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SEO Terms and Definitions

Get a better understanding of SEO.

Listed below are commonly used words and phrases pertaining to search engine optimization (SEO). Please feel free to reference or link to the page from your website or blog. If you have any suggestions that would help readers understand SEO, please feel free to contact us with your suggestion.


301 Redirect - process of redirecting an old web page to a new web page. 301 implies that the change is permanent and not temporary. If you have changed web page names or the page no longer exist, always use 301 Redirect. This way users and search engines will be automatically redirected to correct page. Search engines frown upon broken links and may even stop indexing your website if the spider should have problems finding web pages on your site.

Alt Tag - HTML tag used within a image tag to provide alternate text when images cannot be found or displayed.

Anchor Tag - HTML tag that allows you to create a link to another web page, document, or to a bookmark within the current web page.

B2B - (Business to Business) marketing strategy that involves transactions between businesses.

B2C - (Business to Consumer) transaction of goods or services directly to the end consumer.

Backlink - links from one website and pointing to another website or web page.

Black Hat SEO - unaccepted SEO practices used to get higher rankings in search engines. Search engines work very hard to find and remove websites using Black Hat SEO methods.

Blog - (Web Log) an online journal or commentary on specific subject, where users can typically interact by leaving comments.

Bot - programs created to search the web automatically to index web pages, collect emails, spam and so on. Search engine bots are also referred to as spiders.

Cloaking - process of showing a different web page to a search engine spider than what is actually seen by viewers, method is commonly used by spammers.

Contextual Links - backlinks that are embedded within the content of a web page, and are surrounded by other content.

CPC - (Cost Per Click) typical rate of measuring the expense involved with acquiring web traffic.

CTR - (Click Through Rate) method of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign. Calculated by dividing the number of users who clicked on an ad by the number of times the ad was shown (also called impressions).

Dynamic Website - a website whose content is not fixed. Content shown on a web page is based on user-selected input, text or images may change on a specific date or time using scripts, can also be controlled by databases or software such as a CMS (Content Management System).

Google PageRank - is a numeric value that represents how important a page is on the web.

Indexing - term used to describe when a search engine finds content on the web and lists it in its search results. Search engines keep all the data it finds in databases.

Keywords/Keyword Phrases - word or combination of words that search engines use to establish the topic of a given web page.

Keyword Density - how frequently a keyword or keyword phrase is used on a specific web page. 3% is ideal for web page.

Meta Tags - used in web pages to provide descriptive information that helps a search engine identify the topic of a web page along with other items such as author, page description, page keywords and more. The keyword meta tag is no longer used by search engines.

On page SEO - methods and strategies used internally to help their website rank better in search engines.

Off page SEO - methods and strategies used externally on other websites, such as social media outlets, blogs, etc. to help website rank better in search engines.

Organic Search - search results that appear in a search engine that are not paid advertisements. The results that come up naturally based on their indexing within a search engine.

PPC - (Pay Per Click) advertising technique where an advertiser pays for their ads on another website(s). The advertiser will only pay if someone clicks on the ad. The ads are typically banners, but can also be a text link.

Reciprocal Link - a method where websites exchange links, in the hopes of helping each other with search engine optimization and attract viewers. Only exchange links with quality, reputable websites. Link farms, spam sites and web pages that have over 50 links on them will hurt SEO, not help. 

Search Engine - website whose primary function is to help web users find web pages on any given searched topic. The web user inputs a keyword phrase and the search engine returns listings it finds most relevant to the web users keyword phrase. The big three are Google, Yahoo and Bing.

SEM - (Search Engine Marketing) marketing a website via search engines such as Google. This may be improving rank in organic listings, purchasing paid listings or a combination of both.

SEO - using standards and strategies for a website so that the website ranks well in organic listings of search engines.

SMM – social media marketing

SERP - (Search Engine Results Page) the listing of web pages, blogs and other items that a search engine shows a user after they've entered a search value, such as "web designer in Baltimore".

Spider - programs created to search the web automatically to index web pages, collect emails, spam and so on.

Title Tag - a meta data element that determines the actual "title" of a webpage. The title appears in the top bar of your web browser.

TLD - (Top Level Domain) A top-level domain is one of the domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System of the Internet.

URL - (Uniform Resource Locator) web address, example www.tripleoption.com

White Hat SEO - accepted SEO practices in order to get higher rankings in search engines.

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SEO Note: No one can guarantee number one or specific rankings. Black hat methods (spamming, link farms) and shady search engine practices, can get your website penalized and even removed from major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.

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