Yoast SEO glossary
Yoast SEO comes with many features that help you get a head start in the search results. It is available both for WordPress and Shopify. However, since those platforms differ, Yoast SEO also contains some different features. Either way, if you are just getting started with SEO, a lot of the vocabulary we frequently use may be unfamiliar to you. That is why we created this glossary! It contains all the essential SEO terms and the Yoast SEO features that can help you understand Yoast SEO better and get the most out of it! The glossary is organized alphabetically. If a certain term applies only to one platform, we indicate it in the term title. Click on a letter below to jump to the terms starting with that letter.
.htaccess file (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
a configuration file for use on web servers running the Apache Web Server software.
A redirect status code that tells a search engine that a page is permanently moved from one URL to another, and it is not coming back to the old URL. That’s the recommended way to work with redirects. You can easily set redirects with Yoast SEO Premium.
The 302 redirect status code tells a search engine that a page is temporarily redirected.
307 temporary redirect
Like code 302, this redirect code tells search engines that a page is temporarily redirected.
404 page not found
A redirect status code that tells the search engine that a page cannot be found. However, the code does not contain more information about why the page is gone. As a result, the search engine may keep the page indexed and keep coming back to crawl it. People will still be able to land on it and see the code, which is bad for user experience and bad for SEO.
410 content deleted
A 410 status code tells search engines that a page is deleted and is not coming back. As a result, it may get removed from the search engine index quicker.
451 Unavailable for legal reasons
A status code that is used for content that needs to be removed for legal reasons.
Admin bar menu (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
The menu in Yoast SEO that you see on the top of the screen. It lets you see and access the notifications the plugin has for you. It also gives you quick access to the Yoast SEO general settings. On top of that, the menu will help you quickly check your focus keyphrase and your SEO and readability scores while previewing a page. And it contains helpful links to external SEO tools that help you analyze the page.
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.
One website links to another website and gets paid per visitor or sale that is made via that link. These are paid links and search engines prefer natural links a lot more.
A public-domain open-source Web server.
Author archives (WordPress platform specific)
Unique pages in WordPress for each author, which include all posts published by the author. If your blog is a single-person blog, you don’t need author archives because the archive page will be exactly the same as the archive for the entire site. So, it’s best to disable author archives if there’s only one author. However, if multiple authors are writing for your site, you can enable the author’s archives. If you do that, you’ll have the same settings for author archives as you have for taxonomies and content types in Yoast SEO. That means you can set the title template, meta description template, et cetera.
The part of the website that the user doesn’t ‘see’. This could be server-side elements, a database, or a content management system.
A link from another website to your website.
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).
Shady techniques for improving the rankings of a website. Not something we at Yoast practice.
A personal website or part of a company website, that contains separate posts on which an individual writes opinions, and links to other sites on a regular basis.
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.
Breadcrumbs (options availabile in WordPress)
A clickable path that you find on top of a page that helps users find their way around a site. You can use breadcrumbs in various ways with Yoast SEO. If you want to implement them on your entire site, you will need to configure them with Yoast SEO. Alternatively, you can implement breadcrumbs on individual posts and pages with the Yoast SEO breadcrumbs block. You will find settings that let you optimize your breadcrumbs both in the Yoast SEO sidebar and meta box, as well as the Yoast SEO Search appearance settings.
A software application used to locate, retrieve and also display content from the World Wide Web, including web pages, images, video, and other files. For example, some of the most widely-used browsers are: Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
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.
The canonical link element that lets search engines know which variation of a collection of similar or identical pages you want Google to put into the search results. You can easily set a canonical URL with the Advanced settings in Yoast SEO.
The page you’re on after you place an order, pay and ‘leave’ the online store.
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.
Every word, image, video, etc. on your website is content. In Yoast SEO, we use the SEO and the Readability analysis to check written content.
Words that carry an intrinsic meaning, like dog, training, or puppy. These words are essential for Google and users to understand what your content is about. If you look at the content words in a sentence, they should tell you what the topic of an article is. You might not understand the exact relationship of the words though, that’s what function words are for.
The content that is at the core of your website. For example, on yoast.com, we have a selection of ultimate guides on various SEO topics. Those form our cornerstone content. They are the articles that we link to the most and the articles that give the most detailed, in-depth information on the different topics. In Yoast SEO you can indicate whether a post or a page is cornerstone content. If you do, Yoast SEO will be stricter in its SEO analysis. Yoast SEO Premium features a Cornerstone content workout that helps you add links to your cornerstone posts and increase their chance to rank better!
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.
An internet bot that systematically browses the World Wide Web, typically for the purpose of indexing all websites and pages.
CSV file (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
Similar to a spreadsheet, it is a file that contains data. In Yoast SEO, you can download a list of all your redirects in a CSV file. You can use that file to make bulk changes to the redirects. When you are done with the changes, you can go back to these settings and import the CSV file in the Import redirects tab.
Date archives (WordPress platform specific)
Unique pages in WordPress for each date of the year. From an SEO perspective, these pages do not have any added value. Most people are likely to look for content based on a topic, not by date. This is why we recommend you disable date archives in Yoast SEO.
The unique address of a website, like, for example, yoast.com.
A layered menu 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.
Refers to blocks of content within a site or across sites that completely or partially match. Duplicate content might confuse a search engine because it might not be clear what the original content is. Therefore, it will not know which content to rank.
An introduction or summary of a post, that includes a link to the entire post on another web page.
Elementor integration (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
A Yoast SEO integration. Elementor is a page builder in WordPress. The Yoast SEO integration with Elementor lets you seamlessly work on your SEO while building a page with Elementor.
Enhanced Slack sharing (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
A feature in Yoast SEO that enhances the link previews when a page from your site gets shared on Slack. It does so by adding the author’s name and an estimated reading time to the preview. That increases its visibility and usefulness, which may drive more traffic to your site.
Estimated reading time (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
A feature in Yoast SEO Premium that lets you automatically add a block with the estimated reading time of your content. The feature also appears in the Insights tab in Yoast SEO Premium.
Exact match means that Yoast SEO recognizes the keyphrase occurring in the exact same order you’ve entered it in the focus keyphrase field. In most cases, though, the exact match keyphrase isn’t that important. What is important is that the most meaningful words, so-called content words, like dog, training, or puppy, of your keyphrase appear enough times in your copy. Word order and words that don’t carry any intrinsic meaning, aka function words, like have or your, in most cases, don’t matter that much. When an exact match does matter, you can force Yoast SEO to only look at this by putting the keyword in between quotation marks.
FAQ block (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
A Yoast SEO structured data block in the WordPress block editor that lets you create FAQ pages. The block automatically adds structured data to your site, making it eligible for rich results.
The icon used before the site name on browser tabs and in browser bookmarks.
Flesch Reading Ease
A test that measures how difficult a text is to understand. To determine that, it looks at the number of words in your sentences and the average number of syllables per word. If you score 60 or higher, Yoast SEO will give you a green traffic light.
The phrase you’d like your post to rank for. In the past, we used to call it the focus keyword. But, since the internet grew bigger, and more and more content is out there, it’s getting harder to rank on just one word. You should aim to rank for the long tail keyphrases, meaning you should try to rank for a keyphrase consisting of multiple words, especially when you’re just starting with your website. For the SEO analysis in Yoast SEO to work, you need to set a focus keyphrase.
The bottom section of the webpage, which may contain links to other parts of the webpage.
Words that express the grammatical relationship between words. They don’t carry intrinsic meaning but help you build a sentence or express a feeling. Functions words are, for instance, prepositions (in, at, for), auxiliary verbs (can, do, have, may), possessive pronouns (your, his, our), or some nouns and verbs with little meaning (thing, regular, become, appear). In most cases, they don’t carry any intrinsic meaning, and therefore they won’t help Google or users understand what your article is about. Therefore, in these languages, Yoast SEO strips these words from your keyphrase and looks at the occurrence of content words.
Refers to a line, text, or phrase at the top of a written text that explains what the text is all about. Usually in a larger or bolder typeface.
The introductory or first page of a website also referred to as Home.
How-to block (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
A Yoast SEO structured data block that you can use in the WordPress block editor to create how-to articles. The block automatically adds the correct structured data to the page, making it eligible for rich results.
HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the main markup language for creating web pages and other information that can be displayed in a web browser.
HyperText Transfer Protocol is a method of accessing or sending information across a web page.
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.
Image alt attributes
The alt attribute you add to an image helps visually impaired people, as well as search engines, figure out what your images are about. That is good for accessibility and SEO!
Style inclusion method, in which style information is directly attached to the HTML elements they affect, instead of in a separate CSS file.
Checking each input in a form as the user types it in.
Insights (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
A Yoast SEO Premium feature that shows you the most prominent words that occur in the content you are working on. That helps you ensure that you are keeping your content focused and on topic. In addition, the insights tab contains the estimated reading time of your content.
Internal linking suggestions (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
A Yoast SEO Premium feature that provides you with a list of posts, pages, and other custom types of content that you can link to from the post you are working on. It saves you time by finding the URLs of the most relevant content, so you don’t have to search for it manually.
A functionality that you can offer on your website, to allow visitors to search the content of your website.
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 the browsing experience with client-side scripts for instance for moving objects (like sliders) or inline form validation.
The knowledge base used by Google to inform and enhance their search results. They present the information they gather in a knowledge graph panel that you see on the right side of the search results. The knowledge graph panel contains images, links to social media profiles, contact information, reviews, etc. Yoast SEO uses the information you add to its settings to automatically feed Google’s knowledge graph.
Any page on a website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a certain action or result.
Media attachment (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
When you upload something to WordPress, it automatically creates an attachment page for that upload. For example, an image in a post has its separate attachment page with its title and image. This kind of page is not useful in most cases because it contains thin content, which is bad for SEO. Yoast SEO takes care of the issue by redirecting all attachment pages to the URL of the media. So, people and search engines will land on the image URL instead of the attachment page.
The short text (up to 155 characters) that you use to describe the content of your page. It appears in the search results as part of the snippet preview, so you should make sure it is inviting for people to click on. You can edit your meta description in the Google preview tab in Yoast SEO. You’ll get feedback on the length of your meta description, and whether you used your keyphrase in it.
Meta robots tags
Code that tells search engines how to crawl a page.
Website that is available in more than one language.
search engines should not show a cached copy of the page.
No image index
instructs search engines not to crawl images on a page.
tells search engines not to show a snippet of the page in the search results.
A robots meta tag that tells the search engines robots to not follow any links on the page at all.
A robots meta tag that disallows search engines from showing this page in their results.
Open graph metadata
Pieces of code that give social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest information about your content. For example, the code contains information about your site’s name, the type of your content, the title of the page, the featured image, the name of the author, etc. The more complete the information, the better your posts will looks when shared on social media. In Yoast SEO, you can enable Open graph metadata and determine what your pages look like when shared on Facebook and Twitter.
Content that doesn’t have any links pointing to it, and thus will stay undiscovered by visitors and search engines. Yoast SEO premium contains a workout that can help you locate and clean up your orphaned content.
The links from your site to other sites. The internet is a web of sites that are connected with links. By adding links to external sites, you help build the web and make relevant connections within it! That is why Yoast SEO reminds you to add some outbound links in the SEO check.
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.
The length of your paragraphs, which can influence the readability of your online content. Shorter paragraphs make it easy for readers to scan the text. They are also easier to read and understand. Yoast SEO will give you a green traffic light in its Readability analysis if you keep your paragraphs below 150 words.
A grammatical construction in which the actor and receiver are switched around. For example, a sentence using the active voice would be “I ate the pasta,” while the passive voice version would be: “The pasta was eaten by me.” Since passive voice sentences tend to be wordier and more difficult to understand, we recommend using them sparsely. Yoast SEO will warn you if your content contains too much passive voice.
Permalink (or: permanent link)
The full URL you see for your posts, pages, and all other content on your site. A permalink consists of your domain name (example: www.yoast.com) and a slug. You can edit the permalink’s slug in the Google Preview tab in Yoast SEO.
A widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML.
The main page for a certain product or service.
Readability analysis in Yoast SEO
An analysis in Yoast SEO that uses an algorithm to determine how readable your post is. For example, it checks the length of your sentences and paragraphs, the use of passive voice and transition words, as well as your subheadings distribution. It also gives you feedback, which you can use to make your text easier to read and understand.
Redirect manager (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
A feature in Yoast SEO Premium. It helps you effortlessly set redirects when you delete a page as well as manage your redirects.
Regex redirects (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
If you’re an expert SEO and you need to do complex redirections, you may need to use Regex – regular expressions – redirects. With Regex redirects, you can, for instance, make a single redirect to move entire groups of URLs containing a specific keyword to a new location. This could save you a ton of time while working on a massive SEO project.
Words and phrases that are connected to your focus keyphrase. Google uses these related words to understand your text better and connect it to your other content on your site. If you have a strong coherence between all the content on your site, it’s more likely you’re a source of high-quality information for people and, therefore, a good search result. In Yoast SEO Premium for WordPress, as well as Yoast SEO for Shopify you can set related keyphrases for your post or page.
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.
A website that changes its appearance and layout based on the size of the screen the website is displayed on.
REST API: Head endpoint (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
The Yoast SEO REST API endpoint in the General settings of Yoast SEO gives you all the metadata you need for a specific URL. This makes it easy for headless WordPress sites to use Yoast SEO for all their SEO meta output.
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 the search results. Rich results are powered by structured data.
A text file that tells a search engine where it can and cannot go on your website. The robots.txt file is read by search engine crawlers (also called robots, hence the name).
RSS (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
An RSS feed allows users to track updates from their favorite websites. However, scraper sites can abuse that and use the RSS feed to republish content from your site without your permission and without linking back to your site. The RSS settings in Yoast SEO let you add links back to your site at the end of each blog post and show search engines the article’s original source. In addition, with these settings, you can edit the content you want to put in the feed before each post and the content you want to put in the feed after each post.
Refers to the standardized ways of using structured data to describe the content on your site. In Yoast SEO, you can use the Schema tab to indicate what kind of content your page contains. That will make it easier for search engines to figure out what the page is about, and it will make it eligible for rich results.
A feature in Yoast SEO that lets you see what your post or page may look like when it appears in the search results. With this feature, you can edit and preview (both for mobile and desktop) your SEO title, slug, and meta description.
Security: no advanced or schema settings for authors (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
A toggle in the Yoast SEO General settings that lets you disable the Advanced tab in the Yoast SEO metabox and sidebar for the authors’ user type. The Advanced tab contains settings that allow users to block search engines from crawling a page. It also includes settings that let you change the Schema metadata of a post or page. You should handle those settings carefully. By default, only administrators and editors have access to those settings.
Semrush integration (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
An integration in Yoast SEO that gets you access to valuable keyphrase data, powered by Semrush. All you need to do is enter your focus keyphrase in the Yoast SEO input field and then click the Get related keyphrases button. You will get a new popup window with data on related keyphrases, such as search volume and trends. In Yoast SEO Premium, you can click a button and add up to five related keyphrases to your SEO analysis.
A computer or computer program which manages access to a centralized resource or service in a network.
On the server, instead of in a browser.
Shorter sentences are easier to follow. That does not mean that you only need to write short sentences. However, if a lot of your sentences are too long, then your content may become difficult to read. Yoast SEO checks the length of your sentences. If 25% of your sentences are longer than 20 words, Yoast SEO will give you feedback on it.
SEO analysis in Yoast SEO
An analysis in Yoast SEO that gives you recommendations regarding your focus keyword and the SEO of your content. If you have Yoast SEO Premium in WordPress, you can add more focus keywords, which will be put through the SEO analysis separately.
The title that appears in the search engine results. An SEO title is different than the title of your page. Besides the page’s title, it may include a separator (a dot, a hyphen, etc.) and the company name.
SEO title width
Google measures the SEO title (the title you see in the search engine results) in pixels instead of words. That is why Yoast SEO checks your title width instead of its length.
A left or right column next to the main content column of a web page. In WordPress and Shopify you can find the Yoast SEO settings in the sidebar.
Siblings block (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
An internal linking block in Yoast SEO Premium, which lets you automatically add a list of related links to a page.
How fast a website is served to a visitor in his browser.
The last part of the URL. For example, in the URL,
https://yoast.com/contact-page-examples/ the slug is
/contact-page-examples/. That is the part of the URL that you can edit with the Yoast SEO Google Preview.
Stock Keeping Unit, a unique numerical identifying number that refers to a specific stock item in a retailer’s inventory or product catalog.
Buttons linking your social media profiles on your website. Also ‘follow button’.
Social previews in Yoast SEO let you see what your posts will look like when they get shared on Facebook and Twitter.
A setting in Yoast SEO. There are a few special pages, like the search pages and the 404 pages. A 404 page, for example, is a page that informs a user that a 404 error has occurred. In Yoast SEO, you can set the title for such special pages in the Archives tab of the Search Appearance settings (in WordPress) and in the Advanced settings of the Settings tab in Shopify.
A small piece of software search engines use to automatically visit and index websites.
The code you add to your pages to help describe your content to search engines so they understand it better.
Refers to the way you use subheadings in your content. By distributing your subheadings well, you give your content structure and help readers grasp its meaning. In Yoast SEO, you’ll get a green traffic light if you have at least 300 words of text between your subheadings.
Subpages block (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
An internal linking block in Yoast SEO Premium. If you have a parent page with many subpages, the block lets you automatically add a list of links to those subpages on the parent page.
Words or phrases that have the same meaning. A synonym for dog, for instance, is hound, or canine. Using synonyms in your copy can help people understand it better, especially if you’re discussing difficult topics. Using synonyms improves the readability of a text as well; if you repeat the same word very often in your copy, it looks like you’ve written it for search engines, not humans. In Yoast SEO Premium for WordPress and in Yoast SEO for Shopify, you can add synonyms for your keyphrase. When you are adding more than one synonym, make sure to separate the synonyms with a comma! Yoast SEO will then take all the synonyms you’ve added into account for its analysis.
Keywords used to describe an article, a product, or a website.
Taxonomies (WordPress platform specific)
The WordPress term for content that can be grouped in, for example, categories or tags. So, taxonomies are ways to structure content within WordPress, and tags and categories are examples of a taxonomy system.
Template (WordPress platform specific)
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.
Written recommendation from a satisfied customer.
Text link counter (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
A feature in Yoast SEO that counts the number of internal links a posts contains, as well as the number of links on your site that point to that post. Having this easy overview of the internal links can help you improve your site structure. For example, if you notice that a post has too few links pointing to it, you can check your content and decide if you can link to it from any of your other posts. That will make it easier to find, both for your readers and search engines.
A set of design elements, including backgrounds, colors, and fonts. The design of your website.
Theme modification (Yoast SEO for Shopify feature)
When you install Yoast SEO for Shopify, we apply modifications to your theme. More precisely, we add code, such as structured data to your theme. We do not, however, change anything in the way your shop looks. When you uninstall Yoast SEO it is possible to delete those changes.
Web pages that contain little valuable content, like pages with as main content just an image and perhaps one sentence.
A symbol used to separate different parts of your SEO title from each other. For example, the separator could be a hyphen (-), a traffic light (•), or a vertical bar (|). You can set the title separator in the Yoast SEO.
Transition words are used to show the relationship between sentences and paragraphs. For example, words and phrases such as in conclusion, therefore, however, but are some examples of transition words. Using these words in your content makes it easier to read and understand. Yoast SEO checks how often you use transition words in your content and gives you feedback on it.
Twitter card metadata
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. See open graph metadata.
The name of the font used for a website. Example: Arial, Times Roman.
A uniform resource locator also known as web address.
Usage tracking (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
In Yoast SEO usage tracking is enabled if you opt-in, while in Yoast SEO Premium, it is enabled by default. We use usage tracking to improve Yoast SEO. For example, we track basic things like your site’s language, your PHP version, any other plugins you may use, etc.
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.
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.
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.
Word forms (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
The different forms you can create of a word. This means the singular and plural form of a word: dog and dogs. But also, different grammatical tenses, voices, or numbers, for instance, train, trains, was trained or training. Yoast SEO Premium also recognizes these different word forms in various languages. It will recognize different word forms of the words in your keyphrase in:
- the introduction of your copy,
- the SEO title,
- the meta description,
- the alt text of images,
- the slug,
- the subheadings.
Moreover, the keyword density and keyword distribution check will notice these words and recognize them as part of the keyphrase. In the calculation of these two metrics, Yoast SEO Premium will take these occurrences into account.
A free, Web-based software program that anyone can use to build and maintain a website.
The webmaster tools settings in Yoast SEO let you connect your site with some of the most popular webmaster tools such as Google Search Console, Bing, Yandex, etc. Doing that allows you to get insights into your site’s performance on those search engines.
XML sitemap (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
An XML sitemap contains all the important pages of your site that a search engine should crawl and index. It also helps search engines make sense of your site structure. Yoast SEO automatically generates XML sitemaps for your site.
Zapier integration (Yoast SEO for WordPress feature)
An integration in Yoast SEO with Zapier, an automation tool that lets you connect different apps and improve workflows. In Yoast SEO, you can use Zapier to automatically share a post you have published on your site on your preferred platforms.