To help make sense of search engine terminology, SearchWrite is proud to present a useful glossary of terms.
301: Moved Permanently - The requested resource has been assigned a new permanent URI and any future references to this resource SHOULD use one of the returned URIs.
302: Found - The requested resource resides temporarily under a different URI.
401: Unauthorized - The request requires user authentication. The response MUST include a WWW-Authenticate header field containing a challenge applicable to the requested resource.
404: Not Found - The server has not found anything matching the Request-URI. No indication is given of whether the condition is temporary or permanent.
Acquisition Cost: The cost to generate one lead, newsletter, subscriber or customer in an individual campaign. The calculation is the total campaign expense divided by the number of leads, subscribers or customers it produced.
AdSense: A contextual advertising program from Google. The program displays text ads on Web pages that are considered to be contextually relevant to the ads and shares revenue with the site owner based on the cost-per-click.
AdWords: The leading pay-per-click advertising program from Google. Prices of keywords are determined by an auction system. AdWords Campaigns consist of AdGroups and Keywords.
Algorithm: In SEM, a set of mathematical rules that describe or determine the weighting factors, rules and other criteria for search engine ranking. Search engine algorithms determine the ranking of Websites returned within search queries.
Above the fold: The portion of a Web page visible without scrolling down. (Derived from the newspaper industry where the top stories appear just below the newspaper's name and above the fold of the paper.)
Affiliates: Web sites that get a commission of some kind in exchange for sending sales or other predetermined conversion activity to merchants' Web sites. Affiliates range from hobbyist sites to highly evolved commercial venues with multiple merchant relationships.
allintitle: A special search command for Google. A search for allintitle:widget would only return sites that has the word "widget" in the title.
allinurl: A special search command for Google. A search for allinurl:widget would only return sites that has the word "widget" in the URL.
alt attribute/alt tag: More commonly known as the "alt tag". The alt attribute is an HTML element specified within an image tag. The syntax is:
<IMG SRC="main-logo.gif" ALT="SearchWrite Logo"> The text in the alt attribute, "SearchWrite Logo" in this example, will be displayed in the place of the image "main-logo.gif" while the image loads or if the user has images turned off. In most browsers the text also appears as a "tool tip" when the user hovers the mouse pointer over the image after it has loaded. Creating an alt attribute for images is not required, but recommended since the alt text is factored into the algorithms of most search engines.
Anchor Text: Text used in the hyperlink when linking from one webpage to another. Anchor text is a key ranking factor for a keyword or keyphrase.
Archive: When a search engine stores pages of your site on their servers and shows those stored pages to visitors without having to visit your site each time to retrieve the latest page.
Auction: A system that determines the price of your ad based on what other advertisers are willing to bid for appearing in the top positions of the search results page for the same term.
Authority: A webpage with many inlinks; a good authority has inlinks from pages with high hub scores.
Automated Submission: Submitting a page or pages of a site to multiple search engines via software to automate the process. Some search engines frown upon repeated automated submissions because they eat up necessary bandwidth. An exception would be when you have a prior relationship with the search engine, such as through a paid inclusion program or a trusted feed.
Backlinks: (AKA Inbound Links) Links pointing to a particular Web page.
block level analysis: A method of analyzing a Web page's content on a block-by-block basis, rather than looking at the whole page. It implies that some parts of a page are more important than others, based on what people tend to focus on. Microsoft is said to use block level analysis (BLA) to make its search engine results more relevant.
Boolean search: A Boolean combination of terms allowing the inclusion or exclusion from search results of documents containing certain words. This is achieved through the use of operators such as AND, NOT and OR.
Broad match: Campaigns in which you allow the search engine to serve your ad against searches that may seem similar although they may not include the precise term you specified. These may be common typos, synonyms, etc.
Cache see Archive
Click Fraud: Invalid search clicks. sometimes generated maliciously by competitors on one another's search ads.
Cloaking (a no-no), Redirecting the search engine to separately prepared pages that are different than the actual content you show visitors. A practice that is prohibited by search engines and can result in penalizing or banning a Website.
code bloat: When a web page or site is so full of code (scripts, font tags, redundant HTML) that it becomes hard to edit, slow to download, and more difficult for search engines to index.
collaborative filtering: Also known as "social filtering". A technique used to improve relevance, it returns documents other users with similar queries found relevant. This technique is also very effective in cross selling, as seen at Amazon.com ("People who bought 'Mary's Guide to Fast Food' also bought 'Jane's Recipes' ")
Conversion: In the field of search engine mrketing, this usually refers to the number of visitors from the search engines who take the desired action when they reach the Web site. Conversons can include signing up for a newsletter, calling or emailing for more information, or making a purchase.
conversion rate (CR): The percentage of site visitors that deliver the most wanted response (MWR). The CR is an important measure of the effectiveness of the online sales effort. For example, if 4 out of every 100 visitors to a site deliver the MWR, the CR for that site is 4%.
CPA (Cost per Action): A model in which results are based on qualifying actions, such as sales or registrations. Many affiliate and lead generation advertisers compensate marketing partners through CPA.
CPC (Cost per Click): The cost of clicking on a sponsored link or pay-per-click ad. Much of search marketing advertising is sold on a CPC basis.
CPM (Cost per Thousand): The cost per 1,000 impressions; an impression is when a site visitor sees (but doesn't need to click) a banner ad or Web page. Much of banner advertising is sold on a CPM basis.
Crawl: What a search engine's automated robot (also known as a spider or bot) does when following links from page to page on the Internet. If you're putting up special landing pages for paid search ads, you probably want to code these so the search engines will not crawl them. Otherwise they might appear to be mirror sites launched in an effort to deceive search engines into giving you higher organic listings.
CTR (Clickthrough Rate): The percent of ad viewers who click an ad. This statistic can vary slightly depending on who reports it - the server that sends the click or the server that retrieves it. Inevitably, there can be a small amount of difference.
Dayparting: Scheduing ads to run at only certain times of the day, such as only during business hours or only late at night. While costs per click may not vary, conversion rates often will.
Direct Feed Programs: Direct feed programs (usually XML-Feeds) permit you to feed large quantities of content from your site catalogue or database directly into the search engine. For dynamically generated, database-delivered sites and sites with CGI parameters in the URL, this can make the difference between ranking and obscurity.
doorway page: Also known as bridge pages, bridging pages, entry pages and landing pages. Referring to a page designed to rank well for a selected keyword and redirect visitors to another, "real" page. Important here is that there are two kinds of doorway pages: those generated automatically based on a template and manually created keyword focused content pages (KFCPs). The first kind is considered spam and penalized by most search engines. The second is an important and usually very effective SEO technique.
Dynamic Keyword Insertion: Some search ad services allow the precise search term to be automatically inserted into the copy of your ad - so you can hand over one piece of copy that reads differently depending on what the viewer searched for when they saw it. Many marketers also use similar programming techniques on their landing pages to insert keywords into headlines and body copy.
Exact Matching: Only returns ads for queries that exactly match the keyword set.
Index: The database that the search engine builds on its own server using copies of Web pages that spiders make when they crawl the site. Indexes are refreshed at different intervals. In order to be in the index, your site must be crawled by a search engine spider or submitted via a feed.
IP Address: A numerical address identifying which server a visitor is coming from. Is sometimes (but not always) of help in identifying click fraud.
Keyword: The word(s) aka search terms that the visitor types into the search engine. These terms need to match those that are prevalent on your Website pages or those you have bid for onm a PPC search engine.
Keyword density: A measure of the percentage of words on a page that are specifically chosen keywords. When a user enters a query, search engines display a list of pages containing the search terms. These are ranked based on (amongst many things) the percentage of words on a page that are similar to the words used in the query (keyword density). When keyword density is inflated artificially, it is often referred to as keyword stuffing.
Landing pages: The page a user lands on after clicking a link.
Latent Semantic Indexing/LSI: LSI is the acronym of Latent Semantic Indexing, also known as Latent Semantic Analysis. In this kind of indexing, it is possible that a query returns results which do not contain the keyword or the keywords searched.
Local search: When users seek search results that pertain to the geographic area where they live or are travelling to. Also can be used to refer to the search engines ability to provide that local content.
Meta Tags: A group of Web page source code data descriptors that provide instruction to Search Engine spiders. For example, the Meta Description tag provides a concise summary of the particular Web page, the Meta Keywords tag provides a list of keywords that are most prevalent on the page. Meta tags can also instruct search engines what not to search, when the content of a page expires and when to revisit the site again.
Negative Keywords: Keywords that your ad will *not* return a result for. For example, an advertiser for window shades would not want their ads appearing against searches for sunglasses, although searches for either might include the term "shades."
nofollow: If you don't want Googlebot to follow a link and index it from your site, you can use the following tag in your href links: rel="nofollow" Possible uses include channeling of PR away from non-monetary pages such as an "about" page. So, instead of having a live link to the about page, by having the html <a href="http://www.example.com/about.html"
rel="nofollow">About Us</a>, Googlebot will not: Index the page from that link; Consider the anchor text of the link; or Pass any PR to the linked page.
ODP (Open Directory Project) / DMOZ dmoz.org: A massive directory continually expanded by volunteers. What sets this directory apart is that it makes its database of indexed documents available to other directories & search engines. A listing here results in the page automatically being listed in many other directories and search engines. The model of using volunteer editors is fairly ambitious - and surprisingly successful. It is a mammoth achievement and an asset to the online world.
Organic listings: Search page results that are provided free and based on the search algorithms of the search engine. They are run in the non-advertising part of search engine results.
Outbound Links: Links on a particular web page leading to other web pages, whether they are within the same web site or other web sites.
PageRank/PR: Google's measure of the link popularity of a page. Named for Google co-founder Larry Page.
Pay-per-call advertising: Where an advertiser pays for an incoming metered toll-free number call from search engine visitors who see the ad. Sold in much the same way as more typical paid search ads, except advertisiers pay for calls instead of clicks.
Pay-for-Performance: Term popularized by some search engines as a synonym for pay-per-click, stressing to advertisers that they are only paying for ads that "perform" in terms of delivering traffic, as opposed to CPM-based ads, where ads cost money, even if they don't generate a click.
PI, Paid Inclusion: An arrangement where a search engine guarantees inclusion of Website data in its index and frequently recrawls the Website for regular updating and optimization or allows the Website to provide a direct feed.
PPC: Pay-per-click or pay-for-placement. A search engine business model that allows you to bid for keyword placement against other sites that also want to be associated with a particular keyword. PPC bids determine the search results ranking in order of the amount bid for that keyword. Yahoo! Sponsored Search, Google AdWords, MSN adCenter and ASK are the four major PPC service providers.
Query: A word, phrase or string of words used to define the response from a search engine.
Ranking: Where your site falls in the results returned to the visitors by the search engine.
Relevancy: How closely the content on your site matches what the search engine believes the visitor is looking for based on the keywords typed.
Reciprocal Link: A link exchange between two sites.
Robots.txt: A file used to keep web pages from being indexed by search engines.
ROI: The amount of money made from a campaign (search engine marketing or otherwise), less the amount spent.
SE Search Engine: Search engines and directories are often lumped together but for purposes of distinction, the major Search Engines use spiders to gather and update information. The major SE's are Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask, and AOL.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Any form of marketing that includes the search engines. SEM encompasses paid search engine ads (PPC), as well as the optimization of pages in organic search results (SEO).
SEO: Search Engine Optimization. The process of optimizing your site so that it will rank better on search engines for relevant keywords.
SEP: Search Engine Positioning. Similar to SEO but emphasis on optimizing for a particular niche or specialty category.
Shopping Search: Searches conducted on search engines dedicated to showing results of interest to shoppers. Major Shooping Search Engines incliude BizRate, Shopping.com, Froogle/Google Base, MSN Shopping, MySimon, NexTag, Become.com and PriceGrabber.com
Spam: Anything submitted to a search engine that violates its policies. Excessive and artificial content you might put on your own site to try to convince search engines that you should be categorized for something other than what you are.
Spider: The querying robotic agent, bot, or crawler that the search engine uses to capture Web pages. For example, Googlebot which feeds Google's search index or Yahoo's SLIRP.
Stemming: An advanced search quality of some search engines that allows the engine to return results containing the same word stem as the keyword. Example: A "stemming" return for "marketing" might return results for "marketer."
Stop Word: Words which are so common they don't affect search results, such as "a," "the," etc.
Submission The process of telling the search engine index that your site exists and that you want it to be crawled and included in their index.
Vertical creep: When non-paid, non-organic listings appear in the search engine results pages. For instance, the results may be news stories or maps the search engine deems relevant to a query.
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