Putnam Marketing SEO Glossary

Updated: May 28

When we were getting started we needed an SEO quick glance guide to what we were hearing. The team at Putnam Marketing made a quick and convenient list for you to understand industry words when in a pinch. If you think of something we're missing shoot us an email and we'll add it.

Putnam Marketing SEO
Putnam Marketing SEO


Algorithm: A program used by search engines to determine what pages to suggest for a given search query.

Alt-text: A description of a graphic, which usually isn’t displayed to the end-user, unless the graphic is undeliverable, or a browser is used that doesn’t display graphics. Alt-text is important because search engines can’t tell one picture from another. Special web browsers for visually challenged people rely on the alt text to make the content of graphics accessible to the users.

Analytics: A program that assists in gathering and analyzing data about website usage. Google Analytics is a feature-rich, popular, free analytics program.

Anchor text: The user-visible text of a link. Search engines use anchor text to indicate the relevancy of the referring site and of the link to the content on the landing page. Ideally, all three will share some keywords in common.

Authority (trust, link juice, Google juice): The amount of trust that a site is credited with for a particular search query. Authority/trust is derived from related incoming links from other trusted sites.

Authority site: A website that has many incoming links from other related experts/hub sites. Because of this simultaneous citation from trusted hubs an authority site usually has high trust, page rank, and search results placement. Wikipedia is an example of an authority site.

Putnam Marketing SEO
Putnam Marketing SEO

Backlink (inlink, incoming link): Any link to a page or site from any other page or site.

Black hat: Search engine optimization tactics that are counter to best practices such as the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Blog: A blog is a website that presents content relevant to business/personal goal in a more or less chronological series. Content may or may not be time-sensitive. Most blogs use a Content Management System such as WordPress rather than individually crafted Webpages. Because of this, the Blogger can choose to concentrate on content creation instead of arcane code.

Cloak: The practice of delivering different content to the search engine spider than that seen by the human users. This Black Hat tactic is frowned upon by the search engines and carries a virtual death penalty of the site and domain being banned from the search engine results.

Comment spam: A term referencing a broad category of spambot or spammer postings which abuse web-based forms to post unsolicited advertisements as comments on forums, blogs, wikis and online guestbooks.

Content Management System (CMS): Programs such as WordPress, which separate most of the mundane Webmaster tasks from content creation so that a publisher can be effective without acquiring or even understanding sophisticated coding skills if they so choose.

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Putnam Marketing SEO Glossary

Content (text, copy): The part of a web page that has rich verbiage and adds value to the end user. Advertising, navigation, branding, and boilerplate are not usually considered to be content.

Crawler (bot, spider): A program that moves through the world wide web or a website by way of the link structure to gather data.

Directory: A site devoted to directory pages. The Yahoo directory is an example.

Doorway (gateway): A web page that is designed specifically to attract traffic from a search engine. Doorway pages have acquired something of a bad reputation due to the frequent use (and abuse) of doorways in spamming the search engines.A doorway page that redirects users (but not spiders) to another site or page is implementing cloaking.

Duplicate content: Content that is similar or identical to that found on another website or page. A site may not be penalized for serving duplicate content but it will receive little if any Trust from the search engines compared to the content that the SE considers to be the original.

Gateway page (doorway page): See above. A web page that is designed to attract traffic from a search engine and then redirects it to another site or page. A doorway page is not exactly the same as cloaking but the effect is the same in that users and search engines are served different content.

Googlebot: Google’s bot/spider program. A bot is arguably the most important part of SEO: If your site can't be found, how will you increase traffic? While designing a blog, ask yourself this: Can a bot crawl through your website, and not just hit the first page?

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) directives or “markup” are used to add formatting and web functionality to plain text for use on the internet. HTML is the mother tongue of the search engines, and should generally be strictly and exclusively adhered to on web pages.

Indexed Pages: The pages on a site that have been indexed.

Keyword - key phrase: The word or phrase that a user enters into a search engine. Think "what is SEO?"

Keyword cannibalization: The excessive reuse of the same keyword on too many web pages on the same site. This practice makes it difficult for the users and the search engines to determine which page is most relevant for the keyword.

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Keyword density: The percentage of words on a web page which are a particular keyword. If this value is unnaturally high the page may be penalized.

Keyword research: The hard work of determining which keywords are appropriate for targeting.

Keyword stuffing (keyword spam): Inappropriately high keyword density.

Link: This is a link. An element on a web page that can be clicked on to cause the browser to jump to another page or another part of the current page.

Link building: Link building is super important to SEO. It is the process of increasing the number and quality of inbound links to a webpage.

Link Juice: (Trust, Authority, Pagerank)

META tags: Statements within the HEAD section of an HTML page which furnishes information about the page. META information may be in the SERPs but is not visible on the page. It is very important to have unique and accurate META title and description tags, because they may be the information that the search engines rely upon the most to determine what the page is about. Also, they are the first impression that users get about your page within the SERPs.

Mirror site: An identical site at a different address.

Natural/Organic search results: The bottom line of SEO. The search engine results which are not sponsored, or paid for in any way.

Nofollow: A command found in either the HEAD section of a web page or within individual link code, which instructs robots to not follow either any links on the page or the specific link. A form of link condom.

PageRank (PR): a value between 0 and 1 assigned by the Google algorithm, which quantifies link popularity and trust among other (proprietary) factors.

Robots.txt: a file in the root directory of a website used to restrict and control the behavior of search engine spiders.

Scrape: copying content from a site, often facilitated by automated bots

Search engine (SE): a program, which searches a document or group of documents for relevant matches of a user keyword phrase and returns a list of the most relevant matches. Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo search the entire internet for relevant matches.

SEM: Short for search engine marketing, SEM is the marketing focus of SEO. SEM includes things such as search engine optimization, paid listings, and other search-engine related services and functions that will increase exposure and traffic to your Website.

SEO: Short for search engine optimization, the process of increasing the number of visitors to a Web site by achieving a high rank in the search results of a search engine. The higher a Web site ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that users will visit the site. It is common practice for Internet users to not click past the first few pages of search results, therefore high rank in SERPs is essential for obtaining traffic for a site. SEO helps to ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be indexed and favorably ranked by the search engine.

SERP Search Engine Results Page

Site map: A page or structured group of pages that link to every user accessible page on a website, and hopefully improves site usability by clarifying the data structure of the site for the users. An XML sitemap is often kept in the root directory of a site just to help search engine spiders to find all of the site pages.

Spamdexing: Spamdexing or search engine spamming is the practice of deceptively modifying web pages to increase the chance of them being placed close to the beginning of search engine results, or to influence the category to which the page is assigned in a dishonest manner. - Wikipedia

White hat: SEO techniques, which conform to best practice guidelines, and do not attempt to unscrupulously “game” or manipulate SERPs.

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