SEO Buzzword Dictionary

Posted by Tom


I used to work for a BIG company that had far too many meetings. So, to pass the time, we used to play a game called buzzword bingo.

While writing my post on the death of the meta tag, I was struck by just how many buzzwords there are in SEO (search engine optimization). I plan to write a series of SEO guides for beginners on the Midphase blog, so I thought it might be useful to start by introducing some of the terms.

SEO Dictionary

  • Algorithm – the secret mathematical formulas used by search engines to calculate a websites ranking for a given search term.
  • Alt attribute or ‘alt text’ – an HTML attribute than can be added to an image tag providing an alternative textual description of the image for visually impaired surfers and web spiders.
  • Anchor tag – this is the full name of the <a> tag in HTML that is used to create a link on a web page.
  • Anchor text – the exact words or phrase of a text link, or, looking at the HTML code, the exact words or phrase that appears between the <a href="url">anchor tags</a>
  • Black Hat SEO – SEO techniques that go against search engine guidelines or try to trick the search engines into giving you better search rankings.
  • Google Bot – a web spider specific to Google.
  • HTML – hypertext markup language – the underlying code commonly used to create content of a web page.
  • Keyphrase or keywords – the words or phrases that you are trying to optimize a web page for.
  • Keyword research – the process of finding out which keywords you should optimize a website for.
  • Long tail – in an SEO context this is the practice of optimizing for longer and less frequently searched for combination of keywords.
  • Meta tags – specific HTML tags used to provide information about a webpage to browsers and web spiders.
  • Meta description – a type of meta tag used to provide a summary of a web page in the SERPS.
  • Meta keywords – a type of meta tag (now largely ignored) used to tell the search engines which search terms it should rank for.
  • Meta robots – a specific type of meta tag used to tell web spiders whether they should index a page or not.
  • No follow – the rel="nofollow" HTML attribute can be added to anchor tags to tell web spiders not to follow and index said link.
  • Off page SEO – optimizing a website by improving the text and links of other websites that point to your website.
  • On page SEO – optimizing a website by improving the text and content of your website.
  • Search Engine – a website that people can use to search the Internet. Examples: Google & Bing
  • Search Query – the words or phrases that someone types into a search engine when searching the Internet.
  • SEM – Search Engine Marketing – the practice of marketing a website to search engines typically by SEO, PPC (pay per click) and paid inclusion.
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimization – a system of methods used to publish & market your website to improve its performance in the organic listings.
  • SERPs – Search Engine Results Pages – The page in which your search results are displayed.
  • Web Spider – a computer program that crawls the Internet and indexes the content for a search engine.
  • White Hat SEO – friendly natural SEO that works with search engines and surfers to create and promote good relevant content.

For the record, my favorite buzzword bingo buzzwords are: “pushing the envelope”, “thinking outside of the box” and anyone who expresses something as a percentage that is more than 100. Example: “Team, we need to give it 110% to ensure the web 2.0 paradigm shift leverages the enterprise synergies”.

tom 😐

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