SEO terms – a user guide for the perplexed.Seo Glossary What Does It Mean
Confused about internet marketing and SEO? Maybe this can help.
A/B Test – Noun phrase. The practice of creating two documents or sites that are nearly the same for the purpose of determining which design or copy variation produces the better result. Often used in PPC marketing, occasionally used in organic SEO (q.v.).
Authority – Adjective. A document (page) pointed to by several hubs (experts). An authority page is assumed to have a lot of content relevant to a primary topic.
AuthorRank, AuthoRank – Noun. A probability distribution modeled on PageRank (q.v.) used to determine the quality of an article on the basis of the reputation of its associated author. AuthorRank was introduced into search algorithm analysis by Google in 2011 and increased the perceived value of personas (q.v.).
Bait-and-switch – Noun phrase. 1) Any Web document or site that pretends to be one thing in search results but turns out to be something else when a user clicks through to it. 2) A strategy for building traffic to a Web site. 3) The practice of changing the content, relevance, or connections of a Web document or tool, gimzo (q.v.), or widget after it has become popular.
Blog – Noun. A Web site or portion of a Web site devoted to “Web logging” or “Web journaling”. Blogs are typically used to create content and place links for search results management (q.v.).
Blog Farm – Noun phrase. A group of blogs operated by a single person or group that are populated by software, usually RSS-feed scraping scripts. Used for link building, blog farms are created by special software that installs popular blogging software on multiple domains and hosting accounts. Sometimes confused with links farms (q.v.).
Blog Network – Noun phrase. Any group of blogs (either hosted on large Websites or hosted on their own dedicated sites) that are used together for a common purpose. Some blog networks are enterprise assets (such as the AOL blog network including TechCrunch, Huffington Post, etc.). Some blog networks may be used to manipulate search engine results by Web spammers. A blog network differs from a blog farm (q.v.) in that writers upload their content directly to the network or to a central distribution platform.
Body Links – Noun phrase. Hypertext links placed within the main content of a Web page.
Branded Search – Noun phrase. According to Barry Adams, branded search is “traffic from organic search on keywords that contain the organisation’s brand name”. Branded Search may occur for individuals and Websites as well as organizations. Branded Search is a form of Conceptual Search (q.v.)
Bright Websearch – Noun phrase. Web search conducted through an “open” or “brand” search engine such as Baidu, Bing, Google, Yahoo!, Yandex, etc. May also be called “Open Websearch”.
Churn – Noun. The process by which a search engine regularly or occasionally changes listings in its results due to content or algorithmic factors. Churn is normal for most queries.
Churn and Burn (SEO) – Noun phrase. The practice of building large numbers of Websites that violate search engine guidelines in an attempt to draw search engine referral traffic. The expectation is that the Websites will eventually be penalized or delisted by the search engines and so must be replaced.
Classifier See Document Classifier.
Cloaking – Verb. The practice of serving different content to search engines than real human visitors are likely to see through normal Web browsing. The intent behind the cloaking may be deceptive or language-related or related to accessibility. Some forms of simple cloaking are accepted by the search engines.
Classifier – Noun. A document classifier (q.v.).
Closed Websearch – Noun phrase. See Dark Websearch.
Conceptual Search – Noun phrase. A form of search focusing on attributes or qualifiers that are relevant to a specific topic or concept. e.g., given the concept of “aerodynamics”, a conceptual query may look for “definition of aerodynamics” or “value of aerodynamics”. Search engines typically must infer the searcher’s intent from an incomplete query expression.
Conversion – Noun. A conversion is any desired action that is taken as a result of visiting a Web page. Conversions are used in many Web marketing metrics. Conversions fall into four categories: Informational Conversions (q.v.), Search Conversions (q.v.), Transformational Conversions (q.v.), and Transactional Conversions (q.v.).
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) – Noun phrase. The practice of analyzing conversion (q.v.) data to determine the best practices for increasing or otherwise improving conversions on a Website.
Content-rich doorway – Noun phrase. A doorway page dressed up with graphics, navigation, and linked to from a site map so that it looks like a normal part of a Web site. The copy is written to rank for a single keyword expression.
Crawl Page – Noun phrase. A document consisting of links to other pages, provided for the sole purpose of giving crawlers (robots) links to follow. Spammers used to submit these puppies to the search engines en masse. Maybe they still do.
Crawl Spam – Noun phrase. High volume traffic that provides no value to the Website. Common sources of crawl spam include browsers set to prefetch large numbers of documents, email scraper programs, illegal crawlers used to scrape Websites for content, social media monitoring crawlers, and search engines that send little to no traffic to the sites being crawled.
Dark Websearch – Noun phrase. Web search conducted outside or beyond the “brand” search services such as Baidu, Bing, Google, Yahoo!, and Yandex. Site search is one form of Dark Websearch; online database search is another form of Dark Websearch. May also be called “Closed Websearch”.
Document Classifier – Noun phrase. A computer program used to analyze the content, structure, and/or meta data associated with a Web document for the purpose of identifying or flagging or weighting or scoring the document in a search application or system. Sometimes simply referred to as a Classifier.
Doorway – Noun. A document with a small amount of text (usually coherent but sometimes gibberish) intended to rank well specifically for one targeted expression. In the old days, people created as many doorways as they had targeted keywords and search engines to work with.
Doorway Farm – Noun phrase. Unconventional name for a group of Web sites or pages that all link to a central page for the purpose of promoting that one page. Often mistaken for a link farm (q.v.) in academic literature written by people trained in Information Retrieval Science (q.v.) but unfamiliar with the concepts of Search Engine Optimization (q.v.).
Expert (page or document) – Adjective. In Jon Kleinberg’s HITS algorithm (as well as the CLEVER, ExpertRank, and Edison algorithms) an expert is a document about a specific topic for which hubs exist, such that the expert document is pointed to by many hubs. Cf. Hub.
Garbitrage – Noun. Low quality (often mass-produced) content created and marketed for the sole purpose of enticing visitors to click on advertising that is intended to produce more revenue than the cost of the content.
Hallway – Adjective/Noun. A crawl page that only links to doorway pages. Usually called “hallway page”, sometimes shortened to “hallway”.
Google bowling – Noun phrase. The practice of using a link bomb (q.v.) built entirely upon penalized or otherwise undesirable Websites to trick a search engine into delisting or demoting a competitive Website. The effectiveness of this practice has been questioned for years. Temporary success has been publicly documented on a few occasions. Google bowling is a form of Negative SEO (q.v.).
Hub – Noun. A document that links out to many other documents devoted to a single topic. Think of any category page in a major directory like Yahoo! or DMOZ. All the documents linked to are assumed to be authorities (sort of a circular logic). In Jon Kleinberg’s HITS algorithm (as well as the CLEVER, ExpertRank, and Edison algorithms) a hub is a document about a specific topic that links to many experts in the topic. Cf. Expert.
Information Retrieval Science – Noun phrase. The study or discipline of searching for documents in databases. IR Science provides much of the foundation technology for Web search.
Informational Conversion – Noun phrase. An informational conversion occurs when a visitor finds the precise information he is seeking on a Web page.
Landing Page – Noun phrase. A content-rich doorway most often used to receive PPC traffic. Copy is written for the visitor, not the search engine, making a sales pitch (usually — I’ve seen a few that meandered pointlessly with fake testimonials). Some organic SEO (q.v.) makes use of landing pages for experimentation such as A/B testing.
Link Baiting – Noun phrase. The practice of creating attention-grabbing headlines and seeding links to articles on social media sites for the purpose of generating thousands of links on blogs, forums, and other sites in a very brief period of time. It is assumed that the content is link-worthy, but this is a subjective point.
Link Acquisition – Noun phrase. The practice of acquiring links for a Website document through active and passive link building. Has begun to supercede link building (q.v.) in common SEO parlance.
Link Building – Noun phrase. The process of acquiring links for a Web document through creation, request, reciprocation, or lease/purchase, or distribution of copy through automated services. This expression has accrued some negative connotation and is gradually being replaced by other expressions such as Link Acuisition (q.v.).
Link Bomb or Link Bombing – Noun phrase. The practice of pointing large numbers of manipulative links (which use targeted, unnatural anchor text) from many Websites at one document or Website with the intention of tricking search engines into ranking the targeted destination above other, more relevant documents. Often described as Google bombs these campaigns may work with many search engines. Link bombs are a form of Negative SEO (q.v.).
Link Circle – Noun phrase. A group of Web sites that link to each in circular fashion, as in A links to B, B links to C, and C links to A.
Link Farm – Noun phrase. Any group of Web sites where every member site in the group links to every other member site in the group.
Link Flow – Noun phrase. An expression used by many people to describe PageRank. In SEO Theory, link flow is the link pathway users and search engines may use to get from one page to another.
Link Laundering – Noun phrase. The process of pointing large numbers of low-quality links at intermediary Websites which in turn link to primary destinations, consolidating the low PageRank of the low-quality links and converting it into higher PageRank. Sometimes referred to as “Link Layering”, “Link Pyramidding”, and/or “PageRank Funneling”.
Link Ninja – Noun phrase. An SEO specialist whose specific work is to obtain legitimate, editorially-given inbound links from relevant, high traffic sites.
Link Spammer – Noun phrase. An SEO specialist who uses unethical techniques to obtain links from other sites, usually without the knowledge or permission of site owners.
Link Wheel – Noun phrase. A specialized link circle (q.v.) wherein the circle of linking sites also point to a central “hub” site (which does not have to link back to the circle members).
Linksploitation – Noun. The practice of seeking or acquiring links in a formulaic process according to precise criteria. E.g., seeking only links from .EDU Websites, or blog comments, or forum profiles, etc.
Macro SEO – Noun phrase. Group-level search engine optimization; used to promote a group of Websites for one or more keywords across one or more search engines.
Meta data – Noun phrase. Secondary data stored in or collected about a Web document for the purpose of assisting in its classification, use, or interpretation.
Micro SEO – Noun phrase. Site-level search engine optimization; used to promote a single Website for one or more keywords across one or more search engines.
Navigational links – Noun phrase. The (usually uniformly used) internal links a Web site uses to provide visitors with clear pathways between pages.
Pull Quote Link – Noun phrase. A link embedded in a pull quote, a specially enlarged and positioned citation from the copy on the page. Pull Quote Links are most useful for attribution.
Negative SEO – Noun phrase. The practice of pointing links at a Website with the intention of harming its reputation, the reputation of its owner, or of tricking a search engine into penalizing the Website. Link bombing (q.v.) and Google bowling (q.v.) are two forms of Negative SEO that have been widely documented.
Open Websearch – Noun phrase. See Bright Websearch.
PageRank or Page Rank – Noun or Noun phrase. Named for Larry Page, primary author of the algorithm created to compute the value. 1) A recursive (q.v. recursion) link-based probability distribution used to assess the importance of Web documents by counting and valuing the links between documents according to the number and value of the links pointing to the documents. PageRank is based on citation analysis, a controversial but long-standing practice of assessing the quality and value of scientific papers based on the number of other scientific papers referring to them. 2) A derivative value computed from the first PageRank and defined across an integer scale ranging from 0 to 10; often identified as “Toolbar PageRank” or denoted as TBPR.
Query – Noun. 1) The act of searching for Websites or information in a search engine by entering 1 or more keywords or search terms. 2) The directives and/or search terms used in a query. Classification: There are several types of queries, including Informational Queries, Navigational Queries, and Transactional Queries.
Query Space – Noun phrase. The collection of all queries and their relevant results for a set of related search expressions. eConsultancy uses an “SEO treemap” to depict performance within query spaces.
Scroll Cloaking – Noun phrase. The practice of inserting a lot of white space, advertising, or uninteresting images between teaser content at the top of the page and the high-value content at the bottom. Scroll cloaking is sometimes used to hide large lists of links and/or malware scripts from human visitors.
Search Conversion – Noun phrase. A search conversion occurs when a user clicks through a link in search results. Some metrics require that the user remain on the destination for a minimum length of time in order for the click-through to count as a search conversion.
Search Engine Marketing – Noun phrase. 1) The practice of promoting one or more Websites through the services offered by search engines. 2) The use of paid search listings, often referred to as PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. 3) The process of promoting products and/or services through Web search.
Search Engine Optimization – Noun phrase. The practice of designing, modifying, and/or supplementing Web documents to rank well in search engines. Now mostly superceded by link building (q.v.) and/or link baiting (q.v.).
Search Listing – Noun phrase. The information provided by a search engine about a specific Web document in response to a query as part of a search result (q.v.). A typical search listing may include a page title, descriptive text (called a “snippet”), page name/URL, cache information, and other supplemental/incidental information.
Search Poisoning – Noun phrase. Expression used by cyber security specialists to describe the practice of flooding search results with listings for Websites that are infected with and instrumental in the distribution of malware.
Search Result – Noun phrase. The search listings (q.v.) provided by a search engine in response to a query.
Search Results Management – Noun phrase. The concept of managing multiple listings within a single search result. Search Results Management is instrumental to the search reputation management (q.v.) process.
Search Visibility – Noun phrase. The extent to which a Web site can be found in search engine results across all queries. A Web page has limited search visibility, whereas a Web site has full search visibility.
SEM – Acronym. Search engine marketing (q.v.).
SEO – Acronym. Search engine optimization (q.v.).
SEO Practices – Noun phrase. The techniques and/or methodologies employed to enhance or modify Web document structure and content, as well as links pointing to Web documents, to ensure that search engines include the Web document in desired search listings (q.v.).
SEO Specialist – Noun phrase. SEO Technician (q.v.).
Search Strategist – Noun phrase. An individual who develops and oversees the process of optimizing one or more Web sites for search. Usually a high-level position on a search team, often an SEO Manager or Director of Search.
SEO Strategist – Noun phrase. A person with the responsibility for planning and coordinating a search engine optimization campaign. Often a team leader or acting in a consulting capacity to a team.
SEO Technician – Noun phrase. An individual who performs dedicated search engine optimization services. Aka SEO Specialist.
SEO Theorist – Noun phrase. A person engaged in the active research and analysis of search engine markets for the purpose of identifying and explaining natural processes that occur within those systems. Not an SEO strategist (q.v.), although an individual may perform both roles. See also: SEO Theory.
SEO Theory – Noun phrase. 1. The theoretical principles for optimizing search engine results pages from an outside (non-search management) perspective. 2. The principles, methods, and techniques employed by search engine optimization specialists for influencing the rankings of specific Web documents in search engine results. 3. The study of the components and interactions of complex information indexing systems with the people who use those systems to index content and to find content.
Shallow Content – Noun phrase. According to Ted Ulle “Words (any number) that don’t actually communicate much” are shallow content.
Signpost Page – Noun phrase. A goofy advertising page. The entire page might be one advertisement built around a picture of a business or it might be a table filled with small ads from many businesses. Signposts are revenue-generating pages hosted by real Web sites with actual traffic that somehow induce their visitors to browse the signpost pages. Sort of like, “Visit our sponsors because they paid us outrageous fees to put their print-ad style advertisements on one of our Web pages.” A few sites actually consist of nothing but signpost pages, but I don’t see many of them any more. These are not classified ad sites. These are not business directories. These are random collections of advertisements plastered on Web pages in usually no real order.
Site Map – Noun phrase. Also spelled “sitemap”. An on-site directory of important (or all) pages. Sitemaps have been divided into XML Sitemaps and TXT Sitemaps which are used by search engines, and HTML Sitemaps which are used by visitors for quick navigation to deep content. Some specialized sitemaps may only list certain types of content.
Spam – Noun. In general use, any form of high-repetition marketing practice that annoys people, uses resources in unethical fashion, or otherwise violates the guidelines and/or laws of various Web services or governments. Cf. Web spam, Spam bomb, SpamAd Page, Spamversibot, Crawl Spam, et. al.
Spam bomb – Noun phrase. The practice of seeding various Web spammer tools with one or more specific Website URLs with the intention of sending many spambots (q.v.) to hit those Websites.
Spam bot – Noun phrase. Software (aka “robot”) that is designed to register user accounts on restricted-access Websites such as blogs, forums, and social media sites for the purpose of embedding links in the user profile pages. Cf. Web spam.
Spamversibot – Noun. Software (aka “robot”) that is designed to drop benign, relevant comments on blogs in anticipation of revisiting for the purpose of dropping links in later comments. See also: Spam bot
Thin Content – Noun phrase. According to Ted Ulle, “(content) reproducing a feed that is commonly used around the web, and adding no extra value” is thin content.
Transactional Conversion – Noun phrase. A transactional conversion occurs when a visitor exchanges something of value (such as money) for a product, service, or other form of valued commodity. Purchases, fee payments, bill payments, and paid membership registrations are all examples of transactional conversions.
Transformational Conversion – Noun phrase. A transformational conversion occurs when a visitor knowingly discloses information to a Web site. Subscribing to an RSS feed or newsletter, for example, is a transformational conversion.
TSETSB – Acronym. The Search Engine That Spam Built. A pejorative name for Google which became immensely popular with the SEO community after people realized the link farms they developed for Inktomi worked better on Google. Sometimes revived when people discuss the MFA/SpamAd issues and the click fraud controversy.
Web spam – Noun phrase. Any content that violates search engine guidelines, usually created for the purpose of attracting search engine referral traffic unfairly or to help promote other Web spam for the purpose of attracting search engine referral traffic. Cf. spam.
Advanced SEO Glossary
Barnacle Marketing – Noun phrase. The practice of creating parasitical content optimized around a specific brand or trademark. See also: Parasitical SEO.
Blended Search – Noun phrase. See: Universal Search.
Bow-to-Stern Latency – Noun phrase. The amount of time that elapses from when a search engine caches the deepest reachable page after the last time it caches the root URL of the site.
Cache-to-Ranking Latency – Noun phrase. The length of time that elapses from a page’s contents being reported in a search engine cache image until the page contents are found for specific queries.
Cache Frequency – Noun phrase. The rate at which a search engine’s publicly displayed cache image of a Web document is changed. Used by some SEOs to measure the quality and value of Web documents and sites for search engine optimization (q.v.).
Clustered Results – Noun phrase. You see this most often with Ask, but it happens in Google quite a bit and I think Yahoo! also does it sometimes. You’ll see 2 pages from the same site, the 2nd one indented. Now, Ask likes to put little folders in the margin to show how smart they are about clustering search results from multiple sites under a single topic. But did you know that Google clusters sites and hides them from you? If you change your Google Preferences to show more than ten listings per page, you’ll see the clustered listings. That is why so many data center tools show you different rankings from what you think you’re seeing.
Collapsed Results or Collapsed Listings – Noun phrases. Usually what I call Clustered Results when I cannot think of the word “cluster” (which is more often than not). Technically, these expressions should really only refer to the hidden clusters described above.
Crawl – Noun. The process by which search engines retrieve content from a Website, including the criteria used to determine rates and priorities of crawl. From the perspective of an SEO, crawl can be influenced or managed through internal and external resources.
Crawl-to-Cache-Time – Noun phrase. The amount of time that elapses from when a search engine fetches a page from a Web site until the page’s contents appear in the search engine’s cache report for the page. Abbreviated as CCT.
Crawl-to-Passed-Value Time or Crawl-to-Passed-Value Latency – Noun phrases. The amount of time that elapses from when a search engine fetches a page until the links on the page pass value (PageRank or anchor text) to their destinations.
Crawl-to-Ranking Time – Noun phrase. The amount of time that elapses from when a search engine fetches a page from a Web site until the page is returned in the top ten results for a designated query.
Deep Web Interferometry – Noun phrase. The study of congruences and/or collisions between event waves (cyclical patterns in data) for 2 or more Websites.
FCP – Acronym. Frequently Cached Page. A page that is crawled and cached by a search engine on a very frequent basis, usually every two weeks or less.
Filter – Noun. A process whereby a Web document is evaluated and either flagged as “spam”, “potential spam”, “adult-oriented content”, “illegal content”, or something else. Each search engine employs multiple filters. Some filters were designed into the algorithms from the start. Some filters have been added as afterthoughts as search engines have had to react to manipulative or otherwise previously undetected inappropriate content.
Filthy Linking Rich Principle – Noun phrase. The more links a document has accrued, the more links the document will accrue. Stated another way, the more visible a document is in search engine results, the more likely the document is to accrue links, and hence the more visible the document becomes in search engine results.
First Visibility Principle – Noun phrase. The first document to cross the Idiot threshold (q.v.) becomes the first authority on the topic.
Fuzzy point – Noun phrase. The approximate state of knowledge where the information about a document’s indexing status and information about the number of queries to which the document is relevant are approximately equal.
Host – Noun. A much-used term in academic search engineering literature to distinguish between “Web document collections” on a systemic level. A host is not necessarily the same as a site. Hosts are generally defined to be either entire domains (example.com) or sub-domains (sub1.example.com). A domain to which one or more sub-domains belong would be treated as multiple individual hosts, distinct from one another. A host is easier to identify than a Web site, which may be only a part of a host’s content.
Idiot Threshold – Noun phrase. A figurative status at which a document has accrued enough meaningless links through word-of-mouth that the document assumes the status of being an authority on a topic.
Index – Noun. The database(s) against which queries are resolved. All of the major search engines maintain multiple indexes. Each is a separate, distinct database, either physically (kept in separate files) or virtually (logically segmented portions of a master database). The expression database is probably inappropriate for describing what the search engines maintain. When you see me refer to Main Index, think of that as the “static Web page index”. Other indexes may include Image Indexes, News Indexes, and Blog Indexes. I have some ideas on how these various indexes are built, but I don’t expect to share them on this blog.
Index – Verb. The process of adding information about Web content to a search engine’s database about the Web. The indexing process may entail considerable effort depending upon the complexity and applicability of the document.
Indexer – Noun. A type of program that search engines use to update their databases with information about retrieved and parsed Web documents. You rarely see even knowledgeable SEO forum moderators and admins speak of indexers and parsers, perhaps out of a misguided concern that they will confuse people who are new to search engine optimization. Unfortunately, those new people visit the forums to learn about SEO, so teaching them the wrong terminology does them a great disservice.
Influencer – Noun. A Web site or individual whose content is deemed to be influential in adjusting search result (q.v.) rankings, usually either through the creation of new content or the placement of links to other documents. Some blogs (q.v.) can be powerful influencers.
Internal Links or Internal Linkage – Noun phrase. These are the links within your own site that point to other pages in your site. Search engines may use a different, host-level definition for internal links. It is possible that all the major search engines now distinguish between host-internal and host-external links. See host for more information.
Internal PageRank – Noun phrase. This is the actual static value that Google computes and adds to dynamic (run-time, query-time) relevance scores to determine search results rankings. Matt Cutts distinguished between Internal PageRank and Toolbar PageRank on his blog. He also confirmed that he was talking about Internal PageRank where I cited him in my PageRank: Where it helps, where it doesn’t help, and other facts post at Spider-Food in July 2006. Most SEO forum moderators and admins appear to be speaking about Internal PageRank when they discuss PageRank at all, except where they qualify their remarks to address the Toolbar PR value (that nearly all moderators and admins now tell people to ignore). The Toolbar PR value is a proxy value and it is only published 3-4 times a year, making it a virtually worthless indicator of quality or value.
Link mass – Noun phrase. The combination of all connected links that lead to any given page in a hypertext document collection. Absolute link mass cannot be measured. Relative link mass can be approximately measured.
Link pathway – Noun phrase. Two or more pages connected as in a chain (a “path”) by hypertext links.
Link pathway segment – Noun phrase. A segment or portion of a larger link pathway at least 1 document long and at least 2 documents shorter than the link pathway (the beginning and terminating documents in the link pathway cannot be in the link pathway segment).
Link Trap – Noun phrase. Similar to a link bait page, a link trap is usually built by cheaters in reciprocal linking schemes where the outbound links are designed not to pass value.
Macro Opacity – Noun phrase. The measurement of group-level opacity (q.v.).
MCP – Acronym. Moderately Cached Page. A page that is crawled and cached by a search engine on an occasional basis, usually every two to six weeks.
Micro Opacity – Noun phrase. The measurement of site-level opacity (q.v.).
Naturality – Noun. 1) A metric or measure of a range of search listings (q.v.) for a query which are not optimized to be included in the search results. A perfectly natural search result (q.v.) has a Naturality value of 1.0, reflecting the fact that none of the search listings (q.v.) are optimized for placement in the result. 2) The characteristic of being natural in the sense of not having been optimized for inclusion or ranking within a group or collection of natural, transparent, or opaque objects.
Null query – Noun phrase. A null query produces no relevant documents as a search result. Alt. A null query may include only documents with null relevance (q.v.).
Null relevance – Noun phrase. The complete lack of internal or external factors that create a positive relevance score for a document in a search result in which the document is listed.
Null Result – Noun phrase. A null query (q.v.).
Opacity – Noun. 1) A metric or measure of a range of search listings (q.v.) for a query which are not obviously optimized to be included in the search results. A perfectly opaque search result (q.v.) has an Opacity value of 1.0, reflecting the fact that none of the search listings (q.v.) are obviously optimized for placement in the result. 2) The characteristic of being opaque in the sense of appearing to be natural to a casual, uninformed observer of a group or collection of natural, transparent, or opaque objects.
Page Zone, or Zone – Noun phrase, noun. An arbitrarily designated visible portion of a Web page. Page zones are used for advertising and link placement.
PageRank Evaporation – Noun phrase. In PageRank algorithms, some or all of a document’s PageRank may be distributed to the rest of the documents in the collection. This is called PageRank Evaporation.
PageRank Hoarding – Noun phrase. The attempt to prevent PageRank or PageRank-like value from leaving a Web site. This concept is nonsensical as all reputable published sources agree that a document’s PageRank must be returned to the collection from which its PageRank is being calculated. See also: PageRank Evaporation, Preservation.
PageRank Management – Noun phrase. The theoretical attempt to define the channels within a Web site’s navigation structure through which PageRank and/or PageRank-like values will flow from page to page in an attempt to “show” search engines which pages within a site are the most important pages. See also: PageRank Hoarding and PageRank Sculpting.
PageRank Sculpting – Noun phrase. The unproven hypothetical practice of managing internal linking structures at a granular, link-by-link level so as to direct the flow of PageRank and/or PageRank-like value within a Web site. Has been associated with PageRank Hoarding (q.v.) and PageRank Management (q.v.).
PageRank Trap – Noun phrase. A specialized form of link bait, a PageRank trap is a page whose outbound links only point to other pages on the same domain or site. Usually an article or forum discussion thread that attracts links from other sites.
Palindromic SEO – Noun phrase. The practice of optimizing a Web page for palindromic twins (q.v.) or palindromic expressions. (Cf. “Palindromic SEO makes SEO Palindromic”.)
Palindromic Twin – Noun phrase. A pair of words used as a phrase in a reversible expression such as “on page” in the palindromic expression “‘on page’ seo does seo ‘on page’”.
Pandalyzed, Pandalized, Pandalated – Adjective, past tense of Pandalyze. The state of having been downgraded by the Google Panda algorithm. The Panda technology is used to identify the right combination of signals to be used to distinguish between “high quality” and “low quality” Websites or Web content.
Parasitical SEO – Noun phrase. The practice of “riding coat-tails” for one’s own advantage. Parasitical SEO tactics may include: creating competitive content about well-established brands (common in affiliate marketing), injecting content onto an established Web site without the site owner’s knowledge or approval, dropping links into comments and discussions on popular blogs and forums, etc.
Parser – Noun. A type of program used by search engines to break down your HTML pages into components for indexing. The parser strips your indexable content and passes it to one or more indexers. Many SEO forum moderators and admins who should know better continue to speak of “spiders” doing the parsing and indexing. Spiders basically retrieve files and place them into (search engine internal) queing areas for the parsers to munch on.
Partially Indexed Listings – Noun phrase. See URL Listings below.
Persona – Noun. An online personality, also called a “sock puppet”. A persona is established by assuming a screen name and publishing content such as blog comments, forum comments, or articles under that name. The persona may be associated with a “hub” or main Website. Personas may be used for link building, seeding or influencing online discussions, or creating measurable value in a class of articles; see AuthorRank above.
Preservation, or Preservation Principle – Noun, noun phrase. The belief that a Web site can retain all or most of its PageRank by “hoarding” or “sculpting” PageRank. The Preservation Principle is an SEO myth. See also: PageRank Hoarding.
Quality Links – Noun phrase. A nonsense expression with no real value or purpose other than to act as a catchall for the types of links people think are better than “those other links”. Googlers use “quality links” as a subtle way of telling people to stop getting cheap spammy links. Many SEO forum moderators and admins use “quality links” in a somewhat broader but similar fashion, if only because they don’t know exactly what criteria make links good for any particular search engine but they recognize that people who are asking about linkage have a problem. Nearly everyone else seems to use the expression to refer to their (usually non-performing) backlinks. I wrote about high quality links at SEOmoz (in a post designed to rank for “high quality links” on the basis of content â€” but the lesson passed over everyone’s head, except for Aaron Pratt who saw what I was doing right away).
Recursive – Adjective. Having the quality or state or nature of recursion (q.v.). A process which calls or invokes itself as a sub-process. The invocation chain is terminated by any iteration that can only produce a null or null-like value.
Recursion – Noun. See Recursion.
Result fatigue – Noun phrase. The degree to which a search result includes documents with null relevance (q.v.).
Saturation – Noun. 1) The extent to which a Web site’s pages are included in a search engine index. 2) The extent to which a Web site’s pages appear in a given query’s search result. 3) The extent to which a link profile is distributed across a Web site’s pages.
SERP – Acronym for Search Engine Results Page. Everyone seems to know this acronym by now. I have always hated it even though I now reluctantly use it. SRP (search results page) would be better, since it’s all inclusive. You can have a DRP (Directory Results Page) which some people might argue should be called a DSRP (Directory Search Results Page). I still get click throughs from Yahoo! and DMOZ directory page listings (or a DLP, Directory Listings Page).
Sitelinks – Noun. Google invented this term, which is better than my classic “little clustered links under the main listing”. Sitelinks are those “little clustered links under the main listing” that deep link into the site by category or topic. Many people wonder how these Sitelinks appear. Googlers always say, “That’s algorithmically determined and we have no control over them” — meaning, “We wrote special commands into our software to create those things and we’re not going to tell you what criteria are used to decide which sites get them.” My best guess is that sites that have more than 1,000 pages of content, clear content categorization in their non-breadcrumb internal links, and lots of deep links from other domains are good candidates for Sitelinks. Other criteria are probably taken into consideration. Sitelinks are only shown for the top listing in a popular query result.
Term Naturality – Noun phrase. The sum of the measured natural value of all Natural members in a group, as used in the Theorem of Search Engine Optimization formula. Cf. Naturality.
Term Opacity – Noun phrase. The sum of the measured opaque value of all Opaque members in a group, as used in the Theorem of Search Engine Optimization formula. Cf. Opacity.
Term Transparency – Noun phrase. The sum of the measured transparent value of all Transparent members in a group, as used in the Theorem of Search Engine Optimization formula. Cf. Transparency.
Transparency – Noun. 1) A metric or measure of a range of search listings (q.v.) for a query which are obviously optimized to be included in the search results. A perfectly transparent search result (q.v.) has a Transparency value of 1.0, reflecting the fact that all of its listings are obviously optimized for inclusion in the search result. 2) The characteristic of being transparent in the sense of appearing to be clearly optimized to a casual, uninformed observer of a group or collection of natural, transparent, or opaque objects.
Trust – Noun. The basis for filters implemented by various search engines that enable documents on “well trusted” or “highly trusted” sites to rank above less trusted link-rich documents, and/or which enable links on “well trusted” or “highly trusted” documents to pass value to other documents.
Update – Noun. From the SEO side, an update is any noticeable change to the way a search engine behaves. From the search engines’ side, an update is any intended change in a search engine’s makeup or data. Matt Cutts offers an incomplete explanation of a Google update in his December 2006 Explaining Algorithm Updates and Data Refreshes post. He wrote a similar post in September 2005 with What’s An Update?. I don’t expect Matt to confirm every algorithmic change. That would pretty much defeat the purpose of many of them. Yahoo! and Windows Live occasionally issue “weather reports”. Matt has informally issued some on Google’s behalf.
Uncertainty Principle of SEO – Noun phrase. The two states of a Web document (indexed and relevance to a given set of queries) cannot be determined at the same time. The more queries to which a page is known to be relevant, the less information about the page’s indexing status can be determined. The more information about a page’s indexing status that is known, the fewer queries to which the page is relevant.
Universal Search – Noun phrase. The practice by major search engines like Ask, Google, Bing, and Yahoo! of melding results from several search databases to provide the user with a more diverse selection of search listings (usually combining video, news, blog, Web, book, and other search tools). Aka Blended Search.
Universal Search Injection – Noun phrase. The practice by Universal Search-capable services of augmenting search results (q.v.) with additional, supplemental listings not normally included in the standard 1..10 listings. Universal Search Injection listings usually have more complex structures, provide more information, and are more transient in nature than normal search listings (q.v.). Universal Search Injections may include links to several documents.
URL Listings or URL-only Listings – Noun phrase. These are the site listings that appear in Google with nothing more than a URL. Matt Cutts explained that they are uncrawled links that Google knows something about from inbound linkage. Google will (or used to) occasionally pull a description from the Open Directory Project for uncrawled links, but you often see them without any description at all. Uncrawled links are not shown in Google’s SafeSearch mode. Matt also discussed them here.
Validate – Verb. Every time I use this word people reach for their W3C manuals. When I speak of search engines validating Web sites, I don’t mean they are looking to see if the HTML code meets some arbitrary standard. I mean they pass each URL through a process whereby they establish, according to their own criteria, that the site is “not spam”. Many spam sites appear to validate. The search engines are not perfect. Nonetheless, many spam sites don’t last long because they don’t validate or their validation is revoked. Maybe I could have used a better expression, but I can’t think of one.
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