SEO Glossary and Acronyms

SEO Jargon

Algorithms – the way the search engines store and organise the order of pages on the search pages.

Alt text – alternative text. Text in HTML code that describes the images on your web pages.

Anchor text – the text with which you link to web pages.

Backlinks – links from other websites back to your site.

Black hat – SEO tactics that break Google’s guidelines. It’s using unethical methods to improve which position a page is placed on the search page. They’re only ever quick fixes – no black hat technique has ever found success for long.

Bots – ‘crawlers/spiders’ that scour web pages to analyse the content in order to rank them.

Bounce rate – the percentage of visits to your site that didn’t result in any further actions, a one-page visit for example.

Click-through-rate (CTR) – the ratio of impressions to clicks on your URLs.

Conversion rate – the ratio of visits to conversions, a conversion is a goal on your site. For example, your goal could be to get people to fill out a contact form – one user filling out a contact form is one conversion.

DA – stands for ‘domain authority’. Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages.

Header tags – HTML element used to designate headings on a page, referred to as H1, H2, H3 etc.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language, a standardized system for tagging text files to achieve font, colour, graphic, and hyperlink effects on World Wide Web pages.

Impressions – the number of times a web page has been viewed on the search results page.

Internal links – links from your own site onto other pages on your site.

Keywords – keywords and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. The bots scour your site for these keywords to determine when it is appropriate to show that page.

Keyword stuffing – spamming technique which overuses keywords and their variants, a black hat strategy.

Link building – the act of building the amount of links that come from external sites back to yours.

Long-tail keywords – longer, highly-specific keywords, usually around 3-4 words.

Meta descriptions – HTML elements that describe the content on a page. Can be used as the description line in result snippets.

Organic – placement on the search page, not as a result of paid advertisements.

PA – stands for ‘page authority’. Predicts an individual page’s ranking ability.

Search query – words typed into the search engine.

Ranking – the order of the web pages shown on the search page, ranked by Google’s algorithms.

SERP – this stands for ‘search engine results page’.

Sitemap – a list of URLs on your site that bots use to discover and index your content.

Snippet – The snippet is a single search result in a set of search results and generally consists of a title, a URL and a description of the page. The content of a snippet matches parts of the search query and you’ll see your keyword highlighted in the snippet description.

Traffic – visits to a web page.

URL – the address of a World Wide Web page.

White hat – SEO tactics that comply with Google’s guidelines.


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The Author

Michael Barlow

Michael has worked in digital marketing for over 20 years. He is a certified Google Ads expert and has overseen the design and development of more than 100 websites. Michael has helped manage dozens of businesses’s marketing spend, growing their revenue year-on-year through innovative online marketing methods.

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