Glossary of Terms for SEO and Social Media Marketing

August 20, 2013

Small business owners that have worked with a marketing agency know how confusing the industry jargon can be, and online marketing is no better. Actually, it’s a bit worse! There are a huge number of acronyms and tech-speak that it makes your head spin. They’ve gotten so familiar to me that I often forget others aren’t, which is why I’ve compiled this extensive glossary of terms for SEO and social media marketing. My personal motto when speaking about online marketing is to “dumb it down without speaking to them like they’re dumb.” Hopefully I’ve succeeded in this with the below glossary. If I haven’t, feel free to contact me with any questions at (337) 233-1515 or [email protected] Enjoy!


301: A permanent redirect that directs a user or search engine from an old site page to the new. Also useful for dealing with canonical issues.


AdWords: Google’s pay-per-click advertisement program. One of the most common ways to advertise a website, these are the Google search results that appear in the top yellow box, as well as down the right hand side of the page.

Algorithm: (algo) A program used for calculation, data processing and automated reasoning. In online marketing, these are typically used by search engines to determine what site pages are displayed for a certain keyword or phrase.

Alt Text: The description for an image or graphic, which isn’t typically displayed to the end-user. This code is incredibly useful because search engine spiders cannot “read” images, so this text acts as a description, allowing it to be crawled and indexed. Optimizing alt text is a quick and easy way to rank in search engine image results.

Analytics: A program that tracks and reports important site metrics, such as number of visits and their sources. Google Analytics is the most popular tool for this, and is also free.

Anchor Text: The visible text of a link. This is important to both a site’s users and the search engines, because it describes the relevancy of the link through text.

Angie’s List: Founded by Angie Hicks, this is a rating and reviews site for local companies.

Astroturfing: (Opposite of full disclosure) The practice of disguising the source of a message, usually for political or marketing purposes, as a grassroots participant. Many site users are vehemently against these practices, such as those from Reddit.

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.


B2B: Business-to-Business

B2C: Business-to-Consumer

Back Link: (inlink, incoming link) Any link from one site that points to another

Barnacle SEO: The act of attaching yourself or your company to a larger, more authoritative site, such as a directory like Yelp, in an attempt to increase rankings and occupy more real estate in search results. A free URL shortening service, most commonly used to condense long URLs to make them more shareable on social media sites like Twitter.

Black Hat: Spammy tactics that violate best practices outlined by search engines, such as the Google Webmaster Guidelines. These tactics are used to gain quick visibility in search rankings, but are frowned upon by search engines and usually result in decreased rankings.

Blog: (contraction of web log) A website that is typically updated in a consistent manner that consists of discrete entities (“posts”), typically listed in reverse-chronological order.

Bot: (robot, spider, crawler) A program that performs a task more or less autonomously. Search engines use bots to find and add web pages to their search indexes. Spammers often use bots to “scrape” content for the purpose of plagiarizing it for exploitation by the Spammer.

Bounce Rate: The percentage of users who enter a site and then leave it without viewing any other pages.


Canonical Issues: (duplicate content) canon = legitimate or official version. These issues arise when content is duplicated within a site or across multiple sites, and is seen as a negative ranking factor by search engines, since they aim to deliver the most valuable results to their users. There are multiple ways these issues can be dealt with, such as using the noindex meta tag and 301 redirects.

Check in: Used by sites like Facebook, Foursquare and Yelp, it’s a method of virtually checking in to a location, letting others know you’re there.

Citation: Any site that lists a business’s name, address and phone number, and is crawlable by search engines. Citations are an incredibly important aspect for local businesses looking to rank high in search results.

Citation Source: A site that provides a citation, such as directories.

Click Fraud: Non-legitimate clicks on a pay-per-click ad, generally performed by a website owner or their employees, in an effort to increase the amount they’re paid.

Cloak: The practice of hiding content in a site that is not visible to the user, but is crawled by the spiders. This is a Black Hat tactic and is incredibly found upon, typically ending in the site being buried in the search engine results.

CMS: Content Management System – Programs such as WordPress that allow users to create websites without knowledge of hard coding.

Comment Spam: Posting comments on blogs for the sole reason of acquiring a link back to a site. Many bloggers disable or review comments because of this tactic.

Content: (text, copy) Content is one of the most valuable aspects of SEO. A page’s content should be unique and informative to the user.

Conversion: (goal) A quantifiable goal of a website. These can be downloads, purchases or newsletter signups.

Conversion Rate: The rate at which users on a site convert into customers. This is determined by taking the number of conversions and dividing it by the number of total visits.

CPC: (cost per click) Describes the average amount of money spent on an ad campaign on a per click basis. This is determined by taking the number of clicks and dividing it by the overall ad budget.

CPM: (cost per thousand impressions) A statistical metric used to quantify the average value / cost of Pay Per Click advertisements. M – from the Roman numeral for one thousand.

Crawler: See bot

D An online bookmarking service that lets users save website addresses publicly and privately online so they can be accessed from any device connected to the internet and shared with friends.

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

Duplicate Content: Content that is duplicated entirely or partially from either another website or within your own. This is a negative ranking factor and can cause a site to be buried in the rankings.


EBook: An electronic version of a book, typically in a PDF file format.

Ecommerce Site: A website devoted to retail sales where users can purchase products online.

EdgeRank: Similar to PageRank, this is Facebook’s algorithm to determine popularity and trust among other (proprietary) factors.

Engagement: Users who interact with a company or website online, particularly through social media channels. High engagement is a positive sign, as it indicates the target audience is interested in what a brand has to say.


Facebook: A social media website with more than 800 billion users word-wide, which allows users to connect with friends, family, brands, etc. It is currently the largest social media platform.

Facebook Places: Facebook’s geo-location feature allows users to check in to a business or place. It is similar to Foursquare and Yelp, but has a few key differences, such as the ability to tag friends who are with you.

Facebook Tabs: Tabs are located along the top of a Facebook page, and can include pre-built or custom tabs. These can be used to promote contests, sign up to newsletters, connect to a PInterest page, and many other options.

Flickr: A picture sharing social media site that allows users to upload and share photos with friends, family or anyone.

Forums: An online discussion site that is also commonly known as a message board. Communities of like-minded individuals with similar interests can start topics and respond to posts from others.

Follow Friday: (#ff) A trend that utilizes the hashtag, #ff, to recommend other users or Twitter accounts to their friends and followers. See also, #throwbackthursday.

Foursquare: A social network where users can check-in to businesses or places, upload photos and share on other social media sites.

Friends: Individuals you connect with and follow on Facebook. You don’t actually have to be friends with them, and can even outright dislike them. If they’re connected on Facebook, they’re a “Friend.”


Geo-location: Term used to track the physical location of people or objects. Typically used in mobile applications and services such as Foursquare and Gowalla.

Geo-mod: (geo-modifier) The city, state or general location attached to a keyword. This separates a regional longtail keyword from a broad one. Example: “Lafayette marketing company” vs. “marketing company”.

Geo-tagging: When you add location-based data to a photo, video, or tweet to identify where the content was posted.

Google Authorship Markup: Allows for your picture to show up next to your link in search results, authenticating your content and potentially increasing the click thru rate on your search result.

Google Bomb: The combined effort of multiple webmasters to change the Google search results usually for humorous effect. The “miserable failure” – George Bush, and “greatest living American” – Steven Colbert Google bombs are famous examples.

Google Juice: See authority

Google+: Google’s new social network. It differs in that it promotes social sharing that is more similar to how people share in real life by providing features such as one that limits who you are talking to, creating 1-on-1 conversation.

Google+ Local: The new Google Places. This is the listing that shows up within local search results and is tied to the business’s Google+ business page. Googlebot: Google’s spider program

Grey Hat: An SEO strategy that is not completely natural without crossing the line into Black Hat territory. This is the method that most SEO consultants use, because it is effective without being unethical, but still goes against the search engine’s best practices guidelines.  

GYM: Google – Yahoo – Microsoft, the big three of search


Hashtag: A tag used on the social network Twitter as a way to annotate a message. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a “#.” Example: #yourhashtag. Hashtags are commonly used to show that a tweet, a Twitter message, is related to an event or conference, online or offline.

HootSuite: A social media management system that helps brands streamline campaigns across social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Pages. Teams can collaboratively monitor, engage, and measure the results of social campaigns from one secure, web-based dashboard.

Hub: (expert page) a trusted page with high quality content that links out to related pages.

HTML: (Hyper Text Markup Language) directives or “markup” which 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.


Impression: (page view) The event where a user views a webpage one time.

Inbound Link (inlink, incoming link) Inbound links from related pages are the source of trust and PageRank.

Inbound Marketing: A style of marketing that essentially focuses permission-based marketing techniques that businesses can use to get found by potential customers, convert those prospects into leads and customers, and analyze the process along the way. Inbound marketing leverages tactics such as SEO, blogging, social media, lead generation, email marketing, lead nurturing, and analytics. It is in direct contrast to outbound marketing, which utilizes traditional interruptive marketing tactics such as direct mail, trade shows, print and TV advertising, and cold calling.

Index: Noun – a database of Webpages and their content used by the search engines.

Index: Verb – to add a web page to a search engine index.

Inlink: See inbound link

Instagram: A photo sharing application that lets users take photos, apply filters to their images, and share the photos instantly on the Instagram network and other social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare. The app is targeted toward mobile social sharing, and in just over one year, it has gained almost 15 million users. Currently, it is only available for iPhone devices.


Joomla: A content management system (CMS) that enables users to build websites and online applications.


Keyword: (KW, key phrase) The word or phrase that a user enters into a search engine.

Keyword Cannibalization: The excessive reuse of the same keyword on too many web pages within 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.

Keyword Density: The percentage of words on a web page that 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 Spam: (keyword stuffing) Inappropriately high keyword density.

Keyword Stuffing: See keyword spam

Klout: A measure of social influence. The service allows users to connect various social accounts such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc., and then provides every user with his or her Klout score. The score is out of 100–the higher the score, the more influence you have on the social world.


Landing Page: The page that a user lands on when they click on a link in a SERP.

Like: An action that can be made by a Facebook user. Instead of writing a comment for a message or a status update, a Facebook user can click the “Like” button as a quick way to show approval and share the message.

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 Bait: A webpage with the designed purpose of attracting incoming links, often mostly via social media.

Link Building: Actively cultivating incoming links to a site.

Link Exchange: A reciprocal linking scheme often facilitated by a site devoted to directory pages. Link exchanges usually allow links to sites of low or no quality, and add no value themselves. Quality directories are usually human edited for quality assurance.

Link Farm: a group of sites which all link to each other

Link Juice: See authority

Link Spam: (Comment Spam) Unwanted links such as those posted in user generated content like blog comments.

Link Text: See Anchor text

LinkedIn: A business-oriented social networking site. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. As of June 2010, LinkedIn had more than 70 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Local Rankings: These are separate from organic rankings in that they display the business’s Google+ Local page as opposed to the site. They are often referred to as the “maps pack” or simply “maps”.

Local SEO: The method of optimizing a site for the purpose of ranking within a local market. These usually of a geographic modifier attached to the keyword, such as “Lafayette marketing company”.

Long Tail: Longer, more specific search queries that are often less targeted than shorter, broad queries. For example a search for “widgets” might be very broad while “red widgets with reverse threads” would be a long tail search. A large percentage of all searches are long tail searches.


META Tags: Statements within the HEAD section of an HTML page that 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.

Metric: A standard of measurement used by analytics programs.

Mirror Site An identical site at a different address.


NAP: Stands for name, address and phone number. The NAP should be consistent across all citations; otherwise, it decreases your site’s local authority.

News Feed: On Facebook, the News Feed is the homepage of users’ accounts where they can see all the latest updates from their friends. The news feed on Twitter is called Timeline (not to get confused with Facebook’s new look, also called Timeline).

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.

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

Non-reciprocal Link: if site A links to site B, but site B does not link back to site A, then the link is considered non reciprocal. Search engines tend to give more value to non-reciprocal links than to reciprocal ones because they are less likely to be the result of collusion between sites.


Organic Link organic links are those that are published only because the webmaster considers them to add value for users.

Organic Search Results: The search engine results that are not sponsored, or paid for in any way.

Outlink: Outbound or out going link


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

Permalink: An address or URL of a particular post within a blog or website.

Podcast: A non-streamed webcast and series of digital media files, either audio or video that are released episodically and often downloaded through an RSS feed.

PPA: (Pay Per Action) Very similar to Pay Per Click except publishers only get paid when click-thrus result in conversions.

PPC: (Pay-Per-Click) a contextual advertisement scheme where advertisers pay add agencies (such as Google) whenever a user clicks on their add. Adwords is an example of PPC advertising.


Reciprocal Link: (link exchange, link partner) Two sites which link to each other. Search engines usually don’t see these as high value links, because of the reciprocal and potentially incestuous nature.

Reddit: Similar to Digg, but way better. It is a social news site that is built upon a community of users who share and comment on stories.

Redirect: Any of several methods used to change the address of a landing page such as when a site is moved to a new domain, or in the case of a doorway.

Regional Long Tail: (RLT) A multi word keyword term that contains a city or region name. Especially useful for the service industry.

Retweet: When someone on Twitter sees your message and decides to re-share it with his/her followers. A retweet button allows them to quickly resend the message with attribution to the original sharer’s name.

robots.txt: A file in the root directory of a website use to restrict and control the behavior of search engine spiders.

ROI: (Return On Investment) One use of analytics software is to analyze and quantify return on investment, and thus cost / benefit of different schemes.

RSS Feed: (Really Simple Syndication) A family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blogs and videos in a standardized format. Content publishers can syndicate a feed, which allows users to subscribe to the content and read it when they please, and from a location other than the website (such as reader services like Google Reader).

RSS Reader: Allows users to aggregate articles from multiple websites into one place using RSS feeds. The purpose of these aggregators is to allow for a faster and more efficient consumption of information. An example of an RSS Reader is Google Reader.


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

Scribd: Turns document formats such as PDF, Word, and PowerPoint into a web document for viewing and sharing online.

Search Engine: (SE) A program, which searches a document or group of documents for relevant matches of a users 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 often used to describe acts associated with researching, submitting and positioning a Web site within search engines to achieve maximum exposure of your Web site. 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 Web site.

SEO: Short for search engine optimization, the process of increasing the number of visitors to a Web site by achieving 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

Sentiment: A level of assessment that determines whether the tone of an article, blog post, tweet, or other content is positive, neutral, or negative.

Share: Sharing is synonymous with posting or publishing. You can publish text, links, photos, videos, and events on Facebook using the share box at the top of your profile (it says, “What’s on your mind?” inside the box). After entering your text, you have the option to upload a photo, video, or insert a link. When sharing a link, Facebook will automatically include the title, description, and an image (if available) from the page you’re linking to. If there are multiple images on the page, you have the option to select which image you want to use as the thumbnail. You can also change the specific text that is displayed by clicking on it. In addition, when you share content to your Wall, your fans and friends can then Like, comment on, or share the content with their friends. The share feature is what makes publishing content to Facebook so powerful. By sharing great content, you can encourage your friends and fans to syndicate your message, creating a powerful network effect.

Share Button/Bar: A feature that people can add to their website or an email that will allow the content to be easily shared on a variety of social media sites. Popular, free share buttons/bars have been created by Addthis (

Site Map: A page or structured group of pages which 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.

Skype: A free program that allows for text, audio, and video chats between users. Additionally, users can purchase plans to receive phone calls through their Skype account.

Snapchat: A newer social media app that allows users to snap a photo or video, add a caption and send it to their friends. After a certain amount of time, the photo disappears from their phone.

Social Bookmark: (SB) A form of Social Media where users bookmarks are aggregated for public access.

Social Media: (SM) Various online technologies used by people to share information and perspectives. Blogs, wikis, forums, social bookmarking, and user reviews and rating sites (digg, reddit) are all examples of Social Media.

Social Media Marketing: (SMM) Website or brand promotion through social media

Spammer: A person who uses spam to pursue a goal.

Spider: See bot

Splash Page: Often animated, graphics pages without significant textual content. Splash pages are intended to look flashy to humans, but without attention to SEO may look like dead ends to search engine spiders, which can only navigate through text links. Poorly executed splash pages may be bad for SEO and often a pain for users.

Static Page: A web page without dynamic content or variables such as session IDs in the URL. Static pages are good for SEO work in that they are friendly to search engine spiders.

StumbleUpon: A free web-browser extension that acts as an intelligent browsing tool for discovering and sharing web sites.


Tag: You can tag friends in pictures, places, videos, and in text, which places a link from the item to their profile. Tagging a person’s face in one of your own photos will allow that person’s friends to see your photo, depending on the tagged person’s privacy settings.

Text Link: A plain HTML link that does not involve graphic or special code such as flash or java script.

Time on Page: The amount of time that a user spends on one page before clicking off. An indication of quality and relevance.

Timeline: The new Facebook format for personal profiles. It is essentially a digital scrapbook of a user’s life, displaying their profile in an actual timeline format so they can see at exactly what point in time something a story occurred.

Trend: A trend is seen on every social network. Facebook shows what is trending when multiple users are sharing the same link or discussing the same topic. Google+ highlights trending topic when a user conducts a search. Twitter has a section to the bottom right of its home feed which clearly shows what topics and hashtags are trending in tweets. And LinkedIn shows what industries (in LinkedIn Today) that a certain story is popular.

Troll: A hurtful but possibly valuable loser who, for whatever reason, is both obsessed by and constantly annoyed with, and deeply offended by everything written on blogs, forums and social media sites.

Tumblr: Lets users share content in the form of a blog. Users can post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, or email.

TweetDeck: An application that connects users with contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and more.

Twitter: A platform that allows users to share 140-character-long messages publicly. User can “follow” each other as a way of subscribing to each other’s messages. Additionally, users can use the @username command to direct a message toward another Twitter user.

TypePad: A free and paid blogging platform similar to Blogger. It allows users to host and publish their own blogs.


URL: Uniform Resource Locator – AKA Web Address

User Generated Content: (UGC) Social Media, wikis, Folksonomies, and some blogs rely heavily on User Generated Content. One could say that Google is exploiting the entire web as UGC for an advertising venue.


Video SEO: The act of optimizing a video in order to gain ranking within video search engine results. This includes keyword usage, geo-tagging, onsite optimizations and many other factors.

Vimeo: A popular video sharing service in which users can upload videos to be hosted online and shared and watched by others. Vimeo user videos are often more artistic, and the service does not allow commercial video content.

Vine: A newer social media app, developed by Twitter that allows users to create seven-second videos and easily post them online.

Viral Marketing: Refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives through self-replicating viral processes.


Web 2.0: Characterized by websites, which encourage user interaction.

Web Analytics: See Analytics

Webinar: Used to conduct live meetings, training, or presentations via the Internet.

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

Widget: 1) (gadget, gizmo) small applications used on web pages to provide specific functions such as a hit counter or IP address display. These programs can make good link bait. 2) a term borrowed from economics that means “any product or commodity.”

Wiki: A website that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser, allowing for collaboration between users.

Wikipedia: A free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its millions of articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site.


Yammer: A business communication tool that operates as an internal Twitter-like messaging system for employees within an organization. It is used to provide real-time communication and reduce the need for e-mail.

Yelp: A social network and local search website that provides users with a platform to review, rate, and discuss local businesses.

YouTube: A video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos. Three former PayPal employees created YouTube in February 2005. In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion, and is now operated as a subsidiary of Google. YouTube is the largest video-sharing site in the world.