Glossary

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Algorithms:

A search engine algorithm is a complex formula used by a search engine to determine the rank, or position, of a web page within its listings. Although the algorithm formulas are unknown and are kept secret, most search engines follow roughly the same formula of 'quality content, link popularity and keyword density = high position'.

Bandwidth:

Bandwidth, when associated with website hosting, is the amount of traffic that is allowed to take place between a hosted website and a user viewing and downloading information from the site.

It is measured in Gigabytes (GB), and is typically calculated on a monthly basis by hosting companies.

Black hat SEO:

Black hat SEO is the process of optimising a webpage by using various techniques which usually try to deceive, or are not permitted, by the search engines.

An example of black hat SEO is to add numerous keywords to the bottom of a page but set the font colour the same as the background. The idea behind this is to 'hide' the irrelevant text but trick the search engine into believing the page is more relevant for that particular keyword. This very dated technique will likely lead to a drop in the rankings (or worse a blacklisting) as the search engine spiders can now easily discover this technique.

See also: White hat SEO

Domain:

A domain is a name (e.g. fourwestmedia.com) that classifies a computer on the internet. Every computer has a unique numeric address. Alphabetical names are far easier to remember so the numeric address is translated into an easily identifiable name.

A domain name is bought and registered - usually for a period of one to two years, and each name must be unique. Once a domain name is set up, many URLs (web pages and documents) can be created within this domain (e.g. fourwestmedia.com/glossary).

404 file not found error page:

If you click a link or type a web address into your browser that does not exist within that domain (e.g. fourwestmedia.com/no-page-here), an error page is displayed. This can be a default 404 error page used by your web browser or a customised page; with a link to your home page, site map and other useful information.

If a webpage is moved or the name is changed, any external links to this page (including those in search engines) will still be directed to the old page until the link is updated - a '404 file not found' page is useful so that a viewer does not navigate away from the error page believing there is a problem with entire website.

Hosting:

See: Website hosting

HTML:

HTML, which stands for Hypertext Markup Language, is the web's principal coding language. HTML tags, or labels, are 'wrapped' around the text within a document to format it in a particular style. A web browser reads the tags and displays the text in the specified style.

PageRank:

PageRank is Google's technique of calculating how important it believes a page is. Google uses an algorithm to calculate various factors and then assigns the page a rank of between one and ten. If a rank is yet to be assigned, 'No PageRank information available' is shown.

The PageRank value is largely determined by the inbound links to the page in question, with the importance of the links being a much greater factor than the amount of links to the page (the importance being determined by PageRank).

The PageRank of a webpage is one of many factors used by Google in determining how well the page is ranked in its SERPs.

POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3):

POP3 is a protocol used for retrieving e-mail on a local e-mail client (such as Outlook) from a remote mail server.

Search engine optimisation (SEO):

Search engine optimisation is the process of developing website pages to improve and enhance their position in a search engine results page.

SERP (Search engine results page):

A list of links to websites shown by a search engine after a user has entered a search query. Results can be grouped into categories such as web, images or local and are ranked by the search engine as to the relevancy to the search query.

Site map:

A site map (or sitemap) is a page on a website which has links to all of the important pages within the site.

A well structured site map gives a viewer an accessible alternative without the need to navigate through multi-level menus. Site maps are also a valuable asset in allowing search engines to index all of the pages within a site.

URL (Uniform resource locator):

A URL is a web address which can be typed into the address bar of a web browser.

Webmail:

Webmail is a service which allows a user to access their e-mail from any online computer via a web browser. E-mail can be sent and received from here without the need for an e-mail client, such as Outlook.

Website hosting:

Once a website has been created and a domain name chosen, the next step is to upload the website files to a web server to 'host', giving the World Wide Web (www) access to the site.

Web servers can be built and configured for use at a 'home' address but, depending on the user's knowledge, whether their ISP allows website hosting and the bandwidth demands of the website, it is usually easier to open an account with a web host provider. The account gives the user a variety of services and options including a set amount of disk space to use, an amount of bandwidth per month and many other options via pre-installed applications.

White hat SEO:

White hat SEO is a term used to describe website pages which conform to search engine guidelines of quality content pages, correctly coded html and do not use misleading techniques to improve search engine rankings.

See also: Black hat SEO

WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get):

WYSIWYG (pronounced wiziwig) is a term used to describe an application which allows the user to easily make adjustments to a document, such as a web based html file, without the need to edit its code.

Programs, such as Dreamweaver or FrontPage (now Expression Web), typically show the document as it will be viewed in a web browser and adjustments are made from this window by the user.

WYSIWYG applications are a useful tool for learning how to create a webpage but many professional developers prefer to compile and edit the code themselves in a text editor, such as Notepad or UltraEdit.