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SEO Glossary: SEO Acronyms, Abbreviations And Terms Explained

SEO Glossary header image
SEO Glossary header image

SEO is an exciting industry, but there are a lot of technical terms to get your head around.

If you are just getting started in the industry, it’s easy to feel a bit lost.

Even if you’re a seasoned pro, you can’t use jargon to communicate with clients. Tell a client they should focus on E-E-A-T to climb the SERP and boost their CTR, and you’ll likely be met with a blank stare.

This glossary is designed to break down SEO jargon into quick, easy-to-understand concepts.

Each entry provides a concise definition to help you explain technical terms in a way that resonates with your clients.

It contains all the essential SEO acronyms, abbreviations, and terms categorized into the following sections:

  • Most important SEO terms
  • Keyword research
  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Technical SEO
  • SEO metrics and KPIs

Most Important SEO Terms

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the process of optimizing a website to improve its visibility and ranking on search engines. SEO includes multiple strategies aimed at increasing organic traffic. Read our full guide What Is SEO? here.

SERP: Search Engine Results Page

The page displayed by a search engine in response to a user’s query. Each SERP includes organic results and may contain paid ads, featured snippets, and other SERP features.


A specific phrase users enter into search engines to find relevant information.


A hyperlink from one website to another website. High-quality backlinks from authoritative websites significantly impact search engine ranking. We’ve got a full guide covering what backlinks are and how to get them here.


The position of a web page in search engine results for a specific keyword. Websites with higher rankings usually receive more organic traffic.

Organic Traffic

Non-paid traffic generated from search engine results. Organic traffic is a key indicator of SEO performance.


The process search engines use to discover and index web pages. Crawler bots visit websites, follow links, and collect information to update search engine indexes. For a more in-depth look at crawling and crawl budget, check out our full post.


The process search engines use to add web pages to their database so they can appear in search results. We cover indexing links and how to do it here.

White Hat SEO

Ethical optimization techniques that adhere to search engine guidelines.

Black Hat SEO

Unethical practices that attempt to manipulate search engine rankings. This can include keyword stuffing, using a private blog network (PBN) for link building, and other tactics.

Keyword Research

LSI Keywords

Latent Semantic Indexing keywords are semantically related terms that help search engines understand the context of a website or web page.

For example, if “digital marketing” is your primary keyword, LSI keywords would be terms like “online advertising” and “lead generation.”

Search Volume

The average number of times a specific keyword is searched for within a given timeframe. Most SEO tools show monthly search volume.

Search Volume Example

Long Tail Keywords

Longer, more specific keyword phrases that typically contain three or more words. Long tail keywords usually have a lower search volume but can result in higher conversion rates.

Short Tail Keywords

Short, general keywords that often have a high search volume and high competition.

Competitor Analysis

Analyzing the strategies and performance of competing websites in search results.

Keyword Difficulty

A metric used by SEO tools to estimate how hard it is to rank web pages for a specific keyword.

Seed Keywords

Highly relevant, foundational keywords that serve as the starting point for keyword research.

Search Intent

The underlying purpose behind a user’s search query.

Search Query

The exact words a user types into a search engine to find relevant information.

Keyword Gap Analysis

Identifying keywords that competitors are ranking for but your website is not.

On-Page SEO

Title Tag

An HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. Title tags are displayed in search results and browser tabs. We’ve got a full post all about title tags here.

Meta Description

A summary of a web page’s content displayed in search results.

Meta Description example

Internal Linking

The practice of linking from one page to another page on the same website. Internal links distribute authority and help user navigation. We’ve produced a full guide on how to master internal linking here.

Keyword Optimization

The strategic selection and placement of keywords to increase the chance of a page ranking for relevant search queries.

E-E-A-T: Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness

A concept that Google uses to evaluate the quality and credibility of websites. While not a direct ranking factor, E-E-A-T is a key part of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines:

E-E-A-T Guidelines Summary

Topical Authority

The perceived expertise and authority of a website on a specific topic.

Meta Tags

HTML elements that provide additional information about a web page’s content to search engines and users.

Header Tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.)

HTML tags used to indicate the context of a web page to search engines and increase readability for users.

Thin Content

Low-quality or shallow content that offers little value to users.

Duplicate Content

Identical or very similar content that appears on multiple pages of the same website or on other websites.

Off-Page SEO

Link Building

The process of acquiring high-quality backlinks from other websites to improve search engine ranking. Link building can involve blogger outreach, journalist links, niche edits, and other tactics.

Website Authority

Various SEO metrics used by SEO tools to predict how likely a website is to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). Websites are given a score on a scale of 1 to 100 based on their backlink profile and other factors.

Authority Score metric example

Domain Authority (DA)

Domain Authority is a proprietary metric from Moz that predicts how well a domain will rank based on backlinks, content quality, and relevance.

Page Authority (PA)

A metric developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank based on backlinks, content quality, and relevance.

Anchor Text

The visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Relevant anchor texts help search engines understand the content of the linked page.

Referring Domain

A domain that contains a link pointing to your website. The number and quality of referring domains contribute to website authority.

Nofollow Link

A link with an HTML attribute that instructs search engines not to pass authority from the linking page to the linked page. Here’s how Google Search Central describes the three types of link attributes:

GSC Rel= summaries

Dofollow Link

A standard hyperlink that allows search engines to follow the link and pass authority from the linking page to the linked page.

Link Juice

The authority passed from one web page to another through hyperlinks. Link juice is also known as link equity.

Local SEO

Optimization techniques aimed at improving a website’s visibility in local search results. Local SEO involves tactics like local citations and Google Business Profile optimization.

Competitor Backlink Analysis

Analyzing the backlinks of competitors to identify potential link-building opportunities.

Technical SEO

URL Structure

The format of web addresses. URL structure can affect user experience and search engine crawling. Google prefers simple and descriptive URLs:

Preferred URL example

Image Source

Keyword Cannibalization

When multiple pages on a website target the same keyword. Cannibalization issues can dilute authority and impact ranking potential.

User Experience (UX)

The overall experience a user has when interacting with a website. A poor user experience will impact user engagement and SEO performance.


A text file that directs how search engines crawl and index a website.


A file that provides an organized list of URLs to help search engines understand a site’s structure.

301 Redirect

A permanent redirect from one URL to another. Websites use 301 redirects to preserve link equity when content is moved, or URLs are changed.

404 Error

A status code returned by a server when a requested page is not found.

Structured Data Markup

Code added to a page’s HTML to provide search engines with context about the content. Search engines use structured data to enhance search results with rich snippets.


The process of selecting the preferred version of a web page for search engines to index and display. URL canonicalization helps address duplicate content issues.

Alt Text

Alternative text is added to images to provide a description for users who cannot view the content. It also helps search engines understand the image.

Additional SEO Metrics And KPIs

Bounce Rate

The percentage of visitors who navigate away from a site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate may indicate low-quality content or a poor user experience.

Session Duration

The average time users spend on a website during a single session. Longer session durations indicate high user engagement and valuable content.


The total number of times a web page has been viewed. Pageviews provide insights into the performance of individual pages.

Pages per Session

The average number of pages viewed by a user during a single session.

New vs. Returning Visitors

The percentage of new visitors compared to returning visitors. This metric can provide insights into user behavior and your content strategy.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of users who complete a desired action, like making a purchase or filling out a form.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The ratio of users who click on a link after viewing it in search results. CTR is used to measure the performance of meta tags.

CTR example in Search Console data


The number of times a web page is displayed to users. Impressions are used to measure visibility in search results.

Average Position

The average ranking of a web page in search engine results for a specific keyword.

Keyword Ranking

The position of a page in search engine results for a specific keyword. Keyword ranking is an important metric for measuring SEO performance.

Traffic Sources

The different channels that people use to find your website. Traffic sources can include organic search results, direct traffic, paid traffic, referral traffic, and social media.

Referral Traffic

Traffic generated from external websites that link to your site.

Direct Traffic

Traffic generated from users directly typing your website URL into their browser.

SEO Return on Investment (ROI)

The revenue generated as a result of SEO efforts. SEO ROI helps businesses measure how effective SEO campaigns are at driving business results.

Daniel Trick
Daniel Trick

Head of Content

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