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 popular Apple Internet browser.
Sales Funnel
Also known as a Buying Funnel.
A controversial idea that Google places new websites under a filter that prevents them from ranking for competitive terms. Those that believe in the sandbox jump through impressive hoops to try and explain the behavior in a predictable manner.

It is more likely that new sites are not placed into a sandbox, but new links must remain in Google's index for a certain time before they provide much Google juice. It is possible that links from trusted sites build Google juice faster than other links.
A term coined by Boing Boing reader John that reflects the feeling one gets when caught doing something one shouldn't on Google Street View.
An alternative name for malware.
Search Advertising
Also known as Paid Search.
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Search Engine Indexing
The process of reading a web page and extracting the content into a database. If a page is not in a search engine's index, it cannot be returned for a natural search query.

Method of improving indexing include the addition of bread crumbs and a site map, and the avoidance of frames, Flash-based sites, and using Javascript for links.
Search Engine Land
Publication created by Danny Sullivan after he left Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Land can be found at
Search Engine Marketing
The marketing of one's website through a search engine, whether through paid search or search engine optimization.

Often abbreviated as SEM.
Search Engine Optimization
Techniques used to improve a website's rankings in the search engines. Consists of on-page optimization, indexing improvements and link building.

Often abbreviated as SEO.
Search Engine Position
In PPC advertising, position is the placement on a search engine results page where an ad appears relative to other paid ads and to organic search results.

Paid search ad position is determined by confidential algorithms and Quality Score measures specific to each search engine.

Factors in the engines’ position placement under some advertiser control include bid price, the ad’s CTR, relevancy of ad to searcher requests, and relevance of click-through landing page to the search request.
Search Engine Rank
Position of web page or website position appears in search engine results. Rank and position affect click-through rates and conversion rates for landing pages.
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Search Engine Rankings
The position a website has on a search results page when a particular keyword is searched for. One should only be concerned with rankings for Google, Yahoo and MSN Search at this time, as other engines either do not have material amounts of traffic, or are actually driven by one of the big three search engines. could join this list of relevant search engines in the future.
Search Engine Results Pages
The pages returned by a search engine when a search query is performed. Generally consists of both paid search and natural search listings.

Often abbreviated as SERPs.
Search Engine Roundtable
Blog and forum covering the search engine marketing industry. Search Engine Roundtable can be found at
Search Engine Strategies
The leading conference series for the search marketing industry. Search Engine Strategies can be found at
Search Engine Watch
One of the very first publications to cover the search engine industry. Created, and previously managed by Danny Sullivan.

Search Engine Watch can be found at
Search Funnel
Used to anticipate customer intent and develop keywords targeted to different stages in the purchasing process.
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Search History
User data that is stored by search engines. This data is used to determine improvements in ad targeting or to make old information on the web easily available.
Search Marketing Expo
Search industry conference series created in 2007 by Danny Sullivan.

Search Marketing Expo can be found at
Search Marketing Standard
Print publication covering the search engine marketing industry. Search Marketing Standard can be found at
Search Personalization
Personalizing SERP's based on an IP address, personal profile information or settings.
Search Relevance
A measure of how closely an ad's title, description, and keywords are related to the search query and the searcher’s expectations in PPC advertising.
The blog of search industry journalist John Battelle.

Searchblog can be found at
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Secondary Links
Indirectly acquired links. An example can be a news article on a media outlet's website featuring some aspect of your company/brand.
An abbreviation for Search Engine Marketing.
Semantic Clustering
Technique for developing relevant keywords for PPC ad groups. Keywords are closely related and narrow.
Semantic Web
The idea of defining semantics, or the study of communication, of information and services on the Internet, making it possible for the web to understand users' requests for the use of web content. It is an extension of the World Wide Web.
An abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization.
SEO Book
The blog and download SEO how-to book of Aaron Wall.
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SEO Copywriting
The creation of website copy that includes heavy usage of keywords in hopes to move a page up the search engine rankings. It is generally written to a particular keyword density, that will supposedly perform well in the search engines.

For search engines with a heavy reliance on on page optimization, such as MSN, or for particularly uncompetitive keywords, SEO copywriting might work, at least to a certain degree. For keywords with any amount of competition on Google and Yahoo, however, it is rarely effective.

What's more, even if the SEO'd copy works in a search engine, it is rarely effective for the human beings visiting the site.
SEO Red Flag
Google has an algorithm that detects over-optimized websites. Sites that are detected are downranked in Google search results, typically by 950 positions. Other search engines have similar procedures to prevent over-optimization of websites.
Sergey Brin
Co-founder of Google with Larry Page.
An abbreviation for Search Engine Results Pages.
Server Logs
Files or data that are hosted on servers which display website traffic, trends, and sources. Generally, server logs do not show as much information as an analytics tool would.
A common abbreviation for Search Engine Strategies.
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Shopping Engine
An alternative name for a price comparison engine.
A fraudulent method of stealing another website's traffic including the use of spyware.
Site Map
An overview of an entire website, often structured like a table of contents. Site maps make it much easier for a search engine to fully index a website.
Site Wide Links
Links that are purchased on every page of a site. In the past, Google valued site wide links on large sites quite highly, but now it is clear they filter them out. Google and Yahoo can even occasional give a temporary penalty to sites who gain too many links from the same site over a short period of time.

MSN Search appears to love site wide links.
The search engine Spider for Inktomi.
A common abbreviation for Search Marketing Expo.
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Social Media
Based on the concept of Web 2.0.

Websites that allow users to to create and update content. Examples of social media are social bookmarking and social news sites.
Social Media Optimization
A marketing discipline concerned with promoting one's website, company or organization within the online social networks and tagging systems. Many consider socail media optimization a form of search engine optimization. While there is some overlap in skills and activities with SEO, it is better considered a discipline of its own.
Social Networks
Social networks are websites that allow users to interact with each other and with content. Users can usually share information, photos, news and events. Popular social networking sites include Facebook , MySpace , Twitter and Wikipedia. See Social Media.
Most generally, spam describes unsolicited, and generally bulk-sent, email. In search engine optimization, spam refers to any of a number of techniques felt by most to be abusive. Examples of SEO spam include blog comment spam and referrer spam.
A tagging system for the search engine industry created by Danny Sullivan.
A shorter version of the term web spider.
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Splash Page
A page placed between a site's supposed homepage and its actually homepage content. A splash page is generally a graphical intro to the site (often including audio), often running for several seconds like a television commercial, and then forwarding the visitor to the actual content.

Many users find splash pages annoying, and they can be very damaging to one's search engine optimization efforts.
Sponsored Listing
A title on SERPs in order to identify paid advertisers as well as distinguish the difference between natural and paid links or listings.
Static HTML
Web pages extracted from previously created files. While static HTML pages might by changed by the website's author over time, they do not change with each retrieval.

The opposite of static html is dynamic HTML.
The identification of closely related keywords. For instance, stemming the search query "win" might return "wins", "winning" and/or "won".
Stop Word
A keyword that is so common that the search engines ignore it in their relevancy calculations. Stop words include terms such as "a", "for", and "the".
Submission Service
A commercial service (either automated or manual) that submits one's website to the search engines. At best, such services are a waste of money.
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Supplemental Index
A secondary index for Google. Results from the supplemental index are only show if there is no matching page in the primary index. According to Matt Cutts the supplemental index has lower standards for indexing than the main index. Pages in the supplemental index are marked as such when shown in a site: command in Google.
Supplemental Result
A SERP from the supplemental index.

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