SEO Jargon Buster: An A to Z

looking up 'glossary' in dictionary

Search engine optimisation, commonly referred to as SEO, is the process of optimising your website and other online content for the search engines. SEO is important because the search engines index the Internet’s content using robots, and robots do not work in quite the same way as people do.

Due to the way in which the search engine robots read, categorise, index and rank content, webmasters need to modify their content in such a way that it is more machine readable without sacrificing quality or human readability.

As is the case with any form of online marketing, SEO has plenty of jargon associated with it. The following takes a look at some of the most common terminology which SEO beginners will need to familiarise themselves with.

Where applicable we have also included links in the titles so you can learn more.


301 redirect

A permanent redirect of a website URL to another address.


302 redirect

Used for when you are temporarily redirecting a website URL to another address.


404 error

A response code displayed by a website or server when trying to load a website link that either does not exist, or is broken.



Google’s pay-per-click advertising program, and the most popular of its kind. AdWords displays relevant advertisements based on the content of the page.



A computer program which determines the way in which content is read and indexed.


Anchor text

The visible text used to display a link, such as reference this very ‘SEO Jargon Buster’


Alt text

A description of an image which is usually hidden from human viewers, but is visible to the search engines.


(Google) Analytics

A program by Google used to gather important statistics and other information about website usage.



The degree of trust accredited to a particular website and a measure of the quality of its content.


Back link

Any link to your website from another website on the Internet.


Black hat

SEO practices which go against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, such as cloaking, hidden text and doorway pages.


Bounce rate

The number of visitors who visit a website without navigating to any other pages on that site.



The practice of displaying different content to the search engines from that which is displayed to visitors. This is a common black hat SEO technique.


CMS (Content Management System)

A program that manages the publishing, editing, and modifying of content from a central interface. Examples include WordPress and Joomla.



The text of ‘copy’ of a webpage.


CPC (Cost per Click)

The amount paid by the advertiser when someone clicks on a pay-per-click advertisement.


CPM (Cost per Thousand Impressions)

A statistic used to show the average value / cost of a PPC advert.



Also known as a spider, bot or robot, a crawler is a search engine program which visits your website in order to read and index it.


Doorway page

A hidden page intended to be displayed only to the search engines rather than human readers. This is another common black hat SEO technique.


Duplicate content

Website content that is duplicated or heavily plagiarised from elsewhere on the internet, whether on your own site or somebody else’s. Google considers this a low quality indicator and can devalue / der-rank offending web pages or even issue a penalty.



Google’s own crawler; used for seeking out new web pages and changes to existing web pages.


HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language)

The standard markup language / code which is used to create web pages.



A single page view by a visitor to your website.



The process whereby the search engines add your website to the search engine indexes.



A word or phrase people enter into the search engines. SEO largely revolves around matching keywords integrated into your content with those which people are most likely to search for in order to reach your website.


Keyword research

The process of determining which keywords to target in your SEO campaign. A popular keyword research tool is the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.


Keyword stuffing

The practice of overusing keywords in your content, a common black hat SEO technique.


Landing page

The page people end up on when clicking a link in the search engines or elsewhere on the Web.



An element on a webpage that allows you to click and be directed to a different URL / web page.


Link bait

A webpage designed primarily for attracting links, particularly through social media websites.


Link building

The process of gathering / creating incoming links to a website with the purpose of obtaining a better ranking in a search engine for the desired keywords.


Link farm

A group of websites which all link to one another with the sole focus of unfairly obtaining a better ranking in a search engine for the desired keywords. Considered a breach of Google’s quality guidelines.


Long-tail Keyword

Longer and more specific and niche search engine queries typically consisting of three or more words.


META tags

Snippets of code in the header section of a webpage containing important information about the page, such as a title and description which accompany search engine results.



A measurement used by analytics software such as Google Analytics.



A command placed in the header section of a webpage telling the search engine crawlers to ignore a link.



A command placed in the header section of a webpage telling the search engine crawlers not to index the page.


Page rank

A value assigned by Google which helps to determine the popularity and authority of a webpage.


PPC (Pay Per Click)

A form of online advertising where advertisers pay advertising agencies (such as Facebook Ads and Google Adwords) for each click they receive to their ad.



Any of several ways of redirecting a particular URL to a different, active, webpage.



A text file in the root directory of a website containing commands to control the behaviour of the search engine robots.


SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

The practice of optimising a website for the benefit of internet search engine and improved rankings.


SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

The practice of marketing a website using the search engines by way of SEO or paid search engine listings.



The page displayed when someone enters a search query into Google or another search engine.



A webpage that presents clearly every single page accessible on a website for end user navigational purposes, and to benefit web crawlers.


Social Media Marketing

Marketing a product or band via social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.



Another term for “web crawler” or “bot”. Used by search engines to find new and updated web pages across the internet.


Static page

A webpage which stays the same rather than being constantly updated and modified as is the case with blogs and other news websites. Static pages are particularly search engine-friendly.


URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A complete webpage address.


White hat

SEO practices which meet Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Written by

Nathan Preedy

Nathan has been with since 2005 and has a background in Technical Support. He is passionate about helping customers find the best product for them and use it to its full potential.