An index of websites compiled manually rather than by a crawler. Online directories work like paper directories and can be general or divided into categories. Directory site servers present relevant lists of registered sites in response to user searches, making directory registration a key method for building inbound link networks for SEO. Ranking on directory sites is often manual rather than relevance based and some directories accept free submissions, while others apply fees for listing. The biggest directories presently are Yahoo!, Project, The Open Directory and LookSmart.
Flash (Macromedia Flash) is a type of vector graphic-based animation technology. Until very recently, search engines have been unable to 'crawl' Flash websites, but that's starting to change and Flash is now coming into the realm of Search Engine Optimisation.
Flash Optimization - The relatively new process of refining Flash movie and surrounding HTML code to be more ‘crawlable’ for search engines. Until recently, search engine crawlers were unable to ‘read’ flash code at all, and so the practice of optimising Flash is a potential growth area for SEO.
Google AdWords - The keyword submission program that specifies advertising rates and keyword value in the Google AdSense program. Advertisers bid on the keywords and phrases relevant to their online objectives or core business area. Ranked adverts then appear in the sponsored links sections of Google search engine results pages (SERPS) and Google AdSense host sites.
Grey Hat SEO - Grey hat SEO is a term given to search engine optimisation methods that fall in between white hat SEO and black hat SEO. Grey hat SEO techniques can be legitimate in some cases and illegitimate in others, depending largely on the context in which they are used and to what extent. Doorway pages, cloaking and duplicate content are all examples of grey hat SEO techniques.
HTML - HyperText Markup Language - the language used to create webpages. HTML is a series of codes or HTML tags that provide web browsers with information on how to structure a web page.
Inbound Links - Known also as backlinks, backward link or back link, inbound links are all of the links on other websites that take users who click on them to your website. Inbound links can dramatically improve your site’s search engine rankings, especially if they contain keyword-optimised anchor text relevant to your site and are located on websites with a high page rank.
Index - An index is a search engine’s memory bank. It contains all of the data and information that search engine crawlers retrieve from websites. When a user performs a search, the search engine draws on its index and algorithms to return a ranked list of the webpages most relevant to the search terms.
Keyword / Keyword Phrases - Sometimes referred to as search terms and search phrases, keywords are the words and phrases users enter into search engine query boxes. Search engines list results pages in accordance with how relevant the pages are to the search terms. One of the key SEO methods used for optimising websites is writing content that contains search terms identified as being most relevant to the core purpose of the website.
Link - Also referred to as a hyperlink, HTML link or a backlink, a link is either an image or piece of enhanced text that when clicked on by a user opens a different webpage or takes the browser to a different portion of the page being viewed. High quality and relevant inbound links featuring keyword-relevant link text are probably the most important component of ‘white hat’ search engine optimisation.
Link Baiting - Link baiting refers to the creation of website content that encourages users to link to your page from their own websites. Link baiting techniques vary enormously, but can include informed articles and news stories, practical resources and occasionally controversial or sensationalistic content. Some websites use link baiting as the core component of their internet marketing strategy. Link baiting is a ‘white hat’ SEO technique.
Link Farm - A link farm is a web site that only includes a list of links to other websites. Link farms contain no useful content except for links to other sites and can be easily confused with web directories. The concept of link farms was created as a method for boosting page rank in search engine listings, but modern search engines regard link farms as a form of spam and so blacklist them. Link farms fall under the ‘black hat’ classification of search engine optimisation techniques and should be avoided.
Also known as anchor text, link text is the visible, clickable text between the HTML anchor andtags. Clicking on link text activates a Hyperlink to another web site. Link text is very important in Search engine optimisation because search engine algorithms consider the hyperlink keywords as relevant to the Landing Page.
Phrases which contain a series of keywords. Long tail keyword phrases are useful for attracting quality traffic to a website, because they tend to draw in users looking for something specific, and thus often boast a higher conversion rate.
HTML data on a webpage that describes the content on the page. This information is used by search engines to understand what the webpage is about and so index it accurately. See the individual meta data terms for explanations of different types of metadata.
Meta Description Tag- Also referred to as a description tag, a meta description tag is a short HTML paragraph that provides search engine crawlers with a synopsis of a webpage’s content. The meta description tag is not actually displayed on the website. It’s apparent that search engines are now placing less emphasis on meta description tags and more on website content. However, it’s still regarded as good SEO practice to optimise meta description tags.
MetaKeywords Tag - A tag that provides search engines with a snapshot of keywords relevant to a specific webpage. This used to improve a page’s search engine ranking, but search engines are now giving less importance to meta keywords, instead preferring actual website content. However, it’s still regarded as good SEO practice to optimise meta keyword tags.
A meta robots tag enables the prevention of webpages from being added to a search engine’s index. Robots.txt files and password protection offer alternatives to meta robots tags.
Meta tags are HTML tags placed in a webpage that contain information for crawlers and internet browsers. Main types of meta tag information include page-relevant keywords (meta keywords tag), page descriptions (description tag) and whether a page can be indexed (meta robots tag). Search engines are increasingly favouring actual website content over metadata when indexing websites, but it’s still practical to optimise metadata for effective SEO.
A testing method whereby multiple variables are examined simultaneously to determine which combinations of functions and features on a website are most effective at generating a positive reaction by users. Multivariate testing is invaluable for online marketing, as it can accurately ascertain a website’s optimum configuration for revenue generation (i.e. conversion potential).
Natural Listings / Organic Listings - Natural listings are listings that appear on search engine results pages purely based on their relevance to the search terms, as deemed by the search engine’s algorithm. Paid listings can also appear in natural listings if they’re relevant. The best and most cost effective way of improving a website’s natural listing ranking is through the use of organic search engine optimisation techniques.
Organic Listings / Natural Listings - Organic listings are listings that appear on search engine results pages purely based on their relevance to the search terms, as deemed by the search engine’s algorithm. Paid listings can also appear in organic listings if they’re relevant. The best and most cost effective way of improving a website’s organic listing ranking is through the use of natural search engine optimisation techniques.
Page Rank (or PR) - not to be confused with rank - is a link analysis algorithm developed by Google which measures the importance of a website and determines the likelihood that a user will arrive at that page by randomly clicking Links. A score from one to ten is given to a website to represent its PageRank rating. One is low, ten is high.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) - Pay per click is a paid for advertising method offered by search engines and advertising networks where advertisers pay fixed fees each time someone clicks on their adverts. Pay per click adverts are featured separately from organic search listings on search engine results pages in a defined ‘sponsored links’ section. Ranking in sponsored links sections depends on both the relevance of keywords to the website and the amount paid for the words or phrases by the advertiser.
Rank - Rank is the position a website listing occupies relative to the top on a search engine’s natural search results page. Search engines generally display ten listings per page, and getting near the top of the listings is regarded as essential due to overwhelming evidence showing that search engine users rarely look beyond the first page or two of listings when deciding on which websites to click through to.
ROI (Return On Investment) - A method used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment. Calculating basic ROI is simple - the benefit of the investment is divided by the cost of creating, implementing and sustaining it. The result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio.
Search Engine - A search engine is a website that enables users to search the internet for other websites. The search is dictated by the keywords and phrases the user enters into the search engine’s query box, and listings are returned and displayed in two ways. Natural (or organic) results are displayed solely in terms of how relevant to the search terms they’re deemed to be by the search engine. Sponsored (or ‘paid for’) results are listed in accordance with both relevance to the search terms and how much the website owners paid to come up in searches where those keyword were used. To determine the relevance of websites to the search terms, search engines use complex processes often referred to as algorithms. Search engines pro-actively gather information on websites through the use of spiders and store the details in their index libraries.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Search engine optimisation is the practice of refining a website for the purpose of improving its ranking in natural search engine listings. This is done through a combination of methods, such as inserting keywords and phrases into the text content and metadata of individual webpages, establishing high quality external links to the site and also through directory and search engine submissions.
Search Engine Ranking Report - A search engine ranking report is a periodical report on the position of a company’s website listing in relation to their identified keywords. This type of reporting enables companies to monitor the success of SEO strategies or pay per click advertising campaigns.
Search Terms - Sometimes referred to as keywords and keyphrases, search terms are the words and phrases users enter into search engine query boxes. Search engines list results pages in accordance with how relevant the pages are to the search terms. One of the key SEO methods used for optimising websites is writing content that contains search terms identified as being most relevant to the core purpose of the website.
Spider- Also known as a Crawler, Robot, or bot. A spider is a search engine program that ‘crawls’ through websites, retrieving data, following links, , logging page versions and updates and storing URLs in the search engine’s Index. This allows search engines to provide fast, accurate and up-to-date listings.
Title Tags- An HTML tag containing text describing the contents of a webpage. Title tags are a significant part of search engine optimisation because they are often used as the text links that lead to sites from search engine result pages. The best title tags contain relevant keywords that both encourage accurate indexing and appeal to search engine users.
Unique visitor is a term which refers to the registering of a hit on one page of a web site from a unique IP address in a specified period. Subsequent hits by the same IP address are not counted as unique during that same period. Unique visitor counts are one useful way of measuring the success of search engine optimisation.
Web analytics is a discipline of analytics that monitors study the behaviour of website visitors. Hits, page views, and the data behind conversion rates are used to refine a website or wider internet marketing strategy.
White hat SEO is the acceptable use of search engine optimisation techniques, including relevant link building, content and metadata optimisation and other legitimate methods that don’t fall under black hat or grey hat.