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Search Engine Lingo

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Updated March 29, 2006

The world of search has its own specialized language that can be intimidating at times, but these glossaries offer definitions and examples that will get you speaking the lingo in no time.

If you've ever visited sites that offer in-depth information about search engines, you may have found yourself baffled by Boolean or stumped by SERPs, or simply scratching your head over the meanings of countless seemingly esoteric words used by search professionals.

Fortunately, there are a number of high-quality glossaries that offer definitions of these specialized terms, ranging from basic descriptions for non-technical readers, all the way through advanced lexicons primarily designed for professionals.

No matter what your skill or interest level, spending some time with these glossaries is both interesting in and of itself, but will also help you come to a better understanding of the essential tools we use to navigate our way around the web.

Essential Search Engine Lingo

Search Engine Glossary
http://searchenginewatch.com/facts/glossary.html
This glossary from Search Engine Watch provides is a basic overview of terminology. It's a good place to start if you're unfamiliar with search engine terms and concepts, written in a relatively non-technical format.

Search Engine Showdown Glossary
http://www.searchengineshowdown.com/glossary.html
More advanced definitions of search engine terms from search guru Greg Notess, designed to illuminate the in-depth reviews, evaluations and articles about the technology featured on the Search Engine Showdown site.

Glossary of Internet & Web Jargon
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Glossary.html
This glossary from the U.C. Berkeley Teaching Library includes definitions for web and net terminology searchers invariably encounter while surfing the web. Helpful for getting a much broader understanding

More Technically Oriented Search Engine Glossaries

Search Engine Terms
http://www.cadenza.org/search_engine_terms/
This glossary was created by and for the members of the I-Search discussion list, geared toward webmasters and search engine marketing specialists who want to understanding how to get higher listings in search engine rankings. It's a multi-lingual glossary, available in six European languages other than English.

Search Terms Glossary
http://www.searchtools.com/info/glossary.html
This glossary is a companion to the Search Tools web site, which focuses more on the world of local web site search technology rather than the global web search engines. It offers detailed definitions that are often cross-linked to each other, with abundant examples that illustrate key concepts.

Modern Information Retrieval Glossary
http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/~hearst/irbook/glossary.html
This glossary is from the textbook "Modern Information Retrieval" by Ricardo Baeza-Yates and Berthier Ribeiro-Neto. It's comprehensive, but highly academically oriented, though offering the additional bonus of links to other companion resources for the textbook.

Search Engine Forums Spotlight

Finding lost friend's email address
Free Pint Bar
http://www.freepint.com/bar/read.php?i=21495
"Does anyone know a good way to find old friends emails?"

SEO and cost effectiveness
Webmaster World Forums
http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum5/1654.htm
"Monitoring logs is also another important part of maintenance. There's a gold mine in those logs and you need to know how to capitalize on the statistics."

Froogle: Google's shopping engine goes live
Webmaster World Forums
http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/7646.htm
"We're always looking for new ways to organize the world's information--this is a great way to explore new ways of processing data on the web."

Froogle?
Search Engine Forums at JimWorld
http://www.searchengineforums.com/Forum28/HTML/005450.html
"Froogle can be a big help in getting out to the viewing public pages that are normally not indexed because they are dynamically generated from a database."

IP based domain names VS. virtual hosting accounts
Cre8asite Forums
http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=543
"Is there a difference to the SE's between a site that is hosted on a web server with its own assigned IP address, and one that may be on a host running a virtual hosting situation (where there may be many domain names associated with a single IP address)?"

Alexa Toolbar
Webmaster World Forums
http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum10/1573.htm
"The search feature of the toolbar is powered by Google and can be installed at the same time as the Google bar. I think the traffic figure is better at determining site quality than Google's PageRank. But taken together, it is a powerful syntheses of data available while surfing."

Link Titles - do they influence search engines?
ihelpyou Forums
http://www.ihelpyouservices.com/forums/t5896/
"Link titles are not used as 'standard' on many sites, and although they can be useful for actual visitors to a site, are they worth anything with regards to SEO?"

Inktomi Paid Inclusion
Cre8asite Forums
http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=535
"Say I list myself in Inktomi using the paid inclusion, will some spider follow the sitemap link I have and list all my other site pages or will I have to pay another inclusion fee for listing all my other pages?"

Search Engine Forums Spotlight courtesy Search Engine Guide.

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NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

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