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Note: This glossary is an excerpt from Appendix B of the “Guide to Obtaining a #1 Ranking in the Search Engines” by Ryan P. Allis. This guide is highly recommended for anyone wanting to optimize their site for the search engines and obtain a top ranking. Learn more here.

Search Engine Glossary

Affiliate Program – Software that enables a business to pay affiliates a percentage or specific amount per sale. This is an effective way of obtaining incoming links.

Cost Per Click (CPC) – Search engines which display results not by relevancy but by the amount advertisers are willing to pay to be listed on each search term

Content Syndication – Either offering your own content for use on other sites in exchange for a plug or link or using content from other sites with permission. This is a good strategy and effective quid pro quo for both parties. One receives free publicity and the other receives unique and quality articles for keyword optimization without having to write each proprietarily. Offering your articles on other web sites is a great way to build incoming links.

Crawler – see Spider

Database – A collection of data in tables stored on a server. Generally content within a database is not able to be indexed by the search engines.

Domain Name – The top level web address or uniform resource locator (URL) that corresponds in the DNS records to the IP address where the site is hosted. is a domain name.

Dynamic Content – Content on a page from a database which is called based on the query parameters. This content is generally not able to be indexed by the search engines.

Frames – Multiple HTML sources (pages) that are displayed in the same page-view by a browser. The visitor will see a single page displayed that can contain top, bottom, left, right, and middle sections (the frames). Search engine spiders generally do not like frames.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) – The means through which web pages are uploaded to a server.

Image Maps – A single image broken up into parts, or slices. These are often used for navigation. Different areas of a single image can be linked to different pages. Image maps are fine to use, as long as accompanying text links and ample body copy is included as well on all pages.

Incoming link – A link on another web site that is to your web site.

Indexing – The act of a search engine spider listing your site in its database so it will show up in search results

Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) – A basic programming language used to create web pages. Optimizing the HTML code on a page is essential for obtaining top search engine rankings.

Hyperlinks – Text or images that, when clicked on, take the visitor to another web site or page within your site. These are most commonly known as simply links. The more web sites that link to your web site, the higher your search engine rankings.

JavaScript – A coding language used within browsers for various effects. Can cause a lower search engine ranking in some cases.

Keyword – A term for which you want your site to show up in the results when searched. Generally you will want to compile a list of relevant and potential keywords and then optimize a page on your site for each.

Keyword Effectiveness Index – A term coined by the Wordtracker service that is a function of the competitiveness of a keyword and the number of searches for that keyword.

Keyword Frequency – The number of times your targeted keyword is in a specific area of your page including the meta tags, heading tags, body tag, and alt-tag. Generally you will want your keyword to be listed a number of times in each. As an approximate rule of thumb, use your keyword no more than three times per meta tag, four times in heading tags, twenty times in the body tag, and ten times in the alt-tag.

Keyword Prominence (Density) – How close to the start of an area that your keyword appears. The closer to the beginning your targeted keyword appears, the higher the prominence, the higher the prominence the better. Prominence applies to the words within the title, body of the document, the meta tags, the heading tags, and the alt-tags.

Keyword Spamming – Using a keyword repeatedly out of context in an attempt to gain additional frequency and in turn obtain a better search engine ranking.

Meta Tags – the description and keyword tags with the <head> tag at the top of every web page. These are not as important as they once were, but it is still recommended to have them and insert your targeted keyword for that page within.

Links – see Hyperlinks

Link Popularity – The number of other web pages that link to your web site. Search engines view links as votes of confidence so the more links you can obtain, the better. You should avoid low quality links from places such as Free For All (FFA) pages and link farms.

Link Reputation – The quality of the incoming links to your site. The more closely related and greater trafficked sites you can obtain sites from, the better your link reputation and the higher your rankings.

Off-site optimization – Optimizing factors such as domain name, link popularity, and link reputation that cannot be changed through modifications in the HTML code.

On-site optimization – Optimizing by modifying page source code factors such as keyword frequency, keyword prominence, title, meta tags, body copy, alt-tags, navigation, etc.

Pay Per Click (PPC) – see Cost Per Click

Ranking – The number that your web site is listed for a specific search term in a specific search engine.

Ranking Algorithm – the proprietary mathematical formulas, variables, and set of weights that a search engines uses to determine a site’s ranking for a keyword search. Search engines guard these carefully.

Registrar – Company through which you can register domain names

Search Engine – a utility that enables a user to quickly search the Internet to find web sites on searched for topics.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – The act of optimizing a webpage and/or web site to perform well in the search engines. There is a growing niche of consultants and firms who specialize in this.

Search Term – See Keyword

Site Map – A page on a web site that lists and links to every other page on that web site.

Source Code – The code of a web page that must be optimized for the search engines. You can view top ranked sites source code to gain information on what they have done to obtain their top ranking.

Spider – A software robot that continuously crawls pages on the Internet and collects data that will be analyzed using a ranking algorithm.

Static Content – Content on a web site that is hard coded onto the page and does not come from a database. Search engines have no problems indexing this content, unlike dynamic content.

Submission Service – A service which charges a fee to submit your site to the search engines for you. Using these will usually be unnecessary as it is free to submit to the search engines and you only need to submit to five separate engines to be listing in every one of the top ten.

Wordtracker – A web-based service that enables you to research keywords for optimizing on your site.

Note: This glossary is an excerpt from Appendix B of the Obtaining a #1 Rankings in the Search Engines by Ryan P. Allis. This guide is highly recommended for anyone wanting to optimize their site for the search engines and obtain a top ranking. Learn more here.

To learn more about Search Engine Optimization and obtaining top rankings for your targeted keywords, you can purchase the fifty-five page guide, Obtaining a #1 Ranking in the Search Engines, by Virante, Inc. CEO Ryan Allis [ more information ].

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This Web Marketing article was written by Ryan P Allis on 2/14/2005

Ryan P. Allis, 20, is the author of Zero to One Million, a guide to building a company to $1 million in sales, and the founder of Ryan is also the CEO of Broadwick Corp., a provider of the permission-based email marketing software and CEO of Virante, Inc., a web marketing and search engine optimization firm. Ryan is an economics major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is a Blanchard Scholar. [learn more.