A complete set of SEO terms and definitions so you can spend less time decoding an article or SEO expert and focus more on improving your rank.Get the SEO terms ebook
As if SEO is not complicated enough, it's full of jargon, acronyms, and all sorts of cryptic terms that can make your head spin. That's why we've compiled this massive list of terms to help you decode any SEO article you come across. Feel free to bookmark this page for reference or click the button above to download the ebook version to save for later.
Alexa Rank is a rank provided by Amazon to measure the popularity of a website. Alexa rank is calculated based on how often a website is visited. It does not impact your rank or SEO efforts, though ti can be helpful to track.
Alt text, also called alternative text, is a short piece of HTML encoding which adds text to an image to describe what it is about. This helps search engines to better understand the images on your website.
AMP, also called Accelerated Mobile Pages, is a slimmed down version of a website for mobile so that it can load more quickly.
Anchor text is the linked text in an HTML link text element.
Backlinks are links to a website from another website. Backlinks are one of the most influential ranking factors because a website with more backlinks has more websites vouching for it.
Black hat SEO
Black hat SEO is the practice of using illicit techniques to improve your website. While black hat techniques can lead to a short term improvement in rank, they carry a high risk of earning a penalty for your website which can hurt your rank in the long run.
Bounce rate is the rate at which visitors to a website leave on the first page. A bounce rate in the 50s-60s is normal, while bounce rates over 70 can be quite high.
A canonical tag is an HTML tag which tells Google what the original version of a page is. Canonical tags are useful when republishing content so search engines do not think the content is duplicated.
Core Web Vitals
Dofollow links are backlinks which instruct search engines to follow to the linked page. This allows SEO benefit to be passed in through the backlink, by default all backlinks are dofollow links.
If you think a backlink to your website is potentially harmful Google allows you ti disavow a link which means Google will ignore it and not factor it in when determining your website's authority and rank.
The domain is the central part of a url that you can purchase from a domain registrar. For example, in our website url 'www.centori.io', centori.io is the domain.
Domain authority is a metric from popular SEO platforms like Moz, SEMrush, and Ahrefs which attempts to calculate the authority of a website. The higher your domain authority the better position your site is in to rank.
EAT is an acronym which stands for Expertise Authority and Trust. These are the three principles that Google and other search engines look for in quality content worthy of ranking on the first page.
An external link is a link on a webpage that links out to a different website.
The featured snippet is the snippet of text in the answer box that commonly appears in Google search results.s
Freshness describes how current your website is. Google favors content that is fresh and regularly updated.
Googlebot is Google's search engine spider which crawls the web and indexes websites to analyze and rank them.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planer is Google Ad's keyword tool which allows you to find keyword suggestions and view search data such as search volume, competition, and cost per click.
Google My Business
Google my Business is a tool from Google which allows you to create a business page for your website, add hours, accept reviews, and more.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console, also called Google Webmaster tools, is Google's own tool that shows you how often your website appears in search results and what keywords people are using to find your website.
Google trends is Google's tool to show search volume trends for a given keyword as well as compare keywords.
Grey hat SEO
Headings are html tags that are larger than standard text (usually a paragraph tag). Headings can be used to structure the text, organize it, and communicate to site visitors and search engines what the text is about.
Hummingbird was a major update to Google's algorithm in 2013 and signaled a commitment to an increasingly sophisticated understanding the search intent behind queries with the goal of matching searchers with more relevant results.
Inbound links are links from external websites linking to your website. See backlink.
Internal links are links on a webpage that link to other pages on the same website.
Keyword cannibalization occurs when you have multiple pages on your website all competing for the same keyword. They can interfere with each other and dilute your site, harming your chances at ranking in the process.
Keyword density measures how often a keyword is used in a piece of content. Keyword density used to matter more in the early days of SEO but is not a much less meaningful metric.
Keyword difficulty is a metric popular SEO tools use to demonstrate how difficult it is to rank for a given keyword. They calculate this by looking at how authoritative the top ranking websites for that keyword are.
Keyword research is the practice of researching different target keywords in order to find the right keywords to focus on and incorporate into your content
Keyword stuffing is the practice of overusing a keyword in your content or hiding it in the HTML of a page. Keyword stuffing is an old black hat SEO technique.
Link building is the practice of reaching out to sites in order to acquire backlinks.
Local SEO is the art of optimizing your website and content to rank for local searches such as 'near me' searches.
Longtail keywords are longer, more niche versions of a keyword that are also easier to rank for. For example, 'SEO coach' is a quite broad keyword but 'SEO coaches in Boston' is longer tail.
LSI is an acronym for Latent Semantic Indexing and is a fancy way of saying they are words and phrases that are closely correlated to a core keyword. For example, "cold brew" as a core keyword might have related words like "cold brew recipes", "water temperature", "how long to steep cold brew", or "french press".
The meta description is a short (usually 155 characters or less) description that appears in Google search results under the page title.
Meta tags are HTML tags on a webpage that provide information to search engines and browsers as to what the content is about.
No follow link
Unlike dofollow links, no follow links do not pass any SEO credit on to the site they link to. Nofollow links contain a 'rel=nofollow' tag inside the link. By default links on blog comments, social media sites and forum sites (such as Quora) are no follow links.
Offsite SEO covers everything you can do off of your website in order to improve your rank.
Onpage, or onsite, SEO covers everything you can do to optimize your website and its content to improve your rank.
PageRank was named after Larry Page one of the founders of Google. PageRank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages and does this by assessing how many backlinks a page has. More backlinks means the page is more important.
Page authority is a metric from popular SEO tools like Moz, SEMRush, and Ahrefs to show the authority of a singular page. For the authority of a website see domain authority.
Panda is the name given to a 2010 update to Google's algorithm which cracked down on thin and auto-generated content as well as content farms. The goal of Panda was to ensure only high quality content was ranking.
Oftentimes when caught using blackhat techniques, Google will impose a penalty on a website which will harm its chances at ranking until the penalty is appealed.
Pillar pages are massive in-depth resource pages that cover a topic in comprehensive detail. They often link out to other pages covering subtopics under the primary topic for the page.
PPC is an acronym for Pay Per Click. PPC typically covers search engine advertising as you pay search engines for each click on your ad.
RankBrain is Google’s name for a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that’s used to help process its search results.
There are believed to be over 200 ranking factors in Google's ranking algorithm. Each ranking factor is a clue to Google as to the quality of your website and content and used to determine its rank as compared to other websites.
A redirect allows you to divert trafficc from one URL to another. Redirects are important if you are retiring a page, changing its url, or switching domains as redirects allow you to preserve SEO credit from the old URL to the new URL.
Rich results are search results that go beyond the standard blue link. Rich results can include carousels, images, or other non-textual elements.
A robots.txt file is page on website that tells search engines (and other bots) what they are not allowed to crawl. These are important as they can hide unimportant pages from search engines so they do not factor into your rank.
Search intent describes the intent behind a search. It is important to understand search intent because through it you understand why someone is searching for a specific keyword and what content they are looking for. The better your content meets their intent the better your chance at ranking.
SEM is an acronym which stands for Search Engine Marketing. SEM covers SEO along with other Search Engine Marketing tactics such as PPC advertising.
SERPs (Search Engine Results Page)
SERP stands for search engine results page and it is simply the page of results for a given search term. You can analyze serps by looking at the currently ranking content to get a sense of what is already ranking and what search engines are looking for.
A sitemap is an autogenerated file that lists every page on your website. Sitemaps can be submitted to search engines to help them index all of your content and rank it appropriately.
A spider is an automated crawler or bot that analyzes and indexes content.
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and is a certificate you can purchase for your domain which makes your website more secure. Google favors secure websites, so enabling SSL can help your site's rank.
A subdomain or sub folder is the beginning part of the url, the 'www.' or 'blog.'. Subdomains can be useful in structuring a website however studies show that Google sees content on different subdomains as different websites.
Technical SEO covers the technical elements of structuring and optimizing a website. Technical SEO covers things like page speed optimization, SSL, and more.
Thin content can earn you a Google penalty, thin content is any content that is duplicated from another website, or auto generated and nonsensical.
The title of the page is found in the <title> tag and appears in search results as well as the bookmark bar in the browser. Titles are one of the most important parts of the page.
Topic clusters are a way of approaching your content in a way of choosing a core topic and looking to the sub topics underneath that topic. This helps you create content that is comprehensive and authoritative.
UX stands for User Experience and it covers the experience people have on your website. While UX does not directly affect your rank, a better UX means people have a better experience on your website and stick around.
White hat SEO
White hat SEO covers all of the approved SEO best practices that you can leverage in order to improve your rank in search engines.
Your Money Your Life (YMYL) Keywords
YMYL keywords cover keywords on sensitive subjects such as health or financial topics. While Google has not openly admitted it, it is suspected that Google looks at websites in the health or financial sectors with more scrutiny.