SEO Dictionary

Search a SEO term and learn about all things SEO from our team at The Basement Agency.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
SEO (Search engine optimization) /es.ē.ō/ or /es.i.ō/

SEO (Search Engine Optimization): The process of optimizing a website to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to the business in Google, Bing, and other search engines. 

Understanding SEO is crucial for marketing agencies as it helps clients achieve higher rankings and visibility in search results, driving more organic traffic to their sites.

Keyword research/ˈkiːwɜːd/ /rɪˈsɜːtʃ/

The practice of identifying popular words and phrases people enter into search engines, which are relevant to the business for the purpose of achieving better search engine rankings. 

Keywords are the foundation of SEO strategies; marketing agencies must understand and implement effective keyword research to target content that meets the audience's needs.

on-page seo/ɒn/ /peɪdʒ/ /ˈes.iː.oʊ/

Refers to all measures that can be taken directly within the website in order to improve its position in the search rankings, such as optimizing the content or improving the meta descriptions and title tags. 

On-page SEO helps marketing agencies ensure that their client’s content is optimized for both search engines and users, which is key to driving traffic and engagement.

Off-Page Seo
/ɔf/ /peɪdʒ/ /ˈes.iː.oʊ/

Activities performed outside of a website to improve its search engine rankings, such as link building and social media engagement.

Off-page SEO is vital for agencies to build authority and increase online exposure for their clients, leading to better brand recognition and higher rankings.

Technical SEO
/ˈtɛk.nɪ.kəl/ /ˈɛs.i.ˈoʊ/

Focuses on improving the technical aspects of a website in order to increase the ranking of its pages in the search engines which includes improving the site's readability (making it easier for search engines to crawl and understand the site) and providing a good user experience, which helps search engines see that the website is high quality. 

A crucial area for marketing agencies as it ensures that a website meets the technical requirements of modern search engines, enhancing organic rankings.

Incoming links to a website from another site. 

Backlinks are significant for SEO as they signal to search engines that others vouch for your content; agencies focus on acquiring quality backlinks to boost credibility and search engine rankings.

serp (search engine results page)
/sɜːtʃ ˈɛn.dʒɪn rɪˈzʌlts peɪdʒ/

SERP (Search Engine Results Page): The page displayed by search engines in response to a query by a searcher. 

Understanding SERPs is essential for marketing agencies to analyze their SEO strategies and improve the visibility of their clients' content.

Local Seo
/ˈloʊ.kəl ˈɛs.i.ˈoʊ/

The process of optimizing your online presence to attract more business from relevant local searches. 

This is particularly important for agencies working with businesses that have a physical location or serve a specific geographic area.

content marketing
/ˈkɒn.tɛnt ˈmɑː.kɪ.tɪŋ/

The creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.  

Content marketing is closely tied to SEO strategies; marketing agencies use it to generate backlinks, enhance brand awareness, and improve the overall effectiveness of SEO.

google analytics
/ˈɡuː.ɡəl/ /ˌæn.ə.ˈlɪt.ɪks/

The creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.  

Content marketing is closely tied to SEO strategies; marketing agencies use it to generate backlinks, enhance brand awareness, and improve the overall effectiveness of SEO.

page authority (PA)
/peɪdʒ ɔːˈθɒr.ɪ.ti/

A score developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engine result pages (SERP).

Marketing agencies use Page Authority to estimate the strength of individual pages and optimize them for better rankings.

Domain authority (DA)/dəˈmeɪn ɔːˈθɒr.ɪ.ti/

Also developed by Moz, this score predicts how well a website will rank on search engines.

Understanding Domain Authority helps agencies assess the overall strength of their clients' sites and compare it to competitors.

conversion rate optimization (cro)/kənˈvɜː.ʒən reɪt ˌɒp.tɪ.məˈzeɪ.ʃən/

The process of increasing the percentage of users who perform a desired action on a website.

CRO is crucial for marketing agencies as it directly relates to the effectiveness of SEO efforts in achieving business objectives, such as increasing sales or capturing leads.

canonical url/kəˈnɒn.ɪ.kəl ˌjuː.ɑːˈɛl/

A canonical URL is the URL that you want visitors to see. Essentially, it’s the preferred URL for a page, used to prevent duplicate content issues.

Agencies use canonical URLs to tell search engines which version of a page to show in search results, ensuring the site’s SEO value isn’t diluted by duplicate content

meta tags/ˈmet.ɑː tæɡz/

Snippets of text that describe a page's content; they don’t appear on the page itself, but only in the page's code. Common meta tags include the page title, description, and keyword tags.

Meta tags are essential for agencies as they influence both click-through rates from SERPs and the page's SEO performance.

alt text (alternative text)/ˈɒlt tɛkst/

A description of an image in your site's HTML.

Alt text improves the SEO and accessibility of sites, allowing marketing agencies to enhance organic search potential and cater to a broader audience.

bounce rate/baʊns reɪt/

The percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.

Agencies analyze bounce rates to gauge content effectiveness and user engagement, which are critical for refining SEO strategies.

404 error (page not found)/fɔːˈɒˈfɔː ˈer.ɔːr/

An HTTP status code indicating that the browser was able to communicate with a given server, but the server could not find what was requested.

Marketing agencies work to minimize 404 errors to improve user experience and maintain SEO health.

301 redirect/θriːˈɒˈwʌn rɪˈdaɪ.rɛkt/

A way to send both users and search engines to a different URL from the one they originally requested.

Used strategically by agencies to prevent broken links when a page is moved, ensuring that the SEO value is passed to the new URL.

anchor text/ˈæŋ.kɔːr tɛkst/

The clickable text in a hyperlink. SEO best practices suggest that the anchor text be relevant to the page you're linking to, rather than generic text.

Agencies use specific anchor text to help search engines understand what the linked-to page is about, improving SEO performance.

mobile optimization/ˈmoʊ.bɪl ˌɒp.tɪ.məˈzeɪ.ʃən/

 The process of adjusting your website content to ensure that visitors who access the site from mobile devices have an experience optimized for the device.

With the increasing prevalence of mobile browsing, mobile optimization is critical for SEO, as Google uses mobile-first indexing to rank sites.

structured data (schema markup)/ˈstrʌk.tʃɔːrd ˈdeɪ.tɑː/

Code that you can add to your website's pages to help search engines return more informative results for users.

Agencies use structured data to enhance listings in SERPs (like enabling rich snippets), which can improve click-through rates and drive more targeted traffic.


 The process by which search engines organize information before a search to enable fast responses to queries.

Understanding how indexing works allows marketing agencies to optimize websites so that they are indexed correctly by search engines.

search intent/sɜːrtʃ ɪnˈtɛnt/

The purpose behind a web search—is the searcher looking to buy something, find a particular website, or answer a question?

Agencies need to align content with user intent to improve the relevance and effectiveness of SEO, ensuring that the right kinds of traffic are driven to their clients' sites.

The practice of getting other reputable websites to link back to your website.

Link building is a fundamental SEO strategy because links are a major ranking factor for most search engines, including Google. Agencies focus on building high-quality backlinks to improve domain authority and search rankings.

seo audit /ˌɛs.iˈoʊ ˈɔː.dɪt/

A detailed examination of a website to see how well it is performing on search engines. This typically includes technical SEO, on-page optimizations, and off-page analysis.

SEO audits allow agencies to identify potential problems and opportunities for optimization to enhance the performance of their clients' websites.

content strategy/ˈkɒn.tɛnt ˈstræt.ɪ.dʒi/

The planning, development, and management of content—written or in other media.

A well-defined content strategy helps agencies ensure that content meets SEO goals and serves the client’s audience effectively, ultimately driving engagement and conversions.

serp features /ˌsɜːp ˈfiː.tʃɔːrz/

Elements that appear on Google search results pages in addition to traditional organic results, such as featured snippets, knowledge panels, and local packs.

Agencies aim to optimize content for these features to enhance visibility and improve click-through rates from the results pages.

user experience (UX)/ˈjuː.zɔːr ɪkˈspɪɚ.i.ɛns/

Encompasses all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

Good UX is essential for SEO as search engines like Google consider signals of user engagement as ranking factors. Agencies work to improve UX to keep visitors longer on the site, reducing bounce rates and increasing conversions.

long tail keywords/lɔːŋˈteɪl ˈkiː.wɜːrdz/

Longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they're closer to a point-of-purchase or when they're using voice search.

Agencies focus on long-tail keywords to capture traffic from more specific queries, which typically have lower competition and higher conversion rates.

google my business (GMB)/ˈɡuː.ɡəl maɪ ˈbɪz.nɪs/

A free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.

Properly managing a GMB listing is crucial for local SEO success as it enhances visibility in local search results and provides potential customers with easy access to business information and reviews.

keyword difficulty/ˈkiː.wɜːrd ˈdɪf.ɪ.kəl.ti/

An estimate of how hard it would be to rank for a particular keyword in organic search.

Agencies use keyword difficulty metrics to prioritize keywords and develop more effective SEO strategies that are realistic and based on the competitive landscape.

content freshness/ˈkɒn.tɛnt ˈfrɛʃ.nɪs/

Refers to how recently the content was published or updated.

Search engines favor recent and updated content, especially for time-sensitive searches. Agencies focus on updating existing content and publishing new content regularly to boost SEO performance.

click-through rate (ctr)/klɪkˈθruː reɪt/

The percentage of people who click on a link typically in an email, advertisement, or search engine results page out of everyone who sees the link.

Monitoring CTR helps agencies assess the effectiveness of titles, meta descriptions, and other elements that influence whether users click on a link.

black hat seo/blækˈhæt ˌɛs.iˈoʊ/

Refers to aggressive SEO strategies that focus only on search engines and not a human audience, and usually do not obey search engines guidelines.

Understanding what constitutes black hat SEO helps agencies avoid these tactics, which can lead to severe penalties from search engines, including being banned from search results.

white hat seo/waɪtˈhæt ˌɛs.iˈoʊ/

Techniques that aim to build a sustainable online business. These techniques adhere to search engine guidelines and focus on the human audience.

Agencies that use white hat SEO strategies help build their clients' long-term online presence and avoid penalties associated with manipulative tactics.


Visual tools that show where users have clicked on a page, how far they have scrolled, and what they ignore.

Heatmaps are crucial for agencies to understand user behavior on a website, allowing them to make data-driven changes to enhance user experience and increase conversion rates.

a/b testing/ˌeɪˈbiː ˈtɛs.tɪŋ/

The process of comparing two versions of a webpage or app against each other to determine which one performs better.

A/B testing is essential for SEO and conversion rate optimization, helping agencies empirically determine the most effective elements for a website.

voice search optimization/vɔɪs sɜːrtʃ ˌɒp.tɪ.məˈzeɪ.ʃən/

The process of optimizing your pages to appear in voice searches.

As voice search grows with the rise of virtual assistants, agencies must optimize content for natural language queries to stay relevant and visible in this new search paradigm.

international seo/ˌɪn.tɔːrˈnæʃ.ən.əl ˌɛs.iˈoʊ/

The process of optimizing your website so that search engines can easily identify which countries you want to target and which languages you use for business.

For businesses looking to expand globally, international SEO is crucial for attracting traffic from various countries and languages, making it a strategic focus for agencies working with global clients.

Core Web Vitals/kɔɔr wɛb ˈvaɪ.tɑːlz/

A set of specific factors that Google considers important in a webpage's overall user experience. Core Web Vitals include metrics such as largest contentful paint (LCP), first input delay (FID), and cumulative layout shift (CLS).

Agencies must optimize these vitals to improve site speed and user experience, factors that are increasingly significant for SEO rankings.

E-a-t (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness)/iːˈeɪˈtiː/

 A framework used by Google to assess content creators, webpages, and websites overall.

High E-A-T is crucial for SEO, particularly in industries like healthcare and finance, where accurate and authoritative information is critical. Agencies work to enhance these qualities in their clients' content to boost rankings.

The ability of search engines to consider the intent and contextual meaning of search phrases when serving content to users.

Agencies need to optimize content based on semantic search to ensure that the content not only includes keywords but also answers the intent and context of user queries.

dwell time-bounce rate/dwɛl taɪm/

 The length of time a visitor spends on a page after clicking a link in search results, before returning to the SERPs.

Marketing agencies monitor and strive to increase dwell time by creating engaging, valuable content, as it is an indicator of content relevance and quality to search engines.

negative seo/ˈnɛɡ.ə.tɪv ˌɛs.iˈoʊ/

The practice of using black hat and unethical techniques to sabotage a competitor’s rankings in search engines.

While rare, it is important for agencies to be aware of negative SEO to protect their clients’ websites from such attacks.

Selected search results that are featured on top of Google's organic results below the ads in a box.

Agencies aim to get their clients’ content into featured snippets because they are highly visible and likely to increase traffic to the website.

mobile-first indexing/ˈmoʊ.bɪlˌfɜːrst ˈɪn.dɛk.sɪŋ/

The practice by Google of primarily using the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.

Agencies must ensure that clients’ websites are fully optimized for mobile to perform well under this indexing method.

The process of finding and fixing broken links pointing to your website, or identifying unlinked mentions of your brand and asking the site owner to add a link.

This is a valuable tactic for agencies to recover lost link value, which can enhance SEO performance.

image optimization/ˈɪm.ɪdʒ ˌɒp.tɪ.məˈzeɪ.ʃən/

 Involves creating and delivering high-quality images in the ideal format, dimension, size, and resolution to increase user engagement.

Properly optimized images can improve page load times, enhance user experience, and provide additional ranking opportunities through image search.

influencer outreach/ˈɪn.flu.ən.sɔːr ˈaʊt.riːtʃ/

The practice of partnering with influencers to boost content marketing and link-building efforts.

Influencers can extend the reach of content and drive traffic back to the client’s site, which indirectly boosts SEO through increased engagement and potential link-backs.