Welcome to DistilledU, the online search marketing university.
You can try the demo or sign up for a full account to access all modules and our whole video library.
Already a member? Log in
Questions? See our FAQs
For websites that are hosted using the Apache web server, every folder can have an .htaccess file which is essentially a file with instructions on how to handle certain requests. The most common usage from an SEO perspective is using the .htaccess file to specify redirects from one URL to a new URL.
A 301 redirect (or simply a '301') is one type of HTTP redirect, which automatically redirects attempts to visit a web page at one specific URL to a different URL. A 301 redirect indicates to search engines that this redirect is intended to be permanent, and the new URL should be considered the up to date location for that web page. Search performance can suffer when 302 redirects (indicating a temporary redirect) have been used instead of a 301 (permanent redirect).
A 404 status represents "page not found" and will typically be accompanied by a human-readable page explaining that the resource is not available.
A term taken from old-school journalism where the fold refers to a physical fold in a newspaper. Online, it refers to the top half of a page, which includes all the content users can see before having to scroll down. Note that different resolutions and screen sizes mean that this is a general concept rather than a well-defined part of the page.
Google’s auction based Pay Per Click advertising system, primarily allowing people to display their adverts next to the search results, above or beside the organic listings, based on people’s search terms, but also on the Google Display Network, where ads can appear next to relevant content as people read websites.
A third party that promotes a product for commission.
Offering a commission to third party marketers in return for promoting your website or products.
A well-defined step-by-step method for processing data. Typically executed by a computer, in online marketing this generally refers to search engine algorithms which are the mechanisms used to rank web pages in results.
In online marketing, algorithm updates almost exclusively refer to changes in Google's search algorithm. These are the times when Google changes its methodology for ranking web pages in its results. Some, such as Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird are identified and classified, while there are many others that take place through the year that are not individually identified.
In online marketing, analytics generally refers to web analytics - most often tracking code embedded in web pages to capture data about visitors to the page, along with the tools needed to make sense of the resulting data. Other forms of analytics include attempts to capture data about social media, video content, etc.
Application Programming Interfaces allow computers running different software to talk to each other and share information, e.g. the Twitter API lets you send and receive data (tweets, feeds, etc) between your web-app and twitter.com.
App Store Optimization - the process of seeking to have a mobile app rank more prominently for relevant search terms.
Short for business to business. This refers to a business providing products or services to other businesses, as opposed to general consumers.
Short for business to consumer. This refers to a business offering products and services to regular consumers, as opposed to other businesses.
Data sets that are so large that analysis of that data requires significant and complex processing. (Please note, however, this is a broad term that is not well-defined.)
A subjective term, typically used in reference to any attempt at manipulating search engines through the exploitation of algorithmic loopholes and through tactics which violate Google's terms and conditions. For example, cloaking, hidden text and mass spam campaigns are typically considered black hat tactics.
A search with the intention of finding a specific company or company's product.
The version of a specific page stipulated as the \original" to a crawler. When multiple URLs display the same content, the rel="canonical" tag is often used to highlight the version search engines should see as the primary version of the page, typically to fix issues with duplicate content.
"The cloud" is a catch-all term which generally refers to services that run entirely on the internet. For example, a service that has a website and possibly accompanying software or apps, which stores photos on an internet server, would be considered to be storing photos "in the cloud".
An assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of other businesses operating in your industry, along with the strategies and tactics they employ.
Content Management Systems allow people who are not developers to edit the content of a website.
A network of websites that provide content and show ads on their sites alongside it. The term was often used to refer to Google’s own content network, but Google switched, now calling theirs a ‘display network’.
An extension of a browser that assists in debugging site errors. Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari all offer developer tools.
Content available at more than one location. This normally has an adverse effect on the content's ability to rank in the search engines. Duplicate content can be internal or external.
Short for electronic commerce. An umbrella term for any purchase conducted online.
Displaying content to users based on their geographic location, such as country or city For example displaying one version of a page to users in the US and another localized variation to those in another country. The localized variation could display different content or be written in an alternative language.
A 'secondary index' where Google stored low quality and untrustworthy web pages. It is believed this is no longer used.
A tool that was provided by Google that tested conversion rates. After setting up the specifics of an experiment, Google randomly displayed it to real visitors, allowing the effectiveness of site modifications to be measured. Note: Website Optimizer has been integrated into Google Analytics, and is now known as Content Experiments.
HyperText Markup Language is the standard markup language used to create web pages. It wraps tags around sections of content based on their semantic meaning, in order to give the document structure.
The amount of times a piece of content such as Paid Advertising is viewed by a user. For example, if you paid for 1,000 impressions, your ad would be displayed to 1,000 users. However, this doesn't mean it receives 1,000 clicks. It merely indicates how many times an ad is shown, not how many times it is clicked.
Sets of data that have been collected and organized. For example, Google's search index consists of billions of web pages. These pages are categorized and then matched to specific search queries.
A visual representation of information or data, designed to make the information easier to understand. Usually in the form of charts and diagrams.
Internet Service Provider.
A word or phrase that is targeted with the intent of ranking high in search engines. Typically, both paid and organic search campaigns will be designed around specific keywords
Software and apps that assist in analyzing search data, allowing profitable queries/keywords to be pin-pointed.
Placing keywords in content with a high volume, typically with the sole purpose of ranking highly for a certain search query. Often due to keyword stuffing content will not provide easily readable content for users. Keyword stuffing can also occur in page elements such as Titles and Meta Descriptions.
Measurement of how successful an organization is at a given task. For example, if a retail store launched a campaign around designer winter clothing, sales of designer jackets would be a key performance indicator.
The process of obtaining contact details for potential customers. For example, getting customers to sign up for a newsletter would qualify as a form of lead generation.
A platform owned by Amazon, allowing people and businesses to outsource menial digital labor, which is referred to as a "human intelligence task." Workers receive a set monetary amount for each task completed successfully.
A meta tag that automatically sends users to another page.
A search engine that displays a mixture of results from multiple other search engines. e.g Dogpile.
A site that hosts an exact duplicate of the content of another site.
The ability of computers to understand and respond to human language.
Software where the original source code is publicly available and free to access.
Search engine search results that are not paid placements or pay-per-click adverts.
Building relationships with online publishers.
A Google algorithm released in 2011, initially with the stated aim of filtering out “content farms” - sites ranking well through the mass production of low quality, shallow content. Over time, Panda has gone through multiple iterations and has been improved to devalue sites with excessive advertising, duplication and a lack of uniqueness.
Manual action applied to a site by a search engine webspam team to reduce it's presence across search results. Penalties can be applied to specific pages or whole sites and can affect specific queries or all queries across the board. Penalties from the Google webspam team are reported in Google Webmaster tools
A directive used to point from one page to the equivalent page or content in various other languages. For example, an English page may use rel-alternate-hreflang to point to German and French versions of the same page elsewhere on the content. This directive can be used inside the HTML of a page, in an XML sitemap, or in the HTTP response headers.
A public relations field that has developed many new dimensions as a result of the information age. Modern reputation management places a strong emphasis on developing and protecting an online profile.
An image or icon attached to a search result, which stipulates additional information about the link in question. Results are often augmented with a rich snippet if they meet specific criteria and provide appropriate meta data. Common rich snippets in Google include stars/ratings, videos and recipes.
An acronym meaning "Return On Investment".
Really Simple Syndication. Widely used as a method of subscribing to blogs, allowing users to create custom content feeds.
Launched by Google, Bing, and Yahoo in 2011, Schema.org is universal vocabulary for semantic markup, allowing websites to make sections of content machine readable such that search engines (and other systems) can better understand that content. This is linked to helping rich snippets appear. See: Semantic Search, Structured Data
Any form of marketing that directly targets traffic from search engines.
Search Engine Optimization. Positively influencing a page or website's search engine performance.
Search Engine Result Page. The page which displays the results for a search.
A centralized computer responsible for hosting and serving data.
This may refer to an HTML sitemap, which is a page on a website designed to list the main sections of a site in order to help users find the right part of a site. However, it is also sometimes used as shorthand for XML sitemap, which would be intended for search engines. See XML sitemap.
A field of study that deals with classification. It operates according to pre-defined systems, allowing objects and data to be cataloged and given structure, usually in a hierarchical fashion.
A statistic that refers to the number of times a word or phrase appears in a document.
How much time a user spends on a given page before clicking to the next.
Often packaged inside another program and installed unintentionally, a toolbar is a strip of icons, with each clickable icon performing a specific function.
An algorithm that analyzes links in order to determine their true value. It is used to differentiate respectable content from the ever-growing amounts of spam infesting the Internet. This is crucial, as it allows search engines to offset the damage caused by widespread PageRank manipulation.
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It refers to the web address of a particular page on a website. An example URL is: https://www.distilled.net/resources/
Also known as a topical search. For example, in Google.com search results there will often be results that are specific to verticals such as news, shopping or video. It allows users to filter to more specific results.
An XML file that contains important information about the contents of videos embedded across a site. This is especially important to a video's search engine performance, as it allows search engines to understand attributes of a video such as runtime, video title, description, thumbnail image etc.
A phase in the evolution of the web characterized by user-generated content and social media.
A document that allows search engines to easily crawl and index all of the content on a domain. In its most basic form, a sitemap is a list of all of the pages on your domain that you would like search engines to find and show to users. Sitemaps should only include pages that return a 200 response code. Sitemaps should incude the location of the page (URL), the date that it was last modified, change frequency and priority relative to other pages on the site.