Redcliffe Marketing Labs SEO Glossary – S to Z

SEO_Glossary4Today we conclude our Redcliffe Marketing Labs SEO Glossary by looking at S to Z and explaining all the key terms you are likely to come across.

Search Engine

Had to include this one! A search engine is a tool used to find information. Most of them work by the user typing in a search term and the engine delivering results deemed as the most relevant. They usually consist of a spider, index and relevancy algorithms.


Short for Search Engine Marketing. Depending on its context SEM can refer to paid internet marketing options such as Google Adwords as a overarching term to include all types of internet marketing.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is the process of making your published work (such as websites and blogs) understandable to the search engines as something relevant and important in your field; the aim is to appear high up in the search results and therefore attract more unpaid traffic.

Such is human nature that the top search results get the vast amount of the traffic for any particular search. This is why SEO and rankings are such a big deal as very very few people will go past the second page of results – instead they will likely try a revised search to find more relevant sites.

The cornerstones of SEO are keyword research, SEO copywriting and link building. On-page SEO refers to what visitors see on your actual site; off-page SEO centers on the links that point to your site from external sites.


This is short for Search Engine Results Page where search engines show the results for a search query.

Site Map

This is a page on your site which helps the search engines to index your pages and navigate through your site. They may also be created to be useful to humans, not just search engines.

On large websites the on-page navigation should help search engines find all applicable web pages.

Social Media

This is likely to affect the future of SEO considerably. Social media sites are websites like Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter, which publish user-generated content and encourage users to interact with each other through various media – text, video, audio, games etc.


A spider is a software robot that is used by the search engines to inspect websites to include in their index. Part of your SEO effort is to make your site friendly to the search engine spiders.


Squidoo is a popular, community website that allows users to create pages (called lenses) for subjects of interest. Internet marketers often use these lenses for promotional and SEO purposes as they provide a source of backlinks and traffic.


This is the act of making information systems, and related websites like directories, aware of your website.

Sometimes you have to physically submit your site details to these search engines and directories, but the bigger ones will pick them up automatically; it’s in their interests to have as many sites indexed as possible to give accurate search results.


This is an important part of your on-page SEO, because the title element tag is used to describe the contents of a document and therefore let the search engines know what it is about. A common misunderstanding is that the ‘Title’ tag is part of the website backend code and doesn’t actually display on the page itself.

Titles should be unique to each page, descriptive and usually no more than 10 words with keywords at the beginning if possible.

You will see these titles appear in search results as the blue links that people click on and in the browser page tab. While writing Titles to include keywords is a consideration you also need to keep in mind that if you can write an engaging and compelling title that catches the human eye this too can increase the click through rate on your search result.


You will sometimes hear about search engine “updates.” This refers to the process of search engine algorithms being changed to maintain the relevancy of the search results. This is, in reality, a continuous process with most of the major search engines as they adjust the weighting of different factors used to rank websites.


Uniform Resource Locator – this is the unique address of any web document. Every file on the internet has a URL that is unique to it and this system is what us to access that file across multiple interlinked networks.

Vertical Search

This is a search service that is focused in a particular area or field or presents only a particular type of information. YouTube, for example, is a vertical search engine for the video field. That’s all it means.

Viral Marketing

You’ve probably heard the term “go viral”. Viral marketing aims at producing content that gets spread around and shared often and rapidly, creating a marketing buzz. Common methods of sharing are via email, blogs or social media sites and the information may be videos, info-graphics, audio clips, articles or other content.


You are reading this SEO glossary courtesy of WordPress! It is the popular open source website publishing and blog building platform. It is also often used as a content management system. It is an easy-to-use system with many features including a plug-in architecture and a template system.

That seems like a suitable place to wind up our SEO glossary. We hope the past few weeks have filled in a few of the gaps in your SEO knowledge.

We know it’s not a complete list of terms but we didn’t want to bamboozle you with too much terminology. Let us know what you think of it below – and whether there are any key SEO terms we have missed.