SEO Glossary 2024: The Ultimate List of SEO Terms

SEO 101: Terms & Definitions You Need to Know

SEO Glossary 2024: The Ultimate List of SEO Terms

In today's digital world, being visible on search engines can help or hurt a business. Knowing search engine optimization (SEO) terms inside and out is crucial. The SEO Glossary of 2024 offers a detailed dictionary for SEO designed to make the complex world of digital marketing easier to understand. It covers over 118 SEO-related terms, explained clearly and insightfully.

Put together by experts and led by Karsten Madsen, this resource is more than just a list of terms. It's built to guide users with a search feature and a well-organized table of contents. Whether new to SEO or a seasoned pro, this glossary is vital. It helps you keep up with the ever-changing SEO landscape.

Key Takeaways

  • Develop a robust understanding of SEO with over 450 essential search engine optimization terms.
  • Save time with a user-friendly SEO dictionary designed for quick and easy navigation.
  • Gain expert insights with definitions crafted by renowned SEO specialists.
  • Keep your SEO knowledge on the cutting edge with an SEO definitions list that reflects the latest industry trends.
  • Ensure accessibility and ease of use with advanced search functions and organized content.

Understanding SEO: Core Principles and Concepts

Starting with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) might feel overwhelming. Yet, learning its basic principles is key to improving digital marketing. SEO is essential for making websites stand out in search results. This section will explain SEO, cut through the complex terms, and show how a smart approach can boost web traffic.

Defining Search Engine Optimization

SEO combines strategies and techniques to help websites rank higher in organic search results. It's described as science and art, creating content that search engines want to see. This is crucial for making sure the right people find your online content based on what they're searching for.

The Evolution of SEO Practices

SEO has evolved significantly over time. It moved from focusing on keywords and backlinks to prioritizing relevant content and user experience. This evolution reflects changes in digital habits and tech advancements. Every step forward is a reaction to search engines getting better at picking out quality content.

How Search Engines Work

Understanding how search engines operate is pivotal to SEO. They crawl, index, and rank web pages for the best results. They use bots to find pages and then sort them in their databases. Finally, they rank these pages by factors like relevance and engagement. This is how they answer search queries with the most suitable results.

SEO Phase Key Components Impact on Rankings
Crawling Search engine bots navigate a website Identifies which pages exist for further analysis
Indexing Pages are analyzed and stored in a database Determines the potential inclusion in search results
Ranking Pages are evaluated for relevance and authority Dictates the order in which pages appear for specific queries


SEO Glossary: The Ultimate List of SEO Terms

A reliable SEO dictionary is a key resource for experts and newcomers in search engine optimization. Our updated version offers a clear definition list, helping you keep up with changing terms. Dive into entries that cover everything from basic to advanced SEO topics.

301 Redirect

A 301 redirect tells web browsers and search engines that a page or site has been permanently moved to a new location.

Without a 301 redirect, the backlinks accrued by the old URL will not pass their value to the new one, resulting in a loss of ‘backlink equity' and a potential decrease in search rankings for the relevant page.

404 Error

A 404 error is a status code within the HTTP protocol, which indicates that the requested page cannot be found on the server. Users usually encounter this error when a page has been removed or the URL has been changed without a proper redirect. If you remove a page from your website that has many inbound links, it is usually best to create a redirect to another relevant URL instead of letting search engines encounter a 404 error. This will help preserve any “link juice” gained by the original URL.

Above the fold

Above the fold refers to the part of a webpage that is visible without scrolling. This term originates from the print industry and has been adopted by web designers and digital marketers. It's generally important to place key content and calls to action above the fold (so that users can find key information quickly).


Ahrefs is a popular SEO tool that provides digital marketers with features that let them analyze websites, track backlinks, research keywords, and monitor search rankings.


AJAX is a web development technique for “Asynchronous JavaScript and XML.” It allows a webpage to display new data without needing a full refresh, enhancing the user experience.

In the past, search engines faced challenges when crawling and indexing content loaded through AJAX or JavaScript. Though modern search engines have improved their ability to process it, incorrect implementation can still negatively affect a page's visibility in search results. This is because such implementation can make content inaccessible to search engine bots.

Thoroughly testing AJAX-based webpages ensures search engine crawlers can interpret the content effectively.


In SEO, an algorithm refers to search engines' rules to rank the listings returned in response to a query. Search engine algorithms rank content based on many factors, including the web page's relevance, the content's quality, and the number of backlinks pointing to it.

Algorithm change

An algorithm change refers to a modification in the rules used by search engines to determine the ranking of websites in their search results. These changes are made to improve the relevance and quality of search results, often focusing on factors like website quality, content relevance, mobile-friendliness, and loading speed.

When an algorithm change occurs, it can significantly impact the visibility of websites in search results, potentially leading to an increase or decrease in organic traffic. Given its huge share of the search engine market, this is particularly where Google algorithm updates are concerned.

Alt text

Alt text — alternative text — is a text-based description of an image. This text helps search engines understand what the image is about and contributes to a web page's SEO. Alt text is also important for accessibility, as it provides a textual description of the image for visually impaired visitors to a website.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a technology developed by Google that allows web content to load quickly on mobile devices. It does this chiefly by using simplified HTML.

While AMP was originally linked to better visibility in Google search results (especially for news articles), Google no longer favors AMP-format pages in this way. That said, fast loading speed remains an important factor in Google's search results ranking of websites, and AMP can still help deliver quick page load times.


Analytics refers to data and statistics about a website, such as the number of visitors, page views, bounce rate, etc. This information is often used for tracking and measuring performance and is essential for making informed decisions about SEO strategies. Popular analytics packages include Google Analytics and Fathom Analytics.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. In SEO, the anchor text is important because it gives users and search engines contextual information about the content of the link's destination page and can influence how search engines index it.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning, reasoning, problem-solving, perception, and language understanding.

When applied by search engines, AI enhances their ability to understand and interpret the content, context, and user intent behind search queries. For example, Google uses an AI system called RankBrain to understand search terms' context and semantic meaning (especially search terms it hasn't encountered before).


In SEO, authority refers to a measure of a site's importance or credibility. This can be influenced by the quality of content on a site, the number of backlinks to it, and the credibility of those backlinks. High-authority sites typically rank more highly in search engine results.

A backlink is a link to one site from another. The more high-quality backlinks to your site, the more likely it is to rank highly in search results.

This is because Google effectively treats external links as ‘votes' for websites that vouch for the quality of their content.


Baidu is China's most popular search engine and is often called the “Google of China.” Founded in 2000, it provides various similar services, including a search engine for websites, images, maps, and news.


Bing is Microsoft's search engine. While Google dominates the search engine market, Bing holds a significant share in certain markets.

Black box

In SEO, the term' black box' is often used to describe the unknown workings of the algorithms and processes used by search engines to rank websites (the exact nature of these algorithms is not disclosed to the public).

They're considered a ‘black box' because we can see the inputs (web pages and their content, backlinks, user behavior, etc.) and the outputs (search rankings). Still, the exact process that transforms those inputs into outputs is largely hidden and unknown.

Search engines like Google keep these algorithms a secret to prevent manipulation and gaming of the system.

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO refers to practices that violate search engine guidelines and can result in a penalty or ban from search results. These practices often involve manipulative tactics designed to trick search engines, such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, and using private link networks.


A blog is a regularly updated website section typically managed by an individual or a small group. It often focuses on a specific topic.

Having a blog can improve a website's position in search results because it helps keep it fresh with new content—something search engines favor. Furthermore, blogs offer an excellent way to incorporate relevant keywords into a site.

By offering valuable, engaging content through a blog, businesses can attract more visitors to a site, increase the time they spend on it, and encourage them to share or link to its content — all of which can positively impact SEO.

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing only one page. Although Google is on record as saying that a high bounce isn't an official ranking factor, it can indicate poor user experience, which can, in turn, lead to less engagement, fewer backlinks to a page, fewer shares, etc., and thus have an indirect impact on search rankings.

Branded keyword

A branded keyword is a search term that includes the name of a brand or a specific product or service associated with that brand.

For example, branded keywords for Nike could include ‘Nike shoes,' ‘Nike running apparel,' or even ‘Nke' if users commonly misspell the brand name.

Branded keywords are typically used by customers already aware of a brand and looking for specific products, services, or related information. These keywords are important in SEO because they usually have high conversion rates — searches involving them often come with a strong intent to purchase something from the brand in question.

A breadcrumb is a secondary navigation scheme that reveals the user's location on a website or the path taken to arrive at the current page. Breadcrumbs are important for both usability and SEO, as they give users a way to navigate a site and help search engines understand its structure.

Broad core update

A Google broad core update significantly changes Google's search engine algorithm. This type of update typically aims to improve the relevance and accuracy of search results.

Unlike smaller, more frequent updates, broad core updates happen only a few times a year and can significantly affect search rankings across all industries and countries.

A broken or dead link — is a hyperlink on a website that no longer works (because the web page it's pointing to has been moved or deleted, or the URL has been incorrectly entered into the content).

When users click on a broken link, they are typically taken to a 404 error page (a page that states that the requested page cannot be found).

Broken links can negatively impact user experience and a website's SEO performance, as search engine bots also encounter these errors during crawling (which may negatively impact the site's ranking in search results).


In web browsing, a cache is a technology that stores copies of web pages or other Internet content on a local hard drive or in a server close to the user. When a web page is cached, a snapshot of its content is stored to be served up more quickly when the same user (or another user in close geographic proximity) requests it again.

Caching matters in SEO because it can significantly improve a website's load speed. Search engines typically consider page speed a ranking factor (because a fast-loading page provides a good user experience).

Canonical URL

A canonical URL is an HTML link element that specifies a web page's ‘canonical' or ‘preferred' version to help prevent duplicate content issues.

Using canonical URLs tells search engines that specified, similar URLs are actually the same. This is important for SEO because search engines can penalize sites that contain too much duplicate content.

ccTLD (Country Code Top-Level Domain)

A ccTLD is an Internet domain name extension that indicates that a website's content relates to a particular country or region — examples include .us for the USA, .ca for Canada, .fr for France, etc.

ccTLDs matter in SEO because they can help improve a website's visibility in country-specific search results. For instance, a .fr domain is likely to rank better in searches performed in France, as search engines consider this ccTLD as a strong signal of relevance to that country. However, it's important to note that using a ccTLD also means the site might not rank well in other countries.


ChatGPT is an advanced AI program that can generate text similar to human-like language based on the input it receives. It can engage in conversations, answer questions, and create creative content like stories or poems.

For SEO purposes, ChatGPT can help generate SEO-friendly content, create meta tags or meta descriptions, suggest keywords based on provided content, and answer questions related to SEO practices and strategies.

However, it is important to note that human fact-checking and editing are typically required for the text generated by ChatGPT before it can be effectively used as copy for a website.


Cloaking is a deceptive SEO tactic in which the content presented to the search engine spider differs from that presented in a user's browser (the aim is to ‘fool' search engines into giving a site a higher ranking). This practice is considered a serious violation of search engine guidelines—websites caught using cloaking can be penalized or de-indexed.

Cluster content

Cluster content refers to a group of interlinked web pages that focus on sub-topics of a broader subject (the main subject usually being covered in a more comprehensive ‘pillar page.').

These cluster pages explore the subtopics or individual aspects of the main subject, providing detailed information and context.

This interconnected content strategy can enhance the user experience by providing thorough, organized information about the subject and improve rankings by establishing topical authority on it (Google can reward sites that showcase a high degree of expertise on a particular subject with higher rankings).

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers distributed worldwide that delivers internet content more quickly and efficiently to users.

When a user visits a website that uses a content delivery network (CDN), the site's static files (e.g., CSS, images, and JavaScript) are delivered from the CDN server closest to the user's location.

This reduces the time it takes to transfer data and can improve the user's experience — which can, in turn, improve rankings (as search engines can give preferential treatment to sites that load quickly and perform well).

Content Management System (CMS)

A Content Management System (CMS) is software for creating and managing web content. Popular examples include WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, and Wix.

Modern content management systems typically include built-in features to help optimize content for search engines. These let you create friendly URLs, edit key SEO components (page titles, headings, meta descriptions, etc.), and create XML sitemaps.

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are factors that Google considers important in a webpage's overall user experience. These vitals consist of three specific measurements: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures loading performance; First Input Delay (FID), which gauges interactivity; and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which assesses visual stability.

Google uses these metrics to evaluate how quickly a page loads, how soon it becomes interactive, and how stable it is as it loads. These metrics have become an important part of Google's ranking algorithm and can impact a website's position in search engine results.

Crawl budget

Crawl budget refers to the number of pages a search engine will crawl on your site within a certain time. This ‘budget' is typically influenced by the size of the website, how fast it is, and the number of links to it. Optimizing your crawl budget ensures that search engines regularly index your most important pages.


A crawler—or spider—is a software search engine that collects and indexes web page information. A key goal of SEO is to make it easy for crawlers to understand and index web content.


In the context of the World Wide Web, a directory is a site that categorizes and lists other websites (much like a phone book categorizes names and phone numbers). While getting sites included in directories was once a key component of SEO, its importance has significantly diminished over the years.

Disavow tool

The disavow tool is a feature provided by Google that allows you to ask Google not to consider certain links when assessing your site's ranking. Google recommends you use it only in two contexts: first, if you have bought links (an activity that's in contravention of Google's search guidelines) and fear that they will lead to a ‘manual action,' or second, if you have been issued a manual action and need to remove your site's association with specified links.

A dofollow link is a hyperlink that passes SEO authority (also known as ‘link juice') from the page hosting the link to a target page. A dofollow link can signal to search engines that the linked content is a credible source, potentially boosting its search engine rankings.

Unlike nofollow links, which instruct search engines to ignore a link for ranking purposes, dofollow links can significantly and positively impact a page's SEO. It's important to note that unless otherwise specified with a nofollow tag, all links are considered dofollow by default.


A domain refers to the main web address used to identify a specific website on the Internet. It's the unique name that users type into a browser's address bar to visit a particular site—”,” etc. Domains are important for brand recognition, authority, and credibility on the web. From an SEO perspective, a domain's age, history, and reputation can influence its search engine rankings (with older domains often seen as more trustworthy than newly registered ones).

Domain Authority

Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). DA scores range from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.

Domain Rating

Domain Rating (DR) is a proprietary metric developed by Ahrefs that predicts the strength of a website's profile on a scale from 0 to 100, with a higher score indicating a stronger profile. It's calculated based on the quantity and quality of a site's links.

Duplicate content

Duplicate content refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Search engines can penalize sites containing too much duplicate content, so it's best to try to make each piece of content as unique as possible.

Dwell time

Dwell time refers to the duration between a user's click on a search result and their return to the search engine results page (SERP). This metric is critical for search engine optimization (SEO) as it provides insights into a useful page to a user. In other words, if a user spends a longer time on a page, it indicates that the page has relevant and valuable content that meets its needs. Consequently, search engines may rank such pages higher in the search results.

Microsoft has suggested that its Bing search engine uses dwell time as a ranking factor, and research by the SEO site Moz indicates there may be a correlation between dwell time and better Google rankings, too.


E-E-A-T is a Google acronym for “Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.” High-ranking pages and/or their authors typically display signs of these qualities.

E-E-A-T forms constitute a key part of Google's Search Quality Rater Guidelines (guidelines used by real people to evaluate the quality of Google search results).

Until a Google update in December 2022, the term was shorter — just E-A-T (no “Experience”).

An external link is a link on a domain that points to a different one. External links are valuable for the domain being pointed to because Google (and other major search engines) effectively views them as votes of confidence in that domain.

A featured snippet summarizes an answer to a user's query displayed at the top of Google search results. It's extracted from a webpage and includes the page's title and URL. This spot is also known as “position zero” in SEO.


Google is a multinational technology company that was founded in 1998. It specializes in internet-related products and services. Google Search is its most popular service. It is the world's most widely used search engine, capable of sorting through billions of web pages to provide users with the most relevant results to their queries. In addition to search, Google offers a wide range of other services, including email (Gmail), cloud storage (Google Drive), productivity software (Google Workspace), and a mobile operating system (Android).

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool provided by Google that helps website owners measure their website traffic and gather behavioral information about visitors to their sites.


Googlebot is the web crawling bot used by Google to find pages that need to be added to the Google index. It uses an algorithmic process to determine which sites to crawl (and how often) and how many pages to fetch from each.

Googlebot's activity can significantly impact how well a website ranks in search results.

Google Discover

Google Discover is a personalized content discovery feature that provides mobile users with articles, news, and information based on their interests, previous search activity, and browsing habits. Unlike traditional search engines — which rely on user queries to present results — Google Discover proactively surfaces content that it believes will be relevant to individual users.

Google Discover can be accessed via the Google mobile app and the homepage on mobile devices. It offers a continuously updated feed of articles, videos, and images.

An SEO professional aiming to optimize content for Google Discover would focus on creating high-quality, engaging, and relevant content that resonates with their target audience's interests and behaviors. Utilizing clear headlines, compelling images, and keeping content up to date with current trends can help with this.

Implementing structured data and ensuring mobile-friendly content can also boost its chances of appearing in Discover.

Google Map Pack

The Google Map Pack — the Local Pack or 3-Pack — is a feature in Google's search results that displays local business listings related to a user's search query on a map.

Each listing in the ‘pack' includes key details about a business, including its name, address, phone number, and website; user reviews are also shown in it. This feature is particularly important in local SEO, as appearing in the Map Pack can significantly increase visibility and drive traffic to a business's physical location and website.

Google News

Google News is a news aggregation service provided by Google that compiles headlines, articles, and videos from various news sources worldwide. The service categorizes content into different topics, making it easy for users to follow stories that interest them; additionally, Google News stories can be featured prominently in organic search results.

When optimizing content for Google News, the focus should be on adhering to journalistic standards by producing high-quality, original, and timely content that covers topical and newsworthy subjects. Implementing clear headlines, accurate meta tags, and structured data while ensuring the site is easily crawlable and adheres to Google News' technical guidelines can enhance visibility.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool offered by Google that assists website owners, SEO professionals, and developers in comprehending how their website performs in Google's search results. It provides insights into the indexing status, organic search traffic, and technical website errors and permits users to submit sitemaps and individual URLs for crawling. Moreover, it reports on issues related to mobile usability, structured data, site security, and many others.

Google Trends is a free online tool provided by Google that allows users to see how often specific keywords, subjects, and phrases have been queried during a specific period in Google Search.

The tool is useful for marketers, journalists, and anyone interested in understanding search behavior over time or across different geographic regions.

Head keyword

A ‘head keyword' is a phrase that is typically short (often one to two words in length) and highly generic and one for which there is a high search volume. Head keywords are very hard to rank for in search engine results pages (SERPs) due to their generic nature.

For example, “coffee” would be considered a head keyword. While it would bring a lot of traffic to a site due to its high search volume, it might not attract targeted traffic because of its lack of specificity. SEO strategies often balance head keywords with ‘long-tail keywords' — more specific phrases with lower search volumes but higher conversion rates (‘Turkish coffee shop in Brooklyn' would be an example of the latter).

Header tags

Header tags are used in HTML to create headings on a webpage. They range from H1 to H6, with H1 as the main heading and the rest as subheadings.

These tags are important for SEO because they help search engines better understand the structure and content of your webpage and index it more accurately.

Hreflang tag

An hreflang tag is an HTML attribute that tells search engines the language a website is written in and the location of the audience it is targeting.

Hreflang tags are typically used in multi-language websites to help ensure that search engines serve users the most appropriate version of a site.


HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, is used to create web pages. It tells your web browser how to display a web page's content and lets search engines know what that page is about.


HTTPS, which stands for ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure,' is a protocol that keeps communication secure over the Internet by encrypting the data transferred between a user's browser and a web server. A padlock symbol in the address bar indicates that HTTPS is being used and the communication between your browser and the website is secure. This protection protects your data against tampering, message forgery, and eavesdropping.

Since 2014, Google has considered HTTPS a ranking signal, and websites using this secure protocol can receive preferential treatment in search results over non-secure ones.

An inbound link, or a ‘backlink,' is a hyperlink from another website to yours.

Inbound links are important for search engine optimization (SEO) because they represent a vote of confidence from one site for another. They indicate to search engines that your content is valuable and relevant, which can positively impact your website's ranking in search results.


In SEO, the term' index' refers to a search engine's database, where all the information about the web pages it has crawled and analyzed is stored.

When a search query is made, the search engine scans its index to provide the most relevant results.

An internal link is a hyperlink that links a web page to another one on the same website. This helps users navigate a site more easily and access relevant content.

Internal links are also important in SEO because they help search engines discover your content more easily and index it more accurately.

Additionally, internal links spread ‘link equity' (ranking power) throughout your site; pages with more internal links pointing to them can receive more link equity, potentially improving their position in search engine rankings.


Keywords are the words and phrases (‘search queries') that individuals type into search engines when looking for information. SEO professionals aim to optimize web pages around relevant keywords to increase their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) and attract more organic traffic. The process includes strategically using keywords such as a page's title, meta description, headers, and body text. The ultimate goal is to match the keywords on the page with the queries users are searching for.

Keyword density

Keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword appears on a webpage as a percentage of the total word count. It used to be a major factor in ranking pages, but it's now considered a less important signal.

Keyword difficulty

Keyword difficulty is a metric provided by SEO tools to indicate how challenging it would be to rank highly in search engine results pages (SERPs) for a particular keyword.

This score is calculated based on various factors, such as the number of backlinks to websites already ranking highly for a target keyword and their domain authority.

Generally speaking, keyword difficulty is measured in a 100, with higher scores indicating that ranking highly for a given phrase will be harder.

Keyword research

Keyword research identifies and analyzes the phrases people enter into search engines. This process can help determine which keywords to create content for and provide valuable insights into market trends, user needs, and growth opportunities.

Good keyword research can improve rankings, increase web traffic, and higher conversions.

Keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing is an SEO technique that involves filling a web page with keywords (in its meta tags, content, or both). This outdated and spammy tactic can lead to search engine penalties.

Link building is acquiring hyperlinks from other websites that are on your own. These inbound links, also known as ‘backlinks,' are important because they signal to search engines that your site is a credible resource and one that is worthy of inclusion in search results. The quantity and quality of a website's backlinks can significantly impact its search engine rankings.

Effective link-building strategies include content creation and promotion, direct outreach to relevant websites, guest blogging, and PR campaigns. However, it's important to focus on building high-quality links that provide value to users—manipulative link-building practices can lead to penalties from search engines.

Link equity, also known as ‘link juice,' is a search engine ranking factor based on the idea that certain links pass value and authority from one page to another.

This value, passed through links, is used by search engines to determine a page's ranking in search results.

‘Link Juice' is a term used in the SEO world to refer to the value a hyperlink passes from one page to another.

When a web page links to another, it passes on some of its credibility and search engine authority—the so-called' link juice'. As a result, the receiving page can rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs).

It's important to note, however, that the amount of ‘link juice' provided depends on various factors, including the reliability and authority of the linking page (i.e., if the page doing the linking has a large number of high-quality backlinks pointing to it, the amount of link juice passed on will be greater).

Local SEO

Local SEO is a type of search engine optimization that ensures websites can be easily found in local search results (e.g., Google Maps or localized versions of search engines). It is an especially important SEO tactic for businesses with a physical location or those that offer a service to a particular locality.

Long-form content

Long-form content refers to blog posts or online articles that are significantly longer than typical posts. These in-depth pieces cover a topic extensively, offering comprehensive information and insights.

Although Google has previously stated that content length is irrelevant to SEO, studies show a correlation between content length/depth and good search rankings. This may be because longer pieces are naturally more keyword-rich, increase dwell time, or best satisfy user queries (outcomes that may all affect search rankings positively).

Long-tail keyword

A long-tail keyword is a phrase that typically contains three or more words and is highly specific to the content or product being offered.

Long-tail keywords are less competitive than shorter, more generic ‘head' keywords, but while they have lower search volumes, they often attract more targeted traffic that generates higher conversion rates. This is because users who search using long-tail keywords are often further along in the buying cycle and are more likely to seek a specific product or service.

A long-tail keyword might be ‘men's red running shoes size 7'; the related head keyword would be ‘shoes.'

Manual action

manual action is a penalty Google gives to a website. The penalty applies when Google's team reviews a website and determines it's not following its quality guidelines. This is usually due to the website owner using unethical or manipulative SEO practices (for example, creating fake links or using scraped content).

This penalty can decrease the website's search rankings or even remove it from search results altogether. It's called a ‘manual action' because it's applied by a human reviewer at Google rather than a computer algorithm.

Meta description

A meta description provides a brief summary of a web page. Although meta descriptions are added to a web page's source code (rather than visible on it), search engines often display them in search results, and good ones can positively influence clickthrough rates.

Meta tags

Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a web page's content. They are added to the page's source code and don't appear on the page itself.

A nofollow link is a hyperlink with a ‘rel=nofollow' tag in the HTML code, indicating to search engines that the link should not influence the ranking of the linked site's position in the search engine's index.

Initially, the nofollow attribute was intended to combat spam and prevent search engines from following spammy or irrelevant links. While nofollow links do not contribute to the direct SEO value the same way dofollow links do, they can still indirectly influence SEO by driving traffic, promoting visibility, and building brand awareness. Additionally, Google does not ignore them completely — it can treat them as ‘hints' regarding site quality, with a nofollow link from a high-quality site having the potential to positively impact the search rankings of the page being linked to.


‘Noindex' is a directive used in SEO to tell search engines not to include a specific page in their index (meaning that the page won't appear in search results). It can be implemented using a meta tag in the page's HTML or through HTTP headers.

Webmasters commonly use the noindex directive for duplicate, private, or low-quality pages, ensuring that only the most relevant and valuable content is indexed and presented to users in search results.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to all the activities performed outside your website to improve its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

The main way to improve off-page SEO involves gaining backlinks from other reputable websites. Still, other ways to boost it include social media activity, influencer marketing, and gaining brand mentions online. The goal of off-page SEO is to create a strong, positive perception of your site in the eyes of search engines — this can increase the number of ‘E-E-A-T' signals associated with your site (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) and lead to higher rankings.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is changing an individual web page to help it rank higher in search results. It involves optimizing key parts of the page, including titles, images, and text so that search engines can better understand its content.

Unlike off-page SEO, which largely deals with how your content is featured (or linked to) on other websites, on-page SEO focuses on increasing the quality of the content itself.

Organic traffic

Refers to the number of visitors who land on your website due to clickthroughs from unpaid search results (rather than adverts).

Organic search results

Organic search results are the search engine results page (SERP) listings due to their relevance to the search terms. These results are distinct from the paid links displayed on the SERP. Search engines use complex algorithms to determine which organic results are most relevant to the search query. When ranking the results, the algorithms consider several factors, including the web page's relevance, content quality, website authority, etc.

Websites heavily rely on organic search results, which drive the majority of traffic, and users tend to trust them more than paid search results. SEO aims to boost a website's organic search rankings, which is the primary objective.

An outbound link is a hyperlink that points from your website to another one. It's the opposite of an inbound link (or ‘backlink'), which comes from another site to yours.

Outbound links can provide additional information or context to your website's visitors. Some SEO professionals believe that if your outbound links point to relevant and authoritative content, this can positively affect search rankings.

Page speed

Page speed, also known as page load time, refers to the time it takes for the content on a specific webpage to load fully.

It's a critical aspect of user experience: when a page loads quickly, users are likelier to stay on the site, engage with the content, and possibly take a desired action, like purchasing or signing up for a newsletter.

Because of their emphasis on good user experience, search engines typically factor in page speed when ranking websites. Websites that load faster are more likely to rank higher in the search results.


PageRank is an algorithm Google Search uses to rank web pages in its search engine results. Named after Google co-founder Larry Page, PageRank measures the importance of web pages by considering the quantity and quality of links.

It operates on the principle that some pages carry more weight and significance than others. When a web page links to another, PageRank ‘confers' an appropriate amount of importance to the page being linked to (with higher-quality pages conferring more importance via links than lower-quality ones).

Pay-per-click (PPC)

Pay-per-click (PPC) is an online advertising model in which advertisers pay each time users click on one of their online ads. This is a way of buying visits to your site rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically via SEO.

Pillar page

A pillar page is a comprehensive, authoritative piece of content on a website that covers a particular topic in depth. This content is typically long-form, encompassing various subject aspects, and designed to provide extensive value to readers.

In SEO, pillar content is important because it establishes a website's authority in a particular field or subject area. It serves as the foundation around which smaller, related pieces of content—often known as ‘cluster content ‘—revolve. These smaller pieces help boost the website's authority and search ranking by linking to the pillar content.

Effective pillar content is well-researched, rich in keywords, and offers significant insight or information. It will likely attract backlinks and social shares, enhancing its SEO value.

Quality content

Quality content refers to informative, unique, accurate, and engaging information. It is designed to provide value to the reader and meet their needs or answer their questions effectively. Quality content is generally well-structured, easy to read, error-free, and enhanced with visuals or video where appropriate.


A query is a phrase or question users type into a search engine. Understanding the queries that your target audience uses typically informs the type of content website owners decide to create (and how to optimize it).


Google's RankBrain is a part of Google's search algorithm that uses machine learning to surface the best-quality search results.

Introduced in 2015, RankBrain understands and handles complex, ambiguous, or previously unseen search queries. It often relies on the context or implied meaning rather than the literal text to provide search results.

Rank also uses behavior metrics — for example, what people click on and how long they remain on particular pages — to produce search results.

Reciprocal linking refers to a situation where two websites link to each other. It's like a trade — “I'll link to your site if you link to mine.” Building these links was a popular SEO tactic, but search engines like Google now focus more on link quality, not quantity. These days, having too many reciprocal links can actually harm your site's search rankings.


A redirect takes users and search engines to a URL different from what they originally requested. Redirects are usually used if the content has been migrated elsewhere or a site restructure is underway.

Common types of redirects include the 301 redirects, signaling a permanent move, and the 302 redirects, indicating a temporary move. Properly implemented redirects help preserve a page's search rankings by guiding search engines to the new location of the content they're crawling.

Responsive design

Responsive design refers to building websites that automatically resize themselves to work well on any device (laptop, desktop, phone, etc.) regardless of screen size. Search engines often give preferential treatment to websites that use responsive design, and it is also best practice from a user experience point of view.

Rich snippet

A rich snippet is an advanced form of search result displayed on a search engine results page (SERP). Unlike regular search results that display basic information like a web page's title, URL, and meta description, a rich snippet provides more detailed data to assist users in choosing the most relevant result for their query. This additional data can include images, ratings, prices, and even cooking times for recipes.

Rich snippets are generated from structured data (schema markup) embedded in a web page's HTML code. By offering more comprehensive information about a webpage's content, rich snippets can improve user engagement, increase clickthrough rates (CTR), and potentially enhance the page's SEO performance.


Robots.txt is a text file webmasters create to instruct web robots (typically search engine robots) how to crawl pages on their websites. It is part of the robots exclusion protocol (REP), a group of web standards that regulate how robots crawl the web, access and index content, and serve that content to users.

Schema markup

Schema markup, or structured data, is a form of microdata that webmasters can add to their web pages to provide search engines with more detailed information about the page's content.

It uses a specific vocabulary of tags that you can add to your HTML to improve how your page is displayed in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). By giving search engines more context about your content, schema markup can enhance your webpage's visibility and potentially improve rankings.

It can also enable special search result features and enhancements—in the form of ‘rich snippets ‘—which can significantly improve clickthrough rates. Examples of schema markup include tags for articles, FAQs, local businesses, reviews, events, and products.

Search engine

A search engine is a tool that helps users find information online by typing in queries or keywords. It scans the Internet to find and present the most relevant web pages, images, videos, and other content related to the search terms entered. The results are displayed on a search engine results page (SERP). Examples of popular search engines include Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, and Yahoo.

Search engine bot

A search engine bot, also known as a spider or crawler, is software that search engines use to discover, scan, and index websites on the Internet.

Search engine bots follow links on web pages to move from one page to another, collecting and processing information about each page. This information is then used to index the page appropriately in the search engine's database.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

SEM stands for ‘Search Engine Marketing' and is a digital marketing strategy to increase a website's visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). While SEO focuses on earning traffic through free or organic search results, SEM generally refers to paid advertising efforts, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, display advertising, and bidding on keywords related to a business's products or services.

Search engine optimization

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process of improving a website's visibility in search engine results. SEO typically involves adjusting a website's design, content, interface, and structure and building high-quality external links to it (to increase its relevance and authority in the eyes of these search algorithms).

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are the pages search engines display in response to a user's query. The main component of the SERP is the listing of results returned by the search engine.

Search intent

Search intent refers to a user's motive or goal when entering a query into a search engine. This could be finding an answer to a question, looking up a specific website, purchasing a product, or exploring a topic.

Understanding search intent is crucial in SEO because it allows you to create content that matches what users are looking for (search engines prioritize content that best satisfies search intent in their results).

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

A secure sockets layer (SSL) is a security protocol that establishes encrypted links between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data passed between them remains private and secure. Websites with SSL are easily identifiable because their URLs begin with ‘https' (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) instead of ‘http.'

Having an SSL certificate installed is important from an SEO perspective because Google and other search engines prioritize websites with SSL certificates (viewing them as more trustworthy sites) and usually give them preferential treatment in search results.


Semrush is an SEO tool that allows site owners to analyze websites, track backlinks, research keywords, and monitor search rankings.


A sitemap is a file that provides an overview of all the pages on a website, enabling search engines to crawl the site more intelligently. It lists a website's pages along with additional metadata about each page (like when it was last updated or how often it usually changes) — this helps search engines index the site more efficiently.

Sitemaps can be especially useful for large, new websites or sites with many archived content pages. Submitting a sitemap to search engine ‘dashboard' services like Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools can help improve a site's visibility.

Social proof

Social proof is a psychological concept used in marketing to build trust and influence consumer behavior. It's the idea that people are more likely to do something if they see others doing it—for example, buy a product, sign up for a newsletter, or follow a social media account.

In terms of SEO, social proof can indirectly boost your rankings. Positive reviews, testimonials, high social media follower counts, or influencer mentions can make your website appear more trustworthy to visitors. This, in turn, can increase engagement, time spent on your site, and shareability — all of which can contribute to better search rankings.


In the context of SEO, spam or spamming refers to manipulating search engine indexes in ways deemed inappropriate and against search engine guidelines. These techniques are often referred to as Black Hat SEO.

Title tag

A title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. It's the clickable headline that appears in search engine results, and it also shows up at the top of your browser tab.

Title tags are important in SEO because they give users and search engines insight into a page's content and purpose. A well-crafted title tag can improve your page's relevancy for specific search queries and enhance your clickthrough rate (CTR) from the search results.

Topical authority

Topical authority refers to how much a search engine recognizes a website's expertise or credibility in a particular subject area.

A website gains topical authority by consistently publishing high-quality, in-depth, relevant content about a specific topic over time. This generally involves compiling a comprehensive list of key subjects relating to that topic (via keyword research) and ensuring that your website provides in-depth content about each of them.

A toxic backlink is a link to a website from a low-quality or suspicious source. Some SEOs believe these links can harm a website's position in search results because algorithms see them as attempts to manipulate rankings. As a result, some SEOs ‘disavow' them using a special tool provided by Google to remove the association between a link and a website.

However, Google maintains that it simply ignores poor-quality links and that there is no need to take any action regarding them (saying that the disavow tool should only be used to remove links you bought or links surfaced by a manual action).


A URL, or ‘Uniform Resource Locator,' is essentially the address of a webpage or file on the Internet (, etc.).

Just like a physical address helps you find a specific location, a URL directs your web browser to a particular page or file online.

User Experience (UX)

User Experience (UX) refers to a person's overall experience when interacting with a product, system, or service, which, in digital terms, is usually a website or an app. It encompasses all aspects of the end user's interaction, including usability, navigation ease, information architecture, and how intuitive and pleasing it is. Good UX design focuses on making the interaction as efficient, straightforward, and satisfying as possible; it aims to understand the user's needs and goals and ensure that the product meets them effectively.

A positive UX can lead to improved user engagement signals such as lower bounce rates, longer dwell times, and higher clickthrough rates, all of which search engines can use as indications of a webpage's quality.

Additionally, with the introduction of Google's Page Experience update, factors like loading speed, mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, and visual stability now influence a site's SEO performance, making UX a critical consideration in SEO strategy.

Vertical search engine

A vertical search engine, distinct from a general web search engine, focuses on a specific segment of online content. These types of engines are also called specialized or topical search engines.

The vertical content area can be based on topicality, media type, or content genre.

Webp image format

WebP is an image format developed by Google that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images, enabling them to maintain high quality at a smaller file size than JPG or PNG. This smaller size contributes to faster page load times, which can, in turn, lead to preferential treatment by search engines.

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO—the opposite of ‘Black Hat SEO'—refers to SEO tactics that align with the terms and conditions of the major search engines, including Google. It focuses on making a website easier to find by creating accessible, high-quality content that is helpful to visitors.

XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is a file that helps search engines understand the structure of a website while they crawl it.

(XML stands for Extensible Markup Language, a system for labeling or “marking up” information in a way that helps computers and people understand and use this data more efficiently.)

An XML sitemap lists a website's important pages, providing key information about them, such as when a page was last updated and how often changes occur. This makes it easier for search engines like Google to find and index a site's content more accurately.


Yoast is a widely used SEO add-on for WordPress and Shopify that offers a comprehensive suite of tools to improve a website's search engine ranking. One of its key features is its page analysis functionality, which actively reviews web pages and provides users with recommendations for improving their on-page SEO. These can include suggestions on keyword usage, meta descriptions, alt text, headings, and readability.


YMYL is a term used by Google to describe web pages that could potentially impact a person's health, happiness, safety, or financial stability.

Examples of YMYL pages include those that offer medical or health information, provide financial advice or enable transactions.

Google holds these pages to a higher standard because incorrect or misleading information could significantly negatively impact a person's life. Hence, for SEO purposes, YMYL pages require high E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) to rank highly in search results.

Quick Links

SEO Glossary 2024: The Ultimate List of SEO Terms

We hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, you might want to check out these other resources:

FAQs about SEO

SEO Glossary: Terms & Definitions You Need to Know

You'll discover some frequently asked questions about Search Engine Optimization below.

What is SEO – Search Engine Optimization?

SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, is optimizing your website and its content to improve its visibility and organic search rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). By implementing effective SEO strategies, you can increase your online visibility, attract targeted traffic, and enhance your online presence.

How does SEO contribute to higher organic search rankings?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for boosting your website's organic search rankings. Search engines can better grasp the significance and relevance of your website's content by optimizing on-page and off-page elements like meta tags, keywords, content, and backlinks. As a result, your website can rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant search queries, resulting in increased visibility and organic traffic.

Why is keyword research important for SEO?

Keyword research is a vital aspect of SEO as it helps you identify the keywords your target audience uses when searching for products, services, or information related to your business. By understanding the search intent behind specific keywords, you can optimize your website's content to align with those keywords, increasing the chances of appearing in relevant search queries and attracting organic traffic.

What are some essential on-page optimization techniques?

On-page optimization involves optimizing various elements on your website to improve its visibility and relevance on search engines. Some essential on-page optimization techniques include optimizing meta tags (such as title tags and meta descriptions), using appropriate headings and subheadings, creating high-quality and relevant content, optimizing images and multimedia, and ensuring proper URL structure. These techniques can significantly improve your website's search engine rankings and increase organic traffic.

Building high-quality backlinks is crucial for SEO as they serve as endorsements or “votes of confidence” from other reputable websites. Search engines consider these backlinks to signal your website's credibility and authority. By acquiring authoritative backlinks, you can enhance your website's SEO efforts and improve its search engine rankings. Effective strategies for building high-quality backlinks include guest posting, creating valuable content others want to link to, and engaging in influencer outreach.

What impact do Google's algorithm updates have on SEO?

Google's updates can majorly shift SEO strategies and site rankings. These updates aim to make search results more relevant and high-quality. Not keeping up can lead to penalties or losing your rank.

How does quality content contribute to SEO?

Quality content matters because it engages users and can attract links from other sites. Content that's informative and uses keywords well boosts visibility and draws in organic traffic.


Exploring the world of SEO is about understanding basic principles and creating strategies. The SEO Glossary 2024 and other highlighted resources show how vast SEO is. It covers ensuring content is relevant and tweaking the technical side of sites. SEO is always changing, and staying flexible is key.

Following rules from search engines like Google is crucial. So, it provides a great user experience. These efforts help keep your rankings high. Knowing how search engines and users interact is important.

The digital world is always adding new tech and platforms. Keeping up with SEO trends is very important. For SEO experts, constant learning and adapting are vital. This keeps you ahead in the search engine game.


Webqo Blog is a trusted source for technology news and information covering artificial intelligence, monetization, reviews, and guides.

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