Search Engine Terms Glossary

Click through - The process of clicking on a link in a search engine results page to visit an indexed site.

Click through rate (CTR) - The ratio of clicks and display impressions of an ad. If an ad were displayed 100 times and 4 viewers clicked on it, you have a CTR of 4%.

Comment - The HTML tags are used to hide text from browsers. Some search engines ignore text between these symbols but others index such text as if the comment tags were not there.

Crawlers - Also know as a "robot" or "spider", a crawler is an automated software program that runs at many search engines, reads sites' content, analyzes it, and inserts them into the index (or collects information for later insertion into the index).

Description tag - HTML tag used to by Web page authors to provide a description for search engine listings. Some engines display these descriptions, other display some text from your page containing the searched phrase.

Directories - A directory is a web site, which contains listings (usually searchable and categorized) of other web sites. Most directories are created and managed by human editors.

Doorway page - Any page through which a visitor can enter your site. Some people prepare special pages to rank well in search engines for particular keywords, serving as an entry point through which visitors pass to the main content. 

Keyword - A word used in a performing a search. Generally visitors search for phrases instead of single words to locate the required information.

Keyword Density - A measure of how frequently a given keyword appears within a given web page.

Keyword marketing - Putting your message in front of people who are searching using particular keywords and key phrases.

Keyword Phrase - A phrase, which forms (part of) a search engine query.

Keyword Purchasing - The buying of search keywords from search engines, usually to control banner ad or Pay-per-click advertising.

Keyword research - The search for keywords related to your Web site, and the analysis of which ones yield the highest return on investment (ROI). Wordtracker is a very good place to do your research.

Keywords tag - META tag used to help define the primary keywords of a Web page. 

Link popularity - A measure of the quantity and quality of sites that link to your site.

Link text - The text contained in (and sometimes near) a hyperlink. 

Log file - File that records the activity on a Web server. 

Manual submission - Adding a URL to the search engines individually by hand.

Meta Tags - Meta Tags are HTML elements that can optionally be included within web pages, and contain information about the document such as the author, keywords describing the document, a description of the document, etc.

Pay per click search engine - Search engine where results are ranked according to the bid amount, and advertisers are charged when a searcher clicks on the search listing.

Pay per inclusion search engine - Search engine where web sites or certain pages are included in the index only when you pay them a fee. The rank is not guaranteed and is based on the engines ranking algorithm or rules.

Positioning- The process of ordering web sites or web pages by a search engine or a directory so that the most relevant sites appear first in the search results for a particular query.

Positioning Technique - A method of modifying a web page so that search engines (or a particular search engine) treat the page as more relevant to a particular query (or a set of queries).

Query - A word, a phrase or a group of words, possibly combined with other syntax used to pass instructions to a search engine or a directory in order to locate web pages.

Rank - The position a particular site is listed in a search engine after a person does a relevant search. The higher the rank, the nearer the top of the results the site will come, and usually, the more traffic it will get.

Registration - The process of informing a search engine or directory that a new web page or web site should be indexed.

Re-submission - Repeating the search engine registration process one or more times for the same page or site. Generally it is unnecessary to do this with spider based search engines.

Robots - Also know as a "crawler" or "spider", a robot is an automated software program that runs at many search engines, reads sites' content, analyzes it, and inserts them into the index (or collects information for later insertion into the index).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - The art of optimizing a site to generate traffic from search engines.

Search engine submission - The act of supplying a URL to a search engine in an attempt to make a search engine aware of a site or page.

Submission Service - Any agent, which submits your site to many search engines and directories.

Title tag - HTML tag used to define the text in the top line of a Web browser, also used by many search engines as the title of search listings.

Top 20 - The top twenty search engine results for a particular search term.

Traffic - The visitors to a web page or web site. Also refers to the number of visitors, hits, accesses etc. over a given period.

URL - Uniform Resource Locator - Location of a resource on the Internet.

Volunteer directory - A Web directory staffed primarily by unpaid volunteer editors.