"A web site that isn't optimized is invisible." - Brian Carter




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Brian Carter, MS, LAc, Acupuncturist, herbalist, and author

Brian B. Carter, MS

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Dictionary

Brian Carter has designed nearly a dozen websites for himself and others, but more importantly, has brought more than half a million visitors to these sites since 1999- more than 20,000 per month in 2005, and, through various monetization strategies, this traffic has meant $5,000-20,000 monthly. Recently, he has devoted a limited number of hours per week to professional SEO consulting.

  • algorithm - a step-by-step problem-solving procedure, especially an established, recursive computational procedure for solving a problem in a finite number of steps. In SEO, the process/equations a search engine uses to determine the rankings of an individual page compared to others.
  • architecture, SEO - any web site design element determined or changed in order to achieve better search engine rankings. Could include internal linking structure, dynamic vs. static HTML, etc.
  • backlink - any other web site that links to one or more of your web pages. Search engines can only count backlinks from web pages they've indexed. Thus, if you link to your friend's web site, your page is, from the perspective of his web site, a backlink.
  • body - in HTML, everything below the head- includes just about everything a regular web page viewer sees.
  • bot - a robot, or program, or spider sent out by a search engine to index your pages. Note, evil people who try to harvest emails to spam to also use bots. You can control which bots your web site allows to spider the site.
  • conversion rate - the percentage of web page and/or web site visitors who (on your web site) buy, or perform whatever action you want them to perform.
  • density - aka weight. one way to analyze a web page for keyphrases is to count them (instances or frequency). Another is to divide the number of uses of the keyphrase (times the number of words in the keyphrase) by the total number of words in that section of the HTML. You can have separate density totals for links, body, title, etc.
  • dominate - to get great ranking on a keyphrase.
  • Flash - program from Macromedia that animates things, creates applications, etc.
  • frequency - number of usages.
  • gaming - any unethical cheating SEO technique. e.g. SEO spamming.
  • glutted - too high supply. For example, computer and internet keyphrases are glutted because everyone online has written about them.
  • head - the part of HTML that contains title and meta tags.
  • headers - any text in H1, H2, etc. tags in HTML.
  • index (verb) - what a search engine does with a bot to gather the data from your page. A page cannot have a ranking until it is indexed.
  • instance - one usage.
  • internal linking - links between pages in the same web site.
  • keyword - most people use this word to refer to any phrase, regardless of number of words, for which you want to optimize a page.
  • keyphrase - my preferred term for keyword, since multiple word groups are called phrases in English... and because it highlights the fact that search engines see words as groups, not just individually, so you need to think that way.
  • meta tag - an HTML tag in the head that some SEs use for analysis and ranking or to display results.
  • meta tag, description - a meta tag that describes the page. Sometimes used as the detail under the page's title (which become the link) on a search results page.
  • meta tag, keywords - a meta tag that includes keyphrases and/or single words. Used by some SEs for analysis and ranking.
  • natural SEO - improving your web site and pages to make your content more clear to search engines... free, as opposed to PPC.
  • online presence - a web site, or (when described people groups) a frequency of internet usage/purchase.
  • organic SEO - see natural SEO.
  • pay per click - paying specific amounts per click on specific keyphrases in order to get traffic to your web site.
  • positioning - same as ranking.
  • PPC - pay per click.
  • ranking - the number of the search result for a specific keyphrase search.
  • search engine optimization - see natural SEO.
  • search engine ranking - see ranking.
  • search engine ranking criteria - elements of the SE's algorithm such as backlinks, keyphrase frequency and density, etc.
  • SE - search engine.
  • SEO - search engine optimization.
  • SEO, ethical - SEO techniques approved of by search engines.
  • SEO spamming - using too many keyphrases in a page, using irrelevant links just to increase ranking, etc.
  • spot - ranking. a page that ranks #2 on a phrase is in the #2 spot.
  • spider - see bot and index.
  • sponsored listing - a paid listing on search engine results or on another web site. what you get when you do PPC advertising.
  • submission - telling search engines and directories about your web site or about a specific web page. This usually goes into a queue from which they later index your pages with bots.
  • title - in the HTML header, one of the most important HTML locations for SEO.
  • USP - unique selling proposition - your competitive advantage - what you have or do that fills to your target market's wants/needs that no one else has or does as well.
  • vulnerable - a keyphrase that has little competition relative to your web site's ability to dominate rankings.
  • weight - see density.
  • "white hat" SEO techniques - see ethical SEO.

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