SEO Glossary

Every SEO term you’ll need, explained in language you’ll understand

SEO Glossary




Bonus Chapter - SEO Glossary

Bonus Chapter - SEO Glossary

Bonus Chapter - SEO Glossary
You’re looking to grow your business online, not learn another language. To make things simple and accessible for all Kiwi business owners we’ll

explain every important SEO term in layman’s terms.

No complex jargon, no ‘tech speak’. Just clear translations to make your SEO journey easy and exciting.


Chapter #1: SEO for Beginners

Chapter #1: SEO for Beginners

#1. 10 Blue Links

The top 10 organic results you see on Google. Not paid for and not including SERP features.
Chapter #1: SEO for Beginners

#2. Black-Hat

SEO strategies that violate Google’s guidelines. Unethical tactics that can drive higher results but leave you at risk of penalties and deindexing.

#3. Crawling

How Google finds your website using clever little robots.

#4. Deindexed

The process of having your website manually removed from Google.

#5. Featured Snippets

Short snippets of text that appear above the 10 blue links. Roughly 12.29% of searches trigger these results.

#6. Google My Business Listing (GMB)

The process of having your website manually removed from Google.

#7. Image Carousels

A SERP feature. Results display multiple images for you to leisurely scroll through.

#8. Indexing

Google’s ‘library’ where all websites that have been crawled are stored.

#9. Intent

The reason people are searching on Google. Not the what but the why.

#10. KPI

Stands for Key Performance Indicator and measures the success (or failure) of a set goal.

#11. Local Pack

The pack of (typically) 3 local businesses that appear when customers search for local products and services. Often triggered by a “near me” search. For example “pubs near me”.

#12. Organic

Results earned through SEO, as opposed to paid results like Facebook Advertising or Google Ads.

#13. People Also Ask Boxes

A SERP feature. Results display in a box of questions related to a query.

#14. Query

The words people type into Google. For example ‘Who is the best SEO agency in New Zealand’ (hint: it’s us).

#15. Ranking

The order websites are displayed on Google for any given query. The higher the ranking, the more likely you’ll receive site traffic.

#16. Search Engine

Google. Oh you want more of a definition? OK, a retrieval program that finds relevant items based on a person’s query. Like a giant library with every possible book in the world.

#17. SERP feature

Results displayed in a non-traditional format, i.e. 10 blue links or paid ads.

#18. SERP

An acronym for ‘Search Engine Results Page’.

#19. Traffic

Visits to a website.

#20. URL

An acronym for ‘Uniform Resource Locators’. These are the addresses of web pages and content.

#21. Webmaster Guidelines

Google’s big book of rules. Stick to them and you’ll be optimising your site for rankings and traffic. Break ‘em and you risk penalties and ranking drops.

#22. White-Hat

SEO strategies that don’t violate Google’s guidelines. Google-safe tactics that can increase your rankings and site traffic.


How Google Works

Chapter #2: How Google Works (Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking)

How Google Works

#1. 2xx Status Codes

Hooray! A status of code that says a request for your website was received, understood and accepted.

#2. 4xx Status Codes

Boo! A status of code that says a request for your website has resulted in an error and your site did not appear.

#3. 5xx Status Codes

Not great! A status of code that says a server is unable to accept the request for your website.

#4. Advanced Search Operators

Special commands to narrow your search on Google. For example ‘’ will only show results from that specific website.

#5. Algorithm

The formula Google uses to store websites and determine their rankings when customers go searching.

#6. Backlinks

Links created when other websites link to your content or web pages. Super valuable for your SEO.

#7. Bots

Google’s crawlers (or spiders) that spend all day and night looking for new content, and updated content.

#8. Chaching

The saved version of your website.

#9. Citations

Mentions of your website in local directories, like Yelp or Yellow Pages. Also known as ‘business listings’ and include your NAP.

#10. Cloaking

The black-hat SEO tactic of showing one type of content to Google and another to humans.

#11. Crawl Budget

The average number of pages Google’s bots will crawl on your site.

#12. Crawler Directives

Your instructions to Google’s bots about how you want your content crawled and indexed (or not crawled and not indexed).

#13. Distance

Refers to the local pack. The physical distance from a searcher to your business.

#14. Engagement

How people interact with your site, from clicking to page scrolling and

#15. Google Quality Guidelines

Google’s official bible on the SEO tactics that are forbidden because they’re designed to manipulate rankings.

#16. Google Search Console

Google’s free program where you can track how your site is indexed and optimised.

#17. HTML

An acronym for ‘Hypertext Markup Language’. The standard language for creating web pages.

#18. Index

Google’s library of crawled websites. If you’re not in the index, you can’t rank on Google.

#19. Internal Links

Links from one page of your website to another.

#20. JavaScript

A programming language that can update and modify HTML. Adds dynamic elements to bring your website to “life”.

#21. Login Forms

Access points customers have to fill in to reach content.

#22. Manual Penalty

Google’s punishment for websites who have violated quality guidelines (i.e. not a good outcome).

#23. Meta Robots Tag

Code on your website that tells Google’s bots how to crawl and index your content.

#24. NoIndex Tag

A meta tag telling Google’s bots you don’t want a page to be indexed.

#25. Page Rank

A crucial part of Google’s algorithm. This system estimates the importance of your web pages by measuring the quality and quantity of links pointing to it.

#26. Prominence

Refers to the local pack. How well your business is known and trusted in the real world, based on reviews and ratings.

#27. RankBrain

Google’s AI-driven algorithm that adjusts rankings based on the way people have been engaging with each site.

#28. Relevance

Refers to the local pack. How well your business matches what someone is looking for.

#29. Robots.txt

Files telling Google’s bots which parts of your site to crawl (and which to ignore).

#30. Sitemap

A list of your website’s URLs that Google’s bots can use to find and index your site.

#31. Spammy Tactics

The low-quality and manipulative approaches to SEO. Think thin-content, or anything black-hat.

#32. URL Folders

Sections of your site that occur after your top level domain, for example in, the URL folder is ‘/glossary’.


Keyword Research

Chapter #3: Keyword Research

Keyword Research

#1. Ambiguous Intent​

When a searcher’s intent isn’t clear.

Keyword Research

#2. Commercial Investigation Queries

When a searcher’s intent is to compare products and head towards the cash register.

#3. Informational Queries

When a searcher’s intent is to find information.

#4. Keyword Difficulty

How hard it would be to outrank current websites for a given keyword.

#5. Local Queries

When a searcher is looking for a local product or service, like a pub or restaurant. Typically triggered by a location, for example “Wellington Coffee Shops”.

#6. Long-Tail Keywords

Keyword phrases, typically longer than 3 words. These generally have less monthly volume but are specific and more likely to have commercial intent.

#7. Navigational Queries

When a searcher’s intent is to find a specific location, either a website or web page.

#8. Search Volume

How many times a keyword was searched, typically measured as a monthly figure.

#9. Seed Keywords

The primary keywords that describe your business, products or service.

#10. Transactional Queries

When a searcher’s intent is to take action, for example making a purchase.


On-site Optimisation

Chapter #4: On-site Optimisation

On-site Optimisation

#1. Alt Text

Alternative Text (or alt text for short) is the HTML code describing your images to Google and screen readers.

#2. Anchor Text

The text you hyperlink to create links from one page of your site to another.

#3. Auto-Generated Content

Content created by bots and algorithms, a big no-no in Google’s eyes.

#4. Duplicate Content

Content copied from one page to another (either exactly the same or slightly modified). Another big no-no.

#5. Geographic Modifiers

Words that describe a location and return local search results, for example ‘bars in Dunedin’.

#6. Header Tags

HTML elements designated headers. Include H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 and can include keywords to help your SEO.

#7. Image Compression

Decreasing the size of your image files without impacting image quality, crucial to fast loading sites (which Google loves).

#8. Keyword Stuffing

Black-hat SEO tactic of cramming keywords into content to try and manipulate rankings. Harms user experience and ends up sounding robotic.

#9. Link Accessibility

How easily your links can be found by Google’s bots and people.

#10. Link Equity

The authority one link passes to the next.

#11. Meta Description

HTML elements describing the content of your web page. Limited to 160 characters and can help (or hurt) your click-through-rate.

#12. Protocol

The ‘http’ or ‘https’ in front of your domain name. Https is more secure, preferred by Google, and helps your SEO.

#13. Redirect

Signalling to Google your URL has moved from one spot to another. This can be temporary (302 redirect) or permanently (301 redirect).

#14. Rel=canonical

A handy tag letting Google know which version of a web page is the original, and which are duplicates.

#15. Schema

Structured data markup added to your site that may trigger additional info on the SERPs, such as recipes, reviews or upcoming events.

#16. Scraped Content

Content taken from one website and published elsewhere without permission.

#17. SSL Certificate

An acronym for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’ which encrypts your data and changes your protocol from http to https.

#18. Thin Content

Content that’s low-quality, doesn’t add value, and looking to push quick rankings, without putting users first.

#19. Title Tag

HTML elements describing the title of your web page. Limited to 60 characters and can influence your rankings and click-through-rate when optimised properly.


Chapter #5: Technical SEO

Technical SEO

#1. AMP

An acronym for ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages’, used to make your mobile site load lightning fast.

Technical SEO

#2. Browser

The web browser you use to go online, like Chrome or Firefox.

#3. ccTLD

An acronym for ‘country code top level domain’. These identify domains connected to each country, for example .nz is the ccTLD for New Zealand.

#4. Client-side rendering & server-side rendering

Refers to where code is run. Client-side means files are executed in the browser and server-side means files are executed at the server.

#5. CSS

An acronym for ‘Cascading Style Sheet’. This is the code that changes the way the HTML elements of your site look, like colour or font.

#6. DNS:

An acronym for ‘Domain Name Server’. You need a DNS to link your IP address with your domain name so Google can deliver your site to people.

#7. DOM

An acronym for ‘Document Object Model’. This is the structure of an HTML document and defines how the document is accessed or modified by things like JavaScript.

#8. Domain Name Registrar

A company that manages domain names, for example Host Gator.

#9. File Compression

How you reduce the size of files without compromising the file’s quality.

#10. Hreflang

A handy little tag that tells Google what language your content is in. This makes sure English content is delivered to people searching in English, for example.

#11. IP Address

An acronym for ‘Internet Protocol’. Your IP address is a string of numbers that’s unique to you. Google reads IP addresses, but since a jumble of numbers doesn’t appeal to humans, your DNS converts your IP address to a people-friendly domain.

#12. Lazy Loading

A page speed trick that defers the loading of a file, say an image, until it’s needed.

#13. Minification

Removing unnecessary characters from source code without impacting functionality. Compression makes files smaller, while minification removes things completely.

#14. Mobile-First Indexing

Google crawls and indexes the mobile version of websites 9not desktop versions) to determine their rankings.

#15. Programming Language

Using language a computer can understand, for example JavaScript.

#16. Rendering

How a browser turns code into a people-friendly web page.

#17. Responsive Design

Google’s preference for mobile websites. A responsive design adapts to suit desktop, tablets and mobiles (instead of shrinking an original site without changing a thing).

#18. Rich Snippet

A snippet is your page title and meta description that show up on Google. So, a rich snippet adds more information like reviews, recipes or upcoming events. You can boost your chances of securing a rich snippet using structured data markup.


Code that passes on relevant info from your page to Google. This is referred to as structured data and is used to help secure rich snippets.


Link Building 101

Chapter #6: Link Building 101

Link Building 101

#1. Amplification

Juicy exposure of your brand, typically used when talking about social media, but any spreading of word about your business.

#2. DA

An acronym for ‘Domain Authority’, a score developed by SEO software creators Moz to predict the ranking potential of one page against their competitors.

#3. Deindexed

Oooh bad news. When a URL has been removed from Google.

#4. Directory Links

Links added to local directories, think Yelp or Yellow Pages. These should include your NAP to boost your local SEO.

#5. Editorial Links

Links earned organically (the best type) not bought. When a webmaster or site owner creates a link to your web page, you just earned an editorial link.

#6. Follow Link

A follow link passes link equity from one page to another. Follow is the default status for links, and helps your SEO.

#7. Google Analytics

A handy free tool from Google to help you track and report your site traffic.

#8. Google Search Operators

Specific search instructions through Google to find niche results, for example one domain only.

#9. Guest Blogging

A popular link building strategy. An article is pitched to a well known publication and published with a link to your website. The host website gets a sweet new article, and you get a backlink. Win-win.

#10. Link Building

A proven way to increase rankings and relevance, link building is an umbrella term for multiple methods of securing links.

#11. Link Exchange

A ‘give and take’ link building strategy where you create a link for someone, while they create a link for you. Google frowns upon excessive link exchanges, so tread carefully.

#12. Link Portfolio

Your total catalogue of inbound links (doesn’t include your internal links).

#13. NoFollow

A NoFollow link does not pass link equity from one page to another. As all links are follow by default, you’ll need to add a rel=”nofollow” tag to stop equity moving between pages.

#14. PA

An acronym for ‘Page Authority’ that predicts an individual page’s ability to rank on Google (as opposed to DA which refers to your overall domain’s ranking potential).

#15. Purchased Links

The opposite of editorial links, these are bought with money or traded for something else of value. It’s better to earn links organically, or find an SEO consultant with proven industry relationships.

#16. Qualified Traffic

Qualified traffic is relevant to your business and is more likely to become a paying customer. Aka the best type of traffic.

#17. Referral Traffic:

Traffic you receive from another website, for example through backlinks, social media, or Google ads.


Chapter #7: Analysing, Measuring & Improving SEO

Chapter #7: Analysing, Measuring & Improving SEO

#1. API

An acronym for ‘Application Programming INterface’ that is a software that allows two apps to talk to each other.

#2. Bounce Rate

The percentage of people who entered your site but left without moving onto a second page. If someone arrives on your home page but leaves without browsing any other pages, they just bounced.

#3. CTR

An acronym for ‘Click-Through-Rate’. Measured as a percentage of people who clicked on a specific link divided by the total number of people who viewed the link.

#4. Conversion Rate

Measured as a percentage of people who completed a goal on your website (like downloading a guide or making a purchase) out of the total number of visitors. Industry averages range from 2% to 5% – but we think you can do better.

#5. Google Tag Manager

A free tool from Google allowing you to add tracking code to your site to measure specific goals, like clicks or conversions.

#6. Page Speed

How fast the content on your site loads. The faster the better.

#7. Pruning

Removing weak, low-quality pages to increase the quality of your remaining pages.

#8. Scroll Depth

How far down a page someone is scrolling.

#9. Search Traffic

Traffic to your website coming from Google (and your stellar SEO campaign).

#10. Time On Page

How long someone spends on any given page before moving to the next (or exiting).

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