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Website Marketing and SEO Glossary

EnhanceMyMarketing.com's glossary of key Website marketing, SEO, SMO, and SEM terms and tools. Find definitions, examples, and links to more resources.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization
SMO: Social Media Optimization
SEM: Search Engine Marketing

This glossary is designed to help explain and define some of the basic Website marketing, SEO, SMO, and SEM acronyms, abbreviations, concepts, terms, and jargon you need to understand before you can fully enhance and optimize your presence on the Web. Where possible, examples are also included.

Absolute Link. It's both good coding practice and smart marketing to use the full URL when you create internal links within your site. A relative link uses just the file name. For example, in providing a link to the main SEO Primer, an absolute link looks like:
    <a href="http://www.enhancemymarketing.com/SEO-primer">EnhanceMyMarketing.com: SEO Primer for Enhancing Websites</a>,

...while a relative link would look like:
    <a href="SEO-primer">EnhanceMyMarketing.com: SEO Primer for Enhancing Websites</a>.

Alt Attribute. When using images within your site, use the alt command both to assist the search engines (and your marketing efforts by using keywords) as well as visually impaired by providing a short description of each image. For example,
    <img src="http://www.mycollegesuccessstory.com/Randall_Hansen.jpg" align="right" alt="EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen" border="0">

Anchor Text. The word(s) that users click on to follow a link, which search engines review for keywords, so you want to choose your anchor text carefully -- using the keywords for that particular link. For example, in providing a link to the main SEO Primer, the anchor text looks like:
    <a href="http://www.enhancemymarketing.com/SEO-primer">EnhanceMyMarketing.com: SEO Primer for Enhancing Websites</a>, where the keywords are "SEO Primer" and "Websites" and "EnhanceMyMarketing.com" (for branding purposes).

Black-Hat SEO. Unethical SEO practices -- which you want to stay as far away from as possible.

Blog. A Website that is formatted as an online journal in which the writer posts regularly dated entries. Many thousands of blogs exist, but only a much smaller fraction are active, and even fewer are part of a marketing campaign. There are many blogging platforms available to users. Blogs are also a great place to post a comment, leaving a link to your site in the process. To see a few of our blogs, go to: Empowering Sites: Empowering Blogs.

Branding -- is a promise, a pledge of quality. It is the essence of a product, including why it is great, and how it is better than all competiting products. It is an image. It is a combination of words and letters, symbols, and colors.

Browser. The tool people use to view the Web. You need to test your site on all the major browsers to make certain your Website loads properly. The major browsers include Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.

Conversion Ratio (CR). The percentage of site visitors who become (convert to) customers. The ratio is derived by dividing 100 by the average of the number of visitors to complete one sale. (For example, if it takes 135 page views for each sale, divide 100/135 to equal .74 percent CR.) While the conversion ratio varies based on the type of products and Websites selling them, the Web has an extremely low CR, typcially ranging from 2-3 percent -- 2 to 3 sales per 100 visitors.

Crawling. Search engines send spiders to visit Web sites and crawl their way through the site, indexing the site's key pages in the process.

Deep Link. The first step of a linking strategy for most Website owners is getting critical links to the site's main (index) page, but future steps should involve obtaining links to specific pages beyond the index page -- deep links. Obtaining deep links to your site increases the value and ranking of your site.

Directory. Unlike search engines that rely on users to use keywords to find relevant Websites and Web pages, directories are basically a catalog of Websites organized by subject area. Directories play a key role in Website marketing because many search engines first find Websites through various directories. Obtaining a place in directories should be one of the primary goals of any new site marketing plan.

External Link. Also referred to as an outbound link. As part of your site marketing plan, it's a good idea to provide links to highly ranked and highly relevant sites. Not only does this strategy assist your visitors, but search engines will give your site more value (and higher rankings) when you have both outbound external links to high-quality sites as well as a number of in-bound links from high-quality sites.

Favicon. See that little icon of me in your browser by the Web URL? That's a favicon, which can be any image, from a photo to a logo, and can be created in a number of freely download programs (such as IrfanView). It's a great little thing you can do to build your brand identity. The actual file you then upload to your Web directory is named favicon.ico.

FFA (Free for All) Sites. These sites -- in which anyone can add links back to their own Websites -- are basically a waste of your time, and can actually hurt your site's page ranking because search engines discount the links from these types of sites.

Google. The world's leading search engine and developer of Page Rank. A key component of your site's marketing strategy must be getting your site's pages listed within Google's massive collection. Google also produces key Webmaster tools and resources, including Google Analytics and Google Sitemaps.

Google Analytics. A host of services that site owners can use (at no charge) to better understand key aspects of their site, including overall traffic, top-visited Web pages, keywords used to reach the site, length of time of visits, and much more.

Google Sitemap. A file you create (using free sites or downloads) in XML and upload to your directory that lists every page on your site that you want Google to include in its index of Web pages. A Google sitemap is no different than any other search engine sitemap.

Hidden Text. An unethical (Black-Hat) SEO technique in which the site owner loads keywords onto a Web page that are invisible to a regular visitor but which can be read by search engine spiders. In the end, most search engines catch on to the practice and penalize those sites that practice this technique.

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language). The basic language used by the majority of pages on the Web. Some newer pages are formatted using XHTML.

In-Bound Links. Links from external sites pointing (linking) to a page on your site. A key part of any Website marketing plan must be to acquire high-quality in-bound links. You can review at least some of your site's in-bound links by typing "link:www.quintcareers.com" -- without the quotation marks and with your domain instead of QuintCareers.

Internal Link. A link from one page of your site to another, whether for helping the visitor find more information or as part of your site's navigation. Internal links also help search engines, which start on one page, follow links to other pages within your site. Remember to use full and consistent anchor text for each link.

ISP (Internet Service Provider). Unless you have your own server(s), you'll need to buy Web space from an ISP. Smaller sites may need only low-cost space on a shared server, while other sites will need one or more dedicated servers. The larger your site -- and the more visitors you receive -- the more likely you will need at least a dedicated server.

Keywords. Words and phrases (up to about three words) that describe the content of a Web page -- words you expect people to use when searching for the content on your site (and similar sites). A key part of Website marketing is determining keywords and using the right mix of keywords to drive traffic to your site. Because some keywords result in millions of results, specificity is critical. See also, long tail search.

Keyword Stuffing/Spamming. An SEO practice you want to avoid. Keyword stuffing is such repetition of your keyword(s) on a page that when calculated, more than 50 percent of the content of a page contains the keyword(s). Most search engines consider keyword stuffing as spam -- bad pages.

Landing Page. A page other than your index/home page that becomes an entry into your site. Landing pages can be focused on specific content (for example on Quintessential Careers, we have landing pages for networking, resumes, interviewing, salary negotiation) or a specific target audience (for example on Quintessential Careers, we have landing pages for students, job-seekers, career-changers, coaches and counselors, and other visitors).

Link Building. A cornerstone of any Website marketing plan in which you seek out high-quality (and highly-ranked) Websites and request/suggest a link back to your site, submit your site to key directories and search engines, and attempt to get your site mentioned on blogs, social media sites, and social bookmarking sites. (See a sample linking script.)

Link Farm. An SEO practice you want to avoid, as these kinds of links can potentially hurt your rankings. A link farm is a group of Websites that all link to every other site in the group in an effort to boost the number of in-bound links to member sites.

Long Tail Search. When a search engine user chooses a keyword phrase rather than one keyword to search for relevant content -- typically because the long tail search will result in better results than using just one keyword. For example, a search on "resumes" will result in millions of pages while a search for "executive resume writers" results in a much smaller number of pages. A larger percentage of searches are long tail searches.

Marketing -- the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, services, and people to create exchanges that will satisfy individual and organizational goals. Marketing is about solving people's (customers) problems better than the competition.

Metadata. Essential shortcuts that search engines and directories use to understand a Website. Key metadata include page title, description, and keywords.

Meta Description. One of several meta tags that you should use for every one of your site's pages. Your description should be about 150 characters (including spaces) and illustrate the content of the page using your keywords (and reinforcing the title of the page). Not all search engines use the description meta tag, but it's still an important part of your marketing. The coding looks like:
    <meta name="description" content="Your 150-character, keyword-filled description.">

Use the "view page source" command in your browser to see what this looks like on this page.

Meta Keywords. One of several meta tags that you should use for every one of your site's pages and one which highlights the keywords (and keyword phrases) that define the Web page. Keywords should not be repeated more than 4-5 times, and separated by commas. Many search engines ignore these keywords, so some SEO experts do not even recommend using this meta tag anymore. The coding looks like:
    <meta name="keywords" content="keyword1, keyword2, keyword1, keyword3, keyword2, keyword1">

Use the "view page source" command in your browser to see what this looks like on this page.

Meta Tags. The two most important meta tags are the description and keywords, but there are many other tags, including copyright, robots, language, etc. Meta tags provide information to the search engines to better place and describe your site in search results. Because of its importance, some people include the web page title as part of a meta tag strategy, even though the "title" command is not a meta tag. Meta tags and the title command all go within the "head" command. (For more details about basic HTML commands, see my Using Basic HTML to Develop a Small-Business Website.

News Release. Also referred to as a media release and press release. These documents, written in journalistic style (with compelling headline and news hook), are produced with the purpose of gaining favorable publicity for the company, individual, or Website. In order to be the least bit effective, they must have some sort of news value. News releases should be published on your Website, emailed to key journalists and bloggers, and submitted to at least one news release distribution Website.

News Release Distribution Websites. Commercial sites that will assist in the writing, editing, and distribution of news releases. Some sites offer a number of basic free services, but most charge fees based on the services and distribution sought.

Organic Search Results. Sometimes also referred to as natural search results. These are search engine results that result from good SEO practices, but not from sponsored links -- or paid for in any way.

PageRank. An algorithm constantly being tweaked by Google that examines a Web page's links and then estimates the importance or value of that page, relative to all the other millions of pages on the Web.

Page View. Also called a page impression, it's a statistic that measures the total number of Website pages viewed by site visitors. In advertsing terms, it refers to a site's total impressions served. Compare to the term, Unique Visitors.

Paid Inclusion. To speed the process of getting listed in a directory and some search engines, some site owners pay a fee to in order to gain exposure more quickly.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC). A tool used by some Website owners to increase traffic to the site -- by purchasing (or bidding for) keywords, with the site shown in the page search results section of a search engine or in relevant ads on other Websites. Google's AdWords is the largest PPC program on the Web.

Positioning -- developing a specific marketing mix to influence potential customers' overall perceptions of a brand; to develop a specific image of the brand in the minds of consumers.

Promotion -- any type of persuasive communication between a marketer and one or more of its stakeholder groups. Promotional tools include advertising, personal selling, publicity, and sales promotion.

Publicity -- receiving favorable media coverage. A strategic marketing promotion tool involving building relationships with journalists, reporters, bloggers, and editors; responding to reporter media requests; and producing news releases or videos.

Reciprocal Links. Link exchanges in which two sites link back to each other or where a third site is involved to mask the one-to-one link. While having all reciprocal links -- or reciprocal links with low-ranked pages -- can hurt your site's ranking, a reciprocal link strategy is an especially good policy to follow for newer sites. Many well-established sites will not provide a link to your site until you link to them first -- and it's something you'll want to do anyway because of the value of linking to high-quality sites. The key is to find similar, but not competing sites, for your reciprocal linking strategy. (See a sample reciprocal linking script.)

Search Engine. A site that catalogs Web pages and returns results for users based on keywords used in the search. Most search engines accept submissions (some free, some for a fee), but many prefer finding new pages using their spiders. Google is by far the most important search engine, followed by Yahoo! and MSN Live.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Developing strategies targeting specific search engines with the goal of increasing your page relevancy, ranking, and visibility. SEM techniques include SEO, buying pay-per-click ads, and paid inclusion.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Part art, part science, SEO involves a combination of creating valuable content, producing well-developed Web pages, and marketing them in a way that results in a high ranking for each page within your Website.

Search Engine Submission Services. Companies for which you can pay to have your site submitted to multiple search engines. While there are some legitimate companies completing these tasks, for most people, it probably makes better sense to develop a list of key search engines and then do each submission personally.

Signature (Sig, Siggy, Sig File). A line or several lines of text added to the end of an email that includes a mini marketing message about you or your site. For purposes of SEO, any time you are commenting within a community, you should have a signature that refers people back to your Website.

Site Map. A page on your site that lists every single page of your site, organized by sections or categories -- or at least the most important pages if you have a rather large site. Think of a site map akin to a book's table of contents. Site maps are useful to both your visitors and to search engine spiders. Most Websites publish two types of sitemaps, an HTML version for visitors and an XML version for search-engine spiders.

Social Bookmarking Sites. These sites are basically extensions of people's personal bookmarks, allowing users to share favorite sites with anyone else who is a member of the site. Popular social bookmarking sites include Del.icio.us, Digg, StumbleUpon.

Social Media. These are part of the Web 2.0 in which users create the content, building communities through stories, pictures, audio, and video. The two most common types of social media sites are social networking sites (LinkedIn, Facebook.com, Twitter, etc.) and social bookmarking sites (Del.icio.us, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.). The relevance for Website marketer is that you want these folks talking and linking to your site, building traffic and key in-bound links.

Social Media Optimization (SMO). Developing a strategy for creating publicity and buzz for your site in key social media sites is what SMO is all about. It involves encouraging bloggers and others to write about your site and/or bookmark your site -- building additional site traffic and building/strengthening your ranking and relevance among the search engines.

Social Network Sites. Simply put, social network sites are communities of people who share information and news about each other to their "friends" or "connections." There are a vast number of social network sites -- most tied to some specific element such as hobbies, profession, or ownership -- but the ones that get the most press because of their size are Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. Include Twitter in that mix too.

Spiders. Search engines use spiders, robots, and crawlers -- programs that follow the internal links on your site -- to find pages to include in the search engine's index of Web pages.

Strategic Marketing Planning -- the process of managerial and operational activities required to create and sustain effective and efficient marketing strategies, including identifying and evaluating opportunities, analyzing markets and selecting target markets, developing a positioning strategy, preparing and executing the market plan, and controlling and evaluating results.

Title. Each Web page of your site should have a unique title, which should include keywords that describe the contents of your page -- in about 5 to 10 words (no longer than 60 characters total). Titles are what show up in search engine results and what people then click on to visit your site. Ideally, your page title also matches the top heading of your page. The coding looks like:
    <title>Keyword-Rich Descriptive Page Title</title>.

Use the "view page source" command in your browser to see what this looks like on this page.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP) -- the one thing that makes a product different than any other. It's the one reason marketers think consumers will buy the product even though it may seem no different from many others just like it.

Unique Visitors. A statistic that measures the number of visitors to a Website, counting them only once regardless of how many individual pages they visit. In advertising terms, unique visitors describes a site's reach. Compare to the term, Page Views.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator). The URL is the unique address of any web document.

Website. A collection of Web pages under one domain, typically with the same look and navigation, that contain can contain text, graphics, audio, and multimedia elements. A Website is typically developed around a common idea or theme -- with the name and URL containing either the company name or one or more keywords.

Web 2.0. The second generation of the Web (2000-2010), focused on user-generated content and community. Examples include social networking sites, social bookmarking sites, and wikis.

Web 3.0. The third generation of the Web (2010-2020), which builds on Web 2.0, is often called the intelligent Web because of the use of semantic web, microformats, natural language search, data-mining, machine learning, recommendation agents, and artificial intelligence technologies.

White-Hat SEO. Ethical SEO practices -- the kind of SEO practices you want to do to improve your Website.

Word-of-Mouth (WOM). One of the most powerful marketing tools -- and certainly the most powerful marketing promotion tool. Word-of-mouth describes the buzz around your company or brand -- what people (customers, employees, other stakeholders) are saying to each other. Good word-of-mouth can increase goodwill, sales, and Website visits, while negative word-of-mouth can be deadly. Some marketers attempt to manage word-of-mouth by utilizing customer evangelists (customer who absolutely love your brand) to help sing the benefits of the brand far and wide.

XHTML (Extensible Hyper Text Markup Language). A newer version of HTML that is designed to move HTML to conform to XML formatting.


For even more SEO terms and definitions, see these other SEO glossaries:


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