SEO Terms to Know

SEO  Knowledge Empowers YouThe internet can be quite overwhelming so our team of SEO consultants at Big Red SEO compiled this list of search engine optimization terms to help those who are new to SEO or those who are looking to refresh their knowledge.

If you have any questions about search engine optimization, the services we offer, or would like a website analysis performed, feel free to contact our team at (402) 522-6468.


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 – A leading search service provider of free, global web metrics. Businesses use their analytics for competitive analysis, benchmarking, market research, and/or business development.

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 is used to specify alternative text (a description of an image) when that image can’t be found or loaded. These are relied on heavily by search engines and people with impaired vision.

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 to understand 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).


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.


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.


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.

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


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

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.

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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