SEO Terminology for Beginners

Deciphering SEO Terminology

A Quick Dictionary

Search Engine Optimization consultants will often throw around terminology that may be unfamiliar to you as a content author or site admin, below is a simple list that should help you decipher the complex world of SEO. For more information about SEO also check out the SEO checklist.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and if you have any terms you would like to see added, please request them

  • Algorithm A repeatable code function that is responsible for converting some input to some output, specifically for search engines, the algorithim determines which pages appear in your search results, and in which order.

  • Bounce Rate This is a an analytical Measure and represents the percentage of people who land on your website, and do completely nothing on the page they entered. A user bounces when there has been no engagement with the landing page, and the visit ends with a single-page visit. Typically this measures the quality of a web site. (Low numbers are better)

  • Canonical Each link on your page should be either canonical, or not. Being canonical tells the search engine that this url is the one true url for this page. If a page has multiple urls, this is what the search engine should use.

  • Cornerstone / Keystone While this term can change slightly, it indicates that a particular piece of content is of very high quality, and representative of the content that a user can expect to find on your site.
    Cornerstone content should be used to reflect your brand, and should be more heavily scrutinized for best practices.

  • Crawling / Spidering Search engines find your content using a techinque called crawling (using an application known as a spider). This is how the search engine finds and uses the links on your page to find and navigate to other pages both internally and extranlly to your site. Most reputable engines will also respect a special file called robots.txt which will tell the web crawler which pages to include or ignore while looking at your site.


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