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PageRank – A logarithmic scale based on link equity which estimates the importance of web documents.

As defined by Google “PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value.

In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”

Since PageRank is widely bartered, Google’s relevancy algorithms had to move away from relying on PageRank and place more emphasis on trusted links via algorithms such as TrustRank [link: ].

The PageRank formula is:

PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + … + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))

PR= PageRank
d= dampening factor (~0.85)
c = number of links on the page
PR(T1)/C(T1) = PageRank of page 1 divided by the total number of links on page 1, (transferred PageRank)

In text: For any given page A, the PageRank PR(A) is equal to the sum of the parsed partial PageRank given from each page pointing at it multiplied by the dampening factor plus one minus the dampening factor.

See also:

Page Title – See Title Tags [link: ]

Paid Inclusion – A method of allowing websites which pass editorial quality guidelines to buy relevant exposure.

Sometimes the payment is arranged through an affiliate or partner of the database company.

  • Directories such as the Yahoo! Directory [link: ] and Business.com allow websites to be listed for a flat yearly cost.
  • Yahoo! Search allows webmasters to pay for inclusion for a flat review fee and a category based cost per click.

Paid Listings – Directory listings where the results display only advertisers who have paid for inclusion, and possibly for position.

Paid Placement – Paid placement is a program in which advertisers’ listings are guaranteed to appear on a Results Page when particular Keywords are searched. The ranking of paid placement listings is determined by competitive bidding.

Unlike Paid Inclusion listings, paid placement listings are usually displayed separately from Natural Listings and are labeled as advertisements or sponsored links. Google and Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture) are two of the largest paid placement search networks.

See: Pay-Per-Click Advertising [link: ]

Pay-for-Performance – Payment structure where affiliated sales workers are paid commission for getting consumers to perform certain actions.

Publishers publishing contextual ads [link: ] are typically paid per ad click. Affiliate marketing programs [link: ] pay affiliates for conversions – leads, downloads, or sales.

Penalty – Search engines prevent some websites suspected of spamming [link: ] from ranking highly in the results by banning or penalizing them. These penalties may be automated algorithmically or manually applied.

If a site is penalized algorithmically the site may start ranking again after a certain period of time after the reason for being penalized is fixed. If a site is penalized manually the penalty may last an exceptionally long time or require contacting the search engine with a reinclusion [link: ] request to remedy.

Some sites are also filtered [link: ] for various reasons.

See also:

Permalink – A permalink, or permanent link, is a URL that points to a specific blog [link: ] or forum entry after it has passed from the front page to the archives. Because a permalink remains unchanged indefinitely, it is less susceptible to link rot.

Most modern weblogging and content-syndication software systems support such links (see: WordPress [link: ]). Other types of websites use the term permanent links, but the term permalink is most common within the blogosphere.

Personalization – Altering of the search results based on a person’s location, search history, content they recently viewed, or other factors relevant to them on a personal level. Personalized search results are most prevalent on Google [link: ].

PHP – PHP Hypertext Preprocessor is an open source server side scripting language used to render web pages or add interactivity to them.

See also:

Poison Word – Words which were traditionally associated with low quality content that may cause search engines to want to demote the rankings of a given page.

Poison words, are words that are known to decrease your pages rankings if a search engine finds them in the title, description or in the url. They don’t kill, they just bury pages in rankings.

Generally, people think of adult words first. Adult words (obscene) often put your page in an adult category where it is filtered out by various filters at search engines.

Newer non-adult Poison Words are being uncovered. These words don’t throw you into a different category, then just decrease your rankings. Poison Words signal to a search engine, that this page is of low value.

See Aaron Wall’s article on Poison Words.

PDF – Portable Document Format is a universal file format developed by Adobe Systems that allows files to be stored and viewed in the original printer friendly context. Learn more about Adobe PDF History

Portal – Web site offering common consumer services such as news, email, other content, and search. A generic term for any site which provides an entry point to the internet for a significant number of users. Examples are search engines, directories, built-in default browser or service provider homepages, etc.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) – Pay Per Click is a pricing model which most search ads and many contextual ad programs are sold through. PPC ads only charge advertisers if a potential customer clicks on an ad.

Also known as Cost-Per-Click (CPC) [link:] or Pay-For-Performance [link:], cost-per-click is an advertising revenue system used by search engines and ad networks in which advertising companies pay an agreed amount for each click of their ads.

This Click-Through Rate [link:]-based payment structure is considered by some advertisers to be more cost-effective than the Cost-Per-Thousand payment structure, but it can at times lead to Click Fraud [link:].

See also:

  • AdWords – Google’s PPC ad platform [link:]
  • AdCenter – Microsoft’s PPC ad platform [link:]
  • Yahoo! Search Marketing – Yahoo!’s PPC ad platform [link:]

Position – A URL’s location within the natural or paid search listings. This may also be referred to as Rank [link:]

Page title

See “title tag”


Stealing high-ranking web page content from another site and placing it on your site in the hopes of increasing your own site’s search engine rankings. Pagejacking is yet another shady way of gaming the search engines and, as such, its use should be strongly discouraged.

PageRank (PR)

Google uses a weighted form of link popularity called PageRank�. Not all links are created equal. Google differentiates a link from an important site (such as CNN.com) as being better than a link from Jim-Bob’s personal home page. The Google Toolbar (which is a free download from http://toolbar.google.com) has a PageRank meter built into it, to see which web pages are considered important by Google and which aren’t. PageRank scoring ranges from 0 to 10, 10 being the best. PageRank scores get exponentially harder to achieve the closer to 10 they are. For example, increasing your own homepage’s PageRank from a 2 to 3 is easy with not a lot of additional links, jumping from a 7 to an 8 is very difficult to achieve. The higher the PageRank of the page that’s linking to you, the more your site’s PageRank will benefit. The better your PageRank, the better you’ll do in Google, all else being equal.


see “Impression”

Paid inclusion

paying a search engine to have your web pages included in that search engine’s index. 

Paid placement

paying a search engine to have your listing show up prominently. These listings are usually denoted as “sponsored listings.”


a pricing model based on delivering sales or something else that can be directly attributed to the bottom line. Contrast this with traditional banner advertising which is based on impressions, a chunk of which come from people you have no desire or ability to do business with.

Pay-per-click (PPC)

a pay-for-performance pricing model where advertising (such as banners or paid search engine listings) is priced based on number of clickthroughs rather than impressions or other criteria. Overture is an example of a search engine which charges advertisers on a pay-per-click basis.

Pay-per-post (PPP)

A website designed to help content creators such as bloggers find advertisers willing to sponsor specific content.


Adobe’s Portable Document Format, a file format that renders the page exactly as intended regardless of the computer used. Typically used for creating documents that will be printed. PDF is used instead of HTML when the content creator wants absolute control over the display of the document. In contrast, the display of an HTML document depends on the computer and web browser software used.


an “open source” programming language for building dynamic web sites. PHP can be used to write server-side programs that access databases. PHP is the most popular web programming language – more popular than Microsoft’s ASP (Active Server Pages), JSP (Java Server Pages), and Macromedia’s Cold Fusion. PHP is especially well-suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML. PHP is secure, easy to learn, efficient, fast to code and fast to deploy. PHP is being used by over nine million web sites (over 24% of the sites on the Internet), due largely to benefits such as quicker response time, improved security, and transparency to the end user.

Phrase Match

Phrase Match is a form of keyword matching where an ad will be displayed if the user’s search query includes the exact phrase, even if their query contains additional words.

For example if the terms “running shoes” are associated with an ad and the user searches upon the term “blue running shoes”, the ad will be displayed.

However, the ad will not be displayed if the search query is “shoes for running”. 


A pop-up that appears underneath the currently active web browser window. An annoying, if not shady, tactic used by some web advertisers.


A web page that displays within a new, typically smaller, web browser window, rather than the currently active browser window. Search engine spiders don’t typically follow pop-up (or pop-under) links. Pop-ups are often times used for promotions, ads, email newsletter invitations, survey invitations, and the like.


A site that functions as a point of access to information on the web. Portals are either authoritative hubs for a given subject or popular content driven sites.

Pull-down list

On a web form, where the user chooses from a list of items. For example, if you are asked to identify which country you are from, this will typically be done using a pull-down list. A pull-down list is usually displayed with the first item within a box and a down arrow immediately to the right. Clicking on the down arrow will display the full list to choose from. Search engine spiders can’t fill out forms or pull down on lists, so content that is only accessible through pull-down lists will not be indexed and will be part of the “Invisible Web.”