SEO Glossary

An explanation of the different SEO terms & phrases.

SEO Glossary

Using our SEO Glossary page here you can find an explanation of many of the SEO terms and phrases commonly used in the world of website design and website optimisation. Where appropriate, we have also included links to external sites that you might find useful.

Man Confused by SEO Glossary Terms

Click any of these SEO Glossary terms below to find an explanation of what they mean.

Search EnginePHPMySQL DatabaseSearch Engine Optimisation (SEO)FramesAlgorithmsIndexKeywordsTitle TagDescription TagBack LinkAnchor TextHyperlinkPage RankPay Per ClickPage ContentHTMLGraphical TextNavigationHostingServersFile Transfer ProtocolDynamic PagesSite MapBlog

 Search Engine

Strictly speaking, what are now known as search engines were originally known as search indexes, that is some large companies owned (own) some very large and expensive computers on which websites were indexed.

In order to sort out all of this data, these companies developed a specialised form of software, or programmes, known as “spiders”, “crawlers” or “robots”.

These robots are capable of crawling through all of the data contained in any of the sites and then index, or rank the sites according to a set of criteria.

The most important search engines today (2012) are: Google (number one world wide), Bing, Yahoo, AOL, ASK, COMCAST and so on.
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PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor.

Without going into too much technical detail, PHP is a coding language that is particularly well suited to website design.

It allows a server to produce a page of HTML and other web page coding which is then served to the viewer’s browser as the final web page.

In essence, a website design built with wordpress is fundamentally constructed using PHP and in contrast to static websites, pages made with PHP are made “on the fly” each time the page is requested.
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 My SQL Database

MySQL database is a relational database management system that uses Structured Query Language to execute commands.

For our purposes, these databases store the page elements of a WordPress Website that are “served” to the web browser when requested by the PHP software (see above for an explanation of PHP).
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 Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation – widely known as SEO – are the things that are done to your website that are supposed to help your site be “preferentially selected” in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) above other websites with a similar content.

It is an industry in its own right and has somehow become considered a bit of a “black art”, but this is not true.

There are a number of basic factors that are important in SEO, such as using the right “keywords”, where those keywords appear in the page, how well constructed your “Title” and “Description” Meta-tags are.

If those meta-tags contain your keywords, what your keyword density is, etc etc.

In my experience SEO is not technically difficult, but it IS very time consuming!
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Not so long ago most websites were built with “frames”.

These are discrete “windows” that certain parts of your website might appear in (for example your website menu, and you page content might be in different frames.)

The biggest problem with frames is that the major search engines simply cannot read the content of frames and so when the “crawlers” search through your pages they may see “nothing”.

This is not good for your site as far as being found by the search engines. If you do have a frame based website, you should certainly consider having it updated. (Visit our Re-design page)
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An Algorithm is a mathematical equation that, in the case of the search engines, determined which features of your website are “good”, “rather insignificant” or “dodgy”!

The principle reason for using these algorithms is so that the search engines can return the “most relevant and important” websites to the person doing the searching.

In order to constantly improve the quality of these search results, Google and the other major players re-write these algorithms periodically and this can result in websites that were highly ranked suddenly being less important.

This is especially true if your website designer has been using “tricks” to try and artificially produce better results than might otherwise have been achieved. Therapy Webs designs and builds sites in accordance with the guidelines of the major search engines taking into account any changes to Algorithms.
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In order for your website to be shown in search results your site MUST be included in the major indexes.

These indexes are really just a very large database of all the websites that are present on the internet (well most).

When I build your website for you I submit your site to the main indexes for you as part of my service.
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Keywords are the “words” or “phrase” that people enter into the “search” box on the search engines when they want to find a site on the internet.

When people want some help with, say stopping smoking, they are most likely to add  something like “hypnotherapy to stop smoking in Wolverhampton”.

The “keywords” in this phrase are: HYPNOTHERAPY – STOP SMOKING – WOLVERHAMPTON so if your Hypnotherapy site is in Glasgow, it is unlikely that Google will show your website with this search query.

The way that these keywords are embedded into your website, where those keywords are placed, how those keywords are highlighted, what your keyword density is and how relevant your keywords are ALL play a part in the algorithm deciding is it is YOUR website or somebody else’s that are shown in the results page.

It is probably worth me also saying that Google et al no longer use the “Keyword Meta Tag” to see what your page is about, rather it crawls the content on the page and calculates what the “Focus” Keyword/s is/are based on mathematical calculations (Density)
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 Title Tag

This is a piece of code that is built into your site that tells the search engines WHAT your page is about.

Google will expect to find relevant keywords that link the Title of your page and the contents.
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 Description Tag

Very much like the Title tag above, but this code is designed to give a bit more of an idea about the contents of the page to the search engines.
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Links that point to your site from other websites are called “back-links” and are one of the most important factors in how “important” search engines regard your site to be.

You might have the best optimised website on the planet, but if no other sites link TO yours, then you will NOT be ranked very highly by the search engines.

These links do occur naturally overtime, and this is one of the reasons why it can take a number of years for your site to become very prominent.
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 Anchor Text

You will here the phrase “anchor text” a lot in SEO circles.

Put very simply, anchor text is “the words that are contained in the link to a website page”.

As an example, here is a link to my SEO page:  Visit my SEO page  The “anchor text” is “visit my seo page”

However, here is another link to my home page, but this time with a much better constructed anchor text:

For Top Quality, Well Optimised Hypnotherapy Websites built FOR Hypnotherapists BY Hypnotherapists in the UK, click this link

So well written anchor text that contains keywords and key phrase tells the search engines a lot more about the page being “pointed to” and is much more useful that a simple “click here” phrase.
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Very simply, a hyperlink is that part of the text that when clicked on, takes you to another page or area of the internet.

Hyperlinks can also be placed on images but these are much less “meaningful” than a hyperlink with good “anchor text”.
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PageRank is a link analysis algorithm, named after Larry Page and used by the Google Internet search engine, that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of “measuring” its relative importance within the set.

The name “PageRank” is a trademark of Google, and the PageRank process has been patented (U.S. Patent 6,285,999).

However, the patent is assigned to Stanford University and not to Google. Google has exclusive license rights on the patent from Stanford University. The university received 1.8 million shares of Google in exchange for use of the patent; the shares were sold in 2005 for $336 million. Nice.

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 Pay Per Click

Pay per click (PPC) (also called cost per click) is an Internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, where advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner) when the ad is clicked.

With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. Content sites commonly charge a fixed price per click rather than use a bidding system.

PPC “display” advertisements, also known as “banner” ads, are shown on web sites or search engine results with related content that have agreed to show ads.

This approach differs from the “pay per impression” methods used in Facebook, television and newspaper advertising.

Similar to the pay per click model which often uses a bidding system, with the online pay per impression method, advertisers bid how much they are willing to spend for their ad to show up 1000 times.
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Page content is the textual, visual or aural content that is encountered as part of the user experience on websites. It may include, among other things: text, images, sounds, videos and animations.
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Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) is the main markup language for displaying web pages and other information that can be displayed in a web browser.

HTML is written in the form of HTML elements consisting of tags enclosed in angle brackets (like <html>), within the web page content.

HTML tags most commonly come in pairs like <h1> and </h1>, although some tags, known as empty elements, are unpaired, for example <img>. The first tag in a pair is the start tag, the second tag is the end tag (they are also called opening tags and closing tags). In between these tags web designers can add text, tags, comments and other types of text-based content.

The purpose of a web browser is to read HTML documents and compose them into visible or audible web pages. The browser does not display the HTML tags, but uses the tags to interpret the content of the page.

HTML elements form the building blocks of all websites.

HTML allows images and objects to be embedded and can be used to create interactive forms. It provides a means to create structured documents by denoting structural semantics for text such as headings, paragraphs, lists, links, quotes and other items.

Web browsers can also refer to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to define the appearance and layout of text and other material. The W3C, maintainer of both the HTML and the CSS standards, encourages the use of CSS over explicit presentational HTML markup. Ref:-
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 Graphical Text

Many website designers create Logos and site names in “graphical text”.

This is text that looks good, but is in fact an image. The problem with graphical text is that Search Engines cannot “read” it and so if it’s main purpose is to “tell” the search engines something about the page or site, then it is a complete waste of time.

One way to tell if text is “text” or “graphical” is to place the mouse pointer over the text. If it IS text then the cursor normally changes to the “text editor” cursor (as you see when you use a word-processing programme), if it is actually a picture, the cursor won’t change. Try hovering your pointer (if you’re using a pointing device) over the “Is This Text” element above.
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The navigation of your website is crucial if you want people to visit other pages rather than just the one that they “land on” after a search engine finds a page on your site.

The most common error here is to use “java-script” navigation as many of these very “cool” looking navigation programmes cannot be read by search engines.

Most websites today use a combination of Java-script AND “Static Hyperlinks” to point to other pages on the site. Often these additional text links are found at the bottom of pages where they can be read and indexed properly.
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In order for people to find and use your website, it needs to be “housed” on a computer somewhere. These computers “serve” the website to any web crawlers or viewers that want to “view” the site. The company that own the servers are normally known as “hosting” businesses. Often a “hosting package” will include an e-mail account and other facilities for a one-off or monthly fee.

Therapy Webs provide hosting packages to it’s clients via Namesco.
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Servers are fast large memory capacity computers that are essentially ALWAYS switched on and house website files. These files are “served” to anybody who enters the correct address of the site that it hosts (The URL – Uniform (or universal) resource locator, the address of a World Wide Web page) Our URL is
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 File Transfer Protocol

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer files from one host or to another host over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet.

FTP is built on a client-server architecture and uses separate control and data connections between the client and the server.

FTP users may authenticate themselves using a clear-text sign-in protocol, normally in the form of a username and password, but can connect anonymously if the server is configured to allow it.

For secure transmission that hides (encrypts) the username and password, and encrypts the content, FTP is often secured with SSL/TLS (“FTPS”).

SSH File Transfer Protocol (“SFTP”) is sometimes also used instead.

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 Dynamic Web Pages

Dynamic web pages are pages that are constructed and then served “live” with content that may vary according to files and data that are housed, for example, in a data-base. This is the principle behind WordPress Websites.

This is most commonly happening when you see the file extension “PHP”. (generally taken to mean “Hyper-test pre-processor”)

PHP is an open source general-purpose server-side scripting language originally designed for Web development to produce dynamic Web pages. It is one of the first developed server-side scripting languages to be embedded into an HTML source document rather than calling an external file to process data.

The code is interpreted by a Web server with a PHP processor module which generates the resulting Web page.
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Sitemaps allows a webmaster to inform search engines about URLs on a website that are available for crawling. A Sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for a site.

It allows webmasters to include additional information about each URL: when it was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is in relation to other URLs in the site.

This allows search engines to crawl the site more intelligently.

Sitemaps are a URL inclusion protocol and complement robots.txt, a URL exclusion protocol.

Sitemaps are particularly beneficial on websites where:

  • some areas of the website are not available through the browsable interface, or
  • webmasters use rich Ajax, Silverlight, or Flash content that is not normally processed by search engines.

Sitemaps supplement and do not replace the existing crawl-based mechanisms that search engines already use to discover URLs. Using this protocol does not guarantee that web pages will be included in search indexes, nor does it influence the way that pages are ranked in search results.

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A Blog (a portmanteau of the term web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).

Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often were themed on a single subject.

More recently “multi-author blogs” (MABs) have developed, with posts written by large numbers of authors and professionally edited. MABs from newspapers, other media outlets, universities, think tanks, interest groups and similar institutions account for an increasing quantity of blog traffic.

The rise of Twitter and other “microblogging” systems helps integrate MABs and single-author blogs into societal newstreams.

Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

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