven by central editors. Digg created a site covering the same type of news, but is a bottoms up news site which allows readers to vote for what they think is interesting. Netscape cloned the Digg business model and content model. Sites like Digg and Netscape are easy sources of links if you can create content that would appeal to those audiences.

Many forms of vertical search, like Google Video or YouTube, allow you to tag content.

See also:

  • - Yahoo! owned social bookmarking site
  • Yahoo! MyWeb - similar to, but more integrated into Yahoo!
  • Google Notebook - allows you to note documents
  • Slashdot - tech news site where stories are approved by central editors
  • Digg - decentralized news site
  • Netscape - Digg clone
  • Google Video - Google’s video hosting, tagging, and search site
  • YouTube - popular decentralized video site
Boolean Search
Many search engines allow you to perform searches that contain mathematical formulas such as AND, OR, or NOT. By default most search engines include AND with your query, requiring results to be relevant for all the words in your query.


  • A Google search for SEO Book will return results for SEO AND Book.
  • A Google search for "SEO Book" will return results for the phrase SEO Book.
  • A Google search for SEO Book -Jorge will return results containing SEO AND Book but NOT Jorge.
  • A Google search for ~SEO -SEO will find results with words related to SEO that do not contain SEO.

Some search engines also allow you to search for other unique patterns or filtering ideas. Examples:

See also:

The emotional response associated with your company and/or products.

A brand is built through controlling customer expectations and the social interactions between customers. Building a brand is what allows you to move away from commodity based pricing and move toward higher margin value based pricing.

See also:

Branded Keywords
Keywords or keyword phrases associated with a brand. Typically branded keywords occur late in the buying cycle, and are some of the highest value and highest converting keywords.

Some affiliate marketing programs prevent affiliates from bidding on the core brand related keywords, while others actively encourage it. Either way can work depending on your business model and marketing savvy, but it is important to ensure there is synergy between internal marketing and affiliate marketing programs.

Breadcrumb Navigation
Navigational technique used to help search engines and website users understand the relationship between pages.

Example breadcrumb navigation:

Home > SEO Tools > SEO for Firefox

Whatever page the user is on is unlinked, but the pages above it within the site structure are linked to, and organized starting with the home page, right on down through the site structure.

Brin, Sergey
Co-founder of Google.

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Broken Link
A hyperlink which is not functioning. A link which does not lead to the desired location.

Links may broken for a number of reason, but four of the most common reasons are

  • a website going offline
  • linking to content which is temporary in nature (due to licensing structures or other reasons)
  • moving a page’s location
  • changing a domain’s content management system

Most large websites have some broken links, but if too many of a site’s links are broken it may be an indication of outdated content, and it may provide website users with a poor user experience. Both of which may cause search engines to rank a page as being less relevant.

Xenu Link Sleuth is a free software program which crawls websites to find broken links.

Client used to view the world wide web.

The most popular browsers are Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox, Safari, and Opera.

Bush, Vannevar
WWII scientist who wrote a seminal research paper on the concepts of hypertext and a memory extension device titled As We May Think.
A well trusted directory of business websites and information. is also a large pay per click arbitrage player.

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Buying Cycle
Before making large purchases consumers typically research what brands and products fit their needs and wants. Keyword based search marketing allows you to reach consumers at any point in the buying cycle. In many markets branded keywords tend to have high search volumes and high conversion rates.

The buying cycle may consist of the following stages

  • Problem Discovery: prospect discovers a need or want.
  • Search: after discovering a problem look for ways to solve the need or want. These searches may contain words which revolve around the core problem the prospect is trying to solve or words associated with their identity.
  • Evaluate: may do comparison searches to compare different models, and also search for negative information like product sucks, etc.
  • Decide: look for information which reinforces your view of product or service you decided upon
  • Purchase: may search for shipping related information or other price related searches. purchases may also occur offline
  • Reevaluate: some people leave feedback on their purchases . If a person is enthusiastic about your brand they may cut your marketing costs by providing free highly trusted word of mouth marketing.

See also:

Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? - book by Brian & Jeffrey Eisenberg about the buying cycle and Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing.


Copy of a web page stored by a search engine. When you search the web you are not actively searching the whole web, but are searching files in the search engine index.

Some search engines provide links to cached versions of pages in their search results, and allow you to strip some of the formatting from cached copies of pages.

Calacanis, Jason
Founder of Weblogs, Inc. Also pushed AOL to turn Netscape into a Digg clone.

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Canonical URL
Many content management systems are configured with errors which cause duplicate or exceptionally similar content to get indexed under multiple URLs. Many webmasters use inconsistent link structures throughout their site that cause the exact same content to get indexed under multiple URLs. The canonical version of any URL is the single most authoritative version indexed by major search engines. Search engines typically use PageRank or a similar measure to determine which version of a URL is the canonical URL.

Webmasters should use consistent linking structures throughout their sites to ensure that they funnel the maximum amount of PageRank at the URLs they want indexed. When linking to the root level of a site or a folder index it is best to end the link location at a / instead of placing the index.html or default.asp filename in the URL.

Examples of URLs which may contain the same information in spite of being at different web addresses:


Catalog (see Index)

Catch All Listing
A listing used by pay per click search engines to monetize long tail terms that are not yet targeted by marketers. This technique may be valuable if you have very competitive key words, but is not ideal since most major search engines have editorial guidelines that prevent bulk untargeted advertising, and most of the places that allow catch all listings have low traffic quality. Catch all listings may be an attractive idea on theme specific search engines and directories though, as they are already pre qualified clicks.
Common Gateway Interface - interface
software between a web server and other machines or software running on
that server. Many cgi programs are used to add interactivity to a web
A program, computer, or process which makes information requests to another computer, process, or program.
Displaying different content to search engines and searchers. Depending on the intent of the display discrepancy and the strength of the brand of the person / company cloaking it may be considered reasonable or it may get a site banned from a search engine.

Cloaking has many legitimate uses which are within search guidelines. For example, changing user experience based on location is common on many popular websites.

See also:

Cluetrain Manifesto, The
Book about how the web is a marketplace, and how it is different from traditional offline business.

See also:

In search results the listings from any individual site are typically limited to a certain number and grouped together to make the search results appear neat and organized and to ensure diversity amongst the top ranked results. Clustering can also refer to a technique which allows
search engines to group hubs and authorities on a specific topic together to further enhance their
value by showing their relationships.

See also

  • Google Touchgraph - interesting web application that shows the relationship between sites Google returns as being related to a site you enter.
Content Management System. Tool used to help make it easy to update and add information to a website.

Blog software programs are some of the most popular content management systems currently used on the web. Many content management systems have errors associated with them which make it hard for search engines to index content due to issues such as duplicate content.

In topical authority based search algorithms links which appear near one another on a page may be deemed to be related to one another. In algorithms like latent semantic indexing words which appear near one another often are frequently deemed to be related.
Many blogs and other content management systems allow readers to leave user feedback.

Leaving enlightening and thoughtful comments on someone else’s related website is one way to help get them to notice you.

See also:

  • blog comment spam - the addition of low value or no value comments to other’s websites
Comments Tag
Some web developers also place comments in the source code of their work to help make it easy for people to understand the code.

HTML comments in the source code of a document appear as <!- your comment here ->. They can be viewed if someone types views the source code of a document, but do not appear in the regular formatted HTML rendered version of a document.

In the past some SEOs would stuff keywords in comment tags to help increase the page keyword density, but search has evolved beyond that stage, and at this point using comments to stuff keywords into a page adds to your risk profile and presents little ranking upside potential.

Compacted Information
Information which is generally and widely associated with a product. For example, most published books have an ISBN.

As the number of product databases online increases and duplicate content filters are forced to get more aggressive the keys to getting your information indexed are to have a site with enough authority to be considered the most important document on that topic, or to have enough non compacted information (for example, user reviews) on your product level pages to make them be seen as unique documents.

Conceptual Links
Links which search engines attempt to understand beyond just the words in them. Some rather advanced search engines are attempting to find out the concept links versus just matching the words of the text to that specific word set. Some search algorithms may even look at co-citation and words near the link instead of just focusing on anchor text.
Concept Search
A search which attempts to conceptually match results with the query, not necessarily with those words, rather their concept.

For example, if a search engine understands a phrase to be related to another word or phrase it may return results relevant to that other word or phrase even if the words you searched for are not directly associated with a result. In addition, some search engines will place various types of vertical search results at the top of the search results based on implied query related intent or prior search patterns by you or other searchers.

Contextual Advertising
Advertising programs which generate relevant advertisements based on the content of a webpage.

See also:

Many forms of online advertising are easy to track. A conversion is reached when a desired goal is completed.

Most offline ads have generally been much harder to track than online ads. Some marketers use custom phone numbers or coupon codes to tie offline activity to online marketing.

Here are a few common example desired goals

  • a product sale
  • completing a lead form
  • a phone call
  • capturing an email
  • filling out a survey
  • getting a person to pay attention to you
  • getting feedback
  • having a site visitor share your website with a friend
  • having a site visitor link at your site

Bid management, affiliate tracking, and analytics programs make it easy to track conversion sources.

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The legal rights to publish and reproduce a particular piece of work.

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Small data file written to a user’s local machine to track them. Cookies are used to help websites customize your user experience and help affiliate program managers track conversions.
Cost per action. The effectiveness of many other forms of online advertising have their effectiveness measured on a cost per action basis. Many affiliate marketing programs and contextual ads are structured on a cost per action basis. An action may be anything from an ad click, to filling out a lead form, to buying a product.
Cost per click. Many search ads and contextually targeted ads are sold in auctions where the advertiser is charged a certain price per click.

See also:

Cost per thousand ad impressions.

Many people use CPM as a measure of how profitable a website is or has the potential of becoming.

Crawl Depth
How deeply a website is crawled and indexed.

Since searches which are longer in nature tend to be more targeted in nature it is important to try to get most or all of a site indexed such that the deeper pages have the ability to rank for relevant long tail keywords. A large site needs adequate link equity to get deeply indexed. Another thing which may prevent a site from being fully indexed is duplicate content issues.

Crawl Frequency
How frequently a website is crawled.

Sites which are well trusted or frequently updated may be crawled more frequently than sites with low trust scores and limited link authority. Sites with highly artificial link authority scores (ie: mostly low quality spammy links) or sites which are heavy in duplicate content or near duplicate content (such as affiliate feed sites) may be crawled less frequently than sites with unique content which are well integrated into the web.

See also:

Cascading Style Sheets is a method for adding styles to web documents.

Note: Using external CSS files makes it easy to change the design of many pages by editing a single file. You can link to an external CSS file using code similar to the following in the head of your HTML documents

<link rel="stylesheet" href="" type="text/css" />

See also

Clickthrough rate - the percentage of people who view click on an advertisement they viewed, which is a way to measure how relevant a traffic source or keyword is. Search ads typically have a higher clickthrough rate than traditional banner ads due to being highly relevant to implied searcher demand.
Cutts, Matt
Google’s head of search quality.

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Registering domains related to other trademarks or brands in an attempt to cash in on the value created by said trademark or brand.


Turning ad campaigns on or off, changing ad bid price, or budget constraints based on bidding more when your target audience is available and less when they are less likely to be available.
Dead Link
A link which is no longer functional.

Most large high quality websites have at least a few dead links in them, but the ratio of good links to dead links can be seen as a sign of information quality.

Deep Link
A link which points to an internal page within a website.

When links grow naturally typically most high quality websites have many links pointing at interior pages. When you request links from other websites it makes sense to request a link from their most targeted relevant page to your most targeted relevant page. Some webmasters even create content based on easy linking opportunities they think up.

Dedicated Server
Server which is limited to serving one website or a small collection of websites owned by a single person.

Dedicated servers tend to be more reliable than shared (or virtual) servers. Dedicated servers usually run from $100 to $500 a month. Virtual servers typically run from $5 to $50 per month.

Deep Link Ratio
The ratio of links pointing to internal pages to overall links pointing at a website.

A high deep link ratio is typically a sign of a legitimate natural link profile.

Temporarily or permanently becoming de-indexed from a directory or search engine.

De-indexing may be due to any of the following:

  • Pages on new websites (or sites with limited link authority relative to their size) may be temporarily de-indexed until the search engine does a deep spidering and re-cache of the web.
  • During some updates search engines readjust crawl priorities.
    • You need a significant number of high quality links to get a large website well indexed and keep it well indexed.
    • Duplicate content filters, inbound and outbound link quality, or other information quality related issues may also relate to re-adjusted crawl priorities.
  • Pages which have changed location and are not properly redirected, or pages which are down when a search engine tries to crawl them may be temporarily de-indexed.
  • Search Spam:
    • If a website tripped an automatic spam filter it may return to the search index anywhere from a few days to a few months after the problem has been fixed.
    • If a website is editorially removed by a human you may need to contact the search engine directly to request reinclusion.
Popular social bookmarking website.

See also:

Statistical data or characteristics which define segments of a population.

Some internet marketing platforms, such as AdCenter and AdWords, allow you to target ads at websites or searchers who fit amongst a specific demographic. Some common demographic data points are gender, age, income, education, location, etc.

Denton, Nick
Publisher of Gawker, a popular ring of topical weblogs, which are typically focused on controversy.

See also:

  • Nick - official blog, where Nick often talks about business and his various blogs.
Directories and search engines provide a short description near each listing which aims to add context to the title.

High quality directories typically prefer the description describes what the site is about rather than something that is overtly promotional in nature. Search engines typically

  • use a description from a trusted directory (such as DMOZ or the Yahoo! Directory) for homepages of sites listed in those directories
  • use the page meta description (especially if it is relevant to the search query and has the words from the search query in it)
  • attempt to extract a description from the page content which is relevant for the particular search query and ranking page (this is called a snippet)
  • or some combination of the above
Social news site where users vote on which stories get the most exposure and become the most popular.

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A categorized catalog of websites, typically manually organized by topical editorial experts.

Some directories cater to specific niche topics, while others are more comprehensive in nature. Major search engines likely place significant weight on links from DMOZ and the Yahoo! Directory. Smaller and less established general directories likely pull less weight. If a directory does not exercise editorial control over listings search engines will not be likely to trust their links at all.

The Open Directory Project is the largest human edited directory of websites. DMOZ is owned by AOL, and is primarily ran by volunteer editors.

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Domain Name Server or Domain Name System. A naming scheme mechanism used to help resolve a domain name / host name to a specific TCP/IP Address.
Scheme used for logical or location organization of the web. Many people also use the word domain to refer to a specific website.
Doorway Pages
Pages designed to rank for highly targeted search queries, typically designed to redirect searchers to a page with other advertisements.

Some webmasters cloak thousands of doorway pages on trusted domains, and rake in a boatload of cash until they are caught and de-listed. If the page would have a unique purpose outside of search then search engines are generally fine with it, but if the page only exists because search engines exist then search engines are more likely to frown on the behavior.

Popular web development and editing software offering a what you see is what you get interface.

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Duplicate Content
Content which is duplicate or near duplicate in nature.

Search engines do not want to index multiple versions of similar content. For example, printer friendly pages may be search engine unfriendly duplicates. Also, many automated content generation techniques rely on recycling content, so some search engines are somewhat strict in filtering out content they deem to be similar or nearly duplicate in nature.

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Dynamic Content
Content which changes over time or uses a dynamic language such as PHP to help render the page.

In the past search engines were less aggressive at indexing dynamic content than they currently are. While they have greatly improved their ability to index dynamic content it is still preferable to use URL rewriting to help make dynamic content look static in nature.

Dynamic Languages
Programming languages such as PHP or ASP which build web pages on the fly upon request.


Earnings Per Click
Many contextual advertising publishers estimate their potential earnings based on how much they make from each click.
Editorial Link
Search engines count links as votes of quality. They primarily want to count editorial links that were earned over links that were bought or bartered.

Many paid links, such as those from quality directories, still count as signs of votes as long as they are also associated with editorial quality standards. If they are from sites without editorial control, like link farms, they are not likely to help you rank well. Using an algorithm similar to TrustRank, some search engines may place more trust on well known sites with strong editorial guidelines.

An HTML tag used to emphasize text.

Please note that it is more important that copy reads well to humans than any boost you may think you will get by tweaking it for bots. If every occurrence of a keyword on a page is in emphasis that will make the page hard to read, convert poorly, and may look weird to search engines and users alike.

<em>emphasis</em> would appear as emphasis

Entry Page
The page which a user enters your site.

If you are buying pay per click ads it is important to send visitors to the most appropriate and targeted page associated with the keyword they searched for. If you are doing link building it is important to point links at your most appropriate page when possible such that

  • if anyone clicks the link they are sent to the most appropriate and relevant page
  • you help search engines understand what the pages on your site are associated with
Ethical SEO
Search engines like to paint SEO services which manipulate their relevancy algorithms as being unethical. Any particular technique is generally not typically associated with ethics, but is either effective or ineffective.

Some search marketers lacking in creativity tend to describe services sold by others as being unethical while their own services are ethical. Any particular technique is generally not typically associated with ethics, but is either effective or ineffective.

The only ethics issues associated with SEO are generally business ethics related issues. Two of the bigger frauds are

  • Not disclosing risks: Some SEOs may use high risk techniques when they are not needed. Some may make that situation even worse by not disclosing potential risks to clients.
  • Taking money & doing nothing: Since selling SEO services has almost no start up costs many of the people selling services may not actually know how to competently provide them. Some shady people claim to be SEOs and bilk money out of unsuspecting small businesses.

As long as the client is aware of potential risks there is nothing unethical about being aggressive.

Major search indexes are constantly updating. Google refers to this continuous refresh as everflux.

In the past Google updated their index roughly once a month. Those updates were named Google Dances, but since Google shifted to a constantly updating index Google no longer does what was traditionally called a Google Dance.

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Expert Document
Quality page which links to many non-affiliated topical resources.

See also:

External Link
Link which references another domain.

Some people believe in link hoarding, but linking out to other related resources is a good way to help search engines understand what your site is about. If you link out to lots of low quality sites or primarily rely on low quality reciprocal links some search engines may not rank your site very well. Search engines are more likely to trust high quality editorial links (both to and from your site).


Fair Use
The stated exceptions of allowed usage of work under copyright without requiring permission of the original copyright holder. Fair use is covered in section 107 of the Copyright code.

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Favorites Icon is a small icon which appears next to URLs in a web browser.

Upload an image named favicon.ico in the root of your site to have your site associated with a favicon.

See also:

  • HTML Kit - generate a favicon from a picture
  • - create a favicon online painting one pixel at a time.

Favorites (see bookmarks)

Many content management, systems such as blogs, allow readers to subscribe to content update notifications via RSS or XML feeds. Feeds can also refer to pay per click syndicated feeds, or merchant product feeds. Merchant product feeds have become less effective as a means of content generation due to improving duplicate content filters.
Feed Reader
Software or website used to subscribe to feed update notifications.

See also:

Free for all pages are pages which allow anyone to add a link to them. Generally these links do not pull much weight in search relevancy algorithms because many automated programs fill these pages with links pointing at low quality websites.
Certain activities or signatures which make a page or site appear unnatural might make search engines inclined to filter / remove them out of the search results.

For example, if a site publishes significant duplicate content it may get a reduced crawl priority and get filtered out of the search results. Some search engines also have filters based on link quality, link growth rate, and anchor text. Some pages are also penalized for spamming.

Popular extensible open source web browser.

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Vector graphics-based animation software which makes it easier to make websites look rich and interactive in nature.

Search engines tend to struggle indexing and ranking flash websites because flash typically contains so little relevant content. If you use flash ensure:

  • you embed flash files within HTML pages
  • you use a noembed element to describe what is in the flash
  • you publish your flash content in multiple separate files such that you can embed appropriate flash files in relevant pages

Forward Links (see Outbound Links)

A technique created by Netscape used to display multiple smaller pages on a single display. This web design technique allows for consistent site navigation, but makes it hard to deep link at relevant content.

Given the popularity of server side includes, content management systems, and dynamic languages there really is no legitimate reason to use frames to build a content site today.

Fresh Content
Content which is dynamic in nature and gives people a reason to keep paying attention to your website.

Many SEOs talk up fresh content, but fresh content does not generally mean re-editing old content. It more often refers to creating new content. The primary advantages to fresh content are:

  • Maintain and grow mindshare: If you keep giving people a reason to pay attention to you more and more people will pay attention to you, and link to your site.
  • Faster idea spreading: If many people pay attention to your site, when you come out with good ideas they will spread quickly.
  • Growing archives: If you are a content producer then owning more content means you have more chances to rank. If you keep building additional fresh content eventually that gives you a large catalog of relevant content.
  • Frequent crawling: Frequently updated websites are more likely to be crawled frequently.
File Transfer Protocol is a protocol for transferring data between computers.

Many content management systems (such as blogging platforms) include FTP capabilities. Web development software such as Dreamweaver also comes with FTP capabilities. There are also a number of free or cheap FTP programs such as Cute FTP, Core FTP, and Leech FTP.

Fuzzy Search
Search which will find matching terms when terms are misspelled (or fuzzy).


Fuzzy search technology is similar to stemming technology, with the exception that fuzzy search corrects the misspellings at the users end and stemming searches for other versions of the same core word within the index.


Google Advertising Professional is a program which qualifies marketers as being proficient AdWords marketers.

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Gladwell, Malcolm
Popular author who wrote the book titled The Tipping Point.

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Godin, Seth
Popular blogger, author, viral marketer and business consultant.

See also:

  • Seth’s blog - Seth talks about marketing
  • Purple Cow - Probably Seth’s most popular book. It is about how to be remarkable. Links are citations or remarks. This book is a highly recommended for any SEO.
  • All Marketers Are Liars - Book about creating and marketing authentic brand related stories in a low trust world.
  • The Big Red Fez - Small quick book about usability errors common to many websites.
  • Google speech - see Seth’s speech at Google.
  • Squidoo - community driven topical lens site created by Seth Godin
The world’s leading search engine in terms of reach. Google pioneered search by analyzing linkage data via PageRank. Google was created by Stanford students Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

See also

Google’s search engine spider.

Google has a shared crawl cache between their various spiders, including vertical search spiders and spiders associated with ad targeting.

See also:

Google AdSense (see AdSense)

Google AdWords (see AdWords)

Google Base
Free database of semantically structured information created by Google.

Google Base may also help Google better understand what types of information are commercial in nature, and how they should structure different vertical search products.

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Google Bombing
Making a pank rank well for a specific search query by pointing hundreds or thousands of links at it with the keywords in the anchor text.

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Google Bowling
Knocking a competitor out of the search results by pointing hundreds or thousands of low trust low quality links at their website.

Typically it is easier to bowl new sites out of the results. Older established sites are much harder to knock out of the search results.

Google Checkout
Payment service provided by Google which helps Google better understand merchant conversion rates and the value of different keywords and markets.

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Google Dance
In the past Google updated their index roughly once a month. Those updates were named Google Dances, but since Google shifted to a constantly updating index, Google no longer does what was traditionally called a Google Dance.

Major search indexes are constantly updating. Google refers to this continuous refresh as everflux.

The second meaning of Google Dance is a yearly party at Google’s corporate headquarters which Google holds for search engine marketers. This party coincides with the San Jose Search Engine Strategies conference.

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Google Keyword Tool

Keyword research tool provided by Google which estimates the competition for a keyword, recommends related keywords, and will tell you what keywords Google thinks are relevant to your site or a page on your site.

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Google OneBox
Portion of the search results page above the organic search results which Google sometimes uses to display vertical search results from Google News, Google Base, and other Google owned vertical search services.
Google Sitemaps
Program which webmasters can use to help Google index their contents.

Please note that the best way to submit your site to search engines and to keep it in their search indexes is to build high quality editorial links.

See also:

Google Sitelinks
On some search results where Google thinks one result is far more relevant than other results (like navigational or brand related searches) they may list numerous deep links to that site at the top of the search results.
Google Supplemental Index
Index where pages with lower trust scores are stored. Pages may be placed in Google’s Supplemental Index if they consist largely of duplicate content, if the URLs are excessively complex in nature, or the site which hosts them lacks significant trust.
Google Traffic Estimator
Tool which estimates bid prices and how many Google searchers will click on an ad for a particular keyword.

If you do not submit a bid price the tool will return an estimated bid price necessary to rank #1 for 85% of Google’s queries for a particular keyword.

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Google Trends
Tool which allows you to see how Google search volumes for a particular keyword change over time.

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Google Website Optimizer

Free multi variable testing platform used to help AdWords advertisers improve their conversion rates.

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Guestbook Spam
A type of low quality automated link which search engines do not want to place much trust on.


The heading element briefly describes the subject of the section it introduces.

Heading elements go from H1 to H6 with the lower numbered headings being most important. You should only use a single H1 element on each page, and may want to use multiple other heading elements to structure a document. An H1 element source would look like:

<h1>Your Topic</h1>

Heading elements may be styled using CSS. Many content management systems place the same content in the main page heading and the page title, although in many cases it may be preferential to mix them up if possible.

See also:


The title of an article or story.

Hidden Text
SEO technique used to show search engine spiders text that human visitors do not see.

While some sites may get away with it for a while, generally the risk to reward ratio is inadequate for most legitimate sites to consider using hidden text.

Algorithm which ranks results largely based on unaffiliated expert citations.

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Link based algorithm which ranks relevancy scores based on citations from topical authorities.

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Making a search engine believe that another website exists at your URL. Typically done using techniques such as a 302 redirect or meta refresh.
Home Page
The main page on your website, which is largely responsible for helping develop your brand and setting up the navigational schemes that will be used to help users and search engines navigate your website.

As far as SEO goes, a home page is typically going to be one of the easier pages to rank for some of your more competitive terms, largely because it is easy to build links at a home page. You should ensure your homepage stays focused and reinforces your brand though, and do not assume that most of your visitors will come to your site via the home page. If your site is well structured many pages on your site will likely be far more popular and rank better than your home page for relevant queries.

Host (see Server)

Apache directory-level configuration file which can be used to password protect or redirect files.

As a note of caution, make sure you copy your current .htaccess file before editing it, and do not edit it on a site that you can’t afford to have go down unless you know what you are doing.

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HyperText Markup Language is the language in which pages on the World Wide Web are created.

Some newer web pages are also formatted in XHTML.

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HyperText Transfer Protocol is the foremost
used protocol to communicate between servers and web browsers. Hypertext
transfer protocol is the means by which data is transferred from its residing
location on a server to an active browser.

Topical hubs are sites which link to well trusted within their topical community. A topical authority is a page which is referenced from many topical hub sites. A topical hub is a page which references many authorities.

See also:


Inverse Document Frequency is a term used to help determine
the position of a term in a vector space model.

IDF = log ( total documents in database / documents containing the term )

Inbound Link
Link pointing to one website from another website.

Most search engines allow you to see a sample of links pointing to a document by searching using the link: function. For example, using would show pages linking to the homepage of this site (both internal links and inbound links). Due to canonical URL issues and may show different linkage data. Google typically shows a much smaller sample of linkage data than competing engines do, but Google still knows of and counts many of the links that do not show up when you use their link: function.

Collection of data used as bank to search through to find a match to a user fed query. The larger search engines have billions of documents in their catalogs.

When search engines search they search via reverse indexes by words and return results based on matching relevancy vectors. Stemming and semantic analysis allow search engines to return near matches. Index may also refer to the root of a folder on a web server.

Internal Link
Link from one page on a site to another page on the same site.

It is preferential to use descriptive internal linking to make it easy for search engines to understand what your website is about. Use consistent navigational anchor text for each section of your site, emphasizing other pages within that section. Place links to relevant related pages within the content area of your site to help further show the relationship between pages and improve the usability of your website.

Information Architecture
Designing, categorizing, organizing, and structuring content in a useful and meaningful way.

Good information architecture considers both how humans and search spiders access a website. Information architecture suggestions:

  • focus each page on a specific topic
  • use descriptive page titles and meta descriptions which describe the content of the page
  • use clean (few or no variables) descriptive file names and folder names
  • use headings to help break up text and semantically structure a document
  • use breadcrumb navigation to show page relationships
  • use descriptive link anchor text
  • link to related information from within the content area of your web pages
  • improve conversion rates by making it easy for people to take desired actions
  • avoid feeding search engines duplicate or near-duplicate content
Information Retrieval
The field of science based on sorting or searching through large data sets to find relevant information.
Search engine which pioneered the paid inclusion business model. Inktomi was bought by Yahoo! at the end of 2002.

Internal Navigation (see Navigation)

Vast worldwide network of computers connected via TCP/IP.
Internet Explorer
Microsoft’s web browser. After they beat out Netscape’s browser on the marketshare front they failed to innovate on any level for about 5 years, until Firefox forced them to.

See also:

Inverted File (see Reverse Index)

Invisible Web
Portions of the web which are not easily accessible to crawlers due to search technology limitations, copyright issues, or information architecture issues.
IP Address
Internet Protocol Address. Every computer connected to the internet has an IP address. Some websites and servers have unique IP addresses, but most web hosts host multiple websites on a single host.

Many SEOs refer to unique C class IP addresses. Every site is hosted on a numerical address like In some cases many sites are hosted on the same IP address. It is believed by many SEOs that if links come from different IP ranges with a different number somewhere in the part then the link may count more than links from the same local range and host.

IP delivery (see cloaking)

Internet Service Providers sell end users access to the web. Some of these companies also sell usage data to web analytics companies.

Italics (see emphasis)


A client-side scripting language that can be embedded into HTML documents to add dynamic features.

Search engines do not index most content in JavaScript. In AJAX, JavaScript has been combined with other technologies to make web pages even more interactive.


A word or phrase which implies a certain mindset or demand that targeted prospects are likely to search for.

Long tail and brand related keywords are typically worth more than shorter and vague keywords because they typically occur later in the buying cycle and are associated with a greater level of implied intent.

Keyword Density
An old measure of search engine relevancy based on how prominent keywords appeared within the content of a page. Keyword density is no longer a valid measure of relevancy over a broad open search index though.

When people use keyword stuffed copy it tends to read mechanically (and thus does not convert well and is not link worthy), plus some pages that are crafted with just the core keyword in mind often lack semantically related words and modifiers from the related vocabulary (and that causes the pages to rank poorly as well).

See also:

Keyword Funnel
The relationship between various related keywords that searchers search for. Some searches are particularly well aligned with others due to spelling errors, poor search relevancy, and automated or manual query refinement.

See also:

  • MSN Search Funnels - shows keywords people search for before or after they search for another keyword
Keyword Research
The process of discovering relevant keywords and keyword phrases to focus your SEO and PPC marketing campaigns on.

Example keyword discovery methods:

  • using keyword research tools
  • looking at analytics data or your server logs
  • looking at page copy on competing sites
  • reading customer feedback
  • placing a search box on your site and seeing what people are looking for
  • talking to customers to ask how and why they found and chose your business
Keyword Research Tools
Tools which help you discover potential keywords based on past search volumes, search trends, bid prices, and page content from related websites.

Short list of the most popular keyword research tools:

  • SEO Book Keyword Research Tool - free, driven by Overture, this tool cross references all of my favorite keyword research tools. In addition to linking to traditional keyword research tools, it also links to tools such as Google Suggest, Buzz related tools, vertical databases, social bookmarking and tagging sites, and latent semantic indexing related tools.
  • Overture - free, powered from Yahoo! search data. Heavily biased toward over representing commercial queries, combines singular and plural versions of a keyword into a single data point.
  • Google - free, powered from Google search data.
  • Wordtracker - paid, powered from Dogpile and MetaCrawler. Due to small sample size their keyword database may be easy to spam.

Please note that most keyword research tools used alone are going to be highly inaccurate at giving exact quantitative search volumes. The tools are better for qualitative measurements. To test the exact volume for a keyword it may make sense to set up a test Google AdWords campaign.

Keyword Stuffing
Writing copy that uses excessive amounts of the core keyword.

When people use keyword stuffed copy it tends to read mechanically (and thus does not convert well and is not link worthy), plus some pages that are crafted with just the core keyword in mind often lack semantically related words and modifiers from the related vocabulary (and that causes the pages to rank poorly as well).

See also:

Keyword Suggestion Tools (see Keyword Research Tools)

Kleinberg, Jon
Scientist largely responsible for much of the research that went into hubs and authorities based search relevancy algorithms.

See also:


Landing Page
The page on which a visitor arrives after clicking on a link or advertisement.
Landing Page Quality Scores
A measure used by Google to help filter noisy ads out of their AdWords program.

When Google AdWords launched affiliates and arbitrage players made up a large portion of their ad market, but as more mainstream companies have spent on search marketing, Google has done many measures to try to keep their ads relevant.

A citation from one web document to another web document or another position in the same document.

Most major search engines consider links as a vote of trust.

Link Baiting
The art of targeting, creating, and formatting information that provokes the target audience to point high quality links at your site. Many link baiting techniques are targeted at social media and bloggers.

See also:

Link Building
The process of building high quality linkage data that search engines will evaluate to trust your website is authoritative, relevant, and trustworthy.

A few general link building tips:

See also:

Link Bursts
A rapid increase in the quantity of links pointing at a website.

When links occur naturally they generally develop over time. In some cases it may make sense that popular viral articles receive many links quickly, but in those cases there are typically other signs of quality as well, such as:

  • increased usage data
  • increase in brand related search queries
  • traffic from the link sources to the site being linked at
  • many of the new links coming from new pages on trusted domains

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Link Churn
The rate at which a site loses links.

See also:

Link Equity
A measure of how strong a site is based on its inbound link popularity and the authority of the sites providing those links.
Link Farm
Website or group of websites which exercises little to no editorial control when linking to other sites. FFA pages, for example, are link farms.
Log Files
Server files which show you what your leading sources of traffic are and what people are search for to find your website.

Log files do not typically show as much data as analytics programs would, and if they do, it is generally not in a format that is as useful beyond seeing the top few stats.

Link Hoarding
A method of trying to keep all your link popularity by not linking out to other sites, or linking out using JavaScript or through cheesy redirects.

Generally link hoarding is a bad idea for the following reasons:

  • many authority sites were at one point hub sites that freely linked out to other relevant resources
  • if you are unwilling to link out to other sites people are going to be less likely to link to your site
  • outbound links to relevant resources may improve your credibility and boost your overall relevancy scores

"Of course, folks never know when we’re going to adjust our scoring. It’s pretty easy to spot domains that are hoarding PageRank; that can be just another factor in scoring. If you work really hard to boost your authority-like score while trying to minimize your hub-like score, that sets your site apart from most domains. Just something to bear in mind." - Quote from Google’s Matt Cutts

See also:

Link Popularity
The number of links pointing at a website.

For competitive search queries link quality counts much more than link quantity. Google typically shows a smaller sample of known linkage data than the other engines do, even though Google still counts many of the links they do not show when you do a link: search.

Link Reputation
The combination of your link equity and anchor text.
Link Rot
A measure of how many and what percent of a website’s links are broken.

Links may broken for a number of reason, but four of the most common reasons are:

  • a website going offline
  • linking to content which is temporary in nature (due to licensing structures or other reasons)
  • moving a page’s location
  • changing a domain’s content management system

Most large websites have some broken links, but if too many of a site’s links are broken it may be an indication of outdated content, and it may provide website users with a poor user experience. Both of which may cause search engines to rank a page as being less relevant.

See also:

  • Xenu Link Sleuth is a free software program which crawls websites to find broken links.
New search platform provided by Microsoft.

See also:

Long Tail
Phrase describing how for any category of product being sold there is much more aggregate demand for the non-hits than there is for the hits.

How does the long tail applies to keywords? Long Tail keywords are more precise and specific, thus have a higher value. As of writing this definition in the middle of October 2006 my leading keywords for this month are as follows:

#reqs search term
1504 seo book
512 seobook
501 seo
214 google auctions
116 link bait
95 aaron wall
94 gmail uk
89 search engine optimization
86 trustrank
78 adsense tracker
73 latent semantic indexing
71 seo books
69 john t reed
67 dear sir
64 link harvester
64 google adwords coupon
55 adwords coupon
15056 [not listed: 9,584 search terms]

Notice how the nearly 10,000 unlisted terms account for roughly 10 times as much traffic as I got from my core brand related term (and this site only has a couple thousand pages and has a rather strong brand).

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Company originally launched as a directory service which later morphed into a paid search provider and vertical content play.

See also:

Latent Semantic Indexing is a way for search systems to mathematically understanding and representing language based on the similarity of pages and keyword co-occurance. A relevant result may
not even have the search term in it. It may be returned based solely on
the fact that it contains many similar words to those appearing in relevant pages which contain the search words.

See also:

  • Quintura Search - free LSI type keyword research tool.
  • Patterns in Unstructured Data - free paper describing how LSI works
  • SEO Book articles on LSI: #1 & #2 (Google may not be using LSI, but they are certainly using technologies with similar functions and purpose.)
  • Johnon Go Words - article about how adding certain relevant words to a page can drastically improve its relevancy for other keywords


Malda, Rob
Founder of, a popular editorially driven technology news forum.
Manual Review
All major search engines combine a manual review process with their automated relevancy algorithms to help catch search spam and train their relevancy algorithms. Abnormal usage data or link growth patterns may also flag sites for manual review.

See also:

Mechanical Turk program which allows you to hire humans to perform easy tasks that computers are bad at.

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In The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins defines a meme as “a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation.” Many people use the word meme to refer to self spreading or viral ideas.

See also:

  • Techmeme - meme tracker which shows technology ideas that are currently spreading on popular technology blogs
Meta Description
The meta description tag is typically a sentence or two of content which describes the content of the page.

A good meta description tag should:

  • be relevant and unique to the page;
  • reinforce the page title; and
  • focus on including offers and secondary keywords and phrases to help add context to the page title.

Relevant meta description tags may appear in search results as part of the page description below the page title.

The code for a meta description tag looks like this

<meta name="Description" content="Your meta description here. " / >

See also:

Meta Keywords
The meta keywords tag is a tag which can be used to highlight keywords and keyword phrases which the page is targeting.

The code for a meta keyword tag looks like this

<meta name="Keywords" content="keyword phrase, another keyword, yep another, maybe one more ">

Many people spammed meta keyword tags and searchers typically never see the tag, so most search engines do not place much (if any) weight on it. Many SEO professionals no longer use meta keywords tags.

See also:

Meta Refresh
A meta tag used to make a browser refresh to another URL location.

A meta refresh looks like this

<meta http-equiv=“refresh” content=“10;url=”>

Generally in most cases it is preferred to use a 301 or 302 redirect over a meta refresh.

Meta Search
A search engine which pulls top ranked results from multiple other search engines and rearranges them into a new result set.

See also:

Meta Tags
People generally refer to meta descriptions and meta keywords as meta tags. Some people also group the page title in with these.
Maker of the popular Windows operating system and Internet Explorer browser.
A measure of the amount of people who think of you or your product when thinking of products in your category.

Sites with strong mindshare, top rankings, or a strong memorable brand are far more likely to be linked at than sites which are less memorable and have less search exposure. The link quality of mindshare related links most likely exceeds the quality of the average link on the web. If you sell non-commodities, personal recommendations also typically carry far greater weight than search rankings alone.

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Mirror Site
Site which mirrors (or duplicates) the contents of another website.

Generally search engines prefer not to index duplicate content. The one exception to this is that if you are a hosting company it might make sense to offer free hosting or a free mirror site to a popular open source software site to build significant link equity.

Movable Type
For sale blogging software which allows you to host a blog on your website.

Movable Type is typically much harder to install that Wordpress is.

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MSN Search
Search engine built by Microsoft. MSN is the default search provider in Internet Explorer.

See also:

Multi Dimensional Scaling
The process of taking shapshots of documents in a database to discover topical clusters through the use of latent semantic indexing. Multi dimensional scaling is more efficient than singular vector decomposition since only a rough approximation of relevance is necessary when combined with other ranking criteria.
One of the most popular social networking sites, largely revolving around connecting musicians to fans and having an easy to use blogging platform.

See also:


Natural Language Processing
Algorithms which attempt to understand the true intent of a search query rather than just matching results to keywords.

Natural Link (see Editorial Link)

Natrual Search (see Organic Search Results)

Scheme to help website users understand where they are, where they have been, and how that relates to the rest of your website.

It is best to use regular HTML navigation rather than coding your navigation in JavaScript, Flash, or some other type of navigation which search engines may not be able to easily index.

Originally a company that created a popular web browser by the same name, Netscape is now a social news site similar to

See also:

A topic or subject which a website is focused on.

Search is a broad field, but as you drill down each niche consists of many smaller niches. An example of drilling down to a niche market

  • search
  • search marketing, privacy considerations, legal issues, history of, future of, different types of vertical search, etc.
  • search engine optimization, search engine advertising
  • link building, keyword research, reputation monitoring and management, viral marketing, SEO copywriting, Google AdWords, information architecture, etc.

Generally it is easier to compete in small, new, or underdeveloped niches than trying to dominate large verticals. As your brand and authority grow you can go after bigger markets.

Attribute used to prevent a link from passing link authority. Commonly used on sites with user generated content, like in blog comments.

The code to use nofollow on a link appears like

<a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>anchor text </a>

Nofollow can also be used in a robots meta tag to prevent a search engine from counting any outbound links on a page. This code would look like this


Google’s Matt Cutts also pushes webmasters to use nofollow on any paid links, but since Google is the world’s largest link broker, their advice on how other people should buy or sell links should be taken with a grain of salt. Please note that it is generally not advised to practice link hoarding as that may look quite unnatural. Outbound links may also boost your relevancy scores in some search engines.


In philosophy it is the study of being. As it relates to search, it is the attempt to create an exhaustive and rigorous conceptual schema about a domain. An ontology is typically a hierarchical data structure containing all the relevant entities and their relationships and rules within that domain.

See also:

Open Directory Project, The (see DMOZ)

Open Source
Software which is distributed with its source code such that developers can modify it as they see fit.

On the web open source is a great strategy for quickly building immense exposure and mindshare.

A fast standards based web browser.

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Organic Search Results
Most major search engines have results that consist of paid ads and unpaid listings. The unpaid / algorithmic listings are called the organic search results. Organic search results are organized by relevancy, which is largely determined based on linkage data, page content, usage data, and historical domain and trust related data.

Most clicks on search results are on the organic search results. Some studies have shown that 60 to 80% + of clicks are on the organic search results.

Outbound Link
A link from one website pointing at another external website.

Some webmasters believe in link hoarding, but linking out to useful relevant related documents is an easy way to help search engines understand what your website is about. If you reference other resources it also helps you build credibility and leverage the work of others without having to do everything yourself. Some webmasters track where their traffic comes from, so if you link to related websites they may be more likely to link back to your site.

See also:

The company which pioneered search marketing by selling targeted searches on a pay per click basis. Originally named GoTo, they were eventually bought out by Yahoo! and branded as Yahoo! Search Marketing.

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Overture Keyword Selector Tool
Popular keyword research tool, based largely on Yahoo! search statistics. Heavily skewed toward commercially oriented searches, also combines singular and plural versions of a keyword into a single version.

See also:


Page, Larry

Co-founder of Google.

A logarithmic scale based on link equity which estimates the importance of web documents.

Since PageRank is widely bartered Google’s relevancy algorithms had to move away from relying on PageRank and place more emphasis on trusted links via algorithms such as TrustRank.

The PageRank formula is:

PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + … + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))

PR= PageRank
d= dampening factor (~0.85)
c = number of links on the page
PR(T1)/C(T1) = PageRank of page 1 divided by the total number of links on page 1, (transferred PageRank)

In text: for any given page A the PageRank PR(A) is equal to the sum of the parsed partial PageRank given from each page pointing at it multiplied by the dampening factor plus one minus the dampening factor.

See also:

Page Title (see Title)

A method of allowing websites which pass editorial quality guidelines to buy relevant exposure.

See also:

Paid Link (see Text Link Ads)

Pay for Performance
Payment structure where affiliated sales workers are paid commission for getting consumers to perform certain actions.

Publishers publishing contextual ads are typically paid per ad click. Affiliate marketing programs pay affiliates for conversions - leads, downloads, or sales.

Search engines prevent some websites suspected of spamming from ranking highly in the results by banning or penalizing them. These penalties may be automated algorithmically or manually applied.

If a site is penalized algorithmically the site may start ranking again after a certain period of time after the reason for being penalized is fixed. If a site is penalized manually the penalty may last an exceptionally long time or require contacting the search engine with a reinclusion request to remedy.

Some sites are also filtered for various reasons.

See also:

Altering the search results based on a person’s location, search history, content they recently viewed, or other factors relevant to them on a personal level.
PHP Hypertext Preprocessor is an open source server side scripting language used to render web pages or add interactivity to them.

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Poison Word
Words which were traditionally associated with low quality content that caused search engines to want to demote the rankings of a page.

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Portable Document Format is a universal
file format developed by Adobe Systems that allows files to be stored
and viewed in the original printer friendly context.
Web site offering common consumer services such as
news, email, other content, and search.
Pay Per Click is a pricing model which most search ads and many contextual ad programs are sold through. PPC ads only charge advertisers if a potential customer clicks on an ad.

See also:

The ability of a search
engine to list results that satisfy the query, usually measured in percentage.
(if 20 of the 50 results match the query the precision is 40%)

Search spam and the complexity of language challenge the precision
of search engines.

Profit Elasticity
A measure of the profit potential of different economic conditions based on adjusting price, supply, or other variables to create a different profit potential where the supply and demand curves cross.
A measure of how close words are to one another.

A page which has words near one another may be deemed to be more likely to satisfy a search query containing both terms. If keyword phrases are repeated an excessive number of times, and the proximity is close on all the occurrences of both words it may also be a sign of unnatural (and thus potentially low quality) content.


Quality Content
Content which is linkworthy in nature.

See also:

Quality Link
Search engines count links votes of trust. Quality links count more than low quality links.

There are a variety of ways to define what a quality link is, but the following are characteristics of a high quality link:

  • Trusted Source: If a link is from a page or website which seems like it is trustworthy then it is more likely to count more than a link from an obscure, rarely used, and rarely cited website. See TrustRank for one example of a way to find highly trusted websites.
  • Hard to Get: The harder a link is to acquire the more likely a search engine will be to want to trust it and the more work a competitor will need to do to try to gain that link.
  • Aged: Some search engines may trust links from older resources or links that have existed for a length of time more than they trust brand new links or links from newer resources.
  • Co-citation: Pages that link at competing sites which also link to your site make it easy for search engines to understand what community your website belongs to. See Hilltop for an example of an algorithm which looks for co-citation from expert sources.
  • Related: Links from related pages or related websites may count more than links from unrelated sites.
  • In Content: Links which are in the content area of a page are typically going to be more likely to be editorial links than links that are not included within the editorial portion of a page.

While appropriate anchor text may also help you rank even better than a link which lacks appropriate anchor text, it is worth noting that for competitive queries Google is more likely to place weight on a high quality link where the anchor text does not match than trusting low quality links where the anchor text matches.

The actual “search string” a searcher enters into a search engine.
Query Refinement
Some searchers may refine their search query if they deemed the results as being irrelevant. Some search engines may aim to promote certain verticals or suggest other search queries if they deem other search queries or vertical databases as being relevant to the goals of the searcher.

Query refinement is both a manual and an automated process. If searchers do not find their search results as being relevant they may search again. Search engines may also automatically refine queries using the following techniques:

  • Google OneBox: promotes a vertical search database near the top of the search result. For example, if image search is relevant to your search query images may be placed near the top of the search results.
  • Spell Correction: offers a did you mean link with the correct spelling near the top of the results.
  • Inline Suggest: offers related search results in the search results. Some engines also suggest a variety of related search queries.

Some search toolbars also aim to help searchers auto complete their search queries by offering a list of most popular queries which match the starting letters that a searcher enters into the search box.


The portion of relevant documents that were retrieved when compared to all relevant documents.
Reciprocal Links
Nepotistic link exchanges where websites try to build false authority by trading links, using three way link trades, or other low quality link schemes.

When sites link naturally there is going to be some amount of cross linking within a community, but if most or all of your links are reciprocal in nature it may be a sign of ranking manipulation. Also sites that trade links off topic or on links pages that are stashed away deep within their sites probably do not pass much link authority, and may add more risk than reward.

Quality reciprocal link exchanges in and of themselves are not a bad thing, but most reciprocal link offers are of low quality. If too many of your links are of low quality it may make it harder for your site to rank for relevant queries, and some search engines may look at inlink and outlink ratios as well as link quality when determining how natural a site’s link profile is.

See also:

A method of alerting browsers and search engines that a page location moved. 301 redirects are for permanent change of location and 302 redirects are used for a temporary change of location.
A company which allows you to register domain names.
If a site has been penalized for spamming they may fix the infraction and ask for reinclusion. Depending on the severity of the infraction and the brand strength of the site they may or may not be added to the search index.

See also:

The source from which a website visitor came from.
Relative Link
A link which shows the relation of the current URL to the URL of the page being linked at. Some links only show relative link paths instead of having the entire reference URL within the a href tag. Due to canonicalization and hijacking related issues it is typically preferred to use absolute links over relative links.

Example relative link

<a href="../folder/filename.html">Cool Stuff</a>

Example absolute link

<a href="">Cool Stuff</a>

A measure of how useful searchers find search results.

Many search engines may also bias organic search results to informational resources since commercial ads also show in the search results.

See also:

Reputation Management
Ensuring your brand related keywords display results which reinforce your brand. Many hate sites tend to rank highly for brand related queries.
Much like search engine submission, resubmission is generally a useless program which is offered by businesses bilking naive consumers out of their money for a worthless service.

Rewrite (see URL Rewrite)

Reverse Index
An index of keywords which stores records of matching documents that contain those keywords.

See also:

A file which sits in the root of a site and tells search engines which files not to crawl. Some search engines will still list your URLs as URL only listings even if you block them using a robots.txt file.

Do not put files on a public server if you do not want search engines to index them!

See also:

Return on Investment is a measure of how much return you receive from each marketing dollar.

While ROI is a somewhat sophisticated measurement, some search marketers prefer to account for their marketing using more sophisticate profit elasticity calculations.

Rich Site Summary or Real Simple Syndication is a method of syndicating information to a feed reader or other software which allows people to subscribe to a channel they are interested in.


A popular Apple browser.
Salton, Gerard
Scientist who pioneered the information retrieval field.

See also:

Intrusive software and programs which usually target ads, violate privacy, and are often installed without the computer owner knowing what the software does.
Search History
Many search engines store user search history information. This data can be used for better ad targeting or to make old information more findable.

Search engines may also determine what a document is about and how much they trust a domain based on aggregate usage data. Many brand related search queries is a strong signal of quality.

Search Engine
A tool or device used to find relevant information. Search engines consist of a spider, index, relevancy algorithms and search results.
Search engine marketing.

Also known as:

Search engine optimization is the art and science of publishing information and marketing it in a manner that helps search engines understand your information is relevant to relevant search queries.

SEO consists largely of keyword research, SEO copywriting, information architecture, link building, brand building, building mindshare, reputation management, and viral marketing.

SEO Copywriting
Writing and formatting copy in a way that will help make the documents appear relevant to a wide array of relevant search queries.

There are two main ways to write titles and be SEO friendly

  1. Write literal titles that are well aligned with things people search for. This works well if you need backfill content for your site or already have an amazingly authoritative site.
  2. Write page titles that are exceptionally compelling to link at. If enough people link at them then your pages and site will rank for many relevant queries even if the keywords are not in the page titles.

See also:

Search Engine Results Page is the page on which the search engines show the results for a search query.
Search Marketing
Marketing a website in search engines. Typically via SEO, buying pay per click ads, and paid inclusion.
Computer used to host files and serve them to the WWW.

Dedicated servers usually run from $100 to $500 a month. Virtual servers typically run from $5 to $50 per month.

Server Logs
Files hosted on servers which display website traffic trends and sources.

Server logs typically do not show as much data and are not as user friendly as analytics software. Not all hosts provide server logs.

Singular Value Decomposition
The process of breaking down a large database to find the document vector (relevance) for various items by comparing them to other items and documents.

Important steps:

  • Stemming: taking in account for various forms of a word on a page
  • Local Weighting: increasing the relevance of a given document based on the frequency a term appears in the document
  • Global Weighting: increasing the relevance of terms which appear in a small number of pages as they are more likely to be on topic than words that appear in most all documents.
  • Normalization: penalizing long copy and rewarding short copy to allow them fair distribution in results. a good way of looking at this is like standardizing things to a scale of 100.

Multi dimensional scaling is more efficient than singular value decomposition because it requires exceptionally less computation. When combined with other ranking factors only a rough approximation of relevance is necessary.

Techniques used to steal another web sites traffic, including the use of spyware or cybersquatting.
Site Map
Page which can be used to help give search engines a secondary route to navigate through your site.


  • On large websites the on page navigation should help search engines find all applicable web pages.
  • On large websites it does not make sense to list every page on the site map, just the most important pages.
  • Site maps can be used to help redistribute internal link authority toward important pages or sections, or sections of your site that are seasonally important.
  • Site maps can use slightly different or more descriptive anchor text than other portions of your site to help search engines understand what your pages are about.
  • Site maps should be created such that they are useful to humans, not just search engines.
Central editorially driven community news site focusing on technology and nerd related topics created by Rob Malda.

See also:

Snippit (see Description)

Social Media
Websites which allow users to create the valuable content. A few examples of social media sites are social bookmarking sites and social news sites.

See also:

Unsolicited email messages.

Search engines also like to outsource their relevancy issues by calling low quality search results spam. They have vague ever changing guidelines which determine what marketing techniques are acceptable at any given time. Typically search engines try hard not to flag false positives as spam, so most algorithms are quite lenient, as long as you do not build lots of low quality links, host large quantities of duplicate content, or perform other actions that are considered widely outside of relevancy guidelines. If your site is banned from a search engine you may request reinclusion after fixing the problem.

See also:

The act of creating and distributing spam.
Search engine crawlers which search or “spider” the web for pages to include in the index.

Many non-traditional search companies have different spiders which perform other applications. For example, TurnItInBot searches for plagiarism. Spiders should obey the robots.txt protocol.

Splash Page
Feature rich or elegantly designed beautiful web page which typically offers poor usability and does not offer search engines much content to index.

Make sure your home page has relevant content on it if possible.

Spam blog, typically consisting of stolen or automated low quality content.
Software programs which spy on web users, often used to collect consumer research and to behaviorally targeted ads.

See also:

  • Ad Aware - spyware removal software
  • Stop Badware - site about fighting spyware and other adverse sleazy software programs
Topical lens site created by Seth Godin.

See also:

Server Side Includes are a way to call portions of a page in from another page. SSI makes it easier to update websites.

To use a server side include you have to follow one of the conditions:

  • end file names in a .shtml or .shtm extension
  • use PHP or some other language which makes it easy to include files via that programming language
  • change your .htaccess file to make .html or .htm files be processed as though they were .shtml files.

The code to create a server side include looks like this:

<!-#include virtual="/includes/filename.html" ->

Static Content
Content which does not change frequently. May also refer to content that does not have any social elements to it and does not use dynamic programming languages.

Many static sites do well, but the reasons fresh content works great for SEO are:

  • If you keep building content every day you eventually build a huge archive of content
  • By frequently updating your content you keep building mindshare, brand equity, and give people fresh content worth linking at
Using the stem of a word to help satisfy search relevancy requirements. EX: searching for swimming can return results which contain swim. This usually enhances the quality of search results due to the extreme diversity of word used in, and their application in the English language.
Stop Words
Common words (ex: a, to, and, is …) which add little relevancy to a search query, and are thus are removed from the search query prior to finding relevant search results.

It is both fine and natural to use stop words in your page content. The reason stop words are ignored when people search is that the words are so common that they offer little to no discrimination value.

Sullivan, Danny
Founder and lead editor of, who later started

See also:

The act of making information systems and related websites aware of your website. In most cases you no longer need to submit your website to large scale search engines, they follow links and index content. The best way to submit your site is to get others to link to it.

Some topical or vertical search systems will require submission, but you should not need to submit your site to large scale search engine.

Supplemental Results
Documents which generally are trusted less and rank lower than documents in the main search index.

Some search engines, such as Google, have multiple indicies. Documents which are not well trusted due to any of the following conditions:

  • limited link authority relative to the number of pages on the site
  • duplicate content or near duplication
  • exceptionally complex URLs

Documents in the supplemental results are crawled less frequently than documents in the main index. Since documents in the supplemental results are typically considered to be trusted less than documents in the regular results, those pages probably carry less weight when they vote for other pages by linking at them.

You can find document’s on this site that are in Google’s supplemental results by searching for *** -view:randomstring


Tagging, tags (see Bookmarks)

Classification system of controlled vocabulary used to organize topical subjects, usually hierarchical in nature.
Blog search engine which tracks popular stories and link relationships.

See also:

Topical community based search engine largely reliant upon Kleinberg’s concept of hubs and authorities. Teoma powers
Internet service allowing a remote computer
to log into a local one for projects such as script initialization or
Term Frequency
A measure of how frequently a keyword appears amongst a collection of documents.
Term Vector Database
A weighted index of documents which aims to understand the topic of documents based on how similar they are to other documents, and then match the most relevant documents to a search query based on vector length and angle.

See also:

Text Link Ads
Advertisements which are formatted as text links.

Since the web was originally based on text and links people are typically more inclined to pay attention to text links than some other ad formats which are typically less relevant and more annoying. However, search engines primarily want to count editorial links as votes, so links that are grouped together with other paid links (especially if those links are to off topic commercial sites) may be less likely to carry weight in search engines.

Synonym directory search engines use to help
increase return relevancy.

Thesaurus tools can also be used as a keyword research tool to help search marketers find related keywords to target.

The title element is used to describe the contents of a document.

The title is one of the most important aspects to doing SEO on a web page. Each page title should be:

  • Unique to that page: Not the same for every page of a site!
  • Descriptive: What important ideas does that page cover?
  • Not excessively long: Typically page titles should be kept to 8 to 10 words or less, with some of the most important words occurring near the beginning of the page title.

Page titles appear in search results as the links searchers click on. In addition many people link to documents using the official document title as the link anchor text. Thus, by using a descriptive page title you are likely to gain descriptive anchor text and are more likely to have your listing clicked on.

On some occasions it also makes sense to use a title which is not literally descriptive, but is easily associated with human emotions or a controversy such that your idea will spread further and many more people will point quality editorial links at your document.

There are two main ways to write titles and be SEO friendly

  1. Write literal titles that are well aligned with things people search for. This works well if you need backfill content for your site or already have an amazingly authoritative site.
  2. Write page titles that are exceptionally compelling to link at. If enough people link at them then your pages and site will rank for many relevant queries even if the keywords are not in the page titles.

See also:

Many major search companies aim to gain marketshare by distributing search toolbars. Some of these toolbars have useful features such as pop-up blockers, spell checkers, and form autofill. These toolbars also help search engines track usage data.
Topic-Sensitive PageRank
Method of computing PageRank which instead of producing a single global score creates topic related PageRank scores.

See also:

Automated notification that another website mentioned your site which is baked into most popular blogging software programs.

Due to the automated nature of trackbacks they are typically quite easy to spam. Many publishers turn trackbacks off due to a low signal to noise ratio.

The Tragedy of the Commons
Story about how in order to protect the commons some people will have to give up some rights or care more for the commons. In marketing attention is the commons, and Google largely won distribution because they found ways to make marketing less annoying.

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

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Hosted blogging platform provided by SixApart, who also makes Movable Type.

It allows you to publish sites on a subdomain off of, or to publish content which appears as though it is on its own domain. If you are serious about building a brand or making money online you should publish your content to your own domain because it can be hard to reclaim a website’s link equity and age related trust if you have built years of link equity into a subdomain on someone else’s website.

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Unethical SEO

Some search engine marketers lacking in creativity try to market their services as being ethical, whereas services rendered by other providers are somehow unethical. SEO services are generally neither ethical or unethical. They are either effective or ineffective.

SEO is an inherently risky business, but any quality SEO service provider should make clients aware of potential risks and rewards of different recommended techniques.

Search engines frequently update their algorithms and data sets to help keep their search results fresh and make their relevancy algorithms hard to update. Most major search engines are continuously updating both their relevancy algorithms and search index.

See also:

  • Google Terminology - Video where Google’s Matt Cutts discusses various commonly used terms inside Google.
Uniform Resource Locator is the unique address of any
web document.
URL Rewrite
A technique used to help make URLs more unique and descriptive to help facilitate better sitewide indexing by major search engines.

See also:

  • Apache Module mod_rewrite - Apache module used to rewrite URLs on sites hosted on an Apache server.
  • ISAPI Rewrite - software to rewrite URLs on sites hosted on a Microsoft Internet
    Information Server.
How easy it is for customers to perform the desired actions.

The structure and formatting of text and hyperlink based calls to action can drastically increase your website usability, and thus conversion rates.

See also:

Usage Data
Things like a large stream of traffic, repeat visitors, multiple page views per visitor, a high clickthrough rate, or a high level of brand related search queries may be seen by some search engines as a sign of quality. Some search engines may
A search service which is focused on a particular field, a particular type of information, or a particular information format.

See also:


Vector Space Model (see Term Vector Database)

Vertical Search
A search service which is focused on a particular field, a particular type of information, or a particular information format.

For example, would be a B2B vertical search engine, and YouTube would be a video based vertical search engine.

Viral Marketing
Self propagating marketing techniques. Common modes of transmission are email, blogging, and word of mouth marketing channels.

Many social news sites and social bookmarking sites also lead to secondary citations.

See also:

Virtual Domain
Website hosted on a virtual server.
Virtual Server
A server which allows multiple top level domains to be hosted from a single computer.

Using a virtual server can save money for smaller applications, but dedicated hosting should be used for large commercial platforms.Most domains are hosted on virtual servers, but using a dedicated server on your most important domains should add server reliability, and could be seen as a sign of quality. Dedicated servers usually run from $100 to $500 a month. Virtual servers typically run from $5 to $50 per month.


Wales, Jimmy
Co-founder of the popular Wikipedia.

Weblog (see Blog)

Each domain has an owner of record. Ownership data is stored in the Whois record for that domain.

Some domain registrars also allow you to hide the ownership data of your sites. Many large scale spammers use fake Whois data.

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White Hat SEO
Search engines set up guidelines that help them extract billions of dollars of ad revenue from the work of publishers and the attention of searchers. Within that highly profitable framework search engines consider certain marketing techniques deceptive in nature, and label them as black hat SEO. Those which are considered within their guidelines are called white hat SEO techniques. The search guidelines are not a static set of rules, and things that may be considered legitimate one day may be considered deceptive the next.

Search engines are not without flaws in their business models, but there is nothing immoral or illegal about testing search algorithms to understand how search engines work.

People who have extensively tested search algorithms are probably more competent and more knowledgeable search marketers than those who give themselves the arbitrary label of white hat SEOs while calling others black hat SEOs.

When making large investments in processes that are not entirely clear trust is important. Rather than looking for reasons to not work with an SEO it is best to look for signs of trust in a person you would like to work with.

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Software which allows information to be published using collaborative editing.
Free online collaborative encyclopedia using wiki software.

See also:

A lexical database of English words which can be used to help search engines understand word relationships.

See also:

Popular open source blogging software platform, offering both a downloadable blogging program and a hosted solution.

If you are serious about building a brand or making money online you should publish your content to your own domain because it can be hard to reclaim a website’s link equity and age related trust if you have built years of link equity into a subdomain on someone else’s website.

See also:

Feature rich paid keyword research tool which collects data from a couple popular meta search engines, like Dogpile.

Due to Wordtracker’s small sample size their data may be easy to game.

See also:


Xenu Link Sleuth
Popular free software for checking a site for broken internal or external links and creating a sitemap.

See also:

  • Xenu - official site
Extensible HyperText Markup Language is a class of specifications designed to move HTML to conform to XML formatting.

See also:

Extensible Markup Language is a simple, very flexible text format derived from SGML, used to make it easy to syndicate or format information using technologies such as RSS.

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Internet portal company which was started with the popular Yahoo! Directory.

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Yahoo! Answers
Free question asking and answering service which allows Yahoo! to leverage social structures to create a bottoms up network of free content.

See also:

Yahoo! Directory
One of the original, most popular, and most authoritative web directories, started by David Filo and Jerry Yang in 1994.

The Yahoo! Directory is one of a few places where most any legitimate site can pick up a trusted link. While the cost of $299 per year may seem expensive to some small businesses, a Yahoo! Directory link will likely help boost your rankings in major search engines.

See also:

Yahoo! Search Marketing
Yahoo!’s paid search platform, formerly known as Overture.

See also:

Yahoo! Site Explorer
Research tool which webmasters can use to see what pages Yahoo! has indexed from a website, and what pages link at those pages.

See also:

Feature rich amateur video upload and syndication website owned by Google.

See also:


Non-commercial directory which was bought by Looksmart for $20 million, then abruptly shut down with little to no warning.