You’ve probably noticed that there’s a lot of jargon and abbreviations in SEO. So we curated and categorized all the important SEO terms and their definitions below.
Click to find a particular term you’re interested in, or keep reading for all definitions.
Content that is at least ten times better than the current top-ranking result for the target keyword.
Redirect that takes users to a new URL and tells search engines that the page has moved permanently.
Redirect that takes users to a new URL and tells search engines that the page has moved temporarily.
HTTP status code indicating that the server couldn’t find the desired page or resource.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Open-source HTML framework for creating stripped-down versions of web pages that load faster on mobile.
Web crawler that powers Ahrefs’ backlink index and SEO tools.
Descriptive text that appears in place of an image if it fails to load.
Clickable word or phrase that links one webpage to another.
Spammy “writing” technique that turns one article into many “new” articles.
When websites republish content that originally appeared on another website.
Content that’s automatically generated using a program or code.
Links from pages on another website.
Bing Webmaster Tools
Free service from Microsoft that helps you monitor and troubleshoot your website’s appearance in Bing’s search results.
Web crawler that powers Bing’s search engine.
The use of SEO strategies and tactics that violate search engine guidelines.
The percentage of visitors that take no further action after landing on a website.
Words and phrases associated with your brand, products, or services.
Internal links that give users (and search engines) a clear trail to follow around your site.
Page designed to rank for a keyword and redirect users elsewhere.
Link on your site that points to a non-existent resource. They can be internal or external links.
What a web page looked like the last time Google visited it.
HTML code that tells Google what you consider to be the “master” version of a page.
URL that Google sees as the “master” version of a page or set of pages.
When a website is mentioned by two other websites.
Interlinked collections of content about a similar topic.
Core Web Vitals
Metrics that are part of Google’s Page Experience signals used to measure user experience.
The most important pages or posts on your site.
How fast and how many pages a search engine wants to crawl on your site.
A search engine’s ability to access content on a page.
The computer bot search engines use to discover pages on the web.
Link that transfers PageRank. AKA a “followed” link.
Domain Rating (DR)
The relative strength of a website’s authority based on its backlink profile.
Pages designed to rank for similar search queries.
Content that appears on the web in more than one place.
How much time passes between you clicking a search result and clicking back to the SERPs.
URL with content that depends on variable parameters.
Link that points to your site (that you didn’t ask or pay for.)
The process of putting your product or content in front of relevant people by sending them personalized emails.
The first page a searcher views on your site.
Link from your site to another site.
Type of navigation found on category/archive pages of sites that deal with many listings.
Content that visitors can only access after providing their contact information.
Pages created to rank for specific, similar search queries. Also known as doorway pages.
Free service from Google that monitors the web for content changes matching a specific search query.
Set of rules used by Google to rank matching results when a user performs a search.
Free service from Google for tracking and monitoring website traffic.
Search suggestions given by Google when entering a search.
Where you get a website to rank higher in Google for irrelevant or unrelated search queries using black-hat SEO tactics.
Google Business Profile
Free business listing from Google that shows up in maps and web search results.
Search index introduced by Google in 2010 that allowed them to index more content and provide fresher search results.
Slang term describing the volatility a new website or page experiences when Google is trying to determine where it should rank.
Algorithm update released by Google in 2013 to return better search results. It emphasized the meaning of search queries over individual keywords.
Google Knowledge Graph
Knowledge base of entities and the relationships between them.
Google Knowledge Panel
SERP feature that provides information about the main subject of the query.
Google My Business
Free service from Google that allows business owners to create, manage, and optimize their Google Business Profile.
Algorithm update released in 2011 by Google that rewarded higher-quality sites and downgraded the presence of lower-quality sites in their search results.
Penalty issued by Google to demote a page or site in its search results. Can be algorithmic or manual.
Algorithm update released in 2012 by Google to downgrade sites that engaged in manipulative link schemes and keyword stuffing.
Algorithm update released in 2013 by Google to improve search results for local search queries.
Alleged filter by Google that prevents new websites from ranking in Google’s top results.
Google Search Console
Free service from Google that helps you monitor and troubleshoot your website’s appearance in their search results.
Google Webmaster Guidelines
Best practices from Google to help them find, index, and rank your site.
Google Webmaster Tools
Old name of Google Search Console.
Web crawler that powers Google’s search engine.
The use of SEO strategies and tactics that blur the line between white-hat and black-hat.
When you create content for another website.
Infographic created by you but published on other websites.
HTML heading that’s most commonly used to mark up a web page title.
HTML elements used to define headings and subheadings on a page.
Algorithm adopted by Google in 2003 to identify authoritative web pages to rank.
The practice of improving all aspects of a website to rank higher in search engines.
HTML attribute used to tell Google about alternate versions of a web page for different languages and regions.
Encrypted version of HTTP that protects the communications between your browser and server from being intercepted and tampered with by attackers.
Link from another site to your website.
A search engine’s ability to analyze and store a web page in its database.
Query where someone wants to find information, not products.
Link from another page on the same website.
Full-screen interactive ads that cover the interface of the website or app.
When a single website unintentionally targets the same keyword across multiple posts or pages.
Percentage of total words on a page that are a specific keyword or phrase.
Metric used by SEO tool providers to estimate a keyword’s ranking difficulty.
Your position in organic search for a particular keyword.
Process of reducing a word to its ‘stem’ or ‘root’ (e.g., flowers, flowery -> flower).
Repeating the same keywords (or similar phrases) in your content to try to manipulate rankings.
Words and phrases that people type into search engines to find what they’re looking for.
Content specifically formulated to attract links.
The process of getting other websites to link to pages on your website.
‘Authority’ that is passed when one page links to another.
Agreement between two websites to link to each other.
Group of websites created to link to each other to improve search engine rankings.
The number of backlinks that point to a website.
Assessment of all the backlinks (quantity, quality, diversity, etc.) a website has.
The process of trying to get back lost links.
Natural tendency for links to become broken on the web over time.
Links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results.
Irrelevant links placed on pages to try and improve search engine rankings.
The rate at which a website’s backlink profile is growing.
Local business schema
Type of structured data markup to help local businesses optimize for local SEO.
Any mention of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) online.
SERP feature that appears for local queries and displays local Google business listings.
Local search marketing
The process of improving your presence in local search using SEO or paid ads.
The process of ‘optimizing’ your online presence to show up and rank higher in relevant local searches.
Log file analysis
Where you analyze the crawl behaviour of search engine bots in server logs to discover opportunities to improve SEO.
A low-volume search query.
Misnomer for semantically-related words and phrases. (LSI keywords don’t exist.)
Demotion or removal of websites/webpages issued by Google to sites that do not comply with their webmaster guidelines.
HTML attribute used to describe what a page is about.
Meta tags that give some search engines (not Google) more information about a page’s content.
Code that tells the web browser to redirect the user to a different URL after a set amount of time.
Meta robots tag
HTML snippet that tells search engines how to crawl or index a page.
Snippets of code that tell search engines important information about your web page.
A copy of a website hosted on another server.
Google’s shift to using the mobile version of content for indexing and ranking.
A link that occurs organically.
Query where someone is looking for a specific website.
When a competitor uses black-hat tactics to attempt to sabotage the rankings of a competing website or web page.
Tag that tells Google not to take a link into account for ranking purposes.
Tag that instructs search engines not to index a page.
HTML attribute that prevents referrer information passing through a link.
Keyword data that Google omits from sharing with you in Google Analytics.
Any efforts taken outside of a website to improve its search engine rankings.
The practice of optimizing a web page’s visible content and source code to rank higher.
Organic search results
Non-paid search results from a search engine that can’t be bought or influenced by advertisers.
Traffic from a search engine’s organic results.
Page with no internal links pointing to it.
Link that points to a page not on your website.
The amount of time it takes for a web page to load.
A formula that judges the value of a page by looking at the quantity and quality of other pages that link to it.
A backlink that you pay for.
People also ask
SERP feature that answers questions related to the user’s search query.
Back-and-forth process between the SERPs and its results when a searcher is unable to find the content they want.
Private Blog Network (PBN)
A network of websites designed specifically for linking to and improving the rankings of other websites.
Component of Google’s algorithm that uses sophisticated machine learning algorithms to understand the meaning of unfamiliar words and phrases.
When two websites link to each other.
Request to have Google review your site after fixing problems identified in a manual action or security issues notification.
Search suggestions related to your query that appear at the bottom of the SERPs.
Web pages that curate and link out to useful industry resources.
Google search result with additional data shown alongside it, usually from structured data on the page.
A file that tells search engines where they can and can’t go on your site.
Code that helps search engines to better understand and represent your content in the search results.
List of rules used by search engines to rank matching results when a user performs a search.
Search engine poisoning
When malicious hackers create dummy websites that appear to be legitimate search engine results. Their goal is to steal personal information or install malware.
The reason behind a search.
The words and phrases that people type into search engines to find what they’re looking for.
How visible your website and its related pages are in a search engine’s organic results.
How many times per month, on average, people in a given country search for your target keyword.
Terms closely related to the keyword you want to target.
Keywords that define your niche and help you identify your competitors.
The practice of optimizing a website or webpage to get more high-quality traffic from a search engine’s organic results.
The process of evaluating and assessing your website to see how well it’s performing in search engines.
The grouping together of topically-related web pages via internal links.
Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Pages that search engines show in response to a user’s search query.
Non-traditional search results that provide information directly within the SERP, so users do not have to click.
Share of voice
How visible your brand is in the market.
Terms with high search volumes.
Links to other pages or sections of a page that appear under some Google search results.
XML file listing all the important content on your website.
Outbound link that appears on every page of a website.
Deliberate manipulation of search engine results using techniques that are against their guidelines.
HTML attribute that allows you to display different versions of an image for different screen sizes and resolutions.
Protocols for establishing authenticated and encrypted links between networked computers.
A standardized way to provide information about a web page.
The part of a URL on the left of the root domain, e.g., help.ahrefs.com
Optimizing for search engines by organizing the structure of content.
Making technical adjustments to help search engines find, crawl, understand, and index your pages.
Statistical measure that aims to judge the relative importance of a word in a document.
Content that has little or no value for the user.
HTML element used to specify the title of a webpage.
Top level domain (TLD)
Last segment of a domain name, like .com or .org.
Query where someone is looking to purchase something but hasn’t yet decided where to buy it from.
Algorithm that analyzes links to separate useful web pages from spam.
Links in a page’s content that are not editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner.
URL Rating (UR)
The strength of a target page’s backlink profile on a 0–100 scale, with 100 being the strongest.
The end part of the URL that (typically) explains a page’s content.
Search engine dedicated to a specific area of focus.
The use of voice to interact with a search engine (rather than searching by text).
How a site is organized and its web pages interlinked.
Web pages created to manipulate search engine rankings.
A metric from SEO tool providers that measures the relative strength of a site. (Ours is Domain Rating.)
The use of Google-approved website SEO strategies, techniques, and tactics.
HTTP header sent from a web server that controls indexing of a page.
Pages about topics that could impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.
If you’re just getting started with SEO and want to learn the basics, check out our beginner’s guide to SEO. It covers everything you need to know, including:
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