While this may be true, every new environment usually gives birth new processes or technical applications, which in turn gives rise to new terminology.
Terminology that can be confusing and overwhelming to understand.
So if you’re convinced that cookies are just something you eat, or that spiders are just 8 legged beasties that find their way into your house, then stand by for your quick reference to deciphering online terminology.
Lets kick off with a few terms that you may or may not be familiar with:
Alt tags alternate text associated with a web page graphic that gets displayed when the Internet user hovers the mouse over the graphic.
Alt tags should convey what the graphic is for or about and contain good relevant keywords. Alt tags also make web pages more accessible to the disabled. For example, a vision-impaired user may have a web browser that reads aloud the text and alt tags on a page. (For those familiar with HTML, “alt” isn’t actually a tag by itself but an attribute to the “img” tag.). Note that the value of Alt tags for SEO have been discounted over time by the search engines to the point that now it is of minimal value
Anchor text is the actual text part of a link (usually underlined). Used by search engines as an important ranking factor. Google pays particular attention to the text used in a hyperlink and associates the keywords contained in the anchor text to the page being linked to.
Copies of web pages stored locally on an Internet user’s hard drive or within a search engine’s database. A cache is the reason why web pages load so quickly when a user hits the Back button in their web browser, since the page is not being re-downloaded off of the Internet.
Google is unusual among search engines in that it allows Internet users to view the cached version of web pages in its index. Simply click on the word “Cache” next to the search result of interest and you will be taken to a copy of the page as Googlebot discovered and indexed it.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
The rate at which people click on a link such as a search engine listing or a banner ad. Studies show that click-through rates are six times higher for search engine listings than banner ads CTR – Click Through Rate
Click Through Rate is a measure of the number of clicks received from the number of ad impressions delivered.
The formula to calculate CTR is: number of clicks / number of ad impressions x 100
Information placed on a visitor’s computer by a web server. While the web site is being accessed, data in the visitor’s cookie file can be stored or retrieved. Mostly cookies are used as unique identifiers (i.e. user IDs or session IDs) to isolate a visitor’s movements from others’ during that visit and subsequent visits. Other data that may get stored in a cookie include an order number, email address, referring advertiser, etc.
Advertising that is distributed based on geographic location. Online advertising allows for targeting of countries, states, cities and suburbs (in some markets).
Inbound Links (IBL)
Links that point to your site from sites other than your own. Inbound links are an important asset that will improve your site’s PageRank (PR).
Useful or entertaining web content which compels users to link to it.
A meta tag hidden in the HTML that describes the page’s content. Should be relatively short; around 12 to 20 words is suggested. The meta description provides an opportunity to influence how your Web page is described in the search results, but it will not improve your search rankings. Make sure your meta description reflects the page content or you may be accused of spamming.
Google uses a weighted form of link popularity called PageRank . Not all links are created equal.
Google differentiates a link from an important site (such as CNN.com) as being better than a link from Jim-Bob’s personal home page. The Google Toolbar (which is a free download from http://toolbar.google.com) has a PageRank meter built into it, to see which web pages are considered important by Google and which aren’t.
PageRank scoring ranges from 0 to 10, 10 being the best. PageRank scores get exponentially harder to achieve the closer to 10 they are. For example, increasing your own homepage’s PageRank from a 2 to 3 is easy with not a lot of additional links, jumping from a 7 to an 8 is very difficult to achieve. The higher the PageRank of the page that’s linking to you, the more your site’s PageRank will benefit. The better your PageRank, the better you’ll do in Google, all else being equal.
A pay-for-performance pricing model where advertising (such as banners or paid search engine listings) is priced based on number of click throughs rather than impressions or other criteria. Overture is an example of a search engine which charges advertisers on a pay-per-click basis.
A site that functions as a point of access to information on the web. Portals are either authoritative hubs for a given subject or popular content driven sites.
Also known as a bot, robot, or crawler. Spiders are programs used by a search engine to explore the World Wide Web in an automated manner and download the HTML content (not including graphics) from web sites, strip out whatever it considers superfluous and redundant out of the HTML, and store the rest in a database (i.e. its index).
Web crawlers are mainly used to create a copy of all the visited pages for later processing by a search engine, that will index the downloaded pages to provide fast searches. Crawlers can also be used for automating maintenance tasks on a web site, such as checking links or validating HTML code. Also, crawlers can be used to gather specific types of information from Web pages, such as harvesting e-mail addresses (usually for spam).
A web crawler is one type of bot, or software agent. In general, it starts with a list of URLs to visit. As it visits these URLs, it identifies all the hyperlinks in the page and adds them to the list of URLs to visit, recursively browsing the Web according to a set of policies.
A spider is a robot sent out by search engines to catalog websites on the Internet. When a spider indexes a particular website, this is known as ‘being spidered’.
A notification that someone has linked to a document on your site. This enables authors to keep track of who is linking to, or referring to their articles.
Used interchangeably with web address. Acronym stands for Uniform Resource Locator. URLs can specify the location of a web page, an email address, or a file on an FTP server, among other things.
There you have it. Just a few of the terms that you will run across in your day to day operations of your online business. If you found this post useful, please share it on your favorite network.
The definitions contained in this post are credited to SEO Glossary with over 200 glossary entries in the directory, it’s a great resource worth bookmarking.