a new term / correction to
an existing term. In exchange we will place your name and a link to
your site below your suggestion / correction.
Usually a picture representing
a group of letters and numbers for a human visitor to enter as a code.
This method is used to put a stop to automated
submissions, since it's quite difficult for non humans to interpret
(possibly distorted) pictures and distil the correct information. In
short: captchas are pictures showing passwords used to combat automated
blog and comment spamming.
- Dec 20, 2004
by M. de Wit of
Cascading Style Sheets
The practice of grouping web pages by topic
to form a directory.
Also see classification
In the context of Web directories,
categories refer to collections of links
to sites of a similar topic.
Common Gateway Interface - a popular interface
between web server software and other programs.
A tool initially deveoped in information science
to identify the core (most cited) set of documents for a given topic.
In the context of web searching and search
engine algorithms the term "link
analysis" is more commonly used.
The number of times a document is referenced by
other documents in the same collection. Citation
count (or link count) differs from link
popularity in that only the number of citations (links) and not
the quality of the links is considered.
The process of organizing documents available
online into topical categories to form directories.
These are normally hierarchical tree structures with "Main Categories"
and a number of "Sub Categories" which often go several levels
can track user clicks in order to "learn" from users which
pages are most relevant to a query. The
best-known example is that of "Direct Hit", a discontinued
search engine that not only tracked clicks but also logged the amount
of time users spent on pages returned in order to improve relevance.
A computer, program or process requesting
information from a server. Email programs are sometimes called e-mail
clients. They request e-mail messages from pop3 servers. Spiders
(like Googlebot) and browsers
(like Internet Explorer and Netscape) are also clients.
Referring to the action of clicking through
from, for example, a search engine's
results page to a web site. Click through
rates are especially useful in Internet advertising where it is
an important factor in determining the success of an advertisement.
a.k.a. click rate
Often used in Internet marketing to describe the percentage of users
who click on a link or advertisement. The
CTR is used as a measure to determine the effectiveness of a link /
advertisement. It is most effective if used in conjunction with other
measurements like conversion rate.
The practice of delivering content based
on the IP address of the client.
The practice is sometimes defended by saying it's a way of protecting
code from theft. It should be noted that the practice of cloaking can
get your site banned from the search
engines. For a detailed discussion on cloaking and links to cloaking
resources, please refer to the Search Engine Yearbook.
Used to describe a linking
structure where a group of web pages interlink heavily while there are
few or no links to or from pages outside the group. General consensus
is that search engines can detect
closed loops and penalize pages in closed loops. It is currently unclear
exactly where the cut-off point is. Is it only a closed loop if there
are no links to or from pages outside the group or also if there
are just too few such links? It is generally advisable to have
links to outside pages that in turn also link to many outside pages.
grouped together (to save space on the SERP),
usually based on a shared top-level domain.
A technique the search
engines use to group different pages from the same domain
in their search results pages. Without
clustering, the top spots for certain search
terms are often completely dominated by one site. Clusters usually
consist of one or two pages from one domain with a link
that says something like "More results from pandecta.com".
The term differs from terms like classification,
taxonomy building, tagging, etc. in that
it is fully automated. Further human intervention is not needed.
When a web page or site is so full of code (scripts,
font tags, redundant HTML) that it becomes hard to edit, slow to download,
and more difficult for search engines
- Oct 30, 2003
by Dave Smith of
Also known as "social filtering".
A technique used to improve relevance,
it returns documents other users with similar queries
found relevant. This technique is also very effective in cross selling,
as seen at Amazon.com ("People who bought 'Mary's Guide to Fast
Food' also bought 'Jane's Recipes' ")
A group of documents queried.
The practice of combining search
results from multiple collections. Meta
search engines are faced with the problem of effectively combining
& re-ranking results that have already been ranked by different
A log file
that tracks visitors on a web site. A combined log file typically includes
additional information on user agents, referrers etc.
Also see log file and common
For more on log file analysis and downloadable tools that make it easier,
please refer to the Search Engine Yearbook.
Comment tags (in HTML)
allow the site designer to enter comments explaining the code, making
it more understandable for human readers. Comments are not displayed
by the browser. Comments are enclosed
by the comments tag: <!-- like this -->. The comment tag is also
used to enclose scripts, ensuring that the raw code is not displayed
on non-compliant browsers. Comment tags are sometimes loaded with keywords
to artificially inflate a page's ranking.
Loose that sparkle in your eye though
engines ignore comment tags completely.
A standard log
file with no additional information.
Also see log file and combined
For more on log file analysis and tools that help you read log files,
please refer to the Search Engine Yearbook.
A search for
documents related conceptually to a search
term, rather than for documents that actually contain the search
Filtering documents by extracting some or
all of the content contained in each document. Modern search
engines all use content-based filtering in combination with either
filtering mechanisms. Best known of these other mechanisms is Google's
PageRank system that measures inbound
links from other documents.
Total cost per sale, calculated by dividing
the total cost of an advertising campaign by the number of resulting
sales. For example, if $1000 is spent on an advertising campaign and
that campaign results in 20 sales, the conversion cost per sale is $50
($1000 / 20). That means it costs $50 to generate one sale.
Conversion points are the points at which
your customers have completed a specific action on your web site. Common
conversion points are: Newsletter sign up - the "thank you for
subscribing" page, Order/Sale - the "thank you for your order"
page, Download - the "Your download is complete" page.
- Oct 27, 2003
by Craig Fifield of
The percentage of site visitors that deliver
the most wanted response (MWR).
The CR is an important measure of the effectiveness of the online sales
effort. For example, if 4 out of every 100 visitors to a site deliver
the MWR, the CR for that site is 4%.
cost per click / cost-per-click
See CPC. Sometimes also used
as a synonym for PPC.
counter / page counter
Typically accompanied by something like
"You are visitor number ___ since Oct 2001". Counters count
page views, not visitors.
The difference is that one visitor can generate many page views by opening
many pages on the site. Counters offer a relatively inaccurate way to
measure site traffic and are generally
considered amateurish. Log files offer
far more accurate and comprehensive visitor data.
Cost per action. Similar to CPS.
Also see conversion cost.
Cost per click. The total cost of an advertising
campaign divided by the resulting number of unique
visitors. Sometimes also used as a synonym for PPC.
Cost per lead. The total cost of an advertising
campaign divided by the resulting number of new leads.
Cost per thousand impressions
(M= Roman numeral for 1000). A pricing system often used in the banner
advertising industry. Typically a fixed price is offered for 1000 impressions
of a banner. The price is usually influenced by the topic of the site
(how targeted the audience is) rather than the popularity of the site.
Cost per sale. Similar to CPA.
Also see conversion cost.
do. It refers to the action of following links
to navigate from page to page and site to site.
The delay between the point where a web page is
crawled and the point at which it is added to the
search engine's index.
Referring to links
between a family of domains - for example
your business site, your personal homepage and your cat's homepage.
Cross linking is sometimes used to inflate link
popularity. Although not yet proven (to my knowledge), excessive
cross linking is widely believed to be penalized by the search
CSS (Cascading Style
An add-on to HTML
that allows for more accurate control over the way a web page is rendered.
CSS allows designers to create custom styles that are then applied to
the web site in one of a variety of ways. The main benefit is that something
like text colors for an entire site can be changed by editing only the
CSS file. CSS can also be used in SEO, but
most SEO techniques that involve CSS are considered spam.
We have a more detailed discussion of the SEO uses of CSS in our Search
The practice of buying domains
that contain popular trade names (for example fordmotors.com) or are
common misspellings of popular trade names (for example gogle.com).
The intent is usually to either resell the domain or to pull traffic
through misspellings, rather than to develop a serious, unique site.
Traffic gained through misspellings is often automatically redirected
to another domain.
Also see DNS parking.
Referring to professional online researchers.
Sometimes also referred to as "super searchers".
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