SEO dictionary Terminology

Here you can find an explanation of most of the terms we use on

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301 redirect A 301 status code means that a page has permanently moved to a new location.
302 redirect A 302 status code means that a page has temporarily moved to a new location.
404 error The 404 or Not Found error message is a HTTP standard response code indicating that the client was able to communicate with the server, but the server could not find what was requested.
Affiliate marketing One website links to another website and gets payed per visitor or sale that is made via that link. These are paid links and search engines prefer natural links a lot more.
Affiliate links This is a special link that usually contains an ID or username of the affiliate. This URL is used by the advertiser to track all traffic the affiliate sends to the advertiser’s site as a part of the affiliate program.
Alt text Is text associated with an image, that serves the same purpose and conveys the same essential information as the image.
Anchor text The visible, clickable text in a hyperlink
Apache (server) A public-domain open source Web server
APC Alternative PHP Cache
Archive pages All types of pages with multiple posts, can for instance be category or tag pages
Attachment For images, WordPress adds separate, so-called attachment pages. These pages contain the image as main content and are not the most valuable pages (thin content). The image will already be indexed on the page or post it is displayed.
Author page A page that contains a proper biography / introduction about the author of a blog etc.
Back end The part of the website that the user doesn’t ‘see’. This could be server side elements, a database or a content management system like WordPress.
Backlink A link from another website to your website.
Banner A form of advertising on a website, usually based upon an image in a fixed size. Common sizes are for instance 468 x 60 pixels (full banner) or 728 x 90 pixels (leaderboard).
Black hat Unnatural, shady techniques for improvement of rankings for a website. Not something we at Yoast practice.
Blog A personal website or part of a company website, that contains separate posts on which an individual writes opinions, links to other sites and more on a regular basis.
Bot Crawls the world wide web, also called a spider.
Bounce rate This represents the percentage of visitors who enter a page on a website and ‘bounce’ (leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same website.
Brand name The common (company) name for a range of products or services, like Yoast, Facebook, Amazon.
Breadcrumbs Breadcrumbs tell the location of the visitor in the website, and are usually displayed right below the header of a website. Usually follow the site structure. Example: Home > Apple > iPhone > iPhone 6.
Browser A software application used to locate, retrieve and also display content from the World Wide Web, including web pages, images, video and other files. Examples: Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer.
Caching The temporary storage of content, such as HTML pages, images, files and web objects, for the benefit of offloading the origin web or application server and reducing the time required to deliver content to a client.
Call to action A button or other element on a web page, giving visitors directions as to where they should click. Should be the main actionable element of a page.
Canonical URL A canonical URL links to original version of certain content. Especially needed when content is copied over and over on other pages (duplicate content), which makes it hard for a search engine to decide which page to rank first in its search results.
That first result should obviously be the original content.
Checkout page The page you’re on after you place an order, where you pay and ‘leave’ the store.
Client side In a browser, instead of on a server.
Comments Reactions of visitors on content of our website, and displayed on your website. Very common for blogs.
Compression Reduction in size of data in order to save space or transmission time.
Content Distribution Network (CDN) A large distributed system of servers deployed in multiple data centers across the Internet. The goal of a CDN is to serve content to end-users with high availability and high performance.
Content Every word, image, video etc. on your website is content. In our reviews, the content chapter focusses mainly on textual content.
Conversion optimization Creating an experience for a website or landing page visitor with the goal of increasing the percentage of visitors that convert into customers.
Copywriter A professional who writes copy (text) for the purpose of advertising or marketing. The copy is meant to persuade someone to buy a product, or influence their beliefs. This obviously goes for all pages of your website.
Cornerstone content Making a page rank with awesome content and well chosen links to that page.
CSS CSS, or Cascading Styles Sheets, is a way to style and present HTML on web pages. Preferably this CSS is in a separate style document, often a file named style.css.
Crawlers An internet bot that systematically browses the World Wide Web, typically for the purpose of indexing all websites and pages on that World Wide Web.
Cufon Before web fonts, this was one way to use any font you wanted on a website. Uses images to replace the regular font.
Directory listing An Windows Explorer / Mac Finder like listing of files that can be found in a web directory, displayed in a browser.
Domain The unique address of a website, like
Dropdown menu A layered menu that is displayed in a way that just the main layer is displayed, and sublayers are only shown when hovering the computer mouse over the main layer items.
Duplicate content Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within a domain or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Duplicate content might confuse a search engine, because it might not be
clear what the original content is.
Excerpt An excerpt as mentioned in the review is an introduction or summary of a post, that includes a link to the entire post on another web page.
Extension An additional piece of software for f.i. Magento that specializes in processing particular types of content or functionality.
FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
Favicon The icon used before the site name on browser tabs and in browser bookmarks. Also known as a shortcut / url / bookmark icon
Fold The part of your site which can be viewed when first entering the site, without scrolling down at all. This word originates as the upper half of a folded newsletter.
Font A font is the combination of typeface and other qualities, such as size and spacing.
Footer links Links at the bottom of a web page, in the footer.
Footer The bottom section of a web page.
Forum A public discussion area on a website. Even though some forums require registration, this is usually content the website owner can not control or does not want to control.
Front end The visible part of the website, the user interface. For web pages, that is the part constructed in HTML and enhanced with CSS and JavaScript.
Google Adwords Google’s online advertising program.
Gzip A software application / method used for file compression and decompression
Headline A headline refers to a line, text or a phrase at the top of a written text that explains what the text is all about. Usually in a larger or bolder typeface.
Homepage The introductory or first page of a website, typically serving as a sort of table of contents for the site. Also referred to as Home.
Hostname The nickname or domain name assigned to a host computer.
HTML HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the main markup language for creating web pages and other information that can be displayed in a web browser.
http HyperText Transfer Protocol is a method of accessing or sending information across a web page.
https HyperText Transfer Protocol over Secure is a secure method of accessing or sending information across a web page. All data sent over HTTPS is encrypted before it is sent, this prevents anyone from understanding that information if intercepted.
Indexed in Google A specific webpage has been discovered by Google, and included in the Google search index.
Inline style Style inclusion method, in which style information is directly attached to the HTML elements they affect, instead of in a separate CSS file.
Inline validation Checking each input in a form as the user types it in.
Internal link Internal links are links that go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain.
Internal search A functionality that you can offer on your website, to allow visitors to search the content of your website.
JavaScript The world’s most popular programming language. It is the language for HTML, for the web, for servers, PCs, laptops, tablets, phones, and more. On the web it is usually used for enhancing browsing experience with client-side scripts for instance
for moving objects (like sliders) or inline form validation.
JQuery A lightweight JavaScript library. The purpose of jQuery is to make it much easier to use JavaScript on your website.
Keywords Words describing what people are looking for on Google, and used as the main word on a web page; the word the page is optimized for (also: focus keyphrase).
Landing page A landing page is any page on a website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a certain action or result.
Meta description HTML attribute that provide short explanations of the contents of web pages. In SEO, it is the invitation to your website you want a search engine to show below the title of your website.
Meta keyword HTML attribute that lists keywords relevant to the page’s content. Not used by the major search engines.
Microformats Small structured patterns of HTML to represent commonly published things like people, events, blog posts, reviews and tags in web pages. When using microformats, it is easier for a search engine to understand the content of a page.
Multilingual site Website that is available in more than one language.
Nofollow link A way publishers can tell search engines not to count some of their links to other pages as ‘votes’ in favor of that content.
Open Graph Enables any web page to become a rich object in a social graph. For instance, this is used on Facebook to allow any web page to have the same functionality as any other object on Facebook. It indicates elements like title, description and URL, for
easier use on the social platform.
Pagination A way of organizing a lot of data within a webpage, by dividing that data (or for instance posts) over multiple pages to make it more manageable and user friendly.
Panda update A change to Google’s search results ranking algorithm that was first released in February 2011. The change aimed to lower the rank of low-quality sites or thin sites, and return higher-quality sites near the top of the search results.
Penguin update An update to Google’s algorithm. This update is aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using now declared black-hat SEO techniques involved in increasing artificially the ranking of a
webpage by manipulating the number of links pointing to the page.
Permalinks The permanent URLs to your individual weblog posts, as well as categories and other lists of weblog postings. The URL to each post should be permanent, and never change — hence permalink.
PHP A widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML.
Plugin An additional piece of software for f.i. WordPress that specializes in processing particular types of content or functionality.
Product page The main page for a certain product or service.
Progress bar Visualizes the progression of an operation, such as a download or checkout process.
Publisher highlighting Technically telling search engines who the publisher of a website is, which may result in more publisher information shown on a search result page.
Quality update A Google algorithm update that is told to positively influence rankings of websites that provide quality content. This is the opposite of a Panda update. Also named reverse Panda and Phantom 2 update.
RDFa RDFa is an extension to HTML5 that helps you markup things like People, Places and Reviews. Search Engines and Web Services. We only recommend to use RDFa for breadcrumbs, and use markup for the rest.
Relative URL All URLs that do not contain a fully qualified domain name and path, but instead just the path or a portion of the path, calculated from the page at hand.
Responsive website A website that changes its appearance and layout based on the size of the screen the website is displayed on.
Rich Snippets Designed to summarize the content of a page in a way that makes it even easier for users to understand what the page is about in our search results. Also see Microformats, RDFa and
Robots.txt A text file webmasters create to instruct robots (typically search engine robots) how to crawl and index pages on their website.
RSS feed Technology that is being used by millions of web users around the world to keep track of their favorite websites, without visiting that website. A way to share your content. Initiative launched by Bing, Google and Yahoo! to “create and support a common set of schemas for structured data markup on web pages.” If used, search engines will understand your content much easier and better.
SEO Search Engine Optimization: Making a site the kind of site the search engines will show on top in search results.
Server A computer or computer program which manages access to a centralized resource or service in a network.
Server side On the server, instead of in a browser.
Share button A way of sharing links from your website to a social network. Example: Twitter tweet button, Facebook like button.
Sidebar A left or right column next to the main content column of a web page. Things like popular posts and subscription options are usually found in the sidebar.
Site speed How fast a website is served to a visitor in his browser.
Sitemap A page containing a list of (all the) pages of a web site. Accessible to crawlers or users.
SKU Stock Keeping Unit, a unique numerical identifying number that refers to a specific stock item in a retailer’s inventory or product catalog.
Slider A number of images or texts that slide in and out of the screen in sequence. Also ‘carousel’.
Social button Buttons linking your social media profiles on your website. Also ‘follow button’.
Spider A small piece of software search engines use to automatically visit and index websites.
Sprites A collection of images put into a single image, so less connections have to be made with a server to load all images (usually faster). In CSS, the right part of the images is selected for display at a certain spot.
Stock photos Photos bought for use on websites and in print. These photos tend to look less natural and less personal than your own photos.
Survey A data collection tool used to gather information about individuals.
Tag cloud A list of links to tag pages with the most prominent or popular tags in a darker or bigger font than less popular tags.
Tagline A catchphrase or slogan
Tags A keyword used to describe an article or website.
Taxonomy A way to categorize content.
Template A template is a code file that controls a part of how your WordPress site will be displayed on the web. It can contain HTML, PHP, CSS or other (programming) code.
Template code The code of your website’s template.
Testimonials Written recommendation from a satisfied customer.
Theme A set of design elements, including backgrounds, colors, and fonts. The design of your website.
Thin content Web pages that contain little valuable content; that do not add a lot of value for the internet as a whole, like pages with as main content just an image and perhaps one sentence.
Twitter Cards Like OpenGraph tags, Twitter Cards are a way to attach photos, videos and other data to your tweets via markup on your web pages. It will add a ‘Card’ to your tweets displaying all the marked up data.
Typeface The name of the font used for a website. Example: Arial, Times Roman.
URL A uniform resource locator also known as web address.
Verified signs Signs that tells visitors an external company accredited it to be trusted.
Viral An image, video, piece of information, etc. that is circulated rapidly and widely on the Internet, usually via social media.
Web server Hardware or the software that helps to deliver web content that can be accessed through the Internet. The most common use of web servers is to host websites, but there are other uses such as gaming, data storage or running enterprise applications.
White hat SEO techniques aimed at serving your website as good as possible to a search engine, without the use of shady methods to accomplish that (like ‘fooling’ Google in any way). At Yoast, we only practice white hat SEO.
Whitespace Portions of a page left unmarked for readability. This could be the space between a heading and a paragraph, or between columns. Also called ‘negative’ space.
WordPress A free, Web-based software program that anyone can use to build and maintain a website.
XML Extensible Markup Language designed to transport and store data.
Yoast Our company. The Art and Science of Website Optimization.
Yoast SEO The plugin Yoast created that helps website owners to optimize their website for search engines. More information about that plugin.

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