As you can see, this is a work in progress. I’ve been adding definitions to the terms I have listed in this search engine marketing glossary as fast as I can–great, well-written content takes time. If you would like to contribute a definition to one of the terms listed, send me an email. If I need a definition for the term and approve of your definition, I will give credit for it (and link to your site if requested).
200 OK: 200 OK is a typical message sent by the web server when someone or something (like a search engine spider) requests a page on your website.
301: See 301 Permanent Redirect.
301 Permanent Redirect: This is an error message sent by the web server when someone or something (like a search engine spider) requests a page on your website and it has moved to a permanent new location. This type of redirect is required when you have more than one domain name and wish to redirect them all to one main domain name/website. This is important because if the wrong type of redirect is done you can get your website banned in the search engines as a penalty for duplicate content. You can check if the proper redirect is being used by using a server header checker tool and entering your url. You can redirect a whole website/domain name all at one time so that any page requested on your website will redirect to another domain name/website or you can redirect one specific page on your website to another specific page on the same website or to another specific page on another specific website.
301 Redirect: See 301 Permanent Redirect.
302: See 302 Temporarily Moved.
302 Temporarily Moved: This is an error message sent by the web server when someone or something (like a search engine spider) requests a page on your website and it has moved to a temporary location. For search engine marketing purposes, there is really never any reason why this type of redirect should ever be used. When you request from your web host to redirect a domain name to another domain name, this is the type of redirect that they typically use. However, if you use a 302 Temporarily Moved redirect, you risk all of your domain names being banned in the search engines as a penalty for duplicate content. You can check if the proper redirect is being used by using a server header checker tool and entering your url.
302 Redirect: See 302 Temporarily Moved.
404: This error message is sent by the web server when a page or a file is missing. This typically occurs when a link is going to a page that no longer exists on a website.
About.com: About.com is a website that has “expert guidance from real people searching the Internet for the information, goods, and services that you need to know related to your passion.” Originally the Mining Company, one of the original websites on the internet.
Above the fold: This is a term that refers to any information or content that appears at the top of a web page. In other words, you don’t have to use the scroll bar to see it.
Ad broker: An ad broker is the “middle man” between the website owner/operator and the advertiser. They are in the business of putting websites together with people who want to advertise on the internet.
Ad Inventory: Ad inventory is the number of page views that a website receives. The more page views a website has every month, the more ad inventory they have.
Add URL: Add Url is a phrase used to describe places or links to forms where you can enter the web address of your website to another website. Website directories typically use this phrase to highlight places where you can add a link to your website. It’s important for Search Engine Optimization purposes to have links to your website. If you search for “add url” and a keyword phrase that describes your website, you’ll find plenty of places where you can get links to your website.
Adsense: Adsense is the name of Google.com’s contextual advertising program.
Adult Words: These are the terms used when describing adult content. They include “naughty words” that are used by search engines to restrict content, making it unavailable to minors. On most search engines, they offer an option to restrict the search results so that they don’t contain Adult words.
Adwords: Adwords is the name of Google.com’s pay per click advertising program
Affiliate: Affiliate is used to refer to someone who resells a company’s product or services. Affiliates typically do not touch the products at any time and only help in the advertising of another company’s products or services by adding links to the company’s website that the company provides. Affiliates typically get paid for every buyer that they refer to a company’s website. See Affiliate Program.
Affiliate Program: An affiliate program, run by a third party or a company themselves, allows affiliates to help advertise that company’s products or services. In exchange, the company pays the affiliate a percentage of each sale. Affiliate programs are helped by software programs that track every visitor and every sale. They typically include a way for the affiliate to track their progress online. See Affiliate.
Agentname Delivery: Agentname Delivery, also referred to as user agent delivery, is a process by which the web server determines “who is visiting the website” and delivers content based on who they are. This is used by website owners who want to deliver one set of content to someone and another set of content to another. Sometimes a website owner will feed one set of web pages to the search engine spider and another set of web pages to human visitors—sometimes requiring that they obtain a free membership to the website before they can view the pages. For example, some online newspapers and media outlets might use this technique.
Algorithm: The algorithm is a set of rules and checks&balances that a search engine uses to rank web pages—each web page is evaluated against the search engine’s algorithm. It’s important to know that search engines are constantly changing and tweaking their algorithm in order to provide their users with the most relevant results.
Algorithmic Results: These are the commonly referred to as the organic or natural search results. In other words, the unpaid results. Many search engines’ results include paid results as well as free, organic, or natural results that based on an algorithm. See Algorithm.
Altavista: One of the internet’s original search engines, this search engine is now owned by Yahoo!. You can use this search engine by going to www.altavista.com.
Alt Text: Alt text, also known as alternative text, is text used to describe images in the html code of a web page. If someone has the images turned off in their web browser or are handicapped, this is the text that will appear in place of the image.
Anchor Text: Anchor text is the text that is used within a text link on a web page. Typically, it is the underlined part of a link that the user sees and what they actually click on to go to another web page. Anchor text is used to describe a link; therefore, many search engines use the anchor text to figure out what the web page it’s linking to is about.
Animated Gif: An animated gif is an image file that includes animation. When displayed on a web page, there typically is some sort of movement going on in the image. A gif file is a common image file format. GIF stands for Graphical Interchange Format, and was developed by CompuServe in 1987 as a way to store compressed images that contain up to 246 colors. See GIF or Graphical Interchange Format.
AOL NetFind: This is the name of America Online’s (www.aol.com) search engine. AOL NetFind currently displays Google’s search results. So, if your website is listed in Google you will be listed in AOL NetFind, as well.
Apache: See Apache Web Server.
Apache Web Server: This is a widely-used open source web server originally created by combining all of the NCSA Web server’s patches (fixes) and putting them together. Some claim that it is the world’s most popular web server.
Applet: An applet is a small java program (application) that can be embedded into a web page.
ArchitextSpider: The name given to Excite.com’s search engine crawler (robot) when Excite used to crawl the web.
Ask Jeeves: A popular meta search engine, run at www.askjeeves.com or www.aj.com, where you can ask Jeeves a question and he will attempt to answer.
ASP: Stands for Active Server Pages, Microsoft’s technology that allows html pages to be dynamic in nature. See Dynamic Pages.
Authority Site: Jon Kleinberg, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Cornell University, wrote a paper that described a means of identifying websites that were hubs and authorities in the internet community. Some say that Google may be using some of Mr. Kleinberg’s research as part of their algorithm. According to his home page, his research is “concerned with algorithms that exploit the combinatorial structure of networks and information.”
B2B: Business to Business. Normally refers to the type of marketing when businesses market products or services only to other businesses. B2B website optimization is very different than B2C (Business to Consumer) website optimization.
B2C: Business to Consumer. Generally refers to the type of marketing when Business market products or services to the public or directly to the consumer. B2C website optimization is very different than B2B (Business to Business) website optimization.
Backlinks: Refers to all of the web pages that link to another web page.
Bait and Switch: Typically refers to a spam technique whereas a website owner will give the search engine one web page with specific content on it. Once the search engines visits the page and spiders it, the website owner will change the content on it to another page.
Banned: Your website can get penalized by a search engine for doing something that is against their terms of service. Being banned means that your entire website/domain name is removed from a search engine’s index completely. There are many reasons why your website can be banned, the most common of which is search engine spam. There are other reasons why your website can get banned in a search engine, including the use of duplicate content or the improper use of a redirect from one domain name to another.
Banner: A banner is an advertisement, in the form of a graphic, what appears on a web page. Also known as a Banner Ad.
Below the fold: Opposite of “Above the fold”. This is a term that refers to any information or content that appears at the bottom of a web page. In other words, you must scroll to see it.
Best of the Web: Botw.org is a hand-edited website directory started at the University of Buffalo in 1994. They are a pioneer in recognizing the best websites that appear online.
blog: This is the slang term for web log. It is a journal that is kept on the internet. Someone who keeps a journal on the internet like this is called a blogger. They are typically updated daily or on a regular basis. Software exists that allows people to update their blogs without the technical knowledge required to create and maintain a website. I have a good example of a blog, my Website Marketing Blog.
Boolean search: This is a type of search that allows you to exclude or include certain words or phrases using words such as AND, NOT, and OR.
Breadcrumbs: Text links that appear towards the top of a web page that helps the user navigate a website. This navigation typically includes links to the major categories or sections of the website and allows the user a way back. It indicates the current web page’s location in reference to its parent category or parent section, and always includes a link to the home page.
Bridge page: Also known as a doorway page, an information page, or spam. A web page created for the sole purpose of ranking well in the search engines. This is something that you do not want to have on your website.
Browser: A computer program that allows you to view various parts of the internet, including websites. Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first web browser for the NeXTStep operating system in 1990. The first popular web browser was NCSA Mosaic, developed by Marc Andreessen, Jamie Zawinski and others who later went on to create the Netscape browser.
Cached: This is a link that appears in the Google search results, along with the title, snippet, url, date, and similar pages link. By clicking on this link, you will get a version of the web page that Google saw when they visited. Google typically saves a version of the web page when their search engine spider visits. There are reasons why the cached link will not appear next to an entry, including problems with the service, updates being made, and the website’s owner telling Google not to cache the page.
Cached Page: See Cached.
Cascading Style Sheet: Also known as CSS, a cascading style sheet is a means for adding style (e.g. fonts, colors, spacing) to web pages. A web page specifies the style sheet (e.g., styles.css file) at the beginning of the page in the header area of the page. This allows most of the unnecessary code to be moved off of the actual html pages and stored in a common file. It is a HTML specification developed by the World Wide Web Consortium. Can be used with XML or HTML.
The .css file is attached to a web page and defines how certain defined elements of the web page are to be displayed. For website marketing purposes, it is important to move as much of the internal display-related attributes off of the web page as possible and into a .css file. The .css file has a file extension of .css. An example filename would be styles.css, and they are an internet standard, defined by the W3C. Web designers can define style sheets for web pages on their website whereas they insert code in the html code part of the web page that tells the web browser which style sheet file to use when displaying that web page. Users can also use their own style sheets, as well.
CGI: Common Gateway Interface is a set of rules that describes how an application on a web server communicates with the web server and how the web server communicates with an application on that same web server. For example, a cgi program can be used to process information entered in a form that appears on a web page. Usually written in PERL (practical extraction and report language).
CGI-Bin: The most common name of a directory on a website where CGI programs are stored. Although it is common for CGI programs to be stored in this directory, it is not a requirement for them to run.
CGI Program: See CGI.
Channels: Web pages or other types of online content that users can subscribe to—which is updated on a regular basis by a channel provider. This is often referred to as netcasting. In Google’s AdSense program, users are allowed to set up specific categories for their ads called Channels, allowing a means by which they can track the performance of certain websites or specific web pages.
Channel Listings: See Channels. Lists of web pages or other online content that users can subscribe to—which is updated on a regular basis.
Client: A software program that is used to access and obtain data from a server software program located on another computer. In the internet world, the web browser is a client, which accesses the web server.
Click through: The action of when a user clicks on an advertisement or a link and is sent to another website.
Clickthrough Rate: The percentage of times a user has responded to an advertisement or a link. The clickthrough rate, or CTR is a measurement of the effectiveness of an advertisement or link. Generally speaking, the higher the clickthrough rate the better.
Cloaking: The act of showing one web page to a search engine spider and another web page to a human visitor. Cloaking violates most search engines’ terms of service, and will get your website or domain name banned.
Clustering: A grouping of similar things. In search engine marketing, this is when a search engine will take similar web pages that appear from the same website that rank well for the same term and show the most relevant result first while indenting the rest of the similar pages from the same website. Some search engines will cluster the results and then only show one page from each website in the search results. Other search engines will show all of the results, with similar web pages on the same website indented below the most relevant result.
CMS: See Content Management System.
Cold Fusion: An application by Macromedia that allows web designers to create dynamic web pages. Pages built using Cold Fusion have the file extension .CFM. It is a scripting language that allows web designers to do advanced website development and interface with databases.
Comment: See comment tag.
Comment Tag: A comment tag is code put into the html code of a web page that literally “comments out” a section of the code. Data that appears within the start and the end of a comment tag will not be executed by the web browser.
Content Management System: A software program that allows non-technical users to edit, update, maintain, and create a website using built-in templates. Some are very expensive and can manage large amounts of data while others are rather cheap and inexpensive. There are many good Open source or “free to use” content management systems available.
Contextual Link Inventory: The number of page views that a website receives. The more page views a website has every month, the more contextual link inventory they have. See Contextual Advertising.
Contextual Advertising: Advertising that appears on a web page that is targeted directly towards the individual user who is visiting that web page. The contextual advertising system contains a spider or robot that scans the text of the web page and determines what the page is about. The system then displays topical ads related to the content of the page.
Conversion Rate: The conversion rate is the percentage of users who visit a web page divided by the number of users who respond to a call to action on that web page. In the case if an online store, for example, if one user bought something and 100 users have visited the store, the online store’s conversion rate would be 1 percent.
Cookie: A unique code, automatically embedded in a website visitor’s web browser, that allows a website to track that visitor during their current visit and any subsequent visits to the website.
Copyright: A bundle of exclusive rights granted by a government or governmental authority. Once you publish text or images on your website that you alone have written or created, you own the copyright to that content. If someone copies it and puts it on their website without permission, you have the right to take further action, according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Copywriter: A copywriter simply writes compelling and creative text for a website. An example of this is someone who writes product descriptions for an e-commerce website. If you aren’t a very good writer or don’t have the time to create compelling and creative text for your website, then you can hire a copywriter to write it for you.
Corporate Website Marketing: The act of using generally accepted website marketing techniques to market a Corporate website and a corporation’s products, typically in the Business to Business (B2B) market. This typically includes search engine optimization, Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns, and other forms of internet advertising. There is a growing niche of consultants and firms who specialize in corporate website marketing.
Cost Per Click: The amount of money charged when someone clicks on an advertisement on one website and is redirected to the advertiser’s website. The advertiser pays for every visitor that is brought to their website. The advertiser typically uses a banner advertisement on a website to entice visitors to click–and that advertiser only pays if someone clicks and is redirected to their website. CPC (Cost Per Click) is different than CPM (Cost Per Impression).
Counter: A counter is a form of calculator that records how many times something happens. In the case of the Internet, counters usually show a website visitor how many times the web page that they’re on has been displayed.
CPA: Cost Per Action. When advertisements are displayed on a website, the advertiser only pays if someone sees the ad, clicks on the ad, and buys something from them (which results in a sale). CPA is different than CPC (Cost Per Click) and CPM (Cost Per Impression).
CPC: see Cost Per Click.
CPL: Cost Per Lead. When advertisements are displayed on a website, the advertiser only pays if someone sees the ad, clicks on the ad, and becomes a lead. This can vary greatly, depending on the advertiser’s requirements. For example, a lead according to one advertiser might mean someone who completely filled out an online form with their correct contact information. Or, according to another advertiser, a lead might consist of someone who entered their email address into a form and signed up for a newsletter. Some advertisers require leads to be qualified before they are considered to be leads.
CPM: Cost Per Impression. Every time a banner advertisement is displayed on a web page an impression is counted. CPM is usually measured in ‘thousands of impressions’, whereas advertisers pay a certain amount based on 1000 impressions or 1000 times that their advertisement is displayed. One impression usually corresponds to the number of page views on a website (one impression per page view).
Crawler: A crawler is a type of search engine robot that visits websites, storing the URLs, keywords, and text it finds. It visits web pages by following links on those pages. The data it retrieves usually is used in the creation of search engine results.
CRM: See Customer Relationship Management.
Cross Linking: A type of linking when a website owner links one web page on their website to another web page on their website. Also called Internal Linking.
CTR: see Clickthrough Rate.
Customer Relationship Management: A term that describes a type of software that helps companies manage customer relationships in an organized fashion. CRM software usually includes a database that allows all managers, salespeople, and all other people who interact with the company’s customers to access pertinent data about those customers. Every interaction with the customer is usually logged into the database.
CyberSquatting: The act of registering a domain name in bad faith, with the sole intent to sell that domain name to its rightful owner. Cybersquatters usually register domain names of known trademarks, hoping to sell those domain names to the trademark owner.
Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association: A not-for-profit group in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas that promotes ethical search engine marketing. It also educates the local business community about Search Engine Marketing and how it can help businesses. Group meets on a monthly basis.
Dead Link: A link on a web page that no longer works. A dead link occurs when a web page that the link is linking to is removed, causing a 404 error. There are applications and websites that will help you find all the dead links on your website.
Deep Linking: Deep linking is when a link goes directly to an interior page on a website, usually anything other than the website’s home page.
De-listed: See Delisting.
DFWSEM: See Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association.
Domain: See Also, Subdomain.
Domain Name Registration:
Dynamic IP Address:
Error Log file:
Fake Copy Listings:
File Transfer Protocol: See FTP.
Font and Background spoofs:
Gateway Domain Names:
Gateway Subdomain names:
Gateway Page: see Doorway Page.
Graphical Interchange Format:
Graphical Search Inventory:
H1, H2, H3, H4, etc.:
Hubs and Authorities:
Hyper Text Markup Language: See HTML.
Inbound Link: See Backlinks.
Keywords: See Search Terms.
Keyword Domain Name:
Keyword Effectiveness Index:
Link rot or linkrot:
Meta Search Engine:
Meta Description Tag:
Meta Keywords Tag:
Meta Robots Tag:
Multiple Domain Names
Multiple Keyword Tags:
Netfind: see AOL Netfind
Open Directory Project: See DMOZ.
Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool:
Pay-Per-Click: see Cost Per Click.
Position: See Rank.
Pay Per lead:
Query: See Search Terms.
Register a Domain Name:
Registration: See Submission.
Robot: see Crawler.
Search Engine Marketing:
Search Engine Optimization:
SERP: see Results Page.
Server Side INclude:
Spider: See Crawler.
Static IP Address:
Throw Away Domain:
Query: See Search Terms.
Web Host Reseller: