Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Terms – Part 1

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is something each blogger and website owner should be familiar with. While there are several things about SEO which are not essential from a functional standpoint, you should be familiar with the basic terms associated with it. So, I’m going to write a series of 4 articles dealing with the basic explanation of common terms related to Search Engine Optimization. To begin with, Search Engine Optimization refers to the continuous process of modifying and supplementing a website, blog or a single web page with additional information so that one or more search engines find it valuable and place it high on search results pages.

Search Engine Optimization SEO
Search Engine Optimization


An Algorithm, in the context of SEO refers to the mathematical model a Search Engine uses to sort and rank the web pages in a defined order of relevance to a particular search term or terms. This model or algorithm includes quantities like keyword density, number of inbound links to the page etc.

Algorithmic Results

The results displayed by a search engine after processing a search term or query and fetching the most relevant web pages from its index based on its algorithm. This is different from the paid ads displayed alongside the normal search results.

Alt Tag/Alt Text

Alt tag or alt text is the text displayed either before an image gets loaded on a web page or when the image can’t be loaded. Also, alt tags act as the anchor text of image links, and images are usually displayed in search results based on their alt text.


In the context of SEO, analytics refers to mathematical or statistical facts about the particular website or webpage like number of inbound and outbound links, keyword densities, search impressions etc.

Anchor Text

Anchor text refers to the text which is linked to another web address or URL, using a hyperlink (or simply a link). Anchor text is the most important part of a link, and affects the search engine ranking of the linked page for the related searches.


A backlink is a link to one’s own webpage. It is also referred to as an inbound link. Backlinks are most often considered the primary factor in determining the search ranking of a page. Google uses the PageRank algorithm to evaluate the quality and number of backlinks to a particular webpage.


Banned sites or blacklisted sites are those which have been de-indexed from one or more search engines due to unethical SEO practices, illegal content ownership etc. Banned sites have the choice of requesting inclusion in the search engine results again. These sites will receive zero traffic from search engines during the period of being blacklisted.

Black Hat SEO

All unethical SEO practices involving deception of search engine users or robots are referred to as black hat SEO. The term is widely used and includes spamming of other web pages with links to one’s own page(s), cloaking of content such as using the same color for excessive keywords as the background so that only the search engine robots can detect the additional content or even presenting alternate web pages with additional keywords to search engine robots, buying or selling links just for SEO etc. Most search engines either penalize or de-index sites which they discover to be using black hat SEO practices.


Meaning the same as banned sites, blacklisted sites are those which have been removed from the index of one or more search engines due to engaging in unethical or black hat SEO activities.

Broken Link

Broken links or dead links are those which lead to a non-existent page. This may be either because the linked page has been blocked or deleted for some reason, or because there is an error in the link URL, say instead of! Search engines are known to penalize websites with a lot of broken links since such websites are not user-friendly at all!

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Often used to refer to the effectiveness or earning potential of advertisements on web pages, CTR or click through rate is also an essential part of SEO analysis. In this context, it refers to the percentage of search engine users who click through your web page’s listing to your web page from the search engine results page.


Cloaking in the context of SEO is usually the practice of serving different web pages to different user agents; say one version of the page for search engines and another version for normal visitors. Now, cloaking is also used for displaying different information for users from different geographic locations, especially if the website is PHP based. The former type of cloaking is considered to be a form of black hat SEO while the latter is usually not.


Conversion in the SEO parlance is usually the process of turning a search engine user into a visitor to the webpage or landing page and then into a buyer or subscriber. The term is freely used for all of these processes or one of them. The search engine user may either come to the web page via normal search listings or paid listings.

Conversion Analytics

While analytics typically includes all activity on the webpages and websites as a whole, conversion analytics specifically refers to the statistics of conversion of traffic into buyers and/or subscribers. It includes the source of traffic (paid listings or free listings), the percentage of visitors who complete the desired activity (conversion) and the approximate return on total investment, in case the listing is a paid one.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors reaching the landing page who complete the process of buying and/or subscribing, thus reaching the intended goal of the website owner. Conversion rate varies based on the quality of the landing page, the source of traffic and the particular topic or niche which the page is about.


The most essential part of any search engine, a crawler, spider, robot or simply bot is the script used to collect data from webpages across the World Wide Web or WWW for creating an index which is used to list results for relevant search queries.


Delisted URLs or websites are the same as de-indexed or blacklisted URLs and have been either permanently or temporarily removed from search engine results due to unethical SEO practices.

Description Tag

Description or meta description tags include HTML text that describes what the webpage is about. Search engines often use these meta description tags to give the user a glimpse of the webpages in the results. In recent times, Google and other search engines have started neglecting these tags in favor of the actual content of the pages. Early search engines were referred to as meta search engines since they relied solely on the meta description tags to sort search results.


Directories are indices of websites and blogs based on their category, popularity and or age. Functionally similar to search engine indices, these directories are manually compiled and edited from time to time. Very often, to save time, people looking for websites and blogs on particular topics choose to use directories rather than search engines, since manual compilation ensures that the linked sites are highly relevant and authentic, while search engines use algorithms which can be worked around.

Doorway Page

A doorway page is a web page designed specifically to attract large volumes of traffic from search engine listings or paid listings and then directs the visitors to another website or landing page. Doorway pages are typically low on useful content and highly optimized for search engines, with lots of keywords and inbound links. Search engines most often blacklist these doorway pages when discovered.

Dynamic Content

Most often, regular sites have static pages with the same content which may be updated manually. However, certain pages such as search engine result pages or SERPs display different information based on the input from the user, and are referred to as dynamic web pages. These pages are sometimes stored as static pages for future reference. Search engines often ignore dynamic web pages.

Flash Optimization

Flash content is a form of vector based graphical content, which is used for creating attractive designs on web pages. Some webpages are based entirely on flash content. Since many search engines are incapable of indexing/interpreting flash content, additional text must be supplied so as to inform the search engine crawlers about the content of these pages.

Check out the later posts in this series:

Samir Saurav Majhi
I'm a Generalist Researcher working on a Theory of Reality, Horticulturist, Blogger, Natural Systems Analyst, Amateur Architect and all around curious guy with deep interest in Buddhist Philosophy, Yoga, Holistic Medicine, Natural Mathematics, Homoeopathy, Reiki and a firm belief in Competitive Cooperation for Sustainable Existence.
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