Transparent Jargon For Our Clients to Understand our Services.

What does Status 200 mean?

Status OK – The file request was successful. For example, a page or image was found and loaded properly in a browser.


This is the preferred method of redirecting for most pages or websites. If you are going to move an entire site to a new location you may want to test moving a file or folder first, and then if that ranks well you may want to proceed with moving the entire site. Depending on your site authority and crawl frequency it may take anywhere from a few days to a month or so for the 301 redirect to be picked up.


Generally, as it relates to SEO, it is typically best to avoid using 302 redirects. Some search engines struggle with redirect handling. Due to poor processing of 302 redirects some search engines have allowed competing businesses to hijack the listings of competitors.


Not Found – The server was unable to locate the URL.

Some content management systems send 404 status codes when documents do exist. Ensure files that exist do give a 200 status code and requests for files that do not exist give a 404 status code. You may also want to check with your host to see if you can set up a custom 404 error page which makes it easy for site visitors to

  • view your most popular and / or most relevant navigational options
  • report navigational problems within your site

Above the Fold

A term traditionally used to describe the top portion of a newspaper. In email or web marketing it means the area of content viewable prior to scrolling. Some people also define above the fold as an ad location at the very top of the screen.

Absolute Link

A link which shows the full URL of the page being linked at. Some links only show relative link paths instead of having the entire reference URL within the a href tag. Due to canonicalization and hijacking related issues it is typically preferred to use absolute links over relative links.

Activity Bias

Any attempted form of ad targeting might be targeted toward people who are more likely to engage in a particular activity, especially with ad retargeting. Correlation does not mean causation.

Ad Retargeting (see retargeting)

The old name for Microsoft’s cost per click ad network, later rebranded as Bing Ads.

While it has a few cool features (including dayparting and demographic based bidding) it is still quite nascent in nature compared to Google AdWords. Due to Microsoft’s limited marketshare and program newness many terms are vastly underpriced and present a great arbitrage opportunity.


Google’s advertisement and link auction network. Most of Google’s ads are keyword targeted and sold on a cost per click basis in an auction which factors in ad clickthrough rate as well as max bid.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing programs allows merchants to expand their market reach and mindshare by paying independent agents on a cost per action (CPA) basis. Affiliates only get paid if visitors complete an action.


Some social networks or search systems may take site age, page age, user account age, and related historical data into account when determining how much to trust that person, website, or document. Some specialty search engines, like blog search engines, may also boost the relevancy of new documents.


Asynchronous JavaScript and XML is a technique which allows a web page to request additional data from a server without requiring a new page to load.


Alexa is heavily biased toward sites that focus on marketing and webmaster communities. While not being highly accurate it is free.


Search engine which was created by Fast, then bought by Overture, which was bought by Yahoo. Yahoo may use AllTheWeb as a test bed for new search technologies and features.

Alt Attribute

Blind people and most major search engines are not able to easily distinguish what is in an image. Using an image alt attribute allows you to help screen readers and search engines understand the function of an image by providing a text equivalent for the object.


Search engine bought out by Overture prior to Overture being bought by Yahoo. AltaVista was an early powerhouse in search, but on October 25, 1999 they did a major algorithmic update which caused them to dump many websites. Ultimately that update and brand mismanagement drove themselves toward irrelevancy and a loss of mindshare and marketshare.

The largest internet retailing website. is rich in consumer generated media. Amazon also owns a number of other popular websites, including IMDB and Alexa.


Software which allows you to track your page views, user paths, and conversion statistics based upon interpreting your log files or through including a JavaScript tracking code on your site.

Anchor Text

The text that a user would click on to follow a link. In the case the link is an image the image alt attribute may act in the place of anchor text.


Google’s operating system which powers cell phones & some other consumer electronics devices like TVs.


Popular web portal which merged with Time Warner & then was spun back out.


Application Program Interface – a series of conventions or routines used to access software functions. Most major search products have an API program.


Exploiting market inefficiencies by buying and reselling a commodity for a profit. As it relates to the search market, many thin content sites laced with an Overture feed or AdSense ads buy traffic from the major search engines and hope to send some percent of that traffic clicking out on a higher priced ad. Shopping search engines generally draw most of their traffic through arbitrage.


Active Server Pages – a dynamic Microsoft programming language.


Ask is a search engine owned by InterActive Corp. They were originally named Ask Jeeves, but they dumped Jeeves in early 2006. Their search engine is powered by the Teoma search technology, which is largely reliant upon Kleinberg’s concept of hubs and authorities.


The ability of a page or domain to rank well in search engines. Five large factors associated with site and page authority are link equity, site age, traffic trends, site history, and publishing unique original quality content.

Automated Bid Management Software

Pay per click search engines are growing increasingly complex in their offerings. To help large advertisers cope with the increasing sophistication and complexity of these offerings some search engines and third party software developers have created software which makes it easier to control your ad spend.

Bait and Switch

Marketing technique where you make something look overtly pure or as though it has another purpose to get people to believe in it or vote for it (by linking at it or sharing it with friends), then switch the intent or purpose of the website after you gain authority.

Banner Blindness

During the first web boom many businesses were based on eyeballs more than actually building real value. Many ads were typically quite irrelevant and web users learned to ignore the most common ad types.

In many ways text ads are successful because they are more relevant and look more like content, but with the recent surge in the popularity of text ads some have speculated that in time people may eventually become text ad blind as well.

Behavioral Targeting

Ad targeting based on past recent experience and/or implied intent. For example, if I recently searched for mortgages then am later reading a book review the page may still show me mortgage ads.


A prejudice based on experiences or a particular worldview.

Any media channel, publishing format, organization, or person is biased by

  • how and why they were created and their own experiences
  • the current set of social standards in which they exist
  • other markets they operate in
  • the need for self preservation
  • how they interface with the world around them
  • their capital, knowledge, status, or technological advantages and limitations


Microsoft’s search engine, which also powers the organic search results on Yahoo! Search.

Bing Ads

Microsoft’s paid search program, which rivals Google AdWords and powers paid search results on Yahoo! Search.

Black Hat SEO

Search engines set up guidelines that help them extract billions of dollars of ad revenue from the work of publishers and the attention of searchers. Within that highly profitable framework search engines consider certain marketing techniques deceptive in nature, and label them as black hat SEO. Those which are considered within their guidelines are called white hat SEO techniques. The search guidelines are not a static set of rules, and things that may be considered legitimate one day may be considered deceptive the next.

Block Level Analysis

A method used to break a page down into multiple points on the web graph by breaking its pages down into smaller blocks.


A periodically updated journal, typically formatted in reverse chronological order. Many blogs not only archive and categorize information, but also provide a feed and allow simple user interaction like leaving comments on the posts.


Blogger is a free blog platform owned by Google.

It allows you to publish sites on a subdomain off of, or to FTP content to your own domain.


Link list on a blog, usually linking to other blogs owned by the same company or friends of that blogger.


A way to make words appear in a bolder font. Words that appear in a bolder font are more likely to be read by humans that are scanning a page. A search engine may also place slightly greater weighting on these words than regular text.


Most browsers come with the ability to bookmark your favorite pages. Many web based services have also been created to allow you to bookmark and share your favorite resources. The popularity of a document (as measured in terms of link equity, number of bookmarks, or usage data) is a signal for the quality of the information. Some search engines may eventually use bookmarks to help aid their search relevancy.

Boolean Search

Many search engines allow you to perform searches that contain mathematical formulas such as AND, OR, or NOT. By default most search engines include AND with your query, requiring results to be relevant for all the words in your query.


The emotional response associated with a company and/or product.

A brand is built through controlling customer expectations and the social interactions between customers. Building a brand is what allows businesses to move away from commodity based pricing and move toward higher margin value based pricing.

Branded Keywords

Keywords or keyword phrases associated with a brand or entity. Typically branded keywords occur late in the buying cycle, and are some of the highest value and highest converting keywords.

Breadcrumb Navigation

Navigational technique used to help search engines and website users understand the relationship between pages.

Broken Link

A hyperlink which is not functioning. A link which does not lead to the desired location.

Links may broken for a number of reason, but four of the most common reasons are

  • a website going offline
  • linking to content which is temporary in nature (due to licensing structures or other reasons)
  • moving a page’s location
  • changing a domain’s content management system


Used to view the world wide web.

The most popular browsers are Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox, Safari, and Opera.

Buying Cycle

Before making large purchases consumers typically research what brands and products fit their needs and wants. Keyword based search marketing allows you to reach consumers at any point in the buying cycle. In many markets branded keywords tend to have high search volumes and high conversion rates.


Copy of a web page stored by a search engine. When you search the web you are not actively searching the whole web, but are searching files in the search engine index.

Canonical URL

Many content management systems are configured with errors which cause duplicate or exceptionally similar content to get indexed under multiple URLs. Many webmasters use inconsistent link structures throughout their site that cause the exact same content to get indexed under multiple URLs. The canonical version of any URL is the single most authoritative version indexed by major search engines. Search engines typically use PageRank or a similar measure to determine which version of a URL is the canonical URL.

Catch All Listing

A listing used by pay per click search engines to monetize long tail terms that are not yet targeted by marketers. This technique may be valuable if you have very competitive key words, but is not ideal since most major search engines have editorial guidelines that prevent bulk untargeted advertising, and most of the places that allow catch all listings have low traffic quality. Catch all listings may be an attractive idea on theme specific search engines and directories though, as they are already pre qualified clicks.


Common Gateway Interface – interface software between a web server and other machines or software running on that server.


Primarily known as Google’s web broser, there is also an OS by the same name.

Google ensured Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was fined in Europe & then bundled Chrome in Adobe Flash security updates to install Chrome bundleware on hundreds of millions of computers.


A program, computer, or process which makes information requests to another computer, process, or program.


Displaying different content to search engines and searchers. Depending on the intent of the display discrepancy and the strength of the brand of the person / company cloaking it may be considered reasonable or it may get a site banned from a search engine.

Cloaking has many legitimate uses which are within search guidelines. For example, changing user experience based on location is common on many popular websites.


In search results the listings from any individual site are typically limited to a certain number and grouped together to make the search results appear neat and organized and to ensure diversity amongst the top ranked results. Clustering can also refer to a technique which allows search engines to group hubs and authorities on a specific topic together to further enhance their value by showing their relationships.


Content Management System. Tool used to help make it easy to update and add information to a website.


In topical authority based search algorithms links which appear near one another on a page may be deemed to be related to one another. In algorithms like latent semantic indexing words which appear near one another often are frequently deemed to be related.


Many blogs and other content management systems allow readers to leave user feedback.

Leaving enlightening and thoughtful comments on someone else’s related website is one way to help get them to notice you.

Comments Tag

Some web developers also place comments in the source code of their work to help make it easy for people to understand the code.

Compacted Information

As the number of product databases online increases and duplicate content filters are forced to get more aggressive the keys to getting your information indexed are to have a site with enough authority to be considered the most important document on that topic, or to have enough non compacted information (for example, user reviews) on your product level pages to make them be seen as unique documents.

Conceptual Links

Links which search engines attempt to understand beyond just the words in them. Some rather advanced search engines are attempting to find out the concept links versus just matching the words of the text to that specific word set. Some search algorithms may even look at co-citation and words near the link instead of just focusing on anchor text.

Concept Search

A search which attempts to conceptually match results with the query, not necessarily with those words, rather their concept.

Contextual Advertising

Advertising programs which generate relevant advertisements based on the content of a webpage.


Many forms of online advertising are easy to track. A conversion is reached when a desired goal is completed.

Most offline ads have generally been much harder to track than online ads. Some marketers use custom phone numbers or coupon codes to tie offline activity to online marketing.


The legal rights to publish and reproduce a particular piece of work.


Small data file written to a user’s local machine to track them. Cookies are used to help websites customize your user experience and help affiliate program managers track conversions.


Cost per action. The effectiveness of many other forms of online advertising have their effectiveness measured on a cost per action basis. Many affiliate marketing programs and contextual ads are structured on a cost per action basis. An action may be anything from an ad click, to filling out a lead form, to buying a product.


Cost per thousand ad impressions.

Many people use CPM as a measure of how profitable a website is or has the potential of becoming.


Cost per click. Many search ads and contextually targeted ads are sold in auctions where the advertiser is charged a certain price per click.

Crawl Depth

How deeply a website is crawled and indexed.

Crawl Frequency

How frequently a website is crawled.


Cascading Style Sheets is a method for adding styles to web documents.


Clickthrough rate – the percentage of people who view click on an advertisement they viewed, which is a way to measure how relevant a traffic source or keyword is. Search ads typically have a higher clickthrough rate than traditional banner ads due to being highly relevant to implied searcher demand & a history of questionable ad labeling disclosure by search engines.


Registering domains related to other trademarks or brands in an attempt to cash in on the value created by said trademark or brand.


Turning ad campaigns on or off, changing ad bid price, or budget constraints based on bidding more when your target audience is available and less when they are less likely to be available.

Dead Link

A link which is no longer functional.

Most large high quality websites have at least a few dead links in them, but the ratio of good links to dead links can be seen as a sign of information quality.

Deep Link

A link which points to an internal page within a website.

Dedicated Server

Server which is limited to serving one website or a small collection of websites owned by a single person.

Deep Link Ratio

The ratio of links pointing to internal pages to overall links pointing at a website.


Temporarily or permanently becoming de-indexed from a directory or search engine.

Popular social bookmarking website.


Statistical data or characteristics which define segments of a population.

Some internet marketing platforms, such as AdCenter and AdWords, allow you to target ads at websites or searchers who fit amongst a specific demographic. Some common demographic data points are gender, age, income, education, location, etc.


Directories and search engines provide a short description near each listing which aims to add context to the title.

High quality directories typically prefer the description describes what the site is about rather than something that is overtly promotional in nature.


Social news site where users vote on which stories get the most exposure and become the most popular.


A categorized catalog of websites, typically manually organized by topical editorial experts.

Some directories cater to specific niche topics, while others are more comprehensive in nature. Major search engines likely place significant weight on links from DMOZ and the Yahoo! Directory. Smaller and less established general directories likely pull less weight. If a directory does not exercise editorial control over listings search engines will not be likely to trust their links at all.


The link disavow tool is a way for a webmaster to state they do not vouch for a collection of inbound links to their website.


The Open Directory Project is the largest human edited directory of websites. DMOZ is owned by AOL, and is primarily ran by volunteer editors.


Domain Name Server or Domain Name System. A naming scheme mechanism used to help resolve a domain name / host name to a specific TCP/IP Address.


Scheme used for logical or location organization of the web. Many people also use the word domain to refer to a specific website.

Doorway Pages

Pages designed to rank for highly targeted search queries, typically designed to redirect searchers to a page with other advertisements.


Popular web development and editing software offering a what you see is what you get interface.

Duplicate Content

Content which is duplicate or near duplicate in nature.

Dwell Time

The amount of time a searcher spends on a destination website before clicking back to the search results.

Dynamic Content

Content which changes over time or uses a dynamic language such as PHP to help render the page.

Dynamic Languages

Programming languages such as PHP or ASP which build web pages on the fly upon request.

Earnings Per Click

Many contextual advertising publishers estimate their potential earnings based on how much they make from each click.

Editorial Link

Search engines count links as votes of quality. They primarily want to count editorial links that were earned over links that were bought or bartered.


An HTML tag used to emphasize text.

Engagement Metrics

The measurement of how engaging users find a particular piece of content within a site, or a particular site in general.


People, places or things which search engines aim to know & present background information about.

Entry Page

The page which a user enters your site.

Ethical SEO

Search engines like to paint SEO services which manipulate their relevancy algorithms as being unethical. Any particular technique is generally not typically associated with ethics, but is either effective or ineffective.


Major search indexes are constantly updating. Google refers to this continuous refresh as everflux.

Expert Document

Quality page which links to many non-affiliated topical resources.

External Link

Link which references another domain.

Fair Use

The stated exceptions of allowed usage of work under copyright without requiring permission of the original copyright holder. Fair use is covered in section 107 of the Copyright code.


Favorites Icon is a small icon which appears next to URLs in a web browser.


Many content management, systems such as blogs, allow readers to subscribe to content update notifications via RSS or XML feeds. Feeds can also refer to pay per click syndicated feeds, or merchant product feeds. Merchant product feeds have become less effective as a means of content generation due to improving duplicate content filters.

Feed Reader

Software or website used to subscribe to feed update notifications.


Free for all pages are pages which allow anyone to add a link to them. Generally these links do not pull much weight in search relevancy algorithms because many automated programs fill these pages with links pointing at low quality websites.


Certain activities or signatures which make a page or site appear unnatural might make search engines inclined to filter / remove them out of the search results.


Popular extensible open source web browser.


Vector graphics-based animation software which makes it easier to make websites look rich and interactive in nature.


A technique created by Netscape used to display multiple smaller pages on a single display. This web design technique allows for consistent site navigation, but makes it hard to deep link at relevant content.

Fresh Content

Content which is dynamic in nature and gives people a reason to keep paying attention to your website, or content which was recently published.


File Transfer Protocol is a protocol for transferring data between computers.

Fuzzy Search

Search which will find matching terms when terms are misspelled (or fuzzy).


Google Advertising Professional is a program which qualifies marketers as being proficient AdWords marketers.


The world’s leading search engine in terms of reach. Google pioneered search by analyzing linkage data via PageRank. Google was created by Stanford students Larry Page and Sergey Brin.


Google’s search engine spider.

Google Base

Free database of semantically structured information created by Google.

Google Bombing

Making a page rank well for a specific search query by pointing hundreds or thousands of links at it with the keywords in the anchor text.

Google Bowling

Knocking a competitor out of the search results by pointing hundreds or thousands of low trust low quality links at their website.

Google Dance

In the past Google updated their index roughly once a month. Those updates were named Google Dances, but since Google shifted to a constantly updating index, Google no longer does what was traditionally called a Google Dance.

Google Keyword Tool

Keyword research tool provided by Google which estimates the competition for a keyword, recommends related keywords, and will tell you what keywords Google thinks are relevant to your site or a page on your site.

Google OneBox

Portion of the search results page above the organic search results which Google sometimes uses to display vertical search results from Google News, Google Base, and other Google owned vertical search services.

Google Sitemaps

Program which webmasters can use to help Google index their contents.

Google Sitelinks

On some search results where Google thinks one result is far more relevant than other results (like navigational or brand related searches) they may list numerous deep links to that site at the top of the search results.

Google Supplemental Index

Index where pages with lower trust scores are stored. Pages may be placed in Google’s Supplemental Index if they consist largely of duplicate content, if the URLs are excessively complex in nature, or the site which hosts them lacks significant trust.

Google Traffic Estimator

Tool which estimates bid prices and how many Google searchers will click on an ad for a particular keyword.

Google Trends

Tool which allows you to see how Google search volumes for a particular keyword change over time.

Google Webmaster Guidelines

An arbitrary & ever-shifting collection of specifications which can be used to justify penalizing any website.

Google Wallet

Payment service provided by Google which helps Google better understand merchant conversion rates and the value of different keywords and markets.

Google Webmaster Tools

Tools offered by Google which show recent search traffic trends, let webmasters set a target geographic market, enable them to request select pages be recrawled, show manual penalty notifications and allow webmasters to both disavow links and request a manual review from Google’s editorial team.

Google Website Optimizer

Free multi variable testing platform used to help AdWords advertisers improve their conversion rates.

Guestbook Spam

A type of low quality automated link which search engines do not want to place much trust on.


The heading element briefly describes the subject of the section it introduces.


The title of an article or story.

Hidden Text

SEO technique used to show search engine spiders text that human visitors do not see.


Algorithm which ranks results largely based on unaffiliated expert citations.


Link based algorithm which ranks relevancy scores based on citations from topical authorities.


Making a search engine believe that another website exists at your URL. Typically done using techniques such as a 302 redirect or meta refresh.

Home Page

The main page on your website, which is largely responsible for helping develop your brand and setting up the navigational schemes that will be used to help users and search engines navigate your website.


Apache directory-level configuration file which can be used to password protect or redirect files.


HyperText Markup Language is the language in which pages on the World Wide Web are created.


HyperText Transfer Protocol is the foremost used protocol to communicate between servers and web browsers. Hypertext transfer protocol is the means by which data is transferred from its residing location on a server to an active browser.


Topical hubs are sites which link to well trusted within their topical community. A topical authority is a page which is referenced from many topical hub sites. A topical hub is a page which references many authorities.


A Google search algorithm update which better enabled conversational search.


Inverse Document Frequency is a term used to help determine the position of a term in a vector space model.

Inbound Link

Link pointing to one website from another website.


Collection of data used as bank to search through to find a match to a user fed query. The larger search engines have billions of documents in their catalogs.

Internal Link

Link from one page on a site to another page on the same site.

Information Architecture

Designing, categorizing, organizing, and structuring content in a useful and meaningful way.

Information Retrieval

The field of science based on sorting or searching through large data sets to find relevant information.


Search engine which pioneered the paid inclusion business model. Inktomi was bought by Yahoo! at the end of 2002.


Vast worldwide network of computers connected via TCP/IP.

Internet Explorer

Microsoft’s web browser. After they beat out Netscape’s browser on the marketshare front they failed to innovate on any level for about 5 years, until Firefox forced them to.


Internet Service Providers sell end users access to the web. Some of these companies also sell usage data to web analytics companies.

IP Address

Internet Protocol Address. Every computer connected to the internet has an IP address. Some websites and servers have unique IP addresses, but most web hosts host multiple websites on a single host.

Invisible Web

Portions of the web which are not easily accessible to crawlers due to search technology limitations, copyright issues, or information architecture issues.


A client-side scripting language that can be embedded into HTML documents to add dynamic features.


A word or phrase which implies a certain mindset or demand that targeted prospects are likely to search for.

Keyword Density

An old measure of search engine relevancy based on how prominent keywords appeared within the content of a page. Keyword density is no longer a valid measure of relevancy over a broad open search index though.

Keyword Funnel

The relationship between various related keywords that searchers search for. Some searches are particularly well aligned with others due to spelling errors, poor search relevancy, and automated or manual query refinement.

Keyword Not Provided

When Google shifted to using secured search they continued to pass referrers, but they stripped the keyword information from most organic Google referrals, making it much harder for SEOs to close the loop and figure out which keywords drove conversions via organic search. While Google stripped the organic keyword information overnight, they kept passing the equivalent keyword data to AdWords advertisers for years.

Keyword Research

The process of discovering relevant keywords and keyword phrases to focus your SEO and PPC marketing campaigns on.

Keyword Research Tools

Tools which help you discover potential keywords based on past search volumes, search trends, bid prices, and page content from related websites.

Keyword Stuffing

Writing copy that uses excessive amounts of the core keyword.

Knowledge Graph

Search result enhancements where Google scrapes third party information & displays it in an extended format in the search results.

Landing Page

The page on which a visitor arrives after clicking on a link or advertisement.

Landing Page Quality Scores

A measure used by Google to help filter noisy ads out of their AdWords program.


A citation from one web document to another web document or another position in the same document.

Link Baiting

The art of targeting, creating, and formatting information that provokes the target audience to point high quality links at your site. Many link baiting techniques are targeted at social media and bloggers.

Link Bursts

A rapid increase in the quantity of links pointing at a website.

Link Churn

The rate at which a site loses links.

Link Equity

A measure of how strong a site is based on its inbound link popularity and the authority of the sites providing those links.

Link Farm

Website or group of websites which exercises little to no editorial control when linking to other sites. FFA pages, for example, are link farms.

Log Files

Server files which show you what your leading sources of traffic are and what people are search for to find your website.

Link Hoarding

A method of trying to keep all your link popularity by not linking out to other sites, or linking out using JavaScript or through cheesy redirects.

Link Popularity

The number of links pointing at a website.

Link Reputation

The combination of your link equity and anchor text.

Link Rot

A measure of how many and what percent of a website’s links are broken.

Link Velocity

The rate at which a page or website accumulates new inbound links.

Microsoft portal which was used as their search brand after MSN search and before rebranding as Bing.

Long Tail

Phrase describing how for any category of product being sold there is much more aggregate demand for the non-hits than there is for the hits.


Company originally launched as a directory service which later morphed into a paid search provider and vertical content play.


Latent Semantic Indexing is a way for search systems to mathematically understanding and representing language based on the similarity of pages and keyword co-occurance. A relevant result may not even have the search term in it. It may be returned based solely on the fact that it contains many similar words to those appearing in relevant pages which contain the search words.

Manual Penalty

Website penalties which are applied to sites after a Google engineer determines they have violated the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Recoveries from manual penalties may time out years later, or a person can request a review in Google Webmaster Tools after fixing what they believe to be the problem.

Manual Review

All major search engines combine a manual review process with their automated relevancy algorithms to help catch search spam and train their relevancy algorithms. Abnormal usage data or link growth patterns may also flag sites for manual review.

Mechanical Turk program which allows you to hire humans to perform easy tasks that computers are bad at.


In The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins defines a meme as “a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation.” Many people use the word meme to refer to self spreading or viral ideas.

Meta Keywords

The meta keywords tag is a tag which can be used to highlight keywords and keyword phrases which the page is targeting.

Meta Description

The meta description tag is typically a sentence or two of content which describes the content of the page.

Meta Refresh

A meta tag used to make a browser refresh to another URL location.

Meta Search

A search engine which pulls top ranked results from multiple other search engines and rearranges them into a new result set.

Meta Tags

People generally refer to meta descriptions and meta keywords as meta tags. Some people also group the page title in with these.


Maker of the popular Windows operating system and Internet Explorer browser, owner of the search engine Bing.


A measure of the amount of people who think of you or your product when thinking of products in your category.

Mirror Site

Site which mirrors (or duplicates) the contents of another website.

Movable Type

For sale blogging software which allows you to host a blog on your website.

MSN Search

Search engine built by Microsoft. MSN is the default search provider in Internet Explorer.

Multi Dimensional Scaling

The process of taking shapshots of documents in a database to discover topical clusters through the use of latent semantic indexing. Multi dimensional scaling is more efficient than singular vector decomposition since only a rough approximation of relevance is necessary when combined with other ranking criteria.


One of the most popular social networking sites, largely revolving around connecting musicians to fans and having an easy to use blogging platform.

Natural Language Processing

Algorithms which attempt to understand the true intent of a search query rather than just matching results to keywords.


Scheme to help website users understand where they are, where they have been, and how that relates to the rest of your website.

Navigation Search

A search query which has the intent of visiting a specific website or business.

Negative SEO

Attempting to adversely influence the rank of a third-party site.


Originally a company that created a popular web browser by the same name, Netscape is now a social news site similar to


A topic or subject which a website is focused on.


Attribute used to prevent a link from passing link authority. Commonly used on sites with user generated content, like in blog comments.


In philosophy it is the study of being. As it relates to search, it is the attempt to create an exhaustive and rigorous conceptual schema about a domain. An ontology is typically a hierarchical data structure containing all the relevant entities and their relationships and rules within that domain.

Open Source

Software which is distributed with its source code such that developers can modify it as they see fit.

Organic Search Results

Most major search engines have results that consist of paid ads and unpaid listings. The unpaid / algorithmic listings are called the organic search results. Organic search results are organized by relevancy, which is largely determined based on linkage data, page content, usage data, and historical domain and trust related data.

Outbound Link

A link from one website pointing at another external website.


The company which pioneered search marketing by selling targeted searches on a pay per click basis. Originally named GoTo, they were eventually bought out by Yahoo! and branded as Yahoo! Search Marketing.

Overture Keyword Selector Tool

Popular keyword research tool, based largely on Yahoo! search statistics. Heavily skewed toward commercially oriented searches, also combines singular and plural versions of a keyword into a single version.


A logarithmic scale based on link equity which estimates the importance of web documents.

Paid Inclusion

A method of allowing websites which pass editorial quality guidelines to buy relevant exposure.

Panda Algorithm

A Google algorithm which attempts to sort websites into buckets based on perceived quality. Signals referenced in the Panda patent include the link profile of the site & entity (or brand) related search queries.

Pay for Performance

Payment structure where affiliated sales workers are paid commission for getting consumers to perform certain actions.


Search engines prevent some websites suspected of spamming from ranking highly in the results by banning or penalizing them. These penalties may be automated algorithmically or manually applied.

Penguin Algorithm

Google algorithm which penalizes sites with unnatural link profiles.


Altering the search results based on a person’s location, search history, content they recently viewed, or other factors relevant to them on a personal level.


PHP Hypertext Preprocessor is an open source server side scripting language used to render web pages or add interactivity to them.

Pigeon Update

An algorithmic update to local search results on Google which tied in more signals which have been associated with regular web search.

Piracy Update

Search algorithm update Google performed which lowered the rankings of sites which had an excessive number of DMCA takedown requests. Google has exempted both Blogspot and YouTube from this “relevancy” signal.

Poison Word

Words which were traditionally associated with low quality content that caused search engines to want to demote the rankings of a page.


Portable Document Format is a universal file format developed by Adobe Systems that allows files to be stored and viewed in the original printer friendly context.


The percent of users who click on a site listed in the search results only to quickly click back to the search results and click on another listing.


Web site offering common consumer services such as news, email, other content, and search.


Pay Per Click is a pricing model which most search ads and many contextual ad programs are sold through. PPC ads only charge advertisers if a potential customer clicks on an ad.


The ability of a search engine to list results that satisfy the query, usually measured in percentage. (if 20 of the 50 results match the query the precision is 40%)

Profit Elasticity

A measure of the profit potential of different economic conditions based on adjusting price, supply, or other variables to create a different profit potential where the supply and demand curves cross.


A measure of how close words are to one another.


Query deserves freshness is an algorithmic signal based on things like a burst in search volume and a burst in news publication on a topic which tells Google that a particular search query should rank recent / fresh results.

Quality Content

Content which is linkworthy in nature.

Quality Link

Search engines count links votes of trust. Quality links count more than low quality links.


The actual “search string” a searcher enters into a search engine.

Query Refinement

Some searchers may refine their search query if they deemed the results as being irrelevant. Some search engines may aim to promote certain verticals or suggest other search queries if they deem other search queries or vertical databases as being relevant to the goals of the searcher.


Google search relevancy algorithm signal which leverages user clickpath information to improve relevancy on less commonly searched for related search terms.


The portion of relevant documents that were retrieved when compared to all relevant documents.

Reciprocal Links

Nepotistic link exchanges where websites try to build false authority by trading links, using three way link trades, or other low quality link schemes.


A method of alerting browsers and search engines that a page location moved. 301 redirects are for permanent change of location and 302 redirects are used for a temporary change of location.


A company which allows you to register domain names.


If a site has been penalized for spamming they may fix the infraction and ask for reinclusion. Depending on the severity of the infraction and the brand strength of the site they may or may not be added to the search index.


The source from which a website visitor came from.

Relative Link

A link which shows the relation of the current URL to the URL of the page being linked at. Some links only show relative link paths instead of having the entire reference URL within the a href tag. Due to canonicalization and hijacking related issues it is typically preferred to use absolute links over relative links.


A measure of how useful searchers find search results.

Repeat Visits

Visitors to a website which have visited it in the recent past.

Reputation Management

Ensuring your brand related keywords display results which reinforce your brand. Many hate sites tend to rank highly for brand related queries.


Much like search engine submission, resubmission is generally a useless program which is offered by businesses bilking naive consumers out of their money for a worthless service.


Advertising programs targeted at people who have previously visited a given website or channel, viewed a particular product, or added a particular product to their shopping cart.

Reverse Index

An index of keywords which stores records of matching documents that contain those keywords.


A file which sits in the root of a site and tells search engines which files not to crawl. Some search engines will still list your URLs as URL only listings even if you block them using a robots.txt file.


Return on Investment is a measure of how much return you receive from each marketing dollar.


Rich Site Summary or Real Simple Syndication is a method of syndicating information to a feed reader or other software which allows people to subscribe to a channel they are interested in.


A popular Apple browser.


Intrusive software and programs which usually target ads, violate privacy, and are often installed without the computer owner knowing what the software does.

Search History

Many search engines store user search history information. This data can be used for better ad targeting or to make old information more findable.

Search Engine

A tool or device used to find relevant information. Search engines consist of a spider, index, relevancy algorithms and search results.


Search engine optimization is the art and science of publishing information and marketing it in a manner that helps search engines understand your information is relevant to relevant search queries.

SEO Copywriting

Writing and formatting copy in a way that will help make the documents appear relevant to a wide array of relevant search queries.


Search Engine Results Page is the page on which the search engines show the results for a search query.

Search Marketing

Marketing a website in search engines. Typically via SEO, buying pay per click ads, and paid inclusion.


Computer used to host files and serve them to the WWW.

Server Logs

Files hosted on servers which display website traffic trends and sources.

Server logs typically do not show as much data and are not as user friendly as analytics software. Not all hosts provide server logs.

Singular Value Decomposition

The process of breaking down a large database to find the document vector (relevance) for various items by comparing them to other items and documents.


Techniques used to steal another web sites traffic, including the use of spyware or cybersquatting.

Site Map

Page which can be used to help give search engines a secondary route to navigate through your site.


Central editorially driven community news site focusing on technology and nerd related topics created by Rob Malda.

Social Media

Websites which allow users to create the valuable content. A few examples of social media sites are social bookmarking sites and social news sites.


Unsolicited email messages.


The act of creating and distributing spam.


Search engine crawlers which search or “spider” the web for pages to include in the index.

Splash Page

Feature rich or elegantly designed beautiful web page which typically offers poor usability and does not offer search engines much content to index.


Spam blog, typically consisting of stolen or automated low quality content.


Software programs which spy on web users, often used to collect consumer research and to behaviorally targeted ads.


Topical lens site created by Seth Godin.


Server Side Includes are a way to call portions of a page in from another page. SSI makes it easier to update websites.

Static Content

Content which does not change frequently. May also refer to content that does not have any social elements to it and does not use dynamic programming languages.


Using the stem of a word to help satisfy search relevancy requirements. EX: searching for swimming can return results which contain swim. This usually enhances the quality of search results due to the extreme diversity of word used in, and their application in the English language.

Stop Words

Common words (ex: a, to, and, is …) which add little relevancy to a search query, and are thus are removed from the search query prior to finding relevant search results.


The act of making information systems and related websites aware of your website. In most cases you no longer need to submit your website to large scale search engines, they follow links and index content. The best way to submit your site is to get others to link to it.

Supplemental Results

Documents which generally are trusted less and rank lower than documents in the main search index.


Classification system of controlled vocabulary used to organize topical subjects, usually hierarchical in nature.


Blog search engine which tracks popular stories and link relationships.


Topical community based search engine largely reliant upon Kleinberg’s concept of hubs and authorities. Teoma powers


Internet service allowing a remote computer to log into a local one for projects such as script initialization or manipulation.

Term Frequency

A measure of how frequently a keyword appears amongst a collection of documents.

Term Vector Database

A weighted index of documents which aims to understand the topic of documents based on how similar they are to other documents, and then match the most relevant documents to a search query based on vector length and angle.


Synonym directory search engines use to help increase return relevancy.


The title element is used to describe the contents of a document.


Many major search companies aim to gain marketshare by distributing search toolbars. Some of these toolbars have useful features such as pop-up blockers, spell checkers, and form autofill. These toolbars also help search engines track usage data.

Top Heavy

Google algorithm which penalizes websites which have a high ad density above the fold & sites which make it hard to find the content a user searched for before landing on the page.

Topic-Sensitive PageRank

Method of computing PageRank which instead of producing a single global score creates topic related PageRank scores.


Automated notification that another website mentioned your site which is baked into most popular blogging software programs.

Due to the automated nature of trackbacks they are typically quite easy to spam. Many publishers turn trackbacks off due to a low signal to noise ratio.

The Tragedy of the Commons

Story about how in order to protect the commons some people will have to give up some rights or care more for the commons. In marketing attention is the commons, and Google largely won distribution because they found ways to make marketing less annoying.


Search relevancy algorithm which places additional weighting on links from trusted seed websites that are controlled by major corporations, educational institutions, or governmental institutions.


Hosted blogging platform provided by SixApart, who also makes Movable Type.

It allows you to publish sites on a subdomain off of, or to publish content which appears as though it is on its own domain. If you are serious about building a brand or making money online you should publish your content to your own domain because it can be hard to reclaim a website’s link equity and age related trust if you have built years of link equity into a subdomain on someone else’s website.

Unethical SEO

Some search engine marketers lacking in creativity try to market their services as being ethical, whereas services rendered by other providers are somehow unethical. SEO services are generally neither ethical or unethical. They are either effective or ineffective.


Search engines frequently update their algorithms and data sets to help keep their search results fresh and make their relevancy algorithms hard to update. Most major search engines are continuously updating both their relevancy algorithms and search index.


Uniform Resource Locator is the unique address of any web document.

URL Rewrite

A technique used to help make URLs more unique and descriptive to help facilitate better sitewide indexing by major search engines.


How easy it is for customers to perform the desired actions.

The structure and formatting of text and hyperlink based calls to action can drastically increase your website usability, and thus conversion rates.

Usage Data

Things like a large stream of traffic, a high percent of visitors as repeat visitors, long dwell time, multiple page views per visitor, a high clickthrough rate, or a high level of brand related search queries may be seen by some search engines as a sign of quality. Some search engines may leverage these signals to improve the rankings of high quality documents and high quality websites via algorithms like Panda.


A search service which is focused on a particular field, a particular type of information, or a particular information format.

Vertical Search

A search service which is focused on a particular field, a particular type of information, or a particular information format.

Viral Marketing

Self propagating marketing techniques. Common modes of transmission are email, blogging, and word of mouth marketing channels.

Virtual Domain

Website hosted on a virtual server.


Each domain has an owner of record. Ownership data is stored in the Whois record for that domain.

Some domain registrars also allow you to hide the ownership data of your sites. Many large scale spammers use fake Whois data.

White Hat SEO

Search engines set up guidelines that help them extract billions of dollars of ad revenue from the work of publishers and the attention of searchers. Within that highly profitable framework search engines consider certain marketing techniques deceptive in nature, and label them as black hat SEO. Those which are considered within their guidelines are called white hat SEO techniques. The search guidelines are not a static set of rules, and things that may be considered legitimate one day may be considered deceptive the next.

Search engines are not without flaws in their business models, but there is nothing immoral or illegal about testing search algorithms to understand how search engines work.

People who have extensively tested search algorithms are probably more competent and more knowledgeable search marketers than those who give themselves the arbitrary label of white hat SEOs while calling others black hat SEOs.


Software which allows information to be published using collaborative editing.


A lexical database of English words which can be used to help search engines understand word relationships.


Free online collaborative encyclopedia using wiki software.


Popular open source blogging software platform, offering both a downloadable blogging program and a hosted solution.

If you are serious about building a brand or making money online you should publish your content to your own domain because it can be hard to reclaim a website’s link equity and age related trust if you have built years of link equity into a subdomain on someone else’s website.


Feature rich paid keyword research tool which collects data from a couple popular meta search engines, like Dogpile.

Xenu Link Sleuth

Popular free software for checking a site for broken internal or external links and creating a sitemap.


Extensible HyperText Markup Language is a class of specifications designed to move HTML to conform to XML formatting.


Extensible Markup Language is a simple, very flexible text format derived from SGML, used to make it easy to syndicate or format information using technologies such as RSS.


Internet portal company which was started with the popular Yahoo! Directory.

Yahoo! Answers

Free question asking and answering service which allows Yahoo! to leverage social structures to create a bottoms up network of free content.

Yahoo! Directory

One of the original, most popular, and most authoritative web directories, started by David Filo and Jerry Yang in 1994.

Yahoo! Search Marketing

Yahoo!’s paid search platform, formerly known as Overture.

Yahoo! Site Explorer

Research tool which webmasters can use to see what pages Yahoo! has indexed from a website, and what pages link at those pages.


Feature rich amateur video upload and syndication website owned by Google.


Non-commercial directory which was bought by Looksmart for $20 million, then abruptly shut down with little to no warning.