Above the Fold
• Relative link - A link that displays only a portion of the URL (i.e. link?.
• Hijacking – Tricking a search engine into sending people to your website, when people think they are actually being linked to a different one.
A cost per click advertising network, designed by Microsoft to compete with Google’s Adsense program. The network is not as developed as Google Adsense is but is available at terms much lower than its counterpart is offering.
An advertising network designed by Google, which allows publishers (i.e. bloggers, business websites, etc.) to earn money by allowing contextualized ads to be displayed on their pages. Google’s ad system is completely automated, which makes Adsense underpriced for publishers but very easy to use and to track profits.
Adsense operates using two pricing formats: Cost Per Click and CPM.
They host 4 different advertising mediums: Text, Video, Graphic and Animated Graphic.
• Contextualizing – Placing ads on web pages that contain content directly related to the client’s product or service. This allows companies to advertise directly to their target market.
• Cost Per Click – Advertisers pay each time a browser clicks on an advertisement via a publisher’s website.
• CPM – Advertisers pay according to a certain amount of ad impressions (i.e. per every 1,000 viewers that visit a site and see the ad, but do not necessarily click on it for more information).
Google sells ad space to their clients using this auction system. It is essentially the other side of the Adsense coin, as Adsense is designed for publishers (to be paid for hosting ads) and Adwords is designed for advertisers (to pay and place ads).
Advertisers can tailor their ad campaigns, choosing to have their ads placed on various sites according to their key words, demographics or category.
• CPA – Cost Per Action. Affiliate marketers are only paid by clients when visitors perform an agreed upon action (i.e. clicking on the advertising link).
Search engines and social networking sites factor in user account age, page age and website age when determining their relevance and subsequent results ranking. Age can work two ways as it relates to relevancy rankings. Search engines tend to trust older, established sites more than they trust new upstarts. However, some search engines (such as blog-specific search engines) will temporarily give higher rankings to new content than content that has been sitting around on older, trusted sites for a while. This is because after a time, similar content on older sites is filed into archives, which signals less relevance than fresh content.
This stands for: Asynchronous Java Script and XML. It is a method of requesting additional data without the need to reload the entire page. This saves time, keeping the website visitor engaged in your readily accessible data.
A search engine (owned by Amazon.com) that provides additional information to browsers, such as traffic rankings, which compare sites against one another in terms of site performance. This search engine is controversial in the online community, as many say that it is biased toward marketing and webmaster communities. The site is free to use, though not highly accurate. The search engine uses a toolbar to collect, analyze and display information directly in users’ browsers.
The complex mathematical equation by which search engines determine the relevancy of web pages as they relate to the various key words entered into their query fields. Each individual search engine uses its own custom algorithm, which they change frequently in order to stay on the cutting edge in terms of search techniques and shifting trends in search activity.
A search engine that is now owned by Yahoo (after it was purchased from Overture, who purchased it from Fast). Yahoo is said to be considering the use of AlltheWeb to experiment with new search technologies and search features.
This code helps you to “explain” your document images, in order to have them recognized by search engines, so that they do not immediately discard your website as irrelevant on account of an image they cannot comprehend. This is done by providing screen readers and search engines with a text counterpart that explains your image.
When you move your mouse over an image, you will typically see a text box pop up to describe the image you are viewing. This is courtesy of the Alt tag code, which explains the image being shown, as older web browsers are not equipped to decipher or display them.
This was a very popular search engine in the beginning days of online search ranking sites, but they lost momentum in 1999 after updating their algorithm. The update took place on the 25th of October and on that day, the algorithm dumped many websites from their search results. The search engine quickly began to lose relevancy and the brand mismanagement that ensued put the last nail into AltaVista’s coffin. The search engine was bought out by Overture, which was then bought out by Yahoo.
The largest internet-based retailer in cyberspace. Amazon also owns many other popular websites. Two of the most notable of these sites are IMDB and Alexa.
• Alexa – See Definition
• IMDB – An acronym for The Internet Movie Data Base. This popular website displays more pertinent information on a larger number of movies than any other website.
The text that a browser clicks on in order to be taken to another website or web page via a hyperlink.
• Hyperlink – The method by which a browser is taken from one website to another.
A major web portal that is now merged with Time Warner.
• Web portal – An online hub for user-specified information (i.e. stock updates, email, news, etc.)
Buying traffic from major search engines in an attempt to make profit from that traffic when they click through to ads on your website. Shopping search engines practice arbitrage on a regular basis in order to draw traffic.
Originally called “Ask Jeeves”, this large search engine is owned by InterActive Corp. and is powered by Teoma search engine technology.
A page that is assumed by search engines to have a high relevancy to a given topic, as evidenced by the many “hubs” that point browsers in its direction.
• Hub – A page that contains many links to other sites that contain relevant information on a given subject.
Automatic Bid Management Software
A tool created to help large advertisers control their advertising spending. This tool typically works in conjunction with analytics programs to track cost per click, conversion, ROI and profit elasticity.
• Cost per click – Tracks how much advertisers must pay based on how many viewers click on their advertisements, which are sprinkled in various target markets across the internet.
• Conversion – Tracks how much advertisers must pay based on specific actions being completed (i.e. filling out a survey, placing a phone call, leaving feedback, etc.)
• ROI – Acronym for Return on Investment. It is a measurement of how much return advertisers are getting for each dollar spent.
• Profit Elasticity – A complex measurement of the amount of potential profitability for advertisers based on supply and demand curves, as well as other variable which factor into various economic conditions.
• Natural backlinks – Links that appear on other people’s websites without paid incentive. These show search engines that you are “well connected” on the web.
• Paid backlinks – Links that are paid for by websites in an attempt to gain a good reputation with search engines. Most major engines consider paid links a violation and will blacklist your website if their algorithm detects paid backlinks to your site.
On the internet, “you are who you hang around”. Therefore, if you are linked to sites that have been flagged for using prohibited SEO tactics, your own reputation can be denigrated. This is equivalent to your website living “in a bad neighborhood”.
Bait and Switch
A means of gaining authority for your website by launching initially launching it for a purpose that is not commercial (this is the “bait”). Once you have gained a following and good backlinks to your site, you “switch” the purpose of your website and monetize your market position.
• Monetize – To convert your website into profits.
• Market position – Recognition of your brand within your target market.
When a website is blacklisted by search engines. Spamming and attempting to deceive search engines is the usual reason that websites are banned. If a website believes that they have been wrongly banned, they can send a re-inclusion request to search engines in order to be restored to search listings.
A term coined to explain why many web browsers no longer pay significant attention to most graphic banner ads. They simply “tune them out” as many of them in the past have been irrelevant to their interests. Many advertisers have switched over to text ads in order to overcome banner blindness and regain the attention of prospective click-through viewers.
The popular search guru that wrote the book “The Search” and also co-founded “The Industry Standard” and “Wired”.
Best of the Web
A database (run by Inktomi) that became inactive in October 2002.
Black Hat SEO
A term used to describe marketing techniques that operate outside of standard search engine guidelines.
White Hat SEO – Marketing techniques that operate within standard search engine guidelines.
An improved ranking system that helps search engines to determine the relevance of a web page by breaking its content into various blocks that contain different topics. This makes web searches more relevant, as search engines can search for pertinent information throughout the whole page instead of classifying an entire page as just one topic.
Blog Comment Spam
A list on a blog that links viewers to other blogs that are of interest to the blog author.
A platform operated by Google, which offers free blog hosting to individuals that wish to publish their in a public setting. The Blogger platform also allows bloggers to publish their content to their own domain, in order to establish personal relevancy with search engines.
A means of marking your favorite websites. Social bookmarking sites have recently emerged, allowing people to share their favorite sites with one another. Bookmarks do not at present directly affect search engine rankings, but they may in the near future. Some of the largest social bookmarking sites are as follows: Del.icio.us, Digg, Netscape, and YouTube.
Operators used by major search engines (i.e. AND, OR and Not) to allow web browsers to include or exclude certain terms in their search results.
A system of identifying, organizing and connecting the different pages of a website, in order to make them discernable to search engines and web users.
An alternate entry to a website, as opposed to the traditional homepage entry. Major search engines frown on bridges, as they are often used by sites to spam search engine results. Search engines may penalize websites that are proven guilty of using bridges on their site.
The Co-founder of Google.
A hyperlink that does not lead to the desired location. While most websites have a small number of broken links (for many different reasons), too many broken links on a website can cause diminished viewership and a decreased page ranking.
A software program that is used to view the World Wide Web. The most popular browsers today are Mozilla’s Firefox, Safari and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
When people set out to make a large purchase, there is a standard process by which most go about making their buying decisions. At every stage of this process, marketers can target these prospective clients through the key words they are likely to enter into major search engines. The standard stages of the buying cycle are:
1. Problem Discovery – Discovery of a need or a want.
2. Search – Look for ways to resolve need or want. Often, key words are entered into a search engine to discover general information in the specific quadrant of the need or want.
3. Evaluate – Search out information and unbiased reviews on all prospective solutions.
4. Decide – Seek out information that confirms and solidifies your chosen solution.
5. Purchase – Make purchase and decide on details such as shipping/pick up.
6. Reevaluate – Form an opinion on how well the solution met with the need or want. Feedback can be left at this stage and either positive or negative word of mouth reviews begin.
Founder of Weblogs, Inc. and major force behind AOL’s decision to turn Netscape into a Digg clone.
The authoritative URL for any given web page that is indexed by search engines. Selecting an authoritative URL is necessary because web sites can have several redundant URLS, pointing to the exact same page of information. Having millions of redundant URLs in a search engine would be extremely wasteful, so search engines choose a single canonical URL to index. It is to this URL that all future web browsers are referred.
Acronym for Common Gateway Interface. These software programs are commonly used to make websites more interactive.
The number of times a link is clicked on, in relation to the number of times the link was viewed via impressions.
Displaying content for search engines that is different from what web viewers see on the site itself. There are reasons both deceptive (black hat SEO) and legitimate (customized experience based on viewer location, etc.) for this practice. If the reasons for cloaking are not clear to search engines, they may blacklist sites for using this technique.
Cluetrain Manifesto, The
A book that centers on how the web marketplace differs from the traditional offline marketplace.
The means by which search engines organize their listings to ensure organization and diversity.
Acronym for Content Management System. These software programs make it easy for individuals to update and add information to a web site. The do, however, make it difficult for search engines to index the information, due to redundant page URLs and other errors.
Some SEO techniques used to include stuffing pages with keyword-rich comments in order to boost page rankings. This black hat SEO technique no longer works, as search engines do not include comment keywords in their ranking algorithm. Comment stuffing can increase a website’s risk of being blacklisted.
More advanced search engines are embracing technology that allows them to “see” past the anchor text in any given link in order to place the link in context of the other content, which immediately precedes and follows it, allowing for a conceptual understanding of the link and its relevancy to keyword searches.
An extravagant web page that is designed to make search engines believe that it is part of a website. The page typically has graphics, is linked to from a site map and contains content geared toward a single keyword.
A means of tracking marketing goals by counting each time a particular action is completed (i.e. product sale, survey filled out, feedback provided). [see Bid Management]
The legal right to reproduce and publish a particular piece of work.
Small data files that write themselves into a user’s computer in order to track conversions and customize the visitor experience.
• Link Equity – The number (and authority) of in-bound links to your website.
A document that is replete with links to other sites, for the sole purpose of giving search engine crawlers plenty of links to follow. This is a Black Hat SEO technique, which used to be very popular with spammers before search engine algorithms improved.
Acronym for Cascading Sheet Styles. This is a method of modifying the code of any webpage in order to enhance or change its style. This method allows for easy design changes on several different pages, by simply changing the code on a single CSS.
The head of search quality at Google.
Registering domains that are closely related to popular brands or trademarks in an attempt to “ride the coattails” of these popular names and steal away customers that were actually searching online for the original brand or trademark company.
Deep Link Ratio
Description Meta Tag
Domain Name Server
• RSS – Acronym for Real Simple Syndication. A method of grouping information in order to send it to the software (feed reader) that allows people to subscribe to the particular channels of information that offer topics in which they wish to stay current.
• XML – Acronym for Extensible Markup Language. A text format that is simple, straightforward and easy to organize into groups of information that is ready to be sent to feed readers.
Google Keyword Tool
Graphical Search Inventory
Brief descriptions of the content that is contained in various sections (H1-H6). Headings can be enhanced using CSS code and can help to organize and maximize the overall structure of any given page.
This is the term used to describe the number of times a web server requests html pages and other files to be viewed by web browsers. While not directly relevant to search engine rankings, it can give websites an overall feel of how popular their site is among the public.
The main index page of any given website (i.e. /public_html/, /www/ or /web/.)
Acronym for HyperText Markup Language. This is the universal internet language used to create pages on the World Wide Web.
A page that consolidates and lists many links out to a number of documents that pertain to a particular topic (i.e. category pages in major directories). All of the web documents that a hub links to are considered authorities by virtue of association.
Acronym for Internal Protocol Address. An address that is given to every single computer that is connected to the internet.
• Long Tail Keywords – More accurate and precise keywords, which are of higher value.
• Branded Keywords – Words that are directly associated with a particular brand. These keywords are of high value to marketers, as they tend to garner an emotional response from the public to a particular product or company.
The number of keywords mentioned on any page, divided by the number of total words used on the page. This formula is used to determine whether keywords are being over-used on any given page. The standard appropriate keyword density is between 2% and 8%. A page that has a keyword density over 8% is in danger of appearing to be spam to web crawlers, which could wind up getting the page de-listed instead of boosting rankings.
Keyword Meta Tag
An HTML list of all the keywords on any given web page. This tag can improve rankings with certain search engines, while doing nothing to improve rankings with others.
A term coined for “knowledge blogs” that are typically not in public circulation, but are rather shared in closed Intranet systems. Klogs are typically oriented toward technical knowledge management information.
The process of creating high quality editorial links to your website in order to garner trust and high rankings with major search engines.
The links pointed to a given website are ranked according to both their quality and their quantity. High quality links tend to increase rankings with major search engines, while poor quality (bad neighborhood) links may (debatably) decrease rankings.
The results of any given query performed on a search engine. These listings appear in descending rankings that are established by search engines, according to the relevance and importance of the content a website in comparison to thousands of competing sites.
The amount of data (traffic) that any given network carries.
A phrase coined by Chris Anderson (Wired Magazine, 2004) that describes certain business models that sell small volumes of hard to find products to customers (such as Netflix and Amazon.com). [see also: Keyword, Long Tail]
Low Key Focus
Meta Description Tag
A brief description of the content of any web page, which may or may not be displayed or considered by search engines, at their own discretion.
Meta Keywords Tag
Contains a list of keyword descriptions that encapsulate the content of any given web page. Many search engine algorithms ignore Meta keyword tags because they have been sorely abused by spammers in the past.
Meta Robots Tag
A tag that attempts to dissuade web crawlers from indexing or following certain pages on a given website. Some web bots respect this request and refrain from displaying these pages in search results, while others forge on and index (and list) the pages at will.
Acronym for Made For Advertising. These are web pages are created for generating profits via visitors that click onto their paid advertisement links (through Google Adsense, etc.). The content quality of these pages various from high to low, according to the care taken by the page author.
A Black Hat SEO technique that registers multiple different websites with directories, all of which contain the exact same content. While this can artificially boost relevance with search engines, if the spamming technique is discovered by search crawlers, the offending site is likely to be de-listed indefinitely.
Software (like Wordpress, only harder to install) that can be purchased and used on a website in order to privately host a blog.
A common method of redirecting a file or entire website to a new location. Also called 301, it can take up to around a month for web crawlers to follow the redirect in order to index the new site address.
• Paid Listings – Websites that pay to be listed in search engine results.
The scheme by which website users relate to the content on any given website. HTML navigation is historically the best choice in terms of search engine crawler compatibility.
A specific and unique topic or subject upon which a website or ad campaign is focused. Niche markets are the best market for small or new websites or campaigns to tap into, as they do not typically present as much competition as do the broader markets to which most large companies aim their message. Niche markets can provide a loyal following if properly wooed with relevant and useful content.
A link that points from one website to another, with no reciprocal linking from the other site. It is rumored that one-way links may signal natural authority more than reciprocal linking does, thereby building a higher level of trust.
Organic Search Results
Also called natural listings, these are the websites that appear in search engine results without having to pay for the privilege. Organic results are opposed to paid results, as they appear because a price has been paid for the privilege.
A link from one website to another, external site.
When website owners pay to have their sites indexed into a search database. While the payment ensures inclusion, it does not determine ranking and the website is subject to natural selection in listing results, based on the search engine’s own algorithm.
When a website owner pays for not only inclusion, but also for a high position in listings.
Another name for Cost-Per-Click. Advertisers pay for each time their link is clicked on by a website viewer.
A billing processor that aids in the collection of credit card information and in payment processing for websites.
If a search engine suspects a website of spamming or other Black Hat SEO techniques, they may penalize the site. This can result in low search rankings or even de-listing.
These are keywords that are rumored to have a negative effect on your search engine rankings. Some experts say that obscene words will score a low ranking, while others say that using words that are associated with low ranking affiliate links (like the word Amazon) can damage rankings as well.
The place a website appears in overall search engine results. The most intense competition amongst websites takes place over the first few pages of search engine listings.
The effectiveness with which a search engine matches queries with relevant results listings. The more documents the search engine is able to produce that directly match the keywords entered, the higher the precision status.
A link that counts as a positive and trusted vote of importance to major search engines. Links of this sort are typically hard to get, and come from a trusted source that has established trust with search engines over time. Gathering quality links greatly improves a website’s search engine ranking.
The keywords inputted into a search engine by the user at the beginning of every new search.
When two websites agree to link to one another’s websites in order to boost authority with search engines.
When a user is sent to a different page than the one clicked on in the provided search results. This is a Black Hat SEO technique that is outside of the standard search engine guidelines.
A request to be included in directory or search engine indexes. Some registrations require payment, while others are free. Neither paid nor free registration submissions are guaranteed placement. Each search engine or directory will request information from you that is tailored to suit their own purposes (such as URL, site descriptions, etc.).
Acronym for Return on Investment. A tool to measure the success of any given marketing campaign, as it relates to each dollar spent.
A site that connects users to contextualized links that are ranked in direct correlation to their relevancy to the keywords entered into a given query field.
Search Engine Marketing
The practice of driving traffic to a company or advertising website by getting a link to the site listed high in search engine listings. This can be done using natural SEO techniques, by placing paid ads on host sites or by paying to have the website appear in search engine listings.
Acronym for Search Engine Optimization. The process by which websites make themselves relevant to search engines in order to secure a high ranking in their results listings. This can be done either onsite or off-site, by means of website content adjustment and various link building strategies.
Shopping Search Engine
A search engine that focuses solely on providing users with product prices and relevant comparison information.
Black Hat SEO technique used to steal traffic from popular websites (via Cybersquatting or the use of malware).
A search engine that is expressly dedicated to search and to index blogs and other forms of citizen media.
Text Link Advertising
Paid advertising that does not use graphic images but rather presents its message in a simple text format. Text link advertising became popular when web browsers began to “tune out” the flashy and often irrelevant graphic ads that saturate the internet. (see: Banner Blindness)
A language tool used by search marketers to discover all of the possible keyword configurations that are most closely related to any given market.
An automatic notification that another website has mentioned your site. This technology has been largely overrun by spammers, rendering it useless to the bloggers who were previously known to use it as part of their blogging software.
The number of visitors to any given website.
An algorithm that factors in the importance of links from sites that are run by major corporations and governmental or educational institutions.
Acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. The unique address given to any individual document on the World Wide Web.
White Hat SEO
SEO techniques that fall within the standard guidelines observed by most major search engines. These techniques are considered “above board”, as opposed to the Black Hat SEO techniques that can get a website de-listed or ranked at the bottom of search engine listings.
Acronym for What You See is What You Get. These HTML editors (such as Dreamweaver and FrontPage) are designed to allow webmasters to see what their end result will look like, while they are still building. This increases user-friendliness and enhances the ability to bolster SEO.