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SEO Glossary and SEO Definitions

< A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X >

htaccess file – A file with one or more configuration directives placed in a web site document directory. The directives apply to that directory and all subdirectories.

301 Redirect – A message that the URL has moved permanently. This is commonly used when a URL has a new location and will not be appearing again at the old URL.

302 Redirect – A “found” message. (Also referred to as a “temporary redirect.”) This form of redirection is commonly used -- and in some cases abused -- when a URL has been moved to a different location; but, it will be returning to the original location eventually.

403 Server Code – A “forbidden” message. Prevents access to a URL and displays the reason for preventing access.

404 Server Code – A “not found” message. Server cannot find the URL requested.


AJAX – Stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. Ajax is a programming language that allows for the updating of specific sections of content on a web page, without completely reloading the page.

API – Acronym for Application Programming Interface. This is a program that advertisers create to manage their SEM campaigns, bypassing the search engines’ interfaces.

A/B Testing – A/B testing, at its simplest, is randomly showing a visitor one version of a page – (A) version or (B) version – and tracking the changes in behavior based on which version they saw. (A) version is normally your existing design (“control” in statistics lingo); and (B) version is the “challenger” with one copy or design element changed. In a “50/50 A/B split test,” you’re flipping a coin to decide which version of a page to show. A classic example would be comparing conversions resulting from serving either version (A) or (B), where the versions display different headlines. A/B tests are commonly applied to clicked-on ad copy and landing page copy or designs to determine which version drives the more desired result. See also Multivariate Testing.

Absolute URL’s Link - Absolute URLs use the full-path address, such as (See also Relative URL’s link.)

Acquisition Strategy – A process of finding those potential customers who are in the market and ready to buy. The attempt to lead customers to a web site and to welcome them, answer their questions and close the sale.

Ad – Advertisements a searcher sees after submitting a query in a search engine or web site search box. In PPC, these ads are usually text format, with a Title, Description and Display URL. In some cases, a keyword the searcher used in his or her query appears boldfaced in the displayed ad. Ads can be positioned anywhere on a search results page; commonly they appear at the top – above the natural or organic listings – and on the right side of the page, also known as “Right Rail.”

Ad Copy – The main text of a clickable search or context-served ad. It usually makes up the second and third lines of a displayed ad, between the Ad Title and the Display URL.

Ad Title – The first line of text displayed in a clickable search or context-served ad. Ad Titles serve as ad headlines.

Affiliate Marketing – Affiliate marketing is a process of revenue sharing that allows merchants to duplicate sales efforts by enlisting other web sites as a type of outside sales force. Successful affiliate marketing programs result in the merchant attracting additional buyers, and the affiliate earning the equivalent of a referral fee, based on click-through referrals to the merchant site.

Algorithm – A set of rules that a search engine uses to rank listings in response to a query. Search engines guard their algorithms closely, as they are the unique formulas used to determine relevancy. Algorithms are sometimes referred to as the ”secret sauce.”

ALT Text – Also known as alternative text or alt attribute. An HTML tag (ALT tag) used to provide images with a text description in the event images are turned off in a web browser. The images text description is usually visible while “hovering” over the image. This tag is also important for the web access of the visually impaired.

Anchor Text - Words used to link to a page, known as anchor text are an important signal to search engines to determine a page’s relevance.

Arbitrage – A practice through which web publishers – second tier search engines, directories and vertical search engines – engage in the buying and reselling of web traffic. Typically, arbitrage occurs when such publishers pool client budgets to engage in PPC campaigns on Tier I search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN). If the publishers pay $0.10 per click for traffic, they typically resell those visitors to clients who bid $0.20 or more for the same keywords. Successful arbitrage requires that the arbitrageur must pay less per click than what the traffic sells for. The variation called Affiliate Arbitrage involves a web site owner or blogger bidding on keywords from programs such as Yahoo! Search Marketing or Google AdWords, who then links the ads, either to their own web site, or directly to a merchant site displaying ads (from programs such as the Yahoo! Publisher Network or Google AdSense).

Auction Model Bidding – The most popular type of PPC bidding. First, an advertiser determines what maximum amount per click they are willing to spend for a keyword. If there is no competition for that keyword, the advertiser pays their bid, or less, for every click. If there is competition at auction for that keyword, then the advertiser with the highest bid will pay one penny more than their nearest competitor. For example, advertiser A is willing to bid up to $0.50; advertiser B is willing to bid up to $0.75. If advertiser A’s actual bid is $0.23, then advertiser B will only pay $0.24 per click. Also referred to as market or competition-driven bidding.

Automatic Optimization – Search engines identify which ad for an individual advertiser demonstrates the highest CTR (click-through rate) as time progresses, and then optimizes the ad serve, showing that ad more often than other ads in the same Ad Group/Ad Order.

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