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SEO Glossary – Poplular terms and Definitions

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SEO Glossary

SEO Glossary

SEO Glossary



Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a process of revenue sharing that allows merchants to duplicate sales efforts by enlisting other web sites as a type of outside sales force. Successful affiliate marketing programs result in the merchant attracting additional buyers, and the affiliate earning the equivalent of a referral fee, based on click-through referrals to the merchant site.


An algorithm is a set of rules that a search engine uses to rank listings in response to a query. Search engines guard their algorithms closely, as they are the unique formulas used to determine relevancy. Algorithms are sometimes referred to as the ”secret sauce.”

Alt Text

ALT text is also known as alternative text or alt attribute. An HTML tag (ALT tag) used to provide images with a text description in the event images are turned off in a web browser. The images text description is usually visible while “hovering” over the image. This tag is also important for the web access of the visually impaired. See also: Title.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the words used to link to a page, known as anchor text are an important signal to search engines to determine a page’s relevance.

Automatic Optimization

Automatic optimization is when search engines identify which ad for an individual advertiser demonstrates the highest CTR (click-through rate) as time progresses, and then optimizes the ad serve, showing that ad more often than other ads in the same Ad Group/Ad Order.



Backlinks are simply all the links pointing at a particular web page. Also called inbound links.


COA – Cost of Acquisition

Acronym for Cost of Acquisition (COA), which is how much it costs to acquire a conversion (desired action), such as a sale.

CPA – Cost Per Acquisition

Acronym for Cost Per Acquisition or Cost Per Action (CPA), which is the total cost of an ad campaign divided by the number of conversions. This is a metric used to measure the total monetary cost of each sale, lead or action from start to finish. i.e., cost = $100, conversions = 5, CPA = $100 / 5 =  $20 to generate each conversion.

CPC – Cost Per Click

Acronym for Cost Per Click (CPC), or the amount search engines charge advertisers for every click that sends a searcher to the advertiser’s web site. For an advertiser, CPC is the total cost for each click-through received when its ad is clicked on.

CPM – Cost Per Thousand Impressions

Acronym for Cost Per Thousand Impressions. CPM is a standard monetization model for offline display ad space, as well as for some context-based networks serving online search ads to, for example, web publishers and sites.

CPO – Cost Per Order

Acronym for Cost Per Order (CPO) or Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). The dollar amount of advertising or marketing necessary to acquire an order. Calculated by dividing marketing expenses by the number of orders.

CTR – Click-Through Rate

Acronym for Click-Through Rate (CTR), the number of clicks that an ad gets, divided by the total number of times that ad is displayed or served. (Represented as: total clicks / total impressions for a specific ad = CTR).

Click Through

Click through, is when a user clicks on a hypertext link and is taken to the destination of that link.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rates are measurements that determine how many of your prospects perform the prescribed or desired action step. The number of visitors who convert (take a desired action at your site) after clicking through on your ad, divided by the total number of click-throughs to your site for that ad. Higher conversion rates generally translate into more successful PPC campaigns with a better ROI.


DKI – Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Acronym for Dynamic Keyword Insertion, the insertion of the EXACT keywords a searcher included in his or her search request in the returned ad title or description. As an advertiser, you have bid on a table or cluster of these keyword variations, and DKI makes your ad listings more relevant to each searcher.

Deep Linking

Deep Linking is linking that guides, directs and links a click-through searcher (or a search engine crawler) to a very specific and relevant product or category web page from search terms and PPC ads.

Description Tag

Description Tag – Refers to the information contained in the description META tag. This tag is meant to hold the brief description of the web page it is included on. The information contained in this tag is generally the description displayed immediately after the main link on many search engine result pages.


The DisplayURL is the web page URL that one actually sees in a PPC text ad. Display URL usually appears as the last line in the ad; it may be a simplified path for the longer actual URL, which is not visible.

Doorway Page

A Doorway Page is a web page specifically created in order to obtain rankings within the natural listings of a search engine. These pages generally are filled with keywords and are meant to funnel surfers into the main web site. This practice is generally considered an outdated spam tactic. This term is not to be confused with a “landing page.”

Dynamic Landing Pages

The Dynamic Landing Pages are web pages to which click-through searchers are sent that generate changeable (not static) pages with content specifically relevant to the keyword search. For example, if a user is looking for trucks, then a dynamic landing page with information and pictures on multiple models and, possibly, geographically localized dealerships might be served.

Dynamic Text (Insertion)

Dynamic Text (Insertion) is text, a keyword or ad copy that customizes search ads returned to a searcher by using parameters to insert the desired text somewhere in the title or ad. When the search query matches the defined parameter, then the associated term is plugged into the ad. Dynamic insertion makes the ad mirror exact terms used in the search query, creating very relevant ads. See also DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion).


eCPM – Effective Cost Per Thousand

Acronym for Effective Cost Per Thousand, a hybrid Cost-Per-Click (CPC) auction calculated by multiplying the CPC times the Click Through Rate (CTR), and multiplying that by one thousand. (Represented by: (CPC x CTR) x 1000 = eCPM.) This monetization model is used by Google to rank site-targeted CPM ads (in the Google content network) against keyword-targeted CPC ads (Google AdWords PPC) in their hybrid auction.


Ecommerce is conducting commercial transactions on the internet where goods, information or services are bought and sold.

Entry Page

An Entry Page or Landing Page refers to any page within a web site that a user employs to “enter” your web site.


FFA – Free for All

Stands for “Free for All” link pages. These are not search engines or directories. They are, for the most part, pages that simply take URL submissions that usually stay active for a period of time. A submission is placed at the top of their list and then moved down, and eventually out, as other submissions are made. These are seen as outdated and were used in an attempt to artificially inflate link popularity.



The geographic location of the searcher. Geo-Targeting allows you to specify where your ads will or won’t be shown based on the searcher’s location, enabling more localized and personalized results.



A Hit, is the request or retrieval of any item located within a web page. For example, if a user enters a web page with 5 pictures on it, it would be counted as 6 “hits.” One hit is counted for the web page itself, and another 5 hits count for the pictures.



An impression is one view or display of an ad. Ad reports list total impressions per ad, which tells you the number of times your ad was served by the search engine when searchers entered your keywords (or viewed a content page containing your keywords).

Index (Search Engine)

A search engine’s “index” refers to the amount of documents found by a search engines crawler on the web.



Keyword / Keyword Phrase

A keyword or keyword phrase is a specific word or multiple words (called Long Tail) or combination of words that a searcher might type into a search field.

Keyword Density

The keyword density is the number of times a keyword or keyword phrase is used in the body of a page. This is a percentage value determined by the number of words on the page, as opposed to the number of times the specific keyword appears within it. The higher the number of times a keyword appears in a page, the higher its density.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing, generally refers to the act of adding an inordinate number of keyword terms into the HTML or tags of a web page. (Don’t do it, you’ll get banned by the search engines).

Keyword Tag

The term keyword tag, refers to the META keywords tag within a web page. This tag is meant to hold approximately 8 – 10 keywords or keyword phrases, separated by commas. Because of misuse, keyword tags are generally no longer used by the search engines.

KPI – Key Performance Indicators

KPI are metrics used to quantify objectives that reflect the strategic performance of your online marketing campaigns. They provide business and marketing intelligence to assess a measurable objective and the direction in which that objective is headed.


Landing Page

The web page at which a searcher arrives after clicking on an ad. When creating a PPC ad, the advertiser displays a URL on which the searcher will land after clicking on an ad in the search engine results page (SERPs).

LSI – Latent Semantic Indexing

LSI uses word associations to help search engines know more accurately what a page is about.

Lead Generation

Web sites that generate leads for products or services offered by another company.

Link Farming

The attempt to substantially and artificially increase link popularity.

Link Popularity

Link popularity generally refers to the total number of links pointing to any particular URL. If you have more external “links” than your competitors, you are typically known to have link cardinality or link superiority.

Long-Tail Keywords

A Longtail (Long-tail) Keyword phrases has at least three and sometimes four or five, words in them. These long tail keywords are usually highly specific and draw lower traffic than shorter, more competitive keyword phrases, and are hence, generally cheaper in PPC campaigns.



A system of measures that helps to quantify particular characteristics. In SEO the following are some important metrics to measure: overall traffic, search engine traffic, conversions, top traffic-driving keywords, top conversion-driving keywords, keyword rankings.


Negative Keywords

The purpose of negative keywords or excluded keywords (Microsoft adCenter) is to prevent ad being served on them so avoiding irrelevant click-through charges in PPC campaigns.


Organic Results

Organic Search Listing

Organic results or natural results are listings on search engine results pages (SERPs) which are free. Sites appear solely because a search engine has deemed it editorially important for them to be included, regardless of payment.


PPC – Pay Per Click

Pay-Per-Click advertising, a model of online advertising in which advertisers pay only for each click on their ads that directs searchers to a specified landing page on the advertiser’s web site.

PR – PageRank

PageRank is the Google technology developed at Stanford University for placing importance on pages and web sites. At one point, PageRank (PR) was a major factor in rankings. Today it is one of hundreds of factors in the algorithm that determines a page’s rankings on search engines.

Paid Inclusion

Paid inclusion, refers to the process of paying a fee to a search engine in order to be included in that search engine or directory. Also known as “guaranteed inclusion.” Paid inclusion does not impact rankings of a web page; it merely guarantees that the web page itself will be included in the index. These programs were typically used by web sites that were not being fully crawled or were incapable of being crawled, due to dynamic URL structures.



ROAS – Return On Advertising Spending

Return On Advertising Spending is the profit generated by an ad campaigns conversions per dollar spent on advertising expenses. Calculated by dividing advertising-driven profit by ad spending.

ROI – Return On Investment

Return On Investment is the amount of money you make on your ads compared to the amount of money you spend on your ads. For example, if you spend $100 on PPC ads and make $150 from those ads, then your ROI would be 50%. (Calculated as: ($150 – $100) / 100 = $50 / 100 = 50%.) The higher your ROI, the more successful your advertising.


SEM – Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing is a form of internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs). SEM methods include: search engine optimization (SEO), paid placement, contextual advertising, digital asset optimization, and paid inclusion.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is the process of editing a web site’s content and code in order to improve visibility within one or more search engines.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page

The Search Engine Results Page, is the page delivered to a searcher that displays the results of a search query entered into the search field. Displays both paid ad (sponsored) and organic listings in varying positions or rank.

Sponsored Listing

A Sponsored Listing is a term used to identify paid advertisers on SERPs and distinguish between paid and organic listings. Alternate names are Paid Listings or Paid Sponsors. This separation resulted from an FTC complaint filed by Commercial Alert in 2001 alleging that the confusion caused in consumers who saw mixed paid and unpaid results constituted fraud in advertising.



Targeting is the narrowly focusing of ads and keywords to attract a specific, marketing-profiled searcher and potential customer. Targeting features vary by search engine.

Title Tag

A Title Tag <title> is a HTML tag appearing in the <head> tag of a web page that contains the page title. The contents of a title tag for a web page is generally displayed in a search engine result as a bold blue underlined hyperlink.


A TrackingURL is a specially designed and/or unique URL created to track an action or conversion from paid advertising. The URL can include strings that will show what keyword was used, what match type was triggered, and what search engine delivered the visitor.


Traffic refers to the number of visitors a website receives.


Unique Visitor

A Unique Visitor is an actual web surfer (as opposed to a web crawler or bot) and is tracked by a unique identifiable quality (typically IP address or Cookie). If a visitor comes to a web site and clicks on 100 links, it is still only counted as one unique visit.


Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing or viral advertising, refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness. The awareness increases are the result of self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses.






Source for this SEO Glossary and Recommended Glossaries

Sempo.org, Wikipedia


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