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The world of web marketing and search engine optimization is filled with new and strange terminology. The definitions below should help you better understand the meaning behind these terms.


A set of rules that a search engine uses to rank the listings contained within its index, in response to a particular query. These rules will change periodically to maintain the integrity of search results and protect against those who wish to spam the search engine.

Alt Attribute

More commonly known as the "alt tag". The alt attribute is an HTML element specified within an image tag.

The text in the alt attribute, "Pandecta Logo" in this example, will be displayed in the place of the image "main-logo.gif" while the image loads or if the user has images turned off. In most browsers the text also appears as a "tool tip" when the user hovers the mouse pointer over the image after it has loaded.

Creating an alt attribute for images is not required, but can be useful for search engine optimization as well as for the viewer who's browser does not display the image.

Alt Tag

Common name for the alt attribute.

Architecture or Web Architecture

An intuitive navigation scheme so visitors can quickly find what they're looking for. The architecture is built in way that anticipates the visitor's needs, what the visitor is looking for., etc. Intelligent web architecture accommodates both the user needs while supporting the clients marketing goals.

Bid for Placement or Pay Per Click (PPC)

Keywords can be bought to gain placement in sponsored advertising sections of certain search engines. As long as the selected key terms are clearly and adequately represented on the advertising site, this can be effective for generating immediate visibility on targeted search engines. It can also be very expensive if the competition for a given key word or phrase is keen.

Category selection

Specific directories and engines require that you select the category where you want your site indexed. The engine or directory reviews each submission for acceptance. Often strict requirements for product and service descriptions must be met in order for your site to be indexed in certain of these major directories, like Open Directory and Yahoo.

Click-through rate (CTR)

Click through rate measures how many viewers click on your site relative to the number of times your link appears in their search. Your CTR ultimately reflects how well your site is positioned for your targeted viewers.


Used in search engine marketing, cloaking is the creation of pages with content designed to be recognized and indexed by search engines but which is different from what the searcher sees. Many search engines consider much of cloaking techniques to be spam and will ban the cloaked pages from their databases if discovered not to be in accordance with the engine's standard algorithms.


These are a user's completed transactions on your Web site. They may include a direct online sale, a completed request form, or other lead transaction on your site. If the hits to your site are well targeted, your web design is pleasing, content is informative and navigation is intuitive, you should be rewarded with a healthy percentage of these hits converting to leads or sales.

Conversion Rate

The relationship between visitors to your web site and those who complete a transaction, often expressed as a percentage. If a web site has 50 visitors and 10 of them complete an order or other transaction, then the site has a 20 percent conversion rate.


Internet databases listing websites or pages that are reviewed and managed by humans, as opposed to crawling robots. One of the most important directories is Open Directory. Here, the reviewers are volunteers and getting listed can take awhile. So, be nice when requesting that your site be listed!


See search engines.

Internet Traffic

In website terms, this is the volume of requests for files and documents. Traffic is often measured in terms of hits, clicks, and visits in unit time.


The collection of information a search engine has that searchers can query against. With crawler-based search engines, the index typically includes copies of all the web pages they have found from crawling the web. With human-powered directories, the index contains the summaries of all web sites that have been categorized.

Header Tags

An HTML tag used for titles and content headings. The syntax is

etc., with H1 being the largest. Heading tags have significance in SEO. Search engines frequently will assign more weight to documents where the keywords used in the query are found inside heading tags.

Hits or 'clicks'

When a Web user clicks on a link, this is counted as a hit or click. However, understanding how 'hits' are measured is not so simple. A hit gets counted in a server's log files every time a file is called from that server by your browser. But that's not all. An HTML page called by the server could also invoke numerous other calls. In other words, each image that comes up on a given page may get counted as a hit. This is also true for a CGI script or all pages in a frame. Further, sites that use an animated gif will likely engender hits for all images within that file.


Hyper Text Markup Language


Clickable content on a web page that leads to another page, another site or another part of the same page. Spiders use links to crawl from one page to the next as they index web sites.


These are the search engine pages or other web pages where your ad or organic listing is visible. Obtaining this visibility or 'brand building' requires a well-optimized site (SEO) and sometimes-additional search engine marketing (SEM) to target where your link is getting seen.

Key Word (key phrase or key terms)

A word or group of terms used by someone searching on a given search engine in their quest for relevant information.

Key Word Selection

A group of keywords chosen by a Web site owner to be the most effective in terms of attracting relevant traffic to their site. The page(s) can then be optimized for these terms by giving them emphasis, including placement in the text of a page. They can further be used as the basis of a pay per click advertising strategy for quick delivery of relevant traffic.

Link Campaign

A campaign that identifies through research the best options for shared links with high quality complimentary sites, as well as best listings in industry directories, and article publications.

Meta Tag

In HTML or XML, a tag used in the

of a page to provide information about the page. There may be multiple meta tags in a header, each with different information. In current usage, each tag includes the name of the information and the content that supports that name. Meta tags and title tags are commonly used to aid in search engine optimization.


Internet search engine, which enables websites to bid for keywords and ranks them according to how much they are willing to pay. Overture also has agreements with other engines and directories permitting them to list their top three or more sites as sponsored listings at the top of other engines' lists.

Organic Listings

These are the regular, non-sponsored (paid) search engine listings for Web sites that are indexed, and ranked for search placement. Organic ranking or positioning is based purely on a pages relevancy to a given search or query by a user. Good SEO is most valuable when the garnering of high targeted visibility for a given Web site is achieved.

Pay for Inclusion (PFI)

Payment is required by some search engines and directories in order to get indexed in their databases. This is not an advertising fee and does not guarantee rank or positioning priority.

Pay Per Click (PPC) or Bid for Placement

See Bid for Placement.

Rank Positioning

In search engine terms, this is the positioning of web pages in a league table for relevancy and usefulness when related to a particular search term.

Ranking Report

This is a report that shows how well a particular web page or web site is listed in a search engine results. For example, a web page about apples may be listed in response to a query for "apples." However, "rank" indicates where exactly it was listed -- be it on the first page of results, the second page or perhaps the 200th page. Alternatively, it might also be said to be ranked first among all results, or 12th, or 111th. Overall, saying a page is "listed" only means that it can be found within a search engine in response to a query, not that it necessarily ranks well for that query? Also called position.

ROI (Return on Investment)

This is the measure of profitability or gain achieved. One usually looks for a 'return' above and beyond break even or where cost is equal to revenue.

Search Engine

An internet database system for searching information on the Web.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A process for identifying and strategic placement of key words and phrases that will drive targeted traffic to your Web site. Strategic optimization of Web site content, meta and title tags, and links is designed to comply with search engine algorithms or rules for optimal key word ranking.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Includes any or all of the Web marketing options, such as SEO, paid search advertising, email marketing, banner ads, or other marketing strategies for building Web visibility via search engines.

Site Architecture

The overall structure of the website including site plan, how the pages interrelate, how they are composed (e.g. frames, layers, or table construction) and navigation links.


In reference to the use of search engine marketing or SEO techniques, spam is the deceptive use of cloaking, duplicate content like doorway pages, and things like hidden text, or anything that a regular user would consider deceptive. A partial list of Google guidelines to avoid 'spamming' the engine include:

  • Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
  • Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.
  • Don't send automated queries to Google.
  • Don't load pages with irrelevant words.
  • Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.


Also known as a 'crawler', a search engine program that enables the examination of internet files by following hypertext links. When visiting a website they often look for a robots.txt file in the root directory which will tell them which areas or pages of the site are to be spidered. These pages are then copied and stored in the engine's index.


One can submit or recommend a URL for inclusion into a search engine's index. This action does not guarantee indexing or a given rank placement on the engine even if the site is indexed.

Title Tags


tag is the part of an HTML page that defines the title of the document. It is found in the of the html code.

Tracking Reports

These reports involve the use of web log analysis to track or monitor traffic, visitor movement, and conversions once a Web user clicks on a site. This information is very useful for Web site owners in determining the success of their SEO efforts and ultimately their target buying market.

Tracking Ticker or Code

Code that is placed in the

of a Web page for the purpose of monitoring visitor activity on the page as well as any transactions they may complete.


The term is used to describe activity on a web site - be it hits, page views or unique visitors.

Web Advertising

Advertising on the Web typically involves the placement of sponsored ads on search engines, E-mail Advertising, banner ads, or other complimentary promotional vehicles.

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