Digital Marketing Glossary

Digital Marketing Glossary

Like any industry, digital or internet marketing has more than its fair share of terms and phrases that the layperson may be unfamiliar with.

I have created this glossary to help our clients, as well as anyone interested in learning more about digital marketing, understand the vocabulary and terminology that we use so often it’s become a part of our daily language.

Questions? Comments? Want to learn more about some of these or how they’re relevant to marketing your website?

Please give us a call at 905-333-9637 or send me an email at steve@steveloates.com

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


301 Redirect – A bit of code that tells search engines a web page has permanently moved to another location. Users who visit the old page will be redirected to the new one, which all also keep most of its trust and authority in the eyes of search engines while delivering a better experience for users. This is the recommended “best practice” by Google when one of your web pages changes it’s address location.

404 – The official code for “Not Found”, referring to pages that have been deleted. Webmasters usually prefer to create “Custom 404” pages that will provide other options that may be of value to users, rather than to simply tell them the page no longer exists. Again, this is the recommended “best practice” by Google when one of your web pages has been permanently removed from a website.

A/B Testing– A method in marketing research where variables in a control scenario are changed and the ensuing alternate strategies tested, in order to improve the effectiveness of the final marketing strategy.

Above The Fold – Content on your website that is visible without having to scroll down the page.

Adwords – Is Google’s online advertising service. Through AdWords, you can create online ads to reach people exactly when they’re interested in the products and services that you offer.

Affiliate – Any third-party person or organization that drives traffic to a business or merchant’s web site in exchange for a percentage of successful sales transactions.

Affiliate Marketing – Is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.

Algorithm – The process or system search engines use to rank websites on their results pages. Google’s algorithm, as an example, is extremely complex, and is made up of  hundreds of factors.

Alt Tag – A tag that can be implemented on images to provide a description of what the picture is about for search engines and/or visually impaired users. Also known as alternative text.

Analytics – is the tracking and reporting of website traffic and their behaviour on the site. Google Analytics is the most popular and is free.

Anchor Text – The visible and clickable text over a hyperlink.

Autoresponder – A program that sends an automatic form responding to incoming emails.

B2B – Acronym for Business to business. Involving the marketing and selling of products between two businesses.

B2C – Acronym for Business to Consumer. Involving the marketing and selling of products between a business and a consumer.

Backlinks – Also known as incoming links, inbound links, inlinks, and inward links, are incoming links to a website or web page. A backlink is any link received by a web page from another web page on a different website.

Baidu – Is a Chinese web services company offering China’s largest Chinese language-search engine for websites, audio files and images.

Banner Ads – This form of online advertising entails embedding an advertisement into a web page. It is intended to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser.

Below the Fold – Content on your website that can only be accessed by scrolling down the page.

Bing Ads – Bing’s paid advertising system. Works on either a pay-per-click basis, where advertisers bid on keywords and only pay for the clicks that their ad receives, or cost-per-mille (thousand) basis, where advertisers pay for every 1,000 impressions (views) their ad receives.

Bing Places for Business – Bing Places for Business is a Bing portal that enables local business owners add a listing for their business on Bing.

Black Hat SEO – Search Engine Optimization strategies that are considered unethical, illegitimate and against Google’s (and other search engines’) Terms of Service in an effort to get better rankings on search engine result pages. Examples include paying for links or writing and distributing duplicate content. This will almost always result in a website being penalized and either sent to the last pages or removed from a search engine index altogether.

Blog – Short for weblog. Businesses often use blogs to communicate with their customers more directly, and to write articles that share their expertise or a more personal side of their companies.

Bounce Rate – In website analytics it is the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing a single page. In email marketing, it is the percentage of emails in a campaign that are undeliverable.

Browser – A browser is software that is used to access the internet. A browser lets you visit and view websites and do activities within them like login, view videos, link from one site to another, visit one page from another, print, send and receive email, among many other activities. Most common browsers are Google Chrome, Microsoft Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari.

Call To Action (CTA) – A call to action, or CTA, is a banner, button, or some type of graphic or text on a website meant to prompt a user to click it and continue toward the desired outcome of the website owner. One of example would be a sign-up request for a newsletter.

Captcha – Acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. It is a program that protects websites against bots by generating and grading tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot.

Card Verification Value (CVV) – A 3- or 4-digit number found on the back of a credit card for extra security and to prevent credit card fraud. Required for all e-Commerce purchases to ensure the customer is in possession of the card at the time of purchase.

Click-Through Rate (CTR) – Generally refers to online advertising and is the ratio of impressions (amount of times your ad was seen) versus clicks on your ad. For example, if your ad was seen 100 times and 10 users clicked it, your click-through rate is 10%.

Content – Refers to anything on your website that is designed to entertain, educate or assist users, such as an article, a video, an image, or a free resource or tool.

Content Management System – An administrative section of a website that allows you, the website owner, to make changes, post updates, and make them live instantaneously.

Conversion – Occurs when an individual is successfully converted to perform an action you wanted them to perform, such as contacting your business via phone or email, making a purchase or signing up for something.

Conversion Rate – The ratio of visitors that perform a conversion to those that do not. E.g., the action you want visitors to take is to buy a product on your website. 10 people visit and 1 ends up making a purchase. Your conversion rate is 10%.

Cookie – A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser while the user is browsing that website. Every time the user loads the website, the browser sends the cookie back to the server to notify the website of the user’s previous activity.

Cost-Per-Click (or CPC) – The amount paid for each click received on an online advertising channel such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads.

Cost per Impression (CPM) – Short for Cost Per Mille (Thousand). A common internet marketing cost structure, especially for banner advertising. The amount paid for every 1,000 impressions (views) a Google AdWords display (banner) ad receives.

Crawling – Crawling is the process where the Googlebot goes around from website to website, finding new and updated information to report back to Google. The Googlebot finds what to crawl using links. The crawler is the component of a search engine that gathers listings by automatically “crawling” the Web.

CSS – Short for Cascading Style Sheets. A method of moving style elements off of website and pages and improve load speeds for users and search engines.

Deep Linking – Linking to a web page other than a site’s home page

Designer – An individual who creates the overall look, design and navigation of a website.

Developer – An individual who programs and designs software and website code.

DMOZ The Open Directory Project. The “largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the web”.

Domain Name – The official address of a website (for example, http : //www.steveloates.com).

Duplicate Content – One piece of content that is recycled over and over, with a few words replaced or changed here and there, and posted all over a website or distributed to hundreds of different websites for the purposes of linking. Considered a Black Hat SEO tactic.

Digital Marketing – Digital marketing applies technologies or platforms such as websites, e-mail, apps and social media networks. It can be through non-internet channels like TV, Radio, SMS, etc or through Internet channels like Social Media, E-mails ads, Banner ads, etc. Social Media Marketing is a component of digital marketing.

e-Book or ebook – A digital version of a book available for download, usually in PDF format.

e-Commerce (eCommerce) – Short for electronic commerce. The official term for the industry of buying and selling goods or services via computer systems and the internet.

EdgeRank – EdgeRank is the name commonly given to the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine what articles should be displayed in a user’s News Feed.

Email Marketing – The practice of direct marketing to potential and existing customers via electronic mail, such as a newsletter.

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Facebook – Is currently the largest social networking website that allows registered users to create profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues.

Favicon – A small icon that is used by some browsers to identify a bookmarked Web site.

Feed – (RSS, XML) A standard XML file format ensures compatibility with many different machines/programs. Subscribing to a website RSS removes the need for the user to manually check the website for new content. Instead, their browser constantly monitors the site and informs the user of any updates.

Forum – Is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages on specific topics.

Freemiums – A resource, such as a video, white paper, series of articles, etc., that offers the recipient valuable information at no cost.

FTP – Acronym for File Transfer Protocol. A program used to upload or download files, such as web pages and digital product information.

Geo-Targeting – Reaching individuals on the web based on their current location. For example, a search in Toronto for “pizza shops” will likely bring up results from Toronto and the surrounding area.

Google+ – Google+ is a social networking platform owned by Google.  It features the ability to post photos and status updates to the stream or interest based communities, group different types of relationships (rather than simply “friends”) into Circles, a multi-person instant messaging, text and video chat called Hangouts, events, location tagging, and the ability to edit and upload photos to private cloud-based albums.

Google AdWords – Google’s paid advertising system. Works on either a pay-per-click basis, where advertisers bid on keywords and only pay for the clicks that their ad receives, or cost-per-mille (thousand) basis, where advertisers pay for every 1,000 impressions (views) their ad receives.

Google Analytics – A free service from Google that generates detailed statistics about visitors to a website.

Googlebot – The Googlebot is the search software that Google sends out to collect information about documents on the web to add to Google’s searchable index.

Google Local Business Listing – Local business profiles from Google. Allow you to display your business name, address, phone number, hours, payment types, photos, videos, and other information.

Google Webmaster Tools – A free web service from Google for webmasters, used to track website search rankings, performance, errors, and much more.

Guerilla Marketing – Unconventional marketing intended to get maximum results from minimal resources.

Guest Blogging – Writing a blog post to be published on another blog as a temporary featured author.

Header Tags – The headline/sub-headlines on a web page, indicated as such in the website code by the HTML tags of <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc. Important for search engines, as the header tags help them understand more about the content of a website; a core keyword should always be in the header tags.

Heatmap – A graphical representation of “clicks” or activity from a web page where varying degrees are shown using colors. For example, that part of a web page that received the most clicks may be shown in red.

Hootsuite –  Is a social media management system that allows you to manage multiple social media networks from one place. It currently supports Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, MySpace, WordPress, TrendSpottr and Mixi.

HTML – Short for HyperText Markup Language. The main programming language used in websites.

Hummingbird – The Hummingbird is an entirely new Google algorithm. It approaches search engine queries in a brand new and intelligent way utilizing new technology combined with older features of the existing algorithms. It is named for the speed and accuracy of the tiny bird.

Hyperlink –  A link from a hypertext file or document to another location or file, typically activated by clicking on a highlighted word or image on the screen.

Image Optimization – The process of ensuring images are being of maximum benefit to your website by 1. Making sure targeted keywords are present in an image’s name, title and alt tags (or alternative text) in order to help search engines understand its content. 2. Reducing the file size of the image as much as possible, without losing quality, so that it does not slow down the website rendering.

Impressions – The number of times someone views your web page in search results or your ad on the web.

Inbound or Incoming LinksSee Backlinks

Inbound Marketing – Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.

Index (Google Index) – The Google index is similar to an index in a library, which lists information about all the books the library has available. However, instead of books, the Google index lists all of the web pages that Google knows about. When Google visits your site, it detects new and updated pages and updates the Google index.

Indexing – Indexing is the processing of the information collected by the Googlebot from its crawling activities. Once documents are processed, they are added to Google’s searchable index if they are determined to be quality content. During indexing, the Googlebot processes the words on a page and where those words are located. It also analyzes information behind the scenes such as title tags and ALT attributes.

Instagram – Is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.

Internal Links – Linking to pages within the same website. For example, this is an internal link to our blog.

Internet Marketing – Internet marketing, or online marketing, refers to advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web and email to drive direct sales via electronic commerce, in addition to sales leads from Web sites or emails.

JavaScript – A scripting language developed by Netscape and used to create interactive Web sites.

Keyword A word or phrase that users will search for online in order to find businesses, products or services  they are interested in.

Keyword Density – Keywords as a percentage of indexable text words.

Keyword Stuffing – The practice of trying to cram as many appearances of a keyword, or keywords, on a page as possible. This usually hurts the user experience and is considered Black Hat SEO.

Keyword Tags – The meta keywords tag is one of several of meta tags that you can insert into your web pages to provide search engines with information about your pages that isn’t visible on the page itself. However, as of 2009 Google no longer uses the “keywords” meta tag in their web search ranking and so is now irrelevant in the world of search.

Landing Page –  A web page that is user is lead to after clicking on a specific link or search result. Usually focuses on one subject, such as a certain category, product or service.

Link Web sites or pages pointing to your website, or a specific page on it. This is an example of a link to our sister company, AIS Solutions.

Link Building – The process of increasing the number of inbound links to a website in a way that will increase search engine rankings.

Link Checker – A software tool used to check for broken hyperlinks on web pages

LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community. The goal of the site is to allow registered members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally. It is also one of the world’s largest job boards.

Linkbait – Content on a website designed to attract attention and encourage those viewing it to create hyperlinks to the site, with the aim of improving the site’s position on the list of results returned by a search engine.

Link Popularity – Is a measure of the number and quality of links to a website.

Local Business Listings – It is a listing on search engines that shows the physical location of a company or business on a map with all the relevant information namely the websites, contact numbers, services offered etc. All major search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing offer local business listings.

Local Search – Local search is any search aimed at finding something within a specific geographic area.

Local SEO – Short for Local Search Engine Optimization. The process of implementing SEO practices with a localized focus to help your website improve in rankings for searches with local intent (e.g., pizza Chicago).

Long Tail Keywords – Longer, less searched for keywords, but more niche and easier to rank for due to less competition. An example might be “internet marketing company in Toronto”

META Description Tags – The text that appears underneath your website’s title in Google’s search results page.

Meerkat – Meerkat is an easy-to-use iPhone app that links with Twitter accounts, letting a person on one side of the phone stream a live video feed of whatever they’re looking at — or a video selfie. See also Periscope.

Microblogging – A microblog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actual and aggregated file size. Microblogs allow users to exchange small elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links. Twitter could be an example of a microblogging app.

Mobile Marketing – Is promotional activity designed specifically for delivery to cell phones, smart phones and other handheld devices, usually as a component of a multi-channel campaign.

Mobile Website – A version of a website specifically designed for mobile devices, such as a cell phone.

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Natural Listings – (Organic) Search results are listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms, as opposed to their being advertisements.

Naver – Is a popular South Korea search engine.It debuted as the first Web portal in South Korea that used its own proprietary search engine.

Navigation – That which facilitates movement from one Web page to another Web page.

Open Source – A concept that promotes making a software’s code free and available for the public to access and for other programmers to utilize for their own projects.

Opt-in – Requires a potential customer to self-select the services they wish to subscribe to, and how any information they provide may be used.

Opt-out – is the express instruction by a customer, or a recipient of a mail, email, or other direct delivery to stop the marketer from sending a merchandise, information, or more messages.

Organic Listings – See natural Listings

Organic Traffic – Any traffic that found your website naturally, through a non-paid source (e.g., search engine results, not including paid ads).

Outbound Links – Links on any Web page leading to another Web page, whether they are within the same site or another website.

Page Authority – How trusted your website is in the eyes of search engines as an expert on its subject matter. Authority factors in quite significantly when it comes to search engine rankings.

PageRank – Is a link analysis algorithm used by Google to help determine the relative importance of a website. Every website is given a Google PageRank score between 0 and 10 on an exponential scale.

Paid Listings – Are listings on a search engine’s results page that have been purchased by an advertiser, either through paid inclusion or paid placement programs. This is in contrast to organic listings, which appear solely based on relevance.

Paid Search – Paid search marketing is a scalable form of web marketing designed to connect your ads with searchers actively seeking what you provide. Examples of this would be Google Adwords and Bing Ads.

Panda – The official codename for one of Google’s algorithm changes first released in February 2011, The change aimed to lower the rank of “low-quality sites” and return higher-quality sites near the top of the search results.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising – Pay per Click (PPC) – One of the methods used by Google AdWords and Bing Ads, where users pay only for the clicks their ad receives.

Penguin – Google Penguin is a code name for a Google algorithm update that was first announced on April 24, 2012. The update is aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using now declared black hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, participating in link schemes, deliberate creation of duplicate content, and others

Periscope – Periscope on Twitter is a live streaming app that is available only on iOS for now. You can streams live video and audio from a user’s smartphone. Other people can watch and comment on it from the app, and a link to the live stream can be shared on Twitter. See also Meerkat.

Permission Marketing – Is the opposite of interruption marketing; instead of interrupting the customer with unrequested information, permission marketing aims to sell goods and services only when the prospect gives consent in advance to receive the marketing information. This term was coined and developed by Seth Godin.

Pinterest – Is a free social media website that requires registration to use. Users can upload, save, sort, and manage images—known as pins—and other media content (e.g., videos and images) through collections known as pinboards.

Podcast – Podcasts are digital media files (most often audio, but they can be video as well), which are produced in a series. You can subscribe to this series of files, or podcast, and once you subscribe, when new files become available from the publisher they are automatically downloaded onto your computer or portable music player for you to listen to or watch, whenever you wish.

Query – As in search engine query is a request for information that is made using a search engine. Every time a user puts a string of characters in a search engine and presses “Enter”, a search engine query is made.

Rank – Is what position your website (page) are found on the search engines result pages (SERP).

Real Simple Syndication (RSS) – is a technology that provides you with a method of getting relevant and up to date information sent to you for you to read in your own time. It saves you time and helps you to get the information you want quickly after it was published. It is often described as a “news feed” that you subscribe to.

Reciprocal Link – A link exchange between two websites, usually for the mutual benefit of search engine rankings. Less valuable than a one-way link.

Retargeting – Is a cookie-based technology form of advertising that uses simple Javascript code to anonymously ‘follow’ your audience all over the Web once they have visited your site.

Remarketing/Retargeting – A form of online advertising where a cookie is placed on a user’s browser after they visit your website or take a similar action. Your ad will then appear on other websites they visit that accept ads from the network you are retargeting.

Responsive Design – Design that is intended to allow websites to provide an ideal browsing experience regardless of the device being used (computer, tablet, phone). Websites using responsive design are able to understand the device being used to access it and will automatically adapt accordingly.

Robots.txt – A file that is used to tell search engines which pages they can crawl and index (include on their search engine results pages).

Robot or Bot – See Crawler

SEM – Acronym for Search Engine Marketing. This could refer to either paid search, Search Engine Optimization, or both.

SEO – Acronym  for Search Engine Optimization. The process of improving elements on and off a website with the intention of increasing its ranking on Search Engine Results Pages for the keywords related to its business.

Search Engines – A program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user, used especially for finding particular websites on the World Wide Web. Often used to describe systems like Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Search Engine Submission – The act of supplying a URL to a search engine in an attempt to make a search engine aware of a site or page.

SERP – Acronym for Search Engine Results Page. It is the listing of results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query. The results normally include a list of items with titles, a reference to the full version, and a short description showing where the keywords have matched content within the page.

Search Terms – A search term, often referred to as keywords, is a word, or group of words, that a person types into a Search Engine to find information they are looking for.

Scraping –  (Web Scraping) Is the action of taking content from one web site for use on another. This data extraction can be done either manually or by an automated method.

Shopping Cart – Software used to make a site’s product catalog available for online ordering, whereby visitors may select, view and purchase merchandise.

Stickiness – How often people return to a website or the amount of time spent at a site would be described as that website’s stickiness.

Social Media – Websites on which users and businesses can connect with others and interact, share content, and build a network of people and companies they know. Prime examples include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Social Media Marketing – The practice of marketing to potential and existing customers by building a network of connections and sharing content and updates across social media platforms.

Social Selling – Is simply the process of helping social buyers become customers. You do this through creating and share valuable content and by grow your personal brand and gaining trust.

Spam – Unsolicited data, either sent via email or put on a website in a manner that goes against what the user was originally searching for. Can refer to unwanted data sent via email or put on a website to game a search engine. Spam to a search engine is Web content that the search engine deems to be detrimental to its efforts to deliver relevant, quality search results.

Spider – A spider is a piece of software that follows links throughout the Internet, grabbing content from sites and adding it to search engine databases. Often referred to as “bot” or “crawler” as well.

SSH – Short for Secure Shell. A protocol that is used to provide secure communication across networks, such as e-Commerce websites.

Text Ad – Is the standard type of Google AdWords ad. A text ad includes a link to your website and a description or promotion of your product or service.

Title Tag – The title of your website page as it appears on Google search results and in a user’s browser bar.

TLD – Acronym for Top Level Domain.

Tracking Code – is a snippet of JavaScript that collects and sends data to an analytics program from a website.

Twitter – Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”.

Tweet –  Is a 140 character message. It’s how you communicate and share on Twitter.

Universal Search – The placement of multiple types of results within a general search so that a user receives images, videos, local search results, news articles, and more next to general Web pages.

Unique Visitor – Individuals who have visited a Web site (or network) at least once in a during a fixed time frame.

URL – Short for Uniform Resource Locator. Another name for a website address.

Usability – How easy it is for a user to navigate a website and find the information he or she is seeking.

UVP – Unique Value Proposition

Viral or Viral Marketing –  viral marketing is any marketing strategy that induces web sites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users, creating a potentially exponential growth in the message’s visibility and effect.

Vlog – A blog that publishes video content

Web 2.0 – The second stage of development of the World Wide Web, characterized especially by the change from static web pages to dynamic or user-generated content and the growth of social media.

Web Browser – (Browser) Is a software application used for locating, retrieving and presenting information and content on the World Wide Web.

Webinar – A seminar that is held on the web. Attendees listen through their phones, speakers or headphones and watch via video or a shared screen presentation.

Web Copywriting – The practice of writing copy specifically for websites.

Website Traffic – That amount of visitors and visits a website receives

Weibo – is one of the most popular websites in China. It is a microblogging website and is often explained as the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.

Whois – A website that provides ownership information about domains.

White Hat SEO Search Engine Optimization strategies that are considered fair, legitimate, and within Google’s (and other search engines’) Terms of Service. Examples include creating useful, valuable content that earns links from other websites and providing users with a straightforward, satisfying online experience.

Wiki – Is a website that allows collaborative editing of its content and structure by its users.

WOM – Acronym for Word of Mouth – often used in conjunction with marketing as in “Word of Mouth Marketing”.

WordPress – One of the most popular Content Management Systems that is used as a website development platform and also is excellent for blogging.

XML – It is the short form for EXtensible Markup Language. It is a markup language that allows designers to create their own customized tags, enabling the definition, transmission, validation, and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations.

Yahoo – It is an Internet portal that incorporates a search engine and a directory of World Wide Web sites organized in a hierarchy of topic categories.

Yandex – Yandex is currently the fastest growing search engine in the world, serving primarily Russia and other countries formerly part of the Soviet Union.

YouTube – YouTube is the leader in online video, and the premier destination to watch and share original videos worldwide through a Web experience. it provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small. It also currently ranks as the 2nd largest search engine in the world.

Z-Index – re CSS – Using the z-index property of CSS allows you to better control positioning of overlapping elements. This element is sometimes used for black hat SEO purposes.

This digital marketing glossary, like all other information on this website, is copyrighted. You may link to it from any website.
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