Internet Terminology and Glossary

July 16, 2008

We know that the terms and language when it comes to Internet and online marketing is a little confusing so we put together this alphabetical glossary of web marketing and Internet technology terms. Feel free to browse and please let us know if you have suggestions or any questions.


Ad:Tech Trade Show: ad:tech is the leading interactive advertising and technology conference and trade show dedicated to connecting all sides of today’s online marketing landscape. The shows are offered several times a year worldwide and include a blend of keynote speakers, panels and workshops.

Alt Tag: The alternative text that the browser displays when the surfer does not want to or cannot see the pictures present in a web page. Using alt tags containing keywords can improve the search engine ranking of the page for those keywords.

Anchor Text: the text used between the anchor tags.

For Example: <a href=“”>This is the anchor text.</a>.

It is believed that search engine consider the internal linking in the site and understand that the anchor text is indicative of content on the page.


Blog or Web Log: A blog (short for “web log”) is a type of web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal (or log) for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author. Blog software usually has archives of old blogs, and is searchable. Frequently blogging software is used by web pages providing excellent information on many topics, although very frequently the content is personal and requires careful evaluation. Look at this sample blog:

Boolean Logic: Way to combine terms using “operators” such as “AND,” “OR,” “AND NOT” and sometimes “NEAR.” AND requires all terms appear in a record. OR retrieves records with either term. AND NOT excludes terms. Parentheses may be used to sequence operations and group words. Always enclose terms joined by OR with parentheses.


Cache: In browsers, “cache” is used to identify a space where web pages you have visited are stored in your computer. A copy of documents you retrieve is stored in cache. When you use GO, BACK, or any other means to revisit a document, the browser first checks to see if it is in cache and will retrieve it from there because it is much faster than retrieving it from the server.

Cached Link: In search results from Google, Yahoo! Search, and some other search engines, there is usually a cached link which allows you to view the version of a page that the search engine has stored in its database. The live page on the web might differ from this cached copy, because the cached copy dates from whenever the search engine’s spider last visited the page and detected modified content. Use the cached link to see when a page was last crawled and, in Google, where your terms are and why you got a page when all of your search terms are not in it.

Case Sensitive: Capital letters (upper case) retrieve only upper case. Most search tools are not case sensitive or only respond to initial capitals, as in proper names. It is always safe to key all lower case (no capitals), because lower case will always retrieve upper case.

CGI: “Common Gateway Interface,” the most common way Web programs interact dynamically with users. Many search boxes and other applications that result in a page with content tailored to the user’s search terms rely on CGI to process the data once it’s submitted, to pass it to a background program in JAVA, JAVASCRIPT, or another programming language, and then to integrate the response into a display using HTML.

Click Popularity: A measure of the relevance of sites obtained by noting which sites are clicked on most and how much time users spend in each site.

Cloaking: The process by which your site can display different pages under different circumstances. It is primarily used to show an optimized page to the search engines and a different page to humans. Search engines will penalize a site if they discover that it is using cloaking in some cases resulting in a ban.

Comment Tag: The text present within the tags in a web page. While most search engines will ignore the text within the Comment Tags, some, like Excite will index the text present within them.

Cookie: A message from a Web Server computer sent to and stored by your browser on your computer. When your computer consults the originating server computer, the cookie is sent back to the server, allowing it to respond to you according to the cookie’s contents. The main use for cookies is to provide customized Web pages according to a profile of your interests. When you log onto a “customize” type of invitation on a Web page and fill in your name and other information, this may result in a cookie on your computer which that Web page will access to appear to “know” you and provide what you want. If you fill out these forms, you may also receive e-mail and other solicitation independent of cookies.


Directory: A site containing links to other sites which are organized into various categories. Examples of directories are Yahoo, Open Directory, LookSmart, etc.

Domain, Top Level Domain (TLD): Hierarchical scheme for indicating logical and sometimes geographical venue of a web-page from the network. In the US, common domains are .edu (education), .gov (government agency), .net (network related), .com (commercial), .org (nonprofit and research organizations). Outside the US, domains indicate country: ca (Canada), uk (United Kingdom), au (Australia), jp (Japan), fr (France), etc. Neither of these lists is exhaustive.

Domain Name, Domain Name Server (DNS) Entry: Any of these terms refers to the initial part of a URL, down to the first /, where the domain and name of the host or server computer are listed (most often in reversed order, name first, then domain). The domain name gives you who “published” a page, made it public by putting it on the Web. A domain name is translated in huge tables standardized across the Internet into a numeric IP address unique the host computer sought. These tables are maintained on computers called “Domain Name Servers.” Whenever you ask the browser to find a URL, the browser must consult the table on the domain name server that particular computer is networked to consult. “Domain Name Server entry” frequently appears a browser error message when you try to enter a URL. If this lookup fails for any reason, the “lacks DNS entry” error occurs. The most common remedy is simply to try the URL again, when the domain name server is less busy, and it will find the entry (the corresponding numeric IP address).

Doorway Page (AKA Entry, Bridge or Gateway Page): A page which has been specially created in order to get a high ranking in the search engines. Also called gateway page, bridge page, entry page etc. Stay away from this type of search engine optimization techniques – these are considered Black Hat methods and will get you banned in the search engines.

Dynamic Content: Information in web pages which changes automatically, based on database or user information. Search engines will index dynamic content in the same way as static content unless the URL includes a ? mark. However, if the URL does include a ? mark, many search engines will ignore the URL.


Eric Ward: Eric Ward offers content publicity & link building strategies since 1994. He helped Jeff Bezos out with See also URLWire.

Extension or File Extension: In Windows, DOS and some other operating systems, one or several letters at the end of a filename. Filename extensions usually follow a period (dot) and indicate the type of file. For example, this.txt denotes a plain text file, that.htm or that.html denotes an HTML file. Some common image extensions are picture.jpg or picture.jpeg or picture.bmp or picture.gif


Favorites: In the Internet Explorer browser, a means to get back to a URL you like, similar to Netscape’s Bookmarks.

Field Searching: Ability to limit a search by requiring word or phrase to appear in a specific field of documents (e.g., title, url, link).

Frames: An HTML technique allowing web site designers to display two or more pages in the same browser window. Many search engines do not index framed web pages properly – they only index the text present in the NOFRAMES tag. Unless a web page which uses frames contains relevant content in the NOFRAMES tag, it is unlikely to get a high ranking in those search engines. To go BACK in a frame, position the cursor in the frame an press the right mouse button, and select “Back in frame” (or Forward). You can adjust frame dimensions by positioning the cursor over the border between frames and dragging the border up/down or right/left holding the mouse button down over the border.

Freshness: How up-to-date a search engine database is, based primarily on how often itsspiders re-circulate around the Web and update their copies of the web pages they hold, and discover new ones. Also determined by how quickly they integrate new sites that web authors send to them. Two weeks is about as good as most search engines do, but some update certain selected web sites more frequently.

FTP: File Transfer Protocol. Ability to transfer rapidly entire files from one computer to another, intact for viewing or other purposes.

Fuzzy AND: In ranking of results, documents with all terms (Boolean AND) are ranked first, followed by documents containing any terms (Boolean OR) are retrieved. The farther down, the fewer the terms, although at least one should always be present.


Google: The World’s largest search engine.


Hallway Page: A page containing links to various doorway pages.

Head or Header (in an HTML document): The top portion of the HTML source code behind Web pages, beginning with <HEAD> and ending with </HEAD>. It contains the Title, Description, Keywords fields and others that web page authors may use to describe the page. The title appears in the title bar of most browsers, but the other fields cannot be seen as part of the body of the page. To view the <HEAD> portion of web pages in Netscape, click VIEW, Page Source. In Internet Explorer, click VIEW, Source. Some search engines will retrieve based on text in these fields.

Heading Tags (Headings): A paragraph style that is displayed in a large, bold typeface. Having text containing keywords in the Heading Tags can improve the search engine ranking of a page for those keywords. Using heading within the body copy of the page is critical for search engine optimization. It also helps the reader anticipate the subject of the page (H1 tags) or the subject of the paragraph (h2 tags).

Hidden Text: Text that is visible to the search engines but is invisible to humans. It is mainly accomplished by using text in the same color as the background color of the page. It is primarily used for the purpose of including extra keywords in the page without distorting the aesthetics of the page. Most search engines penalize web sites which use such hidden text.

History, Search History: Available by using the combined keystrokes CTRL + H, a more permanent record of sites you have visited/retrieved than GO. You can set how many days your Netscape retains history in Edit/ Preferences, and in Internet Explorer in Tools/Internet Options/General.

Host: Computer that provides web-documents to clients or users.

HTML: Hypertext Markup Language. A standardized language of computer code, imbedded in “source” documents behind all Web documents, containing the textual content, images, links to other documents (and possibly other applications such as sound or motion), and formatting instructions for display on the screen. When you view a Web page, you are looking at the product of this code working behind the scenes in conjunction with your browser. Browsers are programmed to interpret HTML for display. HTML often imbeds within it other programming languages and applications such as SGML,XML, JavaScript, CGI-script and more. It is possible to deliver or access and execute virtually any program via the WWW. You can see HTML in Netscape by selecting the View pop-down menu tab, then “Document Source.” If you download a document as “Source,” the file will contain HTML markup codes and can be viewed in Netscape and other browsers.

Hypertext: On the World Wide Web, the feature, built into HTML that allows a text area, image, or other object to become a “link” (as if in a chain) that retrieves another computer file (another Web page, image, sound file, or other document) on the Internet. The range of possibilities is limited by the ability of the computer retrieving the outside file to view, play, or otherwise open the incoming file. It needs to have software that can interact with the imported file. Many software capabilities of this type are built into browsers or can be added as “plug-ins”.


Image Map: An image containing one or more invisible regions which are linked to other pages. If the image map is defined as a separate file, the search engines may not be able to index the pages to which that image map links. The way out is to have text hyperlinks to those pages in addition to the links from the image map. However, image maps defined within the same web page will generally not prevent search engines from indexing the other pages.

Inktomi: A database of sites used by many of the larger search engines like HotBot, MSN etc. For more information, see Inktomi.

Internet: The vast collection of interconnected networks that all use the TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from the ARPANET of the late 60’s and early 70’s. An “internet” (lower case i) is any computers connected to each other (a network), and are not part of the Internet unless the use TCP/IP protocols. An “intranet” is a private network inside a company or organization that uses the same kinds of software that you would find on the public Internet, but that is only for internal use. An intranet may be on the Internet or may simply be a network.

IP Address or IP Number: (Internet Protocol number or address). A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP address. If a machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Most machines also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember.

ISP or Internet Service Provider: A company that sells Internet connections via modem (examples: aol, Mindspring – thousands of ISPs to choose from). Faster, more expensive Internet connectivity is available via cable, DSL, ISDN, or web-TV. Often these companies also provide Web page hosting service (free or relatively inexpensive web pages — the origin of many personal pages).


JAVA: A network-oriented programming language invented by Sun Microsystems that is specifically designed for writing programs that can be safely downloaded to your computer through the Internet and immediately run without fear of viruses or other harm to our computer or files. Using small Java programs (called “Applets”), Web pages can include functions such as animations, calculators, and other fancy tricks. We can expect to see a huge variety of features added to the Web using Java, since you can write a Java program to do almost anything a regular computer program can do, and then include that Java program in a Web page.

JavaScript: A simple programming language developed by Netscape to enable greater interactivity in Web pages. It shares some characteristics with JAVA but is independent. It interacts with HTML, enabling dynamic content and motion.


Keyword: A word or phrase that you type in when you are searching for information in the search engines. Keywords are searched in any order. Use spaces to separate keywords in simple keyword searching. To search keywords exactly as keyed (in the same order), see PHRASE.

Keyword Frequency: Denotes how often a keyword appears in a page or in an area of a page. In general, higher the number of times a keyword appears in a page, higher its search engine ranking. However, repeating a keyword too often in a page can lead to that page being penalized for spamming.

Keyword Prominence: Denotes how close to the start of an area of a page that a keyword appears. In general, having the keyword closer to the start of an area will lead to an improvement in the search engine ranking of a page.

Keyword Weight: Denotes the number of times a keyword appears in a page as a percentage of all the other words in the page. In general, higher the weight of a particular keyword in a page, higher will be the search engine ranking of the page for that keyword. However, repeating a keyword too often in order to increase its weight can cause the page to be penalized by the search engines.


Link: The URL imbedded in another document, so that if you click on the highlighted text or button referring to the link, you retrieve the outside URL. If you search the field “link:”, you retrieve on text in these imbedded URLs which you do not see in the documents.

Link Popularity: The number of sites which link to a particular site. Many search engines use link popularity as a factor in determining the search engine ranking of a web site.

Link “Rot”: Term used to describe the frustrating and frequent problem caused by the constant changing in URLs. A Web page or search tool offers a link and when you click on it, you get an error message (e.g., “not available”) or a page saying the site has moved to a new< URL>. Search engine spiders cannot keep up with the changes. URLs change frequently because the documents are moved to new computers, the file structure on the computer is reorganized, or sites are discontinued. If there is no referring link to the new URL, there is little you can do but try to search for the same or an equivalent site from scratch.

Link Weight: Very simply the number of occurrences of links to specific pages within the site. An important part of Internal Linking. The less important the page, the less frequent the number of links.

LISTSERVERS: A discussion group mechanism that permits you to subscribe and receive and participate in discussions via e-mail.

Long Tail Keywords: those 3 and 4 keyword phrases which are specific to whatever you are selling. It is believed that these terms provide the best conversion rates. In virtually every case, very specific searches are far more likely to convert to sales than general generic searches that tend to be geared more toward the type of research that consumers typically do prior to making a buying decision.


Marketing Sherpa: MarketingSherpa is a research firm publishing practical information for professional marketers and case studies. The site offers a paid service.

Meta Description Tag: The tag present in the header of a web page which is used to provide a short description of the contents of the page. Some search engines will display the text present in the Meta Description Tag when the page appears in the results of a search. Including keywords in the Meta Description Tag can improve the search engine ranking of a page for those keywords. However, some search engines ignore the Meta Description Tag.

Meta Keywords Tag: The tag present in the header of a web page which is used to provide alternative words for the words used in the body of the page. The Meta Keywords Tag is becoming less and less important in influencing the search engine ranking of a page. Some search engines ignore the Meta Keywords tag.

Meta Refresh Tag: The tag present in the header of a web page which is used to display a different page after a few seconds. If a page displays another page too soon, most search engines will either ignore the current page and index the second page or penalize the current page for spamming.

Meta Search Engine: Search engines that automatically submit your keyword search to several other search tools, and retrieve results from all their databases. Convenient time-savers for relatively simple keyword searches (one or two keywords or phrases in ” “).


Nesting: A term used in Boolean searching to indicate the sequence in which operations are to be performed. Enclosing words in parentheses identifies a group or “nest.” Groups can be within other groups. The operations will be performed from the innermost nest to the outmost, and then from left to right.

Newsgroup: A discussion group operated through the Internet. Not to be confused with LISTSERVERS which operate through e-mail.


Online Publishers Association (OPA): Founded in June 2001, the Online Publishers Association (OPA) is a not-for-profit industry trade organization dedicated to representing high-quality online content providers before the advertising community, the press, the government and the public. A great research tool.


Pay Per Click Search Engine: A search engine in which the ranking of your site is determined by the amount you are paying for each click from that search engine to your site. Examples of pay per click search engines are Overture, Kanoodle, FindWhat etc.

Personal Page: A web page created by an individual (as opposed to someone creating a page for an institution, business, organization, or other entity). Often personal pages contain valid and useful opinions, links to important resources, and significant facts. One of the greatest benefits of the Web is the freedom it as given almost anyone to put his or her ideas “out there.” The presence in the page’s URL of a personal name and a ~ or % or the word “users”, “people” or “members” very frequently indicate a site offering personal pages.

Phrase: More than one <Keyword>, searched exactly as keyed (all terms required to be in documents, in the order keyed). Enclosing keywords in quotations ” ” forms a phrase in AltaVista, and some other search tools. Some times a phrase is called a “character string.”

Plug-In: An application built into a browser or added to a browser to enable it to interact with a special file type (such as a movie, sound file, Word document, etc.)

Popularity Ranking of search results: Some search engines rank the order in which search results appear primarily by how many other sites link to each page (a kind of popularity vote based on the assumption that other pages would create a link to the “best” pages). Google is the best example of this.


Reciprocal Linking: The most popular way of acquiring links is to set up a Links or Resources section on your site that allows you to offer links to other sites and in exchange get links back from the link partners. This needs to be kept in check as these sections must be focused and of good quality. It is also extremely time consuming.

Relevancy Ranking of search results: The most common method for determining the order in which search results are displayed. Each search tool uses its own unique algorithm. Most use “fuzzy and” combined with factors such as how often your terms occur in documents, whether they occur together as a phrase, and whether they are in title or how near the top of the text. Popularity is another ranking system.

Robot: In the context of search engine ranking, it implies the same thing as Spider. In a different context, it is also used to indicate an application which visits web sites and collects email addresses to be used for sending unsolicited bulk email.

Robots.txt: A text file present in the root directory of a site which is used to control which pages are indexed by a robot. Only robots which comply with the Robots Exclusion Standard will follow the instructions contained in this file.


Script: A script is a type of programming language that can be used to fetch and display Web pages. There are many kinds and uses of scripts on the Web. They can be used to create all or part of a page, and communicate with searchable databases. Forms (boxes) and many interactive links, which respond differently depending on what you enter, all require some kind of script language. When you find a question mark (?) in the URL of a page, some kind of script command was used in generating and/or delivering that page. Most search engine spiders are instructed not to crawl pages from scripts, although it is usually technically possible for them to do so.

Search Engine: A software that searches for information and returns sites which provide that information. Examples of search engines are AltaVista, Google etc.

Search Engine Friendly: Search engine friendly simply means the search engines will be able to easily crawl the site and recognize the content and intention ranking it accordingly.

Search Engine Placement: The practice of trying to ensure that a web site obtains a high rank in the search engines. Also called search engine positioning, search engine optimization etc.

Search Engine Roundtable ( The Search Engine Roundtable is an aggregation site (blog style) that provides information from Search Engine Marketing forums and blogs. By enlisting some of the most recognized names at those forums, the Roundtable is able to report on special forum threads and a synopsis that provides greater detail into those threads.

Search Engine Watch: A Paid Service site that provides tips and information about searching the web, analysis of the search engine industry and help to site owners trying to improve their ability to be found in search engines. SEO is a leading SEO blog by Aaron Wall covering the search space and includes some good marketing tips, search analysis, and a blog that he rants on.

Server, Web Server: A computer running that software, assigned an IP address, and connected to the Internet so that it can provide documents via the World Wide Web, also called Host computer.

Server-Side: Something that operates on the “server” computer (providing the Web page), as opposed to the “client” computer (which is you or someone else viewing the Web page). Usually it is a program or command or procedure or other application causes dynamic pages or animation or other interaction.

SHTML, (.shtml): A file name extension that identifies web pages containing SSI commands.

Site or Website: This term is often used to mean “web page,” but there is supposed to be a difference. A web page is a single entity, one URL, one file that you might find on the Web. A “site,” properly speaking, is a location, gathering or center for a bunch of related pages linked to and from that site.

Spamming (Spamdexing): Using any search engine ranking technique which causes a degradation in the quality of the results produced by the search engines. Examples of spamming include excessive repetition of a keyword in a page, optimizing a page for a keyword which is unrelated to the contents of the site, using invisible text, etc. Most search engines will penalize a page which uses spamming. Also called spamdexing. In a different context, spamming is also used to mean the practice of sending unsolicited bulk email.

Spider (AKA Crawler): An application that visits web sites and indexes the pages present in those sites. Search engines use spiders to build up their databases. Computer robot programs, referred to sometimes as “crawlers” or “knowledge-bots” or “knowbots” that are used by search engines to roam the World Wide Web via the Internet, visit sites and databases, and keep the search engine database of web pages up to date. They obtain new pages, update known pages, and delete obsolete ones. Their findings are then integrated into the “home” database. Most large search engines operate several robots all the time. Even so, the Web is so enormous that it can take six months for spiders to cover it, resulting in a certain degree of “out-of-datedness” (link rot) in all the search engines. SSI commands: SSI stands for “server-side include,” a type of HTML instruction telling a computer that serves Web pages to dynamically generate data, usually by inserting certain variable contents into a fixed template or boilerplate Web page. Used especially in database searches.

Stemming: In keyword searching, word endings are automatically removed (lines becomes line); searches are performed on the stem + common endings (line or lines retrieves line, lines, line’s, lines’, lining, lined). Not very common as a practice, and not always disclosed. Can usually be avoided by placing a term in ” “.

Stop Words: A word that often appears in pages, yet has no significance by itself. Most search engines ignore stop words while searching. Example of stop words are: and, the, of etc. In database searching, “stop words” are small and frequently occurring words like and, or, in, of, that are often ignored when keyed as search terms. Sometimes putting them in quotes ” ” will allow you to search them. Sometimes + immediately before them makes them searchable.

Subject-Based Popularity Ranking of search results: A variation on popularity ranking in which the links in pages on the same subject are used to in ranking search results. Used by Teoma.

Subject Directory: An approach to Web documents by a lexicon of subject terms hierarchically grouped. May be browsed or searched by keywords. Subject directories are smaller than other searchable databases, because of the human involvement required to classify documents by subject.

Sub- Searching: Ability to search only within the results of a previous search. Enables you to refine search results, in effect making the computer “read” the search results for you selecting documents with terms you sub-search on.


Text Link Ads ( Patrick Gavin’s Text Link Ads is an online traffic and link popularity ad firm that specializes in placing static html links on websites and high traffic web properties. The main benefit is the organic search engine rankings created by the service.

Title Tag: The contents of the Title tag is generally displayed by the browser at the top of the browser window. The search engines use the Title tag to provide a link to the sites which match the query made by the user. Having keywords in the Title tag of a page can significantly increase the search engine ranking of the page for those keywords.

Truncation: In a search, the ability to enter the first part of a keyword, insert a symbol (usually *), and accept any variant spellings or word endings, from the occurrence of the symbol forward. (E.g., femini* retrieves feminine, feminism, feminism, etc.)


URL: Uniform Resource Locator is the unique address of any Web document. There is a logic to the layout of a URL; Type of file (could say ftp: // or telnet:// or http ://), Domain Name (computer the file is on and its location on the Internet), Path (directory on the computer to this file), Name of file and its file extension (usually ending in .html or .htm).

URLWire: URLWire is Eric Ward‘s site announcement network offering online exposure. The services are offered in 2 price packages starting at $400.

Usenet: Bulletin board-like network featuring thousands of “newsgroups.”



Wordtracker: Andy Mindel and Mike Mindel created Wordtracker in 1999. Wordtracker helps website owners and search engine marketers identify keywords and phrases that are relevant to their or their client’s business and most likely to be used as queries by search engine visitors.


XHTML: A variant of HTML stands for Extensible Hypertext Markup Language is a hybrid between HTML and XML that is more universally acceptable in Web pages and search engines than XML.

XML: Extensible Markup Language, a dilution for Web page use of SGML (Standard General Markup Language), which is not readily viewable in ordinary browsers and is difficult to apply to Web pages. XML is very useful for pages emerging from databases and other applications where parts of the page are standardized and must reappear many times.