Digital marketing glossary
With regards to SEM AB testing is a means of testing single variable test subjects (such as a web page) against a control element with the aim of improving customer response. Also sometimes referred to as Split Testing.
Actual Cost Per Click
The amount you actually pay for each click, considering your click through rate and the performances of your competitor ads. In this way, you may get to pay less than you bid.
An ad group can contain one or more ads targeting the same group of keywords.
Ad Rank/Ad positioning
The ad rank is calculated by considering the bid (max. cost per click), the click through rate and ad text.
Ad Served Percentage
The number of times an ad is displayed, in relation to the number of searches and the other ads in the ad group.
An advertising program by which Google acts as the intermediary between content sites and web advertisers.
The Google tool that allows you to pay less that your maximum bid, as soon as your competition loosens.
Adwords Product Plusbox
When your AdWords ad appears, and your Google Base feed contains a product that is relevant to the user’s query, the Product Plusbox shows the images, titles, and prices of your products under your ad. For more on this feature visit the dedicated page.
A list on the web where you can find affiliate programs.
A link on your website that refers to a program you are affiliated with.
The sum of activities you develop to promote the programs you are affiliated with.
A specialized intermediary website that links between affiliate marketers and merchants, providing a wide range of services to both categories.
A system defined by a merchant site by which it attracts affiliates.
A set of rules that a search engine uses to rank the listings contained within its index, in response to a particular query. No search engine reveals exactly how its own algorithm works, to protect itself from competitors and those who wish to spam the search engine.
See Organic Listings
The acronym from Application Programming Interface.
Anchor text refers to the visible text for a hyperlink.
Average Cost Per Click
The average amount you pay when somebody clicks on one of your ads.
Your ad’s positioning on the average throughout a period of time.
When pages are removed from a search engine’s index specifically because the search engine has deemed them to be spamming or violating guidelines.
Any link on another page that points to the subject page. Also called inbound links or IBLs.
The maximum amount of money you are willing to pay for a click on your ad; the same as maximum cost per click (Max. CPC).
See Google Bid Simulator below.
Abbreviation of robot (also called a spider). It refers to software programs that scan the web. Bots vary in purpose from indexing web pages for search engines to harvesting e-mail addresses for spammers.
An option that relates to keywords set-up. By using the broad match option, your ad will display for every possible search phrase that uses your keyword phrase. The broad match doesn’t consider the topic of the words or the existence of additional words in the search phrase.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
The ratio/percentage of the number of times an ad is clicked divided by the number of times an ad is viewed.
In terms of search engine marketing, this is the act of getting a search engine to record content for a URL that is different than what a searcher will ultimately see. It can be done in many technical ways. Several search engines have explicit rules against unapproved cloaking. Those violating these guidelines might find their pages penalized or banned from a search engine’s index. As for approved cloaking, this generally only happens with search engines offering a paid inclusion program. Anyone offering cloaking services should be able to demonstrate explicit approval from a search engine about what they intend to do. If not, then they should then have explained the risks inherent to unapproved cloaking.
The network of websites that are being subscribed to the Google AdSense program and thus can display the Ads by Google.
Contextual Link Inventory
To supplement their business models, certain text-link advertising networks have expanded their network distribution to include “contextual inventory”. Most vendors of “search engine traffic” have expanded the definition of Search Engine Marketing to include this contextual inventory. Contextual or content inventory is generated when listings are displayed on pages of Web sites (usually not search engines), where the written content on the page indicates to the ad-server that the page is a good match to specific keywords and phrases. Often this matching method is validated by measuring the number of times a viewer clicks on the displayed ad.
Conversion refers to site traffic that follows through on the goal of the site (such as buying a product on-line, filling out a contact form, registering for a newsletter, etc.). Webmasters measure conversion to judge the effectiveness (and ROI) of PPC and other advertising campaigns. Effective conversion tracking requires the use of some scripting/cookies to track visitors actions within a website. Log file analysis is not sufficient for this purpose.
See Google Conversion Optimizer
The percent of people that buy your product/service of all who visit your webpage.
The actual text of your ad or webpage.
Cost Per Click (CPC)
The amount of money you pay to a search engine for one click on your ad.
Cost Per View/Cost Per Impression
A concept by which you pay not for the clicks on your ad but for the number of people that view your ad.
Abbreviation of ‘cost per click’. It is the base unit of cost for a PPC campaign.
System where an advertiser pays an agreed amount for the number of times their ad is seen by a consumer, regardless of the consumer’s subsequent action. Heavily used in print, broadcasting and direct marketing, as well as with online banner ad sales, CPM stands for “cost per thousand,” since ad views are often sold in blocks of 1,000. (The ‘M’ in CPM is Latin for thousand.)
Component of search engine that gather listings by automatically “crawling” the web. A search engine’s crawler (also called a spider or robot) follows links to web pages. It makes copies of the web pages found and stores these in the search engine’s index.
Abbreviation of click-through rate. The percentage of those clicking on a link out of the total number who see the link. For example, imagine ten people do a web search. In response, they see links to a variety of web pages. Three of the ten people all choose one particular link. That link then has a 30 percent click-through rate.
Abbreviation of content targeted ad(vertising). It refers to the placement of relevant PPC ads on content pages for non-search engine websites.
A type of search engine where listings are gathered through human efforts, rather than by automated crawling of the web. In directories, web sites are often reviewed, summarized in about 25 words and placed in a particular category.
The actual URL of your landing page (the webpage you send your visitors to).
The “cosmetic” URL that displays in your ad.
A list of do’s and don’t do’s assessed by Google, that you have to know by heart and comply with when using AdWords.
A keyword option by which you set your ad to be displayed only when the search phrase you define and that of the internet user match exactly. When you use this option you put your keyword phrases in brackets.
Abbreviation of free for all. FFA sites post large lists of unrelated links to anyone and everyone. FFA sites and the links they provide are basically useless. Humans do not use them and search engines minimize their importance in ranking formulas.
Full Ad Delivery
An expression for those ads that are displayed for all the searches that match the keywords they target.
Graphical Search Inventory
Banners, and other types of advertising units which can be synchronized to search keywords. Includes pop-ups, browser toolbars and rich media.
Geographical targeting. Describes the distribution of your ad to Internet users in different countries.
The email service from Google. It displays AdSense ads that relate when possible to the subject of the conversation.
Google Bid Simulator
A new tool currently in beta (as of 22/01/09) from Google that uses historical data to predict what could happen with suggested changes to your account. For more see the dedicated page.
Google Conversion Optimizer
Google Conversion Optimizer (GCO) is and Adwords feature that manages your advertising costs around specific conversion goals. With GCO you needn’t constantly monitor and adjust your CPC bids. Set your max CPA, and Conversion Optimizer monitors and adjusts your CPC bids based on your CPA goal. For more on this feature visit the dedicated page.
The former name of Yahoo’s pay per click program – Overture.
The former name of Atlas One Point, a bid management service.
When people click on your webpage you say they make hits.
The main page of your website. Usually not recommended to make it your landing page, because it has less targeted content.
Abbreviation for inbound link. Any link on another page that points to the subject page. Also called a back link.
Internet service provider (i.e. AOL, BT, NTL, Tiscali, Virgin).
When somebody views your ad but doesn’t click on it, it means your ad has got one impression. Impressions are counted by the number of searches that your ad is being displayed for.
The collection of information a search engine has that searchers can query against. With crawler-based search engines, the index is typically copies of all the web pages they have found from crawling the web. With human-powered directories, the index contains the summaries of all web sites that have been categorized.
All the advertising activities that are done by one or more people within the company, with no contribution from a specialized agency.
Keyword or Keyphrase
Keywords are words which are used in search engine queries. Keyphrases are multi-word phrases used in search engine queries. SEO involves the process of optimizing web pages for keywords and keyphrases so that they rank highly in the results returned for search queries.
A set of options that, when applied to the keywords in your AdWords account, allow you to control the distribution of your ad. Through keyword matching you “tell” the system how exactly to match your keywords with those of the people that make a search.
In your AdWords account, your keywords may have four statuses: Disabled, In Trial, Normal and On Hold.
Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of adding superfluous keywords to a web page. The words are added for the ‘benefit’ of search engines and not human visitors. The words may or may not be visible to human visitors. While not necessarily a violation of search engine terms of service, at least when the words are visible to humans, it detracts from the impact of a page. It looks like spam. It is also possible that search engines may discount the importance of large blocks of text that do not conform to grammatical structures (such as lists of disconnected keywords). There is no valid reason for engaging in this practice.
A tool that you can use as soon as you set-up your AdWords account. It allows you to estimate numbers like keyword-popularity and maximum cost per click.
The specific web page that a visitor reaches after clicking on a PPC listing. Online marketers work to improve conversion rates by testing different iterations of landing page creative text, which encompass the entire user experience including navigation, layout, and copy.
Creating free and fee-based backlinks in order to increase link popularity and PageRank in order to achieve high rankings. Also see reciprocal links.
A link farm is a group of separate, highly interlinked websites for the purposes of inflating link popularity (or PR). Engaging in a link farm is a violation of the terms of service of most search engines and could be grounds for banning.
A raw count of how “popular” a page is based on the number of backlinks it has. It does not factor in link context or link quality, which are also important elements in how search engines make use of links to impact rankings.
The text that is contained within a link. For example, search engine is a link that contains the link text “search engine.”
The information that appears on a search engine’s results page in response to a search.
Maximum/Minimum Cost Per Click
The maximum cost per click is the amount of money you have to pay for one click so that your ad ranks best. The minimum cost per click with AdWords is five cents.
A person who sells a product or service online. Usually, a merchant is referred to as the person that also opens affiliate programs that you can join.
Meta Search Engine
A search engine that gets listings from two or more other search engines, rather than through its own efforts.
Information placed in a web page not intended for users to see but instead which typically passes information to search engine crawlers, browser software and some other applications.
Meta Description Tag
Allows page authors to say how they would like their pages described when listed by search engines. Not all search engines use the tag.
Meta Keywords Tag
Allows page authors to add text to a page to help with the search engine ranking process. Not all search engines use the tag.
Meta Robots Tag
Allows page authors to keep their web pages from being indexed by search engines, especially helpful for those who cannot create robots.txt files. The Robots Exclusion page provides official details.
In SEO parlance, a mirror is a near identical duplicate website (or page). Mirrors are commonly used in an effort to target different keywords/keyphrases. Using mirrors is a violation of the terms of service of most search engines and could be grounds for banning.
Errors in spelling. You have to take them into consideration when building your keyword list. The reason is that many people type their search phrases with misspellings, but they are still potential targeted traffic for you.
In relation to SEM, multivariate testing is where multiple components of a website may be tested in a live environment to find the best possible combination of variants.
A keyword that defines the term(s) you don’t want your ad to display for.
Listings that search engines do not sell (unlike paid listings). Instead, sites appear solely because a search engine has deemed it editorially important for them to be included, regardless of payment. Paid Inclusion content is also often considered “organic” even though it is paid for. This is because that content appears intermixed with unpaid organic results.
Links on a particular web page leading to other web pages, whether they are within the same web site or other web sites.
The former name of Yahoo! Search Marketing, first pay per click program, formerly known as GoTo.
Program guaranteeing that all pages of a web site are included in Yahoo, leading ISP portals, and 35 other search providers within three days in exchange for payment. However no guarantee of good ranking is given. Website content is refreshed in natural search listings every 48 hours, providing control of what and when search engines display information about web pages. This allows your SEO team to tweak listings for higher conversions. Marketers pay to be included in search engines and directories on a per-URL listing fee plus a fixed cost per click that is currently under £0.50 per click
Advertising program where listings are guaranteed to appear in response to particular search terms, with higher ranking typically obtained by paying more than other advertisers. Paid placement listings can be purchased from a portal or a search network. Search networks are often set up in an auction environment where keywords and phrases are associated with a cost-per-click (CPC) fee. Overture and Google are the largest networks, but MSN and other portals sometimes sell paid placement listings directly as well. Portal sponsorships are also a type of paid placement.
Term popularized by some search engines as a synonym for pay-per-click, stressing to advertisers that they are only paying for ads that “perform” in terms of delivering traffic, as opposed to CPM-based ads, where ads cost money, even if they don’t generate a click.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
A concept for online advertising where you pay a certain amount of money each time somebody clicks on your ad.
Pay Per Lead
The amount of money you spend to generate an action from one visitor. That action doesn’t necessarily have to be a purchase, but a subscription to your newsletter for example.
Pay Per Sale
The amount of money you need to pay to generate a sale through your website.
Pay Per View
The system by which you pay every time when somebody views your ad, even if that person doesn’t click on it; A concept that is not very popular anymore.
Abbreviation for Pay For Inclusion, see Paid Inclusion.
The option that limits your ad to be displayed only when somebody types in the search box a phrase that includes your keywords, in the same order.
Designation for websites that are either authoritative hubs for a given subject or popular content driven sites (like Yahoo) that people use as their homepage. Most portals offer significant content and offer advertising opportunities for relevant sites.
Abbreviation of pay per click. An advertising model where advertisers pay only for the traffic generated by their ads.
Abbreviation of PageRank, Google’s proprietary measure of link popularity for web pages. Google offers a PR viewer on their toolbar.
See Search Terms.
How well a particular web page or web site is listed in a search engine results. For example, a web page about apples may be listed in response to a query for “apples.” However, “rank” indicates where exactly it was listed — be it on the first page of results, the second page or perhaps the 200th page. Alternatively, it might also be said to be ranked first among all results, or 12th, or 111th. Overall, saying a page is “listed” only means that it can be found within a search engine in response to a query, not that it necessarily ranks well for that query. Also referred to as position.
The amount of money you have to pay every time you restore full delivery of your account after it has been slowed.
A link exchange between two sites. Reciprocal links can often increase Page Rank and provide higher listings in natural search results.
The accuracy of the match between the keyword typed in the search box by an Internet user, and the results returned by the search engine.
Return On Ad Spend
The number of times we receive Ad Spend back in the form of revenue. Calculated as:
Total Revenue ÷ Total Cost
Return On Investment (ROI)
Refers to the percentage of profit or revenue generated from a specific activity. For example, one might measure the ROI of a paid listing campaign by adding up the total amount spent on the campaign (say £200) versus the amount generated from it in revenue (say £1,000). The ROI would then be 500 percent.
After a user enters a search query, the page that is displayed is referred to as the results page. Sometimes it may be called SERPs, for “search engine results page.”
Robots.txt is a file on a web server which well-behaved spiders read to determine which parts of a website they may visit.
Any service generally designed to allow users to search the web or a specialized database of information. Web search engines generally have paid listings and organic listings. Organic listings typically come from crawling the web, though often human-powered directory listings are also optionally offered.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
The act of marketing a web site via search engines, whether this be improving rank in organic listings (SEO), purchasing paid listings (PPC) or a combination of these and other search engine-related activities.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Abbreviated to SEO. The act of altering a web site so that it does well in the organic, crawler-based listings of search engines. In the past, has also been used as a term for any type of search engine marketing activity, though now the term search engine marketing itself has taken over for this.
A web page created expressly in hopes of ranking well for a term in a search engine’s non-paid listings and which itself does not deliver much information to those viewing it. Instead, visitors will often see only some enticement on the doorway page leading them to other pages (i.e., “Click Here To Enter), or they may be automatically propelled quickly past the doorway page. With cloaking, they may never see the doorway page at all. Several search engines have guidelines against doorway pages, though they are more commonly allowed in through paid inclusion programs. Also referred to as bridge pages, gateway pages, and jump pages, among other names.
The words (or word) a searcher enters into a search engine’s search box. Also used to refer to the terms a search engine marketer hopes a particular page will be found for. Also called keywords, query terms or query.
Abbreviation of Search Engine Results Page/Positioning. This refers to the organic (excluding paid listings) search results for a given query.
Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, the non-profit search engine marketing industry body formed to increase the awareness – and educate people on the value – of search engine marketing.
Shopping search engines allow shoppers to look for products and prices in a search environment. Premium placement can be purchased on some shopping search indices.
Any search engine marketing method that a search engine deems to be detrimental to its efforts to deliver relevant, quality search results. Some search engines have written guidelines about what they consider to be spamming, but ultimately any activity a particular search engine deems harmful may be considered spam, whether or not there are published guidelines against it. Examples of spam include the creation of nonsensical doorway pages designed to please search engine algorithms rather than human visitors or heavy repetition of search terms on a page (i.e. the search terms are used tens or hundreds or times in a row). These are only two of many examples. Determining what is spam is complicated by the fact that different search engines have different standards. A particular search engine may even have different standards of what’s allowed, depending on whether content is gathered through organic methods versus paid inclusion. Also referred to as spamdexing.
Also called a bot (or robot). Spiders are software programs that scan the web. They vary in purpose from indexing web pages for search engines to harvesting e-mail addresses for spammers.
A spider trap refers to either a continuous loop where spiders are requesting pages and the server is requesting data to render the page, or to an intentional scheme designed to identify (and “ban”) spiders that do not respect robots.txt.
Spyware is a generic/catch-all label that applies to software that: 1. Installs itself secretly, dishonestly or without consent 2. Does not allow for easy un-installation / removal 3. Monitors or tracks users actions without the users awareness or consent 4. Alters the behaviour/default options of other programs without the users consent or awareness (aka thiefware)
The act of submitting a URL for non-paid inclusion into a search engine’s index. Submission does not generally guarantee a listing. In addition, submission does not help with rank improvement on crawler-based search engines unless search engine optimisation efforts have been taken. Submission can be done manually (fill out an online form and submit) or automatically, where a software program or online service may process the forms behind the scenes.
All the data that expresses the results of your campaign: totals, percents, means, evolution curves and predictions.
Words – such as the, a, an – that are ignored by search engines when indexing web pages and processing search queries.
Refers to the correct labelling of key areas of web pages such as the web page title, the meta content, alt attributes on images and keyword links, and anchor tags within the page content.
The process of adding a variety of tags to web pages.
The number of people that visit your website and actually have the potential to become customers right away or at a further moment.
URL that has specific parameters assigned to it, allowing you to gather information about the source of the click, the search query used, and other metrics.
The number of people that visit your webpage, being led there by your ads.
An Internet marketing model that allows affiliates to sign-up for other affiliates. The principle is similar to multi-level marketing.
The unique IP address that describes the identity of the visitor.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
A unique sequence of characters that describes the location of a webpage.
The potential of a website to return value to its users as quickly and easily as possible.