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Search Engine Optimization Glossary

Algorithm. A set of rules that a search engine uses to rank the pages contained within its index in response to a particular query. No search engine reveals exactly how its algorithm works, to protect itself both from competitors and from those who wish to spam the search engine. Back links. These are links to a website from external sources, including other web pages, directories, and advertising. Banned.

When pages are removed from a search engine's index because the search engine has deemed them to be spamming, or violating one of the search engine’s other rules. Click-through rate. How many people clicked on a link, as a percentage of the total number of people that saw the link. Cloaking. The act of serving content to search engine spiders that is different to what normal visitors would see.

Search engines will ban you if they find you doing this. Contextual links. Contextual links are displayed on web pages when the content on the page indicates to an ad server that the page is a good match for specific keywords or phrases. Conversion rate. The percentage of visitors to a website who buy something. Cost per click (CPC). A system where an advertiser pays an agreed amount for each click someone makes on a link leading to their website. Cost per mille (CPM). A system where an advertiser pays an agreed amount for the number of times an ad is seen, regardless of how many people actually click through. The ‘mille’ refers to one thousand viewings of the ad.

Crawler. A component of a search engine that gathers listings by automatically ‘crawling’ the web, following links to understand how pages are connected. De-listing. This is when pages are removed from a search engine’s index, usually because they haven’t been updated for a long time. Directories. A type of search engine where listings are gathered by humans, rather than by automated web crawlers. Doorway page. A web page created in the hope of improving another page’s ranking in a search engine’s listings. Doorway pages don’t give much information to the people viewing them. Graphical inventory.

Banners and other ads that appear depending on the keywords a page contains. This includes pop-ups, browser toolbars and rich media. Index. The collection of information a search engine has that searchers can query. Landing page. The web page that a visitor reaches after clicking your search engine listing. Link popularity. A count of how ‘popular’ a page is based on the number of other pages that link to it. Link. A link is text that you can click on to go to another website, or another page on the same website.

Listings. The information that appears on a search engine's results page in response to a search. Meta-search engine. A search engine that returns listings from two or more other search engines, instead of using its own index. Meta tags. Tags placed in a web page’s code that pass information to search engine crawlers, browser software and some other applications. Meta description tag. This meta tag allows pages to provide descriptions to search engines. Meta keywords tag.


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