Web Glossary

Your eyes glaze over from incomprehension as your web designer suddenly starts speaking gobbledy-gook and you have no idea what was just said. Sound familiar? Well, not anymore!mightymouse

The following list of web terminology will bring you up to snuff in no time.

301 Redirect
A message that the URL has moved permanently. This is commonly used when a URL has a new location and will not be appearing again at the old URL.

302 Redirect
A “found” message. (Also referred to as a temporary redirect). This form of redirection is commonly used – and in some cases abused – when a URL has been moved to a different location but will eventually be returning to the original location.

403 Server Code
A “forbidden” message. Prevents access to a URL and displays the reason for preventing access.
404 Server Code: A “not found” message. Server cannot find the URL requested.

500 Error
Internal Server Error in which the server encountered an unexpected condition that 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, eg, http://www.yoursite.com/

Advertisement a searcher sees after submitting a query in a search engine or website search box. In PPC, these ads are usually text format, and include a Title, Description, and Display URL. In some cases, a keyword the searcher used in his or her query appears boldfaced in the displayed ad. Ads can be positioned anywhere on a search results page; commonly they appear at the top – above the natural or organic listings – and on the right side of the page, also known as “right rail.”

ad copy
The main text of a clickable search or context-served ad. It usually makes up the second and third lines of a displayed ad, between the Ad Title and the Display URL.

ad title
The first line of text displayed in a clickable search or context-served ad. Ad titles serve as ad headlines.
affiliate linking: The provision of reciprocal links between affiliates.
algorithm: 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.

automated spider engines
Search engine systems (from Google, Yahoo and MSN) that are preprogrammed to automatically crawl new websites, instead of only websites that are submitted to them.


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).

Also known as delisting. Refers to a punitive action imposed by a search engine in response to being spammed. Can be an IP address or a specific URL.

banner ad
A box containing graphics that you place on a “publishing” website for a fee. When customers click on the ad, they are directed to your website.

behavioral targeting
The practice of targeting and serving ads to groups of people who exhibit similarities not only in their location, gender or age, but also in how they act and react in their online environment. Behaviors that are tracked and targeted include website topic areas frequently visited or subscribed to. Subjects or shopping categories to which consumers have registered, on which they have profiled themselves, or from which they have requested automatic updates and information are also targeted.

below the fold
The portion of a web page that you have to scroll down to see.

The maximum amount of money that an advertiser is willing to pay each time a searcher clicks on an ad. Bid prices can vary widely depending on competition from other advertisers and keyword popularity.

bidding engine search
The use of search engines that operate a bid-listing model, or an online bidding auction of keyword phrases. Advertisers bid according to online ad spend budget.

bid listing
The use of PPC models by search engines in a dynamic, real-time auction for search listings. As the auction is never-ending and occurs in real time, your listings will change as bidding levels change, making it essential to monitor and change bids as needed.

bid-listing monitoring
Monitoring keyword bid activity in search engines to keep a pay-per-click bid listing campaign competitive.

A web log that can act as a website. Blogs are often populated with the site owner’s personal favorites and comments, eg, http://thebigwaveblog.com/

Marking a webpage in your browser to make it easy to return to later. Most statistics packages will measure this as a new visitor, even though a loyalty relationship has been established.

brand infringement
Using another company’s brand unethically, eg, by including it in meta tags, claiming to be that company, or making false statements about that company.

broken link
A link that does not work because the destination URL cannot be located.

An associative grouping for related concepts, keywords, behaviors, and audience characteristics associated with your company’s product or service. A “virtual container” of similar concepts used to develop PPC keywords, focused ad campaigns, and target messages.


cascading style sheets (CSS)
An addition to your HTML, a website’s “cascading style sheet” contains information on paragraph layout, font sizes, colors, etc. A cascading style sheet has many uses in search engine optimization and website design.

cold fusion markup (CFM)
Scripting language (.cfm) for web designers who want to use advanced development and/or database interfacing, such as rich-forms generation, printable document generation, full-text search, graphing and charting.

click bot
A program generally used to click on paid listings on the search engines in order to artificially inflate click amounts.

click fraud
Clicks on a pay-per-click advertisement that are motivated by something other than a search for the advertised product or service. Click fraud may be the result of malicious or negative competitor/affiliate actions motivated by the desire to increase costs for a competing advertiser or to garner click-through costs for the collaborating affiliate. Also affects search engine results by diluting the quality of clicks.

click-through rate (CTR)
Ratio of the number of times and ad is clicked divided by the number of times an ad is viewed.

The act of disguising web pages so that search engine spiders see them differently than users. Search engines do not look favorably on this practice and may penalize or ban a site for participating in cloaking practices.

competitive analysis
As used in SEO, competitive analysis is the assessment of the strengths and
weaknesses of competing websites, including identification of traffic patterns, major traffic sources, and keyword selection.

consumer-generated media (CGM)
Posts made by consumers to support or oppose products, websites, or companies, which are very powerful when it comes to company image. They can reach a large audience and, therefore, may change your business overnight.

content management system (CMS)
A document-centric collaborative application for managing documents and other content. A CMS is often a web application used to manage websites and web content. The market for content management systems remains fragmented, with many open source and proprietary solutions available.

content network
Also called contextual networks, content networks include Google and Yahoo! Contextual Search. They serve paid search ads triggered by keywords related to the page content a user is viewing.

content targeting
An ad-serving process in Google and Yahoo! that displays keyword-triggered ads related to the content or subject (context) of the website a user is viewing. In search network ad-serving, an ad is displayed when a user types a keyword into the search box of a search engine or one of its partner sites.

contextual advertising
Advertising that is automatically served or placed on a web page based on the page’s content, keywords and phrases. For example, contextual ads for cell phone plans would be shown on a page that contains an article about cell phones, and not because the user entered “cell phone plans” in a search box.

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

cost per acquisition (CPA)
Also cost per action. Pay-for-performance model in which advertisers can select how they want to pay for their advertising – by click, impression, sale, or another variable.

cost per click (CPC)
Online advertising model in which advertisers pay each time a user clicks on their online ad.

cost per lead (CPL)
The cost to acquire a lead (anything from an email address for a newsletter to a complete survey that needs to be completely filled out and verified).

cost per thousand impressions (CPM)
Cost for every 1,000 ad serves or potential viewers. CPM is a standard monetization model for offline display ad space, as well as for some context-based networks serving online search ads to, for example, web publishers and sites.

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.

Comma Separated Values, a data format that uses commas to separate values and double quotes around reserved characters.

customer relationship management (CRM)
Methodologies, software, and Internet capabilities that help an enterprise manage customer relationships in an organized way.


data gathering
Gathering geographic and demographic data about your customers through web analytics (internet and website activity). Knowing your customers better allows you to provide better products and customer service.

deep linking
Linking that guides, directs, and links a click-through searcher (or a search engine crawler) to a very specific and relevant product or category web page from search terms and PPC ads.

description tag
The information contained in the description meta tag on a web page. This tag is meant to hold a brief description of the page. The information contained in this tag is generally the description that is displayed immediately after the main link on many search engine results pages.

directory creatives
Text written and submitted for directory listings on a search engine.

directory search
Also known as a search directory. Refers to a directory of websites contained in an engine that are categorized into topics. The main difference between a search directory and a search engine is in how the listings are obtained. A search directory relies on user input to categorize and include websites. In addition, a directory usually includes only higher-level pages of a domain.

display URL
The web page URL that is shown in a PPC text ad. Display URL usually appears as the last line in the ad; it may be a simplified path for the longer actual URL, which is not visible.

distribution network
A network of websites (content publishers, ISPs) or search engines and their partner sites on which paid ads can be distributed. The network receives advertisements from the host search engine, paid for with a CPC or CPM model.

Refers to a specific website address.

doorway page
A web page specifically created in order to obtain rankings within the natural listings of a search engine. These pages generally are filled with keywords and are meant to funnel surfers into the main website. This practice is generally considered to be an outdated spam tactic. This term is not to be confused with a “landing page.”

dynamic HTML (DHTML)
Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language is a collection of technologies used together to create interactive and animated websites by using a combination of a static markup language (such as HTML), a client-side scripting language (such as JavaScript), a presentation definition language (CSS), and the Document Object Model.

dynamic keyword insertion (DKI)
The insertion of the EXACT keywords a searcher included in his or her search request in the returned ad title or description. As an advertiser, you have bid on a table or cluster of these keyword variations, and DKI makes your ad listings more relevant to each searcher.

dynamic landing pages
Web pages to which click-through searchers are sent that generate changeable (not static) pages with content specifically relevant to the keyword search.


Selling goods or services online; business conducted on a company’s website instead of in a physical store location.

editorial search engine
Search engine that ranks sites using human editors and not preprogrammed spiders that crawl website copy or read meta tags.


featured site
The term used by many portals and other search properties to indicate bid-listing results that are included with their normal search results.

file transfer protocol (FTP)
Protocol used to transfer data from one computer to another over the internet or through a network.


Targeting ads to the geographic location of the searcher. Geo-targeting allows you to specify where your ads will or will not be shown, enabling more localized and personalized results.


The request or retrieval of any item located within a web page. Not a useful search metric.

HyperText Markup Language (HTML)
A coding language used to make HyperText documents for use on the Web. It is the authoring software language used for creating World Wide Web pages.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
A communications protocol used to transfer or convey information on intranets and the World Wide Web.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)
Indicates a secure HTTP connection. It is syntactically identical to the http:// scheme but has an additional encryption/authentication layer. This system was designed by Netscape Communications Corporation to provide authentication and encrypted communication and is widely used on the World Wide Web for security-sensitive communication such as payment transactions and corporate logons.


One view or display of an ad. Ad reports list total impressions per ad, which tells you the number of times your ad was served by the search engine when searchers entered your keywords (or viewed a content page containing your keywords).

A search engine’s “index” refers to the number of documents found by a search engine’s crawler on the web.

Also known as crawlability and spiderability, indexability refers to the potential of a website or its contents to be crawled or “indexed” by a search engine. If a site is not “indexable,” or if a site has reduced indexability, it has difficulties getting its URLs included in search results.

IP address
An identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network. Networks using the TCP/IP protocol route messages based on the IP address of the destination. The format of an IP address is a 32-bit numeric address, written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number can be zero to 255.


JavaScript is a scripting language most often used for client-side web development. It is a dynamic, weakly typed, prototype-based language with first-class functions. JavaScript was designed to have a similar look to Java, but be easier for non-programmers to work with. The language is best known for its use in websites (as client-side JavaScript), but is also used to enable scripting access to objects embedded in other applications.


The actual words typed into a search engine for related search results on topics, products or services. Keywords are also used in meta tags and website copy to describe its contents to search engine spiders.

keyword density
The number of times a keyword or keyword phrase is used in the body of a page. This is a percentage value determined by the number of words on the page, as opposed to the number of times the specific keyword appears within it. In general, the higher the number of times a keyword appears in a page, the higher its density.

keyword phrase
Two or more keywords relating to a specific topic. For example, “mind-numbingly boring glossary” would be a keyword phrase to describe this document.

keyword search
A search made by typing a keyword, or combination of words, into a search box on a search engine.

keyword search frequency
The number of search queries for a particular keyword or phrase; also called impressions.

keyword stemming
To return to the root or stem of a word and build additional words by adding a prefix or suffix, or by using plurals.

keyword stuffing
Generally refers to the act of adding an inordinate number of keyword terms into the HTML or meta tags of a web page.

keyword tag
Refers to the “meta keywords” tag within a web page. This tag is meant to hold approximately 8–10 keywords or keyword phrases separated by commas. These phrases should be either misspellings of the main page topic, or terms that directly reflect the content of the page on which they appear. Keyword tags are sometimes used for internal search results, and are viewed by search engines.


landing page / destination page
The web page where a searcher arrives after clicking on an ad. When creating a PPC ad, the advertiser displays its URL (and specifies the exact page URL in the code).

link or hyperlink

An electronic connection between two websites or web pages.

link bait
Something on your site that people will notice and link to. By linking to your site, other sites are saying they value the content of your site and that they think other people will be interested in it, too.

link farm
A group of web pages that all link to each other. This is a bad SEO technique that deliberately creates an increase in the number of links between sites, thereby increasing link popularity. It is considered a form of spamming.

link popularity
Link popularity generally refers to the total number of links pointing to any particular URL. There are typically two types of link popularity: internal and external. Internal link popularity typically refers to the number of links or pages within a web site that link to a specific URL. External link popularity refers to the number of inbound links from external web sites that are pointing to a specific URL.

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

long-tail keyword phrases
Keyword phrases with at least three, and sometimes four or five, words in them. These long-tail keywords are usually highly specific and draw lower traffic than shorter, more competitive keyword phrases, which is why they are also cheaper. Often, long-tail keywords, in aggregate, have good conversion ratios for the low number of clickthroughs they generate.


meta tag HTML
Embedded website coding found on each website page that provides search engine spiders with keyword information describing the page.


organic listings
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 algorithmic results.

organic rank
Rank attained by a website on the Search Engine Results Page for a specific keyword phrase based on website content, and not paid search engine marketing.


paid linking
Paying for another site to link to your own.

page view
Single view of a web page or banner ad by a user.

pay per click (PPC) marketing
The paid use of search engines to increase traffic to a website by bidding on keyword phrases that users enter into the search bar when looking for a particular product or service.

A pingback is one of three types of linkbacks, methods for Web authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents. This enables authors to keep track of who is linking to, or referring to their articles. Some weblog software, such as Movable Type, Serendipity, WordPress and Telligent Community, support automatic pingbacks where all the links in a published article can be pinged when the article is published.

A media file that is distributed over the internet using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers. Like “radio,” it can mean both the content and the method of syndication. The latter may also be termed podcasting.


quality score
A number assigned by Google to paid ads in a hybrid auction that, together with maximum CPC, determines each ad’s rank and SERP position. Quality Scores reflect an ad’s historical CTR, keyword relevance, landing page relevance, and other factors proprietary to Google. Yahoo! refers to the Quality Score as a Quality Index.


The position attained by a website on the Search Engine Results Page for a specific keyword phrase. Rank can be given to both organic and paid search engine marketing listings, as well as to directory listings.

Changing the form or image of an established brand-name product or service.

reciprocal linking
Two relevant sites that link into each other; can be mutually beneficial for both SEO and user functionality.

A text file present in the root directory of a website which is used to direct the activity of search engine crawlers. This file is typically used to tell a crawler which portions of the site should be crawled and which should not be crawled.

ROI (return on investment)
A measure of the success of a marketing campaign in comparison to the money spent on the campaign; revenue divided by cost.

A family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content. An RSS document, which is called a “feed,” “web feed,” or “channel,” contains either a summary of content from an associated website or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with changes on your website in an automated manner that’s easier than checking manually.

RSS aggregators
Client software that uses web feed to retrieve syndicated web content such as blogs, podcasts, vlogs, and mainstream mass media websites, or in the case of a search aggregator, a customized set of search results. Such applications are also referred to as RSS readers, feed readers, feed aggregators, news readers, or search aggregators.


search engine
A website that provides a list of useful links in response to a search query on a particular topic, product or service; websites are ranked according to search relevance. Google, Yahoo and MSN are examples of search engines

search engine log data
Actual search engine data logs that gather information on keyword phrase frequency and search behavior.

search engine marketing (SEM)
The use of search engines, using both organic and paid search marketing strategies, to increase traffic to a website that is selling a product or service.

search engine optimization (SEO)
Methods for attaining a higher organic rating on search engines. Basic components include copywriting around keywords and site linking.

search engine results page (SERP)
The page displaying search results when a search query is made.

search term evolution
New keywords or phrases, relevant to an industry, that evolve over time through user/consumer behavioral patterns.


targeted traffic
Directing searchers (internet users) to a relevant website by matching their inquiry with websites’ topics, products, or services.

tracking URL
A specially designed and/or unique URL created to track an action or conversion from paid advertising. The URL can include strings that will show what keyword was used, what match type was triggered, and what search engine delivered the visitor.

trusted feed
Also known as Paid Inclusion, a trusted feed is a fee-based custom crawl service offered by some search engines. These results appear in the “organic search results” of the engine. Typically, the fee is based on “cost per click,” depending on the category of site content.


unique user
One unique, individual user of a website who may visit the site more than once, but will only be counted as one visitor.

URL (Universal Resource Locator)
The actual address typed into an internet browser to reach a specific website or page, eg, http://www.evisionworldwide.com/

This term refers to how “user-friendly” a website and its functions are. A site with good
usability is a site that makes it easy for visitors to find the information they are looking for or to perform the action they desire. Poor usability is anything that causes confusion or problems for the user.


viral marketing
A form of marketing that is self-sustaining and self-promoting: a core idea so appealing that the public takes on the role of “spreading the message” themselves. It is incredibly effective, but control and ownership of the campaign are relinquished.

visitor session
A complete visit by a user to a website from start to finish; visit is usually considered to be complete if a user is inactive for a set length of time, most commonly 30 minutes.

A form of blogging that uses video as the primary content, often accompanied by supporting text, image, and additional metadata to provide context.


web analytics
Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage. There are two categories of web analytics; off-site and on-site web analytics. Off-site web analytics refers to web measurement and analysis irrespective of whether you own or maintain a website. It includes the measurement of a website’s potential audience (opportunity), share of voice (visibility), and buzz (comments) that is happening on the Internet as a whole. On-site web analytics measure a visitor’s journey once on your website. This includes its drivers and conversions; for example, which landing pages encourage people to make a purchase. On-site web analytics measures the performance of your website in a commercial context. This data is typically compared against key performance indicators for performance, and used to improve a web site or marketing campaign’s audience response.

Software that allows people to contribute knowledge on a particular topic. A wiki is a web publishing platform that makes use of technologies similar to blogs and allows for collaboration with multiple people.

A multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers; its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the website.


XML (Extensible Markup Language)
A programming language designed especially for Web documents. It allows designers to create their own customized tags, enabling the definition, transmission, validation, and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations.

Sources: Evision Worldwide ©2007 and Wikipedia