Search Engine Glossary - Search Engine Terminology You should Know
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Search Engine Glossary - Search Engine Terminology You should Know
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Here is an ever growing list of search engine terms you should know. The search engine gloassary has been organized alphabetically. If you would like to add a term to the list please email us at

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E - Search Terms

Entry Page
See Gateway Page.

A search engine which concentrates on information relating to Europe. The URL is

Regarded as one of the best search engines, with an index of 55 million pages. It can be slow to index new sites. The URL is Sites using frames must have a NOFRAMES section in order to be listed. Some spamming has been noticed. Excite previously ignored the DESCRIPTION meta tag, but is now using this in its listings (although the contents do not affect relevancy, which is based mainly on the title and body text). The use of gateway pages and hidden text is allowed. Excite has an audio/video search facility which is a branded component of RealNetworks' RealPlayer G2.

F - Search Terms

Fake Copy Listings
Sometimes a malicious company will steal a web page or the entire contents of a web site, re-publish at a different URL and register with one or more search engines. This can cause a loss of traffic from the original site if the search engines position the copy higher in the listings. If you find that someone has stolen your site in this way, write to the company concerned and ask them to remove the stolen content. Also contact the hosting service used by the company, any company that benefits from the theft and any search engine(s) concerned. If the thieves refuse to remove the material or ignore you, obtain legal advice. It is also well worth having printed evidence to support your claim that your copy of the material was there first, and that you have the copyright! See also Mirror Sites.

False Drop
A web page retrieved from a search engine or directory which is not relevant to the query used. This could be for one of the following reasons:

  • The web page contained the keywords entered, but used in the wrong context, with a different meaning or with a different inter-relationship to that expected.
  • The web page is an attempt at spamdexing.
  • The search engine has a fault in its database or a bug in its query program.

Flash Page
See Splash Page.

Font and Background Spoofs
Various techniques used to place invisible text in a web page, to improve positioning without affecting the appearance of the page. These are mostly based on setting the font and background colours to the same value (e.g. white). Most search engines now detect these tricks.

An HTML technique for combining two or more separate HTML documents within a single web browser screen. Compound interacting documents can be created to make a more effective web page presented in multiple windows or sub-windows.

A framed web site often causes great problems for search engines, and may not be indexed correctly. Search engines will often index only the part of a framed site within the <NOFRAMES> section, so make sure that the <NOFRAMES> section includes relevant text which can be indexed by the spiders. If your site uses frames, consider providing a gateway page or adding navigational links within the framed pages. Submit the main page - the one containing the <FRAMESET> tag to the search engines. If you use a gateway page, submit this separately.

G - Search Terms

Gateway Page
A web page submitted to a search engine (spyder) to give the relevance-algorithm of that particular spyder the data it needs, in the format that it needs it, in order to place a site at the proper level of relevance for the topic(s) in question. (This determination of topical relevance is called "placement".)

A gateway page may present information to the spyder, but obscure it from a casual human viewer. The gateway page exists so as to allow a web-site to present one face to the spyder, and another to human viewers. There are several reasons why one might want to do this. One, is that the author may not want to publicly disclose placement tactics. Another is that the format that may be easiest for a given spyder to understand, may not be the format that the author wishes to present to his viewers for aesthetics. Still another may be that the format that is best for one spyder may differ from that which is best for another. By using gateway pages, you can present your site to each spyder in the way which is known or thought to be best for that particular spyder.

Also known as bridge pages, doorway page, entry pages, portals or portal pages.
A portal partnership between Infoseek and Disney, with search capabilities based on the Infoseek index, at

Google Sitemaps
Google Sitemaps is an easy way for you to submit all your URLs to the Google index and get detailed reports about the visibility of your pages on Google. With Google Sitemaps you can automatically keep us informed of all your web pages, and when you make changes to these pages to help improve your coverage in the Google crawl.

With Google Sitemaps you get:

  • Better crawl coverage and fresher search results to help people find more of your web pages.
  • A smarter crawl because you can tell us when a page was last modified or how frequently a page changes.
  • Detailed reports to learn more about how Google directs traffic to your site and how the Googlebot sees your pages.

Salient Marketing can prepare your XML-based Google Sitemap. Call us at 613-266-9812 or email us at for more information.

A search engine, powered by Inktomi, which only returns one URL per domain in its search results. Operates a "pay per click" scheme where websites can pay to increase their relevancy. The URL is now

The name of the Northern Light Search Engine's spider.

H - Search Terms

Many search engines give extra weight and importance to the text found inside HTML heading sections. It is generally considered good advice to use headings when designing web pages and to place keywords inside headings.

Hidden Text
Text on a web page which is visible to search engine spiders but not visible to human visitors. This is sometimes because the text has been set the same colour as the background, because multiple TITLE tags have been used or because the text is an HTML comment. Hidden text is often used for spamdexing. Many search engines can now detect the use of hidden text, and often remove offending pages from their database or lower such pages' positioning.

Text can also be hidden using agent name delivery or IP delivery either to present different text to different search engine spiders or to hide the real HTML source from competitors.

In the context of visitors to web pages, a hit (or site hit) is a single access request made to the server for either a text file or a graphic. If, for example, a web page contains ten buttons constructed from separate images, a single visit from someone using a web browser with graphics switched on (a "page view") will involve eleven hits on the server. (Often the accesses will not get as far as your server because the page will have been cached by a local internet service provider).

In the context of a search engine query, a hit is a measure of the number of web pages matching a query returned by a search engine or directory.

One of the largest search engines, indexing 110 million pages. Powered by Inktomi, new submissions appear to be taking two weeks or longer to appear. The URL is

HyperText Markup Language - the (main) language used to write web pages.

HyperText Transfer Protocol - the (main) protocol used to communicate between web servers and web browsers (clients).

I - Search Terms

Image Map
A set of hyperlinks attached to areas of an image. This may be defined within a web page, or as an external file.

If the image map is defined as an external file, search engines may have problems indexing your other pages, unless you duplicate the links as conventional text hyperlinks.

If the image map is included within the web page, the search engines should have no problem following the links, although it's good practice to provide text links too, to aid the visually impaired and those accessing the web with graphics switched off or using text only browsers.

Inbound Link
A hypertext link to a particular page from elsewhere, bringing traffic to that page. Inbound links are counted to produce a measure of the page popularity. Searches for the inbound links to a page can be made on Altavista, Infoseek and Hotbot.

See Directory. Also refers to the database of web pages maintained by a search engine or directory.

A meta search engine. Found at

One of the largest search engines. New sites are normally added very quickly, within one or two business days. The URL is Infoseek is one of the few search engines to treat singular and plural forms as the same word. Very sensitive to page popularity in its positioning algorithm.

The database used by some of the largest search engines, including Hotbot. Inktomi is also used by Yahoo when no matches are found in Yahoo's own database.

IP Delivery
Similar to agent name delivery, this technique presents different content depending on the IP address of the client. It is very difficult to view pages hidden using this technique, because the real page is only visible if your IP address is the same as (for example) a search engine's spider.

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