Web Definitions and Terms

ALT Tags - text associated with an image, usually descriptive, that can be picked up by search engines.

Application development - programming

Content Management System (CMS) - software that separates content (images and text) from the code (HTML) that tells the browser how to display the page. CMS solutions allow non-HTML literate people to add and change website content, as well as allowing website professionals to manage large, complex websites more easily.

Directories - websites that display a collection of links to other websites (yahoo and Open Directory are examples).

Drill down - the way most people view web pages, skimming to get the general idea and then finding the pages that give them the detail they seek.

Dynamically-built pages - pages in a website that are created from a database, as opposed to an HTML page. These pages typically end in something like .asp or .php. instead of .html.

Flash - a software application by Macromedia. It allows Flash designers to combine graphics, still photographs, text and even video to create seamless web pages and even entire sites.

Formmail - an online form that a visitor completes that arrives to you via email.

Frames - the practice of displaying more than one page on a screen simultaneoulsy, typically characterized by multiple scroll bars.

Header - that portion of a web page that contains the company identity (logo), other images and, often, navigation. The header, or a variation containing minor changes, appears at the top of all web pages.

Horizontal directories - a directory that includes links to diverse businesses or websites. An examle would be your town's local web directory.

HTML - the programming language developed to be read by web browsers (Internet Explorer, Mozilla, etc.) that tell the browser how to position text, images, etc.

Hyperlink(s) - links that take you between pages or between websites. These are why it's called "The Web."

Indexing - something that search engines do with with text they collect from websites.

Javascript - java is a programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Javascripts are small programs or "applets" that make things happen on a website. An example is making a button change color when you scroll over it.

Keyword - a word used to find content in a search engine. "Key" means that the particular word is vital to the subject matter.

Keyword frequency - an Internet marketing term referring to how often keywords appear on a web page, often but not too often.

Keyword phrase - a group of keywords. It could be a proper phrase or just a number of keywords strung together (note:search engines eliminate articles and other words that do not contribute to the "meaning" of the content).

Keyword positioning - same as keyword ranking.

Keyword ranking - where a website appears on a list of search engine results after you have submitted your keyword(s). Also see "Relevancy algorithym.

Keyword search - using the words that best describe the content you're looking for in a search engine.

Keyword selection - the keywords you choose to use on your website. These words should be the words you believe people will use to find content like yours.

Layered content - website text and images that get successively more detailed as the visitor "drills down" into the site - headlines to bullet points to narrative.

Link popularity - the number of websites that link to yours. Pioneered by Google as a means of determining how one website ranks against another.

Link Quality - what kind of sites are linked to yours, thus further refining link popularity.

Meta-Tags - words encoded in the HTML that tell search engines about your site (page title, page description and keywords). When you see a description of a page in a search engine, this is often the "meta description" of the page. Search engines used to rely on meta tags to determine keyword ranking, but few do any longer.

Navigation and Sub-navigation - these are the primary and secondary links visitors use to move around your website.

On the fly - see Dynamically built pages.

Online credit card processing - a feature of many ecommerce websites that allows your credit card (name, address, credit balance, etc.) to be verified instantaneously.

Optimization - the process of making your website search engine-friendly, making sure that each page has enough text, uses keywords, creating ALT tags for images, etc.

Reciprocal links - link swapping. I'll link my site to yours if you link yours to mine. The advent of "link popularity" has generated a cottage industry called "link farms." These farms have in turn recently forced Google to reduce the importance of reciprocal links.

Relevancy algorithms - the mathematical formulas search engines use to weigh and balance all the variables they apply to determine where and when a site should appear in a keyword search - from the text on your site to the number and quality of "inbound" links.

Search engine rankings - same as "keyword ranking."

Search engine spamming - trying to outsmart search engines. Many "Internet marketing" companies use tactics that search engines frown on in order to achieve high rankings. When a search engine discovers it is being spammed, it might "blacklist" a site (eliminate the site from its database).

Search engine spiders - programs created by search engines that move from link to link throughout your site and between sites yours is linked to. Spider refers back to "web."

Shopping cart - software that allows your web browser to keep track of an individual shopper, totals multiple items and provides a secure means of collecting and transmitting sensitive information.

Splash page - a page that usually precedes the home page, often with heavy graphics and very little text.

Static HTML pages - a normal page with a web address that ends in .htm or .html.

Templates - the HTML code that tells your browser to display certain information in certain places on the screen.

URL - a web addres (http://www.website.com)

Vertical Directories - websites with a main purpose of providing information and links for a particular industry or interest.

Viral marketing - the web version of "word of mouth" advertising. One of the first viral success stories was how Hotmail was able to get its name in front of millions of people by putting their name and a link at the bottom of every email each of their users sent.

Website traffic - the activity that takes place on a website - also referred to as Web Analytics (number of hits, pages viewed, visitors, etc.).

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