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SEO Glossary

An ever-growing glossary of SEO Jargon

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Key Performance Indicator

A Key performance indicator (KPI) is a particular measurement, that helps an organization define and track progress towards its objectives.

KPI Examples

Some basic metrics that can make suitable key performance indicators include:

There are many metrics to choose from when tracking online performance, but careful selection, reporting, and action are what translate into measurable results. Choosing the right KPIs for your business requires clear goals, such as 'Get 25% more sales from loyal customers' or 'Generate 60% more search traffic'. With specific business objectives, you can choose KPI's that help get you there.

Key phrase

A key phrase refers to a relatively short combination of keywords that a search engine user might enter to retrieve relevant results. The term 'keywords' is often used instead of key phrase, unless discussing individual terms.


Keywords, in the context of Internet marketing, are the terms typed into search engines by people looking for relevant results. Improving a website's position in search results for desirable keywords is the main goal of search engine optimization.

Keywords (and key phrases) can be grouped into two categories:

Early search engines relied on keywords added to keywords meta tags to calculate the relevance of web pages for results; however, today's search engine algorithms are far more sophisticated, and less easily manipulated. While keywords found within a website's content play an important role in ranking web pages, the keyword meta tag have been long ignored in favour of over 200 other ranking signals.

Keyword (HTML Meta Tag)
See Meta keyword tag Top
Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword Cannibalization occurs when two of a website's pages have such similar content that they inadvertently compete for rankings in search results. This becomes a problem if a non-optimal page is ranking in place of one with more conversion potential.

Keyword cannibalization is seen most often with websites that have high occurrences of duplicate content, such as e-commerce sites.


To help search engines choose between two very similar web pages for ranking, make some basic improvements to the keyword relevance of your favoured page:

Refining these SEO basics is usually enough to avoid undesirable pages from cannibalizing the ones you want to appear in search results.

Keyword Density

Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword or keyphrase appears on a web page compared with its total number of words.

At one time, Keyword density was an important factor used by search engines in determining a web page's relevance for particular keywords. Google now gives less priority to optimal keyword density as a ranking signal, similar to other signals easily controlled by webmasters.

Writing content primarily for search engines today is counterproductive. For optimal visibility in search results, web content should be conceived with a focus on usability, and context within well designed information architecture.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of gathering statistics on monthly searches made for specific keywords in search engines. Keyword research is integral to search engine optimization.

Data categories and tools include:

  • Brainstorming: (Related keyword ideas, search trends)
    • Google Insights for Search
    • Google Trends Keyword Demand Prediction
  • Keyword Mining and Discovery: (Monthly search volumes) and demographics
    • Google Adwords Keyword Tool
    • Wordstream
    • Wordtracker
  • Competition: (Keyword difficulty, Adwords CPC)
    • KeywordSpy
    • SEMRush
    • Moz's Keyword Difficulty Tool
    • Spyfu
    • Google and Yahoo! search parameters, such as intitle, inurl, Inanchor and wildcard
  • Performance Tracking & Reporting
    • Authority Labs
    • SEOBook Rank Checker
    • Advanced Web Ranking
    • Raven Tools
See also: User Intent Top
Keyword Spam
See Spamdexing Top
Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the overly repetitive use of keywords on a web page to increase keyword density, in an attempt to improve search engine rankings. Fortunately, keyword stuffing is no longer an effective form of spamdexing, due to improvements made to search engines, such as the Penguin algorithm.

Keyword stuffing is considered blackhat SEO, and will usually result in lowered search engine rankings or penalties.

See also: Search engine penalty Top
See Key Performance Indicator Top
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