Web design & SEO glossary cheat sheet (for clients!)

Get in touch

Oct. 29, 2020

Some genuinely useful terminology when discussing web projects with clients.

There's plenty of great glossaries out there for web terminology. I wanted to put something together more condensed, and targeted towards the clients of web developers. These are items that are useful for everybody to have an understanding of, whether you are technical or not!

Web design

Responsive - web sites adapt optimally to the device or screen size displaying them.

CMS - Content management system, an easy way to add content (text/images/blog posts) to a site.

Hosting - The physical server(s) where your website is stored. Not to be confused with the domain name (e.g. website.com).

Domain - A domain name is the name of the website. Often you buy this through the same company as your hosting, but it can also be different.

CTA - Call To Action. What you want someone to click/do on your site.

Below the fold - Anything below what you see on the screen when it first loads.

Bounce rate - The ratio of people that leave your site without clicking on anything.

URL - A website address (‘uniform resource indicator’).

Sitemap - Can be two things: 1) an ‘XML’ Sitemap, which is submitted to Google to tell it what pages on your site it should look at. Alternatively, 2) a visual indication of the pages on your side in a single view, similar to the contents page of a book.
Landing Page - Any page that a user arrives at a site on, often customised specifically for a particular target audience or ad campaign.

Sticky Elements - Things that stay in one place on your screen when a screen is scrolled. It’s common for the top navigation and/or CTA to be ‘sticky’.

Breakpoints - Part of responsive design - The screen widths at which explicit changes to your website’s design happen.

Stock - often photos, but can be videos, illustrations, music, etc., that are obtained from a company that specialises in producing them for others to use. Can be free or paid.

Header - An invisible section of the site that loads specific code (think analytics, special fonts or behaviours)

SEO image

SEO & Search

Search Engine Optimisation. Improving where you show up in search (Google):

  • Internal linking - Helps google understand the relationship between your pages. Crucially, it helps you define what you think is important.
  • Backlinks - When another website links to yours. Google interprets this as a vote of confidence for your site. As you can imagine, more votes, especially from other highly regarded sites, is a good thing.
    • Do-follow / No-follow - The former is a ‘vote’ for your site. The latter is not; all social media links are no-follow. However do not see these as bad, they still drive traffic to your site (which can result in more dofollow links)!
  • SERP - Search Engine Results Page - what Google shows you once you’ve searched for something.
  • Keywords - Terms/phrases that users type into Google, which you want to find your website.
  • Long tail - Less generic searches. Less people look for them but can be powerful if you target them.
  • Black hat vs White hat - Often underhand, unfavourable short term techniques vs recommended long term strategies for improving search rankings.
  • Blacklisting - when Google removes your site. This can be due to a detected security flat, or ongoing use of black hat SEO techniques.
  • Indexing/crawling - Google uses ‘spiders’/‘robots’/‘bots’ to constantly ‘crawl’ the Internet, analysing pages for their searching.

Return to blog

Let's start the conversation

Totally bespoke for you

No matter where you are on your digital lifecycle, we will listen and take you to the next step. We can provide you with bespoke photography, illustration, animation, video or custom music production.

Maso Design - website development lifecycle