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What You Need to Know Now – SEO Glossary

February 8th, 2011


Most of you probably know what a 404 code is. SEO pros use 301 redirects as well. What is a 503 though? It’s a code telling the Google bot that a site is temporarily unavailable and not broken for good.​ You need it when performing site maintenance resulting in downtime.​ See:

A/B Testing

The process of comparing two (or more) versions of a page to find out the best performing one, i.e. the one that is yielding the highest conversion rate.​ See:

Advanced segment​s

Advanced segments allow you to show only particular parts of your site’s traffic in a Google Analytics report. You can customize and save them to return to the same report again. If you are serious about SEO, you use them all the time.​ A common advanced segment is social media traffic, for instance.​ See:


Citation is the equivalent of a link for local SEO, but of course it’s not really the same as a link. It’s more a mention and a link on a site that is relevant for the Google Places algorithm. In a way, citations are even harder to get than links, as only a select few sites get counted for citations.​ See:

Content farm

A content farm is a site, often a huge one, that produces large amounts of keyword laden, low quality content to flood​ the search engines. Blekko and Google consider them to be almost as bad as webspam.​ See:

Via @mmhemani

Content marketing

Content marketing is a new term describing all the means to promote your site online, be it text, images, video or other “rich media”. Content marketing replaces, to some extent, simple copywriting.​ See:


Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO for short, is sometimes referred to as conversion optimization, and is the art and science of streamlining traffic once it reaches your site. In other words, it’s a set of techniques to make the user do what you want them to do on your site, e.g. clicking ads, subscribing, buying.​ See:

Deep link ratio

Any site with a natural link profile has at least some links leading to its content that is not the homepage itself. Back in the days, overzealous SEO practicioners would build hundreds or thousands of links to a website’s homepage, leading to a very low deep link ratio and thus being obviously “over optimized”.​ See:

Editorial link​s

Editorial links are not links in the editorial but links set by site owners, bloggers or content creators within a text itself. Also, editorial links are mostly natural in that they are given ​voluntarily (in contrast to paid links). While many people talk about paid links even years after they have been discounted by Google, most SEO pundits still rarely use the term ‘editorial links’.​ See:

Internal link hub

An internal link hub is a very important page on your site which has collected many inbound links from other sites, and thus can have a big impact on the overall distribution of your site’s authority.​ See:

Intelligent content

The definition of intelligent content is not one you can summarize in one sentence I’m afraid. Intelligent content has many characteristics, like being available in many formats, on many platforms​ and readable on different devices.​ See:


A jaamit is a very strong link, a human bond ​that results in a link on a website. A ​jaamit is a link that outlasts the link building efforts or even the link builder. A jaamit link reflects trust, friendship, mutual respect and ​overall appreciation.​


As far as I understand, LDA or “Latent Dirichlet Allocation” refers to the way a search engine might analyze word combinations or context on a page. Example: a page about the sky would also contain the words “blue”, “limit”, “high”, “reaching”, “scraper”. So Google might expect these terms to appear, while on a low quality page they wouldn’t.​ I’d be glad to find a better definition somewhere though.​ See:

Link decay

Link decay is the process of a link losing its value over time.​ See:

Link equity

Link equity​ is like the link budget you have on a site and the way you spend it. Do you waste it on linking to the wrong places or in the wrong way? See:

Micro conversion​s

While conversions ofter refer to major goals a website can have, micro-conversions can reflect any goals you choose to measure user engagement with your site – something like a lead, a sale or at least a subscription. A time on site of more than 5 minutes could be a micro-conversion, or a ​third returning visit.​ See:


Microformats is a term describing a set of standards to annotate web sites in order to make them machine readable. For instance, you can tell search engines what an address is using a microformat.​ See:

Via ​@leeodden

Natural links

Natural links are links by people whom you haven’t asked for a link. If somebody decides to link to you out of the blue without being asked to do so, the link is natural.​ See:


QDF stands for the Query Deserves Freshness algorithm by Google, which determines the ranking for newly important queries​. Breaking news is a good example. In many cases, a blog or news site can outrank old authority sites for a keyphrase because the QDF algo determines that they are the most current source on that subject at that moment.​ See:

QR Code

A QR code is used to enable mobile phones to read symbols from print material. They are real life links or additional data.​ See:

Relevant links

Relevant links are – in theory​ – links which have a topical connection to your site, e.g. a link from a travel site to a hotel. While the concept of relevant links is controversial in the SEO industry, it’s important to know that some links are more relevant than others.​ See:

Rich snippets

Rich snippets are ​based on the RDF format or microformats mentioned above. They are machine readable codes and provide additional information​ that is displayed in Google search results.​ See:

Sales funnel

While the idea of a sales funnel is not new, it has entered the SEO arena quite recently. The sales funnel can be tracked and influenced on websites.​ I can’t explain it in one sentence though; you have to see it to understand the idea/metaphor.​ See:


Semantic means “dealing with meaning”. Semantic search and SEO has been around for a while but it’s still nascent. Bing uses some semantic technologies from the semantic search engine Powerset​ which it acquired.​ Google, in contrast, doesn’t understand the meaning of a web document yet. It just analyzes the keywords contained in it.​ A semantic search engine can, for example, distinguish between spears and Britney Spears, while one that doesn’t will offer you both results.​ See:

Shopping cart abandonment rate

You probably know the bounce rate – that is, the percentage of users leaving your site after landing on it without performing any other action on it beyond clicking an external link. On e-commerce site the SCAR leaves scars on your revenue as it’s the percentage of customers who have left in the middle of the shopping or checkout process.​ See:


A slashtag is a customized vertical or niche search engine on Blekko.​ See:

Social CRM

Social CRM refers to customer relationship management before they are customers or forging relationships beyond CRM. It uses social media for that purpose.​ See:

User testing

User testing is a form of usability and website testing​ where you actually invite real users to test your site and watch/record what they are doing and where they fail. You improve the site based on these user testing findings.​ See:


Usability is not UX/User Experience (Design); it goes beyond it. It encompasses making the user want to use something for instance. A good example is the iPhone. While many phones might be usable, the iPhone is also desirable in the UX sense.​ See:

Wonder wheel

The Google wonder wheel is an excellent Google search tool which allows you to overview keyword clusters which are related to a particular query. It has been around for almost two years now, but many people still don’t use or even know it.​ See:

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