Search Engine Optimisation: A Beginner’s Glossary

If there was ever an industry built on an excessive amount of jargon, it’s the digital marketing industry, Specifically SEO. 

This guide will serve as an all-inclusive guide for the often too technical terms in the SEO industry. 

The Newbies Glossary


An algorithm references the sequence of computer identifiable instructions. In the SEO world, the word algorithm refers to the back-end of Google and how it operates. It’s mostly referenced when discussing updates which may target a specific factor of search and the way sites are valued. 


An ‘Alt Text’ is an alternative text applied to images within a website. It tells site visitors what an image may be about and it is especially important for users who are vision impaired. 


Analytics refers to the tracking and collating of data, whether present or historic. With regards to SEO, Google Analytics is the most widely used form of analytic tracking. 

Anchor Text

Is the clickable text in a link. This is an example of an anchor text using our brand pointing towards our home page: Maxim Media.


The power of a site in the eyes of Google. 


A backlink is an anchored reference to another site. It’s best explained as an outgoing link to the linker and an incoming link to the receiver of the link. 

BlackHat SEO

This is a form of SEO that uses nefarious strategies that are mostly against Google’s terms of service. Generally, these type of tactics bring about a short term boost of web visibility but can lead to penalties quite quickly. 


A page on a website whose sole purpose is to provide relevant information to its readership. Posts on a blog usually appear in order of publication. 

Bounce rate

The percentage of users who leave a site without visiting more than one page. 

Broken Link

A link that is directed to a page that no longer exists. SEOs use tools to find broken links and contact webmasters to replace broken links with their relevant link in the hope to increase visibility in the search engines. 


Often known as keyword cannibalization. Is when two pages of the same website compete for the same keyword in the search engine result pages. The existence of a negative impact of keyword cannibalization is arguable. 

Click-Through Rate

The click-through rate is the rate in which users click on a listing. It’s calculated by the number of impressions per click as a percentage. 


An extremely important ranking factor. Content refers to any user-created information that is dispersed online. Google favours content that is engaging, relevant and useful for its target audience. 

Content Management System

Also known as CMS. This is an accessible online application that lets you upload and edit pages, photos and videos. 

Conversion rate

Quantified as a percentage, conversion rate references the percentage of users that take a specific action on a specific page. 


A website that lists specific businesses in specific markets. Generally used by SEOs to obtain brand mentions and links. 


A tool in Google’s search console to aid in the removal of spammy links. 

Do-Follow Links

A type of link that allows search bots to follow the links. They pass on link juice and are the ideal type of links to obtain. 


Domain names are utilized in URLs to dictate ownership. They have suffixes and prefixes with the suffix usually determining the type of domain it is. 

Domain Authority

An arbitrary metric utilized by SEO tools to rank a domain by its backlink profile. Generally the higher the number the better. 


The section located under the main body of a website. Generally, this section of a website has internal links to other, important pages, contact information and links to privacy and terms and conditions pages. 

Google Analytics

Refers to the collation of past and present data by Google in a readable format. Google Analytics is necessary to track return on investment from online marketing campaigns. You should be using and tracking analytics every day. 

Google Search Console

A service specifically for webmasters, it allows them to check and see errors, resubmit websites to Google’s Index, see manual penalties, most clicked keywords and a host of other data. For digital marketing agencies Its a necessity to check Google Search Console every day. 

Guest Post

A post on a website, usually a blog that has been prompted and written by a non-affiliated party. This is generally a more whitehat form of link building

Heading Tags

Heading tags are used to define headings on a page. It’s an HTML tag attributed to a specific heading hierarchically. They are given an individual number depending on where they’re placed in an article or on a web page with the most important being placed on the H1 tag. 


A homepage is the headquarters of a website whereby all other pages are accessed. A good homepage will have a brief overview as to what the company is about and the link to internal pages with more specific/extensive information. 


Also known as the ‘padlock’ this protocol allows data to be transferred securely.


This is the process of adding pages to Google’s search engine. 


A phrase, word or grouping of words that are input into search engines by searches trying to find answers for a particular query. 

Keyword Research

A process used by marketers to find the best keywords to rank for.

Landing Page

A page whose sole purpose is to collect leads or drive conversions. Landing pages are often devoid of internal links, other distractions and are specifically used for pay per click marketing. 

Link Building

A marketing tactic whereby requests are made to external websites to link back to your website. 

Link Farm

A website whose sole purpose is to sell links. An example of a link farm is My Decorative. They’re usually identifiable by the number of articles on their home page.

Link Juice

Link value passed on through websites, specifically through their do-follow links.

Long Tail Keyword

Phrase match keywords that are specific to whatever it is you’re selling. Generally, these types of keywords, because they’re so specific are much easier to rank for. This is due to the level of competition and the number of monthly searches.

Manual Action

A penalty from Google that devalues a site as a whole. These are usually notified through Google’s Search Console. Manual action is generally taken for spammy SEO tactics (unnatural linking, exact match anchor building etc. ). 

Meta Description

Usually, 155 characters, appears at the bottom of a search listing and summarizes on-page content. The meta description for this article is ‘a beginner’s A-Z glossary of SEO terms by the content team at Maxim Media. We’re a digital marketing agency based in Sydney.’ 

Negative SEO

A blackhat strategy used by SEOs to devalue the site of a competitor. Generally, this is done nefariously by sending thousands of spammy links to a competitors site. Google has come out and said that links from negative SEO are generally not taken into account

No-Follow Links

Links that crawl bots don’t follow. No-follow links are generally less valued by Google when compared to do-follow links. 

On-Page SEO

This is the optimisation of HTML elements on a webpage to be better crawled and understood by Google’s crawl bot. 


An acronym for ‘private blog network’. A PBN is a blackhat tactic and is a group of websites whose sole purpose exists to provide backlinks to companies owned by the same person/organisation. The use of PBNS is widely scrutinized and is used for churn and burn SEO projects.  


An acronym for ‘pay per click’. A marketing medium where you pay per click on your ad creative. Facebook Ads and Google ads are examples of advertising mediums that specifically use PPC. Prices are determined in most instances like an auction where the most viewable advertising space is given to the company that bids the most. 

Reputation Management

A form of SEO whereby search results are manipulated to push down unideal search results of a person or company. 

Responsive Design

Website design that responds and changes depending on what device a site is displayed on.  

Schema Markup

Found at is an HTML tag embedded in a website’s code to help with the internal structure and description of a webpage. 


An acronym for ‘search engine marketing’. A broad umbrella term for marketing to impact businesses visibility in search engines. 


An acronym for ‘search engine optimisation. In layman’s terms, these are strategies used by marketers that are performed on a client’s website to manipulate their visibility in search engines. 


An acronym for ‘search engine result pages’. These are the results of a Google search for any keyword. 

Site Map

A page that lists all the pages of a website. 


References visitors to a website or web page. 


An acronym for ‘universal resource locator’. This is the web address. An example of our URL is


An acronym for ‘user experience’. It references how traffic visits, utilizes and gathers the information they need from a webpage. 

Virtual Assistant

A remote worker that completes general administration tasks. They’re usually hired offshore and can be a cheap alternative to a full-time worker. 


Webpages which are categorized under one domain. 

Whitehat SEO

Search engine optimisation strategy that is in line with Google’s webmaster guidelines. These strategies are the only ones Maxim Media engages in and that leads to rankings that stand the test of time. 

Word Count

The amount of words on a webpage. Content is a very important facet of SEO. Word count on a page is just as important, Google favours long-form content. 


Arguably the most popular and easy to use content management system. It has a great user interface and it’s free to use. 

There you have it, the perfect glossary of SEO terms for novices and small business owners. This guide will assist with doing SEO yourself. 

If you wanted to leave it to the experts, contact us today. 


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