Search Engine Optimization - Glossary

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Other forms of search engine marketing (SEM) target paid listings. In general, the earlier (or higher on the page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a website web presence.
Anchor Text
Anchor text is text found on a given web site that appears to be a hyperlink.
Boolean operator
One of several connecting words you can use to specify relationships between the keywords or phrases in your search query. Boolean operators include logical AND, OR, and NOT.
Concept Searching
The ability of a search site to expand a search beyond a literal match with the keywords to related topics and synonyms to the keywords. Also known as query-by-theme.
A database containing indexed Internet Web pages and returning lists of results which match queries. Directories (also known as Catalogs) are normally compiled by hand, accept user submissions, and involve an editorial selection and breakdown into hierarchical categories.
Short for File Transfer Protocol, referring to how text or binary files are uploaded/downloaded over the Internet. An FTP archive is a directory of files that can be downloaded to your computer. Some FTP archives allow you to upload files from your computer to a public directory, making them accessible to others. The URL for an FTP archive begins with ftp://.
Generic top-level domains
Domain names ending in .com, .net, or .org are part of the gTLD class. TLDs can be further classified as either sponsored TLDs or TLDs that do not have a sponsor(s). TLDs that do not have a sponsor operate under policies defined by ICANN.
A menu-based text information searching tool that gives users access to various kinds of databases, such as FTP archives, and allows them to view information within them. Links are presented in hierarchical menus to the user. As users select options, they are moved to different Gopher servers on the Internet.
An advanced searching technique is the use of parentheses ( ) to create complex logic. You can group words or phrases by placing them inside parentheses.
Hypertext link
The underlined words that you click in one document that take you to another document, in the same Web site or in a different Web site. Each link has a URL (Uniform Resource Locator, or Web address) stored in it.
Key site
Web sites or documents that are typically ones that you refer to frequently, contain reliable information that is current and is updated to remain current, and meet a need for information you need to obtain on an ongoing basis.
keyword density
Keyword density tells you how often a search term appears in a text in relation to the total number of words it contains. Typically, keyword densities range between 0.2% and 4%. This does not mean your site will be penalized if your keyword density is 10%, nor does it mean your page will not rank if your keyword density is less than 0.2%.
keyword proximity
The keyword proximity refers to the distance between the search term’s individual keywords. The smaller the distance between a search term’s individual keywords, the more relevant it will be from a search engine‘s point of view.
Keyword Prominence
Keyword prominence refers to relative keyword positions with respect to the start of the HTML page. Common agreement within the SEO community is that the earlier your keywords are found within the physical HTML file, the better.
Metasearch engine
A site offering a unified interface to multiple search services. Some provide a single search form that, once you have composed your query, will submit it to several different search engines. Others simply provide a list of different search engines and provide text fields with which to initiate a search through any specific engine.
Natural language search query
A search query in the form of a plain-language question or a request, such as "Where can I find information on…?", or "What is the…?"
Phrase searching
An advanced search technique of grouping words together inside double quotes to make certain that they're searched for and matched as an entire phrase.
Proximity operator
Operators in search queries that allow you to specify how close you want two keywords or phrases to occur to each other, or in what order, in the documents being searched.
Relevancy ranking
A proprietary formula used by a search service to rank or order your search results based on how well the searching software feels the results match your search query and other limits. Rankings often appear as a percentage that precedes the document titles from your query's result list.
An automated program used by search services to follow and record Web links and index documents found on Web sites. The information is stored on a database for user searching. Also called "spiders."
Search engine
A database containing indexed Internet Web pages and returning lists of results which match queries. Search Engines gather information and categorize documents through the use of "robots" or "spiders," computer programs that search the Web for new and updated Web pages. Search Engines typically provide an input area for you to place a search query.
Search engine optimization
SEO can be defined as an aggregate of all the work necessary to produce a high volume of referral hits from search engines, web directories, and other websites, with the ultimate goal of making the website popular
Search query
One or more words and optional operators used by search services to match against documents in a database. Words in a search query are also known as keywords.
Semantic Core
Developing your Semantic Core of SEO Keywords for your website is the starting point for on-page SEO. The semantic core are the high frequency, high quality words and phrases that most accurately describe what you do. The core is a list designed to bring your target audience to your website
An automated program used by search engine services to gather documents from Web sites and input them for indexing in the search service's database. Also known as a robot.
Stop words
Non-content words like a, an, with that are not included in the keywords that the searching software attempts to match in the database. In computing, stop words are words which are filtered out before or after processing of natural language text. For SEO purposes, these are extremely common words that most search engines skip over in order to save space in their databases, and to speed up the process of crawling/indexing.
Subject page
A topical collection of information, references, and links to other Web sites, are also known as collection pages, compendium pages, and index pages. Typically, these pages are maintained by individuals; some are maintained by organizations.
Unmoderated Newsgroup
A Newsgroup or discussion group in which no one has the responsibility of checking the correctness or truth of what is contained in a posting.
Another section of the Internet that contains common areas of postings (or articles) and responses, broken down by categories, on a variety of subjects; Usenet is also referred to as "Newsgroups" or "Discussion groups."
Wide Area Information Server, a database on the Internet that contains indexes to documents that reside on the Internet. Using the Z39.50 query language, text files can be searched based on keywords. A directory of WAIS servers and sources is available from Thinking Machines Corporation, Cambridge, MA.
Web index
Another term for a search service using automated document collection and searching software to match search queries to references in a database.
A wildcard character can be placed at the end of a word to substitute for any combination of letters. Wildcards are helpful when you are uncertain of how to spell a word or if you are looking for multiple variations on a word.
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