SEO Glossary of Terms

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Below you will find helpful explanations for the most common and new SEO terms used across the search engine marketing (SEM) industry. Throughout the glossary descriptions, you’ll occasionally find links for cross-referenced terms, acronyms or additional related information. If you have questions or an unlisted SEO term, please contact us for further assistance. We love talking about SEO!

ALGORITM An algorithm is an operating program within a search engine that defines how its engine will index content and display the results to its search users. Algorithms, particularly Google’s, change periodically. If they are drastic enough, the algorithm updates can impact your search engine ranking results (SERPs). Search engines use their own algorithm formulas to organize and rate the content relevance which they find and add to their search database.
BACKLINK (or “Inbound Link”) Backlinks are links on other web sites that send users to your website by linking to specific, relevant pages. The goal is to deliver additional related information to their visitors. High quality referrals from credible websites help improve your page rankings within search engine results. (Builds Link Popularity; Highly Valued by Google)
BOOKMARK Visitors who come to your site via a browser bookmark or favorite link. (See DIRECT)
BOUNCE RATE Website bounce rate is the percentage of online visitors who left your website without navigating beyond the page that they entered your website. Therefore, a lower bounce rate is desirable. Learn much more about Bounce Rates.
CALL TO ACTION Words or images that encourage and persuade visitors to DO SOMETHING SPECIFIC (like click here, buy now, add to cart, play video, join list, download file, read full article, act now, learn more, request more details, etc.)
CLICK-THRU The action or number of times that online users have clicked on an ad or search result in a search engine and were redirected to another web site. Therefore, your click-thrus is the number of times that others have “clicked through to your website”.
CONTENT DEVELOPMENT Literally, content development means creating and adding new content or pages to your website. From a marketing perspective, adding new, relevant content to your website is a valuable, cost-effective way to maintain and/or improve your search engine rankings. Google and other top search engines prefer to deliver relevant and “current” information to their search customers. When you continually add new information to your site, search engine bots will record that your site is delivering fresh information. The SEO goal is that search engines will recognize and reward your site’s efforts. The business marketing goal is that customers will recognize the added value on your site and return more often. The more often they return, the more likely they will contact you, buy or share your web page with others.
CONVERSION An action initiated by an online visitor that ranges from their display of interest or curiosity to their performing some type of action on your site, such as contacting, requesting or purchasing. (See “Call to Action”)
DIRECT (Direct Traffic Source) Visitors who came to your site by typing your site’s domain name directly in their browser’s address bar.
FREQUENCY The number of times an ad is displayed during a single search session. Frequency is generally a term used in a Paid Search performance statistic, such as Google AdWords.
GOAL-TRACKING A method of measuring the performance of conversion goals in a search engine marketing (SEM) campaign. Once you identify or add conversion goals to your website, you would typically add tracking codes to “monitor, collect and assess” their completion by visitors. Read this great article on 10 Google Analytics Goals You Must Track
HITS The number of “files” downloaded from a website’s server. This includes a page, plus any graphics or elements on the page that are downloaded. Because Page Hits is generally a larger number than Page Views, it’s important to understand the difference.
IMPRESSIONS The number of times your paid search ad is displayed in a search engine results page. The more times your ad is displayed, the more opportunities the searcher has to see your ad, remember your brand, and to click on your ad. High impressions can also increase brand awareness — without cost.
INBOUND LINKS See “Backlinks” above.
KEYWORD (or “Keyword phrase”) A word or phrase that search engine users might type into a browser’s search bar with the anticipation of finding relevant web pages. Competitive keywords and phrases are the “most popular” terms used by your target audiences. You’ll want to rank highest for those!
LANDING PAGE The web page that users are directed to when they click on a search results link or an advertisement. Landing pages are usually very relevant to a searcher’s “search terms”.
NEW VISITORS A visitor who has accessed your web site for the first time ever (as opposed to a Repeat or Returning Visitor).
PAGE VIEWS The number of web pages that were accessed by all visitors within a specific period of time, such as the Number of Pages Viewed within one day, week, month or year.
REFERRAL A web site containing a link that a visitor clicked to arrive on your web site. Referrals can include your own web pages that have cross-referenced links.
REPEAT VISITOR A visitor who has accessed your web site more than once – usually within a specified time. [ Total Visitors minus Total New Visitors equals Total Repeat Visitors ]
VISITOR The total number of visitors who came to your website within a specific time frame you’ve defined. Repeat visitors during that time period are considered as Returning Visits – not Unique Visits.

Other Marketing Glossaries

Marketing and media technology are changing rapidly, there is an exhausting and growing list of industry terms. We’ve assembled the most common, useful terms and sorted them by marketing service areas.

  • General Marketing Terms – soon
  • Graphic Design Terms – soon
  • Social Media Terms – soon
  • Website Marketing Terms – soon