SEO Glossary | SEO Terms

A contextual advertising program by Google.

Googles text based advertising system.

Someone who sets up a business that is inbetween the original manufacturer and the end customer. Often these are not wholesalers, but store fronts. Most often, affiliates do not handle product delivery or customer support.

In the context of search engines, it is the mathematical programming system used to determine which web pages are displayed in search results.

One of the most successful and largest search engines. It currently (Sept 99) provides search results for Search MSN.

Anchor Text
The text that is surrounded by a hyperlink (the part you click on in a browser). This text is used by some search engines to rank search results.

Apache Web Server
The leading web server software on the the Internet. Apache is an open source project.

Business to Business. Products and services designed to be sold to other businesses.

Business To Consumer. Products and services designed to be sold to the general public.

Back Link
Inbound links pointing to a page are referred to as back links.

Backlinks are links pointing at a specific page. Most major search engines allow you to see who is linking to a page or site. That process is called “checking backlinks”. Some toolbars have shortcuts for this process. The syntax is often “link:http://example-url-here/”.

It started out as referring to specific content management software (blogger), and has transitioned into a description for a wide range of personal pages, journals, and diary type setups.

Bridge Page
A Doorway Page is sometimes referred to as a bridge page.

An acronym for Common Gateway Interface. CGI refers to programs that are used to produce on-the-fly content for browser delivery. Common CGI programming languages include Perl, C, and PHP.

One of the most common name for a directory on a web server that contains CGI files. These directories are often under heavier access controls than standard directories.

A citation is a reference to an entity. Citation: quote, mention, reference. Citation in the context of the web usually means a HREF link to a location. A Citation count is the count of references to a page on the internet.

When one program is designed to be the director or action computer in a two or more computer communiction. The computer that responds to the client is called a server. A browser is a Client, and a web server is a server.

Using some system to hide code or content from a user, and deliver custom content to a search engine spider. The word Cloak comes from Star Trek where the Klingons were capable of “cloaking” their ships invisible. There are three main types of cloaking: IP based, User Agent based, and the combination of those two. IP based cloaking custom delivers a page based on the users IP address (this can be used to deliver custom language based sites or target groups of users from particular ISP’s such as AOL or @home users). User Agent cloaking sends a custom page based upon the users Agent (most often use to take advantage of a particular agents strengths or features). Finally, the combination of Agent and IP cloaking is use to target specific users with specific agents (such as search engines).

Some search engines Cluster pages from the same website in groups to keep any one site from dominating the top results. A poor mans directory service.

Comment Tag
HTML comment tag that marks some html as a comment rather than displaying it in a browser. It is notable in relation to search engines because search engines have been known to index comment based text.

Conversion Rate
The relationship between vistors to sales or actions. If 1 person out of 100 purchases a sites product, it has a conversion rate of 1 to 100.

Cost Per Action. The website only gets paid for advertising if the user purchases something at the advertisers site.

Cost Per Click. Search engine such as charge sites for the number of users they send them on a per click basis.

Cost Per Lead. If joe makes an inquery in to a house, and you refer him to Sallys Real Estate Agency, then you receive a payment for turning over the lead.

Cost Per Thousand (roman numeral M=1000). CPM advertising models are based upon advertisers purchasing page views in blocks of 1000. If a website displays 7000 page views with banners, the site has just shown 7 blocks. If they are receiving $8 cpm, then they just made $56.

A type of a A HREF=”#spider”>Spider that will download multiple pages from the same web site. Crawling refers to the fact, that the spider will look for links in the pages it downloads and then walk or crawl down through a web site.

Cross Linking
When a group of domains that are most often owned by the same individual inner links to each other. This is often for the purpose of increasing its popularity with search engines.

CSS Cascading Style Sheets
CSS is used to add simple display styles to web pages. Of the 3 major browsers, Opera is probably the most compliant and has won several CSS awards (

Click Through Rate. The rate at which people click on a link when displayed on a page. The figure most often cited is a percentage of the page view rate. If a page is viewed 10 times and a visitor clicks once, then the CTR is 10%.

Dead Link
n html link that has gone bad. The destination page no longer exists. Many search engines routinely check for “dead links” by spidering the page again. Dead links used to be a serious problem on search engines (mostly yahoo), but with increased link checking, dead links are becoming more rare.

Deep Linking
Linking to content buried deep within a website. They are referred to as “deep” because they are often two or more directories deep within a website.

A directory is a web site that focuses on listing web sites by individual topics. A quasi table of contents. A search engine lists pages, where a Directory (such as Looksmart or The Open Directory Project lists websites).

A meta search engine that was recently purchased by

There are Top Level Domains (such as .com, .net, or .org), and then there are midlevel domains such as Ford ( or Domain is a generic term to describe any of these levels and is most often used to refer to the mid level domain ( In reference to search engine technology, domain names can play an important part in determining a sites rankings on the search engines.

Doorway Page
A page designed as an entrance to a website. Many doorway pages a specifically created to rank high on a particular search engine. Sometimes referred to as a Gateway Page or a Welcome Mat Page.

The process of retrieving information from any computer is called Downloading. When one computer sends information to another, it is called Uploading.

Dynamic Content
A page that is generated just as the user views it. The content delivered to the user is often updated on-the-spot out of a database or based upon the users browser. It used to be easy to spot one of these pages, but with most systems now allowing dynamic content from any page at any time, you just never know. Search engines no longer penalize for dynamic content as long as the URL does not include submitted data (a ? question mark in the url).

Dynamic IP Address
An IP address that changes each time you connect to the internet.

Entry Page
Sometimes refers to a single page with a logo and “click here” to enter.

Error Log File
Web servers run separate logs that show web site errors. These logs can show things like access to robots.txt (if it doesn’t exist), and cgi program failures.

A small icon that some browsers display next to a bookmark when the site is viewed. It is placed in the root of a website and named “favicon.ico”.

Free For All links. These are places that allow anyone to add a link.

Googles webcrawler/spider has two modes of operation. One is a “deepcrawler” that indexes the entire web once or twice a month. The second mode is a spider that downloads high ranking or frequently updated pages approximatly every 24 to 72 hours. That daily mode is called “freshbot” to reflect the “fresh” tag Google puts next to recently updated pages in search results.

A major search engine that started at Stanford U.

Google Bot
Spider operated by

Google Washing
GoogleWashing is either the accidental or intentional eplacement of an idea, phrase, or word through the search engines. example: “windows” used to be made of glass – now it is an operating system.

Spider of the Northern Light search engine. Once a popular web destination it has become all but extinct.

Heading Tag
An HTML tag of 6 sizes. Search engines can rank a keyword higher if it appears in a larger heading.

HiddenText/Tiny Text
Placing same color characters on the same color background causes them to be hidden. This technique was popular for awhile, but search engines quickly caught on and began banning sites for it.

A request for a file on a webserver. Most often these can been graphic files and documents. In more modern lingo, website owners referer to a HIT referrers as a request for documents only, while system administrators who are cheifly concerned about server performance, refer to it as any file request.

A search engine owned by Wired Digital, a division of Lycos. Hotbot uses the Inktomi search service to present results. It also uses the Direct Hit service to help rank pages based upon click through counts.

HyperText Markup Language. The programming language of tag commands used in web pages.

HyperText Transfer Protocol. The agreed upon system to transfer data between a web server on the browser.

Image Map
A system of associating parts of an image with hyper links. For example a picture of the earth could have a hyper link associated with various locations. Selecting those location might take you to information about that location.

Inbound Link
Links pointing to a website. When a user arrives at a website from another site, that link is called an Inbound Link.

When a search engine spiders (downloads) a page on a web, it must process the page to store it. A spider is responsible for the downloading, while the Indexer is responsible for process the page. An search engine indexer will typically process a page by removing all HTML tags, checking for and story links, often compressing the page by pulling out filter words, looking for stop words, and finally storing the page in a online searchable database.

The a search engine database of sites that just services other search engines providing search results. Inktomi provides more searches per search engine than any other site on the internet. Some of its bigger customers in 1999 where HotBot, Search.MSN, Yahoo, and AOL Netfind.

Invisible Web
The group of dynamic or large database sites that search engines will not index.

IP Address
Whenever you connect to the internet, you are giving a unique 4 number Internet Protocol Address (IP Address). Your IP address is how data from your computer to a website is how data finds its way back and forth.

Internet Service Provider. The name designed by a Madison Avenue advertising and marketing firm for internet point of access sellers.

A computer language designed to be delivered from websites to a users browser. Small programs are transferred to the user, and then executed on the users system.

A language embedded within HTML that is executed after a page of HTML is transferred to a users browser. Many search engines will ignore Java and JavaScript commands.

A singular word or phrase that is typed into a search engine search query. Keyword mainly refers to popular words which relate to any one website. For example web site about real estate could focus on keywords such as House, or phrases such as Home for Sale.

Keyword Density
A percentage measure of how many times a keyword is repeated within text of a page. For example, if a page contains 100 words and ten of those words are “house”, then “house” is said to have a 10% keyword density. There are programs that will rate keyword density by singular words or by groups of words, “new home for sale”.

Keyword Phrase
Refers to two or more keywords combined to form a search query. A favorite resturant of mine is a two keyword phrase: Pizza Hut.

Keyword Research
Doing research on a single keyword to find it’s relatives and related keywords. This is often done to find the highest producing keywords.

Keyword Stuffing
The process of loading a page up with keywords in the META tags or main HTML body.

A count of the number of links pointing (inbound links) at a website. Many search engines now count linkage in their algorithms.

One of the largest directories on the Internet.

Meta Search
A process of searching several databases simultaneously and combining the results.

MetaSearch Engine
A search engine that searches multiple other search engines and combines the results. Currently the top Meta Search Engine is

Meta Tag
Author generated HTML commands that are placed in the head section of an HTML document. Current popular meta tags that can affect search engine rankings, are Meta Keywords, and Meta Description.

Meta KEYWORDS tag is used to group a series of words that relate to a website. These tags can be used by search engines to classify pages for searches.

The Meta DESCRIPTION is used to describe the document. The meta description is then displayed in search engine results.

The Robots Meta Tag is used to control certain aspect of how a search engine indexes the page.

An HTTP-EQUIV meta tag can sometimes be used to issue some server HTTP commands. Most common is a HTTP REFRESH command. Gaining in popularity is a NOCACHE command to thwart server caching of a page.

Other useful tags are the CHAR SET tag to describe the document language and character set. The Author meta tag and the Generator meta tag (software used to generate the page).

A large meta search engine now called

Another meta search engine.

A shadow duplicate copy of a web site at a separate url. This allows websites to spread out the resource load on a server. Mirror sites are difficult to get indexed properly by search engine. Search engines view the multiple duplicate pages as spamming.

Multi Titles
Another old defunct trick where authors would double up the titles in a page to increase search engine relevancy.

Multiple Keyword Tags
Using two or three keyword META tags to increase the relevancy of a page. This technique is considered spam by most search engines and should be avoided.

Online America’s search engine.

A large search engine. Some services on this search engine are pay-for-play. At one point, Northern Light was one of the highest volume SE’s, but its fortunes have faded away. Northern Light is the only search engine to ban other meta search engines from searching its database.

Off Page Criteria
When a search engine ranks pages by using data that is not present on the web page itself. This could be the presence of a directory listing, or the number and quality of inbound links to a page.

Open Directory Project
The Open Directory Project (ODP) is a site directory run by volunteer editors. This is one of the great internet success stories of 1999. The ODP is used by Lycos, Hotbot, AOL-Netfind, Netscape Netcenter, and the home base itself. Currently there are around 700,000 hand picked and selected sites in the directory. The first edition of the ODP was known as NewHoo (a play on Yahoo). Netscape provided server space for the NewHoo directory and it was collectively renamed The ODP.

Creating a page that is specifically intended to rank well as search engines. Basic optimization includes a descriptive paragraph of the site with keywords near the top, avoiding frames and deep tables that have menus on them.

Outbound Link
A link that points away from your website.


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