Glossary of Common Web Terms



Black Hat SEO
See SEO Black Hat.
bots (short for robots and spiders)
See Robots.
A program that renders a web page retrieved from either a web server or a local store such as a hard disk drive or flash drive. Some popular browsers are:

Internet Explorer

Regardless of the browser used, it is recommended that the latest version, that is compatible with your operating system, be used. Web Standards are constantly evolving at a rapid pace and functionality, security, and compatiblity dictate keeping the browser current.
The Safari browser is the defacto standard for Apple computers. There is also a version that runs on the PC. [Back to Top]
Content Management System -- a system that allows users to update the content of a website. [Back to Top]
Cascading Style Sheets. Style sheets contain the code that provides the "styling, markup, or appearance" of the content. They are generally separated from the content. Three are three layers of style sheets and the three layers cascade. The external style sheets cascade with internal style sheets (aka embedded style sheets) and then with inline style sheet code. A web page can make reference to any number of style sheets. [Back to Top]
CSS3 (new, July, 2013)
Cascading Style Sheets provide the formatting instructions for web browsers; including fonts, colors, text size, and placement. The Style Sheet is generally in a separate file (a .css file) from the content that is provided in the HTML5 document file (a .html) file.[Back to Top]
Refers to what a search engine does when it reads and indexes a Web site.[Back to Top]
Device detection (new, July, 2013)
Determining the characteristics, or attributes, of a device that accesses a website. Screen size, resolution, input capabilities, and geo-location capabilities can be used to tailor the output the website sends to a device to best utilize its capabilities. See also Responsive Web Design. [Back to Top]
Domain name
An Internet address expressed in letters rather than numbers usually reflecting the name of the business represented by the web site. A Domain Name Server translates the name into a numeric address of the form 999.999.999.999 (see IP Address). [Back to Top]
Gaming the search engines
See SEO Black Hat. [Back to Top]
Home page
The first web page that appears when a viewer visits a web site. It is generally named index.htm, but can also be default.htm. The file name extension html is an alias for htm. [Back to Top]
See web hosting. [Back to Top]
HTML5 (new, July, 2013)
The fifth, and current version (2013), of the HyperText Markup Language. HTML5 makes extensive use of both CSS3 and JavaScript to deliver dynamic web pages with less coding and development than previously required. It is also more SEO friendly than previous versions. [Back to Top]
An element, either text or graphic, on a web page that users can click to display another location on the same page -- or else another web page. Text links are usually underlined and are generally either blue (unvisited) or magenta (visited). [Back to Top]
IP Address
An assigned series of numbers, separated by periods, that designate an address on the Internet. An example is [Back to Top]
ISP (Internet Service Provider)
A hosting company that provides web hosting and connections to the Internet. [Back to Top]
Media query (new, July, 2013)
CSS3 allows web developers to define a media type such as screen or print, and tailor the formatting of the content by specifying attributes such as width, height, and orientation. A media query combines a media type and a condition to specify how web content will appear on a particular receiving device. [Back to Top]
Meta tags
HTML Elements (aka HTML Tags) are used to describe an HTML page rather than being used to render an HTML page. A concise list of keywords, along with a page description and author information, is commonly contained within meta tags. [Back to Top]
Native app (new, July, 2013)
A software application developed specifically to run on the architecture of a particular mobile device. The Native App is generally acquired through a central distribution website such as the Apple’s “App Store”. Some Native Apps are free while others must be purchased. Updates are generally free.[Back to Top]
One web (new, July, 2013)
The concept that one website should work on different devices regardless of screen size, resolution, and other attributes. Responsive Web Design is the primary design approach currently being used (2013) for the “One web” approach to website design. CSS3 and JavaScript provide the tools required to produce a “One web” design. [Back to Top]
Optimized content (new, July, 2013)
Content optimized to render well on multiple devices of different screen sizes and resolutions. [Back to Top]
Organic or natural search
Results are unpaid listings on a search result page. [Back to Top]
Organic SEO
Using SEO techniques that will appear natural, and un-contrived, to the search engines. Associated with White Hat SEO. [Back to Top]
Same as Web Page and HTML Page. A file containing the HTML Code, including styling code, that is used to render a complete unit of information in a browser window; with the unit of information commonly consisting of both text and images.

A Page may also contain program code in the form of JavaScript. As an alternative, a Page can link to separate files containing Javascript and styling code and such linking is often the best practice. For one thing, JavaScript and Styling Code is not indexed by the search engines. [Back to Top]
The smallest unit of a graphic image. The physical size of a pixel varies depending upon the device being used to render the image.

For example, the most common window size of a web page is 1024 x 768 pixels, but the physical size is much smaller on a mobile device than on a desktop computer. Divide the number of pixels by the physical size to get the pixels/inch or PPI. The comparable unit for printing is dots per inch or DPI. Some experts might say that a pixel has no size. What they really mean is that the size of a pixel varies depending upon the rendering device.

The print equivalent of a pixel is a dot. So, PPI (pixels per inch) is closely related to DPI (dots per inch). Offset printers generally want a design at 300 PPI -- and it will generally be converted to 150 lines per inch for printing. [Back to Top]
Publish a web site
To make a web site available for viewing on the Internet. [Back to Top]
QR (Quick Response) Code
A two-dimensional barcode originally designed for the automobile industry in Japan. Provides much more information than a traditional barcode; including alphanumeric and binary code. As of 2013, Android mobile devices include native support for QR codes but Apple (iOS) devices require a third-party App. [Back to Top]
RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks)
A standard for connecting multiple disks to a server for higher security, speed and performance. Can provide real-time data redundancy; writing to two separate disks concurrently. [Back to Top]
Responsive web design (new, July, 2013)
A website that responds to the device that accesses it and delivers the appropriate output for it uses responsive design. Rather than designing multiple sites for different-sized devices, this approach designs one site but specifies how it should appear on varied devices. [Back to Top]
Robots (aka Spiders)
Software that search engines use to crawl a website to collect information for the search directories. Sometimes called spiders. A well designed website will facilitate this process with well written content, structure, and meta tags. [Back to Top]
Search Engine Optimization -- employing techniques to improve the placement of webpages, or websites, in the search engine results pages (SERP's). Attempting to 'game' the search engines and employing "Black Hat" SEO techniques can result in penalties and even de-listing of a website by the search engines. See also SEO White Hat and SEO Black Hat. [Back to Top]
SEO Black Hat
Uses tactics specifically designed to improve search rankings and fool the search engines into providing a higher ranking than a Web site should actually receive according to that search engine's algorithms.

As the search engine robots and spiders have been more sophisticated, it has become increasing difficult to 'game' or try to fool the search engines. In many cases, it can be self-defeating because of penalties and potential de-listing. [Back to Top]
SEO Techniques
Techniques used to enhance search engine results. They include, but are not limited to, finding suitable keywords and keyword phases, producing good content, ensuring good navigation, ensuring valid HTML and CSS code, proper use of the Meta Tags on each page. [Back to Top]
SEO Tuning
Taking into consideration good SEO techniques in the initial design of a website. Effective SEO requires on-going, or periodic reviews, along with modifications as needed. However, it is very cost effecive to incorporate good SEO practices in the initial design and development of a website. [Back to Top]
SEO White Hat
Employs best practices to make a web site highly acceptable to both visitors and search engines. Unlike the SEO Black Hat, the SEO White Hat does not engage in "tricks" and "unsavory tactics" to improve search engine rankings. Such tricks and tactics can sometimes provide short term benefits at the risk of incurring long term costs. [Back to Top]
Search Engine Results Pages -- the pages returned when a web user does a search with a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. [Back to Top]
SERP (Search engine ranking pages)
Are the result pages you see when you complete a search on a major search engine. [Back to Top]
Server-side scripting
Software used to process information obtained from a web client (the end user). Information can be stored in a database and then later summarized, analyzed, and reported. [Back to Top]
see Robots. [Back to Top]
Sticky content
Content that makes a visitor want to stick around -- and return again once they leave. If you get a visitor to bookmark your website, then you have sticky content. [Back to Top]
Uniform Resource Locator. Also known as web address, is a text string that represents a reference to a web based or local resource. An example of a URL is "".

For an example of a local resource, type "C:\" into the Address Window of a web browser, and you will see the root directory of Drive C. Typing "C:\WINDOWS" will show the subdirectories and files in the WINDOWS directory.

Conversely, you can type a web URL into the Address Window of Windows Exployer and it will open a web browser and load the referenced web page. [Back to Top]
The World Wide Web Consortium. The international standards organization (ISO) for all HTML and CSS coding. History of the W3C. HTML Validation Service. W3C Schools. [Back to Top]
W3C CSS Validation Service
A CSS Validation Service provided by The World Wide Web Consortium. Valid CSS code is important for both search engine placement and cross-browser compability.

To test any web page for valid CSS code, go to CSS Validation Service and enter the URL into the "Address:" field and then click "Check:". This test is for a single page, so enter a URL that points to a particular page. For example the page for directions might be: Any HTML file should contain embedded CSS to be validated by this service. CSS Validation Service [Back to Top]
W3C HTML Validation Service
An HTML Validation Service provided by The World Wide Web Consortium. Valid HTML code is important for both search engine placement and cross-browser compability.

To test any web page for valid HTML code, go to HTML Validation Service and enter the URL into the "Address:" field and then click "Check:". This test is for a single page, so enter a URL for each page. For example, the page for directions might be: HTML Validation Service [Back to Top]
Web App (new, July, 2013)
Any application that uses a web browser as the interface. The most common Web Apps would probably be webmail. Other examples include office software (word processors, online spreadsheets, presentation tools and even more advanced applications such as project management, sales management, computer-aided design, photo editing and video editing.[Back to Top]
Web Hosting
Renting the hardware needed to store your web site. Hosting companies generally provide redundant sources of electricity, cooling, and Internet connections with 24/7/365 monitoring and technical support.

While hardware failures are rare, a hosting company will usually have extra severs on stand-by that can be put into service in a matter of seconds if any server fails. The disk storage is a RAID that provides dual imaging (real-time redundancy). Uptime generally exceeds 99 percent. A web site generally consists of web pages (the HTML), email addresses, and one or more databases. Server side scripting allows for programming and dynamic, interactive, web sites. A server can be next door or on the other side of the country will no noticeable difference in response times. [Back to Top]
Web hosting can be either dedicated or shared. Dedicated means that you rent the entire server (sort of like renting the entire aircraft) while shared hosting is like renting a seat on the aircraft – you will be sharing the server with others. Only companies will a large volume of data and transactions (like order processing) need dedicated servers. An operation like Facebook, with 400 million accounts, employs a building full of dedicated servers. [Back to Top]
Web server
A computer dedicated to hosting web sites. A web server is nothing more than a computer being used to serve up data – rather than food. Any desktop PC can be made into a web server with the appropriate software, external hardware, and connections. Maintaining the server software can easily become a full-time job. [Back to Top]
Web site
A group of related web pages that are linked together and share a common interface and design. [Back to Top]
White Hat SEO
see SEO White Hat. [Back to Top]
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