I’m often asked what various Search Engine Optimization (SEO) terms mean.  Back in 2004, I started my first blog called SEO-Space, that quickly morphed into Marketing Jive.  In 2006 I created a Glossary of SEO and Search marketing related terms. I’ve reproduced the glossary here as a resource for new online marketers or those who simply are curious about what some of these digital terms are.

SEO Terms A-C

301 Redirect

Permanent Redirect. Moved Permanently – The requested resource has been assigned a new permanent destination URL. The 301 redirect is preferred by the search engines.

302 Redirect

Temporary Redirect where the requested resource (URL) resides temporarily under a different URL.

404 Error

Not Found – the server cannot find the destination URL that was requested.

500 Error

Internal Server Error where the server encountered an unexpected condition, which prevented the request from being completed

Above the Fold

Refers to the area of a web page that you can see without having to scroll down.

Absolute Link

A link that contains the full URL path in the source code. Example: http://www.yoursite.com. Search engines have an easier time following Absolute Links over Relative Links.


A set of protocols or rules that search engines use to rank the listings contained within their index, in response to a particular search query.

Algorithmic Results

Listings that are found on Search Engine Results Pages that search engines do not sell (ie. listings that are not the sponsored listings). Also known as organic listings.

Alt Tag

The text that appears when a mouse hovers over an image.

Anchor Text

The text that is contained within a link. Also known as “link text”.


The search engine formerly known as Ask Jeeves. Offers search for web sites, news, weather reports, pictures, stocks, maps and directions, people or products. Also has a dictionary search.


1. Microsoft Active Server Pages (.asp)
2. Application Service Provider


Microsoft Active Server Page Framework


Links that point to a particular web page. They can be internal links (links from your own site) or external links (links from sites other than your own).


Business to Business


Business to Business Search Engine Marketing


Business to Consumer


Business to EmployeeBMP

Bitmap (.bmp)

a type of image file

Below the Fold

BTF – The portion of a web page that you have to scroll down to see.BetaA testing stage / testing version of a product.


A web log that can act as a website. Blogs are often populated with the site owner’s personal favorites and his/her comments. Example: http://seo-organicsphere.blogspot.com/.

Broken Link

A link that does not work as the destination URL cannot be located (hence the term broken)


Cold Fusion Markup (.cfm) scripting language for web designers that want to use advanced development and/or database interfacing such as rich-forms generation, printable document generation, full-text search, and graphing and charting


Common Gateway Interface (.cgi) – agreement between HTTP server implementers about how to integrate gateway scripts and programs


Common Gateway Interface – Binary (/cgi-bin) – a folder where common gateway interface (CGI) scripts are stored


The act of disguising web pages so that search engine spiders see that is different than what the user sees. Search engines do not look favorably on this practice and may penalize or ban a site for participating in cloaking practices.


Content Management System – Includes solutions/tools for publishing, format management, revision control, indexing, search and retrieval.


Cost Per Acquisition or Cost Per Action – pay for performance model where advertisers can select how they want to pay for their advertising — by click, impression, sale, or other variable


Cost Per Click – online advertising model where advertisers pay for their advertising each time a user clicks on their online ad


Cost Per Lead – the cost associated to acquire a lead (anything from an e-mail address for a newsletter to a complete survey that needs to be completely filled out and verified)


Cost Per Thousand


The act of a user following through with an action on your website. Such as filling out a request form for more information or submitting their name and email address.


A piece of software used by search engines to gather listings by automatically “crawling” the web. Also known as a search engine spider or search engine bot.


Customer Relationship Management – methodologies, software, and usually Internet capabilities that help an enterprise manage customer relationships in an organized way.


Cascading Stylesheets – Language used to describe how HTML documents should be formatted


Comma Separated Values – data format that has fields separated by the comma character and quoted by the double quote character.


Click Through Rate – ratio of the number of times and ad is clicked divided by the number of times an ad is viewed.