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Knowledge Base

A complete guide to technical SEO and digital marketing terms used by professionals.

Above the Fold refers to the part of a website you can see on your monitor without scrolling. It comes from how a newspaper is folded and displayed for sale. It is not important SEO-wise as long as the meaning of the site is not hidden. It is a UX issue, though.
An algorithm is a finite set of computer rules used to score objects. In this case, we are talking about Google’s algorithm scoring websites.
Anchor Text is the actual content used in a hyperlink. As seen in menus. It moves users onto other web pages.
Author Authority is a new way of determining a content writer’s expertise level.
B2B means ‘business to business’, i.e. companies that only sell to other companies.
B2C refers to ‘business to consumer’, i.e. businesses that sell to the public. Think shop or e-commerce.
Backlinks or links are a hyperlink that takes a user from one website to another. In an SEO context, they are sought after as one Google ranking factor is backlinks. You may also hear about reciprocal backlinks (when bother website link to each other. Backlink Profile lists all domains, IPs and webpages linking to a single website. Also referred to Inbound Links.
Baidu is a popular Chinese search engine and a Google Competitor. More
Bing is a search engine like Google but only used by 2.7% of users. It is owned by Microsoft, who once turned down the chance to buy Google.
Black Hat refers to cheating. Using ingenious methods to rank your website higher in Google. Its opposite is White Hat.
A bot or robot is a simple computer app or web crawler script that reads websites and collates data. Googlebot is the most famous.
Bounce Rate is defined as visitors who come to your website and leave immediately. It is a web traffic term found in Google Analytics.
A brand association is a subconscious mental connection a client makes linking your brand to an intangible concept, emotion, or another trusted brand.  Google is (nearly) universally trusted, so a site appearing on page one must have been checked by Google so it can be trusted (or not). Coke associated itself with feel-good emotion; think of the Christmas is coming advert.
Breadcrumbs are small navigation menus normally found under the main menu that tell users which page they are on in relation to the website’s navigational hierarchy or structure. They are a tiny Google ranking factor.
Broken Link is a hyperlink that goes to no page or an error (404) page.
A cache of a web page is a snapshot of the page when Google lasted visited. There is a date. You can the cache of any page by typing for example directly into your browser.
A canonical URL (A rel=”canonical” link) is a small line of code that tells Google which URL represents the most important page in a group of duplicate pages. It is often used in ecommerce when a user could view a product in multiple category pages. It is a technical SEO obsession and not very important.
A Citation (or Citation link) is simply a company entry into a web directory that includes the business’s contact details. Used to be called directory links, they are ineffective backlinks as the anchor text is always the same and directed to the home page devoid of any contextual content.
Click Through Rate is the percentage of users who click an advert when it is displayed. (CTR). A good CTR is 3%, according to Google’s Ads team. (06/23)
Clickbait is a method of sensationalising an article to draw traffic Clicks). There is also link bait, which attracts backlinks by offering something of value, like an infographic.
A content plan is a list of pages to be created on a website. This can be either blogs or pages. Sometimes a content plan may be called a content silo or list of keyword pages. Content is expensive, and wasting time creating unimportant low-traffic pages is one reason SEO has a bad name.
Content relevance is SEO speak for how well a website’s content resonates with a user’s search query. Think ‘elaborating’ on a topic or semantics.
Conversion Rate is the percentage of users who enquired (sales lead) or made a purchase divided by the total number of users who visited the site. Conversion rate optimisation is a process to improve this number. A 1% improvement in conversion can make a huge revenue increase. This is very important.
Core Web Vitals is a Google term for introducing page experience elements such as security (HTTPS) and website loading speed as ranking elements. The logic is a slow site is a poor site. It is more of a reward than a penalty.
Core Web Vitals is a set of metrics developed to encourage website owners to optimise their website for the user in real-time. Often just interpreted as the website’s speed, core web vitals include loading performance, interactivity and visual stability. Obtain a high score and Google will rank your website higher. Want to see your website’s score for free? Click here.
The cost of acquisition is the price of acquiring a new client or customer. Used often in PPC, COA is calculated by dividing the cost of an advertising (or SEO) campaign by the number of generated new customers. If you spend £5000 pm on Facebook ads and generate 121 new customers, the acquisition cost is £41.32 per new customer.
Domain Authority is a term and refers to the strength and number of backlinks to a domain. It is easy to manipulate and is out if date.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine close to our hearts. It is privately owned, and 1 in 200 people use it.
Duplicate Content is a bugbear in SEO. It is basically plagiarism or the same content repeated on the same website. It is not a huge concern. However, it is hard for Google to rank your website highly if you copy other people’s content verbatim.
E-A-T is a Google term and is very important. It stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness and was originally aimed at health and finance websites. It is a set of guidelines that can help Google identify professionals. There is now E-E-A-T which includes Experience etc.
Ecommerce is basically any website that sells anything. However, it usually refers to websites with a shop, cart, checkout and payment functionality. First coined in 1979 by Michael Aldrich.
Ecommerce SEO is the process of optimising an online shop and its products to appear higher in search engines. Shopify SEO and Magent0 SEO are the same things.
Evergreen Content is content that is not affected by time or by date. For example, ” how to make friends” or “how to run a small business.” This content does not need endless editing *(think gardening); hence forever fresh and relevant (green!). News content is the opposite.
Featured snippets are special content boxes that appear above the website that ranks #1 in Google for a keyword or keyphrase. Although they first appeared in 2013, it is only in 2021 that they became more apparent. To have your web content appear in a featured snippet is something that the content writers at Vanilla  Circus. are very proud of. More on featured snippets.
This refers to Google’s Analytics package, which provides statistics on web visitor numbers.
Google Bombing is a black hat SEO term for exploiting loopholes in Google’s algorithm to rank a website highly. It usually consists of building millions of backlinks to a site very quickly. Once called Google washing!
A Google Dance is when Google updates or makes significant changes to its algorithm, causing multitudes of websites to fall or rise in its index. It is an Americanism.
Google Search Console is the twin of Google Analytics and is more for technical SEO. It used to be called Webmaster tools and reports on Core Metrics, traffic, impressions, backlinks, URLS and crawling. It reports on the relationship between an individual website and Google
Google Trends is search data on what search (keywords) are trending (most popular) worldwide. Useful for media and news websites, useless for B2B.
Guest Blogging is when a user writes a blog or comments on a post (Guest Posting) without signing in or signing up for a blog. It is a method of backlink building which is slow and expensive.
An H1 stands for header 1 and is part of HTML. HTML is the standard markup language for a website. <h1> Markup is like bolding a line in Microsoft Word. An H1 is often the biggest text on a page.
HTML is the standard markup language for a website. Think code. To look at any web page’s code, hover your mouse cursor on a webpage and right-click, select View Page Source.
An index is similar to an index in a library. Google’s index lists all information on every website it has in its search engine. Indexed in an SEO context means Google has visited a page, the page has been indexed. Indexability is a web page’s ability to be found, visited by Googlebot (crawler) and then included in Google’s list of websites (index).
An internal link is a hyperlink (usually just called a link) that links to a page within a website. The opposite is an external link that takes a user to a different website. Internal and external links play an important part in SEO. You may read text near a link ‘opens in a new browser’; this is an external link. Broken links do not go to a live page or give an error page (404).
In an SEO context, JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) is a simple way of adding structured data to a site as a small piece of javascript. Structured data is additional markup code used that tells Google what the web page or company, for example, is about. Google recommends using JSON-LD for structured data. It sounds complicated, but it isn’t.
A keyword is a word or group of words (keyphrase) that a user types into Google to perform a search. Keyword research determines which keywords searched for in Google by your target audience result in a lead (enquiry) or a purchase (product). This is very important in driving sales to your website. You may hear about long-tailed keywords (phrases), head terms or negative keywords (Google Ads).
Keyword Cannibalisation is when multiple pages target the same or similar keyword to rank on Google. This strategy is largely defunct as Google’s algorithm becomes more advanced and embarrassed semantic search.
KPI stands for key performance indicators. It could be web traffic, a website’s position in Google, the number of sales made through adverts, or bounce rates. It is a business term to measure success or lack of.
A landing Page usually refers to advertising. An advert or an email may contain a link to a webpage. This is where customers lands.
Link Building or backlink building is the process of convincing other websites to add a link from their website to yours. Google measures the credibility and authority of a website through the number and quality of these backlinks. This is a huge part of SEO but is also frowned upon, as many SEOs believe that if you create a good website or content, other websites will link to you naturally. This is true if you are the BBC! Link building is also referred to as Link Acquisition (US).
Link Equity or Link Juice is the authority or value of a web page passed to another webpage via a link. The number of links pointing to the original page determines the amount of juice past on. It is all a multiplier. So a page will have the strength of 1 (plus the link juice) for example, 1.04.
A link profile or backlink profile is a list of which websites link to a domain and in what quantity, quality and relevance.
Magento is another e-commerce platform favoured by larger brands. Unlike Shopify, it is open source (you can change the code). However it is not for beginners!
Meta descriptions and meta titles are the name and descriptions of a webpage.  It is an HTML code element that is not viewable on the page. It is for Search Engines to understand what the web page is about. You will see the meta title in a Google search. Everything is Blue is a meta title. There was also ‘meta keywords’, which are not defunct. All of the make up metadata or meta tags.
No follow refers to nofollow links. It is a piece of HTML added to a hyperlink a rel=”nofollow” which informs a Search Engine to ignore this link and not pass on any link juice or strength. Google uses website links to it as a signal to be able to accurately list the correct websites on the first page of a search. So it is very possible that Google makes up its own mind on nofollow links (opp is ‘follow’ links). For example, the whole of Wikipedia’s external links are nofollow. Does this means Google ignores Wiki?
Off-Page SEO refers to any promotion or SEO work achieved using a different website or platform. Social media is off-page SEO (not on the web pages of the site); backlinks and reviews are other examples. All are a means of improving the score Google gives every web page by making a website seem more trustworthy and authoritative (expert). Off-page optimisation is very important. The opposite is On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is the opposite of Off-page SEO. On-page refers to working on a client’s website. It usually means optimising content and code per page.
Organic Search refers to unpaid Google results excluding adverts. Websites that have earned their place in the rankings organically. It excludes Google My Business. Organic traffic is traffic gained from a Google search that is located below the adverts and is unpaid. It is also referred to as unpaid, natural or organic Google’s free traffic.
Paid Search or paid search advertising is the opposite of organic search. Paid Search is Google or Facebook Ads. It is traffic from search engines or social media platforms that contains a paid entry ie an advertisement. It is the same as PPC which refers to pay-per-click.
A ranking factor is something that Google takes into account when ranking *(list in order) a website. Google uses over 200 ranking factors (or signals) to score each website and web page. Scores are 0 – infinity. Different factors carry different weights and multipliers. It is a huge maths equation.
Referring Domains are websites that link to yours. Google counts the number of domains linking to your website, not the number of links. Think Footer links.
ROI means return on investment/profit minus cost. “Does the revenue gained from sales and leads from the website match or exceed the amount you are paying for your SEO services?” More.
Search engine marketing or SEM refers to ranking a website in Google’s search index (organic search) AND using adverts or paid search within Google or Bing. Read More? It is not a popular term.
Type of search process used by search engines. Google is always trying to understand the meaning of a user’s search. What is the intent or the context? Semantic search does not look for exact match results but looks to provide search results based on meaning (semantics).
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. Features are the different ways that results are displayed by Google, they include paid (Ads/shopping) and organic. The most common SERP features are: Knowledge Panel (right of the page), People Also Ask Questions, Featured Snippets (top), Image Pack (line of images), Local Pack (GMB), Knowledge card/panels, shopping/product results, videos, tweets box.  
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that is popular is somewhat amateur.
Small businesses or SMEs and sometimes SMBs are defined as companies with less than 50 employees. However, we define small businesses as companies without marketing departments or heads-ofs with a turnover of less than £1m. More.
A URL is a webpage address. This one is URL stands for Uniform Resource Locators.
UX stands for a user’s experience on a website; how is the customer journey? Is the site simple to navigate? An important part of conversion and SEO. Not to be confused with UI, which is the sum of the parts on a page. UI really means user interface.