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SEO Keyword Strategy: A Glossary of 47 Essential Terms

By September 24, 2015May 17th, 2023Uncategorized

Properly optimizing your website is essential.  A better search engine ranking will help you position your website to be found at the most critical points in the buying process or when people need your site. But with all the SEO jargon out there, it can be tricky to communicate to the people running the technical end of things. But, those SEO results are too important for your meaning to be lost in translation.

Below is a glossary of 47 essential search engine optimization (SEO) terms to help marketers better communicate with their website developers.



AdwordsAdwords is an advertising service by Google for businesses who want to display ads on Google and its advertising network. Businesses that use AdWords can create ads using relevant keywords. When those keywords are searched it triggers your ad to be shown. If your AdWords ad is clicked on, Google search users are then directed to your website. Adwords is pay-per-click service.

Algorithm – Search engines use Algorithms to construct search engine results. These results are derived from formulas used by computers to manipulate and display information.

Alt Tag – The Alt Tag is HTML code that gives a text description of images displayed by web browsers when hovering over an image. Alt Tags allow search engines and the visually impaired to better understand the content of an image. All images on your website should have optimized keyword ALT tags.  

Anchor Text – Anchor text is the visible characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or location on the web. Search engines use anchor text to understand what web pages are about. Over optimization of anchor text can result in a Google penalty.


Blogs – Short for web log, a blog is a platform that allows user to post content on the web which may include commentaries, educational information, news or views. Blogs are indexed by search engines and each blog builds a link back to your website. Blogs can be optimized by using relevant keywords.

Bounce Rate – Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website after only viewing one page. This could indicate that your site does not match your visitors search queries or that it contains weak content or calls to action.


Content Management System, CMS – With CMS software users can publish, edit and modify web content.  Many CMS’s offer an SEO optimization option.

Cost Per Click, CPC – CPC relates to Pay Per Click advertising traffic where bid prices are set for each keyword.

Click Through Rate, CTR – CTR is the percentage of people who have viewed your site in the search engine results and have then clicked through to your site. If 500 visitors see your site in Google and 50 people click through to your site the click through rate is 10% (500 impressions divided by 50 clicks).


External Links – External Links are links from other websites to your own website. Building quality external links to your website is an essential part of SEO. It is important to focus on quality rather than quantity.


Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is a free web analytics service that provides statistics and basic analytical tools for search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing purposes. The service is available to anyone with a Google account.


Hashtag – Most commonly used on Twitter. A Hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the # symbol to define messages relating to a particular topic. Google has even begun incorporating hashtags into search results in a unique way. Now, searching for a hashtag on Google will not only give you a list of search results, but will also include a live scrolling feed of Google+ posts containing that hashtag and links to other hashtag feeds on other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.

Headings – A standard of html code that applies to the formatting of text. Each heading style that can be  applied to text on a website to make it bolder and bigger than other text on the page. Placement of keywords within headings is a ranking factor.

Hits – Refers to the number of files loaded during a visit to a web page. When you take into account that web pages include many different elements such as images, stylesheets and scripts it is easy to understand why hits are considered a meaningless metric. If a visitor visits a large number of pages on your site then the volume of hits will be high. Unique visitors and conversions are more important benchmarks for measuring site performance.

Hyper Text Markup Language HTML – Is the programming language used to format and provide functionality for web pages.  It is important to write clean HTML code so that the pages load quickly, are compatible with all browsers and most importantly can be understood by Google.


Impressions – are the number of times your site appears in the search engine results either for organic or paid search positions.

Indexed – Sites are indexed when they appear in search engine results. Submitting a sitemap to Google using Google Webmaster tools helps Google to index your website more effectively. To check how many pages of your site are in the search Google search for


Keyword – A keyword, in the context of search engine optimization, is a particular word or phrase that describes the contents of a web page. Keywords are intended to act as shortcuts that sum up an entire page. Keywords form part of a web page’s metadata and help search engines match a page to with an appropriate search query. Over the years the use of keywords has changed from short tail keywords to long tailed ones as searchers and Google have become more savvy.  

Keyword Density
– Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on the page. In the context of search engine optimization keyword density can be used as a factor in determining whether a web page is relevant to a specified keyword or keyword phrase.

Keyword Research – The process of researching and analyzing the most promising keyword opportunities, (words people often use in searching for content like yours), is called keyword research. Keyword research is the process of researching and analyzing keywords that your buyer personas are most likely to be searching for.  This research is typically done using SEO specific tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner tool or paid SEO tools like Wordtracker, Moz, or SEMRush.

Keyword Stuffing – This is the practice of intentionally or unintentionally over optimizing a  web page for a particular search term. It can also refer to the placement of multiple keyword phrases on the page, usually in the page footer that are included primarily to attract search traffic. Excessive keyword stuffing will not increase your SEO results but instead is a sure way to receiving a penalty from Google.


Landing PageIn the purest sense, a landing page is any web page that a visitor can arrive at or “land” on. However, when discussing landing pages within the realm of inbound, it’s more common to refer to a landing page as being a standalone web page distinct from your main website that has been designed for a single focused objective.

Link Building –  Learning to build inbound links to your content can yield you lots of favorable search engine traffic. Typically, the best link building techniques involve getting your content into the direct line of sight of relevant publishers and influencers within your industry.

Long Tail KeywordLong Tail keywords are longer keyword phrases that are used by searches to more specifically define their search intent.  For example instead of searching for ‘red shoes’ a long tail keyword phrase would be ‘red Nike women’s shoes.’ Long tail keywords have a lower search volume but are likely to deliver a higher return from visitors if your content matches their query.


Meta Data – This is data that is written into the HTML code that provides search engines with additional information about a website and web page. This data, written for search engines, aids them in correctly evaluating your content and displaying information about your web page on Search Engine Result Pages (or ‘SERPs’).

Meta Description – Your content’s meta description is a companion to your page title; together they become what search engines display when your web page comes up based on a user’s search. Each piece of content you publish should have a custom meta description utilizing the keyword you are trying to optimized.

Meta Keywords – are a specific type of meta tag that appear in the HTML code of a Web page and help tell search engines what the topic of the page is. Meta keywords are distinguished from regular keywords because they appear “behind the scenes,” in the source code of your page, rather than on the live, visible page itself.

Meta Title Tag  – Each web page should have a Meta Title tag to describe in a headline summary the content of your web page. Your title tags should consider the keywords you are optimizing the page of your site for and also include a compelling message to encourage searchers to click on your site in the search results. Title tags should be no more than 70 characters in length.

Meta Title/Page Title – The meta title is the HTML code that specifies the title of a certain web page. Every page must have a meta title, and it plays an important role in how your web site is perceived, as well as in your SEO. First of all, the meta title is used by directories, web resources and other webmasters and site owners when they link to your page. If you have a concise and catchy meta title that really sums up your site’s topic, your site will more readily be reviewed and favored by these sources.


Nofollow – A line of code found in the head section of a web page or within the link html code. It instructs the search engines to not follow all links on a page or specific links. When link building, nofollow links are less attractive as they have no impact on ranking in the search engines.


Organic Traffic – Organic traffic is the term used to describe non-paid visitors to your website who have found you using search keyword queries on the search engines.

On-page SEO: On-page SEO refers to factors that have an effect on your web site or web page listing in natural search results. These factors are controlled by you or by coding on your page. Examples of on-page optimization include actual HTML code, meta tags, keyword placement and keyword density.

Off page SEO – Off Page SEO refers to optimization techniques outside the boundaries of the webpage that can be used to improve the position of a web site in the search engine results page. The most important are: link building, social media and social bookmarking

Outbound Link – The opposite of an inbound link; this means you are linking from your web page to another web page on a different (external) website. A good rule of thumb to building quality outbound links is limiting those links to external websites considered authoritative to the average Web visitor (i.e., news, government, education, and resource websites).


PPC (Pay Per Click) – is a form of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches on a keyword that is related to their business offering.


Ranking Factor -Currently, Google uses about 200 ranking factors in their algorithm, among these factors is keyword density, page loading speed, social media, quality outbound links, number of pages, and mobile optimization.  

Referrer String – A piece of information sent by a user’s browser when they navigate from page to page on the web. It includes information on where they came from previously, which helps webmasters understand how users are finding their website.


SitemapA sitemap is a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. For optimum performance every website should have at least two sitemaps; A HTML Sitemap (for human users) and an XML Sitemap (to enable Google to crawl your site easily).  Sitemaps are index documents that describe the pages on your site with reference to URLs.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic” or “earned” results.

Social Media – Social media sites are online communities that allow for the creation, sharing, and exchange of information. Social Media is an SEO ranking factor.

Spider/Googlebot – The name given to computer programs created by search engines to crawl web pages for the purpose of indexing the content, also referred to as bots.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – A SERP is the listing of results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query. The results normally include a list of items with titles, a reference to the full version, and a short meta description showing where the keywords have matched content within the page. The driving objective of SEO is to help your content get a favorable listing and position in those search results..


The Fold” – Much like a physical newspaper, websites have an “above the fold” area. Many people never get past the section so make sure your content draws them in.  Search engines also give this area priority in their evaluation.


Unique Visitors – The number of unique people who have visited your website on a given date. The difference between visitors and unique visitors is that visitors include individuals who have made multiple visits to the same site on the same day.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – Or better know as the ‘web address.’ URLs are what you put in the address bar of your browser or, when you click on a link, are automatically inserted for you. It’s the basic building block of the Internet and is used by search engines to discover and index content for Web searches. It’s also critical URLs be as simple and direct as possible. The longer and more complex they get, or the further they stray from the main SEO topic, the less people will trust them.


Visits – A visit is a sequence of interactions that take place on your website within a specific time period. A visit can include multiple pageviews, events, social interactions, custom variables, and e-commerce transactions. It’s important to understand what Google considers a visit.


Web Traffic/Traffic –  The number of unique visitors who come to your site. The end objective of any SEO campaign is to get lots of traffic (visitors) to your website.   

There it is!  Our list of 47 need-to-know SEO terms to help you on your way to fluently speaking SEO jargon and creating the ultimate SEO keyword strategy.  This list is by no means exhaustive and if you have suggestions we’d love to here.  Want to learn more about SEO?  Sign up for our blog!

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Larry Levenson

Larry is passionate about inbound marketing and is a HubSpot Certified Trainer. He's learned the "secrets" of leveraging HubSpot to make marketing hyper-effective and customizes that information to help our clients meet their goals. Larry lives in Prescott, AZ, and when not at work, he is hiking or hanging out with teenagers as a volunteer with Boys to Men USA.