SEO Glossary

Understand what the most used words and phrases in search engine optimisation mean.

SEO isn’t complicated, but the words and phrases used can seem like an alien language. This SEO Glossary provides a plain English explanation of the most used words and phrases. Click on each letter or press ‘Ctrl’ and the ‘F’ key to open a search window.


Algorithm – a formula that calculates the ranking of a web page in search engine results, based on the ‘best fit’ between the contents of the page and what a searcher is searching for.


Backlink – these are links that point from another website to yours. Backlinks are valuable because they demonstrate authority (see E-A-T) from one website to another.


Cache – web technology that enables the content of a web page to be stored temporarily, thereby increasing the load speed of that page.


Do, know, go – this is a concept that search queries can be segmented into three categories: Do (transactional search), Know (informational search), and Go (known brand or website search).


E-A-T – Google ranks higher those web pages that demonstrate Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The E-A-T principle should be at the heart of your content creation process.


Featured Snippets – If a searcher poses a question in the search bar, featured snippets are the answer blocks which appear at the top of a search engine results page (SERP).


Google Analytics – a free service, offered by Google, which enables you to monitor your website performance and site traffic statistics.


HTML – this is the programming code used to create web pages and stands for HyperText Markup Language.


Internal Links – links on your web pages which point to other pages within your website.


Jump Page – a low quality web page created to manipulate search engines to rank high for specific keywords.


Keywords – the words and phrases entered into a search engine by the user.


Long-Tail Keywords – these are multiple-word phrases that are entered into a search engine for a more specific search, for example ‘the best headphones for use whilst cycling’. See also Short-Tail Keywords.


Meta Description – a piece of code that describes the content of a web page. These are used by search engines in the search result snippet.


Nofollow – this is the value placed on a link, which informs a search engine crawler that we do not wish to pass link equity to the website that it is pointing to.


Organic Search – these are the free listings displayed in search engine results pages.


Page Speed – the amount of time it takes for a web page to load, enabling the content to be viewed.


Query – the words or phrases entered into the search engine.


Robots.txt – a file on your website that tells the search engines which web pages they can (and cannot) crawl and index.


Short-Tail Keywords – short keywords, such as “headphones” or “headphones for sale.” See also Long-Tail Keywords.


The Fold – the upper part of a web page that can be viewed without having to scroll (often referred to as ‘above the fold’).


URL – this is the unique web address of an individual web page.


Viral – a piece of content that quickly spreads online, generating many views and engagement.


Web Crawler – software that is used by a search engine to crawl individual web pages so they can be indexed.


XML Sitemap – a file on your website that informs a search engine what web pages to explore on your website.


YMYL Pages – “Your Money or Your Life” is a Google search guideline, which relates to web pages that contain advice or guidance on important subjects such as finance, happiness, health and nutrition.


Zero Click – a search which does not result in any web pages being viewed. A possible reason is that the search engine results page snippet may already contain the answer to the query that had been made.


301 Redirect – a code that notifies a search engine that the URL of a web page has moved from one location to another.

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