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The essential SEO glossary

SEO glossaryDo you know what keyword stuffing is? Or a crawler? Or a link farm? Get the lowdown on SEO with this essential glossary by SEO expert, John Straw

Alt tag: the descriptive label you add to a graphic file.

Anchor text: the text that describes the target page in a link. Eg a link like "SEO" would have an underlying link to (see what I did there?).

Back links: the "inbound" link structure to a site - ie all the links that are coming into your site from other sites. The number of back links affects your page ranking (see below).

Black hat: term given to a strategy of trying to deceive Google.

Cloaking: serving different content to a search spider than to the human reader. Will get you banned.

Crawler: same as spider (see below).

Doorway page: also known as a "bridge page" or a "gateway page". A doorway page is a web page full of keyword-rich copy that doesn't deliver any useful information on it other than a link into the site, and whose sole purpose is to be fed to the search engines.

Google dance: the chaos caused when Google updates its algorithms and index — many sites are affected.

H1 title tag: this is important to Google. If your keyword is in the title tag that's a good thing.

Inlinks: the inbound links to a page or site. See also backlinks, above.

Keyword density: the number of times a keyword appears on a page as a proportion of total keywords. 2-3% is ideal.

Keyword rich copy: well-optimised page text that has a good distribution of keywords throughout headings and copy.

Keyword stuffing: the dubious practice of stuffing keywords into parts of the page Google can't see or overloading copy with keywords in the hope of fooling Google.

Link buying: buying inbound links to gain better Google results. Dubious at best.

Link farm: a series of highly-linked websites whose sole purpose is to raise the pagerank (see below) score of a target. Don't go there.

Meta description: a 10-20 word description of a page in the HTML code of that page. Although it’s not very important to SEO, a well-written description can be the difference between a potential visitor clicking on your link or that of your competitors.

PageRank: a weighted indication of how important Google thinks a page is. It's on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being nirvana and very hard to achieve. The scale is logarithmic. A tip on how PageRank is distributed — if a page has PageRank 4 with 8 outbound links on it then PageRank is distributed on the basis of 4/8. Something to watch for — you may well be offered a link from a page with Pagerank 7 — but you are not told that that page may have thousands of outbound links on it, making it worthless.

Reciprocal linking: where you agree a link from your site to another site and they agree to link back. Nearly worthless from an SEO perspective — Google knows what you're doing!

SERPS: Search Engine Results Pages.

Spider: the way a search engine crawls your site.

Text link ads: paid-for links; don't go there!

301 redirect: a legitimate method of telling Google you have moved content to another page or site.

John Straw is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and the founder and VP of Business Development of Linkdex.

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