Below is an excerpt from  A Complete Glossary of Essential SEO Jargon of a few terms I regularly use.  For a more complete list visit the glossary itself (just click the underlined text).


algorithm (algo): A program used by search engines to determine what pages to suggest for a given search query.

analytics: A program which assists in gathering and analyzing data about website usage. Google analytics is a feature rich, popular, free analytics program.

anchor text: The user visible text of a link. Search engines use anchor text to indicate the relevancy of the referring site and of the link to the content on the landing page. Ideally all three will share some keywords in common.

authority (trust, link juice, Google juice): The amount of trust that a site is credited with for a particular search query. Authority/trust is derived from related incoming links from other trusted sites.

authority site: A website which has many incoming links from other related expert/hub sites. Because of this simultaneous citation from trusted hubs an authority site usually has high trust, pagerank, and search results placement. Wikipedia, is an example of an authority site.

back link (inlink, incoming link): Any link into a page or site from any other page or site.

black hat: Search engine optimization tactics that are counter to best practices such as the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

bot (robot, spider, crawler): A program which performs a task more or less autonomously. Search engines use bots to find and add web pages to their search indexes. Spammers often use bots to “scrape” content for the purpose of plagiarizing it for exploitation by the Spammer.

bounce rate: The percentage of users who enter a site and then leave it without viewing any other pages.

canonical issues (duplicate content): canon = legitimate or official version – It is often nearly impossible to avoid duplicate content but also due to the fact that,, and are supposedly seen as dupes by the SEs – although it’s a bit hard to believe they aren’t more sophisticated than that. However these issues can be dealt with effectively in several ways including – using the noindex meta tag in the non-canonical copies, and 301 server redirects to the canon.

directory: A site devoted to directory pages. The Yahoo or Manta directory are examples.

duplicate content: Obviously content which is similar or identical to that found on another website or page. A site may not be penalized for serving duplicate content but it will receive little if any Trust from the search engines compared to the content that the SE considers being the original.

Google dance: The change in SERPs caused by an update of the Google database or algorithm. The cause of great angst and consternation for webmasters who slip in the SERPs. Or, the period of time during a Google index update when different data centers have different data.

Google juice (trust, authority, page rank : trust or authority from Google, which flows through outgoing links to other pages.

keyword: – key phrase The word or phrase that a user enters into a search engine.

keyword density: The percentage of words on a web page which are a particular keyword. If this value is unnaturally high the page may be penalized.

keyword research: The hard work of determining which keywords are appropriate for targeting.

keyword spam (keyword stuffing): Inappropriately high keyword density.

link juice: (trust, authority, pagerank)

long tail: longer more specific search queries that are often less targeted than shorter broad queries. For example a search for “widgets” might be very broad while “red widgets with reverse threads” would be a long tail search. A large percentage of all searches are long tail searches/

pagerank (PR): a value between 0 and 1 assigned by the Google algorithm, which quantifies link popularity and trust among other (proprietary) factors.

redirect: Any of several methods used to change the address of a landing page such as when a site is moved to a new domain, or in the case of a doorway.

robots.txt: a file in the root directory of a website use to restrict and control the behavior of search engine spiders.

search engine (SE): a program, which searches a document or group of documents for relevant matches of a users keyword phrase and returns a list of the most relevant matches. Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo search the entire internet for relevant matches.

SEM: Short for search engine marketing, SEM is often used to describe acts associated with researching, submitting and positioning a Web site within search engines to achieve maximum exposure of your Web site. SEM includes things such as search engine optimization, paid listings and other search-engine related services and functions that will increase exposure and traffic to your Web site.

SEO: Short for search engine optimization, the process of increasing the number of visitors to a Web site by achieving high rank in the search results of a search engine. The higher a Web site ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that users will visit the site. It is common practice for Internet users to not click past the first few pages of search results, therefore high rank in SERPs is essential for obtaining traffic for a site. SEO helps to ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be indexed and favorably ranked by the search engine.

SERP: Search Engine Results Page

site map: A page or structured group of pages which link to every user accessible page on a website, and hopefully improves site usability by clarifying the data structure of the site for the users. An XML sitemap is often kept in the root directory of a site just to help search engine spiders to find all of the site pages.

URL: Uniform Resource Locator – AKA Web Address

web 2.0: Is characterized by websites, which encourage user interaction.