Search engine optimization glossary for novice SEO


Directories are compiled lists of sites, categorized and organized by topic. Each directory listing contains short, descriptive information about the site. Unlike spidering search engines (like Google), directories are compiled by human editors who approve listings. The human-involved process obtaining directories listings is far different than with obtaining listings in spider-built search indexes or paid search-advertising engines. In some cases, pay for inclusion is offered for expedited listings in directories such as Yahoo! and LookSmart. The Open Directory Project, on the other hand, is meant to always be free. Strong directory listings are an excellent way your company can increase its link popularity and its Google PageRank. However, a poorly written listing that is submitted to Yahoo! (and subsequently edited or run with ineffective writing or keyword research) can negatively influence a search marketing campaign.

Call-to-action link

Otherwise known as a hyperlink. Call-to-action links in Internet marketing campaigns guide the reader to a new action step. Call-to-action hyperlinks could lead a prospect to a new Web page, an email form, a text section within a page or a shopping cart. Correctly written, call-to-action links increase micro-conversion rates and can affect keyphrase relevancy.

Conversion rates

Conversion rates are distinct measurements that determine how many of your prospects take your preferred action step. Typically, micro-conversions (for instance, reading different pages on your site, or signing up for a newsletter) lead to your main conversion step (making a purchase, or contacting you for more information).

Description tag

The description tag is Meta data that appears if you right click your mouse and click "View Source" on any Web page. This data is written like a marketing statement and should clearly communicate the purpose of the page. Ideally, the description tag should be around 170 characters (with spaces). Depending on the engine, additional characters over 170 may be truncated. The description is visible on the SERP with engines that support this tag (some search engines, like Google, use a copy snippet for the description). For instance, the description tag for this page appears like this: <meta name="description" content="Binoj Xavier is a webdesigner and SEO in india having 9+ years experience in Web designing, SEO, Flash, Print and multimedia.">(This description has 124 characters, including spaces.)


A headline is a quick-scan way customers can instantly learn your company's main benefits (for instance, "Custom auto parts sale. Free shipping."). Headlines are typically in bolded text, and appear at the top of a Web page. Headlines and subheadlines (see below) are incredibly important for usability; as online readers scan, not read, headlines make the scanning process easier. Further, in code, headlines can be inscribed using HTML heading tags that can influence positioning.


Otherwise known as spiderability. Indexability refers to if a site can be indexed - or recorded - by a search engine spider. If a site is not indexable, or if a site has reduced indexability, positioning will suffer.


A blue, underlined word or phrase that, when clicked upon, takes users to another Web page, or section within a Web page. Hyperlinks are also known as call-to-action links (see above).

Keyword (or key word)

A single word (like webdesign) prospects would type into a search query box to find products and services like yours. Although keyphrases contain individual keywords, optimizing for keywords is not recommended.

Keywords tag

The keywords tag is Meta data that appears if you right click your mouse and click "View Source" on any Web page. Although this tag is not supported in many engines (this is not true with some Trusted Feed campaigns), the keywords tag is a place to highlight your keyphrases and include misspellings. This data is written like a marketing statement and should clearly communicate the purpose of the page. Ideally, the description tag should be no more than 170 characters (with spaces). For instance, the keywords tag for this page appears like this:<meta name="keywords" content="search engine optimization, Best SEO India, XML feed, conversion rates, landing page">

Keyphrase (or key phrase; also known as a keyword phrase)

A two- or more-word phrase (like Florida travel) prospects would type into a search query box to find products and services like yours.

Landing page

Landing pages are pages that users would click through to from a PPC campaign or XML feed (that is, people "land" on a particular page as a result of search marketing efforts). For best results, these pages are highly targeted for the reader and specific to the PPC ad or feed description (for instance, if a PPC ad advertises a coat sale, sending prospects to the company home page would invoke frustrations and decrease conversions). Rewriting landing pages is one of the easiest ways companies can increase their conversion rates.

Link exchange

A link exchange Internet marketing campaign is the process of exchanging hyperlinks with a quality site that is somehow related to a company's product or service. For instance, a public relations agency may link to a search engine positioning firm's article on "PR and SEO marketing." The SEO may then include a link on their site listing the public relations company. Good link exchange vendors can increase a company's PageRank and increase the number of targeted visitors. Poor link exchanges (think $99 "link farms" where a company promises to link your site to thousands of others) can actually harm site positioning.


The SERP is otherwise known as the Search Engines Results Page. This is the page that users see after typing their search query into an engine. Since conversion starts at the SERP, it is an important job of the search marketer to obtain strong call-to-action listings that entice the click.

SEO (or SEM)

A form of online marketing, search engine optimization (or search engine marketing) is the process of making a site and its content highly relevant for both search engines and searchers. Successful search marketing helps a site gain top positioning for relevant words and phrases.


Like headlines, subheadlines provide quick-scan benefits and instant information. Subheadlines typically begin inner paragraphs, highlighting the following paragraph's main points and benefits. Subheadlines, like headlines, can also be inscribed using HTML Heading tags. When keyphrases appear in the subheadline, positioning for those keyphrases may be improved.


The Title tag is Meta data that appears if you right click your mouse and click "View Source" on any Web page. It is extremely important that every Title tag contains well-researched keyphrases and is written in a way that entices a user to click thru from the SERP. Ideally, the Title tag should be around 50 characters (with spaces). More characters are acceptable, but the Title may be truncated if it's over 50 characters. The Title tag is a crucial part of your search marketing campaign - and every page should have its own Title tag. For instance, the Title tag for this page is: <title>Search engine optimization and Internet marketing glossary</title> (58 characters, with spaces.)

Trusted feed

Spider-built search engines sometimes cannot crawl a Website even though they try and try. Indexing is important to large content providers such as and IBM, but the same problems that affect indexing with smaller sites can be magnified in large, complex sites such as these. To resolve these issues, all major spider-built search indexes offer a fee-based custom crawl service to large content providers. Many of these search engines have taken the service to the streets by partnering with vendors who often operate their own spiders. The vendors automate the crawling process for the engine and feed the data directly into the index entirely on the basis of trust. Beware, not all vendors are alike and some have unsavory pasts.

Search Engine Result Page

The search engine results page (SERP) is the first page searchers see when they've entered their query into the search box. This page lists results of the searcher's query, sorted in terms of relevancy. Gaining a page one or two SERP listing is highly desirable for businesses targeting B2B and/or B2C sales.


See Search Engine Results Page

Search engine optimization writing

Search engine optimization writing is specialized copywriting that entails weaving keywords and keyphrases into marketing or informational copy. The purpose of search engine optimization copywriting is to gain prime positioning for the desired keyphrases, as well as increase page conversion rates.


Spam is either a shelved potted meat product or an Internet term for unsolicited commercial email. In the case of search marketing, search engines had to put up their guard against overzealous search marketers who bombarded them with massive daily submissions and loaded their pages with keyword junk. These pages are often derided as pollution and described as spammy by search engine "spam police" who remove and blacklist all the spam they find from their indexes. Spam is the excessive use of any single "trick" meant to improve positioning in Internet search engines.

Spidering search engines

A spidering search engine (Google for example) is one that uses machines to fetch Websites and record its pages. The database of over 2 billion Web pages in Google's search index was gathered together using Google machines and GoogleBot (Google's so-called "spider" or Web crawler technology).

Pay for inclusion (PFI)

Pay-for-Inclusion services are designed for Webmasters that are having trouble getting pages listed in spider-based search engines. A main benefit of PFI is fast respidering (every 48 hours or so), giving site owners and Webmasters instant positioning feedback and the ability to change content frequently. Also, site owners can submit deep-linked pages and be guaranteed that the URL will be included.

The typical PFI program is an annual URL-based subscription with regular refresh cycles and click-based reporting. These programs are highly effective and potent for use in conjunction with seasonal campaign pages.

Pay per Click (PPC)

Pay per Click is a type of search marketing where advertisers pay a set amount every time their ad is clicked by a prospect (otherwise known as a click thru).

Some search engines, such as Overture, specialize in this type of advertising medium, although pay per click is not limited solely to pay-per-click engines. For instance, Looksmart, a directory, recently changed its business model to pay per click. Also, XML trusted feeds through Inktomi and Fast are sold at a per-click basis.


Quite simply, usability is making your site easy for your customers to find the exact information they need when they need it. Anything that makes the process slower (like Flash animation served to a dial-up customer) inhibits usability. Conversely, easy, intuitive navigation and strong, informative text enhance usability.


Metadata refers to the descriptions, tags, genre, and other related information that you provide in the definition of a video Title.

RSS feed

Really Simple Syndication is a popular technology for notifying users of updates to content in a web site, blog, or Internet TV channel.

Search engine

A program, such as Google, designed to help find information on the web.

Social network website

A web site, such as,, which offers its viewer members the ability to share messages, media, and other information with each other.

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