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SEO Glossary

An ever-growing glossary of SEO Jargon

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Google (search engine)

Google is the world's most-used search engine, returning results to several hundred million queries every day. Incorporated by Larry Page and Sergey Brin on September 4, 1998. Google's mission statement is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Google's unofficial slogan is Don't be evil.

Google went public on August 19, 2004, and is headquartered in Mountain View, California.

Google's Ranking Algorithm

Google's highly sophisticated—and closely guarded—core search algorithm looks at over 200 ranking signals in order to return the most relevant results from its continuously updating index of over 30 Trillion web pages. Results to search queries are returned in 1/8th of a second, by formulas and ranking criteria that are constantly evolving.

Google's patented PageRank algorithm is one of Google's earliest innovations, and assigns importance to web pages based on their incoming links. PageRank is still in use today as just one of the many signals that comprise Google's core ranking algorithm.

See also: search engine algorithm Top
Google AdWords Keyword Planner

The Google AdWords Keyword Planner, formerly known as the Google Keyword Tool, gives free statistics about monthly searches made for specific keywords in Google, as well as searcher demographics such as locations, languages, and user devices. Data offered from the Google Keyword Planner includes:

  • Global monthly searches
  • Local monthly searches
  • Local search trends
  • Competitor rankings
  • Approximate Adwords cost per click

The tool is offered to help improve Adwords campaign performance, but is also widely used as part of keyword research for search engine optimization.

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Google AdWords Keyword Tool
See Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Top
Google Analytics

Google Analytics, or GA is a web analytics service offered by Google, that allows website owners and marketers to track how people use their websites. Google Analytics generates detailed statistics on website traffic that include how visitors arrive on a website, what they do once there, where and when they leave, and much more.

Google Analytics offers insights into visitor behaviour to help marketers improve engagement, and increase conversions.

Google Analytics Dashboard Google Analytics Dashboard
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Google Dance

The Google Dance is a term that described the once wide fluctuations in Google's search rankings, at a time when updates to its index would occur on a monthly basis only. During these monthly updates, Google's various data centers would update individually, over a period of several days, causing search results to vary according to the data center delivering the search results.

In 2003, Google shifted to a continuously updating index known as the everflux, and the monthly Google Dance ceased, with the exception of specific algorithm updates.

See our complete list of Google's algorithm—and index updates. Top
Google Keyword Tool
See Google AdWords Keyword Planner Top
Google Sandbox
See Sandbox effect Top
Google Supplemental Index

Google's Supplemental Index was a secondary index used by the search engine between 2003 and 2007, and consisted of less popular, lower PageRank web pages, and pages with content so similar to other sources that they weren't worth displaying in the main index.

The Supplemental Index was dreaded by site owners, and it was often the subject of discussion in search engine optimization forums.

Google Supplemental result example Google Supplemental result from 2006

By 2007, Google's infrastructure had improved to a point that allowed the Supplemental Index to begin merging with the main index, and the label of 'Supplemental Result' was discontinued.

Today, Google has a tiered index, with different types of content indexed at different rates, depending on how relevant they are likely to be to users.

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Googlebot

Googlebot is the web crawling bot software used by Google to discover new and updated web pages for its searchable index.

To block a website's content from Googlebot, a robots.txt file may be used to instruct it not to crawl some, or all directories on a domain. However, disallow instructions in a robots.txt, will not prevent Googlebot from discovering and indexing a website in other ways, such as through links to the site from other sources.

To prevent Google from indexing content, a noindex meta tag may be used; however, password protecting confidential information is the safest method of preventing web content from becoming indexed by Google or other search engines.

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Gzip

Gzip is a file compression utility commonly used to reduce file sizes of web resources such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS files, in order to decrease page load speed, and lower bandwidth costs. Gzip typically reduces file size by about 70%.

To compress files using gzip, the linux command line can be used, as can programs for Windows and Mac, as well as online applications. Gzip compression must be enabled on your web server.

See also: Minification Top
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