SEO Dictionary

The ALT attribute is the description of an image in HTML, that is an alternative text associated to an image. It corresponds to a text string shown when it is not possible for the browser to display the image on the screen, for example because you are using a text-based browser or a browser for blind people.

When SEO specialists use the term algorithm, they usually refer to that of Google. The Google algorithm is the system that establishes website rankings based on certain keywords.

It refers to the word or words used to link a Web page. In essence, it is the visible and therefore clickable part in a link.

Article marketing is a link-building strategy that consists in publishing articles on specific websites (article marketing and press release websites) to get links to your website. These links are inserted in the article itself or in the author's biography. If you want to use this practice, check that the quality of the websites you publish in is not too poor. For example, avoid websites with PageRank 0.

The concept of "author rank" refers to the authoritativeness of an author. Nowadays Google considers the authority of a domain to classify its results but, since it is possible to verify the authorship of a piece of content (see relative entry), it is by no means absurd to suppose that in the future Google will also take into account the authors, assigning them a quality score, presumably based on Google+ data, such as comments, +1 and shares.

Google allows you to verify the authorship of a piece of content by linking a domain (for example www.moka-adv.it) to the author’s Google+ profile.

Backlinks (also called inbound links) are links that point to your website. It is important to keep track of the number of backlinks, since they influence the ranking of your website in search engines.

Backlink analysis is the process of examining a link to your website, and those to your competitors' websites, to determine how authoritative it is in Google's eyes. In general, if a website receives many links, it is considered authoritative and will have a greater probability of ranking well in search engines.

Black hat SEO refers to those aggressive search engine optimisation techniques that violate Google webmaster guidelines. Among the most well-known activities of black hat SEO are hidden text and links, gateway pages (also known as doorway pages), cloaking, keyword stuffing, desert scraping and link spam.

They are links that are usually found at the top of Web pages. They have two main functions: allowing the user to easily browse your website, and allowing search engines to easily determine the structure of your website. It is therefore a good idea, from the SEO point of view, that breadcrumbs are present on your website.

It is a link-building tactic that consists in contacting a webmaster and telling them that one of their links is broken, and suggesting various alternatives including, of course, your own website. In addition to giving good results, this is considered an ethical link-building strategy (it does not violate Google guidelines) since it is advantageous for those who use it, but also for the Web, as they replace lost or abandoned content with quality content.

It is a favourite URL chosen from a series of pages with very similar or identical content, in order to avoid duplication of contents. For example, it is recommended to choose https://www.yourwebsite.eu as favourite domain and set the Web server to redirect the traffic from https://yourwebsite.eu, https://yourwebsite.eu/index.php and other variants.

Click fraud is an illegal practice that occurs when people or automated software (bots) click on a pay-per-click link. The click fraud has generated a lot of controversy. Research on this topic shows those who make greater use of click fraud are companies that want to cause economic damage to a competitor, or individuals who aim to increase their earnings from banners.

Cloaking is a technique which consists in presenting content to the crawler that is different from that provided to the user. Cloaking is considered a violation of Google guidelines; it is in fact among black hat SEO techniques because it tries to deceive and manipulate the index of search engines.

Content spam is a type of content generated for the purpose of manipulating search engines.

Contextual advertising is a type of targeted advertising, relevant to content, in which ads are selected by automated systems, customised for each user. For example, if a user is visiting an online film website that uses contextual advertising, the user might see advertisement for cinema tickets or DVD sales. Being linked to the context, this kind of advertisement guarantees a greater probability of being clicked.

A crawler is a program owned by a search engine, also known as a "spider" or "robot", which systematically browses websites and reads pages and their content for the purpose of Web indexing. In the context of SEO, crawlers are important to determine the relevance of a website and its ranking in Web search results for a specific keyword. Crawlers are very active and can visit a website several times per day, checking for updates. The most famous crawler is that of Google, known as Googlebot.

Nofollow is an attribute that webmasters use when linking to a website. Essentially, it tells search engines to ignore the link. Therefore, a link with this attribute is useless for ranking purposes. Social networks are known for using nofollow for links to external websites. Links without the nofollow attribute are referred to as dofollow.

The concept of doorway page is often used in the context of black hat SEO and refers to poor quality pages optimised for a particular word or phrase. The purpose is to trick search engines and get a higher ranking for some websites. In essence, doorway pages redirect the visitor to other Web pages unbeknown to them, using a form of concealment. They are also known as gateway pages.

It refers to the practice of making a search key return a totally unexpected website. This can be done by creating numerous links to the page with the word targeted in the anchor text. Usually, this practice is done humorously, but it is also used to share a political or social ideology.

Google Hummingbird is the name of a series of updates to the Google algorithm to improve the way search queries are analysed. Unlike previous search algorithms, which focus on every single word in the search query, Hummingbird considers not only single words, but also how they build the entire sentence. In a nutshell, it focuses more on the meaning rather than on certain words, analysing the query semantically.

Google Panda is the name of a series of updates to the Google algorithm that evaluates the quality of the contents of a website. Websites with low quality contents and a high number of advertisements see a drop in search rankings when the algorithm is updated.

Google Penguin is the name of a series of updates to the Google algorithm that chiefly evaluates off-site optimisation activities. Websites that use large-scale unnatural link-building techniques (such as low quality links, spam links, too many links full of keywords in the anchor text and so on) see a drop in their search rankings.

It refers to the percentage of times a keyword or key phrase is found in the content of a page, in relation to the total number of words contained in it. For example, if in a Web page containing 100 words, the keyword phrase is repeated 5 times, the keyword density will be 5%.

There is no rule or an optimal percentage, but it must be taken into account that repeating a keyword too little may not be enough to make the search engine understand the topic of the page. Repeating it too much, on the contrary, could make the article illegible. The best thing is to write naturally and not mechanically.

It is a not very ethical SEO technique, which consists in inserting a large number of keywords in a Web page in order to manipulate search results. This type of keywords usually appears in large lists or groups, typically out of context. Due to the evolution of search engine algorithms, this practice does not work anymore nowadays. On the contrary, using it you only risk making a text illegible and losing the reader, as well as being penalised by Google.

Link bait refers to the content of a website designed with the aim of getting attention and attracting natural links, which is especially used on social media. Matt Cutts defines link bait as "something interesting enough to catch people's attention".

Keywords called long tail are a type of specific key phrases, usually composed of at least three words. For example, a generic keyword could be "hotel rimini", while a long tail keyword on the same topic could be "cheap two-star hotel in rimini". These keywords are used when the user is searching for something very specific. They often serve as an SEO strategy for choosing keywords because, although they are less popular (and consequently with less search volume), they also have less competition and a better conversion rate.

Meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a concise explanation of the content of a Web page. It is commonly used by search engines in results pages (SERP) to display preview fragments of a given page.

The meta keywords attribute was intended to contain a series of keywords representative of the page content to help search engines identify the topic. Since 2009 Google ignores this element, therefore it is to be considered completely useless.

It refers to optimisation activities outside of a website, such as the management of links pointing to it via link-building techniques. Off-site optimisation is longer and more complex than on-site optimisation, because it concerns websites that are beyond our direct control.

On-site optimisation is the part of the SEO activity that concerns the internal elements of a website, such as content, source code and structure.

This includes the optimisation of the meta tags (title, description and so on) for the reference keywords, the optimisation of the textual contents in each page, the internal links, the sitemap and more.

Organic results are those that are not paid for. On Google paid results can be found in the right column, or at the top on the left (normally the first three results), and are distinguished from the organic ones essentially by the presence of a small rectangle with inside the writing "Ads" or "Advertisements".

PageRank is the authority score that Google gives to all Web pages on the Internet. This score is based on the number and quality of the inbound links to a website. The PageRank ranges from 0 (low authority) to 10 (highest authority). Only websites like Google, Twitter and others have PageRank 9 or 10. Authoritative corporate or personal sites usually range between PR 3 and PR 6.

Ranking, which is different from indexing, is the set of actions performed by SEO experts to make a website appear in a specific position (for example in the first page or among the first results) in the rankings of search engines for certain keywords. Ranking is the goal of SEO activity.

A referring domain represents a domain that refers to your website, because within it are one or more links pointing to it.

Consider for example when, inside a forum, the page of an external website is linked: in that case the forum becomes the referring domain of that external website. The number of referring domains is a more important ranking factor than the number of backlinks, contrary to what many people think.

Robots.txt, also known as "robots exclusion standard" or "robots exclusion protocol", is a standard text file that instructs search engine robots on how to scan and index Web pages. For example, through robot.txt you can tell a search engine not to index some files or folders within your website. It may be useful to use this file, for example, not to index some material present on the website which is useless for ranking or is off topic, thus making the robot save time.

SERP is the acronym for Search Engine Results Page and refers to the list of results returned by the search engine in response to a query.

The title tag is one of the most important elements of SEO and refers to the main title that describes an online document. The title tag should give information about the entire page in just few words. It is very important to have the right title tags to get good results from search engines. Title tags appear on the browser and in the search engine results page.

The white hat SEO refers to optimisation techniques recommended by Google, such as creating unique and accurate page titles or making your website easy to navigate. It is the opposite of black hat SEO techniques, which instead attempt to cheat the Google algorithm.

In simple terms, an XML sitemap (generally called a sitemap) is the list of the pages on your website. Creating and submitting a sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools allows Google to index all the pages on your website, including URLs that cannot be detected by its normal scanning procedure.