The Harris SEO Glossary of Terms


By Zeitzan Palazli, SEO and PPC executive

The image shows the author, Zeitzan, our SEO and PPC executive.

If you read our Guide to SEO blog, you might have found yourself confused with some of the terminology. But not to worry, we are back and have created a glossary with all the essential terms you need to know. Don’t forget to save it, so you can refer back to it at any time.


Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to the actions taken in creating and optimising a website that will be easily crawlable and indexable.


Algorithm: a formula used by search engines to retrieve data and deliver results to a user’s query.

Crawling: the process of crawlers gathering information about the content of your website and then indexing it.

Bot: crawlers that scour the internet for content.

Googlebot: Google crawlers that scour the internet to find new websites/webpages and add them to its index.

Indexing: the storing of content found during the crawling phase.

Ranking: the position a website appears in the organic search results by relevance to the user’s query.

Sitemap: the list of structured pages on a website.

Search engine: a computer programme that allows users to enter a query and receive information such as Google, Yahoo, Bing.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page): the first page you see after conducting a search-usually shows the top 10 results that match the user’s query.

Organic: most relevant, unpaid listings that appear on SERP based on the user’s query.

KPI (Keyword Performance Indicator): a measurement method that businesses use to measure their performance and growth.

White hat: SEO practices that comply with Google’s quality guidelines.

Black hat: SEO practices that violate Google’s quality guidelines.

Webmaster guidelines: guidelines published by search engine providers that outline practices that will help your website get indexed.

Google Analytics: a free tool that allows website owners to get insights into key metrics, website performance and engagement.

Google Search Console: a free tool that allows website owners to get insights into indexing errors and site speed.

Alt attribute: HTML code that describes the content of an image to search engines and screen readers (for blind and visually-impaired people).

Anchor text: the clickable word on a link.

Meta descriptions: HTML tag that describes the webpage’s content. It is the snippet that appears in the search results.

Title tag: HTML tag that describes the title of a webpage.

Heading: HTML tags that run from H1 to H6 which break down the content into sections.

Page Speed: the time it takes for a webpage to fully load.


On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO

On-Page SEO is the act of optimising sections on a website such as content and the HTML code, whereas Off-Page SEO refers to the actions taken outside of the website such as backlinks. Both on-page and off-page SEO impact a website’s ranking on search engine results pages.


Content: is information communicated to the audience in different mediums (words, videos, images)

Backlinks: links from other websites that point to your website.

Engagement: is a metric that shows how users interact with your website.

Query: the word or phrase that is entered into the search engine by the user.

Relevance: a way that search engines measure how relevant your webpage is to a user’s query.

Keyword: words or phrases used in the content of the webpage for the purposes of ranking.

Keyword research: the process of discovering relevant terms to a user’s query, their volume and competition.

Keyword difficulty: a numerical score that shows how difficult it is for a website to outrank its competitors for a specific keyword.

Keyword density: how often a keyword is found within the content of the webpage.

Long-tail keywords: longer queries, usually more than three words.

Search volume: the number of times a keyword was search within a specific period of time.

Keyword stuffing: a spam tactic where certain keywords are overly used within the content in the hopes to increase website ranking.

Visibility: an indicator of how visible a website is in the organic search results.

Domain Authority: a metric used to predict a website’s domain ranking ability.

Page Authority: a metric used to predict a webpage’s ranking ability.

Domain Age: an estimate of how old a website’s domain is.

Link building: a process to get reliable websites to link back to your website to improve visibility.

Traffic: the number of visits to a website.

Conversions: when a user completes a desired action on your website (e.g., submitting a form, completing a purchase, signing up to a newsletter).

Conversion Rate: the rate (expressed as a percentage) at which users complete a desired action on your website.

Featured Snippet:  a box of summary usually found on top of organic search results that contain a summary to queries, usually wh-questions in the form of paragraph, list, video.


This glossary designed by our SEO team is a great guide to help you understand some of the commonly used terms in Search Engine Optimisation.

If you would like to optimise your website or learn more about how SEO can help your business, get in touch with our team.

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