Search Engine Glossary of Terms

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by caorda

Search Engine Glossary of Terms

Internet terminology provides many different ways of saying the same thing. A host of phrases are used in the web promotion business. Although search engine specialists derive slight differences from these terms, they essentially mean the same thing. These definitions should help clarify. Note that these words may have many definitions. We are only displaying the meanings related to the internet and/or Google.


The search engine program that ranks sites based on certain criteria. Google has over 100 different ranking criteria that sites need to meet.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

A strategy of internet marketing where you bid on keywords that will display ads for your website above organic listings in Google and Bing search engines.

Bot (Web Bot)

A search engine program that crawls the internet for web pages to add to their search databases.


The background code that runs a web site. As well as HTML, this can include JavaScript, PHP, ASPnet, Coldfusion and more.


The movement of a search engine spider (or bot) through the internet by following the links between sites.


A list of web sites that are compiled under categories and sub-categories. DMOZ is an example of a directory.

Dynamic Page URLs

Pages that are created ‘on the fly’ from the contents of a database. These pages used to cause many promotional difficulties but we don’t see them used much anymore.


Some sites have pages that are made up of multiple HTML pages. Typically the navigation will be on one page and the content on another. You can tell if you scroll down the page and the navigation remains static. Frames are terrible for SEO and aren’t used anymore on the internet.


The basic code from which web pages are created.

Inbound Link

A link from another website that points into your site.


A word typed into Google or BING that returns search results.

Keyword Density

The percentage of keywords compared to other words on a web page. A page with 100 words where 10 of them are ‘insurance’ has a keyword density of 10% (insurance). 

Keyword Research

Researching the most effective key terms to be used in Search Engine Optimization, Google Ads or other internet promotions.

Keyword Spamming

Deliberate repetition of keywords on a webpage solely for the purpose of SEO. There is a point where content becomes difficult to read and sounds ridiculous due to the heavy repetition of keywords. We still find this on websites today.

Landing Page

Site pages that have been designed to rank highly in search engines. The term ‘doorway’ page has been negatively associated with poorly designed pages that have little or no content for a user and that use tricks to capture search engine attention. While these have been banned by search engines, any page in a site can legitimately be designed to rank highly.

Link Relevancy

How similar in context two linked websites are. 

Meta Search Engine

A search engine that compiles its results from the databases of other search engines.

Meta Tags

Specific areas built into HTML code to hold information for search engines to read. While technically not ‘meta’ tags when people refer to them they tend to mean Title Tags and Meta Description tags which are the only tags with any relevance these days.


The process of altering site structure, code, content, titles and meta content to be search engine friendly and related to the chosen keywords deemed to be worthy by the site owner.

Outbound Link

A link on your website that points to another website.

Reciprocal Link

An exchange of links between two sites.

Search Engine

An internet program that ranks sites based on the keywords that the user has typed in. Google is a search engine.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Generally referred to as the strategy of paying for position or placement in various networks such as Google, Bing and Facebook.

Search Engine Rankings

The position in the list of search results that a website holds. 

Search Engine Report

A report detailing pages rankings across the search engines for specific keywords.


Also called a ‘bot’, a spider is a search engine program that crawls the internet adding web sites to the search engine database.

Web Promotion

Similar to SEM but can also refer to as the combined business of SEO, SEM and marketing on other internet networks like Twitter and Facebook.