Glossary of SEO Terms for New Bloggers

It occurred to us that some of the newer bloggers out there (and plenty of us older ones) could use a handy glossary of SEO terms.  It gets hard to keep up with all the latest acronyms and lingo and the best of us find ourselves scratching our heads from time to time.

So here you are. Let us know if we’ve missed any.

SEO Glossary


A Google program that creates and places banner advertisements on a website or blog.


Google’s ad program whereby advertisers will bid on keywords so they will be at the top of results page whenever that word is used in a search.  Advertisers pay per click.


The closely-guarded, secret formula used by a search engine to determine search results and rankings.

Alt text

A text alternative to images when a browser can’t properly render them and the text that appears when the user hovers over the image with a mouse. It is also what is used by screen reader software to describe images to people with visual impairments.


Google program that tracks traffic and searches data for websites.

Anchor text

The text that appears on a hyperlink that describes what it points to.


An incoming link from another website to yours. The more credible backlinks a website has the higher its search engine ranking.

Black Hat SEO

SEO techniques that go against the guidelines established by Google. Keyword stuffing, cloaking, blog comment spam, and hidden text are four common examples. The use of these techniques can get a website banned from a search engine.

Bounce rate

The percentage of visitors who leave a site without viewing any page other than the landing page.

Call to Action (CTA)

Words that compel someone to do something.  On a website, this is usually a button urging your visitors to  “Buy Now,” “Subscribe to our newsletter,” “Like Us on Facebook,” and “Add to Cart” and so forth.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

The ratio of how many times a pay-per-click ad is clicked on the total number of times it was viewed.

Content Management System (CMS)

A program or set of programs that are used to create and manage digital content. WordPress is considered to be a CMS.

Content marketing

SEO based on high-quality content, high-quality web design, social media, and other non-link building tactics.

Content Optimization

The process of making it easier for search engines to find it easier to index your content and display it in relevant search results.

Evergreen Content

Term used to describe site content that is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers

Inbound Link

See backlink.

Keyword Density

The ratio of keywords on a web page to total words on the web page.

Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI)

A calculation that is used to find the most effective keywords for SEO.

Landing Page

A stand-alone web page distinct from the main website that has been designed to accomplish a specific objective.

Outbound Link

A link from your site to someone else’s site

Pay Per Click (PPC)

A way of buying visits to your site. Site owners advertise on other websites and pay a fee each time a user clicks on the ad linking to the advertiser’s site.

Keyword or key phrase

The word or phrase that is the focus of your content on that page. It is also the word or phrase that you will most likely rank for in search engines.

Keyword stuffing

A Black Hat SEO technique whereby keywords are overused on a page to manipulate the keyword density and achieve higher search engine rankings.

Long Tail Keyword

A keyword or phrase that is not searched frequently, but often returns more qualified searchers.

Niche Blog

A blog that covers a specific topic and/or targets a specific audience.

On-Page SEO

Refers to SEO techniques implemented on your website.

Off-Page SEO

Refers to SEO techniques for driving traffic to your website from other websites Organic Results

Organic search results

Results returned by the search engine based solely on the user’s query and the algorithm used by the search engine to find relevant matches.  These are also called natural search results.  They are the opposite of Paid Search Results which appear above organic results with a “sponsored” label.

Paid Search Results

Search results appearing above organic search results labeled as “sponsored.”   They are paid for by site owners who bid on certain keywords so their listings will appear at the top of the page whenever a user submits a search with those keywords.


A 2011 update to Google’s ranking algorithm that aimed to determine the quality of a website and use it as a ranking criterion, with high-quality sites ranking higher than low-quality sites. Prior to this the main ranking criteria was keywords and keyword density.


A a refinement of Google’s Panda algorithm. Penguin’s purpose was to lower the ranking of sites that attempt to artificially inflate their ranking by manipulating the number of links pointing to a page.


Programs or bits of code that extend and add to the functionality that already exists in WordPress.

RSS Feed

A subscription service that provides users with new content from a particular website.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The practice of promoting a website by increasing its visibility to search engines through paid search ads.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Techniques for optimizing a website for search engines so that users’ search queries will match the content of that site.

Search Engine Ranking Page (SERP)

The page that is displayed after a user submits a search engine query. It displays all the sites meeting the search criteria, in ranked order based on a search engine algorithm. Typically, a SERP will display 10-15 results.


Refers to the number of times a post was shared on social media.


A comprehensive listing of the pages and layout of a website to make it easier for search engines to index.

Site indexing

The process whereby search engines find a website and add it to the list of websites that can appear in search results.

Social Bookmarking

A way for people to bookmark, or “tag,” links to web pages and then share them to a site, such as or, where other people can access them.

Spider (or crawler)

Bots that crawl the internet and collect information about websites for search engines so that it can be indexed and appear in search results.


The general term for all of the visitors to a particular website.

Traditional SEO

A set of practices the developed prior to the introduction of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms. It focuses primarily on link building and keyword optimization rather than high quality content.

White Hat SEO

Approved SEO techniques that follow standard search engine guidelines.

I hope these SEO terms were helpful.  Happy blogging!


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