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SEO Glossary of Terms

Search Engine Optimization – Definitions

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Sandbox
Many SEO experts believe that Google 'sandboxes' new websites. Whenever it detects a new website, Google withholds the site’s rightful ranking for a period while it determines whether your site is a genuine, credible, long term site. It does this to discourage the creation of SPAM websites (sites which serve no useful purpose other than to boost the ranking of some other site). Likewise, if Google detects a sudden increase (i.e. many hundreds or thousands) in the number of links back to your site, it may sandbox them for a period (or in fact penalize you by lowering your ranking or blacklisting your site altogether).

SE
Search engine.

SEM
Search engine marketing.

Search engine friendly
A web page that has been designed and optimized for high search engine rankings. A search engine friendly page also makes it easy for search engines to follow the links on the page. A search engine friendly web site is one that is easy to navigate, is full of quality content that is easy to interpret and easy for search engines to rank.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The process of optimizing a web page for high search engine rankings for a particular search term or set of search terms.

SEP
Search engine placement.

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS)
The ranked listing of web pages that are returned for a specific search query.

SEO
See Search Engine Optimization.

Server
A computer that hosts web pages and delivers them to a user's Internet browser when requested. A dedicated server hosts one website only. A shared server hosts multiple websites. Dedicated servers deliver web pages faster and provide more capacity and features than shared servers, but are also considerably more expensive to use.

Site map
A single page which contains a list of text links to every page in the site (and every page contains a text link back to the site map). Think of a site map as being at the center of a spider-web.

SERPS
Search Engine Results Pages

SPAM
When speaking of search engines, SPAM is loosely defined as any technique used to give your web page(s) an unfair ranking advantage over other pages, as in "SPAMming the search engines". SPAMming is most commonly associated with the act of sending unsolicited commercial email, but in the context of search engine optimization, SPAMming refers to using disreputable tactics to achieve high search engine rankings. Aka. SPAMdexing.

Spider
See “Crawler.”

Spider trap
An infinite loop that a spider may get caught in if it explores a dynamic site where the URLs of pages keep changing. For example, a home page may have a different URL and the search engine may not be able to ascertain that it is the home page that it has already indexed but under another URL. If search engines were to completely index dynamic web sites, they would inevitably have large amounts of redundant content and download millions of pages

Sponsored links
Paid advertising which displays next to the natural search results. Customers can click on the ad to visit the advertiser's website. This is how the search engines make their money. Advertisers set their ads up to display whenever someone searches for a word which is related to their product or service. These ads look similar to the natural search results, but are normally labeled 'Sponsored Links', and normally take up a smaller portion of the window. These ads work on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) basis (i.e. the advertiser only pays when someone clicks on their ad).

Static
As in "static web page." Means that the web page was not created dynamically from a database, but instead was previously created and saved as a HTML file.

Static IP Address
An IP address that is permanently assigned to a computer. The IP address doesn't change with each connection to the Internet. See also “Dynamic IP Address.”

Stemming
Word variations. For example, if I entered the query "swim", a search engine that supports stemming might return results that include "swimming" or "swims." Certain characters, such as ampersand (&), equals sign (=), and question mark (?), when in a web page's URL, tip off a search engine that the page in question is dynamic. Search engines are cautious of indexing dynamic pages for fear of spider traps, thus pages that contain stop characters in their URL run the risk of not getting indexed and becoming part of the "Invisible Web." Google won't crawl more than one dynamic level deep. So dynamic pages with stop characters in its URL should get indexed if a static page links to it. Eliminating stop characters from all URLs on your site will go a long way in ensuring that your entire site gets indexed by Google.

Stop word
A word which is ignored in a query because the word is so commonly used that it makes no contribution to relevancy. Examples are common net words such as “computer” and “web,” and general words like “get,” “I,” “me,” “the,” and “you.” Certain words, such as "the," "a", "an," "of," and "with," are so common and meaningless that a search engine won't bother including them in their index, or database, of web page content. So in effect, the stop words on your web pages are ignored as if those words weren't on your pages in the first place. Including a lot of stop words in your title tag waters down the title tag's keyword density.

Streaming media
Audio-visual content that is played as it is being downloaded. Thus, an Internet user could begin watching a video clip as the footage downloads rather than having to wait for the clip to download in its entirety beforehand.

Supplemental pages

Sub-directory
Directory or folder located in another directory or folder.

Sub-domain

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