In your quest to become an expert white label SEO reseller, you’ll likely come across a number of terms used in SEO strategies. Even if you’re a seasoned marketing professional, keeping up with the latest SEO definitions will ensure you’re giving your clients the most up-to-date information possible.

After all, it’s easier to sell what you know. When you’ve mastered the must-know terms used in SEO, you’ll be able to express why they matter for your client’s strategy. Be sure to bookmark our SEO glossary so you can come back to it whenever you need a refresher!

seo glossary

Semify's SEO Glossary for Marketing Agency Owners

Anchor text: The visible written text that appears in a clickable link intended to provide contextual information for web users and search engines. Typically used in place of a naked link (which displays the full URL of the site being linked). Go deeper on anchor text vs. keywords

Backlink: A published link on one website that directs to another. Also known as inbound links or one-way links, they are considered by Google to be one of the most important ranking signals when determining the perceived authority of a website. Go deeper on what makes a good backlink

Bounce rate: The percentage of web visitors who abandon a site without visiting another of its pages. A higher-than-average bounce rate can indicate technical website issues or poor quality/irrelevant content.

Black hat SEO: Deceitful and unethical SEO practices used in an effort to manipulate search engines into granting higher-than-warranted rankings for a website. Use of these techniques (like keyword stuffing, cloaking, manipulative redirects, spun content, comment spam, and paid links) go against Google guidelines. See also: white hat SEO

Branded keyword: Search terms directly associated with a brand or business, including trademarked business and product names or common variations and misspellings of those names.

Broad core update: An adjustment made to Google’s ranking algorithm – typically involving how Google weighs or values its ranking signals – with the aim of delivering more relevant, high-quality results to users. These more significant algorithm updates are usually given names by Google or other SEO professionals (e.g., Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird).

Click-through rate: Often expressed simply as “CTR,” this refers to the percentage of total users who click on search results. You can calculate CTR by dividing organic clicks by total impressions and multiplying that number by 100.

CMS: Short for content management system, the software that enables someone to build and manage a website without the need for coding expertise. Common examples include WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Magento, Drupal, etc.

Conversion rate: The percentage of web users who complete a desired action (i.e., filling out a web form, completing a purchase). You can calculate conversion rate by dividing the number of conversions by total traffic and multiplying by 100.

Core Web Vitals: A trio of metrics used to measure the user experience and performance of a given website. These include Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). See also: Page Experience update

Do-follow link: Sometimes called simply “follow” links, this default link structure contains no additional HTML attribution and indicates to Google that the site being linked is theoretically worthy of recognition. See also: no-follow attribute

Domain authority: A scoring methodology created by Moz to predict a site’s likelihood of ranking in search engine results on a scale from 1 to 100. Calculated on a curve by a complex algorithm, factors like a site’s total number of backlinks, linking root domains, content quality, domain age, and social signals determine how one site compares to all others on the internet.

Domain rating: A less complex alternative to domain authority created by Ahrefs used to rank a site’s perceived strength on a 100-point scale based solely on its backlink profile.

E-A-T: Short for Expertise, Authority, Trust, this evaluation reflects how helpful or beneficial a web page is. Reportedly known as Google’s number one factor in determining page quality.

Editorial calendar: An organized schedule for content marketing development and workflow to coordinate and designate responsibilities while ensuring a consistent connection between content creation and the brand’s goals.

External link: An outbound link that goes from one website (domain A) to another (domain B).

Featured news: At Semify, featured news stories are part of an off-site SEO strategy to build highly relevant backlinks within our publisher network.

Featured snippet: Website excerpts chosen by Google to highlight at the top of a search results page in “position zero” that aim to quickly answer a web user’s search query.

Google algorithm update: In addition to broad core updates, Google also makes smaller adjustments to its ranking algorithm dozens or even hundreds of times per year. These updates may go largely unnoticed, as they’re meant to fine-tune the existing algorithm.

Google Business Profile: Google’s free tool for small businesses to list pertinent information online and get noticed by local customers. Formerly known as Google My Business. See also: local listings

Indexing: The process used by Google’s search engines to crawl and catalog websites and their individual pages. When a page is indexed, it’s been discovered by Google’s crawlers and added to its database, making it possible to be found via search queries. See also: mobile-first indexing

Internal link: A link from one page to another within the same domain.

Keyword: A search term that is likely to appear in queries performed by web users that are relevant to a business, its products, or services. Keywords are used as part of an SEO strategy to provide context to both search engines and human visitors.

Keyword research: The practice of investigating and identifying relevant, valuable search terms for use in a digital marketing campaign.

Link outreach: A link-building method that involves forging relationships with other site owners who might provide backlinks to your website.

Local listings: Online citations, profiles, or directories that feature key details about a nearby business. Local listings sites include Google Business Profile, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yellow Pages, Better Business Bureau, Angi, and others.

Local SEO: A type of search engine optimization that targets customers within a specific geographic area (rather than the whole of the internet). Important aspects of local SEO include local listings management (see above), long-tail keyword optimization (see below), online review management, local-focused link building, landing page creation and optimization, and technical SEO improvements.

Long-tail keyword: A specific, rather than broad, search term that more closely aligns with purchaser intent or that has a less competitive search volume for likelier rankings wins.

Meta description: A type of meta tag that provides a short description to search engines and web visitors of what they can expect from a given web page. While it’s written into the page’s HTML source code and doesn’t appear on the published page itself, this tagline shows up as a brief description in organic search results before the page is opened.

Meta tag: An HTML element that communicates information about a website to search engines. A meta description is one example of a meta tag. Meta tags can also communicate information about a web page’s title, its keywords, or how crawlers should read the contents of the page. Meta tags largely go unnoticed by website visitors if they are visible at all. See also: title tag

Mobile-first indexing: Google’s move to index websites based first on their mobile version, rather than their desktop version, and rank them accordingly. With this change, the importance of the mobile user experience increased significantly.

NAP: Short for name, address, phone number. Typically used within the context of online local listings for businesses.

No-follow attribute: Additional coded information in an external hyperlink that instructs Google’s crawlers to not “follow” the link or take the link into account when calculating the destination URL’s search engine rankings. Used as a way for the referring domain to avoid endorsing the website link or influence how Google perceives its authority.

Off-page SEO: Optimization techniques performed outside of your website to improve the site’s rankings in search engine results. Examples include link-building, reviews, brand mentions, and even social media marketing. Also referred to as “off-site SEO.”

Onsite blog: At Semify, “onsites” refer to blog posts housed on the client’s website. One type of content deliverable included in our SEO plans. Go deeper on the SEO services you can resell

Onsite report: Semify’s website auditing and reporting deliverable that is completed during the first month of a new campaign. Includes optimization guidance for specific pages of a client’s website to be completed prior to fulfilling other recurring deliverables.

Organic search: Unpaid website listings that appear below sponsored advertisements in search engine results pages. SEO can impact how Google ranks its organic search results.

Paid search: In contrast, paid search results are advertisements that appear at the very top of search engine results pages. Businesses pay a fee every time their ad is clicked, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Go deeper on the interplay between organic and paid search

Page experience: A measurement of how users perceive their interaction with a website or a specific web page. Rather than taking only information into account, Google evaluates metrics like loading speed, visual stability, interactivity, and other performance factors on the visitor experience.

Page experience update: Google’s 2021 algorithm update that launched its Core Web Vitals and an increased emphasis on user experience, page speed, and overall performance.

Page speed: The amount of time it takes for the elements (both text and visuals) on a given web page to load completely. This may be expressed in page load time or time to first byte, as well as Largest Contentful Paint. Page speed, in addition to overall site speed, can impact the user experience.

Responsive: A word used to describe a website that automatically adjusts based on the device being used to view it. Rather than having a separate desktop and mobile version of a site, a responsive website would detect the device being used and adjust accordingly for a smoother user experience.

Schema markup: Structured data added to the code of webpages to enhance context and provide greater understanding for search engines.

Search ranking: A website’s physical position in organic search results for a specific search query. Hundreds of factors can influence a site’s ranking spot for a search term.

SERP: Shorthand for “search engine results pages,” referring to the pages of organic search results delivered by Google after a search query is entered.

SSL certificate: A digital certification that indicates a higher level of security and authentication for web users. Secure Sockets Layer technology allows information between the site to its web server to be encrypted for an extra layer of protection.

Technical SEO: Website improvements that can increase user experience and make it easier for search engines to crawl, index, and rank a website. A mobile-friendly, fast, and secure website will improve technical SEO, as will the addition of structured data markup, a site map, and clear navigation menus.

Title tag: A type of meta tag that provides a web page title in HTML code for search engines. This should encapsulate what the page is about. While the title tag doesn’t appear in the visible page copy, it may be visible in SERPs, browser tabs, and social media shares.

UX: Shorthand for “user experience,” this more largely refers to how people interact with a product (in this case, a website). It’s essentially how users think and feel about the time they spend on a site. UX design is focused on making sites more useful, engaging, and positive for end users.

Visual asset: Unique imagery used to accompany written content (i.e., stock photography, brand illustrations, infographics) and increase value for web visitors.

Voice search: Search technology powered by voice activation. Instead of typing a query into a search bar, users can speak their questions into a smart phone and receive possible answers from search engines.

Web 2.0 backlink: Backlinks found in user-generated content (UGC) on sites like Quora, Reddit, Medium, Goodreads, Wikipedia, Twitter, etc. These links usually include a no-follow attribution.

White hat SEO: Ethical search optimization strategies and techniques that follow Google’s guidelines. White hat SEO firms aim to balance integrity while improving search rankings.

White label SEO: Outsourced SEO services fulfilled by a private label agency operating under the reseller’s brand name. (That’s what we do!)

YMYL: “Your Money or Your Life” websites that cover topics and verticals with an increased risk of inaccurate or misleading information. These types of websites often have a higher burden of proof when it comes to expertise, authority, and trust. See also: E-A-T

With your SEO glossary in-hand, you’ll feel confident talking shop with your clients and other agency owners. Go forth and lead!