The Ultimate Guide to SEO Jargon

5 July, 2019
SEO, Digital
4 min read.

Search engine optimisation, like any specialist industry, is built up of its own unique set of terminology definitions and abbreviations. At EDGE Creative, we understand that learning the ins and outs of SEO vocabulary and jargon can feel as if you’re learning a brand-new language.

In order to help you understand the terms and phrases you may hear about SEO; we have created a glossary which defines the most important SEO jargon you need to know.

Algorithm: A complex process used by search engines to sort through billions of webpages to deliver relevant search results for a query. Search engines, such as Google, use a combination of algorithms to deliver search results based on several factors. Algorithms are constantly changing and putting different weight on factors that it deems important.

Alt Attribute: HTML code that provides information to search engines and screen readers to understand the contents of an image.

Analytics: The science of collecting, analysing and interpreting data to take future action based on past results.

Anchor text: The word or words within a paragraph of text which is hyperlinked to another page. This text provides contextual information about what the page or website being linked to is about.

Backlinks: A backlink is a link which is placed on someone else’s website that points back to your website.

Black hat: Black hat SEO is the name used for all SEO practices that are known for being unethical, and in the long run can harm your website and its ranking.

Bots: Also known as ‘crawlers’ or ‘spiders.’ Bots are what scour the Internet to find and understand content.

Canonical tag: The HTML link element that informs search engines which specific URL is the “original” copy of a page, which helps to stop issues with duplicate content pages you may have created.

Crawling: The process used by search engines to discover your website pages.

Deindexed: When a specific page or website has been removed from a search engine index. This can happen if your website violates search engine rules.

Featured snippets: Featured boxes that appear at the beginning of a search engine results page to answer the question/query inputted, giving extra exposure above the organic listings.

Google Analytics: A tool which allows website owners to get an insight into how people are engaging with their website.

Guest blogging: A link building strategy which involves posting your content on other websites in order to receive a link back to your website.

Header tags: A HTML element used to designate headings on your page.

Indexing: The storing and organisation of content by search engines found during crawling.

Internal links: Links on your website which lead to other pages on your website.

Keywords: Keywords are single words or phrases of a SEO importance for a given page or website. It is the phrases you want users to find you for in search engines.

Keyword stuffing: The tactic of overusing important keywords in your content and links, which is against SEO best practice.

Link building: The process of acquiring backlinks to your website.

Link equity: The value or authority a link can pass to its destination.

Link volume: The quantity of links on, or pointing to a page.

Long-tail keywords: Longer queries, typically those containing more than three words. They are more specific than short-tail queries.

Meta description: A snippet of text that is tagged with HTML, which summarises the content of a page. Search engines display this snippet in search results when the searched-for phrase is within the description,  making it an important part of on-page SEO.

Off-page SEO: Off-page search engine optimisation practices are the factors you do outside your page to improve its rankings. For example, link building.

On-page SEO: On-page practices are everything you do on your web page in order to improve its ranking in search results. For example, HTML structure, title tags and descriptions and keyword density.

Search volume: The amount of times a keyword was searched.

SEM: SEM is an abbreviation for Search Engine Marketing. This is the practice of increasing your visibility in search engines through either organic or paid methods.

SERP: Search Engine Results Page. This is the page that gets displayed when you search for a keyword on search engines.

Ranking: Ordering search results by relevance to the query.

Rendering: The process of a browser turning a website’s code into a viewable page.

Robots.txt: Files that suggest which parts of your site search engines should and shouldn’t crawl.

Title tag: The title tag is a HTML tag that specifies the title of a web page. These titles are also displayed in search engines results and are the blue clickable links that appear first. These are important click through rates.

Traffic: Visits to a website.

White hat: As opposed to black hat SEO, white hat SEO is the set of practices that search engines encourage you to use.

Qualified traffic: When traffic is qualified, it means that the visit is relevant to the topic on the page and therefore, the visitor is more likely to find the content useful.

Query: Words typed into the search bar.


At EDGE Creative, we are an integrated marketing agency who understand the importance of SEO Strategy alongside a wider content marketing plan. If you are interested in finding out how we can incorporate an SEO plan into your marketing, get in touch by calling 0121 355 8092 or emailing

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Joanna Cassin

Social Media Account Manager

Jo first joined the EDGE Creative team as a Digital Marketing Assistant. Several years and hundreds (if not thousands) of bottles of Pepsi Max later, she now makes up part of our office’s “Content Corner” as a Social Media Account Manager, bringing together her social media knowledge combined with her writing skills.

With her impressive level of music knowledge, Jo can regularly name a song and tell you an unnecessary music fact in less than 3 seconds from a song starting. This often takes all the fun out of listening to the radio in the office, but it’s certainly a talent, nonetheless.