Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Glossary

Sure you probably don't know what the Google Death Penalty is, but neither did we at one point in time. Below is a glossary of terms (jargon, really) seen in the Search Engine Marketing industry. Skim through and impress your friends when they ask about Doorway Pages.

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A/B Testing
A process which shows the user one web page (A) to compare with another page (B) for the purposes of tracking behavior based on which version the user has seen. Traditionally, the A page is the landing page that is currently in use and the B page is an entirely new page.
Aaron Wall
The creator of SEO Book. Aaron is also well known and respected for having stood up to a lawsuit from Traffic Power. SEO Book recently became a membership site.
Above The Fold
A search engine ranking is said to be above the fold if it is on the first page, and can be seen without scrolling. While screen resolutions of course vary, the fold is generally considered to be between the fifth and sixth place.

Traffic is much higher for listings that are above the fold. Traditionally, this term has been used to describe the top half of a newspaper.
Absolute Link
A link which displays the entire URL of the page being linked to. Most links will only display relative link paths instead of displaying the entire URL.
A particular approach to designing a website, taking different browsers and search engines into account. This process helps ensure that all users can view the same web content on a website.
A lead or sale generated by a website.
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Ad Blocker
Software that prevents a browser from displaying online advertisements. Ad blockers can unfortunately block other content that are not advertisements.
Ad Recall
A common term used to describe the percentage of people or subjects who can recall or remember seeing an ad. Recall can be affected in several ways including the effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness of the ad) or the individual subject's memory or ability to recall.
Ad Space
The given amount of space on a web page for an advertisement. This ad can be in the form of text or an image.
Advertising Copy
The text returned for a particular keyword search in paid search advertising.
Advertising Network
A service where advertisements are purchased centrally through one company and displayed on multiple affiliate websites. Revenue generated by advertisements served are then shared by both parties.
A form of malware specifically designed to deliver contextual advertising based upon the users surfing habits. Some types of adware are spyware, or privacy-invasion software.
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Adwords Haiku
The joking term used by many to describe the extremely short advertising copy used in Google AdWords.
An individual or organization that drives visitors to a website, and receives a bounty for certain actions the visitors perform. It is a method of online marketing.
Affiliate Management
The management of affiliates to maximize their effectiveness.
Affiliate Marketing
The promotion of one's website through affiliates.
Agent Name Delivery
A primitive form of cloaking where different page content is delivered based upon the agent name requesting the page. This is an excellent way to receive the Google death penalty.
an aggregator, also known as a feed aggregator, feed reader or news reader, is client software or a Web application which collects syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, and in one location for easy viewing.

An aggregator can be web-based, desktop-based, or on any Internet-connected device.
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Shorthand for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. AJAX is a web development technique that increases usability and speed. It allows specific sections of web page content to update without reloading an entire page. Use of it has led to an increase in interactive animation on web pages.
A service from that ostensibly measures a website's traffic levels. As the only data input for this service is from the tiny percentage of people who have the Alexa toolbar installed, the information is of questionable utility, at best. Good Alexa rankings are inanely easy to fake, but it should be pointed out that you "can't fake bad Alexa rankings".
A specific set of rules or standards that a search engine uses in order to rank listings in response to a query. Search engines typically protect their algorithms since they are unique formulas that are used to determine relevancy in search engine results.
A search engine launched in mid-1999. AllTheWeb gained some prominence by offering a significantly fresher index than its competitors. In February 2003, AllTheWeb was purchased by Overture, and later became part of Yahoo.
ALT Attribute
A modifier for the IMG tag (which causes images to be shown). It's primary purpose is to provide usability assistance to the visually impaired, but it has real uses in search engine optimization.
An improper term often used to refer to the ALT attribute.
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ALT Text
The text placed in an ALT attribute.
One of the early search engines, AltaVista was started by Digital Equipment Coproration in December 1995. In February 2003, AltaVista was purchased by Overture, and later became part of Yahoo.
Anchor Text
The words one clicks on within a text-based link. The anchor text of a link impacts the relevancy of the page to which it links. Too similar anchor text could be a sign of manipulation and could be filtered or discounted.
Formerly known as America Online, LLC, this popular web portal merged with Time Warner. AOL subscribers pay a monthly fee to receive and use many features, including email, instant messaging and multimedia news alerts, on AOL's online software suite.
An open-source web server and is considered one of the most popular web servers presently.
Acronym for Application Programming Interface. The API outlines what a software program does. Specifically, the API includes the functions and procedures the program can execute.

Advertisers can create this program in order to manage their search engine marketing campaigns and bypassing search engines' interfaces.
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A search engine.

Commonly referred to as Ask.

It is a business division of IAC Search & Media, and was founded in 1996 by Garrett Gruener and David Warthen in Berkeley, California. was originally known as Ask Jeeves, where "Jeeves" is the name of the "gentleman's personal gentleman", or butler, fetching answers to any question asked.

In fall of 2008, underwent several changes and became the "new", providing faster, more relevant search results.
Austin Update
A major Google dance that occurred on or around January 23, 2004. Austin appears to have been an enhancement of the Florida update, and seems to have targeted a number of spam techniques, rendering such techniques at best useless.
The ability of a web page or a domain to rank well in search engines. Generally, there are five aspects of authority that contribute to the rankings which include the site age, link equity, trends in web traffic, site history, and the quality of the site's content.
Automated Bid Management
A software program that automatically limits ad spend on paid search campaigns. More advanced bid management tools can be integrated with other aspects of a paid search campaign including web analytics.

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