seo glossary

SEO Glossary

The SEO world is full of industry-specific jargon. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most common SEO terms and expressions.

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seo glossary

SEO Terms and Definitions

This SEO glossary is a work in progress. As we create new guides and posts, we’ll build this out. Have a term you would like to add? Please suggest it in the comments.

CMS: Content Management System. A CMS is the software that manages your site content. WordPress is the most popular CMS, followed by Wix, Square Space, Drupal, and Joomla.

Google Update: Also commonly called a Core Update. This refers to a change to the ranking algorithm used by Google. You’ll commonly hear about it when someone gets “squashed by a Google update.” But sometimes forums and groups will have a few publishers sharing their boosts from a Google core update. Here are the recent Google algorithm updates.

Helpful Content: A term that Google began using in 2023 to refer to content that wants to rank. Based on the current state of search, Google has a different definition of “helpful” than most humans on the planet.

Manual Action: Also commonly called a Google penalty. This is an action taken by Google quality raters (humans) for not following Google’s quality guidelines. You’ll be notified of a manual action inside the Google Search Console. This is distinct from a Google Update, which doesn’t target a specific site but rather a general problem.

PBN (Private Blog Network): An organized link farm. Creating thin content sites on expired domains with the sole purpose of creating backlinks to the primary site. While still in use, their popularity has waned. If done incorrectly, the whole network is at risk of being deindexed by Google. A black hat SEO technique and against Google’s terms of service.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization. Also, a search engine optimizer (person). As in, I’m an SEO who does SEO.

SEO Audit: A detailed review of the site code and/or site content to evaluate the health of the site in the eyes of search engines. Here are some examples of what a site audit includes.

SERP: Search Engine Results Page. You’ll see this page after entering a search term in Google, Yahoo, Bing, or another search engine.

Have a term you would like to add? Please suggest it in the comments.

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