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SEO Acronyms | The 100 Most Important to Learn Now

Step into any SEO office and you’re gonna hear a lot of people talking in code it seems. The SEO world is made up of hundreds of acronyms because apparently we like…

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seo acronyms

Step into any SEO office and you’re gonna hear a lot of people talking in code it seems. The SEO world is made up of hundreds of acronyms because apparently we like to save a lot of time talking so we can get more done. Who knows? I mean, SEO itself is an acronym, so it makes sense.

We’ve already shared a long list of business jargon that can help you blend in with the pros, or bring some extra flair to your office. Now, we’re going to list another 100 SEO acronyms for you to learn so you can better understand your SEO provider or just to save a little time saying things like search engine optimization. Everything from technical work to on-page SEO has phrases that are just much easier to say as an acronym, but if you don’t know the lingo it can be hard to follow along. Let’s get to it.

seo acronyms

Table of Contents

AJAX – Asynchronous Javascript and XML

A technique used by web developers to produce web applications using CSS, XML, etc. and tie it all together using Javascript.

API – Application Program Interface

An API is essentially the middleman between an application and the server that makes everything work. It basically exchanges data between two points so that applications can talk to each other. For example, if you are ordering food for delivery via Door Dash, an API will communicate the data you entered into Door Dash, and communicate that to the restaurant, then back to you with a confirmation you can order the food you want.

B2B – Business to Business

Business to business is a transaction between businesses, rather than a business to a consumer. For example, car manufacturers are selling to dealerships, not straight to consumers.

B2C – Business to Consumer

Business to consumer is a transaction between a business and its consumer. For example, a car dealership selling cars to customers.

BL – Backlink

A backlink is a link from one website to another. Often called inbound links, if you were to source a website in a piece of content, you would be giving them a backlink, and vice versa.

BR – Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is something used during web traffic analysis. Bounce rate measures how many people enter a site, but then leave without doing anything else or viewing any other pages. Depending on your website, a good bounce rate is generally anything under 40%.

CAPTCHA – Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart

We’ve likely all seen a CAPTCHA where we had to prove we are human by entering in some odd words or find all the streetlights in a blurry photo in order to enter a webpage. CAPTCHA is used to protect websites from bots, spam, and automatic data pulls. It keeps information and websites safe.


CGI – Common Gateway Interface (Not to be confused with Computer-Generated Imagery used in film making)

Similar to API, CGI is a standard process of running computer programs from a server. It acts as the middleman between a program and the web server, ensuring data is seamlessly exchanged between the two.

CLV – Customer Lifetime Value

The lifetime value of a customer is the worth a customer has to your business throughout the duration of your relationship. Determining CLV can help with customer retention and strategizing customer acquisition. It’s critical to businesses where it’s far more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain an existing customer.

CMS – Content Management System

A content management system is just that, a software application (like WordPress or Drupal) that is used to create, modify, and manage digital content for a webpage or e-commerce site.

COA – Cost of Acquisition

The cost of acquisition is how much it costs to acquire a customer. This is often related to CLVs and includes marketing costs and other amounts incurred by acquiring a new client or asset.

CPA – Cost Per Acquisition

Also called cost per action, cost per acquisition measures an average or aggregate cost it takes to acquire one customer. This number comes in handy for budgeting and marketing strategy.

CPC – Cost Per Click

CPC is the total amount you pay for each click during a PPC ad campaign.

CPL – Cost Per Lead

Cost per lead is different than CPA in that it is more so used by the marketing team to help them determine a proper marketing budget and know the proper amount to spend on a lead—particularly when it comes to PPC.

CPO – Cost Per Order

Simply put, the cost per order is marketing costs divided by the number of orders. This is more often used in e-commerce where ads convert to product purchases, not customer acquisition.

CPV – Cost Per View

Similar to cost per click, cost per view only applies to video marketing. Rather than a paid click, the cost is determined when a viewer watches a video ad for a certain amount of time, often 30 seconds or more.

CR – Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is the percentage of customers that take action after visiting a website or application. For example, the percentage of customers who visit a website and make a purchase. This is averaged with customers who visit the website and never convert to a purchase.

CRM – Customer Relationship Management

CRMs make everyone’s life easier. A customer relationship management system allows businesses to manage all data and communication associated with customers and business relationships.

CRO – Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization is the process of improving or attempting to improve, the conversion rate on a webpage. Optimization actions may include adding more submission forms or making the site easier to navigate.

CSE – Custom Search Engine

A customer search engine allows web sites to host a custom search box and search results on their website. It is programmable via Google and can be defined to give certain pages for certain results.

CTA – Call to Action

A call to action is what triggers a potential customer to take the next step towards a sale. Whether it be filling out a contact form, or adding an item to their cart. A good call to action in a blog post or landing page leads to a customer reaching out for more information or makes a sale.

CTR – Click Through Rate

Often used to determine the success of an online ad, CTR is the ratio of users who click a link vs the number of users who simply view the page, ad, or email.

CX – Customer Experience

Customer experience is the totality of a customer’s experience or journey with a business. It includes every interaction they have with a business or product. Customer experience is measured throughout the lifetime of their relationship and is very important for customer retention.

DFO – Data Feed Optimization

A data feed contains all of the information about your products or services within a business. It may be something that is uploaded manually or automatically runs. Optimizing a data feed would mean improving upon the data within the feed to boost sales or positive interaction from customers.

DMP – Data Management Platform

A data management platform collects and organizes audience data from sources online offline, mobile, etc. It assists in data-driven marketing solutions and strategy by pulling important customer insights.

DNS – Domain Name System

A domain name system, simply put, tracks and regulates domain names and addresses.

DR – Direct Response

Direct response advertisements intend to get a quick, direct response from the prospect. They are meant to quickly generate leads and may say something like download now, or have a call button, and their immediate response is sent.

DRPs – Directory Submissions

Directory submissions are the process of submitting website URLs into business or other online directories. It helps categorize websites into their proper categories and build backlinks.

DSRP – Direct Search Results Page

Contrary to SERPs (search engine results pages), a DSRP is the result of users landing directly on your website from a direct link.

ESP – Email Service Provider

This one is very straight forward. A company that offers email marketing and bulk email services would be an email service provider.

FCP – Frequently Cached Page

Pages on a website are cached every few days or weeks, which essentially means updated. FCPs are those who are cached the most, and are highly valued by SEOs wanting to build links to or from those pages.

FTP – File Transfer Protocol

Chances are you are using an FTP every day at work and not even know it. An FTP transfers files back and forth over the internet between a computer/program and a server. FileZilla and Firefox are two commonly used FTPs.

G+ – Google Plus

Google Plus was once a social network that was owned and operated by Google. Although it is no longer available to regular consumers for personal use, it can still be used by businesses to communicate via a Google-based social media platform.

GSC – Google Search Console

Google Search Console is an SEO’s best friend. It is a FREE service from Google that monitor’s website traffic, search results, backlinks, technical errors, and more.

GUI – Graphical User Interface

A graphical user interface is a dashboard of sorts that contains interactive icons (think Microsoft Windows 10 or the LaunchPad on Macs). It’s a fun way to display apps and links in a much more aesthetically pleasing view over links and buttons.

H1 – Level 1 Heading Markup

In APA style writing, the structure is made up of main and subheadings. Heading 1 is the biggest, most top heading of the piece. The H1 is generally the title.

H2 – Level 2 Heading Markup

H2 is the next subheading below H1. It will usually make up the main headers for your content piece.

H3 – Level 3 Heading Markup

H3 can group headers underneath your H2.

H4 – Level 4 Heading Markup

H4 are even smaller, less important headers under H3.

H5 – Level 5 Heading Markup

H5 are rarely used, but if you must use any even lesser header, utilize H5s.

HREF – Hypertext Reference

HREF stands for Hypertext Reference which is the HTML code that is used to create a link to another page. It identifies sections within a document and is an attribute of the anchor tag.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language

HTML is a broadly used term, not necessarily only used by SEO specialists. It refers to the language, or code, that tags text files to specify colors, graphics, fonts, hyperlinks, and more specific effects on webpages.

HTTP – Hypertext Transfer Protocol

The HTTP establishes the connection between the server and the webpages so users can view them.

HTTPS – Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure

HTTPS is the same as HTTP, but with increased security during the data transfer between the browser and website.

IBL – Inbound Link

An inbound link is a link TO your website from somewhere outside of your website. You can gain these using content marketing, publishing infographics online, asking suppliers to link to you, etc.

IFTTT – If This Than That

IFTTT is an effective tool in SEO strategy that basically applies a set of rules to processes. If a customer takes action on one device, it will automatically trigger another action to take place.

IP – Internet Protocol

Every device that connects to the internet will have a series of numbers assigned to it that make up the IP address. IP addresses are useful for hosting and identifying networks or locations of devices on the internet.

ISP – Internet Service Providers

Internet service providers are just that—companies who provider internet service. Those companies include Xfinity, Century Link, Verizon, AT&T Fiber internet, etc.

JGI – Just Google It

This is not a commonly used acronym, but it’s still funny that it exists. If a coworker asks you a question you don’t know, or that they should know, tell them to JGI.

LB – Link Building

Link building is the act of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites and linking them to your own. It broadens your web presence and makes it easier for users to navigate between pages.

LPO – Landing Page Optimization

Landing page optimization is one of the main roles of an SEO specialist. They dedicate a lot of time to continuing to improve elements on a website, including landing pages and content, with the intention to increase conversions.

LSA – Latent Semantic Analysis

Latent semantic analysis is a method of extracting the meaning of a paragraph or piece of content using contextual words and phrases.

LSEO – Local SEO

Local SEO is a much more granular area of SEO marketing, in that instead of focusing on national or global outreach, you intentionally try to compete against local companies in your industry. You focus on “getting on the map” when people search you locally. This could include utilizing local city keywords and things like that.

LSI – Latent Semantic Indexing

LSI is used by search engines to analyze and determine how different terms in different content can work together to mean the same thing. It essentially finds similarities between keywords and phrases that, although not the same, are synonymous with each other.

LTV – Lifetime Value

Lifetime value is how much money a customer will be worth throughout their lifecycle (time spent with your business or service).

MCP – Moderately Cached Page

Sites are cached regularly, which essentially takes a snapshot of what the site looks like at that moment. A moderately cached page will update a decent amount of times, so updates may not happen immediately but will happen quite frequently.

MQL – Marketing Qualified Lead

A marketing qualified lead is one that has interacted with your business via marketing efforts like paid ads or downloading forms from your site. They may be more likely to convert because they found you and weren’t a lead based on outbound efforts.

MTO – Meta Tags Optimization

Meta tags are small bits of content that give a summary of what the article or page is about and display on search results pages.

NAP – Name Address Phone Number

To accurately rank in local organic results, your SEO specialist will likely ask you for your NAP, and ask that any time your name, address, or phone number change, you let them know right away. Then they can update your NAP across all platforms.

NSEO – Negative SEO

Negative SEO referees to unethical techniques like sabotaging competitors. This may be hacking, sending spam links, or other bad tactics to hurt the competition. Watch out for NSEO techniques.

OBL – Outbound Link

Outbound links are a link that directs to an outside resource or website that isn’t yours. It’s often used in content to cite sources or build links.

ORM – Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management is like having a public relations manager for your online presence. You want to maintain a good reputation and appearance to viewers online. So ORM requires responding to anything that could damage or diminish your online reputation. It keeps your business in good standing.

OS – Operating System

OS is a pretty generic technical term across any industry. If you use a computer, you are using an operating system every day. It’s just the system that supports all basic functions of your computer, and what you need to update to keep your phone or other device running smoothly.

OSE – Open Site Explorer

OSE is essentially a search engine that finds and tracks all links leading to your website. It’s a very handy SEO tool.

OWBL – One Way Back Link

A one-way backlink is going to be an inbound link from another site, but you do not link back to them.

P4P – Paid For Placement

P4P is an advertising model that pairs relevant ads with relevant search results, thus paying for the placement based on certain stipulations and search results.

PBN – Private Blog Network

A PBN is kind of a sketchy marketing tactic in that it’s a blog that is protected with a password and thus can restrict access. It can be considered a no-no to attempt to link build to a PBN.

PDF – Portable Document Format

A file format that is inclusive of all devices, platforms, and servers. A PDF can be opened on any type of computer or file system.

PFI – Pay For Inclusion

Paid inclusion is when a search engine company charges a fee per inclusion within a website’s search index

PFL – Pay For Listings

A form of search engine advertising that pays for each listing of a service or product.

PFP – Pay For Performance

PFP in SEO is also termed performance-based SEO in which a client would only pay for SEO services once they start seeing results. These results would indicate growth in rankings, traffic, and/or revenue for the company.

PHP – Hypertext Preprocessor

PHP is an HTML-embedded script on the web. It gets read by the server.

PPC – Pay Per Click

PPC is a form of online advertising where the advertiser will pay the publisher based on how many times the ad is clicked.


PPCSE – Pay Per Click Search Engine

PPCSE help manage your pay per click advertising. Common PPCSEs are Google AdWords, Overture, and Espotting.

PPL – Pay Per Lead

Also called cost per action, pay per lead is when paid online ads will be paid based on the number of leads that convert from that ad.

PPS – Pay Per Sale

Pay per sale is when paid online ads will be paid based on the numbers of sales directly generated from that ad.

PR – Page Rank

PR can mean press release, but in SEO it’s also used to signify page rank. Page rank is determined via an algorithm on Google to rank web pages based on their search results.

PV – Pageviews

Pageviews definition is pretty obvious—it’s how many times a user has visited/viewed your particular page.

QA – Quality Assurance

Anyone who providers a product or a service needs to do quality assurance to make sure a proper level of quality is maintained in every single product and every single service provided. Quality assurance maintains consistency and ensures the same results every time.

QS – Quality Score

Quality score is used by search engines like Google to determine ad rank and cost per click on advertisements.

RFI – Request For Information

The purpose of an RFI is to collect information from suppliers in order to make a decision or take next steps.

ROI – Return on Investment

ROI is a relatively basic acronym that is used across many businesses, industries, or just any financial investment in general. A good return on investment allows you to spend money now, but make it up later on thanks to more business or other financial ways. Like investing in new floors in your home, but being able to sell it for more later will get you your money back plus some, which is a high ROI.

ROS – Run of Site

Run of site means that any paid ads or banners you want on a site can be published on any page or placement. It can usually cost less if advertisers are not picky about where and when the ads display on the site.

RSS – Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary

An RSS feed is an XML-based format to share and distribute content from your favorite websites, which you can subscribe to for alerts.

RTD – Real-Time Data

Real-time data is data that is shared immediately after it is collected. RTD is often displayed in dashboards and live displays.

SaaS – Software as a Service

Software as a service is a branch of cloud computing where a service is centrally hosted but offered to users on a subscription basis.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing occurs with PPC and paid search marketing in that is it search engine optimization that increases website visibility by paid ads on search engines, rather than a focus on organic marketing.

SEOs – Search Engine Optimization Performance

SEOs will measure and report your performance as it relates to your search results, organic traffic, etc. based on their SEO efforts.

SEP – Search Engine Positioning

SEP is the practice of continual optimization of web pages and content in an attempt to show higher in search results based on keywords.

SERM – Search Engine Results Management

SERM is the managing of these search engine results with SEO services and actions to increase search results for a client.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page

In SEO, one of the main goals is to get clients to show higher in Google results which is where SERPs come in. When you Google something, the search engine results pages are what gets served back to you. The first few pages are the highest results, and the first page is where you want to be because it’s likely people will click from the first page before clicking to any other one.

SLA – Service Level Agreement

A service level agreement will clearly define and structure what you can expect of your SEO team and services. It is like a contract that both parties will agree upon and clearly lay out expectations.

SQL – Sales Qualified Lead

An SQL, in comparison to an MQL, is a lead that comes that has been deemed appropriate for the sales team to contact and close the sale. They still require some one-on-one time with the salesperson to answer questions and vet them for a sale.

SWL – Site-Wide Link

SWLs are outbound links that lie within headers, footers, or sidebars so that they show in more than one place on the site.

TSETSB – The Search Engine That Spam Built

Used within the SEO community as another name for Google.

TTF – Topical Trust Flow

Topical trust flow is how trustworthy a website or URL is within its niche (or topic). The more referring domains to that URL, the more authoritative that URL becomes.

UI – User Interface

The user interface is a fancy industry term that refers to the place where humans and machines interact. i.e. webpage, mobile app, etc.

URL – Uniform Resource Locator

We’ve all heard the word URL—we know it’s a web address or location where we can find a website or other documents.

USP – Unique Selling Point

The unique selling point, or proposition, is the thing that differentiates your product from the competitors. It’s the one thing you can use to stand out against other products and brands.

UX – User Experience

User experience takes a deeper dive into the customer experience by focusing more on user emotions, attitudes, and values they have concerning the use of a certain product or service. How is a user going to feel when they enter your website or application? User experience plays a major role in web and mobile design.


Many of these terms apply across many businesses, industries, and situations outside of SEO, but they are still good to learn, know, and understand so you can communicate properly with your SEO specialist. Did we miss one? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list!

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