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SEO Terms and Definitions

This comprehensive glossary of frequently used SEO terms is your ultimate guide to mastering the art of search engine optimization. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned SEO professional, this resource will empower you with the knowledge and insights you need to succeed.


Access Log: A record that tracks all requests made for individual files by users or bots on a website, providing insights into website traffic and user behavior.

Alt Text (Alternative Text): Textual descriptions associated with images, which assist screen readers (for visually impaired users) and aid search engines in understanding image content. Optimizing alt text is crucial for accessibility and image SEO.

AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages): A Google-backed project aimed at speeding up the mobile web by creating lightweight versions of web pages that load swiftly on mobile devices using a specialized HTML framework.

Anchor Texts: The visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. It is significant for SEO as it provides context about the link’s destination, influencing both user experience and search engine rankings.

Authority Score: A comprehensive Semrush metric evaluating a domain’s overall quality and its influence on SEO, factoring in aspects such as backlink quality, organic traffic, and potential spam indicators.

Average Difficulty: A Semrush metric that aggregates the keyword difficulty scores of all keywords in a given list, offering an overview of the competitive landscape for SEO within a specific market niche.

Average Position: Reflects the mean ranking position of a domain’s keywords across its SEO campaign, calculated by averaging the positions of all tracked keywords, with unranked keywords assigned a value of 100 for calculation purposes.


Black Hat SEO: Unethical practices attempting to game search engine algorithms, often resulting in penalties or website removal from search results.

Backlink: A link from one website to another. Backlinks are a crucial factor in determining a website’s authority and ranking in search results.

Bounce Rate: A metric indicating the percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing only one page, often used to assess page content and user engagement quality.

Breadcrumbs: A navigational aid that shows the user’s location within a website’s hierarchy, enhancing user experience and website structure clarity for both users and search engines.


Call to Action (CTA): A directive to users prompting an immediate response or action, such as “Buy Now” or “Subscribe,” crucial for converting visitors into leads or customers.

Carousel: A Google SERP feature displaying a scrollable list of images or content snippets at the top of the search results, offering users a visual overview of related topics or products.

Conversion Rate: The ratio of users who take a desired action (such as making a purchase or filling out a form) to the total number of visitors, indicating the effectiveness of a website or campaign in achieving its goals.

Click Potential: A measure of the likelihood that a website will receive clicks if it appears at the top of search engine results, considering the impact of SERP features on organic click-through rates.

Clickstream Data: Information collected about the sequence of clicks or actions users take while navigating through websites, useful for analyzing user behavior and optimizing web design.

Common Keywords: Keywords for which multiple domains are ranked among the top search results on Google, indicating shared relevance and competition in the digital landscape.

Content Management System (CMS): Software that facilitates website creation and content management, often with SEO features built-in (e.g., WordPress, Shopify). Choosing an SEO-friendly CMS is important.

Content Optimization: The process of creating and improving web content to rank higher in search results for relevant keywords. This involves keyword research, content structure, and readability.

Conversion (Goal): The achievement of a predefined action on a website, such as completing a purchase or signing up for a newsletter, used as a key performance indicator for digital marketing strategies.

CPC (Cost Per Click): The average cost an advertiser pays each time a user clicks on their advertisement, pivotal for budgeting and strategizing PPC campaigns.

Crawl Budget: The maximum number of pages a search engine bot is willing to crawl on a website within a certain timeframe, influenced by the site’s popularity and internal link structure.

Cross Group Negatives: A PPC strategy that involves using one ad group’s keywords as negative keywords for another ad group within the same campaign, optimizing ad relevance and preventing self-competition.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): A stylesheet language used to describe the presentation of a document written in HTML or XML, controlling visual elements like layout, colors, and fonts, enhancing web design and user experience.

CTR (Click-Through Rate): A performance metric that calculates the ratio of clicks to impressions for online advertisements or search engine results, indicating the effectiveness of ads or listings in attracting user attention.

Crawler (Bot, Robot, Spider): Software used by search engines to systematically browse the web, discover new pages, and update their index.

Canonical Tag (<link rel="canonical">): A way to manage duplicate content issues. This tag indicates to search engines which version of a page (with near-identical content) should be considered the “main” version, consolidating ranking signals.

Canonical URL: The preferred version of a web page that search engines should index and display. This helps avoid duplicate content issues.

Core Web Vitals: A set of Google metrics that evaluate essential aspects of a website’s user experience, including loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability, influencing search rankings.

Caching: The process of storing frequently accessed resources (images, scripts, etc.) in a temporary location (browser cache or server-side cache) so they can be loaded faster on subsequent visits.

CDN (Content Delivery Network): A network of geographically distributed servers that deliver website content to users based on their location, aiming to improve loading speed.

Compression: The process of encoding website assets (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) in smaller file formats (like GZIP) to reduce data transfer and speed up load times.

Critical Rendering Path (CRP): The sequence of steps the browser must take to render critical page content for the user. Optimizing the CRP ensures the fastest possible display of the above-the-fold area.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): The amount of unexpected layout shift that occurs during the loading of a web page.


Domain Authority: A measure of a website’s overall strength and trustworthiness based on its backlink profile.

Declined Keywords: In Semrush, keywords that have seen a decrease in ranking positions but remain within the top 100 search results, highlighting areas for SEO improvement.

Direct Traffic: Visitors who arrive at a website directly, typically by typing the URL into their browser or using a bookmark, bypassing search engines or referral links.

Disavow: A tool provided by Google allowing webmasters to request the search engine to ignore specific backlinks that are harmful to the site’s SEO, helping recover from penalties related to low-quality links.

Disavow File: A file containing a list of backlinks that a website owner requests Google to exclude from their site’s backlink profile, aiming to improve search ranking and avoid penalties.

Duplicate Content: Significant blocks of near-identical content that exists across multiple URLs, either on one website or spread across the web. Duplicate content can create indexing issues and dilute ranking potential.

Dynamic Serving: A technique where a website delivers different HTML code depending on the user’s device (desktop, mobile, etc.). This ensures the website looks and functions correctly on various screen sizes and browsers.


E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness): Google’s criteria for evaluating the quality of a web page and its content. High E-A-T signals can improve a website’s ranking.

Estimated Traffic: An approximation of the volume of visitors a website receives, calculated based on various factors such as organic search rankings and paid advertising performance, providing insights into a site’s online visibility and reach.


Featured Snippet: A search engine results page feature that provides users with a concise answer or summary directly on the SERP, often extracted from a webpage and displayed above the traditional organic results, enhancing visibility and traffic for the featured page.

Flat Site Structure: A website architecture where most pages can be reached within a few clicks from the homepage. This helps search engines easily crawl and understand the relationships between your pages.

First Contentful Paint (FCP): The time it takes for the first piece of content to be rendered on a web page.

Follow Links: Hyperlinks that allow search engines to follow and pass link equity to the linked webpage, contributing positively to the recipient’s page SEO and overall domain authority.


GDPR: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a significant piece of legislation in EU law focusing on data protection and privacy within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also governs the transfer of personal data outside these regions.

Google AdSense: A program by Google that allows website publishers in the Google Network to serve advertisements (text, images, video, or interactive media) that are relevant to site content and audience, managed by Google.

Google Analytics (GA): A free service provided by Google that tracks and reports website traffic, offering insights into user behavior and website performance.

GoogleBot: Google’s web crawling bot (sometimes called a “spider”) that indexes new and updated pages to be added to the Google index.

Google Business Profile: A free tool from Google that allows local businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps, helping improve visibility.

Google Algorithm: A complex set of rules and calculations used by Google to retrieve data from its search index and instantly deliver the best possible results for a query. The algorithm considers factors like relevance, location, and personalization.

Google Looker Studio: A free tool from Google that allows the customization of reports and dashboards using data from various sources, enhancing data visualization and analysis.

Google Tag Manager (GTM) Installation: GTM is a powerful tool that streamlines the management of tracking codes, analytics scripts, and other website tags. Proper installation involves placing two GTM code snippets: one as high in the <head> section of your pages as possible, and the other immediately after the opening <body> tag.

Google Search Console: A free suite of tools provided by Google for analyzing and monitoring a website’s performance in search results. Search Console offers insights into indexing, visibility, and potential technical issues.


Hreflang Tag (<link rel="alternate" hreflang="lang_code">): An essential element for international SEO, this tag tells search engines about different language or regional versions of your pages. Using Hreflang ensures the most appropriate version is shown to searchers based on their location and language preferences.

Heading Tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.): HTML elements used to structure a page’s content hierarchy. Proper heading tag use signals topic relevance to search engines.

Heat Map: A visual representation of data where values are depicted by color, often used to show areas of a webpage that receive the most attention from users, such as clicks or eye movements.

Historical Data: Data that allows the analysis of trends over time, enabling research on keywords and domains based on past performance. It’s valuable for understanding shifts in search behavior and market dynamics.

HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security): A security feature that enforces secure connections on the web by directing browsers to use HTTPS, enhancing privacy and security by preventing “man-in-the-middle” attacks.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language): The foundational language of the web used for creating and structuring content on the internet. HTML tags define elements like headings, paragraphs, links, and other content types.

HTTP: The Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the foundation of data communication on the World Wide Web, used for transmitting hypermedia documents, such as HTML.

HTTPS: An extension of HTTP, Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol adds security to communications with SSL/TLS encryption, protecting data exchange between websites and browsers.


Index: The massive database search engines maintain of all the web pages they have discovered. To appear in search results, a page needs to be indexed.

Image Optimization: The process of reducing the file size of images without sacrificing quality to improve page load time.

Internal Linking: The practice of linking to other pages on the same website. Internal linking helps distribute PageRank and improve user experience.

Improved Keywords: In the context of SEMrush, these are keywords for which a domain’s ranking has improved within the top 100 search results, indicating positive SEO progress.

Indexed Pages: Web pages that have been discovered by search engines and added to their index, making them eligible to appear in search results.

IP Address: A unique numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication, identifying and enabling devices to communicate with each other.


Keyword: A word or phrase that users enter into search engines to find information.

Keyword Density: The percentage of times a keyword appears on a web page. Overly high keyword density can be seen as spam and harm rankings.

Keyword Research: The process of identifying the keywords that users are searching for in relation to your website’s content.

Keyword Stuffing: The unethical practice of excessively using keywords on a web page to manipulate search engine rankings.


Lazy Loading: A technique that defers the loading of non-critical resources (images, videos) until they are needed, improving initial page load time.

Landing Page: A webpage that visitors land on after clicking a link or digital advertisement. It’s designed specifically to receive and convert traffic from online marketing campaigns.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): A critical Core Web Vitals metric measuring the load time of the largest content piece on a webpage, such as an image or text block, from the moment the page starts loading.

Link: A clickable element on a webpage that directs the user to a different page or section within the same page, facilitating navigation and information hierarchy.

Link Building: A strategic process in digital marketing aimed at increasing the number of inbound links to a website, thereby boosting the site’s SEO performance and visibility.

Link Juice: The SEO value passed from one site to another through hyperlinks, enhancing the recipient site’s authority and ranking potential.

Linkbait: Content specifically crafted to attract and earn backlinks from other websites, enhancing a site’s link profile and SEO strength.

Local Finder: Google’s extended list of local businesses that appears upon clicking “More Places” in search results, offering detailed local business listings.

Local Pack: A Google SERP feature displaying a concise list of local businesses relevant to a query, complete with essential information and a map.

Local SEO: Optimization techniques focused on improving visibility for local searches (those with city or region-specific intent).

Local Teaser: Similar to the Local Pack, this Google SERP feature focuses on businesses like hotels and restaurants, integrating reservation options and displaying results alongside a map.

Long Tail Keyword: Longer, more specific search queries that, despite lower search volumes, have higher conversion potential due to their specificity. They are crucial for targeted SEO and PPC strategies.


Meta Description: An HTML tag that provides a brief summary of a webpage’s content. Search engines often display the meta description in SERPs. A compelling meta description can entice users to click on your search result.

Meta Tags: HTML tags in the section of a page providing metadata about the webpage, including information not visible to users but crucial for SEO, like page descriptions and keywords.

Meta Title: An HTML tag defining a webpage’s title, distinct from on-page headings, displayed on browser tabs and as the clickable headline in search engine results, crucial for SEO and user experience.

Microdata: A specification for embedding structured data within HTML content, enhancing the readability and analyzability of webpages by search engines for better content categorization.

Minification: The process of removing unnecessary characters from code files (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) to reduce file size and improve page load time.

Mobile SEO: The practice of optimizing a website for mobile devices to improve its ranking in mobile search results.


Negative Keywords: Specific keywords excluded from Google Ads campaigns to prevent ads from showing on irrelevant searches, optimizing ad spend and improving campaign ROI.

Noindex: This tag or directive (in the page’s HTML or robots.txt file) instructs search engines not to include a specific page in their index. This is useful for pages you don’t want to appear in search results, like admin areas or thank-you pages.

Not–provided: A placeholder in Google Analytics for withheld popular organic search keywords, necessitating third-party tools for uncovering these hidden keywords for improved SEO insights.

Number of Results: The total count of search results returned by a search engine for a specific query, indicating the breadth of content available for that topic.


Off-Page SEO: Activities that take place outside of a website to improve its ranking, such as link building and social media marketing.

On-Page SEO: The optimization of individual web pages for relevant keywords and search engine crawlers. This includes title tag, meta description, content optimization, and internal linking.

Online Visibility: A measure of a business or brand’s presence on the internet, crucial for reaching more customers. Enhanced through various digital marketing strategies like SEO, PPC, and social media marketing.

Open Graph: A markup protocol allowing web content to be richly represented as objects on social networks, enhancing content sharing across platforms with specific media types like images and videos.

Organic Search Results: Unpaid search results ranked by relevance, popularity, and SEO efforts, as opposed to paid advertisements, reflecting the natural authority and content quality of webpages.

Orphaned Pages: Webpages within a site that lack internal linking, making them difficult for users and search engines to discover, potentially hindering site navigation and SEO performance.

Outreach: The proactive effort of acquiring backlinks through direct communication with website owners, part of a broader link-building strategy to enhance a site’s SEO profile.


PageRank: A core part of Google’s original search algorithm, PageRank measures a website’s importance based on the quantity and quality of backlinks (links from other websites). While still a factor, it holds less influence in today’s complex ranking systems.

Page Title: Also known as the title tag, an HTML element specifying a webpage’s title, displayed on browser tabs and as the clickable headline in search engine results, essential for SEO and user orientation.

Page View: A metric representing a single instance of a user viewing a webpage, important for analyzing site traffic and user engagement levels.

Pagination: The practice of dividing web content across multiple pages, often with numbered navigation, to improve readability and site structure, with implications for SEO and user experience.

Position (Pos): The rank of a website’s page in search engine results for a specific query, indicating the visibility and SEO performance of the content in question.

PPA (Pay Per Action): An advertising model where payment is made based on specific actions taken by users, such as conversions, offering a performance-based approach to digital advertising.

PPC (Pay Per Click): A model of internet advertising that directs traffic to websites, where advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner) when the ad is clicked, central to many digital marketing campaigns.

Purchase Conversion: A metric indicating the number of visits that result in a conversion action, such as a sale or lead generation, crucial for measuring the effectiveness of marketing efforts and user intent.


Quality Score: Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads, influencing ad position and cost, based on factors like click-through rate and landing page quality.

Query: A word or phrase entered into a search engine by a user looking for information, the starting point for most online interactions and a key focus of SEO and content marketing.


Readability Score: A measure based on the Flesch–Kincaid test assessing how easy it is to understand a text, with scores ranging from 0 to 100. Higher scores indicate easier comprehension, guiding content creation for targeted audience engagement.

Redirect: Methods used to send users and search engines to a different URL from the one they initially requested, important for maintaining site structure and user experience during site updates or migrations.

Referral Traffic: Website visitors arriving from direct links on other websites rather than directly or from search engines, important for understanding how users find your site and the value of backlinks.

Referrer: The source from which a website visitor came, providing insights into how users navigate the internet and discover content, valuable for analyzing traffic sources and optimizing marketing strategies.

Relevancy: The degree to which content matches the user’s search query and intentions, a critical factor in search engine ranking algorithms and in delivering a positive user experience.

Render-Blocking Resources: Scripts or stylesheets that prevent the browser from quickly displaying page content. Deferring or minimizing render-blocking resources can significantly improve page speed.

Responsive Design: A web design methodology that uses flexible layouts and CSS media queries to adapt a website’s appearance seamlessly across various devices. This is Google’s recommended approach for mobile-friendliness.

Results: The total number of listings returned by a search engine in response to a specific query, reflecting the volume of content available and the competitiveness of the search term.

Reviews: A SERP feature displaying user-generated evaluations of businesses, products, or services directly within search results, influencing consumer perceptions and decisions through visible ratings and feedback.

Rich Snippet: Enhanced search result entries that provide additional data beyond the basic title and description, such as ratings, images, and other context-specific information, derived from structured data markup on a webpage.

Robots.txt: A public file used by webmasters to guide web crawlers on how to interact with their website, specifying which parts of the site should not be processed or indexed by search engines.

ROI (Return on Investment): The calculation used to assess the efficiency and profitability of an investment, comparing the net gain to the cost, fundamental in evaluating the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and business initiatives.

Root Domain: The primary domain of a website, encompassing all subdomains and pages under it, serving as the foundational web address from which all other site structures are derived.


Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs): The pages displayed by a search engine like Google when a user enters a search query. SERPs often include various features like ads, knowledge panels, and featured snippets along with traditional organic results.

Schema Markup: Structured data that provides additional information about a web page’s content to search engines, leading to richer snippets in SERPs.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The process of improving a website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) through various technical and creative strategies.

Semantic Search: The ability of search engines to understand the meaning and intent behind a user’s search query, allowing for more relevant results.

Search Intent: The underlying goal of a user’s search query. Optimizing content to align with search intent (informational, navigational, transactional, etc.) is essential for ranking success.

Separate Mobile URLs: A less common approach where a website has dedicated desktop and mobile versions with distinct URLs (often using a ‘m.’ subdomain). This setup is more challenging to maintain than responsive design.

Sitemap: An organized model of a website’s content designed to help both users and search engines navigate the site, often submitted to search engines to aid in more efficient crawling and indexing.

Spam: Unsolicited, often irrelevant messages sent over the internet, typically to a large number of users, for the purposes of advertising, phishing, spreading malware, etc.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer): A standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client—typically a web server (website) and a browser, or a mail server and a mail client (e.g., Outlook).

Structured Data: Code in a specific format, written in such a way that search engines understand it. Structured data is used to describe products, reviews, events, and more, and it’s a key factor in how machines understand content.

Subdomain: A prefix to a domain name, used to create a separate area of the site that can operate as an independent entity or as part of the main site, often used for blogs or e-commerce stores.


Technical SEO: The optimization of a website’s technical infrastructure to improve its crawling, indexing, and ranking in search engines. This includes site speed, mobile optimization, and structured data.

Title Tag: The HTML element that specifies the title of a web page, displayed in search results and browser tabs. An optimized title tag can improve CTR.

Time to First Byte (TTFB): The amount of time it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of data from the web server. Optimizing TTFB involves factors like server response time, network latency, and dynamic content generation.


User Experience (UX): The overall experience a user has when interacting with a website. Good UX can improve engagement and SEO performance.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator): The address of a resource on the internet, indicating the location of a webpage or file on a server and how it can be accessed (via HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, etc.).

V – W

Voice Search: The use of voice commands to perform searches on a device. Optimizing for voice search can increase visibility for users who prefer this method.

White Hat SEO: The practice of optimizing websites using techniques and strategies that follow search engine rules and policies, focusing on providing value to users.

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301 Redirect (Permanent Redirect): A signal to search engines that a webpage has been permanently moved to a new location. This ensures that users and search engines are directed to the correct page, and it passes most of the original page’s ranking power to the new address.

302 Redirect (Temporary Redirect): Used when a webpage is unavailable for a short period (e.g., due to maintenance). It signals to search engines that the original page will be back, and it does not pass ranking power to the temporary location.

307 redirect – An HTTP status code that indicates a temporary redirect – the resource requested has been temporarily moved to the URL given by the Location headers. The difference from 302 is that with the advent of HTTP 1.1, 307 has replaced it as a valid temporary redirect. While a 302 is a little vague, 307 states precisely that the requested URL has been moved to a temporary location and will be back in a while.

403: An HTTP status code that indicates that a client is forbidden from accessing a valid URL. The server understands the request but can’t fulfill it because of client-side issues.

404: An HTTP status code that indicates when a webpage or document that can no longer be found by the server via the given URL.

500 Internal Server Error: An HTTP status code that indicates that the server, while working as a gateway to get a response needed to handle the request, got an invalid response.

502 Bad Gateway: An HTTP status code that indicates that the server has encountered a situation it doesn’t know how to handle.

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