We always avoid using jargon and acronyms when talking to our clients. There is lots of terminology around digital marketing so this glossary of online marketing terms is designed to act as a reference point and reminder for those commonly used digital marketing terms. Feel free to contact us about further suggestions to add to the list.
- 301 Redirect
- 404 Error
- A/B Testing
- Ad Campaign
- Ad Group
- Ad Rank
- Ad Text
- All Sessions Time
- ALT Tags (Alternative Text Tags)
- Anchor Text
- API (Application Programming Interface)
- Avg Session Duration
- Bing Ads
- Bounce Rate
- Business to Business (B2B)
- Business to Consumer (B2C)
- Buyer Persona
- Call to Action (CTA)
- Canonical Links / References
- Click Through Rate (CTR)
- Closed Deal Lost
- Closed Deal Won
- Content Audit
- Content Marketing
- Conversational Marketing
- Conversion Rate
- Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
- Display Advertising
- Featured Snippet
- Follow vs NoFollow
- Gated Content
- GDN (Google Display Network)
- Goal Completions
- Google Ads
- Google Algorithm Update
- Google Analytics
- Google My Business (GMB)
- Google Search Console (GSC)
- Google Tag Manager (GTM)
- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
- Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
- Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)
- Inbound Marketing
- Knowledge Graph
- Landing Page
- Marketing Automation
- Meta Data
- MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead)
- New Users
- Organic Search Results
- Pages Per Session
- Paid Search Results
- PPC (Pay Per Click Advertising)
- Proximity Rule
- Quality Score
- RWD (Responsive Web Design)
- Returning Users
- Search Advertising
- Search Channels
- Search Engine Spider
- Search Network
- Seed Keyword
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
- SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Site Crawl
- Social Media Advertising (SMA)
- Social Media Optimisation (SMO)
- Split Testing
- Sponsored Results / Listings
- Structured Query Language (SQL)
- Title Tags
- Top Level Domain (TLD)
- Toxic Links
- Uniform (or Universal) Tracking Module (URL)
- Urchin Tracking Module (UTM)
- UX Services
- Video Marketing
- View Through Conversions
- Voice Search Marketing
A permanent redirect which sends visitors and crawlers one URL to another. A 301 redirect can be used if you have deleted a web page and can pass on 90-99% of link juice from one page to
The specific page requested is not reachable on the server.
A method of comparing two versions of a webpage (A & B) against each other to determine differences in performance. See also Split Testing
A set of related ad groups that all target similar categories of products or services and aligned to the same business goal.
An ad group contains one or more ads that target a shared set of keywords. You set a bid, or price, to be used when an ad group’s keywords trigger an ad to appear.
The position of an ad on a search engine results page. It’s equal to Maximum Bid x Quality Score.
The copy used in your ad and landing page, which should match the targeted keywords and encourage users to click through.
All Sessions Time
This is a calculated number used as an overall metric of website visitor engagement. Often used on media or content rich sites it is avg Session Duration multiplied by total number of sessions. It can be useful to compare traffic types of advertising costs as it can be further extended as a metric by dividing All Session Time for a segment of traffic by the cost of getting that traffic. This provides a metric of Minutes per £/$ of engagement with the site.
ALT Tags - Alternative Text Tags
Words to describe an image used on a website. Initially developed so that blind people could have the content of a picture described to them but now also used by search engines to classify images for search results, especially image search results.
The words used on a link to another web page or website telling the visitor what the link represents. These are important for SEO as search engines use this text to understand page relevance. Don’t link pages with Click Here unless you are optimising for the keyword -Click Here-!
Application Programming Interface (API)
set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications
These are groups of people that you can target based on their interests, as well as their visits to your site. With Audiences, you can target a group of people with similar interests, as well as remarketing groups (showing ads to people who have previously visited your website).
Avg Session Duration
The total time of all of the sessions on your website during the period divided by the numbers of Sessions in the period. Gives you a measure of how well engaged your visitors are with your website.
Bing Ads is Microsoft’s answer to search engine marketing. Microsoft allows users to advertise through text and graphics. Bing and Yahoo have joined to produce an extensive range of websites to advertise on.
The percentage of sessions that end without the User interacting with the site by going to another page or clicking on a tracked event. The user is described as bouncing off the site in these circumstances. Where visitors are coming to good content on a site and reading / absorbing it and then not going onto another page the counting of these sessions as a bounce can be seen as unhelpful. Therefore you can create a time based event trigger for your site and then you will be able to have ‘and adjusted bounce rate’ where people staying on a page for longer than the time defined in the event no longer ‘bounce’ even if they do not go to another page.
Business to Business (B2B)
A commercial transaction between two businesses.
Business to Consumer (B2C)
A commercial transaction between a business and an end user.
A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real data about your existing customers and market research.
Call to Action (CTA)
a prompt for your visitors, leads/ customers to take action. Eg "Call" "Click here" or "Download Guide".
Canonical Links / References
This is the URL that you want your visitors to see. Essentially it’s picking out the best URL when there are multiple choices available, and presenting this best choice to the search engine, so it can display it to those who visit your site.
Artificial intelligence simulating human conversation on a website which engages visitors and gathers data with which to efficiently qualify leads.
Closed Deal Lost
The point at which a lead is no longer a potential customer.
Closed Deal Won
The point at which a lead becomes a customer.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
The percentage of people who on seeing you on the SERPs actually click to go through to your website. Calculated by diving clicks by impressions.
Analysis of all the current content assets for which your organisation is responsible.
Content marketing is a strategic digital marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, content to attract and retain a clearly defined target audience.
A feedback approach to marketing used to drive engagement in real time.
For an eCommerce site a Conversion will be a purchase, for a non eCommerce site a Conversion will be a Goal like the completion of an enquiry form. Conversion rate is the number of Conversions divided by the total number of Sessions in the period. Improving a websites overall conversion rate can improve the ROI for all digital marketing methods. However it is important to understand that different types of traffic will typically have differing conversion rates because of the relative ‘quality of the fit’ of the traffic types.
Cost Per Acquisition
The cost of each conversion action taken by a visitor, eg sale or form submission.
Adverts that appear on content websites such as newspapers, blogs, video websites. Display ads can be text, images, rich (HTML5) images and video.
Code to create a container element on a webpage to layout and style content.
Summary of an answer to a search query displayed at the top of Google SERPs extracted from a webpage with the page's URL. Can display as a paragraph, list or table depending on the initial query.
Follow vs NoFollow
This is a strip of HTML code added to a link to allow (or not) search engine bots to count it as a ranking factor. When you link to a page with a follow tag, it will count as an SEO boost for the page’s ranking. If you use nofollow, it won’t. Nofollow attributes can be useful for paid links if you’re in affiliate marketing or for comments and forums to avoid spam.
Online content that can only be accessed by completing a form.
GDN - Google Display Network
The websites and mobile apps that carry Google Display advertising. – including specific Google websites such as Google Finance, Gmail, Blogger and YouTube. Although Google rationalised the number of sites that it allowed in its network to eliminate those that it thought were sub standard there are still well over 1 million websites carrying Google display advertising.
It is vital to track measures of success and in Google Analytics this is done with Goals. Goal Completions are the number of Goals that have been recorded in a period. These can be broken down to see the numbers for each individual goal.
Goals are defined as a target; what your business wants to achieve in terms of conversions. This could be sign-ups, purchases or even a call to your business.
Formerly knows as 'Google AdWords'
Google Ads is one of the biggest online advertising platforms. Advertisers pay to display advertisements, service offerings, product listings, video content via the Google ad network to users on the web.
Google Algorithm Update
scheduled or responsive amendments by Google which may affect useability and SEO.
Web analytics service from Google which tracks website traffic. Available in the Google Marketing Platform.
Google My Business (GMB)
Free Google business listing which appears on SERPs. It is particularly valuable for local businesses to get found online.
Google Search Console (GSC)
A free service offered by Google that helps you understand and improve how Google sees your site. It also shows what organic search terms users used to find your site.
Google Tag Manager (GTM)
A Google Product which enables the tracking of various aspects of website visits via snippets of code
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
System for tagging website page text files to obtain desired font, colour, graphic, and hyperlinks
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
The protocol used to transfer data over the web.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure
HTTP with an additional SSL for increased site security.
When your ad is served to someone who is searching on a search engine and it appears in his or her results (alongside organic search results). This is counted as 1 impression, but you do not have to pay for each impression you receive on your ads.
Inbound marketing is an approach coined by Hubspot CEO, Brian Halligan and is all about drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, SEO, social media marketing and branding. Inbound marketing builds authenticity and prospects trust by providing them information that they value.
Also includes key-phrase or keyword phrase – word or words entered into a search engine by a visitor looking for something. When developing a SEO plan it is important to know what keywords you are targeting before starting the optimisation process.
Data gathered from various online sources, used by Google and its services to enhance search results, and used to answer spoken queries in Google Assistant and Google Home.
Where the visitor is sent after clicking on a PPC ad. This could be a dedicated webpage, homepage, or somewhere else.
A person identified as a potential customer by their interest in a brand's products or services.
Software which can be set to automatically manage marketing campaigns and processes across multiple channels.
Information contained within the coding of a webpage that is not visible to the website visitor but is read by search engines spiders and used within the ranking algorithm.
MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead)
A lead assessed as being more likely to become a customer than other leads, based on their interaction with marketing materials.
New Users are those Users that have not been to your website before. This is tracked by using a Cookie file. Once a visitor comes to your site Google Analytics puts a Cookie file in their browser so that they can be tracked as a returning user. However if the Cookie file has been cleared from their machine since their last visit they will look like a ‘New User’.
Organic Search Results
The natural results on a search engine results page. These results cannot be paid for, unlike Paid Search Results. These results can be manipulated by SEO, which helps Google to find your website easier, thus it will appear higher in organic results.
Pages Per Session
Total number of page views divided by the total number of sessions within a period. Gives you a measure of how well engaged your visitors are with your website. If pages per session are high but Avg Session Duration low it can indicate problems with your website such as thin content or confusing navigation.
Paid Search Results
The paid search results on a search engine results page are the results that are paid for by an advertiser. These will be appearing based on the position that they receive.
PPC - Pay Per Click Advertising
The system that allows you to appear in the sponsored results. Gives website owners immediate results and can be useful for testing the conversion rates of different terms once visitors are on your website. Care has to be taken as large amounts of money can be wasted if a PPC campaign is not well set up.
The earlier a keyword, phrase or element appears on the page the more important the search engines think that this is. For example in a page meta titles it is better to put your more important keywords first. For page structures navigation DIVs should appear after main content DIVs where possible.
Quality score is among a variety of factors that decides how well your advertisement will be ranked in an auction, which will determine its position on the SERPs. Quality score is comprised (in most cases) of your CTR, Ad relevance and Landing page quality, as well as other features.
Term used to refer to where you appear within the SERPS for a specific or group of terms. With SEO you are always aiming for first page rankings (positions 1-10) as 85% of searches never go beyond the first of the SERPS.
When someone visits your site, but say they don’t convert, you can track this user and use “Remarketing” to serve them relevant ads from you, that will help them to perform a conversion on your website. It is essentially remarketing your ads to the same users (but not too frequently) in an effort to get them to convert on your site.
RWD - Responsive Web Design
This practice consists of adapting the design of a website to the device used to view it. For example, images will shrink on mobile to fit the screen size. This flexibility avoids having to develop a full new site for mobile and tablet.
Those people who have been to your website before as recorded by the presence of a Cookie file.
Serving adverts in response to a user’s search query (keywords).
Unless specified the SEO work applies to textual search of web pages. However, Google and the other search engines have developed specific search verticals such as video, images, shopping, news, and blogs to aid people getting the results they are looking for.
Search Engine Spider
Automated programs that read the code of web pages and websites to gather the base information that the search engine uses to calculate the ranking of a webpage against a specific term.
A group of search-related websites where your ads can appear. When you advertise on the Search Network, your ad can show next to search results when someone searches for your products or services using terms related to one of you. Google provides search functionality & adverts to search engines that are specifically Google branded.
Baseline keywords that are most relevant to a business' products or services. They are used as the foundation for performing keyword research.
SEO - Search Engine Optimisation
The process of making a website appear in the natural or organic search engine results. These results being generated by a complex algorithm known only to the search engines, which takes into account many factors.
SERPs - Search Engine Results Pages
The results pages of Google, Bing etc once a term has been entered.
Google Analytics defines this as a visit to a website. It can consist of a single page, or multiple page views. A user can have multiple Sessions (visits to your site) within a period so you Sessions number will always be higher than your Users number.
the process that a crawler undertakes to gather data from a website.
Social Media Advertising (SMA)
The use of social media platforms to target specific audiences with paid ads.
Social Media Optimisation (SMO)
Increasing the awareness of a product/ service/ brand/ business/ event by the use of social media platforms.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Cloud-based software service where a licensed application is accessed via an internet browser.
A method of comparing two versions of a webpage (A & B) against each other to determine differences in performance. See also A/B testing
Sponsored Results / Listings
The entries on the SERPs that are driven from PPC advertising on the search engines. Appearance is these results and your relative position is driven by how much you are prepared to pay for each visitor click.
Structured Query Language (SQL)
Standardised computer language for managing data manipulation and communication between relational databases
Part of a larger domain
Part of the meta-data that is visible to the visitor of a web page at the top of the browser program window. Now seen as the most important element of meta data to search engines.
Top Level Domain (TLD)
Part of the domain that appears after the dot, eg, com, org or net.
These are unnatural backlinks that can harm your ranking as search engines consider them as spam. You can even get penalised if you don’t remove them. These links come from spam sites, link networks or sites with a virus or malware.
Uniform (or Universal) Resource Locator (URL)
The address of a page on the World Wide Web
Urchin Tracking Module (UTM)
Simple snippet of code added to the end of a URL to track the performance of campaigns and content in Google Analytics
A user is an individual visitor to your website. Google Analytics identifies a user with a Cookie file that it puts on their web-browser, however if the individual uses a different device or a different web browser then Google can see this as a different ‘User’ unless they are logged in. Google is improving its tracking of users across devices to minimise this difference. A User can have multiple Sessions associated with it on your website in a period.
UX encompasses all aspects of the end user's interaction with and experiences of a company and its products and services. In digital marketing terms it refers to the website design and ease of it use and navigation.
Video Marketing allows any information to be learned and understood easily in a small amount of time via videos.
View Through Conversions
A form of Google conversion tracking, measuring how many visitors saw your Google Display Network ad but did not click on it.
Voice Search Marketing
Voice search uses voice recognition technology that allows people to perform internet searches by speaking into a device. (e.g. smartphones, smart speakers, computers to home assistant devices.)
Tool for automating internal and external marketing, sales and service processes.