SEO Terms and Acronyms Explained

Post originally written in 2020 by Seer Alumni, Zaine Clark

Updated in April 2024 by Anthony Schultes

SEO Terms, Acronyms & Abbreviations

Each industry comes equipped with its own set of slang and jargon, terms that might sound like a foreign language to those on the outside. SEO, with its acronym-laden language, is no exception to this rule. For those who are new to the field and eager to deepen their understanding, or if you have recently begun collaborating with an SEO agency, we've compiled a crucial list of terms that are essential to navigating this landscape.

Learn to speak the language of SEO with ease! Our SEO glossary will guide you through terms, acronyms, and abbreviations to help demystify confusing jargon.

Table of Contents


SEO Glossary


200 Status Code

An HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) status code indicating a successful response from the server to your request. This code signifies that the request was received, understood, and accepted. This means your location (URL) is displaying properly.

301 Redirect

An HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) status code indicating that the resource requested by you has been permanently moved. A 301 Redirect tells search engines that the page has permanently moved from one location (URL) to another.

404 Error

An HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) status code indicating that the server could not find your request. This means your URL is not displaying properly and is creating a poor user experience.



Accessibility refers to when websites and apps are designed and coded in a way that all people (including those with disabilities), and search engines can navigate, use, and understand them.


A set of rules that search engines use to rank web pages.

Alt Tag (IMG Alt Text)

Alt Text is a word or a phrase that is inserted as an attribute in HTML to tell search engines and users what the image is.

Anchor text

Anchor text is the clickable text that appears to be highlighted in a hyperlink; the text that anchors the link to the rest of the page.

App Store Optimization (ASO)

The process of improving app store (like Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play for Android) visibility to increase conversions. It’s the same as SEO but for apps with app stores.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The technology that enables machines to think, learn, and make decisions like humans.



A backlink is a link from a page on website A to a page on website B. Backlinks are known to be a ranking factor for search engines

Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO is practicing SEO against search engine guidelines. Black hat SEO tactics typically don’t help searchers or search engines. These tactics can end up resulting in penalties from search engines like Google.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of users who visit a website but leave after viewing only one page. Bounce rate will not be in GA4.


Canonical Tag (rel canonical)

A canonical link element is an HTML element that tells search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Canonical tags can help prevent issues such as duplicate content.

Cloaking (page cloaking)

Cloaking is a black hat SEO technique that makes the content presented to the search engine different from that presented to the user. 

Commercial Intent

A type of search intent. Someone who is interested or knows what they want and is looking for more detailed information.


Any text, images, videos, or other media that appear on a web page.

Content Audit

Editing existing content or webpage to improve its SEO.

Contextual Relevance

Contextual relevance refers to how well the content on a webpage relates to the search term and the overall context in which it's found, including the relevance of surrounding content, keywords, and topics.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of users who complete a desired action on a website, such as making a purchase or filling out a form.

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are vital signs for a website, designed to assess the health of a user's experience by measuring a site's performance through key metrics. As the most crucial subset of Web Vitals, they specifically focus on loading, interactivity, and visual stability. Google’s Core Web Vitals report will show you three metrics:


A program that search engines use to scan and index web pages.

CTR (click-through rate)

CTR is the rate at which web users are clicking a URL from your website compared to how many times they are seeing a URL.

[ TIP: CTR Formula:

clicks ÷ impressions = CTR ]

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)

CRO is a process designed to increase the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action — be it making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form. The goal of CRO is to make the most out of your traffic by enhancing the website's effectiveness in converting visitors into customers or leads.

Cumulative Layout Shifts (CLS)

The core web vital designed to measure visual stability.


Direct Competitor

A direct competitor is a business that offers a product or service that is essentially the same or very similar to what your business offers. They are often compared to search competitors

Dofollow Link

Dofollow is a descriptor of links describing that search engines crawl them. By default, all links are dofollow links unless they are modified to be nofollow links manually or are automatically changed by a website setting. Search engine crawlers follow dofollow links and use them as a quality score.

Domain Name

A domain name is your website’s “name.” A domain name is the address on the internet where users can access your content. When looking at, “” is the domain.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is content that appears more than once. If the same content is appearing on two or more different URLs - that’s duplicate content.


E-commerce SEO

E-commerce SEO functions to optimize online stores to improve their visibility, traffic, and conversion rates by optimizing product pages, site structure, and other e-commerce-specific elements

External Link

A link from your website to another website.


Featured Snippet

Features Snippets, also known as Answer Boxes, are a box that appear at the top of search engine results pages with information related to the user's query.

First Input Delay (FID)

The core web vital sign for interactivity which measures responsiveness. Rather than just measuring how quickly content loads onto a page, FID is designed to measure how quickly users can interact with that content.



The practice of targeting specific geographic regions with SEO or advertising efforts.

Generative AI

Artificial intelligence that can create new content, like text or images, that resembles human-made content. WINS (Words, Images, Numbers, Sounds) are most impacted by generative AI.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

GA4 is the latest version of Google Analytics, introduced as the successor to Universal Analytics (UA). GA4 uses an event-based data model rather than the session-based model used by Universal Analytics. This new model is designed to provide a more comprehensive and integrated view of how users interact with a website or app across multiple devices and platforms.

Google Business Profile

Previously coined Google My Business (GMB), a free tool from Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Google Maps and search results.



HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. It's the standard language used to create and design web pages and web applications.


HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. It's a foundational protocol used by the World Wide Web to define how messages are formatted and transmitted, and how servers and browsers should respond to various commands.


HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. It is an extension of HTTP, designed to secure communication over a computer network by encrypting the data exchanged between the client and the server. This encryption protects against attacks, ensuring that the data transferred, such as personal information, login credentials, and credit card numbers, cannot be intercepted and read by unauthorized parties. Most browsers prefer HTTPS over HTTP websites.


Often called a link, a hyperlink is a piece of text, an image, or a button that takes you to another place when you click on it. 


Inbound Link 

A link from another website to your website.


The process by which search engines add web pages to their database.

Information Intent

A type of search intent. Someone looking to find general or surface-level information.

International SEO

International SEO involves optimizing a website to rank well in search engines across multiple countries or languages, often by creating content that is tailored to specific regions or languages.

Internal Link 

A link from one page on your website to another page on the same website.

Intent (Search Intent/User Intent/Audience Intent)

Intent, also known as user intent or search intent, is the purpose of a person's search. Understanding and meeting user intent is essential to every SEO practice. Generally, there are 4 kinds of intent:


Jump Link

A jump link, also known as an anchor link, is a type of hyperlink that moves you to a specific part of the same page. 



Keywords are the words or phrases that searchers enter into search engines to find what they are looking for. SEO practitioners include keywords in their meta tags, page copy, and other SEO elements to signal to search engines that this content answers the search query.

Keyword Density

Keyword density is the number of times a keyword appears on a given webpage. The number is given as a ratio or a percentage of the overall word count of the web page.

[ TIP: Keyword Density Formula:

([Number of times keyword is mentioned]/[total word count])x100 ]

Keyword Research

The process of identifying keywords and phrases that are relevant to a website or business.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is not a delicious Thanksgiving side dish, rather, it is a black hat SEO technique. Keyword stuffing is when keywords are overloaded into the meta tags, content, and backlink anchor text in an attempt to gain an unfair rank advantage in search engines.

KPI (Keyword Performance Indicator)

KPI stands for Keyword Performance Indicator, a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a campaign or strategy is performing in alignment with business objectives and goals.


Landing Page

The web page that users land on after clicking a link from search engine results or advertising.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

The core web vital in measuring how loading impacts a user’s experience.

Large Language Model (LLM)

A type of AI that processes and generates human-like text by learning from a massive dataset of written language.

Link Building

Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to pages on your website. It is known that links are a ranking factor, but it is important to remember quality over quantity. Getting links from “spammy” sites is not going to help you in the long run.

Link Farm

A link farm is a group of web pages that are created for one reason: to link to a target page in an attempt to improve that page’s rankings. This is another black hat SEO tactic.

Local SEO

Local SEO focuses on improving the visibility and ranking of a business in local search results, such as Google Maps, by optimizing its online presence and location-based information.

Long-Tail Keyword 

A specific, longer phrase that users search for, typically containing three or more words


Machine Learning (ML)

A method where machines learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. This is how AI learns and becomes more effective rapidly. Search engines use machine learning to make improvements to their algorithms. 

Meta Description

A meta description is an HTML element and a snippet of text shown in SERPs. Meta descriptions are typically around 50-155 characters or a max length of 920 pixels. Meta descriptions are not a direct ranking factor and Google often rewrites them to improve your contextual relevance within a SERP.

Meta Keywords

Meta keywords are another HTML element that explain to the search engine what the page is about. Meta keywords aren’t used very frequently anymore.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are HTML elements that describe a page’s content to search engines. The meta tags don’t actually appear on the page when it is loaded.

Mobile SEO 

Mobile SEO focuses on optimizing a website for mobile devices, including ensuring that it loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and has mobile-friendly design elements.

MSV (Monthly Search Volume)

MSV stands for monthly search volume and represents the average number of times a specific search term is used in a search engine each month.


Natural Language Processing (NLP)

A technology that helps computers understand, interpret, and respond to human language. This is how we’re able to speak conversationally to AI technology like ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot, or Google Gemini.

Natural Links

Natural links are when another website naturally (organically, with no tracking parameters, sponsorship, or paid content) to content on your website. Natural links are good and can help new content.

Navigational Intent 

A type of search intent. Someone looking for information from a specific thing, website, or place.


Nofollow is a descriptor of links describing that search engines shouldn’t crawl them, or if they do crawl them, don’t associate them with my site. Search engine crawlers can still follow nofollow links, but they don’t use them as a quality score.


Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is the actions taken outside of your website to impact your rankings within SERPs. Links are an example of off-page SEO.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is the actions taken on your website to impact your rankings within SERPs. Meta tags and high-quality, unique content are examples of on-page SEO.

Organic Traffic

Traffic that comes to a website from search engine results without direct use of paid advertising.


When one website appears higher in search engine results than another.


The practice of using too many keywords or other SEO techniques to the point of negatively impacting search engine rankings.



PageRank is an algorithm used by Google to rank web pages in SERPs. PageRank works by counting the number of quality links to a page to determine how important, or authoritative, a page is.


The ranking of a website in search engine results for a particular keyword or phrase.



The words or phrases that users type into search engines.


Ranking Factor

A characteristic of a web page or website that affects its position in search engine results.


A process of forwarding one URL to another, often used to redirect users from outdated or deleted pages.

Responsive Design

A design approach that optimizes a website for a variety of devices and screen sizes.

Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG)

A technique where AI combines searching for information with generating new responses, improving its accuracy and relevance. This is how models will supplement their training sets with more timely info. ChatGPT “searching with Bing” is RAG in action. 

Rich Snippet

A search result that includes additional information, such as reviews, ratings, and other metadata.


A robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers which pages or files the crawler can or can not request from your website.


Schema Markup

Code that helps search engines understand the content of a web page.

Search Competitor 

Search competitors are websites or pages that rank highly for the same keywords or phrases that your business is targeting in search engine results. These competitors may not necessarily offer the same products or services as your business.

Search Engine

A search engine is a program that is accessed on the internet that searches for and identifies items in a database (index) that correspond to the keyword or keyphrase entered by the user based on various factors.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites/ web pages by increasing their visibility in search engine results through paid channels (Pay-Per-Click).

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Organic SEO is the most general or common form of SEO and refers to the process of optimizing a website's content, structure, and other elements to improve its ranking in organic (non-paid) search engine results pages.

SGE (Search Generative Experience)

Google Search Generative Experience is a search tool that uses AI to give you summaries of your search questions, right on the results page.

SEO Friendly

Refers to a website or content that is designed to be easily understood by search engines.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

SERP is an acronym for Search Engine Results Page, which is the screen that appears after a user completes a search.

Search Engine Spider (Web Crawler)

A search engine spider is an internet bot that browses the internet by crawling through different URLs and storing the information for the search engine to index.

Site Map 

A file where information is provided about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them, which is leveraged by crawlers. 

Structured Data

Data that is organized and formatted in a specific way to make it easier for search engines to understand.


Technical SEO (TSEO)

Technical SEO involves optimizing the technical aspects of a website, such as site speed, mobile responsiveness, and crawlability, to improve its performance and ranking in search engine results pages.

Title tag

A title tag is another HTML element. This element is used to specify the title of the web page. Title tags are displayed in SERPs.

Transactional Intent

A type of search intent. Someone who is looking to purchase something and/or is looking for a specification.



A URL is a Uniform Resource Locator (a web address). It is a reference to a web resource’s specific location on a computer network.

Universal Analytics (Google Analytics) 

Universal Analytics is the previous generation of Google Analytics, before the introduction of Google Analytics 4 (GA4). It was the standard analytics service offered by Google that allowed website owners to track and analyze web traffic and understand user behavior on their sites.

UI (User Interface)

UI, short for User Interface, refers to the space where people interact with your business. Digital speaking, this means your app or website, including the buttons, text, images, sliders, and all the elements users interact with.

UX (User Experience)

User Experience (UX) refers to the overall experience a person has when interacting with your website or app. The goal of good UX design is to create a UI that provides meaningful and relevant experiences to users.


White hat SEO

White hat SEO refers to SEO tactics and strategies that are compliant with search engine guidelines, terms, and conditions.



We love helping marketers like you.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates and more:

Anthony Schultes
Anthony Schultes
Sr. Manager, SEO