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Glossary of SEO Terms

We realise just how bewildering the world of digital media and online marketing can be, with acronyms for everything and many turns of phrase that could only be considered proper English by industry insiders, which is why we’ve compiled the following glossary of terms. This is going to be an ongoing project that will should grow along with the industry and we hope you find it useful.

Algorithm – A procedure for calculations of a function. In the world of SEO we commonly refer to “the algorithm” meaning the method in which Google ranks and rates pages. Google’s precise algorithm is a closely guarded secret but mostly through trial and error web professionals have been able to identify numerous factors that effect a site’s authority and position.

Anchor Text – This is the link text a user sees, usually masking the actual URL. For example Artemis Internet Marketing is in this case the anchor text for the link to our website.

Authority – The amount of trust and credit a site is afforded in the eyes of the search engines. A well trusted, unbiased source such as the BBC will have a high authority as its purpose is to provide information with no advertisers agenda. The more authority a site has the higher the value of links from that site.

Black Hat – In the SEO industry we refer to black hat techniques to describe tactics that are unethical and at odds with Google’s best practice guidelines. Black hat techniques can often provide a boost to a website’s ranking in the short term but run the risk of damaging a site’s credibility in the longer term. Sneaky and underhand black hat SEO can ultimately result in a site being blacklisted by Google, a fate worse than death for many of us in the business!

Bot – Simply short for robot and we refer to them a lot in the context of programs that Google and the other search engines use to index pages on the web. These programs are robots that scan everything they can find and crawl through data for the purpose of later returning this information when a relevant search query is made. See also: Spider.

Bounce Rate – The percentage of visitors to a site who don’t hang around or view any other parts of the site. Analytics software will usually record these bouncing visitors to help webmasters identify the number of visits that were actually significant.

Bread Crumbs – This is a common navigation aid on many websites, designed to help users keep track of their present location within the site. The term comes from the Hansel and Gretel fairytale in which the eponymous characters use bread crumbs to find their way back out of the dangerous forest they’ve been lead into. In website terms bread crumbs are usually found across the top, linking back to previous pages the user has visited or the parent page of the current one.

CMS – Content Management Systems are what the layman might use to build a website. Systems like WordPress (the most popular CMS right now), allow people to publish content without needing any great technical skill or knowledge of HTML. Other popular content management systems include Drupal and Joomla.

Conversion – Beyond measuring the number of visitors and views your website has had, it’s important to clarify other quantifiable goals such as newsletter sign ups and cold hard sales. Visitors to your site who subsequently complete the check out procedure or request further information are conversions.

CPC – Cost Per Click is how paid search results are measured in Pay Per Click (campaigns).

Google Ads – One of the most popular forms of Google advertising. This is the cornerstone of any Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign. Dressed up to look like standard search results, they are specifically targeted to each user.

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