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Internet Glossary


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Terms, abbreviations and acronyms used in the Internet marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and search engine marketing (SEM) industries..

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Terms and Definitions


301 redirect

A server header that tells web browsers and search engines that a page or site has been permanently redirected to a new location or URL.


A/B Testing

A strategy that involves providing alternative (usually two) choices to a user, and analyzing the difference in perception and behavior as a result of the differences between each item. This is also known as split testing.

Above the Fold

The area of email or web content visible to the viewer without them having to use the scroll bar.

Absolute Link

A link which shows the full URL of the page, that includes the transfer protocol, domain name and often a file name. Compared to a relative link, which only shows part of the information. Absolute links are preferred because they preserve the integrity of the Web site, its content and are less prone to link errors. Absolute links still function even when the document is not located at its typical location, such as when a user saves a page to their local computer. Example of absolute link: <a href=”http://somesite.com/somefolder/somefilename.html”>Absolute Link</a> Example of relative link: <a href=”../somefolder/somefilename.html”>Relative Link</a>


The practice of making Web site’s contents available to disabled people, in most cases visually impaired people, via the use of alternative technology or features to present the information. Implementing accessibility improves search engine ranking because they have a richer information content.

Acquisition Strategy

A plan or process used to identify and attract potential customers who are looking to purchase a product or service.


Used to refer to advertisements a searcher sees as part of the result of a query.

Ad Copy

The text occupying the second and third lines of a displayed Ad, that provides a brief description of the Ad Title.

Ad Group

An ad group is a set of ads (one or more) targeting a set of keywords, placements, or both. There are settings for bid, price as a group and individually.

Ad Title

The headline of an Ad, displayed on the first line of clickable or context-served ad.


Microsoft’s version of the cost per click ad network, designed to rival Google AdWords. Still relatively new in comparison, but contains many useful features and has greater potential due to its smaller current market share.


Google’s implementation of contextual advertising that allows publishers to display relevant Google ads on their Web site content in a profit sharing partnership. This has the effect of encouraging or promoting people who access the Web site to click on the advertising links.

AdSense Site

Websites that are especially designed to display Google AdWords ads (or other ad networks). In general the term describes a site that’s sole purpose is to generate PPC advertising review from the traffic that hits it, will all other purposes secondary. Content quality on a site built for this purpose typically is low to encourage people to click the ads.


Google’s advertisement and link auction network. Designed to work with Google’s keyword targeted advertisements, it provides advertising links for auction sold on a cost per click basis and other factors that improves traffic to the Web site.

AdWords Site

Websites that are especially designed for use as Google AdWords traffic landing pages. Typically this is done for either branding and/or to help segment traffic for higher accuracy in tracking measurement.


An affiliate is a Web site marketing or advertising products and services of other Web sites or businesses for a set fee or commission.

Affiliate Marketing

A strategy that allows merchants to expand their market share by paying independent agents an agreed fee or commission for advertising or marketing their products and services on the agent’s Web site.


Refers to the ‘freshness’ of the web page or its content. Used by social networks or search systems to determine the value or relevance of the information offered. Usually this includes the site age, page age, user account age, and other historical data.

Agent Name

Used to identify the name of the Crawler/spider or other automated programs that is currently visiting a page. The data is generated during a GET request to a server using the HTTP_USER_AGENT field. This information is available to the server, programs running on the server and will also be logged often in the server logs for each URL request.


(Also known as) Asynchronous JavaScript And XML – A technique that allows programmers to provide a more responsive and interactive web application by facilitating the JavaScript scripts to interact with the server without having to reload the web page.


An Amazon.com owned search service dedicated to providing metrics to measure Web site traffic.


A set of rules used by search engines to determine the order and relevance of contents to present to the user based on their search query.


Search engine bought and currently used by Yahoo as a test bed for new search technologies and features.

Alt Attribute

A text equivalent representation of an image on a web page, used to help search engines or blind people to understand the context and information of an image. Used with the img src http tag, it provides search engines an important way of understanding what the image is about.

Alt tags

Text associated with a web page graphic that is displayed during a mouse over event, designed to improve the accessibility of the Web site content. Alt tags describes the img src alt attribute and are often used to help with search engine ranking.

Alt text

A description associated with of a graphical content that is displayed when the graphic is inaccessible. Used by software and programs that relies on this information to manipulate, interpret or distinguish between different graphical contents.


Once a popular search engine and currently owned by Yahoo. Technical problems and brand mismanagement resulted in a significant loss of market share.


The most recognized and popular Internet retailing Web site. Known for its rich, consumer generated media and its ownership of many other popular Web sites, such as IMBD and Alex.


Programs that facilitate the collection and analysis of data related to Web site traffic and user behavior/profile.

Anchor Text

The textual component of a hyperlink. If the link is an image then this is substituted by the image alt attribute. Search engines places emphasis on the relevance of the anchor text in relation to the link in their algorithms, so it is very important to optimize your anchor text, both on site and off site for improved search engine ranking. Example: <a href=http://www.domain.com>ANCHOR TEXT</a>

Animated Ad

An advertisement that incorporates movement or animation, usually implemented as an interactive Java applet, or Shockwave or animated GIF file.


To add a link to a Web site already indexed by search engines to improve the visibility and traffic of the existing Web site.


(Also known as) America Online – Popular web portal which merged with Time Warner.


(Also known as) Application Program Interface – The set of protocols and standards used to access software functions.


The process of buying and selling a commodity for profit by identifying and exploiting inefficiencies or flaws in the market.


A search engine originally known as Ask Jeeves, but changed name in early 2006 and currently owned by InterActive Corp (Nasdaq: IACI).


(aka) Active Server Pages – A Microsoft proprietary programming language designed to allow programmers to create more dynamic web sites.


The act of pushing a commercial or political agenda under the guise of an impartial grassroots participant in a social group or network. A common practice is the participation in a user forum while secreting carrying out other activities such as branding, customer recruitment, or public relations.

Auction Model Bidding

Also known as market or competition-driven bidding, most popular amongst PPC bidding. The rules for bidding is based on the amount of competition for the bid. If there are no competitors, the advertiser pays their bid amount or less for every click. If there is competition for the keyword, then the winner is determined by the person having the highest bid price, but they only pay an amount that is one step up from their nearest competitor.


The characteristic of a page or domain to rank well in search engines by virtue of its link equity, site age, traffic trends, site history, and content quality. These are the main factors that are incorporated into search engine algorithms to determine the result of a search query. Also used to refer to Web sites that are trusted and well-cited as a result of having high authority.

Automated Bid Management Software

Software that optimize the management and control your ad spending by analyzing various metrics and data to help you work out the best options for advertisement spendings.

Automated Submitting

The use of automated software to submit your web pages to the search engines in order to improve web page ranking and statistics. This practice is now circumvented by search engines requiring users to submit one-time codes in the form of graphics (CAPTCHA Program) on the submission page.

Automatic Optimization

The process where search engines preferentially display advertisements with the highest click through rate as determined by an algorithm over a period of time.



(aka) Business to Business – Refers to one business communicating with or selling to another business.


(aka) Business to Consumer – Refers to a business communicating with or selling to an individual customer rather than a company or another business.


Incoming links to a Web site or web page. The number of backlinks is an indication of the popularity or importance of that Web site or page. In basic link terminology, a backlink is any link received by a web node (web page, directory, Web site, or top level domain) from another web node. Backlinks are also known as incoming links, inbound links, inlinks, and inward links.

Bait and Switch

A sales tactic in which a bargain-priced item is used to attract customers who are then encouraged to purchase a more expensive similar item. It’s also a SEO technique that provides one page for a search engine or directory and a different page for other user agents at the same URL. Sometimes it creates an optimized page and submits to search engines or directory, but replaces with the regular page as soon as the optimized page has been indexed. This method was popular in the 1990’s when search engines required manual resubmission before they would respider a web page. This technique is not effective with today’s search engines and has the potential to get your Web site banned.


Also called Delisting. This is an action taken to remove Web site and or web page listings from the index of a search engine. Being banned is the worst penalty imposed by a search engine in response to spam or violation of specific guidelines.

Banner Ad

Internet advertising that invites the viewer to click through to the advertiser’s web site by clicking on the banner. Banner ads may contain animation and sound. In addition to accessing another web site, banner ads may also collect information from consumers, make sales, or offer activities such as games. Banner ads are usually placed in a thin, rectangular box (468 _ 60 millimeters is standard) at the top or side of the home page. Response to banner ads is generally measured by click-through rates. Currently banner ads are the Internet equivalent of a direct-mail envelope, enticing the reader to seek more information about the contents of the envelope or web site.

Banner Blindness

A phenomenon in web usability where visitors on a Web site ignore banner-like information.

Baseline Metrics

Calculations and benchmarks performed to provide a basis for comparing past performance to current performance.


A line of code placed in an ad or on a web page that helps track the visitor’s actions, such as registrations or purchases. A web beacon is often invisible because it’s only 1 x 1 pixel in size and has no color. Also known as web bug, 1 by 1 GIF, invisible GIF or tracker GIF.

Behavioral Targeting

The practice of targeted advertising to groups of people who exhibit similarities in their habits and behavior on the Internet.

Bid (pay-per-click)

The maximum amount of money offered by an advertiser for each time a searcher clicks on an ad.

Bid Boosting

An automated bid management system that adjusts your bid amount depending on the profile of the user that the ad is displayed to

Bid Management Software

(aka) Bid Management Tool – Software or an ASP service that automatically manages PPC campaigns by monitoring and adjusting parameters to optimize the bidding process on pay-per-click search engines such as Yahoo Search Marketing and Google AdWords.


MSN’s new search engine that went live in June 2009. The name is a play on the phrase “bada-bing” stating that something is easy or simple to accomplish.

Black Box Algorithms

A algorithm that can only be seen in terms of its inputs and outputs but not the internal details.

Black Hat SEO

Optimization tactics that can cause a site to rank more highly than its content would otherwise justify and are made specifically for search engine ranking and does not improve the user’s experience of the site (the opposite of White Hat SEO). Black Hat SEO are optimizations that are specifically against search engine guidelines, or frowned on by search engines completely. If you step too far over the mark, your site may be penalized or even removed from the index completely.


A list that either search engines or independent users compile of search engine spammers or Web sites that practice fraudulent operations or insidious activities that affect users of the Internet negatively. These lists can be used to ban those spammers from search engines or to boycott them.

Block Level Analysis

A method used to break a page down into multiple points on the web graph by breaking its pages down into smaller blocks.


Short for ‘web log.’ A Web site that displays in chronological order the postings by one or more individuals and usually has links to comments on specific postings. It’s usually displayed in a journal like way and typically reflects the personality of the author or web site.


A free blog platform owned by Google. It allows you to publish sites on a subdomain off of Blogspot.com, or to FTP content to your own domain.

Body Copy

The main textual content of a web page visible to users and does not include information hidden in the HTML source code or navigation.


A stored location for quick retrieval at a later date. Web browsers provide bookmarks that contain the addresses (URLs) of favorite sites. Most electronic references, large text databases and help systems provide bookmarks that mark a location users want to revisit in the future.


(aka) robot, spider or crawler – A software program that imitates the behavior of a human, as by querying search engines or participating in chatroom or Internet relay chat (IRC) discussions. Search engines use bots to find and add web pages to their search indexes.

Bounce Rate

The Bounce Rate for a single page is the number of visits who enter the site at a page and leave within the specified timeout period without viewing another page, divided by the total number of visits who entered the site at that page. In contrast, the Bounce Rate for a Web site is the number of web site visitors who visit only a single page of a Web site per session divided by the total number of Web site visits. Bounce rates can be used to help determine the effectiveness or performance of an entry page. An entry page with a low bounce rate means that the page effectively causes visitors to view more pages and continue on deeper into the Web site.

Branded Keywords

Keywords associated with a brand. Typically branded keywords occur late in the buying cycle, and are some of the highest value and highest converting keywords. Some affiliate marketing programs prevent affiliates from bidding on the core brand related keywords, while others actively encourage it. Either way can work depending on your business model and marketing savvy, but it is important to ensure there is synergy between internal marketing and affiliate marketing programs.


Applying a trade name to a product or service. It also refers to developing awareness of the name. Branding is always important, but in the early days of the Internet, it was a major hot topic and tactic. Companies spent a fortune attempting to gain market awareness, no matter how much money they lost.

Breadcrumb Navigation

Breadcrumbs or breadcrumb trails are a navigation technique used in user interfaces. Its purpose is to give users a way to keep track of their location within programs or documents. The term is taken from the trail of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in the popular fairytale.

Brin, Sergey

Sergey Brin – The Co-founder of the search engine Google.

Broad Match

Broad Match is a form of “keyword matching” and refers to the matching of a search listing or advertisement to selected keywords in any order.

Broken Link

A hyperlink that does not lead to the desired location.


The user interface on a computer that allows the user to navigate objects. The most commonly used is the Web browser, which is used to access the World Wide Web. Examples of a web browser are Mozilla Firefox(FF) and Internet Explorer(IE).


A well trusted directory of business Web sites and information.

Buying Cycle

Before making large purchases consumers typically research what brands and products fit their needs and wants. Keyword based search marketing allows you to reach consumers at any point in the buying cycle. In many markets branded keywords tend to have high search volumes and high conversion rates. The buying cycle may consist of the following stages Problem Discovery: prospect discovers a need or want. Search: after discovering a problem look for ways to solve the need or want. These searches may contain words which revolve around the core problem the prospect is trying to solve or words associated with their identity. Evaluate: may do comparison searches to compare different models, and also search for negative information like product sucks, etc. Decide: look for information which reinforces your view of product or service you decided upon Purchase: may search for shipping related information or other price related searches. purchases may also occur offline Reevaluate: some people leave feedback on their purchases . If a person is enthusiastic about your brand they may cut your marketing costs by providing free highly trusted word of mouth marketing.

Buying Funnel

(aka)Buying Cycle, Buyer Decision Cycle and Sales Cycle – A multi-step process or decision tree outlining the path leading to the customer’s purchase of a product.

Buzz Monitoring Services

Services that notify a client of their company’s presence and status on the web, usually due to the reference to their name, personnel, products or services.

Buzz Opportunities

Media savvy and popular topics which give a company or brand opportunity access to a targeted audience who can generate further increase the exposure of the company or brand.



Copy of a web page stored by a search engine. When you search the web you are not actively searching the whole web, but are searching files in the search engine index.

Calacanis, Jason

Jason Calacanis – Founder of Weblogs, Inc. who pushed AOL to turn Netscape into a Digg clone.

Campaign Integration

Planning and executing a paid search campaign along with other marketing online or offline initiatives.

Canonical Tag

A new META tag designed to allow siteowners to specificy original content to the search engines on a page-by-page basis. The tag is supported by Yahoo, Google and MSN’s Bing search engine.

Canonical URL

The canonical version of any URL is the version that is considered by the search engines to be the single most authoritative version of a page.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

A standard for formatting the look and feel of a web page, including information on paragraph layout, font sizes, colors, etc.

Catch All Listing

A listing used by pay per click search engines to monazite long tail terms that are not yet targeted by marketers.


(aka)Common Gateway Interface – Software used to interface between a web server and other machines or software running on that server.

Child Sitemap

Generally a child sitemap refers to a themed or group specific sitemap. Sitemaps can generally only hold 500 page listings so you have to break them into sections if you have a really large site like Amazon. There is a main or “parent” sitemap that has all the sections followed by the “child” sitemaps that list all the contents in each section (one child for each section).


Where the business name and address are mentioned (in indexable text) on another Web site. Business Name, Address and Phone (NAP) are considered the information that would complete a full citation, however business name and address, or business name and phone are also considered a citation.

Click Bot

A program used to artificially click on paid listings to inflate click amounts.

Click Fraud

Clicks on a Pay-Per-Click advertisement that are motivated by something other than a search for the advertised product or service. Click fraud may be the result of malicious or negative competitor/affiliate actions motivated by the desire to increase costs for a competing advertiser or to garner click-through costs for the collaborating affiliate. Also affects search engine results by diluting the quality of clicks.


A program, process or computer which requests information to another computer, process, or program.


Displaying different content to search engines and searchers. Depending on the intent of the display discrepancy and the strength of the brand of the person / company cloaking it may be considered reasonable or it may get a site banned from a search engine. Cloaking has many legitimate uses which are within search guidelines. For example, changing user experience based on location is common on many popular Web sites.

Cluetrain Manifesto, The

A book about how the web is a marketplace and its differences from traditional offline business.


Listings from any individual site search are limited to a certain number and grouped together to make the results appear organized and to ensure diversity amongst the top ranked results.


(aka) Content Management System – A tool used to help make it easy to update and manage the content on a a Web site.


In popular authority based search algorithms links which appear near one another on a page may be deemed to be related to one another.

COA (Cost of Acquisition)

How much it costs to acquire a desired action.

code swapping

Changing the content after high ranking is achieved.

Comments Tag

Comments are placed by web developers in the source code of their work to help make it easy for people to understand the code.

Compacted Information

Information which is generally and widely associated with a product. For example, most published books have an ISBN.

Competitive Analysis

The assessment and analysis of strengths and weaknesses of competing web sites, including identifying keyword selection, traffic patterns and major traffic sources.

Concept Search

A search which attempts to match results with the query’s concept, not with the words.

Conceptual Links

Links which search engines attempt to understand beyond just the words in them.

Consumer Generated Media

(aka) CGM – Posts made by consumers to support or oppose products, web sites or companies.

content (text, copy)

The part of a web page that has value and is of interest to the user. Advertising, navigation, branding and boilerplate are not usually considered to be content.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

Software that is used to create and manage the content for a web site. It provides for the storage, maintenance and retrieval of HTML and XML documents and all related image, audio and video files.

Content Network (aka Contextual Networks)

Including Google and Yahoo! these networks serve paid search ads triggered by keywords related to the page content a user is viewing.

Content Targeting

An ad serving process in Google and Yahoo! which displays keyword triggered ads related to the content of the web site a user is viewing.

Contextual Advertising

Advertising that is served or placed automatically on a web page based on the page’s content, keywords and phrases.

Contextual Distribution

The marketing decision to display search ads on certain publisher sites across the web instead of, or in addition to, placing PPC ads on search networks.

Contextual Link Inventory

Contextual or content inventory is generated when listings are displayed on pages of web sites (usually not search engines), where the written content on the page indicates to the ad-server that the page is a good match to specific keywords and phrases.

Contextual Network

Including Google and Yahoo! these networks serve paid search ads triggered by keywords related to the page content a user is viewing.

Contextual Search

A search offered by Google and Yahoo! which analyzes the page being viewed by a user gives a list of related search results.

Contextual Search Campaigns

A paid placement search campaign that takes a search ad listing beyond search engine results pages and onto the sites of matched content web partners.


A conversion is reached when a desired goal is completed

Conversion Action

The desired action you want a visitor to take on your site.

Conversion Rate

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. (Expressed as: total click-throughs that convert / total click-throughs for that ad = conversion rate.) For example, if an ad brings in 150 click-throughs and 6 of the 150 clicks result in a desired conversion, then the conversion rate is 4% (6 / 150 = 0.04). Higher conversion rates generally translate into more successful PPC campaigns with a better ROI. Typically, micro-conversions (for instance, reading different pages on your site) lead to your main conversion step (making a purchase, or signing up for a service).


Small data file written to a user’s machine to track them and to customize the user’s experience. Cookies also help affiliate program managers track conversions.


The legal right granted to an author, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work.


(aka) Cost Per Acquisition or Cost Per Action – The total cost of an ad campaign divided by the number of conversions.

CPA Network

CPA networks are often so-called “super affiliates” who are themselves affiliates of merchants via the traditional affiliate networks and recruit other affiliates to promote the merchant through them instead of directly via the merchants program at the traditional network. CPA networks take advantage of the ability to get higher commission rates due to their high volume, which they pass in part down to their affiliates. Average affiliates usually get paid a lower commission if they promote the merchant directly, because they are rarely able to generate the required volume to reach the higher payout tiers.


(aka) Cost Per Click – The amount search engines charge advertisers for every click that sends a searcher to the advertiser’s web site.


(aka) Cost Per Thousand Impressions – A unit of measure typically assigned to the cost of displaying an ad.

CPO (Cost Per Order)

The dollar amount of advertising or marketing spent to make a sale. Calculated by dividing marketing expenses by the number of orders.

Crawl Depth

How deeply a Web site is crawled and indexed.

Crawl Frequency

How frequently a Web site is crawled by a search engine spider or bot.


A program that searches for information on the Web. Crawlers are widely used by Web search engines to index all the pages on a site by following the links from page to page. The search engine then summarizes the content and adds the links to their indexes. They are also used to locate Web pages that sell a particular product or to find blogs that have opinions about a product.


Unique words, design and display of a paid-space advertisement. In paid search advertising, creative refers to the ad’s title (headline), description (text offer) and display URL (clickable link to advertiser’s web site landing page).

CTR (Click-Through Rate)

The number of clicks that an ad gets, divided by the total number of times that ad is displayed or served. CTR also factors into you advertiser search engine Quality Score and, therefore, your minimum keyword bids on Tier I engines.

Custom Feed

Create custom feeds for each of the shopping engines that allow you to submit XML feeds. Each of the engines has different product categories and feed requirements.

Cutts, Matt

Head of Search Quality at Google.


Registering an Internet domain name for the purpose of reselling it for a profit.



Turning ad campaigns on or off, changing ad bid price, or budget constraints based on bidding more when your target audience is available and less when they are less likely to be available.


Temporarily or permanently becoming de-indexed from a directory or search engine. De-indexing may be due to any of the following: Pages on new Web sites (or sites with limited link authority relative to their size) may be temporarily de-indexed until the search engine does a deep spidering and re-cache of the web. During some updates search engines readjust crawl priorities. You need a significant number of high quality links to get a large Web site well indexed and keep it well indexed. Duplicate content filters, inbound and outbound link quality, or other information quality related issues may also relate to re-adjusted crawl priorities. Pages which have changed location and are not properly redirected, or pages which are down when a search engine tries to crawl them may be temporarily de-indexed. Search Spam: If a Web site tripped an automatic spam filter it may return to the search index anywhere from a few days to a few months after the problem has been fixed. If a Web site is editorially removed by a human you may need to contact the search engine directly to request reinclusion.

Dead Link

A link which is no longer functional.

Dedicated Server

Server which is limited to serving one Web site or a small number of Web sites owned by a single person.

Deep Link

A link which points to an internal page within a Web site.

Deep Link Ratio

The ratio of links pointing to internal pages to overall links pointing at a Web site. A high deep link ratio is typically a sign of a legitimate natural link profile.

Deep Linking

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.


A popular social bookmarking Web site.


Statistical data or characteristics which define segments of a population.

Denton, Nick

Publisher of Gawker, a popular ring of topical weblogs, which are typically focused on controversy.

Description Tag

Refers to the information contained in the description meta tag.


(aka) Dynamic HTML or Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language – A collection of technologies used together to create interactive and animated web sites by using a combination of a static markup language (such as HTML), a client-side scripting language (such as JavaScript), a presentation definition language (such as CSS), and the Document Object Model.


A Social news site where users vote on which stories get the most exposure and become the most popular.


A site devoted to directory pages. The Yahoo directory is an example.

Display URL

The web page URL that one actually sees in a PPC text ad. The 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.

Distribution Network

A network of web sites or search engines and their partner sites on which paid ads can be distributed.

DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion)

Insertion of the EXACT keywords a searcher included in his or her search request in the returned ad title or description.


“The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law which criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services that are used to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works (commonly known as DRM), and criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, even when there is no infringement of copyright itself. [Circumvention of controlled access includes unscrambling, copying, sharing, commercial recording or reverse engineering copyrighted entertainment or software.] It also heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.” (Source: Wikipedia)


The Open Directory Project is the largest human edited directory of Web sites. DMOZ is owned by AOL, and is primarily run and maintained by volunteer editors.


(aka)Domain Name Server or Domain Name System – A naming scheme mechanism used to resolve a domain name / host name to a specific TCP/IP Address.

dofollow (see nofollow)

Refers to standard web page links that search engine bots typically follow when looking for pages to add or keep in their index. The opposite of nofollow.


Refers to a specific web site address.

Doorway Pages

The idea is that these pages are designed to rank for highly targeted search queries and are a “doorway” into your site. Modern doorway pages are also now known as ‘information pages’ or ‘landing pages’. However this concept has been abused and the result is that it’s taken on a negative meaning in the eyes of the search engines. Google goes on to define “doorway pages” as the following: “Doorway pages are typically large sets of poor-quality pages where each page is optimized for a specific keyword or phrase. In many cases, doorway pages are written to rank for a particular phrase and then funnel users to a single destination. Whether deployed across many domains or established within one domain, doorway pages tend to frustrate users, and are in violation of our webmaster guidelines.” http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66355


Popular web development and editing software offering a ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) interface.

Duplicate Content

Content which is duplicate or near duplicate in nature.

Dynamic Content

Content which changes over time or uses a dynamic language such as PHP to help render the page.

Dynamic Landing Pages

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.

Dynamic Languages

Programming languages such as ASP or PHP which build web pages on the fly upon request.

Dynamic Text Insertion

(aka) Dynamic Keyword Insertion – This 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 (for example, ‘running shoes’) matches the defined parameter (for example, all brands of running and athletic shoes), then the associated term (running) is plugged into the ad. Dynamic insertion makes the ad mirror exact terms used in the search query, creating very relevant ads.

Dynamic URLs

A URL that is generated either by searching a database-driven Web site or by a Web site that is running a script. The opposite would be static URLs, where the contents of the web page do not change unless changes are made to the actual HTML source code. Since dynamic URLs are generated from specific queries to a site’s database, the web page itself is merely a template designed to display the results of the query. That means that, instead of changing information in the HTML source code, data is changed within the database itself. Dynamic URLs often contain the following characters: ?, &, %, +, =, $, cgi-bin, .cgi.


Earnings Per Click

Estimate of potential earnings based on how much is made from each click.


Commerce that is transacted electronically, as over the Internet.

eCPM (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.

Editorial Link

Links that are earned. Search engines count links as votes of quality. They primarily want to count editorial links over links that were bought or bartered.

Editorial Review Process

A review process for potential advertiser listings conducted by search engines, which check to ensure relevancy and compliance with the engine’s editorial policy.

Entry Page

Refers to any page within a web site that is used to ‘center’ a web site.

Ethical SEO

Search engines like to paint SEO services which manipulate their relevancy algorithms as being unethical. Any particular technique is generally not typically associated with ethics, but is either effective or ineffective. Some search marketers lacking in creativity tend to describe services sold by others as being unethical while their own services are ethical. Any particular technique is generally not typically associated with ethics, but is either effective or ineffective. The only ethics issues associated with SEO are generally business ethics related issues. Two of the bigger frauds are Not disclosing risks: Some SEOs may use high risk techniques when they are not needed. Some may make that situation even worse by not disclosing potential risks to clients. Taking money & doing nothing: Since selling SEO services has almost no start up costs many of the people selling services may not actually know how to competently provide them. Some shady people claim to be SEOs and bilk money out of unsuspecting small businesses. As long as the client is aware of potential risks there is nothing unethical about being aggressive.


Major search indexes are constantly updating. Google refers to this continuous refresh as everflux.

Expert Document

A quality page which links to many non-affiliated topical resources.

External Link

A link which references another domain.

Eye Tracking Studies

In order to understand reading and click-through patterns, studies are conducted by Google, Marketing Sherpa and the Poynter Institute using Eyetools technology to track the eye movements of web page readers.


Fair Use

The stated exceptions of allowed usage of work under copyright without requiring permission of the original copyright holder. Fair use is explained in section 107 of the Copyright code.


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Favicon (Favorite Icons)

A small icon which appears next to URLs in a web browser.


Content management systems such as blogs, allow readers to subscribe to content update notifications via RSS or XML feeds. Feeds can also refer to pay per click syndicated feeds, or merchant product feeds. Merchant product feeds have become less effective as a means of content generation due to improving duplicate content filters.

Feed Reader

Software or a Web site used to subscribe to feed update notifications


A web document that is a shortened or updated (revised content only) version of a web page created for syndication.


Free for all pages are pages that allow anyone to add a link to them. These links do not pull much weight in search relevancy algorithms as automated programs fill these pages with links pointing at low quality Web sites.


Certain activities or signatures which make a site or page appear unnatural might make search engines inclined to filter or even remove them out of the search results.


Popular extensible open source web browser.


A vector graphics-based technology that has become a popular method for adding animation and interactivity to web pages. (Source: Wikipedia)

Follow Fail

A Twitter term by which your attempt to follow a user has been denied by that user for some undisclosed reason. Follow fails can result from a lack of shared interests, an incomplete Twitter profile on your part, or a host of other reasons.


A style of Web site architecture that is used to display, aka, ‘frame’ multiple web pages within a single displayed web page. One advantage is that it allows for consistent site navigation, however it can be problematic to search engines when indexing a Web site’s content. Therefore, if a web page is reliant upon search engine indexibility, then the use of Frames is not recommended.

frequent crawling

Frequently updated Web sites are more likely to be crawled frequently.

Fresh Content

Content which is dynamic in nature and gives people a reason to keep paying attention to your Web site. Many SEOs talk up fresh content, but fresh content does not generally mean re-editing old content. It more often refers to creating new content. The primary advantages to fresh content are: Maintain and grow mindshare: If you keep giving people a reason to pay attention to you more and more people will pay attention to you, and link to your site. Faster idea spreading: If many people pay attention to your site, when you come out with good ideas they will spread quickly. Growing archives: If you are a content producer then owning more content means you have more chances to rank. If you keep building additional fresh content eventually that gives you a large catalog of relevant content.


File Transfer Protocol

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

a protocol for transferring data between computers. Many content management systems (such as blogging platforms) include FTP capabilities. Web development software such as Dreamweaver also comes with FTP capabilities. There are also a number of free or cheap FTP programs such as Cute FTP, Core FTP, and Leech FTP.

Fuzzy Search

A search which will find matching terms when terms are misspelled (or fuzzy). Fuzzy search corrects the misspellings at the users end.


GAP (Google Advertising Professional)

A program which qualifies marketers as being proficient AdWords marketers.

Gateway page

A web page that is created to attract traffic from a search engine and then redirect it to another site or page.


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.

Gladwell, Malcolm

Popular author who wrote the book titled The Tipping Point.

Godin, Seth

Popular blogger, author, viral marketer and business consultant.


The world’s leading search engine in terms of reach. Google pioneered search by analyzing linkage ata via PageRank. Google was created by Stanford students Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Google AdSense (see AdSense)

Google AdWords (see AdWords)

Google Base

Free database of semantically structured information created by Google.

Google bomb

The combined effort of multiple webmasters to influence the Google search results usually for humorous effect. The search results for: ‘miserable failure’ – George Bush, and ‘greatest living American’ – Steven Colbert are the more famous examples of a Google Bomb.

Google Bombing

Making a prank rank well for a specific search query by pointing hundreds or thousands of links at it with the keywords in the anchor text.

Google Bowling

Knocking a competitor out of the search results by pointing hundreds or thousands of low trust low quality links at their Web site. Typically it is easier to bowl new sites out of the results. Older established sites are much harder to knock out of the search results.

Google Checkout

Payment service provided by Google which helps Google better understand merchant conversion rates and the value of different keywords and markets

Google Dance

In the past Google updated their index roughly once a month. Those updates were named Google Dances, but since Google shifted to a constantly updating index, Google no longer does what was traditionally called a Google Dance. Major search indexes are constantly updating. Google refers to this continuous refresh as everflux. The second meaning of Google Dance is a yearly party at Google’s corporate headquarters which Google holds for search engine marketers. This party coincides with the San Jose Search Engine Strategies conference.

Google Keyword Tool

Keyword research tool provided by Google’s AdWords Service which estimates the competition for a keyword, recommends related keywords, and will tell you what keywords Google thinks are relevant to your site or a page on your site. Also known as the Google AdWords Sandbox.

Google OneBox

Portion of the search results page above the organic search results which Google sometimes uses to display vertical search results from Google News, Google Base, and other Google owned vertical search services.

Google Sitelinks

On some search results where Google thinks one result is far more relevant than other results (like navigational or brand related searches) they may display additional deep links to that site at the top of the search results.

Google Sitemaps

A program which webmasters can use to help Google index their contents using XML Sitemaps. Please note that the best way to submit your site to search engines and to keep it in their search indexes is to build high quality editorial links.

Google Supplemental Index

Index where pages with lower trust scores are stored. Pages may be placed in Google’s Supplemental Index if they consist largely of duplicate content, if the URLs are excessively complex in nature, or the site which hosts them lacks significant trust. Google no longer displays if a URL is listed in the Supplemental index.

Google Traffic Estimator

Tool which estimates bid prices and how many Google searchers will click on an ad for a particular keyword.

Google Trends

Tool which allows you to see how Google search volumes for a particular keyword change over time.

Google Website Optimizer

Free multi variable testing platform used to help AdWords advertisers improve their conversion rates.


Google’s search engine spider. Google has a shared crawl cache between their various spiders, including vertical search spiders and spiders associated with ad targeting.

Graphical Search Inventory

Banners, pop-ups, browser toolbars, rich media and other types of advertising that can be synchronized to search keywords.

Guestbook Spam

A type of low quality automated link which search engines do not want to place much trust on. Spammers use automated tools that automatically fill in guestbooks, and blog comments.

GUI (Graphical User Interface)

A way for the average user to interface with a database or program. A visual representation of the functional code.


Google – Yahoo – Microsoft, the big three of search


Hallway page

a page that serves as an index to a group of pages that you’d like search engine spiders to find. Once a search engine spider indexes the hallway page, it will also follow all the links on that page and in turn index those pages as well.

Head Terms

Search terms that are straightforward, short and popular.

Heading tag

An HTML tag that is often used to denote a page or section heading on a web page. Search engines pay special attention to text that is marked with a heading tag, as such text is set off from the rest of the page content as being more important and is used to help the search engines identify what a page is about. Your desired keywords should be in heading tags if you want them to be noticed by the search engines.


The heading element briefly describes the subject of the section it introduces. Heading elements go from H1 to H6 with the lower numbered headings being most important. You should only use a single H1 element on each page, and may want to use multiple other heading elements to structure a document. An H1 element source would look like: <h1>Your Topic</h1> Heading elements may be styled using CSS. Many content management systems place the same content in the main page heading and the page title, although in many cases it may be preferential to mix them up if possible.


The title of an article or story.

Hidden Keywords

Keywords that are placed in the HTML source in such a way that these words are not visable to the users looking at the rendered web page.

Hidden Text

Text that is visible to the search engines but hidden to a user used for the purpose of including extra keywords in the page without distorting the aesthetics of the page. A common way to hide keywords is to use white text against a white background.

Hidden Text

SEO technique used to show search engine spiders text that users do not see. While some sites may get away with it for a while, generally the risk to reward ratio is inadequate for most legitimate sites to consider using hidden text.


Hijacking of Web sites is a practice that makes search engines believe that a specific Web site resides at another URL. Webpage Hijacking is an illegal spam tactic which is typically accomplished by using techniques such as a 302 redirect or meta refresh.


An algorithm which ranks results largely based on unaffiliated expert citations.


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.


A link-based algorithm which ranks relevancy scores based on citations from topical authorities.

Home Page

One’s personal billboard on the Internet. The term ‘home page’ is perhaps a bit misleading because home directories and physical homes in RL are private, but home pages are designed to be very public. The Home Page is largely responsible for helping develop your brand and setting up the navigational schemes that will be used to help users and search engines navigate your Web site.


aka, hot link, hotlinking, inline linking, leeching, direct linking, and offsite image grabs; refers to the practice of using a linked object–usually an image, but it could also be a document–that resides on one Web site for display on another, external and unrelated Web site. This practice is typically frowned upon and considered to be a theft of bandwidth.

htaccess file

In several web servers (most commonly Apache), .htaccess (hypertext access) is the default name of directory-level configuration files that allow for decentralized management of configuration when placed inside the web tree. .htaccess files may contain any number of allowed configuration directives and follow the same syntax as the main configuration files. Directives placed in .htaccess files apply to the directory where you place the file, and all sub-directories, unless disabled in the main configuration. The file name starts with a dot because dot-files are by convention hidden files on Unix-like operating systems. A subset of Apache’s .htaccess syntax is also supported by other web servers, such as Sun Java System Web Server and Zeus Web Server. [source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.htaccess%5D

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language)

A markup language used to structure text and multimedia documents and to set up hypertext links between documents, used extensively on the Internet. HTML is the mother tongue of the search engines, and should generally be strictly and exclusively adhered to on web pages.

HTML sitemap

An on-site Web page that links to all the other pages on your Web site. It ensures that any spider crawling your site can easily and quickly find and index all of your site’s Web pages. This type of sitemap is for spiders first and foremost but it can also be useful for Web site visitors.

HTML Source

Programming code. It can be accessed in Internet Explorer by going to the “View” menu then selecting “Source”.


HyperText Transfer Protocol is used to request and transmit files, especially web pages and web page components, over the Internet or other computer network.

HTTP 301 – Status Code Definition

The 301 status code means the URL requested has ‘Moved Permanently’ and has been assigned a new URL.

HTTP 302 – Status Code Definition

The 302 status code means that the document requested is ‘Found’ however temporarily resides under a different URL.

HTTP 400 – Status Code Definition

The 400 status code means a ‘Bad Request’ stating that the server is not able to understand the document request due to a malformed syntax. The user has to modify their request.

HTTP 401 – Status Code Definition

The 401 status code means ‘Unauthorized’. This server requests user authentication prior to fulfilling the document request.

HTTP 403 – Status Code Definition

The 403 status code means ‘Forbidden’. The server understood the request, however is refusing to fulfill it. The webmaster may wish to alert the user why their request has been denied. If the organization does not wish to provide this reason then a 404 (Not Found) status code can be displayed instead.

HTTP 404 – Status Code Definition

The response error message ‘404’ – represents a document ‘Not Found’. This means that the user was able to communicate with the server, however could not find the requested document. Alternatively, the server could be configured to not fulfill the request and not provide a reason why.

HTTP 410 – Status Code Definition

Similar to a 404 Not Found error message, the 410 status code states that the requested document is ‘intentionally gone’. This basically means that it’s no longer available and there is no forwarding address.

HTTP 500 – Status Code Definition

The 500 status code error message states that there was an internal server error which has prevented the document from being fulfilled

HTTP 501 – Status Code Definition

The 501 status code message is displayed when the server does not recognize the document request method. The server is not capable of fulfilling this request and states the request was ‘Not Implemented’.

HTTP Referrer Data

A program that analyzes and reports the source of traffic to the user’s web site. The HTTP referrer allows webmasters, site owners and PPC advertisers to uncover new audiences or sites to target or to calculate conversions and ROI for future ad campaigns.


HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure)

hub (expert page)

A trusted page with high quality content that links out to related pages.


Sites which link to well trusted within their topical community, a page which references many authorities.



Inverse Document Frequency is a term used to help determine the position of a term in a vector space model.

IDF = log

total documents in database / documents containing the term


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).

Inbound Link

Link pointing to one Web site from another Web site.


The collection of information a search engine has that searchers can query against. With crawler-based search engines, the index is typically copies of all the web pages they have found from crawling the web. With human-powered directories, the index contains the summaries of all web sites that have been categorized.

Indexability (crawlability and spiderability)

Indexability is the potential of a web site or its contents to be crawled or ‘indexed’ by a search engine.

Information Architecture

Designing, categorizing, organizing, and structuring content in a useful and meaningful way. Good information architecture considers both how humans and search spiders access a Web site. Information architecture suggestions: focus each page on a specific topic use descriptive page titles and meta descriptions which describe the content of the page use clean (few or no variables) descriptive file names and folder names use headings to help break up text and semantically structure a document use breadcrumb navigation to show page relationships use descriptive link anchor text link to related information from within the content area of your web pages improve conversion rates by making it easy for people to take desired actions avoid feeding search engines duplicate or near-duplicate content

Information Retrieval

The technique and process of searching, recovering, and interpreting information from large amounts of stored data.


A search engine which pioneered the paid inclusion business model. Inktomi was bought by Yahoo! at the end of 2002.

Internal Link

A hyperlink on a Web page that points to a page on the same Web site.


An interconnected system of networks that connects computers around the world via the TCP/IP protocol.

Internet Explorer

Microsoft’s web browser. Internet Explorer is the most widely used Web browser on the market. It has also been the browser engine in AOL’s Internet access software.

Invisible Web

Content on the Web that is not found in most search engine results, because it is stored in a database rather than on HTML pages. Viewing such content is accomplished by going to the web site’s search page and typing in specific queries.

IP Address

The address of a device attached to an IP network (TCP/IP network). Every client, server and network device must have a unique IP address for each network connection (network interface). Every IP packet contains a source IP address and a destination IP address

ISP (Internet Service Providers)

ISPs sell Internet access to the mass market. While the big nationwide commercial BBSs with Internet access (like America Online, CompuServe, GEnie, Netcom, etc.) are technically ISPs, the term is usually reserved for local or regional small providers (often run by hackers turned entrepreneurs) who resell Internet access cheaply without themselves being information providers or selling advertising.


Java applets

Small programs written in the Java programming language that can be embedded into web pages.


A scripting language that is added to standard HTML to create interactive documents.

Jump Page Ad

A microsite reached by clicking a button or banner. The jump page itself can list several topics, which can link to your site.

junk pages

meaningless documents that serve no purpose other than to spam the search engines with keyword stuffed pages in hopes a visitor might click on an adsense ad


Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

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.

Key phrase (or keyword phrase)

A search phrase made up of keywords.


A word that a search engine user uses to find relevant web page(s). If a keyword doesn’t appear anywhere in the text of your web page, it’s highly unlikely your page will appear in the search results (unless of course you have bid on that keyword in a pay-per-click search engine).

Keyword cannibalization

The excessive reuse of the same keyword on too many web pages within the same site. This practice makes it very difficult for the users and the search engines to determine which page is most relevant for the keyword.

Keyword Density

The percentage of words on a web page that match a specified set of keywords. In the context of search engine optimization keyword density can be used as a factor in determining whether a web page is relevant to a specified keyword or keyword phrase. In general, the higher the number of times a keyword appears in a page, the higher its density.

Keyword Funnel

The relationship between various related keywords. Some searches are particularly well aligned with others due to spelling errors, poor search relevancy, and automated or manual query refinement.

Keyword Matching

Keyword matching is the process of selecting and providing advertising or information that match the user’s search query.

Keyword Prominence

The placement of a given keyword in the HTML source code of a web page. The higher up in the page a particular word is, the more prominent it is and the more weight that word is assigned by the search engine’s. It’s best to have your first paragraph include your important keywords rather than using superfluous marketingspeak. This concept also applies to the location of important keywords within individual HTML tags, such as heading tags, title tags, or hyperlink text. Start off your HTML title tags with your chosen keywords instead of “Welcome to.”

Keyword Research

The process of discovering relevant keywords and keyword phrases to focus your SEO and PPC marketing campaigns on.

Keyword Research Tools

Tools which help you discover potential keywords based on past search trends, search volumes, bid prices, and page content from related Web sites.

Keyword Stemming

To return to the root or stem of a word and build additional words by adding a prefix or suffix, or using pluralization. The word can expand in either direction and even add words, increasing the number of variable options.

Keyword stuffing

Placing excessive amounts of keywords into the page copy and the HTML in such a way that it detracts from the readability and usability of a given page for the purpose of boosting the page’s rankings in the search engines.

Keyword Tag

Refers to the meta keywords tag within a web page. This tag is meant to hold approximately eight to ten keywords or keyword phrases, separated by commas. These phrases should be either misspellings of the main page topic, or terms that directly reflect the content on the page on which they appear. Keyword tags are sometimes used for internal search results as well as viewed by search engines.

Keyword Targeting

Displaying Pay Per Click search ads on publisher sites across the Internet that contain the keywords in a context advertiser’s Ad Group.

Kleinberg, Jon

Scientist largely responsible for much of the research that went into hubs and authorities based search relevancy algorithms.


Landing Page

The landing page is a web page where people go to (i.e., land on) after clicking an online advertisement or a link in the search results.

Landing Page Quality Scores

A measure used by Google to help filter noisy ads out of their AdWords program.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

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

Lead Generation

This market concept describes the derivation of income from ads, fees for delivering leads to suppliers, or sales commissions. Functioning in a primarily seller-driven market, lead generation markets may also produce RFP’s (Requests For Proposals), and RFQ (Requests For Quotes) for buyers. In the process, the information needs of users are evaluated while content, information, and transactions for buyers and sellers are integrated/aggregated. The majority of lead generation markets strive to become transaction-oriented catalog aggregation models.


An address that points to a Web page or other file (image, video, PDF, etc.) on a Web server. Links reside on Web pages, in e-mail messages and word processing documents as well as any other document type that supports hypertext and URL addressing.

Link Baiting

The art of targeting, creating, and formatting information that provokes the target audience to point high quality links at your site.

Link building

Designing a Web site so that search engines easily find the pages and index them. The goal is to have your page be in the top 10 results of a search. Optimization includes the choice of words used in the text paragraphs and the placement of those words on the page, both visible and hidden inside meta tags.

Link Building

The process of building high quality linkage data that search engines will evaluate to trust your Web site is authoritative, relevant, and trustworthy. A few general link building tips: build conceptually unique linkworthy high quality content create viral marketing ideas that want to spread and make people talk about you mix your anchor text get deep links try to build at least a few quality links before actively obtaining any low quality links register your site in relevant high quality directories such as DMOZ, the Yahoo! Directory, and Business.com when possible try to focus your efforts mainly on getting high quality editorial links create link bait try to get bloggers to mention you on their blogs It takes a while to catch up with the competition, but if you work at it long enough and hard enough eventually you can enjoy a self-reinforcing market position

Link Bursts

A rapid increase in the quantity of links pointing at a Web site. Link development frequency, or the rate a site develops links is likely used to detect spam or sites that are attempting to game a search engine. When links occur naturally they generally develop over time. In some cases it may make sense that popular viral articles receive many links quickly, but in those cases there are typically other signs of quality as well, such as: increased usage data increase in brand related search queries traffic from the link sources to the site being linked at many of the new links coming from new pages on trusted domains

Link Churn

The rate at which a site loses links.

Link Equity

A measure of how strong a site is based on its inbound link popularity and the authority of the sites providing those links.

Link exchange

A reciprocal linking scheme often facilitated by a site devoted to directory pages. Link exchanges usually allow links to sites of low or no quality, and add no value themselves. Quality directories are usually human edited for quality assurance.

Link Farm

Website or group of Web sites which exercises little to no editorial control when linking to other sites. FFA pages, for example, are link farms. ) A link farm is a form of spamdexing, spamming the index of a search engine.

Link Hoarding

A method of trying to keep all your link popularity by not linking out to other sites, use of the nofollow tag, or linking out using JavaScript or through cheesy redirects. Generally link hoarding is a bad idea for the following reasons: many authority sites were at one point hub sites that freely linked out to other relevant resources if you are unwilling to link out to other sites people are going to be less likely to link to your site outbound links to relevant resources may improve your credibility and boost your overall relevancy scores

Link partner (link exchange, reciprocal linking)

Two sites which link to each other.

Link popularity

The number of links pointed at a Web site. When other web sites link to your site, your site will rank better in certain search engines. The more web pages that link to you, the better your link popularity.

Link Rot

A measure of how many links are broken on a Web site.

Link Spam (Comment Spam)

Unwanted links such as those posted in user generated content like blog comments.

Link Text (Anchor text)

The user-visible text of a link. Search engines use anchor text to indicate the relevancy of the referring site and link to the content on the landing page. Ideally all three will share some keywords in common.

Linking Profile

A profile is a representation of the extent to which something exhibits various characteristics. A linking profile is the results of an analysis of where of your links are coming from.


The information appearing on a results page in response to a search.


New search platform provided by Microsoft.

Log file

A file which lists all actions that have occurred on a server. Usually logged data includes date and time, filename accessed, user’s IP address, referring web page, user’s browser software and version, and cookie data.

Long Tail

The potential for online retailers to make more money than their bricks and mortar counterparts because there is virtually unlimited “shelf space” to offer products. Another key factor is that merchandise is offered via recommendations with links from one product to another so that people who purchase one item are encouraged to look at several others.

Long Tail Keywords

Keyword phrases with three to five words in them. These long tail keywords are usually highly specific and draw lower traffic than shorter, more competitive keyword phrases, which is why they are also cheaper. Oftentimes, long tail keywords, in aggregate, have good conversion ratios for the low number of click-throughs they generate.


Company originally launched as a directory service which later morphed into a paid search provider and vertical content play.



Auto-generated doorway pages, which are usually devoid of meaningful content. Google, in particular, is working on ways to identify and exclude machine-generated doorway pages.

Mahaney, Stephen

Founder of Planet Ocean and editor of SearchEngineNews.com; Author of the original ‘UnFair Advantage Book on Winning The Search Engine Wars’

Malda, Rob

Founder of Slashdot.org, a popular editorially driven technology news forum.

Manual Review

A manual review process is preformed with automated relevancy algorithms to help catch search spam and train relevancy algorithms. Abnormal usage data or link growth patterns may also flag sites for manual review. Google for example has a small army of employees that review the quality of search results and web sites.

Manual submitting

Submitting by hand to an individual search engine, rather than using an automated submission tool or service. Manual submitting is a more polite way to submit, and is less likely to cause trouble with the search engines. Better yet, do not submit at all — let the search engine spiders find you through links from other sites.

Marketing Sherpa

A research firm located in Warren, RI specializing in tracking what works in all aspects of marketing, including SEO and SMO. They provide yearly benchmark guides on a variety of topics for a fee through their Web site.


A web page which consists primarily of single purpose software and other small programs (gizmos and gadgets) or possibly links to such programs. Mashups are quick and easy content to produce and are often popular with users, and can make good link bait. Tool collection pages are sometimes mashups.

Mechanical Turk

Performing human tasks interspersed within an automated system. An Amazon.com program which allows you to hire humans to perform easy tasks that computers are bad at.


In The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins defines a meme as “a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation.” Many people use the word meme to refer to self spreading or viral ideas.

Meta Description

A description of the data in a source, distinct from the actual data; for example, the currency by which prices are measured in a data source for purchasing goods The meta description tag is typically a sentence or two of content which describes the content of the page. A good meta description tag should: be relevant and unique to the page; reinforce the page title; and focus on including offers and secondary keywords and phrases to help add context to the page title. Relevant meta description tags may appear in search results as part of the page description below the page title.

Meta Description Tag

An HTML tag that identifies the contents of a Web page for the search engines. Meta tags are hidden on the page, but they, as well as all the HTML code on a page, can be viewed by selecting View/Source or View/Page Source from the browser menu. Meta tags contain a general description of the page, keywords and copyright information.

Meta Feeds

Ad networks which pull advertiser listings from other providers. They may or may not have their own distribution and advertiser networks.

Meta Keywords

The meta keywords tag is a tag which can be used to highlight keywords and keyword phrases which the page is targeting. The code for a meta keyword tag looks like this <meta name=”Keywords” content=”keyword phrase, another keyword, yep another, maybe one more “> Many people spammed meta keyword tags and searchers typically never see the tag, so most search engines do not place much (if any) weight on it. Many SEO professionals no longer use meta keywords tags. See also: Free meta tag generator – offers a free formatting tool and advice on creating meta description tags.

Meta Keywords Tag

Allows page authors to add text to a page to help with the search engine ranking process. Not all search engines use the tag.

Meta Refresh

An HTML command that switches you to a different Web page within a specified amount of time. It is used to briefly display an outdated page and send the visitor to the new page. Fast meta refreshes are used to quickly switch doorway pages to the page the user is supposed to see.

Meta Refresh Redirect

A client-side redirect.

Meta Robots Tag

Allows page authors to keep their web pages from being indexed by search engines, especially helpful for those who cannot create robots.txt files.

Meta Search

Top ranked results from multiple search engines and rearranged them into a single SERP.

Meta Search Engine

A search engine that gets listings from two or more other search engines, rather than through its own efforts.

Meta tag stuffing

Repeating keywords in the meta tags and using meta keywords that are unrelated to the site’s content.

Meta Tags

Information placed in a web page not intended for users to see but instead which typically passes information to search engine crawlers, browser software and some other applications.

MFA Made For Advertisements

Web sites that are designed from the ground up as a venue for advertisements.


A form of multimedia blogging that allows users to send brief text messages (usually 140 characters or less), pictures, audio files and even videos to a group of people who have subscribed to be sent these updates. These messages can be sent from a phone’s text messaging option, instant messaging, email, digital audio or straight from the Micro-blogging service. An example of a popular micro-blogging service is http://www.twitter.com


Maker of the popular Windows operating system and Internet Explorer browser.


A measure of the amount of people who think of you or your product when thinking of products in your category. Sites with strong mindshare, top rankings, or a strong memorable brand are far more likely to be linked at than sites which are less memorable and have less search exposure. The link quality of mindshare related links most likely exceeds the quality of the average link on the web. If you sell non-commodities, personal recommendations also typically carry far greater weight than search rankings alone.

Mirror Site

Site which mirrors (or duplicates) the contents of another Web site. Most often seen in situations to where sits are located in different parts of the world to speed downloading, or to share processing. Download sites frequently are mirrored in different locations. Generally search engines prefer not to index duplicate content. The one exception to this is that if you are a hosting company it might make sense to offer free hosting or a free mirror site to a popular open source software site to build significant link equity.


A module or plugin for Apache web servers that can be used to rewrite a dynamic URL as a static URL on the fly. This is commonly done for SEO purposes to improve the pages navigation for spiders.


To extract income from a site. Adsense ads are an easy way to Monetize a Web site.


A JavaScript instruction that is used to test the current position of the mouse. For example, it is widely used to change the appearance of a button used as a hyperlink to another page. Two buttons are created: one in the normal state, the other altered, typically having a “depressed” look. Using “on mouseover” in a JavaScript statement that relates to the image enables the altered image to be displayed.

Movable Type

For sale blogging software which allows you to host a blog on your Web site.

Mozilla Firefox

An open source and platform independent web browser that has steadily grown in popularity over the last few years. It’s currently used by about 15% of the world’s Web browsers.


Refers to Microsoft Network and their search engine

MSN Search

Search engine built by Microsoft. MSN is the default search provider in Internet Explorer.

Multi Dimensional Scaling

The process of taking shapshots of documents in a database to discover topical clusters through the use of latent semantic indexing. Multi dimensional scaling is more efficient than singular vector decomposition since only a rough approximation of relevance is necessary when combined with other ranking criteria.


One of the most popular social networking sites, largely revolving around connecting musicians to fans and having an easy to use blogging platform.


Naked Links

A posted and visible link in the text of a web page that directs to a web site.

Natural Language Processing

Algorithms which attempt to understand the true intent of a search query rather than just matching results to keywords.

Natural search results

The search engine results which are not sponsored, or paid for in any way.


Scheme to help Web site users understand where they are, where they have been, and how that relates to the rest of your Web site. It is best to use regular HTML navigation rather than coding your navigation in JavaScript, Flash, or some other type of navigation which search engines may not be able to easily index.

Navigation bar (nav bar)

A web site’s navigation icons, usually arranged in a row down the left hand side or along the top that plays crucial roles in directing spiders to the site’s most important content and in getting site visitors to go deeper in the site

Negative Keyword

Negative Keyword is a term referenced by Google AdWords and is a form of keyword matching. This means that an advertiser can specify search terms that they do not want their ad to be associated with.

Negative SEO

The act of demoting a page or site from the SERPS. Most often used against a competitor that is above your site in the SERPS but can be used purely for fun.


Originally a company that created a popular web browser by the same name, Netscape is now a social news site similar to Digg.com.


A topic or subject which a Web site is focused on.


A non-standard HTML link attribute used to prevent a link from passing link authority. Technically, ‘nofollow’ instructs a search engine bot *not* to follow the link and that the link should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of spamdexing, thereby improving the quality of search engine results. Commonly used on sites with user generated content, like in blog comments. The code to use nofollow on a link appears like <a href=”http://www.seoinsites.com.com&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>seoINsites</a>. Nofollow can also be used in a robots meta tag to prevent a search engine from counting any outbound links on a page. This code would look like this <META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”INDEX, NOFOLLOW”>

NoFollow Tag

An attribute webmasters can place on links that tell search engines not to count the link as a vote or not to send any trust to that site. Search engines will follow the link, yet it will not influence search results. NoFollows can be added to any link with this code: rel=”nofollow”.

NoFrames Tag

A tag used to describe the content of a frame to a user or engine which had trouble displaying or reading frames. This tag is frequently misused to the point that its often referred to as the ‘Poor mans cloaking’.


A command found in either the HEAD section of a web page or within individual link code, which instructs robots to not index the page or the specific link.

Non reciprocal link

If site A links to site B, but site B does not link back to site A, then the link is considered non reciprocal. Search engines tend to give more value to non-reciprocal links than to reciprocal ones because they are less likely to be the result of collusion between sites.

NoScript Tag

A tag used to define an alternate content (text) if a script is NOT executed. This tag is used for browsers that recognize the <script> tag, but do not support the script in the tag.



Refers to content specific to a particular topic.


As it relates to search, it is the attempt to create an exhaustive and rigorous conceptual schema about a domain. An ontology is typically a hierarchical data structure containing all the relevant entities and their relationships and rules within that domain. Used in keyword research to find all related terms to a core set of keywords.

Open Source

Software which is distributed with its source code such that developers can modify it as they see fit. On the web open source is a great strategy for quickly building immense exposure and mindshare.


A fast standards based web browser.

Organic link

Links published only because the webmaster considers them to add value for users.

Organic Results

Listings on search engine result pages (SERPs) that are not paid for and are not for sale. Sites appear in organic (also called ‘natural’) results because a search engine has applied formulas (algorithms) to its search crawler index, combined with editorial decisions and content weighting, that it deems important enough to include without payment.

Organic Search Rankings

Search engine ranking of web pages found in SERPs.

Outbound Links

Links on a particular web page leading to other web pages either within the same site, or other web sites.


The company which pioneered search marketing by selling targeted searches on a pay per click basis. Originally named GoTo, they were eventually bought out by Yahoo! and branded as Yahoo! Search Marketing

Overture Keyword Selector Tool

Popular keyword research tool, based largely on Yahoo! search statistics. Heavily skewed toward commercially oriented searches, also combines singular and plural versions of a keyword into a single version.



Pay for Performance

Page, Larry

Co-founder of Google.


A logarithmic scale based on link equity which estimates the importance of web documents. Since PageRank is widely bartered Google’s relevancy algorithms had to move away from relying on PageRank and place more emphasis on trusted links via algorithms such as TrustRank. The PageRank formula is: PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + … + PR(Tn)/C(Tn)) PR= PageRank d= dampening factor (~0.85) c = number of links on the page PR(T1)/C(T1) = PageRank of page 1 divided by the total number of links on page 1, (transferred PageRank) In text: for any given page A the PageRank PR(A) is equal to the sum of the parsed partial PageRank given from each page pointing at it multiplied by the dampening factor plus one minus the dampening factor. PageRank (PR) PR 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.

Paid Inclusion

Is the process of paying a fee to a search engine in order to be included in that search engine’s result pages 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, frames, etc.

Paid Listings

Listings that search engines sell to advertisers, usually through paid placement or paid inclusion programs. In contrast, organic listings are not sold.

Paid Placement

Advertising program where listings are guaranteed to appear in response to particular search terms, with higher ranking typically obtained by paying more than other advertisers. Paid placement listings can be purchased from a portal or a search network. Search networks are often set up in an auction environment where keywords and phrases are associated with a cost-per-click (CPC) fee. Overture and Google are the largest networks, but MSN and other portals sometimes sell paid placement listings directly as well. Portal sponsorships are also a type of paid placement.

pay for inclusion (PFI)

The practice of charging a fee to include a Web site in a search engine or directory. While quite common, usually what is technically paid for is more rapid consideration to avoid Googles prohibition on paid links.

PDF (Portable Document Format)

a universal file format developed by Adobe Systems that allows files to be stored and viewed in the original printer friendly context.


Search engines prevent some Web sites suspected of spamming from ranking highly in the results by banning or penalizing them. These penalties may be automated algorithmically or manually applied. If a site is penalized algorithmically the site may start ranking again after a certain period of time after the reason for being penalized is fixed. If a site is penalized manually the penalty may last an exceptionally long time or require contacting the search engine with a reinclusion request to remedy. PERL (Practical Extraction Report Language)


Current definition needs to be updated with the “add the &pws=0 attribute to the end of your Google browser URLs to return non-customized results in Google search”


Altering the search results based on a person’s location, search history, content they recently viewed, or other factors relevant to them on a personal level.

PFP (Pay for Performance)

Payment structure where affiliated sales workers are paid commission for getting consumers to perform certain actions. Publishers publishing contextual ads are typically paid per ad click. Affiliate marketing programs pay affiliates for conversions – leads, downloads, or sales.


PHP Hypertext Preprocessor is an open source server side scripting language used to render web pages or add interactivity to them


“A media file that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers. Like ‘radio,’ it can mean both the content and the method of syndication. The latter may also be termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Poison Word

Words which were traditionally associated with low quality content that caused search engines to want to demote the rankings of a page


A web service which offers a wide array of features to entice users to make the portal their ‘home page’ on the web. Google, Yahoo, and MSN are portals.


Web site offering common consumer services such as news, email, other content, and search.


In PPC advertising, position is the placement on a search engine results page where your ad appears relative to other paid ads and to organic search results.

Position Preference

A feature in Google AdWords and in Microsoft adCenter enabling advertisers to specify in which positions they would like their ads to appear on the SERP. Not a position guarantee.

PPA (Pay Per Action )

Very similar to Pay Per Click except publishers only get paid when click throughs result in conversions.

PPC (Pay Per Click)

pay per click is a pricing model which most search ads and many contextual ad programs are sold through — Google’s AdWords is a prime example. PPC ads only charge advertisers when a potential customer actually clicks an ad.

PPC 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. PPC ads may get thousands of impressions (views or serves of the ad); but, unlike more traditional ad models billed on a CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions) basis, PPC advertisers only pay when their ad is clicked on. Charges per ad click-through are based on advertiser bids in hybrid ad space auctions and are influenced by competitor bids, competition for keywords and search engines’ proprietary quality measures of advertiser ad and landing page content.

PPC Management

The monitoring and maintenance of a Pay-Per-Click campaign. This includes changing bid prices, expanding and refining keyword lists, editing ad copy, testing campaign components for cost effectiveness and successful conversions, and reviewing performance reports for reports to management and clients, as well as results to feed into future PPC campaign operations.


Acronym for Pay-Per-Click Search Engine.

PR Web

Our recommendation for online press release submission. PR Web provides an optimized platform to submit social media releases and SEO-optimized releases to the widest possible audience at the lowest possible cost.


The ability of a search engine to list results that satisfy the query.

Profit Elasticity

A measure of the profit potential of different economic conditions based on adjusting price, supply, or other variables to create a different profit potential where the supply and demand curves cross.


A measure of how close words are to one another.


Quality Link

Search engines count links votes of trust. Quality links count more than low quality links. There are a variety of ways to define what a quality link is, but the following are characteristics of a high quality link: Trusted Source: If a link is from a page or Web site which seems like it is trustworthy then it is more likely to count more than a link from an obscure, rarely used, and rarely cited Web site. See TrustRank for one example of a way to find highly trusted Web sites. Hard to Get: The harder a link is to acquire the more likely a search engine will be to want to trust it and the more work a competitor will need to do to try to gain that link. Aged: Some search engines may trust links from older resources or links that have existed for a length of time more than they trust brand new links or links from newer resources. Co-citation: Pages that link at competing sites which also link to your site make it easy for search engines to understand what community your Web site belongs to. See Hilltop for an example of an algorithm which looks for co-citation from expert sources. Related: Links from related pages or related Web sites may count more than links from unrelated sites. In Content: Links which are in the content area of a page are typically going to be more likely to be editorial links than links that are not included within the editorial portion of a page.

Quality Score

A number assigned by Google to paid ads in a hybrid auction that, together with maximum CPC, determines each ad’s rank and SERP position. Quality Scores reflect an ad’s historical CTR, keyword relevance, landing page relevance, and other factors proprietary to Google. Yahoo! refers to the Quality Score as a Quality Index. And both Google and Yahoo! display 3- or 5-step indicators of quality evaluations for individual advertisers.


A word or phrase entered into a search engine or database.

Query Refinement

Query Refinement is an essential information retrieval tool that interactively recommends new terms related to a particular query.



The particular order or position a web page or web site appears in search engine results. Rank and position affect your click-through rates and, therefore, conversion rates for your landing pages.


The portion of relevant documents that were retrieved when compared to all relevant documents.

Reciprocal Links

A reciprocal link is a mutual link between two web sites in order to ensure mutual traffic. Search engines usually don’t count these as valuable links

Reconsideration Request

A request to Google to manually review your site submitted through a verified Google Webmaster Tools account.


Methods used to change the address of a landing page when a site is moved to a new domain, or location.


The source from which web site visitors come from.


If a site has been banned for spamming they may fix the infraction and ask for reinclusion in a search index.


As related to PPC advertising, relevance measures how closely the searcher’s expectations and the search query are tied to the description, keywords and ad title.


To measure of how useful searchers find search results.

Reputation Management

Ensuring your brand related keywords display search results which reinforce your brand.


A program which is offered by businesses bilking naive consumers out of their money for a worthless service.

Reverse Index

This is a database index that uses the reversal of the key values rather than the values themselves.

Revshare / Revenue Sharing

A method of allocating PPC revenue to a site publisher, and click-through charges to a search engine that distributes paid-ads to its context network partners, for every page viewer who clicks on the content site’s sponsored ads.

Rich Media

Text that includes formatting commands for page layout such as fonts, bold, underline, italic, etc. It may also refer to a multimedia document that can include graphics, audio and video.

Rich Snippets

On 12 May 2009, Google announced that they would be parsing the hCard, hReview and hProduct microformats, and using them to populate search result pages with what they called “Rich Snippets”.

Right Rail

The right-side column of a web page. On a Search Engine Results Page (SERP), the right rail is usually where sponsored listings appear.

ROAS (Return On Advertising Spending)

The profit generated by ad campaign conversions per dollar spent on advertising expenses.


A text file placed in the root directory of a web site that prohibits crawlers/spiders from indexing all or specific pages of the site.

ROI (Return On Investment)

A measure of how much return you receive from each marketing dollar.

RSS (Really Simply Syndication, Rich Site Summary, RDF Site Summary)

A syndication format designed for aggregating updates to blogs and the news sites.



Software as a Service


A popular web browser for Apple computers.

Salton, Gerard

Computer scientist who was among the pioneers of the information retrieval field.

Saturation (Search Engine Saturation)

A term describing how much content from a particular Web site is included in a given search engine. A higher saturation gives a higher potential of traffic and page ranking.


A blog script written in PHP that uses MySQL for the back-end.


copying content from a site, often facilitated by automated bots. – Definition revised based upon advice from Michael Martinez

Scraper sites

Designed to ‘scrape’ search-engine results pages or other sources of content (often without permission) to create content for a Web site. Scraper sites are generally full of advertising or redirect the user to other sites.

Search Directory

A listing of Web sites and URLs that depends on user submission to create the listing, which is organized in a logical system, instead of using spiders or crawlers to obtain information for its database.

Search Engine

A tool or device designed to search and retrieve information, comprising of a spider, index, relevancy algorithms and search results.

Search History

User search history information stored by the search engine to help improve the quality and reliability of future search results.

Search Query

The word or phrase a searcher types into a search field, which initiates search engine results page listings and PPC ad serves. In PPC advertising, the goal is to bid on keywords that closely match the search queries of the advertiser’s targets. See also Query.

Search Submit Pro (SSP)

Search Submit Pro is Yahoo’s paid inclusion product that uses a ‘feed’ tactic. This product crawls your web site as well as an optimized XML feed that represents the content on your site. Yahoo then applies its algorithm to both the actual web site pages and the XML feed to determine which listing is most appropriate to appear in the organic search results when a user conducts a search for relevant terms. Yahoo charges a cost per click (CPC), determined by category, for each time a listing established through (SSP) is clicked.

Search Terms

The words (or word) a searcher enters into a search engine’s search box. Also used to refer to the terms a search engine marketer hopes a particular page will be found for. Also called keywords, query terms or query.

Secondary Links

Links that are indirectly acquired links, such as a story in a major newspaper about a new product your company released.

SEM (Search engine marketing)

The marketing of Web sites for search engines, usually through methods such as SEO, buying pay per click adds or trusted feeds.

Semantic Clustering

A technique for developing relevant keywords for PPC Ad Groups, by focusing tightly on keywords and keyword phrases that are associative and closely related, referred to as “semantic clustering.” Focused and closely-relate dkeyword groups, which would appear in the advertiser’s ad text and in the content of the click-through landing page, are more likely to meet searchers’ expectations and, therefore, support more effective advertising and conversion rates.

SEO (Search engine optimization)

The act of publishing and marketing information in a way to improve search engine understanding of Web site content.

SEO Copywriting

A style of writing and formatting information to increase the exposure to search queries by enhancing the relevance of the document to the search engine criteria and algorithm.


Acronym for: Search Engine’s Point Of View


(Search Engine Results Page) The page where the results for a search query returned by a search engine is presented. Sometimes referred to as SERPs for multiple pages.

Server-side Tracking

The process of analyzing web server log files. Server-side analytics tools make sense of raw data to generate meaningful reports and trends analysis.

Session IDs

Dynamic parameters, such as session IDs generated by cookies for each individual user. Session IDs cause search engines to see a different URL for each page each time they return to re-crawl a web site.

Share of Voice

“A brand’s (or group of brands’) advertising weight, expressed as a percentage of a defined total market or market segment in a given time period. Share of Voice (SOV) advertising weight is usually defined in terms of expenditure, ratings, pages, poster sites, etc.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Siloing (also known as Theming)

Siloing is a site architecture technique used to split he focus of a site into multiple themes. The goal behind siloing is to create a site that ranks well for both its common and more-targeted keywords. (Source: Bruce Clay Newsletter 09/06)


The practice of stealing traffic from another web sites traffic

Site Map

A specific page on a Web site that provides search engines an alternative access to contents and information, and also helps webmasters and visitors to make sense of the information contained in the Web site.

Site-Targeted Ads

Site targeting lets advertisers display their ads on manuallyselected sites in the search engine’s content network for content or contextual ad serves. Site-targeted ads are billed more like traditional display ads, per 1000 impressions (CPM), and not on a Pay-Per-Click basis.


A tall, thin ad unit that runs down the side of a web page. A skyscraper can be 120 x 600 pixels or160 x 600 pixels.

Sniffer script

a small program or script that detects which web browser software an Internet user is using and then serves up the particular browser-specific cascading style sheet to match. Sniffer scripts are also used to detect whether a user has the Macromedia Flash plug-in installed, and if so, a Flash version of the page is displayed. Also known as User_Agent Detection.

social bookmark

A form of Social Media where users bookmarks are aggregated for public access.

social media

Various online technologies used by people to share information and perspectives. Blogs, wikis, forums, social bookmarking, user reviews and rating sites (digg, reddit) are all examples of Social Media.

social media marketing (SMM)

Website or brand promotion through social media

social media poisoning (SMP)

A term coined by Rand Fishkin – any of several (possibly illegal) black hat techniques designed to implicate a competitor as a spammer – For example blog comment spamming in the name / brand of a competitor

Social Media Release SMR

A press release written with social media in mind that references social tags, anchor text keywords, RSS feeds, and other ancillary files to promote a conversation with its online audience.

sock puppet

an online identity used to either hide a persons real identity or to establish multiple user profiles


Unsolicited email messages that can have malicious or benign intent. spam ad page (SpamAd page) A Made For Adsense/Advertisement page which uses scraped or machine generated text for content, and has no real value to users other than the slight value of the adds. Spammers sometimes create sites with hundreds of these pages. spamdexing Spamdexing or search engine spamming is the practice of deceptively modifying web pages to increase the chance of them being placed close to the beginning of search engine results, or to influence the category to which the page is assigned in a dishonest manner. – Wikipedia


The processes involved in creating and distributing spam.


Search engine robots that processes content on the Internet to create an index of pages used to provide Internet users results for their search query.

Spider trap

An infinite loop that a spider may get caught in if it explores a dynamic site where the URLs of pages keep changing. For example, a home page may have a different URL and the search engine may not be able to ascertain that it is the home page that it has already indexed but under another URL. If search engines were to completely index dynamic web sites, they would inevitably have large amounts of redundant content and download millions of pages.

Splash Page

A term with refers to web pages that are lavishly designed, but offer very little value or content for search engines.


(aka) Spam Blog – An artificially created weblog site that’s used to promote affiliated Web sites or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites. The purpose of a splog can be to increase the PageRank or backlink portfolio of affiliate Web sites, to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors or even as a link outlet to get new sites indexed. Spam blogs are usually some type of scraper site, where content is often stolen from other Web sites. These blogs usually contain a high number of links to sites associated with the splog creator which are often disreputable or otherwise useless Web sites. There is frequent confusion between the terms “splog” and “spam in blogs”. Splogs are blogs where the articles are fake, and are only created for search engine spamming. To spam in blogs, conversely, is to include random comments on the blogs of innocent bystanders, in which spammers take advantage of a site’s ability to allow visitors to post comments that may include links.


Spam blog, in reference to either stolen or automatically generated blog content.

Sponsored Listing

A term used as a title or column head on SERPs to identify paid advertisers and distinguish between paid and organic listings. Alternate names are Paid Listings or Paid Sponsors. Separating paid listings from organic results enables searchers to make their own purchase and site trust decisions and, in fact, 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.


Software programs that are often used to collect data on consumer behavior and habits to provide targeted advertising.


A popular user-driven platform for publishing web contents for social networking purposes.

SSI (Server Side Includes)

A convenient way to access parts of a web page from a different page, typically implemented through the creation of .shtml or .shtm files or by accessing or modifying the .htaccess file.

Static Content

Website content which does not change frequently, or lack interactive elements that can dynamically respond to or reflect user input, such as those enabled by dynamic programming languages.


Using the stem of a word to help broaden the scope of the search, and improve the quality of the search results.


The amount of time user spends on a Web site, or the ability of a Web site to engage visitors and make them navigate to other pages on the same Web site.

Stop character

Certain characters, such as ampersand (&), equals sign (=), and question mark (?), when in a web page’s URL, tip off a search engine that the page in question is dynamic. Search engines are cautious of indexing dynamic pages for fear of spider traps, thus pages that contain stop characters in their URL run the risk of not getting indexed and becoming part of the “Invisible Web.” Google won’t crawl more than one dynamic level deep. So dynamic pages with stop characters in its URL should get indexed if a static page links to it. Eliminating stop characters from all URLs on your site will go a long way in ensuring that your entire site gets indexed by Google.

Stop Words

Word typed into to a search query, but are removed prior to finding and retrieving search results due to their very frequent appearance and thus irrelevance to the search. Search engines are now rethinking their position on the use of stop words to increase the quality of search results.

Streaming media

audio-visual content that is played as it is being downloaded. Thus, an Internet user could begin watching a video clip as the footage downloads rather than having to wait for the clip to download in its entirety beforehand.


The process of creating or enhancing awareness of your Web site, either by submitting the web page to the search engine, or establishing links with Web sites that are in the search engine index.

Supplemental Results

Documents not listed on the main search index, and are considered to be trusted less. Listings in the Supplemental results rank lower than documents in the main search index due to limited link authority relative to the number of pages on the site, duplicate content or near duplication or even exceptionally complex URLs. Google at one time allowed users to see if a URL was in the supplemental index in their search result, but removed that indication.


An option that allows you to extend your reach by distributing ads to additional partner sites.


Tagging, tags

Word descriptions associated with a web page or content

Tail Terms

Specific and long phrases that include one or more modifiers designed to use words that are more unique to reduce competition and improve conversion rates.

Target Audience

The group of people that are the primary consumers of the products or services provided by a particular business, that the advertisers want to attract.


The act of narrowing or focusing the use of keywords in advertising to attract a specific target group. This can be based on gender, age, behavior or specific interests.


A system, which incorporates a specific set of terms, used to organize contents in a systematic or hierarchical manner.


One of the most popular search engine for blogs.


A program or service that uses an underlying TCP/IP protocol to provide remote computers with access to local computers and vice versa.


An Internet search engine based on Kleinberg’s concept of hubs and authorities. It is used to power Web sites such as Ask.com.

Term Frequency

The number of occurrences of a keyword amongst a collection of text or documents.

Term Vector Database

A database that incorporates the use of relative vectors (or relevancy) in searching on keyword phrases and Web site content.

Text Link Ads

Advertisements formatted to resemble text links.

The Tragedy of the Commons

The conflict between the interests of individuals and the common good of the group.


The overall topic or content of a Web site. This is usually determined by the search engine based on a word usage and density analysis of the contents on the page.


Tools used to find words of similar meaning in different context to assist in improving search results, or for advertisers to find potential keywords.

Tier I Search Engines

Refers to the big three GYM, for Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft Live Search search engines, which handles the majority of the search queries on the Internet.

Tier II Search Engines

Incorporates a range of smaller, vertical and specialized engines, including general Search engines or meta search engines. Even though Tier II Search Engines lack the market share or features of the Tier I engines, they can still be effective in targeting specific or niche markets at a more affordable price

Tier III Search Engines

These operate mainly on contextual distribution networks, and are triggered by the result of user searches, where the keywords used in the query are linked to advertisers that are listed on the search engine to bring up the advertisement relevant to the search results.

Title Tag

The <head> tag of a web page that normally contains the page title. This is also the information used by the search engine to show the bold blue underlined hyperlink of search query results. Historically the title tag has been the most important section of a web page in regards to search engine ranking.

TLP (Top Level Page)

A reference to pages in a Web site structured in the top levels because of the unique value they provide for the site


An add-on to a web browser designed to provide additional functionalities or easy access to existing function

Topic-Sensitive PageRank

Alternate method of computing PageRank. Takes into account of the theme and content of pages when computing a PageRank score.


A function that enables the linking of posts to other blogs with similar content or topic so that links and references to their page or content can be easily accessed. The ‘Trackback URL’ of a post shows all other blogs that have links to it.

Tracking URL

A URL whose function is store and report information from a user action. It is designed to show information such as the keyword used, what match type was triggered, and the search engine used to reach the Web site, and it used commonly to track the conversion rate of paid advertising services.


Any symbols, pictures or words that distinctively identify, or are associated with a specific product or service.


The number of visits or visitors to a Web site.

Traffic Analysis

The process of analyzing Web site traffic with the aim to understand user activity on the Web site as well as the source of traffic to the Web site.

Trusted Feed

A trusted feed is a paid service offered by some search engines to allow advertisements to appear in designated areas, without having to change the contents of the Web site. Interchangeable with the term Paid Inclusion


A weighted search relevancy algorithm designed with a bias towards trusted seed Web sites of major corporations, educational institutions, or governmental institutions.


Hosted blogging platform that allows users to publish content on a simulated unique domain. Designed to give more credibility and individuality to the content, while sacrificing some of the user generated traffic and credit to the Web site.


Unethical SEO

Search engine optimization techniques that are considered to be unscrupulous by search engines which can lead to the banning of a Web site. Examples include Keyword stuffing, Hidden text and Doorway pages

Unique visitors

A tally or count of individual users (rather than user agents or bots) who have visited your web site (over a specified period of time), as opposed to user sessions, which can involve an individual user visiting the Web site multiple times. This is determined by the number of unique user identifiers registered on the Web site (usually the IP address).


A term which encompasses the entire population of the market or target group.

URL (Uniform Resource Locater)

The unique address of a document or resource on the Internet. The term is often used interchangeably with web address.

URL Rewrite

A technique for creating more unique and informative URLs so that they can be indexed by major search engines more effectively. It also helps to make the URL more user-friendly. URL Rewriting is often done using the Apache MOD_REWRITE function to convert a dynamic URL to what appears to be a static URL


The ease with which a user can perform an action

Usage Data

Data relating to the amount of traffic visitors, page views statistics, click through rate, or search queries may be seen by some search engines as a sign of quality.


A specialized search service aimed to provide information for particular fields, a type of information, or information format.

User agent

The name of the browser/spider that is currently visiting a page.

User session

A period of user interaction with the Web site, with an arbitrary length inactivity by the user usually assigned to indicate the end of a session.


Value Propositions

When referring to a customer, it is the sum of the all the benefits that a company promises to the customer in return for the agreed transaction. The promise is generally laid out in the marketing and sales information, with the customer to receive the benefits for engaging in the company’s service and completing the payment.

Vector Space Model

(see Term Vector Database)

Vertical Creep

Describes a trend when vertical listing rank highly on organic search engine results but fail to register equally on sponsored listings (as they apply to SERP).

Vertical Portal / Vortal

Search engines that focus on a specific vertical, or a specific industry/sector. These typically contain more specific indexes that produce better search results compared to Tier I search engines.

Vertical Search

A type of search service that focuses on the field, type of information, or information format rather than specific keywords.


A term used to refer to a specific business group or category.

Viral Marketing

An online ‘word-of-mouth’ tactic of marketing that relies on self-propagating or self-replicating methods to circulate within multiple networks aimed at trying to reach a large number of audience in a short amount of time. Viral marketing is usually spread using email, blogs, and other social networking or marketing channels.

Virtual Domain

A Web site that is hosted on a virtual server.

Virtual Server

A server designed to host multiple top level domains that can be run from a single computer.


A general term for the describing the amount of exposure a Web site receives in search engine keyword searches.


A term used to indicate the direct or indirect navigation of a user to a Web site.


Wales, Jimmy

Co-founder of the popular collaborative online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

walled garden

A collection of web pages that are linked to each other only, without any external links or references. Walled gardens that are included in the sitemap can still be indexed by search engines, but will probably receive a poor page rank due to their lack of deep links.

Web browser

Software that is installed on the user’s computer for viewing the contents of Web sites. Among the list of popular web browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera.

Web Crawler, web robot, web spider

A program or automated script used to navigate and browse the contents of the World Wide Web in a systematic manner.

Web Forwarding

A facility that allows redirection to occur on a separate server by providing specific directives on the .htaccess file.

Web standards

Standards and guidelines such as CSS, XHTML that help ensure inter-platform operability

Web TV

Television set-top boxes designed for users without computers or do not wish to use computers to browse the Internet.


see Blog

White Hat SEO

Techniques and practices that fall within the accepted practices and guidelines based on how search engines operate. Normally used to refer to SEO practices that are not deceptive or misleading in nature, as opposed to Black Hat SEO.


Refers to a small program or application written to perform a specific function on a Web site, such as a hit counter or IP address display


The software which provides the facilities for collaborative editing and publishing on the Wikipedia Web site.


An multilingual, user-driven online encyclopedia based on public collaboration via the use of the Free wiki software.


A lexical database for English words that is often used to improve search engines performance by providing it with information on word relationships.


A very powerful and popular open source blogging software platform, consisting of a downloadable blogging program combined with a hosted solution. Fully integrated and feature packed, it offers a very high degree of user control as a content management system for web publishing.


A powerful and popular keyword research tool that collects data from popular meta search engines. Designed to help webmasters optimize keywords for their Web site, the program suffers from its small list of databases


Xenu, Xenu Link Sleuth

A popular and free program used to detect broken links on Web sites. Also allows user to create a sitemap of their Web site.

XHTML (Extensible HyperText Markup Language)

A set of specifications designed to allow the migration of HTML to conform with XML standards.

XML (Extensible Markup Language)

A scripting language that provides programmers with more flexibility and power to define the properties of the document, making it easier to syndicate or format information.

XML Feeds

An alternate method for Web sites to update content to search engines, by sending XML information about Web site content and changes, rather than simply having search engine bots crawl through the Web site. XML Sitemaps which list all the urls on a site that you want listed are accepted by most major engines.

XML Sitemap

An XML Sitemap (aka a Google Sitemap, although it’s used by Yahoo and Microsoft as well) is a special file that provides search engines with specific directives about what pages to crawl and how often. Search engines are not required to strictly obey these directives but they do tend to use them as guidelines. This type of Sitemap is especially useful for very large sites that want to get all their pages listed. A great example of a large site that NEEDS to have a good XML Sitemap is an ecommerce site that wants to get its entire list of product pages indexed and listed in the search results.



One of the top three ranked search engines that is among the oldest and most well-established Internet directories.

Yahoo! Answers

A free member-driven Q&A service provided by Yahoo! used to generate free content using the popularity of social networks.

Yahoo! Directory

Since its conception in 1994, it has maintained a reputation for being among the most innovative, popular, and authoritative Internet directories.

Yahoo! Search Marketing

Yahoo!’s version of its paid search platform that was based on Overture.

Yahoo! Site Explorer

A research tool offered to webmasters, containing information about the pages that Yahoo! indexes from Web sites as well as the links that are associated with those pages.


Google owned amateur video upload and syndication Web site, which saw phenomenal success and popularity due to its simplicity and innovation.



A Non-commercial directory first launched in 1999 and was bought by Looksmart in 2000. Originally a collaborative effort between Looksmart editors and volunteers from all over the world, it’s declining traffic after the withdraw of MSN as one of its partners let to its closure in 2006.