SEO Flashcards

Learn more about

Industry terms
Technical goodies


A – E


An HTTP status code that basically says this page’s URL has moved and look at this new one instead.

So when a user types the old URL into their browser, they get permanently redirected to the new URL (and never actually see the old page).

And don’t worry, 301s pass all their ranking power (link equity) to the new page.
See: canonical


An HTTP status code that basically says that a page has been intentionally deleted by you.

So instead of serving a 404 response code (page not found), you server issues a 410, which tells search engines that a missing URL purposely no longer exists (and signals you know your stuff).

When you delete a page/post, you should 410 them (try this WordPress plugin or contact your host), as long as you have no traffic or backlinks to it. Otherwise, 301 redirect the URL to other relevant pages.

One more tip – use 410s (instead of 404s) to get your content deindexed faster.
See: 301 redirect, video


A link that displays the exact location of a page (as opposed to a Relative URL). e.g.
See: relative url


The practice of creating a digital environment that can be used by anybody – especially visually impaired and disabled internet users – where all content can be viewed and understood.


Now known as Google¬†Ads, this is Google’s advertising platform that charges advertisers every time someone clicks on one of those ads you see above the search results.


These are websites (and the people that run them) that sell stuff on behalf of someone else, for a commission.

If you click on a web page link for a product or service, chances are it’s an affiliate link – a quick way to check is to look for parameters in the URL of your browser’s address bar.
See: anchor text


The weighted math behind how search engines filter and rank your digital assets by relevancy, authority, expertise, trust…and their secret sauces.

Google has two types of algorithm changes: updates and core. Core matters most.
See: hummingbird


This is alternative text you add to images so blind search engines can learn what your picture is all about.

If you have a WordPress site, make sure to fill in the Alt fields when you upload an image with colloquial descriptions of your pics.


An HTML parameter value (eg. rel=”alternate“) that signals the current page has a special relationship¬†with another page.

You’ll see this most often in the context of duplicate content – handling location-based pages (hreflang) and AMP.
See: video


This is the visible text and phrases that make up a link. e.g. click here, “here” is the anchor text.

Make sure your anchor text is relevant to the linked page and don’t stuff it unnaturally with keywords.
See: naked url


Stands for Application Programming Interface and it’s basically third-party code developers need to build their own programs.

Think of APIs as gateways to to the technical building blocks of other companies’ technologies.


Stands for Amazon Web Services (brought to you by our friends at Amazon) and is their infrastructure-as-a service (IaaS) offering. Check the whois database to see if your competitors are hosted there.


Our term for your unique positioning in your vertical. Everyone has an axle and we help you leverage it.


An HTML parameter value (eg. rel=”alternate“) that says the current page has a special relationship¬†with another page.

You’ll see this most often in the context of duplicate content – handling location-based pages (hreflang) and AMP
See: video


This is a domain’s¬†total number and quality of inbound links.
See: internal


This is China’s search engine (i.e. their Google).

They control 80% of China’s online search market. Google has ~10% market share.¬†
See: investopedia


Bing is Microsoft’s search engine (with its own index).

Bing is known for its superior image and video search. 

In 2009, Yahoo! needed some help, so they partnered with Bing to power their search results (i.e. allow them to use their index).
See: yahoo


These are search results pages (SERPs) that display multiple types of content, beyond the normal 10 blue listings you see in Google.

Especially when you search for generic nouns, like¬†your favorite football team, you’ll see all kinds of results with images, news stories, video, etc.

Basically, any type of content that is relevant and entertaining, thus increasing the Google’s overall value as a search engine.
See: vertical search


Also known as spiders or crawlers, these little robots are actually automated software programs that follow links to discover web pages and index them.

They are the Marco Polos of search engine land. 
See: robots.txt


This was an overhaul of Google’s own indexing system (how they crawl & store information) in the summer of 2010, that greatly improved their ability to identify fresher content, by crawling and retrieving it faster from their own index.

Many people think it was an update to their ranking algorithm, but it wasn’t.
See: algorithm


In the SEO world, “Canonical” means¬†Preferred.¬†So a canonical URL is the url you prefer search engines to index. This is super helpful when you have similar or duplicate content on multiple URLs.

To set this preferred url, first pick¬†(aka “canonicalize”) which url should be considered your original masterpiece, then add that url to the HTML¬†of all your duplicate pages.

Also, don’t chain canonical tags and make sure you set your preferred homepage url (in search console and your WordPress settings).
See: search console, duplicate urls


These are any online mention of your business name, usually with a combination of some other business information: address, phone number, website, store hours, and more. 

They can either be linked (a backlink) or unlinked to your website.

Managing the accuracy of your business citations is a crucial part of local SEO.
See: local seo


Refers to a factor in the calculation of Page Rank, that attempts to measure the probability that a web surfer will continue to click links.

It’s usually around 0.85 last time we checked.
See: page rank


These are big data companies that collect your info from a ton of sources (utility companies, the government, etc.), verify it, and then sell it to search engines.

In local SEO, your “info” records at these companies are referred to as citations.
See: citations


Also known as Domain Authority, this is a third-party metric that evaluates a site’s ability to rank for a keyword, and is calculated by looking at a website’s backlink profile – the total number and quality of inbound links.


This is SEO at a larger scale, and usually deals with big corporations (often multinational) with multiple locations and complex websites.
See: local seo


It refers to a type of link that either points to a location on a¬†different¬†domain or¬†is received from another domain (a backlink¬†or inbound link). Basically, if an other domain gets involved in the link equation, then it’s considered an external link.

This makes it the opposite of an internal link, which is all about links within the same domain.
See: internal

F – L


Also known as Answer Boxes, these are special snippets that display as fancy boxes at the top of search results.

Where do the answers come from? They are extracted programmatically (by Google) from any ole’ web page, and not from the Knowledge Graph.

Google loves quick answers, so start adding bolded answers to your content, especially on FAQ pages.
See:  knowledge graph, serps


The General Data Protection Regulation¬†is a law enforced in in May 2018, that regulates the processing of a European Union user’s personal data.
See: gdpr


Also known as Google My Business, this is the free service offered by Google to manage your business’ NAP, (name, address, phone number), reviews, store hours, description, etc. and to gain valuable insights into your business’ performance in search results and maps.

To claim your business listing, go here…Google will then send you a postcard with a secret code to enter.
See: local seo


The core Google algorithm overhaul in 2013 that vaulted Google from a mere match-maker of keywords, to a machine that truly understood what we the searcher really wanted Рaka our intent.

Hummingbird is Google’s crowning achievement in semantic search (the relationship between words) and is the necessary parsing skill-set for voice search to thrive in the future.¬†
See: semantic search


In search analytics, impressions refers to how many times one of your URLs is loaded and displayed to users in SERPs.
See:  serps, impressions


This refers to a type of link that points to another location on the same domain.
See: external


These are the words people type into a search engine’s search box.

Your business should create content that attempts to rank for just one medium-tail keyword per page that has high commercial intent.


Think of this as Google’s encyclopedia. Launched in May 2012, it’s a massive effort to understand how entities (people, places and things) relate to one another. It’s different from their index, in that it’s not a collection of crawled web pages, rather its focus is on returning quick answers to a user’s query pulled from a database of various sources (like Wikipedia).

For example, just Google “George Washington” and you’ll see his handsome bio in the right-hand side of the screen.
See: semantic


Also known as¬†link juice, this concept refers to how much authoritative power an inbound link has – for example, if you get a link from a super authoritative site (or page), like Amazon, that will “pass” more authority and the page receiving the link will enjoy the rankings benefit.¬†

Think of link equity like a celebrity endorsement – if you get mentioned by them (a link), you’re considered cooler (a rankings boost).

Both internal and external links pass the juice.
See: internal, external


This is SEO on the small-business level, that focuses on driving online and offline traffic, and involves Google My Business (GMB), reputation (reviews) and citation management.
See: enterprise seo, gmb

M – S


Refers to how Google now uses the mobile version of your page for indexing and ranking – which really means they now¬†consider the mobile version of your site as the ‚Äútrue‚ÄĚ version, regardless of what device you’re searching from.

Google started all this back in March, 2018.


We talk about these URLs in the context of a link’s anchor text¬†(the visible part of a link).

A Naked URL is when the anchor text displays your domain name (or a variation of it) as opposed to a word or phrase.

e.g. or vs. the best seo site is Top AEO.
See: anchor text


A content parameter value in the robots meta tag that tells search engines not to index a page.

When cleaning up old pages, add noindex to your meta tag or delete the pages altogether that have little or no value. 
See: robots meta


In the context of search results (SERPs), this is usually synonymous with unpaid¬†or natural –¬†as opposed to¬†paid listings or advertisements.
See: serps


Google’s original algorithm that ranks the importance of web pages based on their inbound link profile and internal link structure, through a concept known as¬†link equity.
See: backlinks, link equity


Also known as Farmer, this major Google algorithm update went live in February 2011, and awarded legitimate and content-rich websites, and penalized thin or duplicate content sites that attempted to gain traffic unethically.

For example, if you tried to write short posts to rank for long-tail keywords, you were penalized for not providing in-depth content and true value.
See: penguin


This Google algorithm update went live on April 24th, 2012, and its purpose was to target sites that were acquiring unethical backlinks or keyword stuffing content.

To remember this update, think of the movie¬†March of the Penguins. It’s all about¬†super cold penguins huddled together to survive – or all about links.
See: panda


This is just the word or phrase (keyword) you enter into a search engine’s search box.
See: keywords


This is Google’s machine learning AI algorithm that is part of their core ranking algorithm (Hummingbird), that specializes in understanding user intent and user-experience metrics to evaluate the quality of a website.

And it’s pretty important – Google said it was their 3rd most important ranking factor.

So make sure to optimize your title tag and meta description for higher a CTR, and also make sure to write great content to improve your dwell times and reduce your bounce rates. Got all that?
See: learn more


These are other websites that create links back your content (aka backlinks).
See: external


A link that does not display the full location of a page by omitting the domain name in front (unlike an Absolute URL). e.g. /seo-flashcards.

The location of the page is assumed is to be relative to the current location of the user.

Stay away from Relative URLs as they can cause duplicate content issues.
See: absolute url


In short, this is a meta html tag on a web page that tells bots 2 important values:

1. Index / Noindex – if a search engine should include the page in their index or not.

2. Follow / Nofollow – if a search engine should consider the links on the page as an endorsement by you (and therefore transfer some link equity) or not.
See: noindex, learn more


This is a text file where you lay out the access rules¬†to your website for search engine bots.¬†Think of it as your website’s guest list – it says who can enter and where they can go.

Keep in mind, this file is visible to everyone since you have to place it on your root directory (e.g. to work.
See: bots


Also known as structured data, schema is HTML code that helps search engines understand the topic of your website so they can accurately index your content.

Schema also adds extra details in SERPs listings, like rich snippets (e.g. star ratings), to improve your click-through-rate (CTR) and attract more visitors.

If you use WordPress, here’s a helpful plugin to add schema.¬†
See: local seo, google tool


This is Google’s free tool to monitor your site’s indexing status, fix problems, submit sitemaps and most importantly, to show Google that you know what you’re doing.

Make sure to bookmark your console page, set email alerts (in settings) and check it at least weekly. 

One side note, it is normal to have reported errors. Just use common sense and calibrate any obvious issues.
See: search console


This refers to a search engine’s improved ability to understand the true intent and context of a searcher’s query, so they can return you more relevant search results.

Semantic search entered the scene with Hummingbird and continues to evolve with Rank Brain.
See: hummingbird, rank brain


Search Engine Optimization is the marketing and technical discipline of attracting, retaining and converting website traffic from search engines.

As long as search engines exist, SEO will matter.
See: about us


These are the pages full of results that display after you enter a term into a search engine’s search box.
See: organic


Stands for Secure Sockets Layer and refers to the technology that keeps info protected as it passes from server to browser. When you have an active security certificate (on your server) you get the little lock icon to the left of your domain name https:// in the browser address bar.

This improves your credibility and trust, and therefore your SEO.
See: wordpress


These are numerical codes sent back from a server when something is wrong with a website.
See: learn more

T – Z


The HTML tag that specifies the title of your web page. More importantly, it’s your page’s listing in SERPs, so make it something that entices people to click on it.¬†

Use your keyword in your titles too and maybe even try an emoji¬†ūüėČ


In the context of Google Tag Manager, tags are just scripts, or bits of code, that are added to your website and send data to other providers (like Google Analytics). 

Use tags to add¬†Google Analytics tracking code so you can monitor your website’s performance metrics.
See: google tag manager


These are extra characters (strings) that are attached to a URL path in your browser’s address bar, that you’ll see most often when you filter/sort products on online stores (although marketers also use them to track clicks).

For example, if you visit a t-shirt store and then filter by color and sort by lowest price, you’ll see an updated URL – usually with a ?, =, & – that’s generated dynamically based on the filters you chose.
See: canonical, google says


This is when you search for a specific type of content within a search engine, like images, videos, news, maps, etc.

So, for example, you click “images” above the Google search bar, you are entering a new vertical with its own distinct index full of that content type.
See: blended search


The most popular Content Management System (user-friendly blogging platform) that makes it super easy for anyone to create a website that already has an seo-friendly architecture out of the box.


This is mother Russia’s search engine (i.e. their Google).

Did you know they are partners with Uber and leading the way in Russian self-driving cars?
See: wikipedia


Yahoo! Search is the world’s 3rd largest search engine (behind Google).

However, Yahoo! does not do any of its own web crawling or indexing – that’s done by Bing.
See: bing