| Jul 26, 2016 | | 8 min read

Ultimate SEO Glossary


SEO is something that marketers hear a lot of, especially those in the digital space. For how frequently the acronym is being used, are we sure that we really understand it or all of the other SEO terms used in the marketing world? First let's break down the abbreviated term “SEO” in order to dig into how it should be used and what it really means.

S - Search

E - Engine

O - Optimization

What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice or process of ranking higher a web-page,  post, image, and media file across various search engines result page. It is an area of marketing with a focus on increasing visibility in organic search results.

Optimizing a business webpage, a new blog or anything for search engines to locate and rank is not an easy process. There are many factors that come into play when figuring out how to rank the highest in a search engine’s complex ranking system. For more on how to rank check out our Snack Pack Video.

Why you should care about SEO

Most of the traffic that is brought to a webpage comes from organic search, local search results. When consumers and internet users are navigating the web, they look for answers from places like Google, Bing and other search engines. These search engines provide links to relevant web pages based on the search that is conducted.

The reason that businesses care so much, and should care, is that in order to maximize web traffic, they must have their web pages optimized for search. Without any attention to SEO, a business seriously risks not being found online, and their online visibility is in jeopardy.

SEO terms you need to know (A-Z)

The acronym SEO has been used more and more, especially as companies realize the importance of ranking in local search. From SEO, there have been a lot of other terms or jargon that has surfaced. We look to define and describe 30 different search terms that you should know.

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Anchor Text [ang-ker tekst]

  1. Text that is clickable (usually highlighted in blue) that takes the user to another site via hyperlinks.

Example Sentence: “Wikipedia seems to always fill their writing with anchor text to other Wikipedia pages!”


Backlink [baklingk]

  1. When one webpage hyperlinks to another website; very popular in blogging and creative writing.

Example Sentence: “Try and get more backlinks on your blog, it will really help it rank better on Google!”


Barnacle SEO [bahr-nuh-kuh l S-E-O]

  1. a.k.a Parasite SEO. Leveraging other website's authority and ranking signals to rank higher on search engine result page.

Example Sentence: “Your new content in medium.com is awesome! And now we're getting a lot of customers from that post! You really mastered barnacle SEO with this piece.”


Bing [bing]

  1. The second largest search engine in the United States, owning 19.8% of searches.

Example Sentence: “Microsoft has always been a leading innovator, it’s no surprise that Bing is growing rapidly!”


Citation [sahy-tey-shuh n]

  1. Anytime a business is mentioned somewhere online - a citation can be structured or unstructured.

Example Sentence: “If you are having a hard time getting your company to rank high in local search try getting more citations online.”


Deep Linking [deep lingk-ing]

  1. Hyperlink to a page that is not visible in the main navigation or home page.

Example Sentence: “You have no referral traffic! Try deep linking to other pages to increase referral visits!”


External Link [ik-stur-nl lingk]

  1. When your webpage hyperlinks to another website, or when another website hyperlinks to your webpage.

Example Sentence: “The more external links that you get to your page, the better it will rank in local search.”


FFA [free fawr awl]

  1. Free for all a.k.a Link Farm. A webpage that links to many irrelevant and unrelated websites. Very hard to interpret as a human reader but easily crawled and indexed by search engines. Link farms are frowned upon and some search engines penalize websites for their free for all web pages.

Example Sentence: “This webpage is a free for all, there are links everywhere and it makes no sense to me!


Google [goo-guh l]

  1. The largest search engine in the United States, owning 64.5% of searches.

Example Sentence: “Google it!”


GYM [Goo-guh l Yah-hoo Mahy-kroh-sawft]

  1. Google Yahoo Microsoft. The three major search engines, with Microsoft as Bing.

Example Sentence: “Yeah there are a ton of search engines out there, but your business needs to be located on GYM to really be found.”



  1. Hyper Text Markup Language. A coded language that allows conversion and formatting of plain text for internet usage. Search engines understand and crawl for HTML language, not for plain text.

Example Sentence: “She is really good at using HTML, she can whip up a website in under a day of work!”


Internal Link [in-tur-nl lingk]

  1. A hyperlink from one webpage to another webpage on the same website.

Example Sentence: “We wrote a piece on business listings, make sure to leave an internal link to that page when you talk about listings.”


JavaScript [jav-uh-skript]

  1. Computer programming language. Used mainly to create and insert interactive effects within web pages.

Example Sentence: “Javascript is such a complex language that even the guys who invented it still don’t understand it.”


Keyword Density [kee-wurd den-si-tee]

  1. The amount of times that a particular word appears in a webpage , usually expressed in percentage.

Example Sentence: “Before you publish the webpage, check the keyword density to ensure it ranks well with the major engines.”


Landing Page [lan-ding peyj]

  1. Page that is brought up when a user clicks on a search advertisement.

Example Sentence: “I clicked on their advertisement and it brought me to the ugliest landing page on earth.”


Link Building [lingk bil-ding]

  1. Actively searching or even asking for new incoming links to a website (usually your own).

Example Sentence: “Do some reaching out to experts on this topic, maybe you will be able to start link building from their websites.”


Link Bait [lingk beyt]

  1. A webpage that’s sole purpose is to attract a certain group of people or certain businesses to link to the page, usually links from social media platforms are popular.

Example Sentence: “That webpage is great link bait for thought leaders like Brian Dean, maybe he will link to it on his twitter page.”


Metadata [met-uh dey-tuh]

  1. Data that describes other data. Helps a website communicate with search engines, often through meta tags that can describe or translate a web page’s content.

Example Sentence: “An image may include metadata that describes how large the picture is, the color depth, the image resolution, when the image was created, and other data.”


Natural Search Results [nach-er-uh l surch ri-zuhlts]

  1. Search engine results that are not paid search advertisements or sponsored advertisements; they rank naturally without paid incentive.

Example Sentence: “Your business is the first to appear on the natural search results, great work!”


Nofollow [noh-fol-oh]

  1. A command from a webpage that communicates with spiders (robots) to not follow any links on that specific page.

Example Sentence: “Be careful with nofollow tags, they have been known to take some power away from your Google pagerank.”


Organic Link [awr-gan-ik lingk]

  1. When a website links to one of your web pages without having to request or reach out to the sharer.

Example Sentence: “Wow! We’ve got a lot of organic links on our latest blog post, and we haven’t even promoted it yet on social media.”


Page Rank [peyj rangk]

  1. A ranking that Google’s algorithm assigns a page based off of a 0 and 1 value.

Example Sentence: “The top 3 results in a search usually have the highest page ranks.”


Quality Content [kwol-i-tee kon-tent]

  1. Writing that is of high value.
  2. Keyword targeted writing that has major influence on search engine ranking systems.

Example Sentence: “Our content is not going to rank on Google unless it is quality content!”


Responsive Web Design [ri-spon-siv web dih-zahyn]

  1. Adaptation of web page layouts to different devices such as desktop, mobile, and tablet - focus on the user experience when browsing a website.

Example Sentence: “We need a responsive web design plan, we are dropping fast in the search rankings because we are not mobile compatible!”


SEM [surch en-juh n mahr-ki-ting]

  1. Search Engine Marketing. Marketing techniques that involve working to make a website more visible in search engine results.

Example Sentence: “This girl is good, she focuses on SEM and can get your business to rank on Google in no time!”


SEO [surch en-juh n op-tuh-muh-zey-shuh n]

  1. Search Engine Optimization. Optimizing a website to maximize traffic from online searches by yielding high a high volume of search results.

Example Sentence: “He is a master of SEO, if you are lacking organic traffic to your website I am sure he can change that.”


SERP [surch en-juh n ri-zuhlts peyj]

  1. Search Engine Results Page. List of results that search engines formulate and present to the user after a search is made.

Example Sentence: “Their business appears in the first few results of the SERP, that should definitely increase their website traffic.”


Trust Rank [truhst rangk]

  1. Ranking system that identifies the difference between spam pages and valuable pages based off of human monitored pages.

Example Sentence: “If your website is spammy it will not fool the trust ranking system, and will likely never be found.”


TOP [tahym awn peyj]

  1. Time on Page. The amount of time that a user or reader of a webpage spends on that particular page. Lower TOP usually results in lower search rankings.

Example Sentence: “If you write a blog and the readers spend a lot of TOP, your blog is likely to climb search rankings much faster!”


UGC [yoo-zer jen-uh-reyt-ed kon-tent]

  1. User Generated Content. Content that is created by users of a service to provide contribution to blogs, wikis, chats, podcasts, etc.

Example Sentence: “We could use more UGC on our website; I would really like to increase the amount of blog posts that we publish.”  


Visibility [viz-uh-bil-i-tee]

  1. The degree of which a webpage or business page is visible on a search engine.

Example Sentence: “If you are a small business, you better make sure your business has visibility with the major search engines.”


White Hat SEO [wahyt hat S-E-O]

  1. a.k.a Ethical SEO. Writing web pages for human audiences instead of search engines. Completely abides by search engine rules with a focus on the reader, instead of manipulating search engine algorithms to rank (Free for all).

Example Sentence: “White hat SEO may take a long time for a blog to start ranking in local search, but it’s much better than cheating the system with a link farm.”


X-Link [kraws lingk]

  1. Cross Link. Linking your website to other relevant topical web pages across the web.
  2. The act in which one website refers to another website in the form of a link.

Example Sentence: “The New York City zoo website just X-linked our page on bird calling!”


Yahoo! [yah-hoo]

  1. The third largest search engine in the United States, owning 12.8% of searches. The once tech giant was bought out by Verizon yesterday, for "comparative chump change."

Example Sentence: “Yahoo! Search is becoming less and less valuable to internet users. I would try using Google or Bing before I used Yahoo! Search.”


Zero Links [zeer-oh lingks]

  1. A webpage that does not attract any internal or external links, completely unnoticed.

Example Sentence: “Our content is great, but we have zero links to the page, so it will never find it’s way to the top of the search results.”

If you have got any search engine marketing terms that we can add, please feel free to leave a comment below! 

About the Author

Zach is a former content strategist with Vendasta. He is fascinated by digital marketing, international studies, and exploring the relationship between technology and business.

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