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Algorithm: Rules which a search engine uses to rank listings in its index. Algorithms are kept secret by search engines to protect themselves from people who want to gain an unfair advantage in ranking. Search engine algorithms evolve constantly and especially Google is knows to regularly roll out significant algorithm changes that can temporarily or permanently impact on a site’s search engine ranking.

Backlinks: Also see Inbound Links. Incoming links to a website, which are used as a kind of voting system by search engine algorithms to determine the importance and relevance of a website. More backlinks are better than fewer backlinks, but the quality of backlinks (i.e., how important is the site the link originates on) has more influence on rankings than the number of backlinks.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR): The number of clicks on a link compared to the number of people who see the link. A measure to assess the effectiveness of online marketing like banner advertising, emails or search advertising. Example: A newsletter is viewed by 100 people, and 8 of them click on links contained in the newsletter. This equates to a click-through-rate of 8%.

Conversion Rate: The number of positive outcomes (such as sales) a site receives divided by the amount of visitors to a site, expressed as a percentage value. Example: A website gets 200 visits per day and generates 4 paid sales, resulting in a daily conversion rate of 2%.

Cost Per Click (CPC): An agreed fee paid by the advertiser to the site which displays their link, for each click someone makes on the link leading to their website.

Crawler: Also known as a spider or robot, a program which automatically fetches web pages and adds them to a search engine’s index.

Directory: A type of search engine where humans are responsible for the review of websites, rather than by automated crawling of the web. Websites are usually reviewed, summarized and placed in an appropriate category. DMOZ is an example of a major directory and Complete Online Directory is an example of a general smaller directory.

Doorway Page: A web page which itself does not deliver much information to those viewing it, but rather aims to rank well for a specific term and often for a certain search engine. A website may have several door pages created for different search terms and search engines with all of them linking to the same end page. Most search engines have guidelines against doorway pages as they are seen as a form of SPAM.

Geo-Targeting: Also called geographical targeting. A term mainly used in paid search advertising where it describes advertising being displayed only to users from a chosen geographical region (country, state, zip code, radius). Geo-targeting aims to increase the relevance and thus effectiveness of advertising (as measured for example in click-through or conversion rates).

Google Maps: Google Maps is a free online map service. It offers a draggable map of the entire world and is a business locator for the U.S, Germany, Australia, Canada, China, Spain, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands and UK.

Google PIN: A unique number made up of 5 digits that is used to activate your business listing in Google Maps. View an example.

Hit: A request for a file located on a web server. Since a web page can contain many different elements, e.g. graphic images, many hits can be recorded when a user visits a single page. For example, a HTLM page containing five images would record six hits – five individual hits for the five images and one for the HTML file.

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