Google’s search engine advertising programme based on a Pay Per Click (PPC) pricing model. Advertisers pay when ONLY someone clicks on their advert, no matter how many times the advert is displayed.


Software used to automatically send standard emails & broadcasts to subscribers to your email list or “database”. Subscriptions vary from signing up for a newsletter to receiving a free report or mini-course, or any other reason you can entice people to subscribe to a list.
Autoresponders are the key tool for email marketing.

Anchor text

Also known as Link Text, this is the clickable text of a hyperlink. It is very extremely important what anchor text appears in links pointing to your web site e.g. if your web site is about baking cakes the anchor text ‘Delicious Cake Recipes’ will help your rankings more than the anchor text “Dee’s Cooking Site”.


A blog (short for “web log”) is a file format used to publish web content that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs are very useful in search engine optimisation.

Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system (CMS) is a software program used to manage the content of a website. A CMS allows the content manager or author of the website, who may not know programming , to create, modify, remove and organize the information and pictures on their website.
WordPress is an example of a great CMS – this whole website was created using WordPress and it’s CMS!



A defined action in response to your ad’s call to action. A conversion may be a sale, or it could be a registration, download, or entry into your lead database, depending on the goal of your campaign.


Conversion rate

Ratio expressed in percentage that shows how many of your web visitors actually perform your defined action in response to your call to action.



A file used by user’s internet browser that uniquely identifies them to a particular website. Use of cookies on your site makes it possible for you to identify return visitors and track their web actions. Generally the information is not personally identifiable; it just tracks actions from a specific computer.


What search engine spiders do. It refers to the action of following links to navigate from page to page and site to site.


An electronic filing system containing information that is usually very organised and categorised. The benefit of electronic filing by means of a database is that specific information can easily be extracted according to given parameters. Search engines are essentially very large, searchable databases. Dynamic web pages and Content Management Systems (CMSs) such as WordPress typically rely on databases.


Mozilla Firefox is a free, cross-platform, graphical web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and hundreds of volunteers. Firefox is one of the most-used free and open source applications, alongside IE (Internet Explorer).


A Web page feature used to request information (e.g. for a subscriber to an email list) or to take orders from users. Like paper forms, Web forms may use text fields, tick boxes and multiple choice options to structure user responses and are processed when the user submits the form.

Heading / header tag

An HTML tag of 6 sizes. The syntax is <H1></H1>, <H2></H2> etc., with H1 being the largest. Heading tags have significance in SEO. Search engines normally assign more weight to documents where the keywords used in the query are found inside heading tags. Pages that use heading tags generally rank higher, but excessive use might get the page de-listed. For more SEO techniques and the complete do’s and don’ts of SEO, please refer to the Search Engine Yearbook.


Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is the primary language used to create web sites.


The process by which search engines collect information and include it into their database of search results. The process involves extracting the machine-readable text from web pages, and storing it in a format that can be efficiently searched. Indexing is carried out by search engine spiders.


A key phrase is a group of keywords which appear in the content of a site page. In order for a search engine to return a page in it list of results, it is vital that the targeted search terms appear as key phrases in the web site copy with the appropriate weighting so that its algorithm will find the page a suitable match. A good SEO will have experience in ensuring the copy of the page is optimised for the targeted search terms while still providing useful and informative copy for the user.

Keyword density

It’s not a complicated concept – just take the total of number of words on your webpage (say 250) and figure out how many times your keyword is repeated within that 250 word total. Let’s say your keyword appears 10 times; divide 10 by 250 and you get your keyword density of .04 or 4%.

Landing page

A web page that a user clicks through to from either a web advertisement or an email campaign. Landing pages should be specifically targeted to the reader, with one single “call to action”, such as purchasing a product or service, or subscribing to an email list.

Landing pages are also known as Sales Pages (if something is being sold) or Squeeze Pages if a visitor to the page is being asked to subscribe to an email list.

A common error is to use your general home page as a landing page.

Link farm

A link farm is a set of web pages specifically set up to increase the number of links between websites and hence their link popularity.

Link popularity

An important factor in search engine optimisation and Google’s simple but brilliant contribution to web search. Popular or relevant pages will are assumed to have more incoming links from other websites, a type of ‘vote of confidence’ in the websites integrity and usefulness. Websites that are well linked within the sector rank higher than sites that are not.

Meta tag

Meta tags are pieces of information, invisible to the surfer, that are coded in the HTML of a page in order to describe the content of a page to a search engine spider or other bot. The TITLE TAG is the most important meta tag.

Natural search results / Organic search results

Natural results (also known as organic or algorithmic results) are a product of the search engine’s own indexing of web pages.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) aims to influence your website’s rankings in the natural results listings.

Off page SEO factors

In addition to on-page factors, search engines are increasingly using off-page factors to calculate relevance. This is because off-page factors are more difficult to manipulate artificially. The most important off-page factor is link popularity. Others include link text, link community and click popularity. Off-page optimisation involves ensuring that these elements are in place to boost relevance for the targeted terms.


On page SEO factors

Search engines use several factors in their ranking algorithms, one of which is on-page factors. These are elements which actually appear on the page (such as page title, headings and body text) and contribute to the engine’s assessment of the subject matter and relevance of the page. Onpage optimisation involves ensuring that these factors are optimally included for the targeted search terms.



A page is said to be optimised when it has been structured in such a way that it ranks well (in the search results) for the keywords it targets. It is a fairly subjective concept. What some see as optimisation might be termed spamming by others, if less-than-honest techniques are used.

Simply, optimisation means simply making a page spider-friendly by, for example, using text links rather than image links. In the SEO industry the term is more often used as a collective name for all the tricks webmasters use to improve a page’s ranking.

Organic results

Natural results (also known as organic or algorithmic results) are a product of the search engine’s own indexing of web pages. Search engine optimisation (SEO) aims to influence your website’s rankings in the organic results listings. This equates to “free” traffic.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay Per Click search engines offer a ‘bid-based’ service in which top positions are auctioned for specific keywords. The highest bidder for a chosen keyword normally ranks highest in the search engine results. The price of the bid is charged to the advertiser whenever a user clicks on their entry. Positions are separated from the main natural search results and are normally designated as ‘sponsored links’ or ‘sponsored sites’.


Acronym for “Portable Document Format.” The most common format in which files are saved for downloading from the web. It usually preserves all of the formatting of printed documents and can be viewed with Acrobat Reader, which is free for anyone to download.


A synonym for optimisation.


Referring to the position of a web page on the search results for a particular query. For example, a page that is listed third for a particular search term is said to have a ranking of 3 for that term.

Ranking algorithm

The method used by search engines calculate positioning results. Ranking algorithms can be influenced by a wide variety of factors including domain name, spiderable content, submission practices, HTML code and link popularity. Search engine ranking algorithms are closely guarded secrets and are constantly updated to attempt to reduce manipulation of the results by “blackhat” methods.

Reciprocal links

A link placed on site A, pointing to site B, on the condition that site B returns the favour. Also called a link swap. Contrary to popular belief, reciprocal linking does not necessarily improve a site’s page rank. In many cases it can have a negative effect on page rank, if the two sites have little or no relevance to one another.

(see Link Farms above)

Relevance / relevancy

The measure of the accuracy of the search results – in other words it’s a measure of how close the documents listed in the search results are to what the user was looking for. The ability to return relevant results is a big thing in the search engine world – and arguably the one thing that made Google stand out of the crowd and gain much popularity in a short time.


A browser-like program that automatically request web pages in order to index the page content (in the case of spiders) or to retrieve specific information (in the case of programs like e-mail harvesters).


An acronym for Really Simple Syndication; a file format used by news sites and blogs to deliver short descriptions of article content together with a link to the full version of the content. This information is called an RSS feed.

Search engine

A tool for finding information on the internet. Usually comprises a spider, indexer, database, search software, and web interface.

Search term

A search term is the word or phrase entered by a user into a search engine in order to perform a search. The search engine or directory then uses its algorithm to search its database of pages or sites to find a matching key phrase and return a list of results. Users may enter general search terms, such as insurance, or they may enter more focused terms, such as UK insurance brokers.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising a website or web page to increase its visibility within the search engine results. Search engine optimisation entails making sure that there is content relevant to the targeted key phrases on the web site, and that search engine spiders can find this content easily. Good search engine optimisation will ensure that this content is also useful to the user. Without relevant content, SEO techniques can only be partially successful, and will probably stray into the wrong side of search engine Acceptable Use Policies. See also ‘ranking algorithms’.

Site search

A search utility that allows the user to search through documents on a particular site. Different from a search engine in that it’s database contains only documents found on that site as opposed to a wider collection of documents from all over the web.


A map to your site. A sitemap contains links to every page of your site (check out Google’s sitemap). The important benefit of having a sitemap (apart from helping your visitors find what they are looking for) is that spiders can find all pages on a site quickly and with fewer hops. For maximum benefit, insert a prominent link to your sitemap on every page of your site.


A program that automatically fetches web pages and feeds them to search engines. (It’s called a spider because it crawls around the web.) Because most web pages contain links to and from other pages, a spider can start almost anywhere. As soon as it recognizes a link to another page, it goes off and fetches it. Large search engines have many spiders working simultaneously. Also known as a crawler.


“Sticky” sites are those where the visitors stay for an extended period of time. For instance, a banking site that offers a financial calculator is stickier than on that doesn’t because visitors do not have to leave to find a resource they need.


The title of a page is displayed in the title bar at the top left of the browser window. Almost all search engines consider the title when determining a document’s relevance to a query and most search engines consider the title a very important element. In the page, the title is specified as an HTML element and placed in the header section of the page.


When web address that appears in the address bar of your internet browser: e.g. “” is a URL.

This stands for “Uniform Resource Locator” … but don’t worry about remembering that; “URL” or “websites address” are the generic terms that everyone uses!


The measure of the quality of a visitor’s experience when using a website, including the ability to accomplish basic tasks.

Generally websites need to comply with the international WC3 standards, level 1.