Digital marketing dictionary: the ultimate guide to understanding SEO

Believe it or not, your website is one of your most powerful marketing tools to increase the number of customers contacting you – so it’s very important to not let the jargon behind websites stop you from managing your website!

We have brought to you a list of the most crucial digital marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO – ranking your site at the top of the Google rankings) terms to help marketers and small businesses work efficiently with developers and truly understand how to optimise their websites. We recommend saving this article in your bookmarks because the wonderful thing is we will continue to update this dictionary with new terms on an ongoing basis!

This dictionary includes everything you need to know, including key metrics (an important statistic or measurement) used by search engine optimisers to understand how a website is performing. Whether you are a beginner or advanced marketer in this industry, we’re sure you’ll learn something new in this guide (and if you don’t, feel free to let us know what definitions you want to see on Facebook or Twitter).

seo what does it mean


No longer will everything you hear from a developer sound like a second language!



301 Redirect – Using the htaccess [link to htaccess] area of your website (we’ll explain later!), you can make a link to a website, link to an entirely different website instead. This is called a 301 redirect, it ensures for example, that anyone who has the old website saved in their bookmarks will automatically land on the new site.

Below is an example of this, you will no doubt come across this every so often whilst browsing the internet.

301 redirect gif




ALT Text/Attribute or Tag – This is a description of an image that can be found in the code of the site (also known as the HTML). We will see the image but there is no way for a search engine to tell a picture from another – so the search engine will look at and read through the alt text instead.

The site owner can edit the alt text to anything, it’s vital for SEO to not only describe the image but have the alt text include relevant keywords for what you want your site to target. [link here to jump to an explanation of Keyword Research]

Alt text is also used for visually impaired people, who use enhanced browsers and text-to-voice programs to make the image accessible for the user.

Algorithm – In general, an algorithm in the SEO world is a program filled with factors and rules that are used by search engines (Google and Bing) to control how websites are ranked in their search results.

Authority – This is the ‘power’ of a domain or webpage which determines how it will rank in search engines. The biggest ways that affect the authority/power of your domain is the authority of the backlinks [link to backlink definition] pointing to it, the age of the domain, traffic as well as the quality and uniqueness of the content.

There are also two different types of authorities that domains may be under, which are topical and general authorities. For instance, Wikipedia is a broad general authority website, and Bright Design is a topical authority on SEO, web design etc. and not a general authority.



Bounce Rate – This is the percentage of visitors to a site that left straightaway without interacting with or clicking any part of the page. For instance, if 200 people visit a site, then 100 instantly leave, the website will have a bounce rate of 50%.

The goal is to aim for as low of a bounce rate as possible, with our clients we say under 20% is a fantastic level and under 50% is a great average to aim towards.  Having a high bounce rate can be a sign that the webpage that a user lands on is not interesting or not targeted towards that users wants and needs.

Backlink (inbound link, incoming link) –this is essentially a link from one website page to another website page, whether that’s internally (linked on the same site), or externally (linked to another website).

It is known to be one of the biggest ranking factors for Google, as basically if an authoritative website links to your site this is seen as a vote of confidence & you’ll gain some of that authority and look better in Google’s eyes.



Crawler (bot, spider, Googlebot) – Known by a few different names, this automated program is sent by Google to ‘crawl’ your website so that it can be ranked on Googles search results/index. You are probably wondering what this means, we recommend watching this video to give you a full understanding of what Google’s index is and how it works!

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) – This is a significant section of the user journey on your website in digital marketing. The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that complete a predefined goal (such as a contact form submission). The aim is to have the highest conversion rate possible, to do this a webmaster optimises their pages to entice the user to complete the predefined goal.


Htaccess (Hypertext Access) – This is a file in the root of a website’s files – to put it simply, it makes a set of rules and allows a webmaster to configure specific settings for your site. For instance, it can be used to block and allow users from a certain IP address and 301 redirects.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) – HTML is an array of individual elements (known as coding) to tell a web browser how to display a website. Example of how this looks can be found below, it’s essentially markup (sections of text) that can even be filled into a notepad document. Using HTML, it helps a webmaster to tell the website what to include in terms of headings, body content, images and so much more. This is also what search engines ‘spiders’ use to crawl your web pages.


html example

This is an example of some simple HTML, where a webmaster can enter in, for example, the heading and paragraph text they want for the website.



Keyword Research – This is one of the most valuable and vital parts of an SEO process. Overall it is the strategy of researching the certain and most relevant phrases that a business’s customers would be searching for on Google. There are multiple different ways and tools to help a webmaster perform keyword research.


Link Building – As backlinks are a powerful tool in getting ranked higher on Google, webmasters will actively find ways to grow the number of quality backlinks to their website.



add all the backlinks



Organic – In terms of SEO, optimisers look at the diverse types of traffic that will go onto your site. One of these traffic sources is called organic traffic, which is all users that access your website from a search engine result that wasn’t paid for.



PPC (Pay Per Click) – As well as organic search results Google has the option for optimisers to promote their website using paid ads. Advertisers go to online advertising platforms such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads with a certain budget, using this to bid to appear as a result for certain searches.

Each time a customer clicks onto the ad, the owner pays the amount that they’ve bid– which is why it’s called pay per click!

You’ll see these paid ad search results above the organic results, with an ‘Ad’ icon as shown below:

 paid ad search result example


Reciprocal Link (link exchange, link partner) –  Two websites that are linking to each other – however, this type of link building is unpopular as search engines don’t typically view these as high-value links.


SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – With large search engines being the go-to places of information for most of us, businesses have been searching for ways to claim and fight for their place at the first position on Google. That way they can gain a footprint online and increase leads.

Giant search engines like Google use extremely complex algorithms to try to push the most relevant search results to the top of the page.

Google’s algorithm, for example, is updated multiple times every day, but how exactly they work is mostly kept a secret. There is enough public knowledge out there however for anyone to tune their website and boost their position in the search results.

The factors that the algorithm uses to judge a website’s position are known as ranking factors, and there are hundreds of them – with some mentioned in this dictionary.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – The SERP is the page a user will land on when a search engine is showing the results for a search query they have put into the search engine. Below are the top results on the SERP when I search the query “Bright Design”:

 search results example



URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – This is a web address, referring to what web page a user is on. An example of a URL is



Webmaster – The person who maintains, organises, optimises and manages a particular website.


We hope this guide brought something new to you and your digital marketing world, let us know on our Facebook or Twitter if you know any SEO or digital marketing terms that you think should have a definition in our dictionary!

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