Jargon Buster

SEO is full of Jargon, but what does it all mean? We put together this Jargon Buster guide so you can be up to scratch on your SEO and Digital Marketing Acronyms

SEO Jargon Buster

SEO is full of acronyms so we built this jargon buster to help you understand what it is that is SEOs babble on about.



Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an all encompassing term that describes techniques and technologies that can allow a computer or machine to make decisions without prior instruction. AI technology is the buzzword of the decade and will see increasing use in marketing among many other areas of life.


Asynchronous Javascript And XML (AJAX) is often considered a specific technology in its own right however it really isn’t. AJAX came to prominence with the advent of Web 2.0 which enabled much more dynamic content and interactions on a web page. This is really the use of two technologies together Javascript and XML, and using them in a new way - asynchronous such that more interactivity was possible.



Bi-directional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) is one of the hot buzz words right now. BERT gives the ability for Google to understand what a sercher means when they add in certain words like to or from or except or without or not. Before BERT the search algorithm would have just returned all pages that matched the search terms closely. It should be noted that there were other advanced contextual understnading mechanisms and history based search seleciton that made searching perform well. BERT is just the next step in that direction. Its introduction was still a major event in search engine development.


A bot or bots are another name used for search engine crawling programs such as robots or spiders.



Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) or Cost Per Customer Acquisition (CPCA) is the amount of spend required to acquire a customer.


Cost Per Click (CPC) is a PPC metric that is the amount paid for a single click.

Some keywords are highly competitive and have very high competition and cost per click. These keywords are often not the best to target. Thorough keyword research can help identify opportunities that provide much greater ROi.


A crawl is when a search engine spider or robot comes to visit your site and goes through your pages. This is what we call a crawl.

Usually we want a search engine to visit and crawl a site thoroughly and frequently.

Crawl Budget

The crawl budget is how frequently and how in depth a search engine visits crawls your site. It is usually measured in pages crawled per day.

A large crawl budget is a sign of a healthy site. A high crawl budget helps to get new content indexed and see the effect of changes happens in a short space of time.


Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the process of making the traffic that arrives at your site convert more effectively.

CRO can be very effective if done correctly.

CRO should be something that is looked at in combination with an SEO strategy to make sure you are making the most out of your traffic.


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are formating instructions that tell web browsers how to apply certain styles to HTML elements. CSS can make a dull looking plain web page look really sharp.


Click Through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of total searches to clicks to a search result. The click through rate is pertinent to both organic and paid search results.

It is affected by the title, description and url in the result. There are other factors that can enhance a search result and influence CTR too.

The position of the result on the search page is a major factor. Improving CTR can have an indirect effect on the position of the result.



Domain Authority (DA) is a metric used by Moz to assign a score to a web site. This is intended to mimic the page rank (PR) metric used internally in Google’s algorithm. It is a useful metric and servers almost as currency in the SEO world, with high DA sites being prime candidate for links. Relevance of the link and contextual and topical relevance of the site are still far more valuable than an unrelated high DA link.



Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (EAT) are all factors and concepts that apply mainly to YMYL sites. There are no known direct parameters but there are many guiding principles by which EAT can be improved or better associated to your site.




Google Analytics (GA) is another great free SEO tool from Google. This gives useful analysis of the traffic to your web site and how it interacts with your site.

Major performance and usability issues can be detected and marketing campaign performance can be measured.


Google My Business is a tool that Google gives you to promote and control your your site appears on the web.

GMB gives you multiple options to improve your search appearance and promote your business.

This is important for all businesses but critical for local businesses.

Make sure you have claimed business listing


Google Search Console (GSC) is one of the most valuable SEO tools available - and it’s free!

This tool gives you a window into Google's search index and shows valuable info on how Google sees and shows your site in its search engine.


Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a useful tool when you have lots of complex integrations, tracking code and pixels that you want to run. It gives you one place to manage them and doesn’t require any developer skills or coding to add and integrate a multitude of code and capability.



Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) is the language used to mark up and display a web page. It is sometimes referred to as code, although in the strict sense it is a markup language not code. It tells a web browser how to load and interpret the page.


Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the standard for computers to transfer the hypertext (HTML - web pages) over the internet.


This is the secure version of Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and the s is for Secure (S) for HTTPS. All modern web sites are expected to run under the secure HTTPS version. Web browsers and search engines may mark sites down or even warn about visiting them if they are not running HTTPS.



An index is a database term for a set of results or information. The index is Googles copy or data of the pages they return when a searcher makes a query.

You want to make sure that your site is in the index if you want to rank.

There are lots of technical issues and reasons a site might not get fully or properly indexed.



JavaScript (JS) is a programming language usually executed on the client side (read as your web browser not the web server) which makes the web page more dynamic and interactive.



Keyword Density is a percentage showing how frequently a word is used on a page. For example if a keyword is used 3 times within 100 words the keyword density is 3%.

Keyword density used to be considered an important factor and many people debated the optimum value. The real solution was and always has been to produce great content that people want to read, not something that is designed for an algorithm.


Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is an important business metric that tracks the critical factors that affect your business.

In digital marketing these are usually organic searches, conversions, revenue generated and ad spend



Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a mathematical technique to assign a numerical value to the proximity and relationship of similar keywords to another.

The concept is that words in a document that are related to a linked document but not in the link or in the linked document could be assigned and associated with that document.


LifeTime Value (LTV) is the amount of money generated by a single customer for the entirety of the customers business.

Retaining customers and increasing repeat business significantly increases LTV which in turn means you can increase ad spend to improve customer acquisition.



Machine Learn (ML) is a subset of AI but is in its own right a specific technology. Machine learning is a technique that allows a machine to understand a situation and usually form or adapt a model to fit the underlying system. This then allows a machine to learn a system, model or environment such that it can then predict outputs or understand outcomes based on certain inputs and criteria.



Name, Address, Phone number (NAP) is especially important in local search.

Having consistent business details across multiple profiles, platforms and listing sites is important.


Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a growing area of content marketing and SEO whereby a machine can understand what entities and items certain text is talking about. Seeing Nlp identify sections of text graphically can open up a window into how Google may see certain web pages and display certain search results. NLP is an acronym for other things too but in the context of SEO it is referred to Natural Language Processing.




Pay Per Click (PPC) is the term for the sponsored (non organic) search results and typical uses a model focused around a charge per click.

This model is attractive because it provides quick results.

PPC and SEO combined under the banner of SEM can be a very effective combination.


Page Rank (PR) is Google's signature metric for assigning a value to a page and it forms the basis for their algorithm. Page Rank is based on links, with links being seen as votes for a page. A seed set of high PR rank 10 sites is established as a trusted set and this link value propagates throughout the web.


Page Score (PS) is another metric similar to DA by Moz to assign a score or weighting to a web page.


Page Authority (PA) is another metric similar to DA by Moz to assign a score or weighting to a web page.



Quality Score (QS) is another metric similar to DA by Moz to assign a score or weighting to a web page.



A robot or spider is a program that search engines use to crawl your site. There are many different varieties of robots - for example Google’s is called Googlebot. Many of these programs first look for the robots.txt file on your site to understand what they can and can’t look for in your site.


Return On Investment (ROI) is possible the most important business metrics and a key KPI (Key Performance Indicator). Return on Investment is the amount generated from a spend.

In digital marketing this is usually how much revenue and profit comes from one particular channels ad spend. For PPC we look at the total number of clicks multiplied by the CPC to get the total ad spend. Then we look at the conversions from that add - usually with UTM tracking code and determine how much revenue was generated from that ad spend.



Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a broader digital marketing term that covers SEO and PPC. This focuses on the process of marketing a business or a brand through any available media found via search engines.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Search Engine Optimisation depending on which side of the pond you are on. This is actually an important consideration when keyword targeting for SEO companies.

This is the process of adjusting on and off page factors to improve a website's rankings.

SEO is a process not an event. The process takes time to conduct and requires careful execution with extensive research. SEO provides the best long term ROI.


Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are the pages of results you see in a search engine for a search term. The goal is always to be high up on page 1 as the CTR falls off quickly after the first few results.


Sites Placed Above Mine

Well OK - this one is a joke that’s not really an SEO acronym but I think it’s pretty appropriate


A spider is another name for a robot. This is the program that search engines use to crawl and visit your site.



Term Frequency / Inverse Document Frequency is a metric that looks at how related a page is to a keyword when compared to a set or corpus of pages and documents.

It is used in keyword research and content marketing.

There is some controversy over the use and applicability to SEO. We consider it to be useful to understand contextual relevance.


Time To First Byte (TTFB) is the amount of time it takes to receive the first byte of information required to render a web site.

This metric is useful to understand the latency and response times of the infrastructure used to access your site. This is part of the page speed equation which is import for rankings and user experience.


Trust Score (TS) is another metric similar to DA by Moz to assign a score or weighting to a web page.



User Generated Content (UGC) has recently become more of a commonly used acronym as it is now an attribute to an anchor link on a web site. rel=”ugc” is now something that can be applied to links to identify the as user generated content. UGC in general refers to any content that is produced by a web sites users and not directly by the website publisher.


A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the reference to a particular resource on the internet. A web page in the form of https://stolber.com/index.html is a URL. An individual image is also a URL.

This is the format used to reference files and pages on the internet.


Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) are tags and tracking parameters used in URLs to aid in tracking campaign performance. Google analytics was Urchin before Google purchased it and turned it into Google Analytics.

UTM tags are often used in digital marketing campaigns to understand PPC, ROI and KPIs.

UTM tags give you the ability to fully understand where a site visitor came from, how they interacted with your site and there retention after conversion. They help to understand good and poor performing ad channels and keywords.



Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is a description for basically the prevalence and use of AJAX and other modern browser based technologies that enabled a greater level of interactivity and dynamism from web sites. People reer to Web 2.0



eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is a strict and structured form of data. It is often used for configuration files or relatively small databases that can be used with portable web applications.



Your Money Your Life (YMYL) is a designation given to certain types of sites that deal with things that’s defect your money or your life. These include financial and health related niches mainly.


Technical SEO

Technical SEO

Technical SEO makes sure all of the code, tags, attributes and structure of a site are optimized and correctly formated to make it easy for search engines to find your site.


Market Research

Market Research

Learn about our unique and customized market research process. We go beyond the traditional keyword research and conduct thorough market research