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SEO 2 min read

SEO Glossary: The Basic Terms Everyone Needs To Know

serpstat seo glossary
We know learning the SEO marketing terms and definitions seems like learning another language. We want to support all the folks in digital and created an SEO glossary with definitions, easy solutions, and helpful articles. We did our best to explain SEO in simple terms!

If this glossary is helpful for you, bookmark this page for reference! Can't find the organic search terms you're looking for? We appreciate suggestions from our readers, so leave a comment :)

If you're searching for a particular term, use the hyperlinks below, tag clouds or Ctrl+F on Windows or Command+F on Mac to find the best search term.
We know learning the Google SEO terms seems like learning another language. We want to support all the folks in digital and created an SEO glossary with SEO most searched words, definitions, easy solutions, and helpful articles.

If this glossary is helpful for you, bookmark this page for reference! Can't find what you're looking for? We appreciate suggestions from our readers, so leave a comment :)

If you want to search for a particular SEO technical term, use the hyperlinks below, tag clouds or Ctrl+F on Windows or Command+F on Mac to find the necessary word.

Basic SEO Terms

How to promote a website from scratch
Cannibalization appears that you have many pages on your site that can rank for the same search query. This can happen because the topic they cover is related or optimized for the same keyword. If you optimize pages for similar keywords, they're stealing each other's opportunities to rank. Usually, Google shows up to 3 results from the same domain in the search results for a specific query.
White Hat
White Hat is a way of website optimization by methods that comply with the rules and requirements of search engines. For example, natural backlinks, using relevant keywords and posting useful and unique content.
Blocker is a browser extension or app that blocks ads on a website. It allows the user to see a 'clean' page, uncluttered by ads. The software can block banners, pop-ups, contextual ads, and more.
Cookies are small files sent by a server and stored on a user's device. Cookies are sent by the web client (browser) to the server when the website is opened. The files are used to store information - for example, authentication data, site usage statistics, or personal preferences and settings (design, region).
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Search Queries

Branded keywords
Branded keywords are words or phrases associated with a brand name. Usually, the site easily takes the leading positions for such a query; however, queries with the name of a brand can be used by competitors in their own advertising campaigns. In this case, you should also use branded queries not to lose potential or existing customers of the company who may take advantage of the competitors' offers. Growth in brand traffic is an indicator that marketing efforts are going well and brand awareness is increasing.
Informational query
Information query is a type of request that is used to obtain information, not to make a purchase. Such queries contain the words "how", "when", "why" and form search results with information sites of the necessary subject. Such queries can be used in SEO texts on blog pages of commercial sites, attracting additional traffic. It is important that one page does not contain informational and commercial requests at the same time, as this reduces its relevance.
Navigational query
Navigation query is a request by which a user searches for a specific site. SEO specialists add navigation queries when creating the semantic core so that they can be placed in the texts and meta tags of suitable sections: on the main page, contacts, etc. It makes no sense to add navigation queries using the names of competitors to the semantic core since this will increase the bounce rate.
Multimedia query
Multimedia query is a query that refers to the search for music, videos, movies, images, and other non-textual information. For example, "kanye west album", "watch the Bridgerton series", "hairstyles for short hair" and so on. Movie sites, resources with audiobooks, videos, etc., are promoted by multimedia queries. Such queries are highly competitive; therefore, to promote them, you need to keep track of the constant updating of multimedia content on the site and add high-quality text descriptions to it.
Transactional query
Transaction query is a type of request aimed at performing a targeted action. It contains words such as "buy", "download", "subscribe" and is used on commercial sites. Such queries should be included in the semantic core since they provide the highest conversions. Transactional queries should be added to product cards, meta tags, and category pages. The texts must be of high quality, useful for clients, and unique, then the site will be successfully promoted for highly competitive transactional requests.
HF / MF / LF / mLF
HF / MF / LF / mLF are abbreviations indicating the frequency of requests. Frequency is a measure of the popularity of a search query. Accordingly, HF are high-frequency requests, MF - mid-frequency, LF - low-frequency, MNF - micro-low frequency. The specific number of searches for each range will vary depending on the niche.

Technical SEO Terms

Cache is a buffer memory technology that provides quick access to Internet pages or certain programs. In most cases, cache is hidden from users and stored in browsers. It is saved in the background the first time you visit the site. When you return to the resource, its content will be loaded not from the server but from the user's computer; this will allow the site to load as quickly as possible. It also allows you to minimize the payment for traffic from mobile devices.
Website mirror
Website mirror is a copy of a website hosted on a different URL, which replicates the resource in whole or in part. There are cases when a mirror is created on purpose: to transfer the site to another domain name, to increase the stability of the resource, to receive type-in traffic, to redirect users who incorrectly entered the domain in the browser address bar.
How to create and promote a website yourself
Captcha (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) is a set of characters, letters, and numbers aimed to determine whether a robot or human is interacting with the content. Its use protects against spam and theft of the personal data of site users. To successfully pass the test, you must enter the characters displayed on the screen, select specific images, or recognize the audio recording. It is necessary to pass such a check on many sites when registering, accessing an account from new devices, changing a password, adding comments, etc.
WHOIS is a network protocol used to obtain information about a domain or IP address. After entering the domain name, the service displays the server name, information about the registrar, personal data of the owner, registration date, and domain expiration date. The service database contains information about all domain names of any domain registrars. There are many such services on the internet; it is preferable to use those recommended by search engines. Domain information can be helpful when analyzing competitors and looking for a new domain name.
Responsive layout
Responsive layout is a variant of HTML document layout that makes a web page displayed correctly on different devices without using a separate mobile version. Most modern users browse mobile devices, so responsiveness plays a vital role in usability and project ranking. Responsive layout is embedded in HTML code using media queries that specify display styles for different screen sizes. For responsive images, you can also use the srcset attribute of the img tag.
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Analytics and marketing

User is a person who visited a site in a specific time range. If a user visited a resource for the first time, he is considered unique, and his visit is added to the analytics systems. The growth in the number of site visits is one of the signs of the successful development of the project. Target visitors are important for internet marketing - those interested in the company's offers and ready to become its customers. Such visitors perform targeted actions - purchases, calls, registration, etc.
Session is a period in which a user interacts with a site over some time. A single session can include an unlimited number of page views, events, eCommerce transactions, and other activities. The session ends after 30 minutes of inactivity, at midnight, or when the user, who found the site from an advertisement, leaves the resource and re-visits it from another advertising campaign.
Webmaster Panel
Webmaster Panel is a search engine service designed to analyze the number of resource impressions in the search results, the number of visits to the site, CTR, average position, page indexing, convenience for mobile devices, the presence of errors in the code, security problems and manual sanctions. Using the webmaster's panel, you can send a new or changed page for indexing, add and check the Sitemap.XML file, remove unnecessary content from the search results.
Dashboard is a software tool for analyzing data that is visualized using interactive analytics. Dashboards use graphs, tables, charts, and other visual elements. The data displayed in dashboards are grouped, sorted, filtered, maximum and minimum values are calculated, etc. The dashboard data source can be Excel, XML, CSV files, social networking services, data servers, etc.
Lead is someone who is interested in your products and services and shows that interest by the actions they take on your site. This is an intermediate stage before the transformation of a regular website visitor into a client. The method of converting a user into a customer in a few taps allows you to increase the trust of a potential buyer and significantly increase the conversion rate.
CTR is the click-through rate of a resource in search or advertising results. It is calculated as the ratio of clicks on the site to the total number of impressions. High rankings, well-filled title and description meta tags, from which the snippet is formed, micro-markup that adds additional informative elements positively affect the site's click-through rate. A high CTR is a positive behavioral factor that indicates the interest of users in the project. Also, a high ratio lowers the cost per click in contextual advertising.
PPC (Pay Per Click)
PPC (pay per click) is a method of paying for advertising, in which the site owner pays not for impressions but clicks on an ad or banner. The cost of a click depends on several parameters: the ad quality indicator, CTR, the presence and activity of competitors, the correspondence of the landing page to the user's request. This indicator is used in search engine contextual advertising, on advertising websites, in PPC mediators between advertisers and owners of resources that place ads.
CPC (Cost Per Click)
CPC (cost per click) is the cost paid by the advertiser to search engines for contextual advertising or to the sites on which an ad is placed. The CPC is influenced by various factors: the competitiveness of the keyword by which the ad is displayed, click-through rate, location of the user, the quality of the ad, and the relevance of the advertised page.
Conversion is an indicator of the commercial efficiency of a resource, which is calculated as the ratio of site visitors who have performed targeted actions to the total number of visits as a percentage. For example, an online store had 200 visitors; 10 of them placed orders, so the conversion rate is 5%. Conversion does not always mean a purchase; it can also be a subscription to a newsletter, a visit to a specific page, or a download of a file or software product.
Banner is a multimedia advertisement that can be a static or animated image, a graphic block, or an interactive element created using JavaScript or Flash. Advertisers place banners on various sites to attract potential customers to their website. The main task of the banner is to induce the user to buy the advertised product or order a service. Also, a banner can work to increase brand awareness and form a positive image of the company.
A/B testing
A/B testing is an internet marketing tool that allows you to compare the performance of different ad options, web interface, design, text content, and other elements that affect website conversion. When conducting A/B tests, users are divided into segments, one of which (segment "A") sees the old version of the element, and the other (segment "B") - the new version with the implemented changes. The tests must be run in parallel; otherwise, different factors can skew the results. After testing, a decision is made whether to make the desired changes.
CPA (Cost Per Action)
CPA (Cost Per Action) is a method of paying for the necessary targeted actions on the site. This model is the most effective way to invest in advertising since it allows you to pay only for actions that bring real profit to the advertiser. The indicator is calculated as the ratio of the advertising price to the number of targeted actions. The advertiser can use various options as target actions: leads (Cost Per Lead model); purchases (Cost Per Sale model); visiting a specific page or a set of pages of a resource; watching video; downloading a file; sending contact information, etc.
CPL (Cost Per Lead)
CPL (Cost Per Lead) is an online ad payment option for leads rather than impressions, purchases, or clicks. This is a kind of CPA (Cost Per Action) model - advertising with payment for targeted actions. Unlike the standard CPA option, in which the advertiser receives a sequence of targeted actions that can be anonymous, the CPL considers the receipt of users' data. With this model, the advertiser pays for obtaining contact information of potential customers for further communication with them.
KPI (Key Performance Indicators)
KPI (Key Performance Indicators) are indicators that assess the effectiveness of work in various areas related to the promotion of a company. Internet marketing involves various performance indicators: traffic from different channels, bounce rate, conversion rate, cost of attracting one customer or lead, average bill, return on investments, number of repeated user visits, etc. For each type of business, its own set of KPIs is individually selected, vital for project development.
LTV (Customer Lifetime Value)
LTV (Customer Lifetime Value) is a marketing indicator that calculates the projected profit per customer for the entire period of interaction with the company. The calculation considers the cost of attracting and retaining a customer, the cost of creating a product or service, and other indicators. There are various formulas for calculating LTV; the simplest one is calculated as the product of the average bill by the number of sales, the average cooperation time and the average margin. The indicator can be calculated using the RFM matrix.
ROI (Return on Investment)
ROI (Return on Investment) is an indicator of the return on investment used to calculate the most profitable marketing channel. To calculate the ROI of an ad, you first need to calculate the gross margin - the difference between revenue and the cost of a product. Then the ROI is calculated using the following formula: ROI = (Gross Profit - Advertising Costs) / (Advertising Costs × 100%). The indicator can be automatically calculated using search engine analytics systems, as well as special services.
ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment)
ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) is an indicator that assesses the return on investments in Internet marketing: SEO, contextual advertising, email campaigns, etc. Using the indicator allows you to find out unprofitable and profitable advertising channels to distribute the advertising budget. This coefficient is calculated using the following formula: ROMI = (Gross Profit - Advertising Costs) / Advertising Costs * 100%, where Gross Profit is the difference between revenue and cost of goods. It is helpful to track other metrics to assess the progress of a project.

Textual Factors

Keyword density
Keyword density is a parameter calculated as the ratio of the number of times the keyword is used in the text to its total volume. It is crucial to keep the optimal percentage of occurrences so that the text remains relevant to the query, but at the same time, it is readable. An attempt to improve the site's position by actively adding keywords can lead to penalties by the search engines. There is no single indicator of the percentage of entries; when calculating it, it is worth considering the indicators of competitors in the top of the search results.
Highlighting in SERPs
Highlighting in SERPs is highlighting keywords in bold in a snippet that appears in search results. Highlighting is used to expand the semantic core to include missing word forms that visitors can use to find a site. Thus, the textual relevance of the text increases and the risks of falling under the sanctions of search engines for overspamming are reduced.
TF-IDF (term frequency-inverse document frequency)
TF-IDF (term frequency-inverse document frequency) are indicators that assess the keyword's importance on the page. The term frequency (TF) is calculated as the number of keyword occurrences to the total number of words. Inverse document frequency (IDF) estimates the inverse frequency of a specific word in a text. By using this parameter, you can reduce the importance of certain words. Search engines use this technique to analyze texts for compliance with the user's request. The TF-IDF can be calculated using Serpstat Text Analytics module.

Link Building

Link donors
Link donors are sites on which external links are placed to promote the resource. There are several requirements for link donors that they must meet: have a similar topic, a high level of trust, good traffic, and high-quality content. It is essential that the donor site is not under the filters of search engines, as well as there is no excessive number of external links on it. If the donor is of poor quality, the acceptor site (the project to which the external link leads) may fall under the sanctions of search engines.
Link graph
Link graph is a term from the mathematical theory that Google has adopted for its document ranking algorithm. It refers to objects that are interconnected with each other. The important thing is that their connections can be represented graphically. The concept is perfect for SEO as the objects (dots) are sites and the edges are links. The link graph is used by the PageRank algorithm.
Learn more
PageRank is one of the parameters by which the importance of a web page on Google is measured. Within the framework of one resource, pages can receive different PR depending on the number of external links to them. The scores are calculated on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 10. Now the PageRank is no longer displayed so that it can't be increased artificially. However, Google claims that the metric is still important for search algorithms. PageRank is influenced by both external and internal links to a page.
Learn more
Link exchange
Link exchange is an online service designed to buy and sell links for external promotion of resources and earnings for the owners of donor sites. Link weight is an important ranking factor, but you need to be careful when buying links to reduce your risk of being penalized by search engines. Attention should be paid to the quality and topic of the donor site, the number of outbound links on its pages, different types of links, the naturalness of the anchor list, etc.
Link aggregator
Link aggregator is an automated service that allows you to bulk purchase links according to a specific strategy. Aggregators act as mediators between link exchanges and site owners who wish to purchase links. When working with aggregators, labor costs for external optimization are reduced - the system automatically selects requests and pages for promotion, compiles an anchor list, calculates a budget for promotion and purchases links. After that, you can get statistics on promoted requests.
Social signals
Social signals are factors related to the reactions of social media users to a site. Likes, reposts, joining company groups, comments, placing links to the site are taken into account by search engines when ranking a project. To strengthen social signals, you should place social media buttons and widgets on the site, create and maintain groups, attract subscribers' attention to them with exciting content, contests, and other types of activity. Thanks to social signals, the indexing of the resource is accelerated, the number of external links is growing, and additional traffic from social networks appears.
Spam is the mass distribution of advertising messages or emails. The most widespread mail spam consists of sending commercial offers using a database of email addresses. Other types of spam are also actively used: in comments, messengers, social networks, forums. It is worth separating safe spam, which is sent to advertise any company's products, from dangerous spam - phishing, emails with malware, various fraudulent schemes for luring money. Reliable email services, as a rule, protect users from unsafe emails, and they automatically end up in the spam section.
Black optimization methods
Black optimization methods are methods of competitive struggle in website promotion prohibited by search engines. There are situations when a sharp drop in site positions is associated with the actions of competitors. There are various types of attacks on the site: mass addition of low-quality external links; hacking a resource or DDoS attacks; complaints about the project using search engine tools; theft of content and its placement on high-trust resources before indexing; wasting competitor's budget in contextual advertising by clicking on ads. Also, black SEO includes several methods for promoting your resource: hidden text, cloaking, satellites, etc.
Link explosion
Link explosion is a sharp increase in the link mass of a site in a short time. There are situations when a link explosion occurs for natural reasons - associated with the publication of material on a site that has become popular and widespread on the web. In such cases, the site should not be subject to any sanctions by the search engines. Suppose the link explosion is associated with the mass purchase of links and the use of transactional queries in their anchors. In that case, the search engines recognize the artificial increase in links and impose sanctions on the site. It is necessary to competently build up the link mass to ensure a positive result and reduce risks.
Cloaking is a prohibited way to promote a page with different content on it. One is seen by a regular visitor of the site, and a search robot sees the other. The user is offered standard readable text, and the robot is provided with content with an abundance of keywords. If such a violation is found, the site may fall under the filters of search engines. Technically, cloaking is implemented in two ways: by comparing the user's User Agent with a list of search engine robots' values, after which the required page is displayed; by comparing IP addresses and then selecting content.
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Algorithms And Filters

Panda is a Google search algorithm that was presented in 2011. It checks sites in organic results and filters out low-quality pages - those containing spelling or stylistic errors, non-unique text, repetitive or unreliable information. The algorithm ensures that users are provided with pages with the most relevant content. It prevents aggressive SEO.
Penguin is a Google filter designed to combat low-quality external website optimization. Sites that too intensively build up the link mass, post links to resources with different topics, use a redirect to the main page, have a lot of broken links (they show a 404 error) can get under the filter. Getting out of the filter is not easy: you need to completely correct the violations committed, remove low-quality links and wait up to six months for the result.
Hummingbird is a Google algorithm that was launched in 2013. It works to improve search results when a query is entered in a conversational style. It also works with voice search. The algorithm interprets the query sent by the user into a more grammatically precise form. This makes it easier for computer programs to understand it.
Sandbox is a filter that complicates the promotion of new sites during the first year; sometimes, this period can last from three months to two years. The limitation is mainly related to high-frequency queries; for low-frequency keywords, a new resource can rank well immediately after creation. Google employees do not confirm the existence of this filter, explaining the difficulties of promoting a new site by other factors - insufficient content, low link mass, lack of information to assess behavioral factors.

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