Search Engine Optimisation Glossary

Compiled with assistance from,,, and

Above the fold
Near the top of the page - depends on screen resolutions.

Advanced match
Combination of broad and phrase match (Yahoo! Search).

Google Pay per click advertising programme.

The main subdivision of a Google Adwords PPC Campaign.

Google PPC ad placement is determined AdRank (max CPC X CTR). On Google sometimes ads with high CTR can be placed higher than less successful ads with higher CPC bids.

A related site which direct clicks to third party destinations. The affiliate receives a commission when a sale is made.

The rules by which search engines rank the sites in their index.

When a site fulfils its role. Enquiry, download or more usually sale.

A link at another site (incoming link) pointing to your site. The number and quality of backlinks determine PageRank in google (very important).

The process of advertising on search terms through a real time auction Pay Per Click.

Marking a webpage in your browser as a favourite, to make it easy to return to later.

Broad Match
Includes all search term variations that contain the search terms.

Call to Action (CTA)
A direction to the viewer to respond in some way (usually to buy).

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
Files which instruct browsers on formatting. The file can be held externally so as to keep the page file size to a minimum. This can also help with java and flash issues.

When a link or search engine listing is selected (if PPC ad then this generates a cost to the advertiser).

A group of search terms with specific attributes.

Trying to trick a search engine giving a higher PageRank to content which would normally return a lower rank.

When a user visits a website and makes an enquiry, download or purchase.

Cost per Acquisition

Cost per Click - The cost incurred by the action of a potential customer clicking a link on PPC ad (same or lower than maximum bid).

Cost Per Impression (1,000 page views)

See spider.

Click Through Rate – Number of clicks divided by impressions (number of times ad displayed).

Customer Profile
Building customer profiles by collecting following their actions. Knowing your customers better allows you to provide better products and customer service.

First and second level of a website (.com or is domain extension). The second level domain is the domain name (

Domain Name Registration
Taking ownership of a domain name.

Dynamic Content
Web pages created by insite process (eg. looking up a database) in response to a visitors query. Spiders generally avoid elements of sites which rely on dynamic page generation – making it difficult to index that content.

Selling online, via a website

Exact Match
By placing square brackets around search terms [mail order swimwear] the search returns the terms in this specific order.

Coding language not recognized by search engine spiders.

Google’s web spider.

Google PageRank
Googles system for ranking web pages – largely dependent on links.

Often misused phrase - hit is any file download from a website, including one hit for the HTML page, and one for each file (graphics, movies, WAV files etc.). Consequently, one page view can generate several “hits”. The phrase "visitor session" is more appropriate.

HTML Coding
HyperText Markup Language.

The database of content gathered by search engine spiders. When the search engine receives a search query it matches the query keywords against the index.

IP Address
There are nearly 4,500 million unique IP addresses (exact internet location) but this is currently not enough for global use, and often users share IP addresses through a proxy server.

Coding language not easily recognised by search engine spiders

Keyword Search
A search made by typing a keyword, or keyphrase into a search box on a search engine, directory or portal.

Keyword or Keyphrases
Word or combination of words used to describe the site in the meta tags which are picked up by the search engines for inclusion in their indexes. The search engines match search results to keywords entered and delivers SERP (Search Engine Results Page) depending on how consistently a site presents its keywords. Generally, the more keywords used the closer to the purchase the searcher is, but the fewer the number of searches on that term.

Keyword Density
Proportional measurement of keywords embedded in a page. A high density is understood by a spider to be representative of a good keyword body copy match – but too high a density is considered spam (keyword stuffing).

Keyword Search Frequency
Number of search requests for particular keyword/ keyphrase.

A connection between different elements of the same website or, more usually, two Web sites.

Link Farm
Technique to increase the number of links between sites and therefore boost link popularity. Link farms are disreputable versions of topical link exchange sites. Search engines discourage use of link farms.

Link Popularity
Used by search engines to determine the importance of a listed site. Sites with many inbound links are deemed more credible – particularly used by google.

Message Boards
Part of website which allows visitors to post (themed) messages and for others to reply to them. All discussions take place in public.

Meta Tag
Coding embedded in a website, to provide spiders with keyword information. They define the basic characteristics of a web page (titles, descriptions, keywords)

Publishing and mass distribution of emails containing features and articles of interest to opt-in subscribers.

Outgoing links
Link from your website to another.

Paid Linking
Paying for another site to link to your own. Can be worth considering if a FREE link will not be taken up by a major authority site.

Page View (Impression)
A single view of a web page (or banner ad) by a user.

0 to 10 scale given by google showing the ordering of pages in its index. A higher PageRank moves a site higher in search results pages (SERP) in Google.

Pay Per Click
A method of advertising in search engine listings based on a charge for users clicking on your advert. An advertiser doesn’t pay for the ad to be shown but merely when the ad is clicked on – hence the name. Used by Google, Yahoo! Search (Overture) and Espotting in the U.K.

Permission Based Email
Since 2003 the permission of the recipient must be obtained prior to the distribution of the email.

Web sites (usually themed by subject matter) which offer some or all of the following: search, email, news, weather, shopping (e.g.

See Pay per Click

Public Relations – through publishing releases/white papers and distributing to portals/news sites and/or posting on your website. Especially important for link building.

Proxy Server
An internet server that allows several users to share one internet connection, reducing the number of IP addresses required.

The position gained on search engines.

Reciprocal Linking
A no cost linking of two sites to each other, for mutual benefit. The recent Google Algorithm change “Jagger” has seen a reduction in the usefulness of reciprocal links unless on topic.

Programmes which search engines send out to read the meta tags and/or body text of a submitted site

Return On Investment - A measure of the success of a marketing campaign when comparing results to the expenditure.

Search Engine
Websites which provide search engine results pages (SERP) in response to a search.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Adapting web pages to maximise their effectiveness at matching (and being returned highly in the SERPs) for potential customers’ search phrases.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
Where search results are displayed in response to a keyword search.

Search Engine Submission
Making search engines aware of new web pages and sites - each search engine have their own individual processes.

See Search Engine Optimisation.

See Search Engine Results Pages

Term relating to practices not approved by the web community or search engines – examples include unsolicited email, cloaking, doorway pages etc.

See Robots 

Top Listings
Listings which rank in the top 30 of results

Targeted Traffic
The concept of directing traffic to a website based on the requirements of that traffic (i.e. matching user "wants" with site provisions.

Unique User
One individual user to a site, they may visit once or return often, but will still count as one unique user.

Universal Resource Locator (web address e.g.

Viral Marketing
Marketing which is self promoting. The core idea must be appealing enough so the public take on the role of 'spreading the message'. It can be incredibly effective, but control of the campaign is handed over to the general public, who either embrace it and forward it – or not. (www.subservientchicken by Burger King).

Visitor Session
A full visit by a user to a website from start to finish of that visit. This is usually considered complete if a user is inactive for a set length of time.

Web Trawler
See Robots


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