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Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - Exhaustive Glossary of Terms

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - Glossary of terms used

These are some of the common terms that are in context to search engine marketing and optimization (SEM/SEO)

The calculations made by search engine software that determine how a website is ranked within a search result list. Each search engine will use a different set of algorithms (which are closely guarded secrets) and factors such as a website's title, body copy, meta-tags and link popularity may be important in achieving a high search engine ranking.

A model of selling structured into Attention, Interest, Desire and Action stages. Which means you have to have a great Display to show your best merchandise. And your merchandise should be right for the crowd (traffic), and create their interest.

ALT tag
The HTML tag describing an image that appears when the mouse is rolled over the image on a Web page. Helpful for people who view pages in text-only mode. Some search engines look for keywords in ALT tags.

All the links pointing at a particular web page and referring this page to spiders and robots as an important page to investigate. Also called inbound links. used for building up link popularity (q.v.)

Boolean search
A search formed by joining simple terms with AND, OR and NOT for the purpose of limiting or qualifying the search. If you search information on salmon fishing in Alaska, and your search also brings back information on trout fishing and diving in Alaska, the Boolean search "salmon AND fishing AND Alaska NOT diving" can narrow your search focus.

when pages are removed from a search engine's index normally for spamming.

a completed call to action. Typically, a lead or sale.

Conversion Rate
the number of site visits (click-throughs) that result in a sale or other call to action.

Click through
User action that requires clicking on a link in a search engine results page to visit an indexed site. Also refers to clicking on a Web page, banner ad, or email message link.

When a computer interacts with a network (e.g., logging on to the Internet) it becomes the "client" of the "server" computer hosting the files on that network.

The hiding of page content. Involves providing one page for a search engine or directory and a different page for other user agents at the same URL. Legitimate method for stopping page thieves from stealing optimized pages, but frowned upon by some search engines resulting in penalties.

Comment tags
This HTML tag is used to insert into your pages comments that won't be viewed by users. Some search engines read comment tags, which can include keyword text and descriptions. Comment tags are also used to hide javascript code from non-compliant browsers.

component of search engine that gather listings by automatically "crawling" the web. A search engine's crawler (aka spider or robot) follows links to web pages, makes copies of the web pages found and stores these in the search engine's index and/or cache.

when pages are removed from a search engines index. This may happen because they have been banned or for other reasons.

Descriptive text summarizing a Web page and displayed with the page title and URL when the page appears as the result of a user query on a search engine or directory. Some search engines use the description in the description meta tag, others generate their own description from text on the page. Directories often use text provided at registration.

Description tags
A meta tag that allows the author to control the text of the summary displayed when the page appears in search engine results. Some search engines respond to this information, others ignore it. A meta tag often displayed when the page appears in search engine results.

A web search tool compiled manually by human editors. Once websites are submitted with information such as a title and description, they are assessed by an editor and, if deemed suitable for addition, will be listed under one or more subject categories. Users can search across a directory using keywords or phrases, or browse through the subject hierarchy. Best examples of a directory are Yahoo and the Open Directory Project (see Directories section).

A sub-set of Internet addresses. Domains are hierarchical, lower-level domains often referring to specific Web sites within a top-level domain. The distinguishing part of the address appears at the end. Example of top-level domains: .com, .edu, .gov, .org (subdividing addresses into areas of use). There are also numerous geographic top-level domains: .ar, .ca, .fr, .ro (referring to specific countries).

An item of information that users want to retrieve. It could be a text file, a Web page, a newsgroup posting, a picture, etc.

Doorway page
A Web page submitted to individual search engine spiders to meet specific relevancy algorithms. The doorway page presents information to the spider while obscuring it from human viewers. The purpose of doorway pages is to present the spider with the format it needs for optimum rankings while presenting a more appropriate version to human viewers. It's also a way for Webmasters to avoid publicly disclosing placement tactics. The use of doorway pages customizes submission to each individual search engine. Also known as gateway pages, bridge pages, entry pages, portals or portal pages.

Dynamic content
A page that is generated by a database. this type of page typically contains characters such as ?, =, %, + in the URL. also called a dynamic URL. Web page content that changes or is changed automatically based on database content or user information. You can usually spot dynamic sites when the URL ends with .asp, .cfm, .cgi or .shtml, but it's also possible to serve dynamic content with standard static pages (.htm or .html). Many search engines index dynamic content, but some don't if there's a "?" character in the URL.

This is the HTML technique that creates a fixed element to a web page, usually containing navigation buttons for the website that will be constantly visible. Frames were a popular technique several years ago but can cause problems for search engine optimisation as they restrict the ability of some crawlers to index the site. However, frames are not as big an obstacle as some people will make out and may also offer advantages when optimising a website.

Gateway pages
Pages designed specifically to improve a website's search engine placement. These pages are also known as bridge pages or doorway pages and are used for a variety of reasons, such as to emphasise particular keywords or phrases; to target the optimisation requirements of a specific search engine; or to overcome the elements of a website that are not 'search engine friendly', such as frames or software applications like Flash. However, gateway pages can also take many different forms and care must be taken when using these to achieve a good search engine placement as they can be viewed as spamming if prepared incorrectly.

Generic keyword
a general keyword that describes a company and their products or services. A generic term applies to more than one company; it is not exclusive to one company's brand.

Heading tags
This HTML tag contains the headings or subtitles visible on a page. Your headings provide a summary of page content and ideally should contain strategic keywords to be read by search engine spiders.

Hyper-Text Mark-up Language is the common coding used to create websites that can be read by Internet browsers (such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape's Navigator). Part of the HTML coding for a website should include the meta-tags required for search engine optimisation.

The component of a search engine or directory used for data storage, update and retrieval (i.e. the database).

process of converting a collection of data into database for easy search and retrieval. The process of converting a collection of data into a database suitable for easy search and retrieval.

To achieve a high search engine placement for a relevant search, a website must contain the appropriate positioning and density of keywords or phrases related to the search terms used. This is a critical part of the search engine optimisation for any website. A word or set of words (phrase) that consumers type into a search engine to find relevant web pages.

Keyword search
A search for documents containing one or more words specified by a user in a search engine text box.

Keyword density
the number of times a keyword or phrase appears within a web page divided by the total number of words on that page.

Keywords tag
A meta tag that allows the author to emphasize the importance of strategic words and phrases used within a Web page. Some search engines respond to this information, others ignore it. Don't use quotes around keywords or key phrases.

Link popularity
The term used to describe the number of hypertext links coming into a website from other websites. This factor is being used by many top search engines to improve a website's ranking and is therefore an important consideration for any website, but especially for new ones who need to build up such links as quickly as possible.

a person or organization that has shown an interest in a particular product or service... Can also be used to describe a person or organization that sales or marketing staff feel may have a need for a particular product or service.

link text
the text that is contained within a link. For example, search engine is a link that contains the link text "search engine."

the information that appears on a search engine's results page in response to a search.

Manual Submission
The process of hand submitting websites or web pages to search engines and directories using specific guidelines to comply with each individual engine or directory. The process of submitting Websites or Web pages to search engines and directories for inclusion in their databases using specific guidelines unique to each index.

Mass Marketing
the promotion of a product or service to all consumers.

Meta Description tag
allows page authors to say how they would like their pages described when listed by search engines. Not all search engines use the tag.

Meta tags
An element of HTML coding on a website that is used by search engines to index a website. Most meta-tags are included within the 'header' code of a website and the most important tags are the title, description and keyword tags. Rules used by different search engines govern how such tags are used, how many characters they should contain, and how they should be formatted.

Metasearch engines
A type of search tool that will allow a user to conduct a search across 2 or more search engines and directories in one go. These tools don't hold an index of their own but are programmed to search across many of the top search tools simultaneously.

Meta Robots Tag
allows page authors to keep their web pages from being indexed by search engines, especially helpful for those who cannot create robots.txt files.

Meta Search Engine: A server that passes queries on to many search engines and directories, then summarizes the results. AskJeeves, Dogpile, Metacrawler, Metafind and Metasearch are meta search engines.

Pay-per-click search tools
These search tools are becoming increasingly widespread as they provide 'sponsored results' to many partner search engines or directories. The concept enables companies to achieve a top placement by bidding an amount of money for a search term. Once a user clicks on the link from the search results, the bid amount is deducted from the website owner's account. Examples of these tools include Overture and Espotting.

Natural listing
The listing of a web page in the search results produced by algorithm-based (or crawler-based) search engines. Paid inclusion programs can help Web sites appear for a natural listing, Also called an organic listing.

Niche marketing
The process of concentrating your resources and efforts on one particular segment

Optimized Web Pages
A page optimized to rank well on search engines. Since each search engine ranks pages differently, a custom page is submitted to each search engine. Most optimized HTML pages will not work for dynamically generated sites (cgi, cold fusion, asp, php).

Outbound links
links on a particular web page leading to other web pages, whether they are within the same Web site or other Web sites. Its believed that they have direct bearing on google PR.

Few words of terms for documents containing an exact sentence or phrase.

Searching database. A word, phrase or group of words being searched at engines or directories. A search engine will locate web pages to match the query.

How well a particular web page or Web site is listed in a search engine results. For example, a web page about ORANGES may be listed in response to a query for "ORANGES." However, "rank" indicates where exactly it was listed
on the first page of results, the second page or perhaps the 200th page. It also might be said to be ranked first among all results, or 19th, or 119th. overall, saying a page is "listed" only means that it can be found within a search engine in response to a query, not that it necessarily ranks well for that query. Aka position.

The position of a web page in the search results. "Ranking" generally refers to organic or natural listings achieved through site optimization plus inclusion efforts; specific positions can't be determined as with paid placement.

Reciprocal link
a link exchange between two sites.

The URL of the Web page from which a visitor came, as indicated by a server's referrer log file. If a visitor comes directly from a search engine listing, the query used to find the page will usually be encoded in the referrer URL, making it possible to see which keywords are bringing in visitors.

the strongest form of advertising and/ or one of the best forms of a lead... used to describe a prospect that is given to a salesperson by a current customer or prospect.

The process of requesting a search engine or directory to index a new Web page or Web site. The process of requesting a search engine or directory to list a new web page or Web site.

A subjective measure of how well a document satisfies the user's information need. Ideally, your search tool should retrieve all of the documents relevant to your search. However, this is subjective and difficult to quantify.

Relevancy Algorithm
The method used by search engines and directories to match the keywords in a query with the content of all the Web pages in their database so the Web pages found can be suitably ranked in the query results. Each search engine and directory uses a different algorithm and frequently changes this formula to improve relevancy.

Results page
After a user enters a search query, the page that is displayed, is call the results page. Sometimes it may be called SERPS, for "search engine results page."

Repeating the search engine registration process one or more times for the same page or Website. This is regarded with suspicion by search engines because it can be indicative of spamming techniques. Some search engines will de-list sites for repeated re-submission. Others limit the number of submissions of the same page in a 24 hour period. Occasional re-submission of changed pages is usually not a problem.

Any browser program that follows hypertext links and accesses Web pages but is not directly under human control. Example: search engine spiders, the harvesting software programs that extract e-mail addresses or other data from Web pages.

its a web page is any HTML page that has been created or modified to appeal to robot sensibilities.

Return on investment... a term used to define the monetary value created or expected to be gained by an investment of capital.

Sales promotion
an incentive to encourage the sale of a product/service e.g. money off coupons, buy one, get one free.

Search engine (SE)
A search engine is a searchable online database of internet resources. It has several components: search engine software, spider software, an index (database), and a relevancy algorithm (rules for ranking). The search engine software consists of a server or a collection of servers dedicated to indexing Internet Web pages, storing the results and returning lists of pages to match user queries. The spidering software constantly crawls the Web collecting Web page data for the index. A web search tool that automatically visits websites (using crawlers), records and indexes them within its database, and generates results based on a user's search criteria. Submitting a website to a search engine usually requires just the page URL (and often an e-mail address) and optimisation techniques are essential for a website to be indexed and ranked appropriately by search engines. Best examples of a search engine are AltaVista, Google, Alltheweb, Yahoo, Looksmart and Lycos.

Search engine marketing (SEM)
The term used to describe the range of marketing techniques required to make a website visible on search engines and directories so that it will attract visits from its target audience. This includes the optimisation of a site, the submission to directories, the use of 'pay-per-click' search tools and keyword related advertising. It Includes both advertising and optimization efforts to achieve high visibility of a Web site for relevant keywords. Also referred to as search engine positioning or search engine promotion.

Search engine optimisation (SEO)
The job of altering a Web site so that it does well in the crawler-based listings of search engines. The term used to describe the marketing technique of preparing a website to enhance its chances of being ranked in the top results of a search engine once a relevant search is undertaken. A number of factors are important when optimising a website, including the content and structure of the website's copy and page layout, the HTML meta-tags and the submission process. Its the process of designing the Web site to attract search engine spiders and improve a site's ranking for relevant keywords within a search engine's database. This process includes search engine and directory submission, which can require an inclusion fee.

Search engine placement (SEP)
The marketing term used to describe the process of ensuring that a website appears in the top results list of a search engine or directory once a relevant search has been implemented.

Search string
Search strings are words entered by users into a search engine or directory to locate information.

Search terms
The words (or word) a searcher enters into a search engine's search box. Also used to refer to the terms a search engine marketer hopes a particular page will be found for. Aka keywords, query terms or query.

Search results
The ranked listing that appears once a search is submitted on a search engine or directory. Results are often displayed in groups of 10 and research has shown that websites appearing lower than 20-30 in the search results are less likely to be seen, or visited.

A powerful computer that holds data to be shared over a network. Can be used to store critical data for retrieval. A server also acts the communications gateway between many computers connected to it, responding to requests for information from client computers. On the Internet, all Web pages are held on servers. This includes search engine and directory data accessible from the Internet. Typically, the computers running the server software are dedicated to that purpose.

The term used to describe techniques that might be used to 'trick' search engines into ranking a website high up in their search results - such as the repetitive use of keywords, hidden text or keywords unrelated to the site's content. Search engines will penalise websites that use such methods and will either downgrade them in their rankings, or exclude them completely.

Static web page
An HTML web page, as opposed to a dynamic page, which is generated by a database. Aka a flat page.

The process of notifying search engines or directories about a website. Every search tool has a form to enable the submission of websites, varying from a simple URL address (for a search engine), to more detailed information (for a directory). Submissions may be made manually or by using automated software, although the former method is generally accepted to be more effective for search engine placement.

The text contained within HTML title tags, which is not visible to users and not to be confused with headers on the page which are visible and can be similar to the title tag text.

Title Tag
An HTML tag with text describing a specific Web page (but not visually displayed on the page). The title tag should contain strategic keywords for the page and be constructed following specific guidelines. The title tag is important because it usually becomes the text link to the page found in search engine listings, and because search engines pay special attention to the title text when indexing pages.

Traffic / Web Ttaffic
The number of visitors to a Web page or Website. Refers to the number of visitors, hits, page accesses, etc., over a given time period. As a general term, it describes data traveling around the Internet.

The position of a web page in search engines or directories.

Each time a web visitor arrives at a web page. A unique visitor can account for multiple visits to a web page.

Unique Visitor
A real visit by web visitor to a Website. Web servers record the IP addresses of each visitor, and this is used to determine the number of real people who have visited a Web site. If someone visits 5 web pages within same site in one visit, the server will count only one unique visitor and twenty page accesses.

Abbreviation for uniform (or universal) resource locator. A URL is the location of a file on the Internet, which may include a web document, a web page, or an image file. An address that can specify any Internet resource uniquely. The beginning of the address indicates the type of resource: http: for Web pages, ftp: for file transfers or mailto: for e-mail addresses.

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