SEO Terms You Need To Know
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SEO Terms to Know

Navigating the realm of the internet can be a daunting task, especially for those venturing into the dynamic field of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Between Kim and Conor, the Big Red SEO dynamic duo of seasoned SEO consultants, we recognize the need for a resource to guide both newcomers and those seeking to reinforce their understanding of SEO principles.

To simplify this journey, we’ve curated an extensive glossary of essential SEO terms, providing clear definitions and explanations for each. Whether you’re a novice exploring the intricacies of SEO or a seasoned professional seeking a refresher, our glossary is designed to be your go-to reference for unraveling the meaning behind crucial SEO concepts. From “algorithm” to “backlink” and beyond, our glossary acts as a knowledge hub, empowering you with the insights needed to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of SEO strategies.

If you find yourself with inquiries about SEO, our services, or simply wish to undergo a comprehensive website analysis, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced team at (402) 522-6468. We understand that the world of SEO can be complex, and our mission is to demystify it for you and provide the clarity and expertise you need to navigate the world of SEO with confidence and achieve your digital marketing goals.


Accessibility – Web accessibility in web design ensures that websites are usable by people with disabilities, such as providing alternative text for images and clear navigation. It is guided by standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Compliance with accessibility standards is essential for legal and ethical reasons, and it enhances the overall user experience.

AdWords – A Google advertising platform allowing businesses to reach people searching for what their business offers based on selected keywords. Google AdWords allows organizations to start with any budget and pay only when someone clicks on their ad. The cost per click is determined by Google and reflects an equation based on the amount of competition for a specific keyword. The advertisement’s quality score weighs heavily on its relative position on search queries. Analyzing click-through rates in split testing helps to tweak campaigns for the best return on a business’s advertising investment.

Alexa Rank – Alexa rank is a measure of a website’s popularity and traffic, provided by Alexa Internet, a subsidiary of Amazon. It ranks websites based on their traffic and visitor engagement, with lower numbers indicating higher popularity.

Algorithms – These are a set of rules that search engines employ to rank listings in response to search queries. Today’s search engine algorithms rely on hundreds of unique signals or “clues” that make it possible to guess what you might really be looking for. These signals include things like the terms on websites, the freshness of content and your location.

Alt Tag or Alt Attribute – An “alt tag” or “alt attribute” (short for alternative text) is an HTML attribute applied to an image element on a web page. It is used to provide a brief and descriptive text description of the image’s content for accessibility and SEO purposes. Alt tags aid in both Accessiblity and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Anchor Text – Anchor text is the visible characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or location on the web. Anchor text assists search engines in understanding the relevance of the destination page.

Authority – Termed by some as a by-product of multiple factors (relevance, trust and endorsements) from websites who have earned a position of authority from search engines. Essentially, it’s an arbitrary score that factors the age of a website, inbound links and traffic trends along with the freshness and frequency of unique, quality content.


Back Link – A hyperlink to your website from another website. Backlinks from ‘good neighborhoods’ help improve your ranking on search engines. Links from spam sites are considered to be ‘bad neighborhoods.’

Broken Link – These are hyperlinks that do not link to their intended destinations. Broken links indicate lack of attention to detail on a website, which can be perceived as a lack of attention to the business itself.


Cost Per Click (CPC) – This is an advertising term used to describe what the cost would be to a business that advertises online via a commercial service, reflecting the amount that they would be charged per click for visitors clicking through on their advertisements.

Click Through Rate (CTR) – A ratio showing how often people who see an ad end up clicking it. A high click through rate is an important indication that users find your ads helpful and relevant. CTR also affects to your keyword’s Quality Score, which can alter your ad’s cost and placement on search queries.

Content Management System (CMS) – These are systems used to manage the content of a website. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are all CMS.

Conversion Rate – Your conversion rate is a ratio of prospects to completed transactions (conversions).


DMCA – Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Usually you will hear the term associated as a DMCA Takedown Request. The DMCA is a US law that makes it illegal to bypass or break digital locks on movies or music, but it also extends to copyright infringement when it comes to websites. If someone takes your content or your images without your permission, you can file a DMCA with Google, a Hosting Company, they will remove the content from the search engines, and potentially the entire website. DMCA Takedowns can also be filed via online firms or with a lawyer.


Favicon – These are icons 16×16 pixels in size that show up on an Internet browsers tab. These are similar to small logos that help identify a brand.


Inbound Link – These are links from one website to another website. Links from good neighborhoods help improve your SERPS.

Indexed Pages – These are the pages that a search engine’s spider discovers and tracks.

Internal Link – These are hyperlinks from within a website to another location within the same website. They’re primarily used to help with navigation.

IP Address – IP address stands for Internet Protocol address, it’s like a unique number assiged to each device that connects to the web. Think of it like a phone number or a home address. It’s easier to remember “” than it is to remember “”


Keyword – These are words that are relevant to search queries leading to specific content on a website.

Keyword Density – This is a proportional measurement of the number of times a specific keyword is used in a body of text, for example a post on a blog or a page on a website. To prevent your site from being considered as spam by search engines, attempt to keep your keyword density under three to four percent.

Keyword Stuffing – Defined in three words: Don’t do it. This was a favorite tactic of SEO firms and consultants way back in the day – before Google caught on and started clamping down, penalizing sites that tried to game them for improved SERPS.


Landing Page – A landing page is any page on a website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a certain result or action, such as buying a service or product.

Link Building – Once considered to be the most important facet of search engine optimization. It’s the act of obtaining more inbound links to help your ranking on search queries.

Long Tail Keyword – These would be two or more words in phrase to more closely identify a specific keyword. Commonly used to narrow down search results.


Meta Data (also Meta Information or Meta Tags) – This is data that identifies information about a website to the search engines, such as their titles, descriptions and keywords.

Meta Description – Meta descriptions are little snippets of text (about 160 characters) that appear in search engine results. Their importance has more to do with communicating your brand than providing any SEO value.

Meta Keywords – These are words that convey the main subjects and topics on specific web pages.

Meta Title – This appears in search engine results at the top of a user’s browser when they visit that specific page. It’s important to match the title to the content on the page.


Negative Keyword – A type of keyword that prevents your Google AdWords ad from being triggered by a certain phrase or word. It lets Google know not to show your ad to anyone who is searching for that phrase.

Nofollow – By adding rel=”nofollow” to a hyperlink, a website is saying that it doesn’t want the destination of that hyperlink to be given any additional ranking or weight by the search engines.


Organic SEO – This is typically referred to as search engine optimization that occurs naturally as determined by a search engine’s algorithms – as opposed to paid campaigns like AdWords.

Orphan Pages – Orphan pages are web pages on a website that lack internal links from other pages, making them less discoverable and challenging for users to navigate to. Linking these pages is crucial to enhance their visibility and user experience.


Permalink – A permalink, short for “permanent link,” is a URL or web address that remains unchanged over time and reliably directs users to a specific webpage or online resource. Permalinks are often used to reference or share content, ensuring that the link remains valid and accessible.

PPC – Pay-Per-Click is an advertising method of payment in which a business places an advertisement online and pays each time a visitor clicks on that ad.


Query – A query is a keyword or phrase that an Internet surfer enters on a search engine to find relevant information about what they’re searching for.


Redirect – Redirects are commonly used to take a user to a different page than the one they clicked on. This can be good or bad for SEO depending upon the intent. Ask our SEO consultants at Big Red SEO why.

Referrer – This would be a website with a link to a business that delivered a visitor their website.

Referrer String – This is a string of information sent by a visitor when they find a website from elsewhere on the Internet. This string of info can be used to track traffic from social media channels.


Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – This type of marketing uses tactics and strategies to increase the quantity and quality of leads generated by the search engines. Originally called “search engine marketing,” the shorter phrase “search marketing” is now often used as the umbrella term over SEO and SEM. The longer phrase “search engine marketing” (SEM) is currently used to describe paid search activities.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Strategies and techniques incorporated to improve a website’s ranking on search engine queries.

Search Engine Results Pages – SERPs is the listing of results on search engines in relation to a query using one or more keywords that a user has entered.

Sitemap – Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling and indexing. Check out our article on Creating XML Sitemaps and Submit It To Google.

Spider – These are bots used (often referred to as spiders) by the search engines that collect information about the websites they visit.

Soft 404 Error – A soft 404 error occurs when a webpage returns a 200 OK status code (success) instead of the appropriate 404 Not Found status code, misleading search engines into thinking the page exists when it doesn’t. This is often seen in eCommerce websites where inventory or product is removed. This can negatively impact SEO and user experience. Read more about Soft 404 Errors.


Title Tag – A title tag is the main text that describes an online document. It is the second most important on–page SEO element (the most important being overall content), and appears in three key places: browsers, search engine results pages, and external websites.

Trackback – The purpose of trackback is to let a site know that you are referencing them on your on site.

Traffic Rank – This is a rank indicating how one site compares to all other sites on the Internet. Alexa is an excellent site to check traffic trends.


Unique Visitor – This is defined as one visitor to a website whether they’ve clicked on that site one or one hundred times. This is typically measured monthly on most statistical programs.

URL – This is simply the web address of a business on the Internet. It’s short for Universal Resource Locator.


Visit – This is a tracking metric designed to measure user sessions. Essentially, a visit is a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame.

0-9 Error Codes and Response Codes

200 OK Success – The page was reached and retrieved. Everything is good.

301 Redirect – This is a method that takes a visitor to another page, typically used when a site has moved to a different address.

302 Redirect – This varies from a 301 redirect in that it’s commonly used as a temporary redirection to another site.

307 Temporary Redirect – Basically the same as a 302 Redirect, except you can’t switch between a POST and GET request. It’s also used as an HSTS Policy in which is forces a user to use HTTPS rather than HTTP.

400 Bad Request – This is related to a website server’s inability to understand a request due to incorrect syntax.

401 Unauthorized – Typically used when a website’s server asks for user authentication prior to allowing access to that page.

403 Forbidden – These are used to prevent access to a URL. The 403 Forbidden error is an HTTP status code that means that accessing the page or resource you were trying to reach is absolutely forbidden for some reason.

404 Not Found – A 404 error is an HTTP status code that means that the page you were trying to reach on a website couldn’t be found on their server.

500 Error – The 500 Internal Server Error is a very general HTTP status code that means something has gone wrong on the web site’s server but the server could not be more specific on what the exact problem is.

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