Here is the CAB A-Z of SEO, broken down by category.

  1. Common Reporting Terms
  2. General SEO Terms
  3. Google SEO
  4. Off-Page SEO
  5. On-Page SEO
  6. Search Engine Results Page
  7. Social Terms

Part I: Common Reporting Terms

Anchor Text - the clickable text of a hyperlink (see hyperlink).

Automatically Generated Content - content generated by a machine. This is usually nowhere near as good as person-generated content. 

Bounce Rate - the rate of visitors who only visit a single page on a website before leaving. We expect the bounce rates to be higher on blog posts than on website pages.

CMS - Content Management System. This is the software used to create a website, that manages the back end. Examples of this include Wordpress, Umbraco, or SiteCore.

Cloaking - cloaking is an SEO technique in which the content presented to the search engine spiderbot is different from that presented to the user's browser. Cloaking can be used in both a Black Hat and a White Hat facility.

Content Marketing - a method of marketing based around producing a variety of high quality content types and distributing them in a strategic manner.

Conversions - when a user fulfills a specific action on your site that you are monitoring. These are split into two categories: micro and macro conversions. Micro conversions may be signing up for a mailing list or visiting a specific page. Macro conversions may be the visitor contacting you or buying something off your site.

Conversion Rates - the rate at which users perform conversions (see conversions).

Conversion Rate Optimisation - optimising for conversion rates (see conversion rates) by developing strategies for driving users to the complete conversions (see conversions)

CTR - Click Through Rate. This is the rate at which users click on a certain link or progress through a site. This is especially useful at seeing how effective email campaigns and CTAs are.

Exit Rate - the rate at which users leave a site from a specific page. This is especially useful at letting SEOs (see SEO) know if there is a problem with a particular page.

Goals - targets set within the analytics of a website in order to track conversions.

Hits - the number of times an individual user downloads something from a site. For instance when they download an image, PDF, or PowerPoint presentation.

Information Architecture (IA) - the layout of the website. This is closely related to UX (see UX) in order to create the best possible experience for users of the website. 

Landing Page -

  1. The first page the user interacts with.

  2. A page specifically designed and optimised for driving traffic to a specific page, goal, or campaign.

Mobile-Friendly Websites - websites that are responsive to mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

Organic Traffic - traffic that comes from searches in a search engine, like Google or Yahoo.

PPC - Pay Per Click advertisement. This is the paid adverts at the top, side, or bottom of the SERP (see SERP). Social adverts also fall under PPC.

Real-Time Report - a type of analytics that allows the analyser to see who is on their website as and when it happens.

Referral Traffic - visitors that arrive to your site via 3rd party websites or search engines.

Responsive Website - a website that responds to the device of the user. For instance a website that is optimised for mobile traffic as well as being optimised for desktop computers.

SEM - Search Engine Marketing or Search Experience Marketing. The art of marketing specifically to improve a website's visibility on search engines in order to drive more visitors.


  1. Search Engine Optimisation - the art of optimising a website for search engine rankings. It is the art of making Google like a website. To ensure that search engines see a site as authorative, relevant and trustworthy.

  2. Search Engine Optimisers - those who practice SEO. SEOs tend to go by many different names. These include SEOs, digital strategists, content generation specialists, search executives to name a few. This is to distinguish them apart from Black Hat SEOs (see Black Hat SEO).

SERP - Search Engine Results Page. This is the page of search results that is generated whenever a query is entered into a search engine.

Sessions/Visits - the number of times a website has been visited within a given time period. This is, by default, always higher than the number of visitors (see Unique Visitors/Users). For instance: Albert, Bart, and Carl all visit a website twice in a day. The number of sessions is six.

Structured Data - also known as Schema, structured data that helps Google define what information is what on a webpage. These include addresses, phone numbers, etc. 

Unique Visitor/Users - the number of individual users who have been on a website within a given time period. For instance: Albert, Bart, and Carl all visit a website twice in a day. The number of unique visitors is three.

White Hat SEO - the art of having a sustained gain in SEO by using beneficial techniques as opposed to using techniques that may seem easier but damage a website in the long run. This is the SEO CAB practices. For the opposite see Black Hat SEO.

Part II: General SEO Terms

Alexa Rank - the rank given to a website after it has been put through the Alexa traffic algorithm. This gives the website its place within the world in a worldwide list of websites. One example of this is the Gordon Ramsay website which ranks at 7,724.

Black Hat SEO - the unfortunate practice of cheating Google to achieve short term gain for long term pain. Usually a practice used to con clients out of money. CAB does not practice Black Hat SEO but practices White Hat SEO instead (see White Hat SEO).

Domain Age - how old a domain is.

Domain Authority - the authority attributed to a website based on the cumulation of all link metrics.

Cookies - small pieces of code a website places within the cache on your computer to maintain certain information and preferences about you.

Link Farms - a web of sites that hyperlink to each other in the hope of tricking Google into giving them link juice. This technique no longer works.

Negative SEO - an act of sabotage where digital assassins damage their competitors' websites by doing Black Hat (see Black Hat SEO) off-page (see Off-Page SEO) techniques. This is an illegal practice and, although hard to prosecute, there have been cases reported across Europe of it being treated the same as blackmail.

Spiderbot - the algorithmic program that crawls Google pages in order to decide how to rank them.

Trackback - when two blogs on the same network link to each other they will get a trackback message stating that they have done so.

Trust - how much Google will help a website based upon domain age, Pagerank, and other such factors.

UX - User Experience. This is what should be at the forefront of everyone's mind when creating a new website.

Part III: Google Specific SEO

Adwords - Google’s PPC management tool (see PPC).

Alerts - a Google favourite that, when signed up, emails a user whenever an authority mentions a topic of their choice. For instance a beautician may want to know about the latest nail polish, so whenever Boots or Maybelline talk about nail polish they will get an email. We, as SEOs (see SEO) have it set up for 'SEO' and 'Google Algorithm'. We get emails through whenever an authority talks about them.

Algorithm - the technical coding behind how Google works.

Analytics - a Google program used to track everything about a website. All that needs to be placed on a website is a piece of tracking code (see Tracking Code) and then digital marketers can see all the information about a website and its users.

Googleverse - the collective term for all Google products.

Hummingbird - one of the key Google algorithms that looks at keywords, proof terms, and relevance of websites. Hummingbird has the fewest major updates regularly. It is the kindest of all the algorithms.

Indexed Pages - the pages tracked and recognised by Google webmaster tools (see Webmaster Tools)

Keyword Planner - a fantastic little tool Search Executives use in order to see how much traffic a keyword gets in order to optimise for it.

Maps - Google maps can pinpoint the location of a business assuming that it has been set up to do so on the My Business Dashboard (see My Business Dashboard)

My Business Dashboard - this is the area of Google where all things business can be controlled. This includes Google maps (see Maps), Google+ (see Google+), and many other features.

Panda - the Google search algorithm update that marks down thin sites with poor quality content. These are sites that have little relevant content on them. Page layout also affects Panda.

Penguin - a Google search algorithm update that benefits sites using White Hat SEO techniques (see White Hat SEO) and marks down those who practice Black Hat SEO (see Black Hat SEO). Penguin, arguably, may be the most potentially damaging update.

Pigeon - the Google Local Search algorithm update. 

Safesearch - this is the family friendly algorithm that protects unwitting eyes from unsavoury content, developed by Matt Cutts.

Tracking Code - the code placed from Google Analytics (see Analytics) into a website so that Google can start tracking it internally. These insights can then be used in order to analyse website performance.

Trends - Google Trends allows different search volumes to be compared against each other so that the popularity of terms can be determined relative to other terms.

Webmaster Tools - allow for the administration of websites including setting up 301 redirects (see 301 Redirects), getting Google to crawl (see Spiderbot), and disavowing backlinks.

Part IV: Off-Page SEO

Backlink - a link from a third party website referring to your own webpage.

Broken Link - a link which cannot be followed and ultimately ends up as a 404 Page (see 404 Page).

External Links -

  1. When a user's website links to an external website

  2. Another term for a Backlink (see Backlink)

Favicon - the icon that appears in the tab or address bar of a webpage.

Follow Links - links that Google knows to follow when tracking the SEO of a website. These links directly pass on SEO authority.

Linkbait - content designed specifically to encourage others to link to that site.

Link Juice - the amount of quality associated with each Link. This is especially useful when figuring out PageRank.

NoFollow Links - links that Google knows not to follow or associate any Link Juice (see Link Juice) with.

PageRank - named after Larry Page, PageRank was a way of telling the authority of a site by the number of quality links linking to it (see External Links). It is no longer being updated.

Referrals - another term for a Back Link (see Back Link).

Sitemap HTML - a bulleted plain text version of the sitemap, available and visible to all users.

Sitemap .XML - a file .xml version of the sitemap that is uploaded to Google Webmaster Tools to tell Google the precise structure of a website.

301 Redirect - where there is a redirect on a certain page. A 301 Redirect creates links between one URL and another webpage that would not usually be linked. These are especially useful when setting up a brand new website.

404 Page - the page that displays when the webpage cannot be found, either because it no longer exists or exists elsewhere.

Part V: On-Page SEO

Alt Tags - the tags associated with each page, behind the scenes, so Google knows what each page is about. These are becoming less important as time goes on.

Breadcrumbs - a list of pages detailing where a visitor is on the site usually displayed Homepage > Page 1 > Page 2. These used to be recommended for SEO but, once more, their usefulness is now being questioned.

Copy - the physical written content on each page.

Headings - tags written within the HTML (see HTML) of each page to tell Google where the headings are. These are represented as <h1> <h2> <h3> etc. Their level of importance is in chronological order.

HTML - the programming language the written content (see Copy) of each webpage is written in.

Hyperlink - a link formed between webpages taking the form <a href=”URL”>Text</a>. Hyperlinks are a great way of linking between webpages on the same website or pages on different sites.

Image Alt Tags - since the Google crawler cannot read images it needs descriptions added to those images in order to know what they are about.

Internal Link - a link between webpages on the same site (see Hyperlink).

Keyword - the word or phrase a user types into Google search. 

Keyword Density - the number of times a keyword is used throughout the copy. There is no golden rule with this as it depends on the length of the copy, and it varies per SEO (see SEO) as to how much they suggest, however, keyword stuffing (see Keyword Stuffing) is not recommended.

Keyword Stuffing - a Black Hat SEO technique (see Black Hat SEO) that is frowned upon by Google. This is where keywords are mentioned more than they should be within a given text, making the copy (see Copy) clunky and unnatural.

Long Tail Keyword - a long keyword (see Keyword) or phrase for which the page is optimised.

Meta Description - the metadata behind a page that tells Google what a page is about. It is also the text that appears on the SERP (see SERP) result for that page.

Meta Title - the title associated with each page in the eyes of the search engine. This is the name of the page as the SERP (see SERP) sees it.

Proof Terms - these are words associated with the keyword. For instance, if a webpage wants to be optimised for the term ‘Hot Dog’ (see Keyword) then the words ‘Bun’ and ‘Mustard’ are proof terms. These are terms which add credibility to a page.

Title Tag - the HTML tag (see HTML) to tell Google what the page title is. This appears as <title></title> in the HTML.

Part VI: Search Engine Results Page

Carousel - a carousel of related topics and images related to the search that scroll across the top of the SERP (see SERP).

Knowledge Graph - snippets of information to answer direct search queries. They appear at the top and top left of some search results.

Local/Universal Listings - local or universal listings show local search results based on geography.

Organic Listings - the normal (non-paid for) listings on a SERP. By default there are ten of these to a page.

Paid Listings - the paid ads that appear at the top of most SERPs (see SERP). These are forms of pay per click advertisement.

Results Returned - the number of pages Google can find that are relevant to the query.

Video Listings - videos that come up when certain terms are searched. Results include videos tagged with similar tags to the webpage.

Part VII: Social Terms

@username - the username used for Twitter accounts. These start with an at symbol (@) and then are followed by the unique user tag.

Activity Log - a Facebook log of user activity.

Admin - the users who can use a collective Social Media page, such as those who can use a company LinkedIn account.

Chat - part of Facebook. A tool that allows for instant communication between users.

Circles - the way that Google+ organises users.

Cover Photo - a part of all major Social Media sites - cover photos are large banner images that decorate a profile.

Direct Message - a way of privately communicating on Facebook and Twitter. On Twitter it is still limited to 140 characters.

Event - on Facebook this is an event organisation page.

Extended Circles - (see Circles) those who are not in your circles but rather the circles of those you have in your circles.

Facebook Ads Manager - the Facebook dashboard for controlling the Facebook PPC (see PPC). 

Facebook Insights - the statistics visible on a Facebook page. These are usually company or organisation pages.

Favourite - a way of classifying Tweets (see Tweets) in order to show appreciation for them.

Follow - a way of staying up to date with specific people on Twitter or with some Facebook accounts i.e. celebrities.

Friend - a connection between two people on Facebook. This is a mutual connection.

Geotagging - when a geographical location is added to a Social Media update on Facebook or Twitter.

Google+ - a rather unpopular form of Social Media started by Google, that although unpopular plays a large part in SEO.

Hashtag - a way of tagging Social Media posts, originally brought in for Twitter but now used across all the platforms. One example would be, if Leonard Nimoy was trending then it may be #LeonardNimoy.

Influencer Outreach - the outreach of those who receive a lot of Social Media interactions such as celebrities. 

Likes - a way of showing appreciation for posts on Facebook.

Phishing - the fraudulent act of sending emails, supposedly from a reputable source, in order to gain information about a person. Social Media has created a playground for phishers, allowing them easy access to their victims.

Plus One - a way of showing appreciation on Google+. Plus ones are directly related to SEO and can improve the SEO of a site.

Profile Picture - the image by which a person is recognised on Social Media.

Promoted Tweets - these are Twitter accounts that have paid in order to list on sites. These are not targeted in any way but instead display promoted Tweets on any page. These can be promoted accounts or individual Tweets.

Promoted Accounts - the Facebook equivalent of the Twitter Promoted Tweets (see Promoted Tweets).

Shares - allows for an item to be shared across Social Media. On Twitter these are called Retweets. It is a way of copying directly what someone else has said whilst giving them credit for it. To be beneficial to SEO these need to include a link.

Spam - sets of text that find themselves being shared around a lot and yet hold no decent merit. Examples of this include text that ends “post this on five different images if you don’t want a clown to appear at the bottom of your bed tonight.” They tend to be immature and play on fear to get reposts.

Subscribers - the people who follow an account on Twitter. Unlike with Facebook friends (see Friends) subscribers are purely one way. They are not mutual.

Timeline - a running feed of things that are happening on Facebook as posted by your friends/connections.

Trends - these are things which are popular, that a large number of people are talking about, usually defined by a hashtag (see Hashtag).

Tweet - a form of microblogging confined to 140 characters. These are updates on Twitter.

Verified Accounts - these are Twitter and Google+ accounts that have been verified by the user and so are not fake accounts or mock accounts etc.