It suddenly dawned on me that some of my readers might have difficulties with the terminology used in my posts, so I decided to start creating a glossary for my blog as I go along. I recognize that initially there are only a very few terms, but rest assured that it will grow over time as I add more and more posts to by blog.

A B C D E f g h I j K L M
n O P q r S T u v W x y z


404 Page Not Found

When someone enters a URL that doesn’t exist on your site, the server will automatically return a 404 HTTP status code. The visitor’s browser will then display a default ‘page not found’ page. Apart from being quite ugly, you might lose a visitor because of this, so it is advisable to create a custom error page that allows your visitor to go to your home page or access the main site navigation. You can find all failure codes in the Server Error Messages page.



Affiliation sites are sites that sell products that belong to somebody else.  The site owner (“affiliate”) promotes a product or a service on behalf of somebody else (“vendor” or “provider”), and earns a commission if his visitors eventually buy the product or service. Check out my post on Translation of Affiliation Sites.

“Alt” Attribute

Search engines might be capable of reading text, but images are slightly more difficult, and the “alt” (alternative text) attribute indicates what the image in question represents: The product that your are promoting or a photograph of your latest baby. It also helps users identifying what the picture is if it has no title, or if there is a problem and the picture cannot be loaded. Overall, it is good practice to include the alt attribute with your images. Check out my post on The Importance of “Alt” Attributes in Website Translation.

Anchor Text

A link is always placed on something: a piece of text, a word or a sentence. The text on which the user clicks to follow a link is called anchor text. As search engines “remember” the anchor text associated to a link, and this link contributes to the ranking of your page, it is important that the anchor text uses your keywords. Just make sure that not all anchor texts look the same – search engines will detect it and as this does not look natural they might frown on this…


Black Hat SEO

The dark side of SEO, which tries to trick search engines into listing a site very high in the rankings. It uses a variety of frowned-upon techniques, which most of the search engines penalize. Believe me, it is a BAD IDEA. You might be able to get some ranking in the short term, but search engines are getting smarter and smarter, and the site using these techniques is quickly banned from the search engines. Black Hat SEO rarely wins in the long run.



Abbreviation used commonly for country-code top-level domains.


Generic term used for the activity performed by search engine spiders, that look through a page gathering information, and then move on to explore the links that appear on that page.

Click Through Rate

Mathematical formula determining the percentage of people who view a web page and its ads as compared to the number of people who actually click on an ad. It is expressed as clicks on ads / impressions of ads displayed. So if 5000 people go to a page with your advertisement on it and only 50 people click on the ad, then your click through rate is 50 / 5000 = 1%.

Cost Per Thousand / Cost Per Mille (CPM)

Cost for one thousand impressions. Thus, if you have a CPM of 5$, you will pay 5$ every time that your ad is shown 1000 times.

Country-code top-level domain

country-code top-level domains (ccTLD):
Two letter domains established for countries or territories. With some historical exceptions, the code for any territory is the same as its two-letter ISO 3166 specification code.


Description meta tag

Meta tag that informs the search engines about the content of a page. It should be placed after the <title>  tag but before the “keywords” meta tag. It must not be greater than 250 characters, but many search engines only display 160, so the key message should be at the beginning of the text. The description meta-tag has the following format:  <meta name=”description” content=”small description of the page content”>


Error pages

When a visitor navigates your site, the server may respond to the user request for a page with an error code. This error code may for example indicate that the page is not available, that the user has tried to access a restricted section or that the server has encountered an internal error. A list of HTTP error codes can be found n the help for Google web master tools or my Server Error Message codes. To improve the user experience and to ensure that the visitor has somewhere to go (because he otherwise he will usually leave for another site), it is good practice to create custom error pages. If you localize your site, make sure that you localize the error pages too!



Number of times that an ad is displayed on a website.


Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the practice of abusing the use of one or several keywords on one particular web page, both in the title, description and throughout the text, in the hope of ranking high in the search engines. Though this technique worked well in the early Internet days, search engines quickly learned bow to detect this abuse and started penalizing it.


Language Attribute

The language attribute is an attribute that is used to indicate the language of a page (page-level language attribute) or or a segment of text (text-level language attribute). In both cases, it has a format lang=”language_code”, where language_code is the code for a specific languages, for example “en” for English, “fr” for French, “de” for German, “it” for Italian, “es” for Spanish, etc.

Language meta-tag

The language meta-tag is an alternative means of identifying the language of a page by means of meta tags. The format for this meta tag is as follows: <meta http-equiv=”Content-Language” content=”en” />, in this case “en” represents the language code for English. When using it together with the page-level language attribute, make sure that both language codes are the same!

Link farming

Very old (and now ineffective) black-hat SEO technique consisting in posting hundreds of links in websites whose only purpose is to provide links so as to score well in the search engines, so-called farms. Search engines caught up with this trick already long ago, and it will get your site penalized if you try it.


Localization is translating a text into a different language and a different culture, that is, people living in a different society with different habits and values. A plain translation might be literally correct, but certain cultures might object to certain expressions for cultural or religious reasons.  Specially when translating commercial websites it is very necessary to ensure that the translation is attractive for the target culture and does not contain anything that might be considered inadequate or outright offensive. Check out the difference between localization and SEO translation.


Meta tag

Meta Tag is a label placed in the <head> section of an HMTL page that contains information about that page but cannot be viewed in the browser.  The <meta> tag can have many attributes such as “keywords”, Description”, author, “robots” etc. Several meta tags can be created within a page, but only one attribute is used for each meta tag. For SEO purposes, the most important attributes are “keywords” and “description“, as well as “robots” when we don’t want a certain page to be indexed.


Off-Page SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that is performed outside of the web site that has to be optimized for the search engines. Off-page SEO is mainly based on getting valuable high PR links.

On-Page SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that is performed on the web pages themselves, for example to make them more search-engine friendly, load them faster, or target them for specific keywords.


Page-level Language Attribute

The page-level language attribute, included at the beginning of a page has the format <html lang=”es”>, with “es” in this example representing the code for Spanish. It is used to indicate the language of a page. Though not fully trusted by Google, other search engines use it to identify the language of a page. When using it together with the language meta tag, make sure that both language codes are the same! On the other hand, the text-level language attribute can be different.

Page Rank (PR)

This is a score between 0 and 10 calculated by Google based on the number of links from other sites to your page. Some other factors that add to the calculation are the relevance of the page that links to you. The exact formula for the PR is not known. Note that though PR is an indicator, it does not imply that a page with a higher page rank will score better than a lower one for each keyword. Page Rank does not provide any indication either on the page traffic.

Page Title

The page title tag <title> is one of the most important tags on your page, as it displays the page title on the browser, but also because search engines highly value the text on it. Make sure that each page on your website has a title, and in particular make sure that these are unique and descriptive. As each page is different, make sure that the title corresponds to the content, with a keyword for this page at the beginning of the title. The format of this tag is: <title> Your optimized page title </title>

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Contrary to advertising that is paid by impressions, PPC advertising implies that the advertises pays not so much by the number of times his ad is displayed but rather by the number of times that somebody clicks on his ad. Usually this is more interesting for the advertiser, because when somebody clicks on his ad then it’s because in principle the visitor is more interested, hence it is easier to make a sale.


PHP is a scripting (interpreted) language created initially by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994 for the creation and processing of dynamic web pages. It is widely used for web development, and even this blog works on PHP. For more details, review the PHP article on Wikipedia.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving ranking of a page or website in search engine results, in order to attract more visitors. There are two types of SEO: On-page and off-page.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) consists of targeting your marketing to the search engines. For this purpose you place additional ads in the search engines to enhance the power of the search engines to find you targeted customers, and pay per click on your ads.

Search Engine Result Pages (SERP)

When you type in your keywords into the search box of a search engine and click submit, the search engine returns the results to you. What you see is the “search engine result pages”.

SEO Translation

Localization of a web site in such a way that it becomes attractive both for human beings and for search engines.


Generic name to denominate search engine robots that are used to crawl the web to compile information.


Text-level Language Attribute

The text-level language attribute is an attribute that is used to indicate the language of a text segment, so as to differentiate it from the remaining text, and ensure that search engines do not mistakenly take a text segment in a different language as being the main language of the page. It can be included in every html segment, such as for example: <p lang=”es”>Esto es un texto en español.</p>, which would indicate a paragraph containing some Spanish text within a page in a different language. Note that you can do this for every html segment – the italic text in this section has been marked by means of <em lang=”es”> …. </em> as being in Spanish.

Title Tag

The text tagged at the beginning of the page as being the title and that is presented in the title bar when navigating to a page. See Page Title.

Top Level Domain

Root-level domain extension that is at the top of the domain level hierarchy and forms the segment most to the right in an URL or mail address. Typical top-level domains are “com”, “org”, “net”, “biz”, “edu”, etc. Management of most top-level domains is delegated to responsible organizations by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).


Traffic denotes the daily or monthly number of visitors to a site.


Abbreviation that stands for “Top Level Domain“.


A microblogging site and online social networking service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters. Used often also for SEO purposes.



Usage of deceptive techniques (such as posting publicity in blog comments) so as to rank in the search engine algorithms for relevancy and authority.


A single document of a website that is ranked by the search engines for specific keywords.


A special-purpose short piece of code which performs a specific functionality. Mainly used to serve other webmasters apart from those who created the widget. An example of widget is the Twitter button on this site, which is used by many other webmasters all over the world to enhance their website and to increase their social popularity.

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO refers to SEO activities that comply with the rules established by the search engines and in particular the Webmaster Guidelines established by Google. White Hat SEO is unlikely to get you in trouble with the search engines, but implies a lot of hard work. However, in the long run this is what works best.

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