What Do All These Words Mean?

Here is a handy list of commonly used terms that you might hear when reading or talking about search optimization.


SEO stands for search engine optimization, the process of making your site better for search engines. The term originated in the early days of the internet when there were many different search engines, such as AltaVista, Ask Jeeves, Lycos, Magellan, and Yahoo. Although Bing and MSN are popular today, the most important search engine is Google.


The bounce rate is related to how soon visitors leave your site, so a lower bounce rate is better. This means that visitors are staying on your website and are interested in looking at the pages. Bounce rates higher than 90% are a sign that users are leaving your site right away. However, if you look carefully at the traffic sources, you may find that your direct traffic has a high bounce rate. Direct means they typed in your ‘www’ address, so it’s likely they were just popping in to get your phone number or location.


Crawling is the process of looking for new or updated web pages. Googlebots crawl the web, discovering URLs by reading sitemaps and following links, analyzing the pages they find, and then adding valid pages to the index.


Googlebots are the automated robots that crawl pages on the web and index them.


Google stores all the web pages that it finds in its index or catalog. The index entry for each page describes the content and location (URL) of that page. When users search for specific keywords or search terms, Google looks at the index and displays the most relevant page results.


On-site search optimization refers to the things we do to your website to make it easier for the search engines to read and index. This is typically a one-time setup, and is often referred to as SEO or Search Engine Optimization. The goal of on-site optimization is to establish a solid framework and navigation for your website, and includes the custom keywords and meta tags that we add to your site, for example: Title tags, Meta tags, Alt tags, Anchor tags, Sitemaps, Schema, and more.


Off-site optimization is an ongoing process that is designed to build your online reputation over time. Sometimes called SEM or Search Engine Marketing, this process refers to a variety of techniques that are intended to help improve your ranking in Google and increase traffic and sales. Examples of off-site optimization include Article Submissions, Press Releases, Social Bookmarking, Blog Creation, and Classified Ad Posting.