Natural referencing is at the heart of visibility issues on the web. To be visible to Internet users, it is essential to position your pages in the results of search engines: the Search channel is the majority acquisition lever with 49% of the traffic generated (Journal du Net). But SEO is also a technical field that, by its very particular jargon, can give the impression to neophytes that SEO levers are all secrets of jealously guarded alchemists. But how to deploy an SEO strategy when you do not understand it? How to choose your service provider without mastering this methodology? To achieve this, it is necessary to know a minimum of terms and expressions specific to this discipline. This is the purpose of this SEO lexicon: to help you tame the beast!


Plural of the English term “Ad”, diminutive of “advertising”. It refers to a digital advertisement (as in “Google Ads”), in this case the fact of buying keywords at auction to display sponsored links in the SERP of search engines, as part of a paid referencing strategy*. Even if the advertising approach differs from natural referencing* strictly speaking, SEOs often use sea tools*, like the Keyword Planner, to identify the keywords* to be used in SEO* and evaluate the associated search volumes.


A chain of precise instructions that allows a computer program to perform a series of actions. The algorithm of a search engine allows it to rank indexed web pages*, that is to say to define their positioning* in its results. It integrates a very large number of parameters and is constantly evolving, as can be seen with that of Google.

Link anchor

Text on which a hypertext link is placed, whether it is a backlink* or an internal link as part of the mesh*. The word is highlighted in the text to signal that the user can click on it. The link anchor can be natural or optimized.


English name of the “incoming link”: a hypertext link inserted in a page A belonging to a website X, and referring to a page B on a site Y. Quality backlinks are essential for natural referencing* and are the subject of a very specific technique: linkbuilding*.

HTML tags

Tags are elements of HTML (presented in this way: <>text</>) used to delimit the components of a page. In SEO*, they are used to place keywords* to facilitate indexing* by search engines. There are several: title, meta description, alt, Hn titles, etc.

Black Hat SEO

Expression that designates the techniques of natural referencing* contrary to the guidelines* of search engines, used by some SEOs to gain positions very quickly, but at the risk of attracting penalties – or to push the engines to sanction other sites. Examples of Black Hat methods: buying links, cloaking*, maintaining a network of sites for netlinking*, Negative SEO*, etc.


Diminutive of the term “robot” which designates the programs of search engines dedicated to the crawl* and indexing* of web pages. For example, we talk about “Googlebots” for Google.

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Technique that consists in offering two versions of the same page, one (over-optimized*) for search engines, the other (more relevant and pleasant to consult) for the user, while hiding the first. This method is part of Black Hat SEO*.

Content spinning

The term refers to the mass production of content by a computer program that combines variants from an initial text. The goal is to produce a lot of content for your website while avoiding the risks associated with duplicate content*.

Duplicate content

“Duplicate content” refers to finding two identical texts on several different pages or websites. This practice is penalized by the engines: they will favor by default the oldest and / or most popular page. Sometimes it is unintentional and is not intended to deceive engines, especially when content is duplicated on the same site. Bots* must then be given a canonical URL*.


Search engine action consisting in crawling a website to index* its pages, through indexing robots*.


Attribute of a “normal” hyperlink, as opposed to “nofollow*”. Tells the robots of the motors that they can track it. This is the default attribute of an internal link or an incoming link*.


Acronym that means “Exact Match Domain” and designates a domain name corresponding to the keyword to be referenced – for example, a pizzeria in algries whose domain name would be “”. A method that search engines appreciate less and less, because it is similar to over-optimization*.

Google Search Console

Free service set up by Google to check if a website is optimized for natural referencing* in compliance with the guidelines*.

Guidelines SEO

All recommendations made by search engines to webmasters for the optimization* of websites. These guidelines cover all on-page* and off-page* SEO criteria.


Action that consists, for search engine robots, in placing web pages in a virtual index, like so many documents in a workbook, following the crawl*. This then allows them to define the positioning* of the pages in question. Indexing is done by taking into account the keywords* worked by the page and the lexical field used.

SEO Juice

An expression that refers to the “SEO weight” of a page. This “juice” is transmitted to another page through links, whether linkbuilding* or internal mesh*. It is also called “link juice”.

Keyword stuffing

Technique that consists of placing a very large number of keywords* in a page, beyond the recommendations of the engines, in order to deceive the robots. The recommended density is around 1% (on Google), or one keyword every 100 words.

Inbound link

See backlink*.

Natural link

Hypertext link displayed in search engine results, obtained in a “natural” way, that is to say by activating the levers of SEO*. We also talk about organic link (or result). He opposes the sponsored link*.

Organic link

See natural link*.

Sponsored link

Advertising hypertext link, displayed in a specific area of the SERP*, obtained following an auction campaign. This type of link is “purchased” from search engines, especially in the context of Ads*. This is the materialization of paid referencing*. It opposes the natural bond*.

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Action of going to the “fishing for links”, that is to say to encourage other websites to insert backlinks* in a natural way to a given page. This is a linkbuilding* technique (or netlinking* depending on the terminology you prefer).


All techniques aimed at obtaining incoming links*. It is one of the most effective levers of natural referencing*.

Long tail

Query composed of several generic keywords* and more than four words. “Long tail” terms have much lower search volumes than shorter generic terms, but because they correspond to more accurate queries, they are also more targeted and characterized by a higher conversion rate.

Internal mesh

Action of linking the pages of the same website together. Internal linking has three objectives: 1) to allow crawlers* to visit the different pages of a site (links functioning as gateways); 2) encourage visitors to visit other pages and, in doing so, stay on the site; and 3) transfer the “SEO juice*” from one page to other pages.


Terms typed by Internet users on search engines, on which we will try to optimize the pages in SEO*. The nature of keywords changes over time and with technology: for example, in voice search, Internet users are more likely to use “long-tail” expressions* formulated as questions. See the different types of keywords.

Negative SEO

An expression that refers to techniques aimed at penalizing a competing site in the eyes of search engines, for example by pointing in its direction an incoming link* of poor quality. This is one of the levers of Black Hat SEO*.


See linkbuilding*.


An attribute added to a hyperlink to tell search engine bots not to track it. This action has the effect of not transmitting “SEO juice*” from the page that bears the link to the one that is pointed by it. It opposes the “dofollow* attribute.

Optimisation SEO

Action of working a web page so that it applies the recommendations (guidelines*) of search engines, which aims to facilitate its indexing* and improve its positioning*.


Indicator used by Google to evaluate the popularity of a web page, rated from 0 to 10. This indicator is based on the number and quality of backlinks* available to the page.


Sanction taken by a search engine against a site that does not respect its guidelines*, and which results in a loss of its positioning*. At Google, for example, there is a “Panda” or “Penguin” penalty (named after the algorithmic filters set up to evaluate the quality of indexed sites). The webmaster of a site can read a penalty received through Search Console*.


Place occupied by a web page in search engine results on a specific keyword*. This is the algorithm* that allows crawlers* to position a page according to a large number of criteria.

Position zero

Display of a rich snippet*in the SERP* in the form of a box positioned above the natural links*.

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Natural referencing

All the techniques that consist in placing web pages in the SERPs* of search engines, promoting their indexing* and then their positioning*. We also talk about SEO*, for “Search Engine Optimization”: search engine optimization. Natural referencing is opposed to paid referencing*, but the two methods are often used in a complementary way.

Off-page SEO

All the SEO* levers independent of the website concerned by the SEO strategy. This is the case, for example, with netlinking*.

On-page SEO

All the SEO levers* that relate to the site itself, like the work on keywords*, HTML tags*, technique, content, etc.

Paid referencing

A term that refers to sponsored links displayed in engine results. We also talk about SEA*, for “Search Engine Advertising”: advertising on search engines. Paid referencing is opposed to natural referencing*, but the two approaches are complementary.

Rich snippet

Expression meaning “enriched extract”, and which refers to links in the SERP* that are accompanied by images, videos, opinions of Internet users, etc. The “zero position*” is an example of a rich snippet.


See bot*.


Acronym for “Search Engine Advertising”. See paid referencing*.


Acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”. See natural referencing*.


Acronym for “Search Engine Result Page”, a term that refers to the results pages displayed by search engines following a request made by a user. When you type a keyword* on Google, for example, all the results that appear constitute the SERP, whether they are natural links* or sponsored links*.


Term that refers to pushing too far the SEO optimization* of a web page, so that search engines see it as a desire to deceive them. Some techniques, such as keyword stuffing* or the misuse of keywords* in link anchors*, contribute to over-optimization.

Topic Cluster

Grouping of content written around the same theme and working on complementary keywords*. These contents are linked together as part of the internal network*. The Topic Cluster is an extremely powerful SEO* lever: not content with working on a very large number of keywords around a particular topic, this technique helps crawlers* evaluate the expertise of a website.


Refers to the address of a web page, the one that appears in the top bar of a browser. URL is the acronym for “Uniform Resource Locator”. A URL can be “canonical”: it tells search engine robots that it must be indexed* as a priority, in particular to avoid problems due to duplicate content*.

White Hat SEO

Expression that designates natural referencing techniques* respectful of the guidelines* of search engines. These are the most durable.


We could translate the acronym SXO by “Optimization of the user experience”. It is therefore all the methods aimed at improving the experience of the Internet user on a platform

If you come across other SEO expressions that we have not listed in this SEO lexicon, do not hesitate to tell us about them!

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