Google SEO/SEM Glossary

Definitions, Meaning, and Explanations

The Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide provides definitions for some often used words and phrases related to SEO and Internet marketing of your site for search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Google has thousands of pages dedicated to helping developers optimize their websites so search engines can clearly understand what your Web page and website are about. Remember, when you help Google, Google helps you!


301 Redirect

An HTTP status code. Forces a site visitor to automatically jump to a specified URL.

404 (“page not found” error)

An HTTP status code (see page 12). It means that the server could not find the web page requested by the browser.

ASCII Language

Abbreviation for American Standard Code for Information Exchange. A character encoding centered on the English alphabet.


The ability for users and search engines to access and comprehend content.


Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.


Abbreviation for Cascading Style Sheets; a language for defining the design and layout of a web page.

Comment Spamming

Refers to indiscriminate postings, on blog comment columns or message boards, of advertisements, etc. that bear no connection to the contents of said pages.

Compact HTML

Markup language resembling HTML; it is used when creating web pages that can be displayed on mobile phones and with PHS and PDA.


Exploration of websites by search engine software (bots) in order to index their content.


An address on the Internet that indicates the location of a computer or network. These are administrated to avoid duplication.

Drop-down Menu

A system in which one chooses content from a menu. When one clicks on the menu, the list of choices are displayed in a list in a drawn out manner.

An HTML tag denoting emphasis. According to standard, it will indicate emphasis through use of italics.


Web technology or software developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated. It is able to create web content that combines sound, video and animation.

Google Ads

An advertising service which places relevant advertisements on search results pages and other content. When a user searches for keywords using Google, Ads advertisements related to those keywords are displayed on the right, top and/or bottom of the search results pages alongside the organic search results.


An element that indicates the header in an HTML document. The content of this element will not be displayed in a browser.


Hypertext access file, a file that allows you to manage web server configuration.


Abbreviation for HyperText Markup Language, a language used when describing web page documents. It denotes the basic elements of web pages, including the document text and any hyperlinks and images embedded within.

HTTP Headers

In HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol), different types of data that are sent off before the actual data itself.

HTTP Status Code

A code that expresses the meanings of responses from the server when computers are conveying information to each other. The code is allotted as three numerical digits, with a different meaning depending on the number used.

ID (session ID)

Data provided for the identification and/or behavior management of a user who is currently accessing a system or network communications.


A type of programming language. It can add dynamic features to web pages and is used by many web services.

Mobile Sitemap

An XML Sitemap that contains URLs of web pages designed for mobile phones. Submitting the URLs of mobile phone web content to Google notifies us of the existence of those pages and allows us to crawl them.

Open Directory Project (ODP)

The world’s largest volunteer-run web directory (a list of Internet links collected on a large scale and then organized by category).


Data provided in the URL to specify a site’s behavior.

Proxy Service

A computer that substitutes the connection in cases where an internal network and external network are connecting, or software that possesses a function for this purpose.

RSS Feed

Data including full or summarized text describing an update to a site/blog. RSS is an abbreviation for RDF Site Summary; a service using a similar data format is Atom.


Being automatically transported from one specified web page to another specified web page when browsing a website.

Referrer Log

Referrer information that is written into the access log. When it is traced, one can find out from which sites visitors arrived.

Robots Exclusion Standard

A convention to prevent cooperating web spiders/crawlers, such as Googlebot, from accessing all or part of a website which is otherwise publicly viewable.

Root Directory

Directory at the top of the tree structure of a site. It is sometimes called “root”.

Screen Reader

Software for speaking on-screen information or outputting to a Braille display

Search Engine

Computer function that searches data available on the Internet using keywords or other specified terms, or a program containing this function

Search Query

Single or multiple terms which are input by the user when performing a search on search engines.


Text displayed beneath the title of a corresponding web page on the search results pages of a search engine. A web page summary and/or parts of the page that match the search keywords will be displayed.

An HTML tag denoting strong emphasis. According to standard, it will indicate emphasis through use of bold print.


A type of domain used to identify a category that is smaller than a regular domain

Text Style

Formatting, such as the font, size and color of the text usually controlled by CSS.


Software and hardware utilized by the user when said user is accessing a website

User Experience

The experience gained by a user through using products, services, etc. Emphasis is placed on providing an experience truly sought after by the user, such as “enjoyment,” “convenience” and “comfort.”


A character (*) that takes the place of any other character or string of characters.

XHTML Mobile

XHTML, a markup language redefined via adaptation of HTML to XML, and then expanded for use with mobile phones.

XML Sitemap

A list of the pages on a particular website. By creating and sending this list, you are able to notify Google of all pages on a website, including any URLs that may have been undetected by Google’s regular crawling process.

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