Table of Contents

List of must-know SEO terms

SEO is more than just ranking your website on search engines. It generates profits and drives the brand’s growth and recognition. 

But to succeed in the SEO industry, enthusiasts are bound to know the SEO terms and their meanings. It will not only add to your knowledge trove but also makes you the cutting-edge SEO master. 

So, we have compiled a list of must-know SEO glossary terms with meaning.

1. Above the fold 

Above the fold content is the first visible section of the webpage that users view without the need for scrolling down further.  Above the fold could be your homepage, a blog, or any
Specific landing page. 

Traditionally, the term ‘above the fold’ referred to the top part of the newspaper that grabbed readers’ attention. The term slowly evolved from paper to digital content consumption.

For example, below is a snapshot of ‘above the fold content’ from the Cred homepage.

2. Algorithm

Algorithms are a set of complex instructions that fetch data from the search index. The algorithm ensures that a specific search query is answered with the best possible information and resources available worldwide. 

For example, crawling is an algorithm out of many other algorithms that the SEO industry keeps a track of. 

Crawling algorithms work by sending bots or (crawlers) to discover new content and organize it based on the value it provides. 

3. SEO Analytics

SEO analytics is a group of methods implemented to generate organic traffic to your website. SEO analytics collects data that is analyzed and used in making decisions around your website building. 

4. Anchor Text

Anchor text is text which contains a specific URL attached to it. It’s a clickable text. 

Anchor text gives information about the linked website. 

For example, check the below text. 

“ The push notifications are of great importance when used wisely. You can always try out the free push tool, to begin with.”

The above text links the anchor text “push tool” to a website. This will clearly explain to users that the linked website is a push notification tool that provides a free plan for pushing notifications.

5. Authority

Authority is the collective measures taken by the Search engine that further adds to the visibility of the websites in SERP. 

The most common parameters in building website authority are quality backlinks, multichannel marketing, and effective content marketing strategies.  

For example, if you want to understand a website’s authority score, you can check Domain Authority (DA) score. Website DA score is the measure of how likely a page is supposed to rank in the search results. The domain score was a term developed by Moz.  

A backlink is a link that is referred to your domain/subdomain from an external source on the internet. 

Similarly, the links you provide to other external websites on your blog resources are a backlink to that specific domain. 

7. Black hat

Black Hat is an SEO practice that includes the unauthorized use of tools and techniques used to boost website ranking in search results. These guidelines go against the Google web master’s guidelines. 

8. Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of site visitors that bounce back off the site without clicking somewhere else on the first page they visit.  

According to the ideal rule of thumb for bounce rate, if your bounce rate is under 40%, it is considered a healthy score. 

Anything between 40 to 55% of the bounce rate is manageable. 

The bounce score between 55 to 65% speaks of improvements one needs to make in their website.

The bounce score of more than 90%, indicates it’s time you change your site structure as a priority. 

9. Bot

Bots are automated software that runs continuously for search engines to collect website-related information. 

10. Branded Keyword

The branded keyword as the name suggests includes your brand name as the keyword or a part of your keywords. 

For example, for a specific query, if I type in the search bar- “ Google Algorithm”, this term itself becomes a keyword with the brand name “Google” in it. 

A broken link is a link that no longer works and does not redirect clicked users to the linked page.

The reason for a broken link could be a change in that specific URL or its deletion from the web. 

12. Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are the links that help in navigating users from one page to the other. Breadcrumbs are usually present in the top section of the page. 

For example, take a look at the below snapshot of the SAIL website. Whatever page you visit to reach a specific page, can be traced as seen in the highlighted part. This allows you to transit hassle-free from different web pages on a website.

13. Cache

The cache is a Google technology that stores web page information after the specific URL is indexed. This stored information helps a website load quickly every time the URL is called.  

14. Canonical URL

A canonical URL is an SEO tag that indicates to crawlers the originality of the web page content. 

Canonical URL is often used to remove duplicates in terms of SEO benefits. For example, assume there are two websites: website A and website B  as follows. 

Website A:

Website B:

Website A publishes a guest post that website B has contributed to their site. And, website B wants to publish the same content on its website. Then a canonical tag is given to Website A that indicates crawlers as the original source of content. Therefore, the canonical tag drives SEO benefits to the original content source and ignores the duplicated ones. 

15. Clickbait 

Clickbait is a piece of content on a web page that prompts users to click by using misleading information. 

A clickbait could be a blog title that overpromises on its selected title but fails to provide the information in real once a user clicks on the title. 

16. Co-citation

Co-citation in SEO is the establishment of relations between website A and Website B by citing both on website C.

The benefit of co-citation is the passing of link juice from website C to Websites A and B. This moreover indicates index crawlers about the association of websites A and B for the specific content on website C, even if they are not directly linked together. 

17. Comment spam

Comment spam is an umbrella term used to explain a set of practices that publish comments unfairly on blogs, forums, community postings, etc. comment sections.

18. Conversion

Conversion is a measurable metric that mentions the achievable result. The achievable result could be a conversion in the form of signup, more subscriptions, more sales, and so on. 

19. Crawler

Crawler is a technical name given to search engine algorithms that track webpages and index them for search engine search queries.

20. Crawl error

A crawl error occurs when the search engine fails to search and index a specific page URL. The crawl error may occur due to restrictions on pages like sign-in required, mandatory web pop-ups, and more. 

21. Dead-end page

A dead-end page is a web page that does not provide users a way out of it. This indicates that there are no outgoing links for users to click and transit between pages.

Dead-end pages significantly impact the user experience on the site and lead to a higher number of churns. 

22. Deep Link

Deep linking is a process of linking a specific web page with unique content rather than linking the homepage. Deep linking is a part of SEO practice for building quality links. 

23. De-index

Deindex is an SEO technique that you no longer want to get crawled by search engines. 

The use of de-index could be for an old blog that’s outdated, an old event registration page, and more. 

24. Directory 

The directory is a collection of websites on the web page under different categories they belong to. 

Directories in SEO are pages where SEO experts submit the website to improve link building as an off-page SEO process. 

Various web directories could contain eCommerce websites, Ed-tech websites, Job portals, News and Media publishers, blogging sites, enterprise platforms, startups, SMEs, and many more. 

25. Disavow

Disavow is an SEO practice to point Google to low-quality links giving backlinks to your website. Low-quality links can impact your site's SEO in a negative way.

Using the Disavow feature, you are telling Google to discard specific links while doing a website assessment. 

26. Do-follow

Do-follow is an SEO tag for the link. The do-follow tag allows search engines to pass the benefit to the linked URL.   

By default, every backlink is a do-follow link unless you attach a no-follow tag to it. 

27. Domain Authority

Domain Authority is a website score that indicates how likely a website will appear in the search results of users. The domain authority algorithm was developed by Moz.

In other words, it shows the value and worth of a URL. The higher domain score holds more visibility and value in search results than the ones having lower DA. 

28. Duplicate content 

Duplicate content is the same content that appears on different domains or URLs.

Search engines find it difficult to rank different URLs with the same content.  

The most common source of duplicate content is press release platforms, product listing platform, advertisement portals, and so on. 

For a fact, did you know almost 29% of content on the internet is a duplicate?

29. Dwell time

Dwell time is the time a user spends on a web page, after clicking on any SERP link, and before leaving the page back to the SERP. 

30. Editorial link

Editorial links are the links received from websites with top-notch content and resources. 

Usually, the links are exchanged between two sites based on a request basis or some paid collaboration. However, editorial links are provided as a part of strong content marketing strategies. 

31. External Link

Any link other than your domain name, which is mentioned on your site is an external link. 

32. Featured Snippet

Featured Snippet is a brief content that appears on the top search engine results page, in order to answer a query, steps, lists, definitions, and so on. 

For example, if I type a query in the search bar as “list of best marketing tools”. This is what I see in the results. 

The first result shows the featured snippet as the answer to the query made by a user.

33. Footer link

Footer links are the links present to the footer, which is the bottom of the homepage, and sometimes its related web pages as well.

Some common footer links are links for the About section of the website, social media links, links to specific user queries, and so on.

34. Google Bombing

Google bombing is a black hat practice that requires the exploitation of Google’s algorithm to rank a web page. This is done by manipulating the link network pointing to a specific URL with the same anchor text. 

35. Google dance

Google Dance is a less frequently happening phase for a website when search engine starts to consider it for ranking on top.

To explain it further, the search engine can put your webpage on top result suddenly from a lower ranking. This is done to analyze the quality of your website in terms of value offering if users are showing interest in the website or not, and other aspects. If the results are promising, Google considers the factor for improving the ranking of that specific web page. 

36. Google Panda Algorithm

Google Panda algorithm is a  set of algorithms to stop websites with poor content quality and offerings to appear in top organic search results. 

37. Google Hummingbird

Google Hummingbird update is considered the complete overhaul of Google’s ranking algorithm. This update was a manifestation of search engines understanding the intent of search queries and showing results relevant to the intent.  

38. Google Penguin algorithm

The update was launched in April 2012 to find sites that might have been spamming their search results, most preferably, by purchasing link networks, and so on.

The two core focus in the update was on

– The paid and manipulative link network

– Keyword Stuffing.

  • Google Pigeon update

Google Pigeon update is different from its other algorithms that are penalty-based. The core ideology of the pigeon updates was to change the algorithm for the better.

Google Pigeon algorithm ensures that the search engines provide the most relevant and accurate results in local searches. This update was a revolutionary step for local businesses that were previously finding it difficult to get visibility from the online audience.

39. Google Rankbrain

Rankbrain is one of the core algorithms to provide better results for search queries. Basically, the Rankbrain algorithm ensures that the search results go through some further interpretations using machine learning to refine results. 

Using AI, it is made possible for Google Rankbrain Algorithm to update on its own by interpreting results, unlike, previously, when the same task was done by Google Engineers.   

40. Google Sandbox

Google Sandbox is believed to be a filter for the algorithms to stop showing newly built websites in top search results.  

This is believed to have been done keeping the relevancy and quality content as a priority while displaying search results. 

Though, Google doesn’t confirm or deny this update if it does actually exist or not. 

41. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a tool offered to webmasters and SEO stakeholders to understand and analyze the website’s performance in terms of ranking, traffic, search insights, crawling information & status updates, and more. 

Before, Google Search Console was also known as Google Webmaster tools.

42. Google Webmaster Guidelines

Google Webmaster Guidelines are a set of rules and instructions that covers all the aspects of misleading and manipulative behaviour regarding building one’s website. These guidelines are something to keep in mind and abide by while creating and building your brand with fair practices. 

43. Guest Blogging

Guest Blogging is the process of contributing to an external website with new content. The main goals of guest blogging are to receive a backlink to your website and to increase brand awareness.

The content and audience relevance are the major parameters for successful guest postings.  

44. Grey Hat

Grey Hat is yet another SEO practice that lies somewhere in the grassroots factors of white and black hat SEO. Grey Hat SEO could come under Black Or White hat SEO depending on the intent of actions. 

In Grey Hat SEO the nature of the practice changes as and when Google’s algorithm changes. Therefore, an activity that was ethical before, could now become illegal (and vice-versa) and can be penalized.   

45. Header tags

Header tags are different heading and subheading tags that websites include in their blog posts. The various header tags are h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6. 

46. Heading

The heading is the h1 tag of the header tags. H1 tag or heading is a must-have for blogs to rank well in search results.  

47. Hilltop Algorithm

The hilltop algorithm was implemented by Google in 2003 to find the authoritative web pages (or expert pages) and then analyze the linked domains to these expert pages. 

The expert pages were filtered based on the number of quality links with top-notch and unique content in them. The expert pages were used as a reference to rank a website in SERP. 

48. HITS Algorithm 

Hyperlink Induced Topic Search (HITS) algorithm is a link analysis-based approach where web pages are ranked for specific queries. 

The core idea behind HITS Algorithm is to find high-authority pages that link to external quality URLs and in return should have high-quality backlinks referring to its own domain.

49. Home Page

The homepage is the primary page of a brand that explains its purpose, solutions, and offering to its customers. Each homepage is assigned a specific URL or web address on the internet.  

50. HTML

HTML is the basis of most the webpages and acts as a switch between search engine bots and technical aspects of the web page. Therefore, SEO finds its crucial role in technical SEO. 

51. Inbound link

An inbound link is a link from an external website that refers back to your domain or subdomain. 

52. Index

Index in SEO refers to the webpage getting identified by the search engine crawlers. This technically means that your specific web page is getting considered for rankings in search results. 

53. Internal link

Internal links are links that point back to their own domain. 

For example, if you link your blogs inside different blogs on your domain, then this is called internal linking. Internal linking is done to increase the page authority and to add easy navigation for readers and users. 

54. Keyword

Keywords are the specific words and phrases present in your content that plays a crucial role in boosting its visibility on search engine results. 

For example, any push notification service provider will have a must keyword “Push notification” for which they compete for. Similarly, there are hundreds and thousands of keywords that web pages compete with. 

55. Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword Cannibalization is a term used to describe a situation where two or more web pages from the same domain rank for the same search query.

The primary reason for keyword cannibalization to occur is when you optimize different web pages for the same set of keywords. 

56. Keyword density

Keyword density is the number of times a keyword appears in a specific word count. For example, if a keyword appears 7 times in 100 words, then the keyword density is 7%. 

As a part of best SEO practices, it is important to maintain a healthy score of keyword density between 1-2%. This explains that ideally for a hundred words, your keyword should appear once or twice depending on the context. 

57. Keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing is another SEO parameter that webmasters need to take into account. A web page should not be loaded with too many keywords. And this situation is known as keyword stuffing.

Keyword stuffing is done to manipulate the content with the overuse of keywords that look and sound unnatural in the content and its context.  

58. KPI

KPI or Key Performance Indicator is a set of metrics that SEO masters track on a day-to-day basis with the aim to analyze the success of a webpage in the ranking system. 

59. Landing page

A landing page is a dedicated webpage given to specific marketing campaigns in order to bring conversions. For example, a dedicated page for webinar registration, a transaction page, or a specific blog used in the campaign, etc.  

A landing page always contains keywords that are relevant to the domain and a call to action button. 

60. Latent Semantic Indexing

Latent semantic indexing is a process used by search engine algorithms to find a set of words that co-occurs on a web page. And, then using this analysis to rank the page for the right query.

For example, if a person is searching for a query ‘Language’. It could have various results surrounding language that humans speak, or language that we use to build software, etc. Therefore, using LSI, web pages are ranked by checking the words that occur with these main keywords such as “Python language’, ‘Computer language’, ‘Human language’, etc. Once the context of the words is clear to the search engine, web pages are shown to the right user queries. 

61. Lead

A lead is a potential consumer who has shown interest in your products and services through some actions. 

The actions could be the one who likes your social media post, a request for a demo call, signup, etc. 

The website’s on-page SEO is done keeping in mind the importance of lead generation for a business. 

62. Link building

Link building is a process of setting up the right linking network of domains wherein the exchange of links happens for the primary cause of improving web page ranking. 

63. Link Equity

Link Equity was once used to be known as ‘Link juice’. Basically, link equity is an SEO parameter that measures how much authority and link value a link passes to the linked domain. 

Link equity is used in search engine analytics while ranking a webpage. The more a link passes the equity, the higher it ranks in search results.  

64. Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are specific keywords with more words in them.

For example, the keyword “ summer dresses on sale” is a long-tail keyword, whereas “summer dress” is a short keyword. 

65. Meta Description

A meta description is the gist of your blog post which is visible on search engine results pages. 

The main aim of using meta descriptions is to let search engine crawlers know what the blog is about. It contains keywords that the blog wants to rank for. 

For example, this is what a meta description looks like:

66. Meta Keywords

Meta keywords are meta tags present in the HTML code of the web page. And, these meta tags tell search engines what the page is about. 

Meta keywords may not be visible to a viewer, as they are placed usually inside the page’s code. 

67. Negative SEO

Negative SEO is a malicious practice of destroying and harming a competitor’s ranking in search engines. It makes use of unethical black-hat SEO techniques. 

For example, using third parties to link competitor’s URLs with spammy anchor texts, etc. 

68. No-follow attribute

The no-follow attribute is a link attribute that does not allow the link juice to pass to the linked domain.

The No-follow code looks something like this: 
A normal URL-

<a href=”” title=” News”>Read trending news</a>

URL with the no-follow tag (highlighted). 

<a href=”” title=”News” rel=”nofollow“>Read trending news</a>

69. Noindex tag

The noindex tag is a metatag used by webmasters to remove a specific link from indexing in search results. 

The code used to noindex a page is as follows.

Place the following tag in the <head> section on the page.

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>

70. Nosnippet tag

A nosnippet tag is a meta tag used for the content which you don’t want to include in the featured snippet while displaying in search results pages.

71. Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to the SEO strategies implemented externally and other than your website. 

It covers local SEO, link building, social media marketing, and more.

72. On-page SEO

On-page SEO as the name suggests is an SEO practice that is implemented on your website. 

It covers website structure, content optimization, and user experience aspects. 

73. Organic Search 

Organic search is a query made in the search engine where your page appears naturally in the result pages. Organic search does not include paid search such as pay-per-click, etc. 

74. Outbound link 

A link from your website to an external source of information, or in simple terms, an external URL is known as the outbound link. 

75. Page Speed

Page speed is the time the web page takes to load. How faster your page loads affect your SEO significantly. 

A good page speed is under 2 to 3 seconds. As per research, 40% of customers don't like to wait beyond three seconds. 

76. Pageview

A page view is a content metric that tells the number of times a specific page has been viewed. It counts both the unique page views and the repeated page views as well.  

77. Paid Search

Paid search is a marketing strategy that brands utilize to increase their sales using a paid search like search advertisements, display advertisements, etc. 

78. Pogo-Sticking

Pogo-sticking is an SEO term used to describe when a user clicks and reads multiple search results in order to find the most appropriate and satisfying answer. 

79. Quality content 

Quality content is the most crucial parameter for brands to succeed as leaders in the industry.

How good value your content provides to users, how are the user experience, engagement, and many other factors contribute to quality content?   

80. Query

The query is a term used to describe the search for a piece of specific information on the internet. Every time you make a search in the search bar is a query you make. 

81. Reciprocal link

A reciprocal link is when two or more websites agree to backlink each other’s domain on their websites.  

Reciprocal links are a part of SEO strategies to build a strong link network for better rankings. 

82. Redirect

Redirect is an SEO parameter where one URL directs its users to a different URL. 

The redirect 301, 302, and meta-refresh are the most often used redirects.  

83. Referrer

A referrer is a term used to describe the websites that are the source of traffic to other websites. 

Referrer websites hyperlink external websites and once users click on these links, the traffic is contributed to the linked domain.  

84. Rich Snippet

Rich snippets are those snippets that have higher conversions in terms of click-through rate.

Rich snippets provide the briefest yet crucial information in search results. 

85. Robots.txt

The robots.txt file is a protocol used to tell search engines which web page to crawl and which don’t.

In other words, robots.txt is a robotic file that talks to search engine robots about crawling urls. 

86. Schema

Schema, most commonly termed schema markup is a piece of code that allows you to create featured snippets.

Schema Markup tells search engines how a certain piece of content should appear on the results page. 

87. Search Engine

The search engine is a dedicated website that allows users to search for their preferred content on the internet. Once a user makes a query in the search engine, it uses a combination of algorithms to display the most appropriate result. 

The most used search engines worldwide are Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

88. Search engine marketing 

Search engine marketing is a group of marketing strategies that uses paid advertisements.

Using SEM, one can decide how an ad would appear with expected results achieved from a search engine result page.

89. Site map

A site map is a blueprint of your website. It contains information regarding what is all present on your site. A site map also makes it easier for search engines to find which page is important on your site.  

90. Spam

Spam is an SEO metric that measures the manipulative efforts done by websites to rank a web page on search engines. 

91. Split testing

Split testing is a practice to compare two or more variants of a specific experiment and conclude with the one which yields the best results.

There is split testing done on URLs, blog titles, marketing campaign testings, etc.  

92. SSL certificate

An SSL certificate is a certificate for a website to transit from an HTTP version to a safer version of HTTPS. 

An SSL-certified website ensures safer and encrypted connection. 
You can check if a website is SSL certified or not by the ‘lock symbol’ in the URL bar. 

93. Subdomain

Subdomains are an extended part of your main domain that helps a user navigate between different sections of your website.

It could be a blog subdomain like:

In the above example, the main domain is

94. Title tag

The title tag is a page title in HTML. Simply, the title tag is the blog and post title that appears on the search engine results. 

Title Tag plays quite a significant role in SEO as it is the first thing users see when they search for a specific query. 

Usually, the Title tag should be in accordance with the content of the page and should be rich in keywords. 

95. Traffic

Traffic in SEO is the number of users present on a website. Website traffic is often measured in visits or the number of sessions for a specific time. 

96. TrustRank

TrustRank is a major factor used in assessing web page quality. TrustRank is a set of algorithms that separates useful web pages from spam pages and ranks the web page in SERP. 

In other words, TrustRank defines trust in a specific URL based on the value it offers to users. 

You can measure TrustRank using MozTrust.

97. Unnatural link

Unnatural links are links whose position on the web page does not appear normal. Unnatural links are opposite to editorial links which are placed on a page keeping in mind the value it offers to readers.

Unnatural links are paid links, or vouched for in the content assets. 

98. User Experience

User experience talks about all the aspects of a website in terms of user interaction. Technically, user experience is an ergonomics of human-system interaction and the user responses are based on the experience one offers on their brand assets like website, social media, and more. 

99. URL

URL is an abbreviation of Uniform Resource Locator, which is a specified page on the world wide web. Colloquially, the term URL was known as a web address.  

100. Website Navigation

Website navigation is a crucial part of optimizing a website for user experience. It includes adding user-friendly links, buttons, design, etc. to build a positive experience on-site. 

101. Web spam

Web Spam refers to the use of techniques to alter the search engine algorithm and rank pages higher than they actually would in the search engine result pages. 

Examples of web spam include content spam, link spam, etc. 

Search engines penalize such websites that use webspam to rank higher and remove them from indexing and crawling. 

102. White hat 

White Hat is a practice in SEO that aims to boost web page ranking in search engines using fair means and abiding by Google’s guidelines. 

103. WordCount

WordCount is the total number of words present in the piece of content. In digital marketing, every content asset has a word count, for example, an ideal blog should have a minimum of 1000 to 2000 words to get the SEO benefits.   

Similarly, the word count for copywriting varies as well. For push notifications copy, the word count is 60 characters for the title, and 140 characters for the description body. 

104. XML Sitemaps

XML sitemaps are the map of the website with different URLs. A sitemap tells search engines about what content is present and where without which it would have taken time to index the pages.