The Complete Digital Marketing Glossary from Traffic Jam Media
Don’t know your PPC from your SEO? Your CPA from your CTR? Get to grips with the tech terminology you need to know with our digital marketing glossary and jargon buster!
We’ve scoured the web from top to bottom to ensure we’ve only included the digital marketing terms we think you’ll really need to know. However, if you do think we’ve missed anything important, please let us know by emailing your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. don’t forget to bookmark our digital marketing glossary as it will be updated regularly!
301 redirect – A 301 redirect is set-up to ensure one URL automatically directs to another. This will be actioned by clicking on a link to the old URL or by typing it directly into your web browser’s search bar. 301 redirects are helpful for SEO as they tell search engines (and the general web) that your webpage’s address has permanently changed. When companies get a new website, this is especially important to do!
Above the fold – In web design, ‘above the fold’ typically refers to the section of the webpage that’s visible in the browser window without scrolling. As it’s the first thing a user sees, it should include any information that you want to be easy to find- think your business phone number, introductory content about your business, and a clear CTA (Call to Action).
AdWords – AdWords is Google’s online advertising platform which can be used to drive traffic to your website, as well as promote your products, services and brand awareness. These ads are mostly image or text-based, and will be placed in search engine results or in websites and blogs that are members of Google’s Display Network. Please see PPC and Google Shopping for more information on ad types.
Ad extensions – Ad extensions can be added to text Pay Per Click adverts that appear in search engine results. They range from displaying additional information about your business (such as your opening hours, phone number and location), to featuring extra links to particular pages on your website.
Ad Rank – In PPC (Pay Per Click), your Ad Rank is determined by multiplying your Quality Score and bid amount, and determines the position of your ad on the Google search results page. Please see bid and Quality Score for more information.
AdSense – AdSense is Google’s ad placement service for paid ads set-up through the Google AdWords platform. It allows website and blog owners to earn money by displaying text, image and video ads on their pages. This revenue can be earned per click or impression. All AdSense members are also already a part of the Display Network.
Affiliate marketing – An affiliate will sell or promote products and services for a merchant and receive commission on the sales they make. Affiliates may market these using PPC (Pay Per Click), SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or social media.
Algorithm – This refers to a set of mathematical calculations and rules a search engine will use to rank websites in search results. Social media platforms also use their own algorithms to structure posts and determine which ones will appear on a user’s feed.
ALT text – ALT text (or ‘alternative text’) is a word or phrase used to describe an image when it’s been uploaded to a website. It can be added to an image either using HTML or your website’s CMS system. ALT text has two distinct advantages; firstly, it will appear in the place of the image if it doesn’t load. Secondly, it can contain keywords to improve the page’s ranking in search results. Please see SEO for more information on this subject.
Analytics – Put simply, analytics is the collection and analysis of data. It also refers to Google Analytics, Google’s web analytics platform that is used to monitor website traffic and the performance of digital marketing campaigns.
Anchor text – Anchor text is the clickable text in a website link. It can simply be the full URL of a domain or a chosen piece of text that represents the page or resource it links to. Search engines will use anchor text to determine the link’s subject matter and rank the page accordingly.
Bid – In PPC, you bid on a keyword to ensure your ad is placed in the search results when that keyword is searched for. The more popular the keyword, the higher your bid will need to be. Additionally, your likelihood of increasing website traffic increases the higher your bid is. A PPC bid can also be described as the amount of money an advertiser is charged each time their ad is clicked on.
Big data – Big data is an easier way of referring to the large data sets that are available to businesses. In digital marketing, the more information you can collect and use, the better you can make your results. Big data needs to be structured and analysed to reveal patterns and trends. Big data is getting bigger…
Bing Ads – Like Google AdWords, Bing Ads is Bing’s online advertising platform which can be used to drive traffic to your website, as well as promote your products, services and brand awareness. These ads are mostly image or text-based, and are placed in Bing and Yahoo’s search engine results. Please see PPC for more information. Bing gets about 10% of the traffic that AdWords gets, but will often be a bit cheaper.
Black hat SEO – This term refers to the use of aggressive and ‘unethical’ SEO techniques. What is ‘ethical’ is determined by Google’s webmaster guidelines Although black hat SEO can increase website traffic in the short-term, they can result in you being banned from search engines. These techniques won’t focus on a human audience and include the likes of keyword stuffing, cloaking, including hidden text or links, and buying links. Please see white hat SEO for information on alternative (and ethical) SEO techniques.
Blog – A blog is a website or section of a website that is regularly updated with new content (or posts). Often written in an informal style, it can also be described as an online journal. ‘Blog’ can also be used to refer to an individual post or article. Blogs can serve as great tools for content marketing and SEO.
Bounce rate – Your bounce rate represents the number of visitors that leave your website after only viewing one page and not interacting with your page in any way (for example, by not filling out a form or clicking on any links). High bounce rates indicate that you should improve your website’s design or content.
Cloaking – Cloaking is when the webpage submitted to the search engine’s crawler is different to what a human searcher will see if they access the same page. It is a black hat SEO technique and its use can result in the website being banned from ranking in search engine results. Please see black hat SEO for more information. Klingons are famous for their cloaking devices!
CMS – A CMS (Content Management System) is a user-friendly programme that’s used to publish and manage digital content. They can assist with document management and records retention, as well as provide a way of easily updating websites and blogs without the need for advanced coding.
Content marketing – Content marketing refers to the publication of creative materials for promotional purposes. These creative materials can include blogs, articles and videos. It’s important to remember that although content marketing helps with brand promotion, it should entertain or inform the reader and be subtle in its approach to marketing.
Conversion rate – A conversion is any desired action that you want your targeted users to complete. This can range from clicking through to your website from an email or social media post, to signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase or enquiry through your website. Put simply, your conversion rate is the percentage of people that complete this action.
CPA – CPA (Cost Per Action) is a way of understanding how much it costs for a certain action to be completed. CPA can also be referred to as a ‘cost per acquisition’ as the advertiser will gain something. These actions are normally, purchases, sign ups or contacts. In PPC, the action would be an ad being clicked on.
CPC – This stands for Cost Per Click and is the amount an advertiser pays each time their ad is clicked on by searchers. In Google AdWords, your CPC can be lowered by a number of factors. These include raising your Quality Score and targeting less competitive keywords (as these will be cheaper).
CTA – A CTA (Call to Action) is an image or piece of text that tells the user to complete a desired action. For a CTA to be successful, it should be specific and to the point. Some examples include ‘call us today’, ‘read the article’ or ‘download your free guide’.
CTR – CTR stands for Click Through Rate, and is also sometimes referred to as a ‘Click Through Ratio’. Your CTR is simply the amount of users that click on an ad or the link in any marketing communication they receive. Emails, social media posts and webpages can all contain links to be measured. Please see CTA for more information.
CRM – CRM (Customer Retention Management) is any system or software a company uses to manage their customer relationships. It works by collecting information relating to these customers, which can then be analysed, segmented and used to drive future marketing communications.
Directory – A directory is a website or similar online resource that indexes other websites. Although a directory is similar to a search engine as they both collect webpage links, it differs in the fact that these will be added by human users (and not a web crawler). Submitting directory listings is often completed to aid a Search Engine Optimiser’s link building strategy.
E-commerce – E-commerce is the process of selling goods and services through an electronic channel, such as the internet. Therefore, e-commerce marketing is concerned with promoting a brand’s online presence and driving website traffic to increase online sales.
External link – This is a link that points the user to a page that’s hosted on a different domain. It refers to both links coming from your own website, and links coming from other websites to your own.
Facebook – Facebook is a popular social media network that was founded by Mark Zuckerburg in 2004. The platform enables users to share status updates, pictures and videos, as well as connect with their friends, family members and various brands. With the ability for brands to create their own pages and share content with their followers (which they can then ‘like’, comment on or share with their friends), it can serve as a great tool for increasing brand awareness.
Facebook Ads – Facebook Ads is Facebook’s online advertising platform which can be used to generate traffic to your website, encourage users to like your page, promote app downloads, and various other actions. Ads on the platform will appear in the News Feed or in the right column of the desktop page.
Google+ – Google+ (also styled as Google Plus) is Google’s interest-based social media network which is linked to each user’s regular Google account. Like Facebook, it enables users to post status updates, images and videos, as well as customise their own personal profile. However, Google+ also allows its users to link to different profiles across Google, including business pages.
Google Display Network – The Google Display Network is a part of Google AdWords that enables users to have their ads displayed across any blogs and websites that are members of the network. You are able to target audiences by keywords and topics, as well as show your ads on specific domains.
Google Merchant Centre – This is a tool used by advertisers to upload their shop and product data to Google. This information is then used in Google Shopping Ads.
Google Search Network – The Google Search Network is a part of Google AdWords. It’s similar to the Display Network in the fact that it enables users to display their adverts across the web. However, the Search Network only contains search-related websites, and your ads will appear next to the website’s search results when one of your targeted keywords is entered.
Google Shopping – Google Shopping enables users to search for specific products and compare prices from different retailers through the Google platform. To ensure their products are displayed in Google Shopping results, advertisers will need to use Google Shopping Ads, a paid ad type that can be created with Google AdWords and the Google Merchant Centre.
H tags – H tags (or Heading tags) are a component of a website’s HTML that are used to signify a page’s heading and subheadings. Heading tags range from H1 through to H6, and are generally numbered in order of their size and prominence. Optimising these headings to include keywords is also important for Search Engine Optimisation. Please see SEO for more information.
Hootsuite – Hootsuite is a social media management tool that is widely used by businesses. It enables users to post and schedule updates to multiple social media accounts, as well as interact with potential customers and industry contacts by following specific search phrases and hashtags. Users are also able to create reports to track the growth of their pages.
HTML – HTML (Hypertext Mark-up Language) refers to the language that defines how content should be displayed on a webpage. Consisting of codes and symbols (which are often referred to as ‘elements’ or ‘tags’), HTML is used to input different styles of text, images, tables and hyperlinks.
Impression – In digital marketing, an ‘impression’ refers to a singular person viewing an online advert. It can also be used to define the moment when an ad has been displayed once on a webpage.
Instagram – Instagram is a photo-sharing and video-sharing app and social media platform. It enables users to share images and videos publicly through their profile, or through Instagram’s more recently released private messaging feature. Although originally founded in 2010, it was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Like Facebook, brands are able to create their own pages and run paid adverts.
Keywords – A keyword is any word or set of words a user enters into a search engine. Keywords should be used to drive relevant traffic as part of your SEO strategy, as well as determine the users you target through your PPC campaigns. Please see PPC or SEO for more information on keywords.
Keyword density – This refers to the frequency in which a particular keyword appears on a webpage. Although it’s important to ensure your keyword is used a number of times throughout the page, they should appear naturally (and not too frequently) to avoid penalisation from search engines. Please see keyword stuffing for more information on this.
Keyword research – Keyword research basically does what it says on the tin; it details the process of making a list of the keywords people are searching for, as well as how often. This is done to determine which ones you should target to yield the best return on investment (ROI). Google’s Keyword Planner is a popular tool for conducting keyword research.
Keyword stuffing – Keyword stuffing is when a keyword is entered into a webpage’s content as often as possible to boost search engine rankings. It can also involve additional keywords being hidden by ensuring the text is the same colour as the webpage’s background. As these keywords will be entered unnaturally, it is considered a black hat SEO technique.
Landing page – A landing page is the webpage a user will land on after clicking a link from a marketing communication. These can range from emails and online adverts, to social media posts or an optimised search engine result. The page will contain a form to capture lead data.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a professional social media network that was founded in 2002 by Reid Hoffman, a former Executive Vice President for corporate and business development at PayPal. Introduced as a way for business professionals to build their networking portfolio, users are required to build a profile of academic achievements and employment history, as well as connect with users they have studied with or worked with. Additional features also include job listings, advertising and the ability to publish your own content through LinkedIn Pulse.
LinkedIn Pulse – LinkedIn Pulse is LinkedIn’s publishing platform. It was made available to all users in 2014 and enables them to create content and share it with their network. Users are also able to access content published by others, even if they’re not a connection of theirs.
Link building – Link building is an essential component of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and refers to the process of getting external websites to link back to your own domain. Building links from quality websites will build your own online reputation and help you rank higher in search results.
Metadata – Put simply, metadata is a description that describes other data. In terms of websites, this will refer to the page’s title, description and keywords. When a webpage ranks in Google, this title and description will appear to describe the page in the search results. Therefore, they need to accurately describe the page’s content to ensure clicks are from relevant audiences.
Mobile friendly – If a website is mobile friendly, then everything will appear correctly and offer a great user experience. It will also rank higher in Google’s search results. Factors such as page loading speed, text readability (without the user needing to zoom in), and the size of images and link buttons will all have an effect a website’s mobile friendliness.
Organic traffic – This refers to website visitors that haven’t been gained through paid advertising (such as PPC and social media adverts). Organic traffic can be generated from free directory listings, rankings in search engine results, and links to your website from your social media accounts and other websites.
Paid search – Paid search is basically another term for Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). It refers to the text ads, Shopping Ads and similar paid ads that appear in search engine results when a particular keyword is searched for. Every time a paid search ad is clicked on, the advertiser will be charged. Please see PPC for more information.
Paid traffic – Paid traffic refers to website visitors that are gained from paid advertising formats. These include (but are not limited to) Pay Per Click (PPC), social media adverts and sponsored content.
Panda – Panda is a change to Google’s search results algorithm that was released in 2010. Its aim was to define low quality websites and lower their rankings in search results. Factors such as the heavy use of advertisements, duplicate content, and feedback provided by Google’s Quality Rankers determine whether a website is of a high or low quality.
Penguin – Penguin is a change to Google’s search results algorithm that was first announced in 2012. Its focus is on lowering the rankings of websites that use unethical black hat SEO techniques to achieve their placements in search engine results. Please see black hat SEO for more information.
Pinterest – Pinterest is a photo-sharing website and app that was launched in 2010. Described by CEO Ben Silbermann as a “catalogue of ideas”, users are able to upload images and videos, as well as share other member’s visual content by adding them to pinboards. These pinboards can then be shared with other members. Pinterest also enables companies to create business pages and pay for advertising.
PPC – PPC (Pay Per Click) is a form of paid online advertising where an advertiser will be charged every time their advert is clicked on. Text versions of these ads will appear above search engine results (and in the same format), while banner ads are displayed in pages belonging to other websites.
Quality Score – This is a rating used by Google to determine the quality and relevance of your Pay Per Click (PPC) adverts. Scored out of 10, your Quality Score lets you know if your ad is useful and relevant to the searchers you are targeting, and a higher quality score will also help to lower your Cost Per Click and Cost Per Conversion. Your keywords, ad text and landing page will all determine your quality score.
Remarketing – Remarketing is a form of paid advertising (also known as PPC) that enables advertisers to target those that have already visited their website. A Remarketing ad will “follow” those that have clicked through to your website around the web by appearing on other webpages they visit (provided they belong to the same ad network). Remarketing ads can market specific products and be set-up to appear when the user has visited a certain page or completed a defined action on your website.
Responsive – In the world of digital marketing, the word ‘responsive’ specifically refers to web design. If your website has a responsive design, then it will offer a user-friendly experience across all platforms (including desktop and mobile devices). Using fluid grids, a responsive design will automatically adjust to fit each device’s screen so that content is easy to read and navigate.
Retweet – A ‘retweet’ is when you repost another user’s message on your own Twitter profile. Users are only able to retweet a post if the original user has a public Twitter profile.
ROI – This is an acronym for Return on Investment. Your ROI refers to the revenue generated beyond the initial investment. In the world of digital marketing, the ROI can be calculated by dividing the profit gained from your campaign by its total cost.
SEM – SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing, which is simply used as another term for Pay Per Click (PPC) and Paid Search. It refers to the text ads, Shopping Ads and similar paid ads that appear in search engine results when a particular keyword is searched for. Each time one of these adverts is clicked on, the advertiser will be charged. Please see PPC for more information.
SEO – SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) refers to the techniques and strategies used to help websites rank in search engine results pages. As these techniques don’t involve direct payment (unlike PPC ads), any traffic gained from these rankings is considered to be ‘organic’. Respected SEO techniques include producing keyword-rich content, as well as adding metadata to your webpages and building links from other websites.
SERP – SERP is an acronym for Search Engines Result Page. This is the page a searcher will be presented with after submitting a search query to Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other online search engine.
Split testing – Split testing (also known as A/B testing) is when you change one element of a webpage, advert or other marketing communication to find out which version performs the best. To determine this, split tests will be sent to two separate groups. Elements that are changed can range from images and design colours, to subject lines, titles and Call to Actions.
SharpSpring – SharpSpring is the easy-to-use marketing automation software that we recommend to our customers. As well as enabling users to create and implement forms on their website, it can also be used to set triggers for automated emails, identify leads and manage your customer database.
Tag Manager – Google Tag Manager is a free tool that enables marketers to track website metrics by adding and implementing tags. As Google Tag Manager uses a data layer to capture information about webpage activities (such as when a visitor completes a specific action on the webpage), tags are often used for conversion tracking and Remarketing.
Traffic – In digital marketing, your traffic is determined by the number of visitors a webpage receives. Measuring website traffic is vital for determining how well your campaigns and ads are performing, as well as establishing if individual webpages are generating conversions.
Tweet – A Tweet refers to any message that is posted to Twitter. They can contain up to 140 characters and include images, videos, GIFs, polls and links. Please see Twitter for more information on this social media platform.
Twitter – Twitter is a popular social media network that was founded in 2006. Popular with celebrities and other influential figures, it enables users to read and post their own 140-character updates (called ‘Tweets’) and share Tweets that have been posted by other users. With companies being able to create their own free accounts and pay for advertising on the platform, Twitter can serve as a great marketing and engagement tool.
UX – UX stands for user experience and refers to a visitor’s impression of a website or webpage. For a website to provide a great user experience, it should be easy to navigate, encourage engagement, and be physically appealing. Factors such as design and content can both have an effect on UX.
Web crawler – A web crawler (or web spider) is an internet bot system that browses the web to index webpages and other web content. Web crawlers are typically used to index results for search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Please see XML sitemap for more information on indexing.
White hat SEO – This term refers to the use of ethical SEO techniques that comply with search engine policies. Unlike black hat SEO techniques, they improve rankings by optimising with human audiences in mind. White hat SEO can include ensuring your website is easy to navigate, as well as implementing keyword rich metadata and high quality content. Please see black hat SEO for information on unethical SEO techniques that can result in bans from search engines.
WordPress – WordPress is free web publishing software that was founded in 2003. Originally released as a free blogging platform, it is also an easy-to-use content management system (CMS) for websites.
XML sitemap – A sitemap is an XML document that lists webpages (or URLs) that are hosted on your website. It contains all of the webpages that you wish to be ‘crawled’ by Google, Bing and other search engines, and therefore appear in search engine results pages. To ensure they are ‘crawlable’, you will need to create your sitemap (which can be done using a sitemap generator), and ensure it is uploaded to the root document of your domain.