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Google SEO Optimization Reference [SEO Terms and Meanings]

If you have been reading ourSearch Engine Optimization Getting started guide and find yourself confused by some of the terms you see, don't worry!We know that learning all the ins and outs of SEO vocabulary and jargon feels like learning another language.To help you grasp all the new terms we throw at you, we've compiled a chapter-by-chapter SEO glossary with definitions and helpful links.You may want to bookmark this page for future reference!

SEO 101

10 Organic Search Positions: The format search engines use to display search results, referring to non-advertising spots.

SERPs:SERPGenerally refers to a search engine results page.Search engine results page, English abbreviationSERP(Search Engine Results Page), refers to the pages returned by the search engine that meet the query requirements in the field of search engines.

Black Hat: SEO practices that violate Google's quality guidelines.

Crawl: The process by which search engines discover your web pages.

De-indexing: Refers to the removal of a page or group of pages from Google's index.

Featured Snippets: Organic answer boxes that appear at the top of the SERPs for certain queries.

Google My Business Listings: Free listings for local businesses.

Image Carousel: Images lead to some SERPs that are scrollable from left to right.

Indexing: Stores and organizes content found during crawling.

Intent: in Search Engine Optimization In the context of , intent refers to what the user actually wants from the words they type in the search bar.

KPI: A "Key Performance Indicator" is a measurable value that indicates how well an activity achieves its goals.

Local packs: A pack typically contains three local business listings for local searches, such as "oil changes near me."

Organic Results: Get placements in search results, not paid ads.

People also ask box: A box in some SERPs that contains a list of questions related to the query and its answers.

Query: The word entered in the search bar.

Rank: Sort search results by relevance to the query.

Search Engine: An information retrieval program that searches a database for items that match a user-entered request.Examples: Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

SERP feature: Results are displayed in a non-standard format.

Traffic: Visit the website.

URL: A Uniform Resource Locator is the location or address of a single piece of content on the web.

Webmaster Guidelines: Guidelines published by search engines such as Google and Bing to help website owners create content that can be found, indexed, and perform well in search results.

White Hat: SEO practices that meet Google's quality guidelines.

How Search Engines Work - Crawl, Index, and Rank

2xx status codes: A class of status codes that indicate that the page request was successful.

4xx status codes: A class of status codes that indicate that a page request resulted in an error.

5xx status codes: A class of status codes that indicate that the server was unable to execute the request.

Advanced search operators: Special characters and commands that you can type in the search bar to further specify your query.

Algorithm: A process or formula for retrieving and sorting stored information in a meaningful way.

Backlinks: Or "inbound links" are links to other sites on your site.

Bots: Also known as "crawlers" or "spiders," these are things that search the internet for content.

Cache: A saved version of a web page.

CaffeineCaffeine: Google's Web Indexing System.Caffeine is an index or collection of web content, and Googlebot is a crawler that finds content.

Citation: Also known as a "business listing," a citation is a web-based local business name, address, and telephone number (NAP) citation.

cloakingHidden pages: Show different content to search engines than to human visitors. Cloaking Chinese translation: camouflage, concealed.Extended meaning: search engine technology, a method of obscuring or diverting others' sight so that they cannot see the truth.Cloaking, also known as blindfolding and camouflage technology, is to provide different versions of content for search engine crawlers and user browsers, which are mainly distinguished by the IP and User-Agent information in the HTTP request header.

Crawl Budget: The average number of pages a search engine bot will crawl on your site

Crawler Instructions: Explain to Crawler what you want to crawl and index on your website.

Distance: In the context of local packages, distance refers to the proximity or location of the searcher and/or the location specified in the query.

Engagement: Data representing how searchers interact with a website from search results.

Google Quality Guidelines: Google publishes guidelines detailing policies that are prohibited due to malicious and/or intent to manipulate search results.

Google Search Console: A free program from Google that allows site owners to monitor how their site is performing in search.

HTML: Hypertext Markup Language is the language used to create web pages.

Index Coverage Report: A report in the Google Search Console that shows the indexing status of your site's pages.

Indexing: The vast database of everything search engine crawlers have discovered and deemed good enough to serve searchers.

Internal Links: Links from your own website to other pages on the same website.

JavaScript: A programming language for adding dynamic elements to static web pages.

Login Form: Refers to a page that requires login authentication before a visitor can access content.

Manual Penalties: Refers to Google's "manual actions" in which human reviewers have determined that certain pages on a site violate Google's quality guidelines.

Meta-robots tag: A code snippet that provides instructions on how a crawler crawls or indexes the content of a web page.

Navigation: A list of links that help visitors navigate to other pages on the site.Typically, these will appear in lists at the top of the site ("Top Navigation"), in the side column of the site ("Side Navigation"), or at the bottom of the site ("Footer Navigation").

NoIndex Tag: A meta tag that instructs search engines not to index the page it's on.

PageRank: A component of Google's core algorithm.It is a link analysis program that estimates the importance of a web page by measuring the quality and quantity of links pointing to it.

Personalization: Refers to how search engines modify a person's results for unique factors, such as their location and search history.

Prominence: In the context of local packs, prominence refers to businesses that are well known and popular in the real world.

RankBrain: The machine learning component of Google's core algorithm that adjusts rankings by promoting the most relevant, useful results.

Relevance: In the context of local packs, relevance is how well a local business matches what a searcher is looking for

Robots.txt: File that advises which parts of your site should and should not be crawled by search engines.

Search form: Refers to the search function or search bar on a website that helps users find pages on that website.

Search Quality Rater's Guide: A human rater's guide for Google to determine the quality of real web pages.

Sitemap: A list of URLs on a website that crawlers can use to discover and index content.

Spammy Tactics: Like "black hats", Spammy Tactics are tactics that violate search engine quality guidelines.

URL folder: The part of the website that occurs after the TLD (".com"), separated by a slash (/).For example, in "", we can say that "/blog" is a folder.

URL Parameters: Information after a question mark appended to a URL to change page content (active parameters) or tracking information (passive parameters).

X-robots-tag: Like the meta-robots tag, this tag provides instructions on how crawlers should crawl or index web content.

Keyword research

Ambiguous intent: Refers to a search phrase where the searcher's goal is unclear and requires further clarification.

Business Survey Queries: Queries where searchers want to compare products to find the best fit for them.

Informational Queries: Queries for which the searcher is looking for information, such as answers to questions.

Keyword Difficulty: At Moz, Keyword Difficulty is an estimate of how hard it is for a website to outperform competitors in the form of a numerical score.

Keyword Explorer: Moz tool for deep keyword research and discovery.

Local queries: Queries where searchers are looking for content in a specific location, such as "coffee shops near me" or "gyms in Brooklyn"

Long-tail keywords: Longer queries, usually those with more than three words.Indicate their length, they are usually more specific than short-tailed queries.

Navigational queries: A query in which a searcher tries to access a location, such as Moz Blog (query="Moz Blog").

Locale Keyword: Refers to a keyword that is unique to a specific locale.For example, use Google Trends to see if "popular" or "soda" is more popular in Kansas.

Search Volume: The number of times a keyword was searched.Many keyword research tools display estimated monthly search volume.

Seasonal Trends: Refers to the popularity of keywords over time, such as the most popular "Hollywood clothing" in the week leading up to October 10st.

Seed keyword: The term we use to describe the main word that describes the product or service you offer.

Transactional query: The searcher wants to take an action, such as buying something.If the keyword type is in the marketing funnel, the transactional query will be at the bottom.

On-site optimization

Alternative text: Alternative text is text in HTML code that describes images on web pages.

Anchor text: The text of the page you link to.

Auto-generated content: Content created programmatically, not written by a human.

Duplicate content: Content that is shared between domains or between multiple pages of a single domain.

Geo-Modifier: A term describing a physical location or service area.For example, "pizza" is not geomodified, but "Seattle Pizza".

Title Tag: HTML element used to specify the title of the page.

Image compression: Speeds up the behavior of web pages by making image file sizes smaller without reducing image quality.

Image sitemap: A sitemap that contains only image URLs on the website.

Keyword stuffing: A spammy tactic that involves the overuse of important keywords and their variations in content and links.

Link accessibility: Human visitors or crawlers can easily find links.

Link Equity: The value or authority a link can deliver to a destination.

Link Volume: The number of links on the page.

Local business model: Structured data markup placed on web pages to help search engines understand information about the business.

Meta descriptions: HTML elements that describe the content of the page they are on. Google sometimes uses these as description lines in search result snippets.

Panda: Google algorithm update for low quality content.

Protocol: "http" or "https" in front of the domain name.This controls how data is relayed between the server and the browser.

Redirect: When a URL is moved from one location to another.Most of the time, redirects are permanent (301 redirects).

Rel=canonical: A tag that allows site owners to tell Google which version of a page is the original and which are duplicates.

Scraping content: Take content from sites you don't own and republish it without permission from your own site.

SSL Certificate: The "Secure Socket Layer" is used to encrypt data passed between the web server and the searcher's browser.

Thin Content: Content that has little value to the visitor.

Pins: Image pins are smaller versions of larger images.

Title Tag: An HTML element that specifies the title of the web page.

Technology optimization

AMP: Often described as "diet HTML," Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is designed to provide mobile visitors with a lightning-fast viewing experience.

Asynchronous: Short for "async", async means that the browser doesn't have to wait for a task to complete and then move on to the next task while assembling the web page.

Browser: A web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox) is software that allows you to access information on the web.When you make a request in a browser (eg: ""), you instruct the browser to retrieve the resources it needs to render the page on the device.

Bundling: Combines multiple resources into a single resource.

ccTLD: Abbreviation for "country code top-level domain," ccTLD refers to a country-related domain.For example, ru is a recognized ccTLD in Russia.

Client-side and server-side rendering: Client-side and server-side rendering refers to where the code runs.Client-side means that the file is executed in the browser.Server-side means that the files are executed on the server, and the server sends them to the browser in a fully rendered state.

Critical Rendering Path: The sequence of steps a browser goes through to convert HTML, CSS, and JavaScript into a viewable web page.

CSS: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are codes that make a website look a certain way (eg: fonts and colors).

DNS: Domain Name Servers (DNS) allow domain names (eg: "") to be linked to IP addresses (eg: ""). DNS essentially translates domain names into IP addresses so that browsers can load the page's resources.

DOM: The Document Object Model (DOM) is the structure of an HTML document - it defines how things like JavaScript can access and change that document.

Domain Name Registrar: A company that manages the reservation of Internet domain names.Example: GoDaddy.

Faceted Navigation: Often used on e-commerce sites, faceted navigation offers many sorting and filtering options to help visitors more easily find the URL they are looking for from thousands or even millions of URLs.For example, you can sort the page for clothing by price: low to high, or filter the page to see only size: small.

Fetch and Render Tool: A tool available in the Google Search Console that allows you to see how Google views a web page.

File Compression: The process of encoding information using fewer bits; reducing the size of a file.There are many different compression techniques.

Hreflang: A tag that indicates to Google which language the content is in.This helps Google provide the appropriate language version of the page to people searching in that language.

IP Address: An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a string of numbers unique to each particular website.We assign domain names to IP addresses because they are easier to remember (eg: ""), but the internet needs these numbers to find websites.

JSON-LD: JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data (JSON-LD) is a format for building data.For example, can be implemented in many different formats, JSON-LD is just one of them, but it is Google's preferred format.

Lazy Loading: A way of deferring the loading of objects until needed.This method is often used to increase page speed.

Miniaturization: Miniaturization means removing as many unnecessary characters from the source code as possible without changing functionality.Compression makes things smaller, and miniaturization actually removes things.

Mobile-first indexing: Google began gradually moving sites to a mobile-first index in 2018.This change means that Google crawls and indexes pages based on the mobile version rather than the desktop version.

Pagination: Site owners can choose to divide pages into sections in sequence, similar to pages in a book.This is especially useful on very large pages.The hallmarks of paginated pages are the rel="next" and rel="prev" tags, which indicate where each page is in greater order.These tags help Google understand that a page should have a combined link attribute and that the searcher should be sent to the first page of the sequence.

Programming Language: Write instructions in a way that a computer can understand.For example, JavaScript is a programming language that adds dynamic (non-static) elements to web pages.

RenderingRendering: The process by which the browser converts the code of a website into a browsable page.

Render-blocking scriptsRender-blocking scripts: Scripts that force the browser to wait before fetching the page.Render-blocking scripts can add an extra round trip before the browser fully renders the page.

Responsive Design: Google's preferred design pattern for mobile-friendly websites, responsive design allows a website to adapt to whatever device it is viewed on.

Rich snippetRich snippets: Snippets are previews of the title and description of the URL that Google and other search engines display on their results pages.Therefore, "enriched" fragments are enhanced versions of standard fragments.Some rich snippets can be encouraged through the use of structured data markup, such as review markup displayed as rating stars next to those URLs in search results. Code "wraps around" an element of a web page to provide search engines with additional information about it.Data using is called "structured" rather than "unstructured" - in other words, organized rather than unorganized.

SRCSET: Like the responsive design of images, SRCSET dictates which version of the image to display for different situations.

Structured data: Another way to represent "organized" data (rather than unorganized). is a way of structuring data, for example, by tagging it with other information that helps search engines understand it.

Link Building and Building Authority

10x Content: Created by Rand Fishkin to describe content that is "10x better" than anything else on the web on the same topic.

Amplify: Share or spread information about your brand; often used in social media, paid advertising, and influencer marketing.

DA: Domain Authority (DA) is a Moz metric used to predict the ability of a domain to rank; best used as a comparison metric (eg: comparing a website's DA score to that of its direct competitors).

DEINDEX: When a URL, part of a URL, or an entire domain is removed from the search engine index.This can happen for a number of reasons, such as when a site is manually penalized for violating Google's quality guidelines.

Directory Links: A "directory" in the context of local SEO is an aggregated listing of local businesses, usually including each business's name, address, phone number (NAP), and other information such as a website. "Directory" can also refer to a type of unnatural link that violates Google's guidelines: "low quality directory or bookmarked site link"

Editorial Links: Links are considered editorial when they are obtained naturally and at the author's own will (rather than paid or coerced).

As follows: The default state of the link, the "follow" link passes the page rank.

Google Analytics: Free (with optional paid upgrade) tool that helps site owners gain insight into how people engage with their sites.Some examples of reports you can see in Google Analytics include acquisition reports that show which channels your visitors come from, and conversion reports that show how quickly people on your site are completing goals (eg: form filling).

Google search operators: Special text that can be appended to a query to further specify the type of results you're looking for.For example, add "site" before a domain name can return a list of all (or more) indexed pages on that domain name.

Guest Blogging: Often used as a link building strategy, guest blogging involves posting articles (or article ideas) to publications in the hope that they have your content and allow you to include a link to your website.But be careful.Massive customer posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links violate Google's quality guidelines.

Link Building: While "building" sounds like this activity involves creating links to a website yourself, link building actually describes the process of obtaining links to a website for the purpose of building the website's authority in search engines.

Link Exchanges: Also known as reciprocal links, link exchanges involve a "you link to me, I'll link to you" strategy.Excessive link exchange violates Google's quality guidelines.

Link Browser: Moz's link discovery and analysis tool.

Link Profile: A term used to describe all inbound links to a selected domain, subdomain or URL.

Linked Unstructured Citations: Citing full or partial contact information of businesses on non-directory platforms (e.g. online news, blogs, best lists, etc.)

MozBar: A plugin available for the Chrome browser that allows you to easily view metrics for the selected page, such as DA, PA, title tags, etc.

NoFollow: Links marked with rel="NoFollow" will not pass page rankings. Google encourages the use of these in certain circumstances, such as when paying for links.

PA: Similar to DA, Page Authority (PA) predicts the ranking ability of individual pages.

Buy Links: Exchange money or other valuable links.If a link is bought, it constitutes an advertisement and should be treated with the nofollow tag so as not to rank through the page.

Qualified traffic: When traffic is "qualified," it usually means that the visit is related to the intended topic of the page, so visitors are more likely to find useful content and convert.

Referral traffic: Traffic sent from another website to a website.For example, if your website is receiving visits from people who click on your website on a link on Facebook, Google Analytics will attribute that traffic as "" in the Source/Media report.

Resource pages: Often used for link building, resource pages often contain lists of useful links to other websites.For example, if your business sells email marketing software, you can look up the marketing intitle: "Resources" and contact the owner of said website to see if they would include a link to the website on their page.

SentimentSentiment: How people feel about your brand.

Spam Score: A Moz metric used to quantify a domain's relative risk of being penalized by using a range of flags that are highly correlated with penalized sites.

Unnatural Links: Google describes unnatural links as "the creation of links that are not editorially placed or endorsed by the site owner on the page."This violates their guidance

Measure, prioritize and execute SEO

API: Application programming interfaces (APIs) allow applications to be created by accessing functions or data from other services such as operating systems or applications.

Bounce rateBounce Rate: The percentage of total visits that did not take a secondary action on your website.For example, if someone visits your homepage and then leaves before viewing any other pages, it will be a bounced session.

Channels: You can gain attention and traffic through different vehicles such as organic search and social media.

CTR: The ratio of impressions that click on a URL to the click-through rate.

Conversion Rate: The ratio of visits to conversions.Conversion rate answers how many website visitors I get filling out my forms, calling, signing up for my newsletter, etc. ?

Qualified Leads: If you use your website to encourage potential clients to contact you by phone or form, a "lead" is every contact you receive.Not all of these leads will become customers, but "qualified" leads are relevant prospects with a high probability of becoming paying customers.

Google Analytics Goals: What actions do you want people to take?Regardless of your answer, you can use these settings as goals in Google Analytics to track your conversion rates.

Google Tag Manager: A single hub for managing tracking codes for multiple websites.

Googlebot/Bingbot: How major search engines like Google and Bing crawl the web; their "crawlers" or "spiders"

Kanban: Scheduling system.

Pages Per Session: Also known as "page depth," Pages per Session describes the average number of pages people view a website in a single session.

Page Speed: Page speed is made up of a number of equally important qualities such as first time content/meaningful paint and interaction time.

Pruning: In the context of SEO, pruning usually refers to removing low-quality pages to improve the overall site quality.

Scroll Depth: A method of tracking visitors scrolling down a page.

Scrum board: A method of keeping track of what needs to be done to achieve a larger goal.

Search traffic: Visits are sent to your website from search engines like Google.

Time on page: The amount of time someone spent on the page before clicking the next page.Because Google Analytics tracks the time on the page when someone clicks the next page, the bounce session will clock once on page 0.

UTM Code: The Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) is a simple code that you can append to the end of a URL to track additional details about a click, such as its source, media and campaign name.

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