Welcome to our SEO Glossary [Updated for 2020]!

Learning to improve your rankings on Google is easier when you understand the vernacular. That’s why we created this SEO Glossary for you.

Study hard; the vocabulary test is next Friday! ?

SEO Glossary Updated for 2020

Understanding the following terms will make it far easier for you to learn SEO. Good luck and happy rankings!


A link or backlink is a shortcut to another address on the web. Most search engines consider a link to be a sign that the site receiving the backlink is of value.

Note: Check out these link building tips to help you move the needle on your Google rankings!


All standard links are dofollow links. Which means that Google counts the link as a recommendation.


If for some reason, you don’t want a link to be dofollow, you would mark it with the rel=”nofollow” tag. This tells search engines to ignore this link. One common place where people use nofollow is when they’re setting up a comments section. This prevents people from using your site to build up their backlink numbers.

URL Anchor Text

The anchor text is the word or phrase that someone clicks on to follow a link.

Google Algorithm

Google Algorithm is a system for determining the order that websites show up on Google. Which considers a variety of things, including content, backlinks, and quality.

Google Penguin

An update to Google’s ranking algorithm that penalized black hat linking tactics.

Google Panda

Panda was another algorithm update that weeded out low-quality sites from search results.

Matt Cutts

The former head of the webspam team at Google. Matt Cutts was a common source of information about best practices for link building.

Eric Ward AKA LinkMoses

Eric Ward started building links before Google came on the scene. He is one of the top link builders in the world.

Google Hummingbird

Another SEO algorithm, this one not only considers synonyms for words and context.

Authority Site

Authority sites have a large number of backlinks from other high-value sites. Most authority sites have high trust and PageRank, so they usually end up at the top of search results. An example of an authority site is Wikipedia.

Domain Rank

This metric attempts to determine how a domain will rank. Sometimes referred to as domain authority.


A tool for checking backlinks. It also allows people to keep tabs on their competition.


Another tool for checking backlinks. Majestic offers a suite of tools that also allows people to stay on top of their competition.

Trust Flow

The metric trust flow is used to determine how trustworthy a link from a website is. This is decided based on the quality of sites that link back to a site. In other words, the quality of sites linking to a site determines if a link out from a website is also likely to be of quality.

Citation Flow

Like trust flow, citation flow is a measure of how many sites link to a website. Unlike with trust flow, the quality of sites linking to a site isn’t involved in this metric.

Black Hat

Black Hat tactics take advantages of loopholes or vulnerabilities in a system. While they are not illegal, if found out, they will result in penalties.

White Hat

White Hat Tactics are above board and considered entirely acceptable by search engines.

Gray Hat

Gray Hat Tactics are usually aboveboard but could result in site penalties down the road.

Web 2.0 Warning: Black Hat Tactic

The second generation of the Internet many refer to as Web 2.0. It marked the beginning of the use of social media and the transition from static to dynamic content. We debated whether or not to include this on our SEO Glossary because many black hat practitioners spam these type of links.

Profile Link

A profile link is when you add a link to your site to any profile you have.

Forum Link

When posting on a forum, some people include a link to their domain. This can help backlink numbers, but it can backfire if done on the same site.

Internal Link

Internal links are links to other pages on a website, such as on a contact page or an about us page.

External Link

External links are links to pages on sites that are on a different domain.

Sitewide Link

Links that are present on every page on a website are sitewide links. They are often linked to About, Contact, or Home pages.

Contextual Link

A contextual link is a link located in the written content of a web page. The anchor text usually relates to whatever the subject of the link is about. A link to a cat food website might have a link text of “cat food for mature felines.”

Private Blog Network (PBN) Warning: Black Hat Tactic

Also referred to as PBNs, private blog networks are a black hat method of link building and one of the most sought after definitions in any SEO glossary. The practitioner buys expired domains and creates private blogs. They then write blog posts and post backlinks on to fool search engines. Google is aware of this tactic, and they have been finding and penalizing sites that use it.

Guest Blog Post

When someone who is not the owner of a site has someone else, who usually runs their website, create content for a blog.

Tiered Linking

Tiered linking involves using layers of backlinks to boost a site’s reputation.

Tier One Link

Sites that link to your website are tier 1 links.

Tier Two Link

Sites that link to sites that link to your site are tier 2 links.

Link Wheel Warning: Black Hat Tactic

Creating a link wheel means generating many sites that link to each other to increase the backlinks for each. This is a black hat tactic and easy for Google to detect and penalize.

Blog Comment

Comments that left at the bottom of blog pages are blog comments. Many sites use them to increase social interactions on a website and build a community.

Search Engine Optimization

Often known as SEO, this is a method of ensuring that a website shows up at the top of search engine results. The practice involves a combination of signals and is used by just about every SEO Agency in the world.

Email Outreach

A traditional method of reaching out to link prospects is email outreach.

Broken Link Campaign

Links become broken all the time as domains expire or businesses fail. A broken link campaign involves finding these broken links on sites you want to link to your website. Then contact the webmaster and suggest your link as an alternative.

Expired Domains Warning: Black Hat Tactic

Many webmasters register expired domains for above-board reasons. Often though, it’s part of a black hat effort to use it as a source for backlinks.

Google Webmaster Tools

suite of tools that allow you to keep your site running. It checks how long it takes for your page to load or if it’s mobile-friendly. Plus, you can create and submit a sitemap to Google and ensure that Google can crawl all the pages on your site.

Google Search Console

The new name for Google Webmaster Tools.

Google Analytics

set of tools that Google offers that allows you to keep track of visitors to your site. It also tracks where traffic comes from and how long people stay on a website, among many other things.

URL Shortener

A tool that creates a much shorter version of a link, which makes it easier to share on social media.

301 Redirect Link

There are several types of redirects, and a 301 redirect is one that indicates a website or web page has moved. It passes on 90 to 99 percent of ranking power.

Throw Away Website

A website that someone intends to use for black hat methods without risking a penalty to their main site.

Press Release

A press release is a statement about a business issued to the public, often through a news media source.

GSA Link Warning: Black Hat Tactic

GSA Link is an automated link building program used for black hat purposes, but Google can detect its use, and penalties are usually severe.

Keyword Phrase

Keywords often refer to a single word that someone searches for on a search engine. A keyword phrase may include many words that someone is searching for on Google or Bing.

Money Keyword

A money keyword is one that drives the best traffic to your website. The keyword needs to be one in which it draws visitors who are most likely to convert or make a sale.

LSI Keyword

Short for latent semantic indexing keywords, these are synonyms for keywords. An example of an LSI keyword for used cars would be pre-owned vehicles.

On-page Optimization

Things that you do on your website, including creating keyword content, optimizing HTML to include header tags and ALT tags, and using SEO friendly naming methods, to improve your search engine ranking are on-page optimization.

Off-page Optimization

Off-page optimization includes things that you do off of your site to improve its search engine ranking. Backlinking efforts are an example of off-page optimization.

Link Velocity

The speed that a page is linked to by other sites is the link velocity. Not too many people use the term anymore but we added it to our SEO Glossary in case you run across it and are wondering what it means.

SAPE Links Warning: Black Hat Tactic

SAPE Links is a link network that used for black hat link building purposes several years ago. Warning: this was a black hat tactic heavily penalized by Google.

Editorial Links

Links that are created to your site from another site without your requesting it are editorial links.

Social Signals

Social signals are indications of how popular an article or blog post is on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. They include likes, shares, and retweets, but the extent to which social signals affect search engine rankings remains unknown.

EDU Link

These links end in .edu instead of .com or .net, and they are for educational institutions. They can be used for everything from grade schools to universities.

GOV Link

Ending in .gov instead of .com or .net, GOV links are to government-owned websites. They may be local, state, or federal websites and organizations.

Google Disavow Tool

A tool that allows you to inform Google that you don’t want the search engine to factor a link from a site into your backlink efforts or your search engine ranking.

Disavowed Link

If a link to your site is from a website that Google considers to be low quality, you can disavow the link using a Google form to keep that backlink from harming your search engine ranking.


A visual image that presents data. Most infographics include a variety of charts, graphs, and pictures to convey a substantive amount of information.

Image Link

While the majority of links are text links, where people click on the text to go to another site, you can also create a link where people click on an image to visit another website.

Dwell Time

The amount of time between someone clicking on a search engine result and returning to the search engine result. In theory, a shallow dwell time means that someone did not find what they were looking for, so the link shown may not be relevant to a keyword or search term.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of people who leave your site without visiting another page on your website.

Can’t Find an SEO Glossary Term?

If you can’t find the definition you need on our SEO Glossary, please contact us so we can add it.