Search Engine Marketing Glossary of Terms and Meanings
Here is a list of many terms related to search engine marketing. While it is not claiming to be all-inclusive, we consider this post a work in progress and will be updating it as more terms are addressed. Feel free to comment and let us know any terms that are not here and you feel should be included!
AB Testing (randomized controlled experiments, online controlled experiments, and split testing)– The use of two nearly identical advertisements or web pages with only one controlled difference giving the ability to decipher which version works best.
Ad Spend (online advertising spend)- The money actually spent in online advertising and covers ads served in the search results for Google as well as text or image advertisements on other websites.
Adsense– Google’s platform for implementing and managing display ads on your own website. These are ads that show on the Google Display Network and consist of text, image and video ads served by Adwords.
Adwords (PPC/Pay-Per-Click)- Google’s main platform for advertising campaign creation and management. Ads can show on Google.com and specific sites across the Display Network based on your selected targeting. These ads include text, banner and media ads.
Algorithm– A collection of computer processes and functions designed to perform based on a specific range of elements. The algorithm uses these elements as clues in order to provide the “answers”. As it relates to a Google search, there are hundreds of elements the search engine algorithm calculates in order to make its decisions regarding results.
Alt Tag (alt attribute)- Information connected to an image on a web page that will communicate information relevant to the message intended by the image in the event a visitor is unable to view the image due to handicap or through having image viewing turned off in their browser.
Anchor Text (link label, link text, or link title)- The clickable text of a hyperlink, historically of great significance in the determination of ranking of a page by search engines, however, most recently allegedly downgraded in importance by Google.
Backlink (incoming links, inbound links, inlinks, and inward links)- Link received by one website or web page to another. Before the age of search engines, this was the primary means of internet navigation, however, has evolved largely into a means of indicating website popularity or importance and is sought after as an SEO tactic.
Black Hat SEO (spamdexing, search engine spam, web spam, and search spam)- The deliberate approach to website development with the express purpose of manipulation of search engine rankings by “gaming” the algorithm of the search engine. This is risky for a webmaster to do and puts the website in a position to be penalized by the search engines.
Blog (web log)- Digital community of discussions or other informational pages on websites serving as commentaries, personal diaries and brand advertising through what are usually informal “posts” listed in reverse chronological order.
Blogger– A person who writes a blog; the blog hosting service offered by Google (blogger.com).
Call to Action (CTA)– Text, graphic, banner, or button for the purpose of prompting a website visitor to click it and continue down a conversion funnel path, converting into a lead and eventually a customer.
Conversion Funnel- Describes the journey a customer takes as they navigate a website until taking the desired action in order to complete a prescribed goal.
Conversion Optimization (CRO, and conversion rate optimization)- The improvement of user experience on a website as well as strategic placement of specific components such as Calls to Action in order to increase the number of goal completions by visitors.
CSS (cascading style sheets)- Markup language used to control the layout, color, and scheme of a website page allowing for specific predictable displays across various pages as well as rendering methods such as screen size.
Domain Name– Memorable names given to a resource such as a computer, network or service; most commonly known as a website address such as www.example.com.
Duplicate Content– Pages or parts of pages on the internet displaying identical or nearly the same content across one or more pages which can invoke penalization from search engines like Google.
E-Commerce (E-Com)– Short for electronic commerce, e-commerce is one of the fastest growing and most significant segments of the internet; is essentially a business transaction that takes place through the use of the internet. This allows businesses to transfer information from consumers to businesses online, enabling the exchange of goods, services, music and information from anywhere in the world and without the traditional requirement of a brick-and-mortar storefront.
E-blast (email blast)– email marketing campaigns created then distributed to a targeted list of consumers or businesses.
Exact Match Anchor Text- An incoming link to a website that is made up of an exact keyword phrase. In the past, this tactic was a sure way to improve search engine rankings, however, changes to the way search engines score pages have turned this once effective technique into a great way to be penalized!
Exact Match Domain- Similar to an exact match anchor text, this is when the website URL address is the exact keyword phrase. For example, if a website was targeting rankings for the search term “party balloons”, the exact match domain would be www.partyballoons.com. A once effective ranking booster, this has become extremely less so due to search engine algorithm changes.
Fan Page – Referring to a Facebook Fan Page, this is a webpage on Facebook which is set up to attract specific audiences and create a closer relationship between the fans and either a business, personality, organization or entity in order to promote products, services, and/or interactions.
Flash-One of Adobe’s flagship products; a multimedia software platform often used to stream videos and interactive web content online. It has been declining in use because of the fact that iPhone and iPads are not compatible. Additionally, flash components are typically less able to be SEO optimized, have a slower load time, and have a tendency to crash.
Footer– Refers to the bottom section of a website page; is usually a place for technical information and some navigation. Has been abused in the past by SEOs looking to improve rank by stuffing keywords and exact match anchor text links, however algorithm updates have caused this practice to do more harm than good.
Funnel (purchase funnel, conversion funnel, customer funnel, marketing funnel, sales funnel)- Marketing model symbolizing the customer journey toward the completion of the expected action and is summarized by: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action.
Google Plus– A social network site created by Google that allows for easy sharing of video, chat and pictures as well as typical message posting features. Specific information can be shared with the use of customized circles of people that you can create, thereby allowing more control over who sees your information.
H1– HTML markup designation for the most important heading on a website page and an important factor in optimizing for search engines.
Heatmap– An analytical report that makes it easier to view what visitors are doing on your site, how long they stay on a page and how they navigate through your website by visualizing their path, tendencies of their mouse like where they hover most and how they move across the space of the page. This is a useful tool to identify opportunities to improve visual cues and navigation based on visitor behavior.
Inbound Marketing– Describes the methodology of attracting leads and sales through the development of website content that resonates with the customer’s interests
Internet Marketing (online marketing, internet advertising)– The use of online tools such as web pages, email, social media, search engines, mobile devices, and display advertising to promote objectives.
Interlinking– the practice of linking one page to another page within the same website for relevant navigation by the visitor as well as search engine optimization.
Keyword Stuffing– The outdated SEO technique of incorporating targeted keywords within online content in an excessive, repetitive manner in order to manipulate search engine results. It is considered unethical and is grounds for search engine penalties and/or removal from the index.
Knowledge Graph- Google has implemented this tool to provide structured and detailed information as well as lists of links in order to provide answers to semantic searches so that the user does not have to navigate to website to acquire the information themselves.
Like (Facebook Like)- A vote of approval attributed to a specific post or to a website page by a Facebook user and is a social signal which is a scoring factor for the search engine ranking of a website.
Link (hyperlink)- A way to connect to a specific website URL; is usually text but can be a banner or an image.
Link Building– The practice of increasing the number of and quality of links pointing to a particular website page in order to improve its search engine rankings; an area under increasing scrutiny by search engines.
Link Farm(link scheme)– A group of websites that link to every other group in the site; usually done with the purpose of manipulating page rank by increasing the number of inbound links; listed as a violation of Google’s webmaster policy by being a link scheme.
Load Time– The time that it takes a webpage to load and be viewed.
Macro Conversion– This is when a visitor completes a major goal such as completing a product purchase.
Meta Tags- Meta tags are HTML codes inserted into the header section of a web page, after the title tag and do not affect how the page is displayed. They provide information about specifics of the page such as: who created the page, how often it is updated, what the page is about, etc. Search engines like Google will often use this information to score the page and in building their indices.
Micro Conversion– This is when a visitor completes a step which may lead to a Macro Conversion such as subscribes to a newsletter, or submits a contact form.
Microdata (Microformats, RDFa, and Data Highlighter)– The labeling specification used in describing particular types of information such as person information, events, or reviews. For example, an event would specify the properties: category, name, venue, and starting time.
Multivariate Testing- Similar to AB Testing, however, in this type of testing more than one version is being tested at the same time.
No Follow- Computer programming code, hidden text, that tells search engines not to follow a link on a specific page and therefore not pass page authority or anchor text to the destination. Common reasons to use this code is to prohibit the crawling of pages on your website that you do not want counted such as login pages. Additionally, it is Google’s preferred method to also “no follow” any paid links. Failing to do so could bring a penalty to your website. An additional reason to use a no follow link would be to disassociate your website from other websites that you might not trust 100%, otherwise, there could be a backlash due to the linked site causing offense to search engines through Black Hat SEO.
Online Profile- The way that you are viewed on the internet and portrayed by social media websites, directories, review sites, etc.; the online representation of individuals, groups, or companies.
Panda Update- The search engine algorithm content quality filter released by Google in February 2011 that removes poor quality content from Google’s search results.
Penguin Update- Google search engine algorithm update targeting spammy webite practices. Read more about the Penguin Update in this blog post by Philly Marketing Labs.
Personas- A set of fictional, representative user archetypes that are created to represent a cluster of buyers with behavioral patterns to help marketers develop marketing and ad campaigns tailored to the needs of their target audience. Read more on Personas
PPC or Pay-Per-Click- Internet advertising intended to drive traffic to your website. You bid based on how much you are willing to pay per click and you will be charged only when an individual clicks on your ad.
PPC Audit- The analysis of a paid advertising account to reveal opportunities and areas where components are either incorrect or needing improvement. Learn more about PPC Audits here.
Press Release-A written statement or message to the media intended to reach a broad range of audiences with the intent to create excitement, drive website traffic and increase social media conversations.
Pretty Urls- Web addresses that are simple, easy to read and remember. For example, a URL with words relevant to the information on the page instead of numbered identification would be more likely to be understood quickly by a visitor as well as a search engine.
Reputation management –The management of the current state of you or your organization’s brand and how it is being perceived online based on public reviews, comments, web pages, images, etc. Counter actions involved in reputation management are often in response to the unscrupulous and unmerited attacks by competitors.
Robots.txt– The /robots.txt file provides instructions about the website to web crawling robots; this is called The Robots Exclusion Protocol.
Rss Feed (Really Simple Syndication)- A family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as: blog posts, news stories, audio, and video—in a standardized format. Many websites offer RSS Feed subscriptions so that when new content is published, you automatically receive a summary or the full article.
Search Engine- A software system that helps internet users find information in stored databases based on the users’ query. Search engines deliver images, web pages, maps, videos, people profiles, retail products, and more recently, instant answers to common questions such as what time the sun sets today. Google’s knowledge graph will return instant answers to the single word search of “sundown” and other similar queries.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)– The modification of various web properties in order to improve non-paid visibility in search engines. Learn how to increase your organic traffic with SEO
Search Engine Ranking- A website’s position in search engine results pages (SERP).
SEO Audit- A thorough review and report of a website’s overall SEO status including: site architecture, keyword usage, page speed, etc.
Server- A host for computer systems that stores information and allows for a network of computers to communicate and share information.
Spam- The deliberate misleading of search engines through manipulations contrary to the purposes of their indexing systems. Refers to practices such as: keyword stuffing, invisible text, article spinning, link farms, mirror websites and more.
Tweet- A one to two sentence posting, or a sentence fragment, on the social media website Twitter. Read some of PML’s latest Tweets here.
Web Crawler (web spider, ant, automatic indexer)- an automated computer robot that systematically browses the internet, typically for the purpose of building its web index.
Webmaster Tools (WMT, toolbox)- Data, tools, and diagnostics providing detailed reports about website page’s visibility online; offered free by Google and Bing.