SEO Glossary: Essential Terms You Need to Know

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.

SEO Glossary: Essential Terms You Need to Know


This shows you the average ad position you have since you may rank low and may rank high sometimes depending on the competitive circumstances. An ad’s position on a page can fluctuate due to its ranking so it is ideal to look at the average position. Positions can be increase by increasing relevance, quality and the clickthrough rate of the ad.


An advanced feature that enables you to gain a better understanding about how visitors interact with your ads, website and offline sales channel. It is an ideal feature for businesses as they are able to track offline conversions. Auto-tagging imports conversion data, campaign and cost data as well as engagement metrics into reports.


This is the average amount of money that costs you when someone clicks on your ad. Your average cost-per-click is calculated by dividing the total cost of your clicks by the total number of clicks. Using Google’s Keyword Planner, it will help you get an estimated average CPC amount for your Search Network campaigns.


These are website placements that Google automatically puts your display network ads based on your targeting methods. These differ from managed placements where you must specifically select to show your ads.


Allows you to upload CSV files to make large-scale changes at once. Bulk uploading makes transformations easier for reports, data and changes to entities.


A payment feature that allows you to tell Google how much money you want to spend over a specific period of time. The same billing account can be used for different budget orders across client accounts.


Allows you to perform large actions across your entire AdWords account from campaigns to keywords. Saves time simultaneously as you can update more than one thing in your account at the same time.

AdWords offers various tools and features to help you make bulk edits to your account. The editing options available depend on which tool or feature you use. Bulk edits to your account can be made using AdWords, bulk uploads, AdWords editor, AdWords API and AdWords scripts.


This keyword match type gives you more control over the search terms that you want visible compared to regular broad match. It gives you more flexibility at the same time. Broad match modifiers can help your keywords achieve a higher clickthrough rate (CTR) with a more targeted audience, which in return helps your site get more paying customers or other conversions. Broad match modifiers ensure that your ads will only show when someone’s search is an exact match or a close variant of your keyword.


The status of your ads – ‘active’ means ads are displaying, ‘paused’ means that ads have been manually disabled. You can start, pause, or remove your campaigns.


The unique number that’s assigned to your Google AdWords account. This number can be used when contacting AdWords customer support and when linking your AdWords account with Google Analytics and other products.


If you opt for bids on individual keyword phrases this column will display to show the current bid for each. The amount you pay for these bids is called your actual CPC.


A way to have your ad automatically count down towards the end of a sale or the beginning of an event. Simply type in {= in your ad to set up it. As soon as you type “{=” into a line of ad copy in the AdWords web interface, the widget will appear. The time zone defaults to the “Ad viewer’s time zone” but this can be changed in AdWords settings.


This is when two or more ads are displayed from the same company, at the same time and at the same place. Google generally does not permit advertisers to manage multiple accounts for their business with the same keywords.


A tool within Google AdWords that allows you to figure out which display placements would work best for your goals. Google’s Display Planner generates ideas for all the ways you can target the Display Network. These targeting ideas are based on your customers’ interests or your landing page. They include keywords, placements topics, interests, demographics and remarketing.


Display URL is what shows up in your ad copy. You can keep this simple and clean to increase your brand recognition, trust, and conversions. For expanded text ads, your display URL consists of the domain of your final URL (and the subdomain, if you have one) and your two optional “Path” fields up to 15 characters each.


The websites that partner with Google to serve Display ads. Your ads can appear on partners’ websites, mobile phone apps, and other placements that you choose or that relate to your ads and keywords or other targeting methods you’ve added. Similarly, also allows you to target people who are most likely to be interested in your products meaning you have the potential to find new prospective customers.


It is a trick that allows you to create a larger headline by including a period after the last word in the first description line. This headline takes up more prominent ad real estate meaning it will be more visible to the search, it also has potential to increase CTR.


Bidding strategy that allows Google to bid 30% more than your CPC bid in order to achieve a conversion.

Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) helps you get more conversions from manual bidding. ECPC works by automatically adjusting your manual bids for clicks that seem more or less likely to lead to a sale or conversion on your website.


This keyword match type only shows your ad if the searcher typed in the exact term. This is the most restrictive keyword match types but allows for the most control. Audience control can be determined by different matches such as broad match, negative match, phrase match and exact match.


This is a campaign level setting in which you can have a certain end date for a campaign. The fault setting for each ad campaign is to have no end date, therefore they are able to run indefinitely.


This display network setting allows you to set a limit on the number of times an individual can see your ad per day. By setting a limit to the number of impressions per day on each individual user, you are expanding your audience and saving costs.


Ad groups and keywords are core bid strategies that automates your budget allocation across multiple campaigns.


The average number of times an individual has seen your ad per day. Frequency data allows you to see how many people viewed your ads over a period of time.


The bid you will need to set for your ad to appear on top of the search results page. There is an estimated cost for what CPC bid is needed for your ad to show in the first position when a user searches with your chosen keywords. Cost estimations vary on how much competition there are from other advertisers. First position bids are not guaranteed.


A Page on Google+ that you can use to represent your product, brand, business or organization. With Google+ pages, you are able to create posts, create collections, join communities and follow other Google+ profiles.


It is your Google-wide username and password that can be used for all Google products, including AdWords.  You can create a Google account at


A phone number provided by Google to use in ads so it can be traced. When this forwarding number is contacted it will be redirected to your business number. Using call only ads with a Google forwarding number can help receive conversions and track phone calls resulting from your ad. Every time a customer interacts with your ad to call you, you will be charged for a click (CPC).


Also known as location targeting, this is where you decide what geographic areas can see your ad. Locations you can choose include entire countries, cities or even a radius around a specific location. This is ideal for local businesses who want to reach their target market in their area.


A hit is when a user downloads a file on your site. Files can include photos, graphics, buttons etc. Majority of people think hits are just visitors when in fact, hits document all visitor interaction.


Ad headline is the header of your ad copy. It generally shows up in blue when your ad is live. A text ad on Google search is the simplest online ad that AdWords offers; these all have headlines.


In general, the home tab is a tab or button in an application or web page that returns you to the home section. In Microsoft Office, the Home tab is the default tab in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and other Microsoft Office products.


Text on your website that is placed inside of a heading tag, such as an H1 or H2. This text is often presented in a larger and stronger font than other text on the page.


A tool to exclude specific products in your Merchant Center account from appearing in your Product Listing Ads. By default, Google will match people’s searches to relevant products from your entire Google Merchant Center product inventory. Filters are optional, you can use them to define eligible product groups. This means that Google will only show the chosen products from your Google Merchant Center.


It is the ability to change ads, keywords, placements, bids, and other information about campaigns from the performance table & dashboard within AdWords. In-line editing allows you to make quick changes without going to a new page.


Clicks on ads that Google considers to be illegitimate, often due to the same IP address or other factors that are clicking your ads. Each click on an AdWords ad is examined by Google. Their complex systems are able to identify invalid clicks and impressions in order to remove them from your account data. When Google determines that clicks are invalid, they automatically filter them from your reports and payments so that you’re not charged for those clicks. You may be eligible to receive a credit for those clicks if Google discovers that invalid clicks have escaped automatic detection. These credits are called “invalid activity” adjustments.


Impression share is a report that can be determined by the number of impressions you’ve received divided by the total amount of impressions available for the keywords you’re bidding on. Eligibility is based on your current ads’ targeting settings, approval statuses, bids, and Quality Scores. You can view impression share data at the campaign, ad group and keyword levels.


JavaScript is a programming language that allows website administrators to apply various effects or changes to the content of their website as users browse it. It was originally developed by Netscape as a means to add dynamic and interactive elements to websites. JavaScript code can be inserted anywhere within the HTML of a webpage.


An open source CMS for publishing web content that is built on a model–view–controller web application framework. Joomla allows you to build powerful online applications.


Keyword Planner is a tool within Google Adwords that provides keyword ideas and traffic estimates to help you build a Search Network campaign. Gives you the ability to search for ad group ideas, historical statistics and roughly calculates impressions your keywords might get for bids.


These are different ways you can be restrictive or non-restrictive with the keywords you’re bidding on. Each keyword uses a matching option to help control which searches should trigger your ad to show. You can just choose one or many options for a keyword. Keywords will be considered as a broad match if you don’t use a particular matching option. The matching options include broad match, broad match modifier, phrase match, exact match and negative match.


The act of researching for new keywords to target or add as negative keywords. Allows you to increase your reach of keywords that are relevant to the services or products that you offer.


A Google AdWords tool that allows you to see if your keywords are showing for ads or not and what the reasons are if they aren’t. You can also get a snapshot of your keyword’s Quality Score.


A status for certain keywords alerting you that the keyword or keywords you selected are not searched very often. The keyword will be marked as “Low search volume” and will remain inactive until its search traffic increases.  Often this occurs to keywords that are too specific or misspelt. By keeping low search volume keywords inactive it allows AdWords to serve more ads efficiently and reduces the volume of keywords on the system.


Refers to the interactions between the user and the Land Page. AdWords can measure how relevant your landing page is to users that link on your ad. There are three landing page statuses used to determine how good of an experience it will provide for customers.

The three statuses are as follows: above average, average or below average.


One of the core targeting options for Search and Display campaigns. Designed so that your ad will appear on sites that are written in the language of customers that you’d like to reach.


A landing page is the webpage where people end up after they click your ad. All traffic driven from your ad will end up here. For each ad, you specify a final URL to determine the landing page where people are taken when they click your ad. Google’s policy is that your landing page and display URL (the webpage shown in your ad) must share the same domain.


A brief description of fewer than 160 characters of the contents of a page and why someone would want to visit it. This is often displayed on search engine results pages below the page title as a sample of the content on the page. Its main purpose is to get the visitor from Google to click your link, meta descriptions are there to generate clickthrough’s from search engines.


Is a meta tag which can be used to provide the search engines with a list of keywords relevant to a page’s topic. The meta keywords tag has minor (if any) impact on search results nowadays. Meta keywords are distinguished from regular keywords because they appear “behind the scenes,” in the source code of your page, rather than on the live, visible page itself.


Data that tells search engines what your website is about, it provides information about a certain item’s content. For example, a text document’s metadata may contain information about the size of the document, who the author is, the date the document was written and a short summary of the document.  Web pages include metadata in the form of meta tags. Description and keywords meta tags are commonly used to describe the web pages’ content.


Meta tags appear in the page’s code and are snippets of text that describe a page’s content. Meta tags only exist in HTML, “meta” stands for “metadata” – data about the data on your page.


Attempting to adversely influence the rank of a third-party site. They use black hat tactics that violate Google’s guidelines in order to demote a competitor site. Google will eventually discover their links and penalize the site.


The status of any video ad that is pending review. This can be seen immediately after a video ad have been created under the “status” column in the ads tab.


Algorithms which attempt to understand the true intent of a search query rather than just matching results to keywords. NLP is a component of artificial intelligence (AI).


A video ad status when a headline, description, or video has been disapproved by Google. Videos often get disapproved if they violate Google’s ad serving policy.


Popular keyword research tool, based largely on Yahoo! search statistics. Heavily skewed toward commercially oriented searches, also combines singular and plural versions of a keyword into a single version. The free keyword suggestion tool offers suggested monthly regional search and provides links to price estimate tools from Google AdWords.


A free listing in Google Search that appears because it’s relevant to someone’s search terms. These results are located underneath ads on the search results page. You are able to work your way up to the first position by working with SEO and improving your website’s relevance.


Advertising credit added to your account anytime your ads over-deliver for the month. Google doesn’t charge you for these clicks and can automatically issue a credit on your invoice.

When over delivery happens, your total daily cost could add up to be double of your average daily budget. But in a complete monthly billing period, you’ll never be charged more than your monthly charging limit — the average number of days in a month (30.4) multiplied by your average daily budget. If Google overdelivers your ads too often, an over delivery credit is automatically applied to your account.


Optimization in Google Ad Words is like optimization elsewhere in marketing. It means making the changes in your ad that get you higher results for your objectives.

Finding an alternative with the most cost-effective or highest achievable performance under the given constraints by maximizing desired factors and minimizing undesired ones. In comparison, maximization means trying to attain the highest or maximum result or outcome without regard to cost or expense.


Poison Words are terms that will immediately reduce the SEO effectiveness of a website by detracting traffic and lowering a site’s rank on search engines. The list of Poison Words isn’t public knowledge and varies from each search engine.  Adult-related terminology or gambling-related terms are examples of Poison Words because they will often be filtered in search engine results.


The file containing all the details and attributes about the products in your Google Shopping store. It is an automated process allowing e-commerce sites to export all data to an excel, .txt or .xml file. Product feeds can be used to create automatic sponsored links campaigns or dynamic retargeting banners.


PLA is an AdWords’ extension used to promote products on Google’s search engine results page. These ads are setup as Google Merchant Center feeds that allow e-commerce products (not services) to be shown with pictures in the search results on the search network.


A key metric for Video Ads that can tell you how often your video was played by dividing the # of plays by the # of times your ad was shown. The play rate ratio is used to gauge user engagement with your opening image (video ads that require a Click-to-Pay) or your selected video thumbnail (for YouTube-specific video ad formats).


Quality Scores are an overall estimate of your performance in ad auctions. They also estimate the quality of your keywords and landing pages. Quality Scores are reported on a numeric scale from 1-10.


An index of keywords which stores records of matching documents that contain those keywords.


ROAS stands for Return on Advertising Spending and represents the dollars earned per dollars spent on the corresponding advertising. To determine ROAS, divide revenue derived from the ad source by the cost of that ad source. Values less than one indicate that less revenue is generated than spent on advertising.


Much like search engine submission, resubmission is generally a useless program which is offered by businesses bilking naive consumers out of their money for a worthless service.


Can be referred to as retargeting, remarketing is a strategy that lets you customize your display ads so they follow people who have previously visited your site. You can also tailor your bids and ads (using dynamic remarketing) to these visitors when they browse the web and use apps. This feature is popular to use in a Display Network campaign.


Online media created by and shared among individuals, enables users to participate in social networking. Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter are popular social media websites. Links from many social media sites now appear in searches.


Refers to the deliberate manipulation of search engine indexes. Pages are created to cause search engines to deliver inappropriate or less relevant results. Search Engine Optimizers are sometimes unfairly perceived as search engine spammers. Of course, in some cases they actually are.


Search engine optimization is the process of increasing the number of visitors to a website by achieving a high rank in the search results of a search engine. The process involves getting traffic from free and organic search results on search engines such as Google. Unlike AdWords, payment is not involved.


A program, which searches a document or group of documents for relevant matches of a user’s keyword phrase and returns a list of the most relevant matches. For users, a search engine is accessed through a browser on their computer, smartphone, tablet, or another device.


The bid you will need to set for your ad to appear on top of the search results page.


This is the amount of time it takes for a person from the time they see or click your ad to actually convert.


A top ad is an ad that shows up in a shaded box above the organic search results.


It is a type of text ad that is shown with video content on the Display Network. This will happen automatically if you enable your campaign to appear across the network without changing your network settings. To get video placement ideas you can use the Display Planner. Text overlay ads engage viewers and will raise awareness for your brand.


All ads must be reviewed by Google. Your ad status will show “under review’ whilst it is being processed to ensure the ad is safe, appropriate, and complies with advertising policies. Most ads are reviewed within 1 business day, though some more complex reviews may take longer.


A URL (Uniform resource locator) is a web property address displayed in your browser. Each webpage has a unique address in order for people to easily locate them. For example, Google’s URL is A web page’s URL is made up of a domain name, a domain category and sometimes other elements like a sub-domain.


Unique visitor (also known as a unique user) is a term used in Web analytics to refer to a person who has never been to your website before. All individual visitors to the site are counted once during the reporting period, so if the same IP address accesses the site many times, it still only counts as one visitor. Analytical programs have special filters to ensure visitors that are not human, such as crawlers and other bots, are filtered out. The measurement of unique visits is not perfect but it is a reliable estimate.


Self-propagating marketing techniques. Common modes of transmission are email, blogging, and word of mouth marketing channels. The aim is to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users, creating a potentially exponential growth in the message’s visibility and effect. It is often more cost-effective than tradition marketing efforts meaning it poses a great option for smaller businesses. A few examples of techniques used for viral marketing are creating videos, offering a product for free, social outreach and enabling easy sharing and downloading.


Ethical SEO practices used to improve computer and Internet. White Hats conform to best practice guidelines and do not attempt to unscrupulously “game” or manipulate SERPs. These hackers are regarded a valuable resource in many organizations.


These are calls generated from your site or landing page that are tracked within AdWords. Tracking call conversions from ads and from a website and importing call conversions require Google forwarding numbers. Call conversions are measured by your Google forwarding number and allow you to attribute the call conversion and conversion value back to the keyword and ad that drove the customer.


A status for video ads shown when it has been disapproved. It may violate Google’s advertising policies.


Google’s tool that provides information on your websites’ search viability and allows you to suggest key settings on how it should treat your website. It allows webmasters to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites.


A term to describe you and your AdWords skills if you read this Google AdWords glossary from top to bottom.


A reference to what you spend in addition to money trying to learn how to optimize, analyze, and manage your AdWords account.


An error message displayed by a browser indicating that an Internet address cannot be found. There are many different ways that you might see this error message on your computer. Be aware that 404 Pages can be entirely customized by the owner of the domain. Some content management systems send 404 status codes when documents do exist. Ensure files exist do give a 200-status code and requests for files that do not exist give a 404-status code.


A 301 redirect is a permanent server redirect – a change of address for a web page found in the htaccess file on apache servers. 301 refers to the HTTP status code for this type of redirect. In most instances, the 301 redirect is the best method for implementing redirects on a website. Also, useful for dealing with canonical issues.


This redirect status response code indicates that the resource requested has been temporarily moved to the URL given by the location header.


A 200 STATUS OK is a success status response code indicating that the request has succeeded.

This code appears if:

  1.   GET: The resource has been fetched and is transmitted in the message body.
  2.   HEAD: The entity headers are in the message body.
  3.   POST: The resource describing the result of the action is transmitted in the message body.
  4.   TRACE: The message body contains the request message as received by the server.