SEO Glossary of Terms And Definitions

SEO Glossary of Terms And Definitions

SEO Glossary of Terms And Definitions

SEO is ever-evolving, and it’s easy to miss out on new developments, even for pros. To help you keep up with the industry's terminology, we have compiled a list of over 100 common terms and jargon related to SEO and marketing.

Whether you're just starting out or trying to keep up with the industry, this glossary can be your go-to resource for your SEO-optimization efforts.

301 Redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirection from an old URL to a new one. It automatically redirects users and search engine bots to the new URL. This helps search engines to update their index and transfer the SEO value from the old page to the new one.

302 Redirect

It works similarly to the previous one, but 302 Redirect is meant for temporary redirects. This status is used when a page is temporarily moved to a different URL for a short period of time. Adding this can help your page maintain its SEO value when it becomes available again and prevent any potential penalties for broken links.

404 Error

A web server will display this error message when it can’t find the webpage within the URL you're trying to access. Basically, the address exists, but the webpage isn’t there. 

500 Internal Server Error

This error message is generated by a web server that’s encountering an issue, preventing it from delivering the requested webpage. Factors that could cause this are, for example, software bugs, corrupted files, or server overload.

502 Bad Gateway

You’re getting this error because the web server acting as a gateway receives an invalid response from another server while fulfilling your request. In other words, the first server is waiting for a response from another server, but that response is faulty.

503 Service Unavailable

When the server is overloaded or undergoing maintenance and is temporarily unavailable to handle your request, this is the error message that will appear. 

504 Gateway Timeout

If you’re getting this error, it means the server didn't receive a timely response from another server it needs to communicate with to fulfill your request. Unlike a 502 error; here, there's no response at all within a certain timeframe.

507 Insufficient Storage

The server doesn't have enough storage space to complete the request. Pretty self-explanatory.

509 Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

The website or server is overloaded and unable to handle any more traffic. It has reached its maximum bandwidth limit for handling data transfer.

511 Network Authentication Required

Your web browser needs to authenticate itself. A certain network requires additional authentication from you (usually an ID and Password) before it grants access to the source you requested.

Alt Text

Alt text is a descriptive text for images on a webpage intended for crawling purposes. Since search engines can't actually see images, this helps them understand your content and improve your image search ranking. 

Anchor Text

It’s the (typically) blue, clickable text you see in a hyperlink. Using descriptive text that’s relevant to your content—as opposed to generic “click here” text—can improve the linked webpage’s ranking in SERPs. 


A backlink is a link created on one website that points to a page on another website. Backlinks are important in SEO because search engines signal them as a vote of confidence from another source on the Internet. They also drive traffic to your website when users are directed to your page from another page.

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO refers to unethical and manipulative techniques used to improve a website's ranking in SERPs. Implementing these techniques can result in penalties from search engines, as they prioritize short-term gains over long-term value.

Bounce Rate

A metric that determines the percentage of visitors who exit your website after viewing just one page. It tells you how many visitors landed on your website but didn't find it engaging enough to explore further. 

Branded Keywords

Phrases or search queries that directly incorporate your brand name, its variations, products or services. For example, users search specifically for “SurgeGraph” or “Longform AI” instead of “content writer”. 

Canonical URL

In cases where there is a group of duplicate pages, search engines or the website owner will choose the  URL of the best representative page to prevent duplicated content issues. The preferred URL is known as the canonical URL.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

This metric is employed to assess the efficiency of an advertisement, email campaign, or other online marketing material that has a link. It indicates the number of viewers who click on your link upon seeing it.

Content Management System (CMS)

If you’re a blogger or a content writer, you might already know this. CMS is a software within a web platform that simplifies content creation and management on a website. It provides a user interface that eliminates the need for extensive coding knowledge. WordPress is the most common example.

Core Updates

Changes and modifications made by Google to its search engine algorithms and systems several times a year. Their aim is to deliver the most relevant, useful, and trustworthy results for an improved search experience.

Conversion Rate

A metric that measures your website or landing page’s visitors who took a desired action. By desired action, it means making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a free resource—any action you want them to take based on your marketing strategies. 

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

CRO is the process of increasing the Conversion Rate by focusing on the effectiveness of your website in driving conversions.


Crawling is the automated process by which search engines discover new and updated web pages. Crawlers (or search engine bots) systematically explore the Internet to find new web pages and index them in the search engine index.

Dofollow Link

A type of external link that instructs search engines to follow the link and consider the linked webpage as a potential source of information when ranking your own page. It's like a vote of confidence from your website to the linked website. 

Domain Authority

A metric that predicts how likely a website is to rank well in SERPs. It's a 100-point score, with higher scores indicating a greater likelihood of ranking. While this metric is a useful indicator, it's not considered a direct ranking factor by search engines like Google. 

Domain Name

The address of a website on the internet that users type into their web browser to access. For example, the domain name for SurgeGraph is 


E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Google's Search Quality Raters use this concept to assess the credibility and reliability of a webpage's content.

It is not a direct ranking factor, but Google’s algorithm uses this to determine webpages that deserve to rank higher, especially for topics that could potentially impact a user's health, finances, or safety. 

Engagement Metrics

A set of data points that tracks how users interact with your website, social media content, app, or any other digital product or service. These provide valuable insights into how engaging or resonating your content is to your audience. You can track various engagement metrics depending on your goals and the platform you're using.

External Link

Also known as an outbound link, External Link is a hyperlink on a website that points to a web page on a different domain than the one you're currently on. Having high-quality and relevant external links can positively impact your website ranking.

Featured Snippet

A short excerpt of text that appears at the top of Google search results in response to user’s query. Featured Snippet presents information directly on the SERP without the user having to click on a specific website. It may include highlighted paragraphs or be displayed in bulleted or numbered lists.

Google Analytics

A free website traffic tracking and reporting web analytics platform by Google. You can access reports and visuals that provide insights into your website’s traffic and user behavior.

Google Business Profile

GPB is a free Google Business Listing service that allows businesses with a physical location or that serve customers within a designated service area to claim and manage their business listings. Having a well-optimized Google Business Profile is crucial for local SEO (see Local SEO below) on Google Search and Maps. 

Google My Business

Now known as Google Business Profile (see Google Business Profile above).

Google Search Console

Old-schoolers may know this by Google Webmaster Tools. It’s another free resource tool offered by Google to help website owners and administrators monitor the health and performance of their websites in Google Search. 


Headings (usually presented in the format H1, H2, H3, etc.), are HTML (see HTML below) tags that hierarchically organize your webpage content, similar to an outline in a written document. The headings and subheadings make it easier for users to read and navigate your content and for search engines to understand the main points of your webpage.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

Hypertext Markup Language is the fundamental building block of web pages. It's a markup language that employs tags to specify the arrangement and content of a webpage. HTML structured all the information you see displayed in your web browser.

Image Optimization

Image optimization in SEO refers to optimizing the images on your website to improve its ranking in search results. It's important to use high-quality, user-friendly images that are relevant to your content while keeping the file size small.


Indexing is when search engines find, save, and organize information about web pages. Search engines maintain a vast library of web pages and their content to better help them provide users with accurate and relevant results.

Internal Link

You’ve encountered backlinks and external links earlier, right? An internal link is (yet another) hyperlink on a webpage that directs you to a different page within the same website. They allow you to navigate directly to different pages on the website you're currently on. 

Remember crawling? Internal links help crawlers find all the interconnected pages on your website, making it more likely that your content will appear in search results.

Keyword Cannibalization

When different pages on your website aim for the same or similar keywords, they compete against each other for ranking in search results. Hence, keyword cannibalization. This commonly occurs due to duplicated content, similar content with slight variations, or unintentional keyword targeting. 

Keyword Density

A term used in SEO to describe the ratio of a specific keyword or phrase on a webpage to the total number of words on that webpage. This ratio is often expressed as a percentage.

Keyword density used to play a big role in SEO, but it's not anymore—at least not on its own. In fact, overusing keywords without considering user experience can harm your SEO.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of identifying the words and phrases that people use to search for information online and strategically incorporating those keywords into your website's content to improve its visibility in SERPs. You can use a keyword research tool to expedite this process.

Landing Page

A landing page is a web page created especially for a marketing or advertising campaign. Visitors land on this page after clicking a link in an email, online advertisement, or other digital marketing materials.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

A technique utilized in natural language processing (NLP) that enables computers to comprehend the contextual meaning of words beyond their literal interpretation. Search engines use LSI to comprehend search intent and provide results that are both keyword-matched and semantically relevant.

Link Building

Link Building is a strategy to acquire high-quality links from other websites to your own. The more high-quality backlinks (see Backlinks above) you have, the higher your website's authority and credibility appear to search engines.

Link Equity

A concept that refers to the value passed from one webpage to another through a hyperlink. When a webpage links to another, it shares some of its own authority and value with the linked webpage. The more high-authority websites link to a webpage, the more valuable it becomes, increasing its potential to rank higher in search results.

Local SEO

Local SEO is a type of optimization that focuses on improving the online visibility of businesses with a physical location or that serve a specific geographic area. It involves optimizing your online presence to attract customers searching for local products or services.

Long-Tail Keywords

Specific search phrases that typically contain three or more words. They are less competitive than shorter, more general keywords (head keywords). Since they are more specific, long-tail keywords tend to have higher conversion rates.


  • Head Keyword: Burger (Very broad)
  • Long-tail Keyword: Best smash burger place near me (Specific)

Meta Description

A brief summary—ideally between 155 to 160 words—of a webpage that appears in search engine results under the title. It serves as a pitch that aims to attract users to click on your webpage over other search results.

Meta Keywords

A type of meta tag that exists within the HTML code of a webpage but is not visible to users on the page. They were initially designed to help search engines understand the main topics or keywords that a webpage is focused on. But unlike meta descriptions, they are no longer a direct ranking factor for search engines.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are HTML code snippets that provide metadata about the webpage. This metadata is not shown on a webpage but can be accessed by search engines and browsers. Certain meta tags, like meta descriptions, can influence how search engines interpret and rank your webpage.

Mobile Optimization

The process of modifying your website’s content and design to ensure a user-friendly experience for visitors who access it on devices like smartphones and tablets. A huge portion of web traffic comes from mobile devices, so optimizing your website for mobile is crucial for SEO.

NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)

NAP is the consistent logistical information about a business across various online directories and listings. Discrepancies can negatively affect local SEO. 

Natural Links

Natural links are links to your website that others add to their sites without you asking. They do this because they find your content valuable and relevant.

Navigation Structure

Navigation structure is how a website's pages and content are organized and linked together, guiding users to find what they need. It involves menus, links, and pathways that help visitors navigate through a site easily.

Negative SEO

Negative SEO is the unethical and malicious practice of sabotaging a competitor’s website ranking on the SERP.

Nofollow Attribute

Nofollow attribute is a code instruction within a website that tells search engines to disregard a specific hyperlink when considering the ranking of both the source page and the linked website.

Noindex Tag

Noindex is a tag within the website’s code that tells search engines not to index a specific page.

Organic Search

Organic search results are the listings on a search engine results page (SERP) that appear naturally, based on relevance to the user's query. These results are not influenced by paid advertising.

Outbound Links

Outbound links are hyperlinks that bring users out from the website they are currently on to a different website.

Page Authority (PA)

Page Authority (PA) is a score developed by Moz, ranging from zero to one hundred. It estimates how well a specific web page is likely to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).


PageRank, a foundational concept developed by Google's founders, played a major role in early search engine algorithms by analyzing a website's importance based on the quality and quantity of backlinks it received.


Pagination, also sometimes called paging, refers to the process of dividing content into discrete chunks, typically displayed on separate pages.

Paid Search

Paid search is the opposite of organic search. In paid search, companies pay search engines to have their ads displayed in prominent positions on the search engine page results (SERP).

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Pay-Per-Click is a payment model for advertisers wherein they only have to pay the fee each time someone clicks on their ad.


A penalty is given to websites that violate their webmaster guidelines. 

Performance Metrics

Performance metrics are quantifiable measures used to track and assess the success of something against a set of predetermined goals.


Personalization refers to tailoring the search experience and results to individual users based on their unique characteristics and browsing behavior.


Pogo-sticking is a user behavior where they quickly bounce from search result to search result.


Position refers to the ranking of a webpage in the search engine page results (SERP).

Post-click Activity

Post-click activity is a blanket term for everything a user does after clicking on an ad or search result. 

Quality Content

Quality content is a classification of content that attracts users, keeps them engaged and achieves your goals.

Quality Score

Quality Score is a diagnostic tool provided by Google Ads, offering a score from 1 to 10 that reflects how your ad's relevance and usefulness compare to other advertisers for the same keywords.


A query is the starting point for obtaining information or completing a task. It allows you to communicate your needs to a search engine, database, or other system and receive the desired results.


Developed by Google, RankBrain is a machine learning system that helps them understand the intent behind user queries, especially new or complex ones. This allows Google to deliver more relevant search results.

Ranking Factor

A ranking factor is any aspect of a webpage that search engines consider when determining its position in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for a particular search query.


A redirect is a behind-the-scenes instruction on a webpage that directs your browser to a different web address (URL) than the one you originally requested.

Referral Traffic

Referral traffic is website traffic you gain from users who click on a link from another website, like someone finding your travel blog after clicking a link in a city guide article. 


Relevance refers to how well a webpage aligns with a user's search intent and the specific keywords they're using. 

Responsive Design

Responsive design prioritizes a seamless user experience (UX) by ensuring a website's layout and functionality adapt perfectly across various devices, from desktops to smartphones.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on Investment (ROI) is a financial metric that helps you measure the profitability of an investment.

Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are additional details and information about a webpage on their search result link. Things like ratings, review summaries, prices, etc.


Robots.txt is a file containing instructions for search engine crawlers. It's located at the root directory of a website and can be accessed by typing in your browser, although it's not typically shown directly on the website itself.

Schema Markup

Schema markup is a code that explains the context and details of your content to search engines, making it easier for it to understand what your content is about.

Search Engine

A search engine is a software system that is designed to receive a query and return relevant results to the user. This can be in the form of web pages, images, videos, or other types of data. 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing strategy used to increase the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

The search engine results page is the first webpage you see after entering a query. It displays results that are most relevant to your query. 

Search Intent

Search intent, also referred to as user intent,  is the underlying reason or goal behind a user's search query.

Search Query

A search query is a question or phrase that is entered into a search engine to find information.

Search Volume

Search volume is how often a specific query or keyword is entered into a search engine over a particular period of time.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Search Engine Optimization is the practice of improving the ranking and visibility of a website on the search engine results pages. 


A sitemap is a file that is similar to that of a table of contents. It allows the search engine to better understand the structure of your website which helps it find, crawl, and index more effectively.


Sitewide is an adjective that describes when something is applied to the entire website instead of individual pages or sections.

Social Media

Social Media refers to platforms where users can connect with one another through shared media and information, enabling communication, collaboration, and community building.

Social Signals

Social signals refers to how much user generated activity there is on a webpage. Things such as likes, comments, shares, etc


Spam refers to unsolicited, bulk electronic messages (emails, text messages) or digital communications that are repetitive, irrelevant, or promotional in nature.

SSL Certificate

A website with a Secure Sockets Layer Certification creates a secure and encrypted connection when a user visits the site. This prevents any potential data leaks and malicious attacks.

Structured Data

Structured data refers to information on a webpage that is organized in a specific format for search engines and other applications to easily understand and interpret. 


A subdomain is a separate part of the main domain. Subdomains are used to help better organize and structure a website for easier navigation between different sections of the site.

TLD (Top-Level Domain)

A TLD is the last part of a website’s address that is preceded by a dot (.). They are used to categorize and classify websites based on various purposes or origins. 


Traffic refers to the number of users that visit your website.


TrustRank is an algorithmic system that aims to quantify the trustworthiness of websites through various metrics.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A URL is an address for finding webpages on the internet. It tell you where something is online and how to get there. A URL includes the website’s name and often a specific page’s path on that website.

URL Parameters

URL parameters are like mini instructions tacked onto website addresses (URLs) after a question mark (?). They use key-value pairs (color=blue) to tell the webpage what to do (show blue shirts). This helps filter searches, sort results, and track user behavior.

User Experience (UX)

User Experience (UX) refers to how a user feels when interacting with a product or service. It's often closely linked to the User Interface (UI), which is the design of the product or service that users interact with.

User Interface (UI)

The user interface (UI) is the part of a device or software that you interact with. It includes everything you see and use to control or operate it, like screens, pages, buttons, and icons.

Vertical Search

Vertical search refers to search engines specializing in a specific industry, topic area, or content type. Unlike general search engines like Google that crawl the entire web, vertical search engines focus on a particular niche and provide more targeted results.

Video SEO

Video SEO is the practice of optimizing your video content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) and get more organic views.


Visibility is the measure of how easily users can find your website when searching for specific topics or information.

Voice Search

Voice search is a voice-activated search query, typically done through digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. Unlike traditional text-based searches, voice searches are conversational and often phrased as questions.

Webmaster Tools

Now known as Google Search Console (see Google Search Console).

Website Optimization

Website optimization is the continuous process of improving a website to achieve specific goals, like increased traffic, higher search engine ranking, better user experience, and improved conversion rates.

White Hat SEO

White hat SEO is using approved, ethical methods to improve how well a website ranks in search results. It focuses on making the website better for users with quality content and a good user experience, following search engine rules. 

XML Sitemap

An XML Sitemap is a file that contains a list of all the important pages of your website. Search engines use this to better understand your site’s content.


An X-Robots-Tag is a hidden instruction embedded within a website's code. It tells search engines how to handle specific elements, like images, PDFs, or even entire pages.

YMYL (Your Money Your Life)

YMYL is a definition from Google for web content that can potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety. This includes websites about health, finance, legal advice and important news.

Zero-click Searches

A search result that answers your search query without requiring you click into a link. Things like Google snippets, quick answers, or knowledge boxes.