The Ultimate List of Digital Marketing Terms
This digital marketing glossary is the most extensive list of digital marketing terms, lingo, acronyms, and buzzwords available on the web. It is the culmination of years of studying and learning the industry, and it took over 3 months to put together. Below you will find a some of the most common digital marketing terms, many of which are specific to SEO, PPC, and web design specialties. Did we miss any digital marketing terms? If so, get in touch with us by filling out a contact form and we will add them!
Created By John Leo Weber - Director of Digital Marketing
Curated and Updated By Matt Benevento - SEO Team Lead
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301 Redirect - A method of redirecting a visitor from one web page to another web page. This type of redirect is to be used for permanent redirects (example: you own websiteA.com and websiteB.com but you only want one website. You would 301 redirect all of the traffic from websiteB.com to websiteA.com so that all visitors end up on websiteA.com)
302 Redirect - A method of redirecting a visitor from one page to another web page, used for temporary situations only. For permanent redirects, instead use a 301.
404 Error - The error message that appears when a visitor tries to go to a web page that does not exist.
Ad Extensions - Additional pieces of information that can be added to Google Adwords ads, including reviews, address, pricing, callouts, app downloads, sitelinks, and click-to-call. Ad extensions help advertisers create richer, more informative ads that take up more on-page real estate, which generally lead to higher Click Through Rates.
Ad Manager Account - An advertising account on Facebook that allows you to run ads on the Facebook Ad Network.
Ad Network - A grouping of websites or digital properties (like apps) where ads can appear. For example, Google has 2 ad networks: the search network (text ads that appear in search results) and the display network (image ads that appear on millions of websites that have partnered with Google).
Adwords (Google Adwords) - A Google owned program that is used by advertisers to place ads on Google search results pages, on Youtube, and on Google ad network sites. Adwords is the primary platform for PPC advertising.
Alt Text (or Alternative Text) - An attribute added to HTML code for images, used to provide vision impaired website visitors with information about the contents of a picture. Best practice dictates that all images on a website should have alt text, and that the text should be descriptive of the image.
Analytics (or Google Analytics) - A Google platform that allows webmasters to collect statistics and data about website visitors. Google Analytics (sometimes abbreviated as GA) allows webmasters to see where web traffic comes from and how visitors behave once on the site.
Anchor Text - The clickable words in a hyperlink. In SEO, anchor text is a ranking signal to Google, as it provides context about the destination site. For example, if many websites link to one particular website using the anchor text “free stock photos”, Google uses that information to understand the destination site is likely a resource with free stock photos. Theoretically, that could help the stock photos website rank in Google for keywords related to stock photography.
Adsense (Google Adsense) - A Google platform that allows websites to earn money by publishing Google network ads on their website.
Algorithm - A process or set of rules that computers follow to perform a task. In digital marketing, algorithm usually refers the the sets of processes Google uses to order and rank websites in search results. The SEO industry gives various Google algorithms their own nicknames like Penguin (which analyzes the quality of links pointing to a website) and Panda (which assesses the quality of the content on a website). The main ranking algorithm is SEO is referred to as “The core algorithm”.
Algorithm Update - A change made to a Google algorithm. Updates typically affect the rankings of websites. Google makes hundreds of adjustments to their algorithms throughout the year, as well as several major updates each year.
Alexa (Amazon Alexa) - Amazon’s home assistant device that uses voice commands to do various things like: play music, answer questions, give weather updates, and more. Voice search is becoming more interesting to the SEO industry as more people use devices like Alexa in place of computers for searches.
Automation - Using computer programs to perform tasks that are repetitive, that would normally be completed by a human. Email programs can use automation to send email messages to people based on certain triggers (new customers, did or did not open the last email, etc). Marketers also use automation to nurture leads by sending relevant content to previous visitors of a website, in an attempt to get the visitor back to convert into a sale.
Average Position - A metric in Google Adwords that helps advertisers understand where, on average, their ads are showing in Google search results pages. There are usually 4 available ad slots at the top of a search result page (where 1 is the first ad, 2 is the second ad, etc), so for the best results advertisers typically want an average position between 1-4. Average position 5+ indicates that your ads are showing at the bottom of the search results page.
Backlink - This is when one website hyperlinks to another website using html href code. Backlinks are a major factor used by Google in determining organic rankings. The basic idea being that if “website A” has incoming backlinks from other strong/relevant websites (websites B, C, and D), the links are votes of trust for website A. Website A will then gain authority from B, C, and D through those backlinks, which generally results in better rankings and a source of potential referral traffic.
Banner Ad - A popular type of digital image ad that can be placed across various websites. The largest and most popular image ad network is run by Google, and allows ads in the following common sizes:
- 250 x 250 – Square
- 200 x 200 – Small Square
- 468 x 60 – Banner
- 728 x 90 – Leaderboard
- 300 x 250 – Inline Rectangle
- 336 x 280 – Large Rectangle
- 120 x 600 – Skyscraper
- 160 x 600 – Wide Skyscraper
- 300 x 600 – Half-Page Ad
- 970 x 90 – Large Leaderboard
Bing - A web search engine that provides search services for web, video, image and map search products. Bing is owned and operated by Microsoft, and is powers Yahoo! Search. Bing now controls approximately >20% of the search share.
Bing Ads - A platform that provides pay-per-click advertising on both the Bing and Yahoo! search engines. The service allows businesses to create ads, and subsequently serve the ads to consumers who search for keywords that the businesses bid on. This platform also offers targeting options such as location, demographic, and device targeting.
Black Hat - Slang for an unethical digital marketer or SEO that breaks search engine guidelines, in order to artificially rank websites. They use tactics like duplicate content, spammy link building, and negative SEO.
Blog - Short for “web log”, a blog is a web page or a website that is regularly updated with new written content. Blogs are an important section of a website in digital marketing, as they offer fresh new content on a regular basis which can help attract new visitors, engage existing visitors, and give authority signals to Google.
Bot - An automated program that visits websites, sometimes also referred to as a “crawler” or a “spider”. Search Engines like Google uses bots to crawl websites so that they can be ranked and added to search indexes. Spam bots visit websites for nefarious reasons, often showing in Google Analytics as spammy traffic.
Bounce Rate - The percentage of visitors to a website that leave immediately without clicking or interacting with any portion of the page. For example, if 100 people visit a website, and 50 of them immediately leave, the website has a bounce rate of 50%. Websites aim to have as low of a bounce rate as possible, and averages tend to be anywhere between 40-60%.
Bread Crumbs - Links at the top of a web page or in a search result, that better help the user navigate the site. Onsite links often appear near the web page’s title and look something like this: Home > Services > Specific Service. Breadcrumbs can also be found in search results through specific schema markups. These help users find related pages from the search result listing.
Business Manager - A Facebook platform that allows marketers to manage multiple pages and ad accounts in one central location.
Campaign - A series of advertising messages that share a theme, and market a product or service. In the context of digital marketing, campaigns can be run through search and display network advertising platforms (i.e. Google, Bing), social media, email, or other online platforms. Campaigns can also refer to a comprehensive digital marketing strategy or project.
Canonical (rel=canonical) - A piece of code that is added into the html head of a webpage to indicate to Google whether a piece of content is original or duplicated from somewhere else. Original content should canonical to itself, and content taken from other places should point the canonical to the original source URL. Canonicals can also be used to avoid duplicate content issues within a website.
Click-Through-Rate - A metric showing how often people click on an ad or search result after they see it. It can be calculated by dividing the number of clicks, by the number of impressions (how many times the ad or search result was seen). This ratio can be useful when determining whether the messaging matches what the consumer is searching for, and if it resonates with them. A higher click-through-rate means more engagement, which generally leads to more quality conversions.
Code - The languages used to build a website. The most commonly used languages in web design are HTML, CSS, JS, and PHP.
Contact Form - A section on a website with fillable fields that visitors use to contact the website owner. Most commonly used to collect names, phone numbers, and email addresses of potential customers. Contact forms are fast becoming a preferred method for reaching out to a business.
Content - Any form of online media that can be read, watched, or provides an interactive experience. Content commonly refers to written materials, but also includes images and videos.
Conversion - The completion of a predefined goal. This is often used to track the number of site visitors that have been “converted” into paying customers, though sales are not always chosen as the metric. Other common goals are newsletter subscriptions and content downloads from the website.
Conversion Rate - The rate at which visitors to a website complete the predefined goal. It is calculated by dividing the number of goal achievements by the total number of visitors. For example, if 100 people visit a website and 10 of them complete the conversion goal (like filling out a contact form) then the conversion rate is 10%.
CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) - A metric in paid advertising platforms that measures how much money is spent in order to acquire a new lead or customer. It can be calculated by dividing the total spend by the number of conversions, for a given period of time. For example, if in a month a PPC account spends $1000 dollars and gets 10 conversions (leads), then the cost per acquisition is $100.
Cookie - A delicious baked…err... A small item of data sent from a website, that is stored on the user’s device. Cookies help the user’s device remember useful data like items in a shopping cart, which pages have already been visited or form field information.
CPC (Cost Per Click) - The amount of money spent for a click on an ad in a Pay-Per-Click campaign. In the Adwords platform, each keyword will have an estimated click cost, but the prices change in real time as advertisers bid against each other for each keyword. Average CPCs can range from less than $1 dollar for longtail or low-competition keywords, to upwards of $100 per click for competitive terms, primarily in legal, insurance, and water damage restoration industries.
CPM - Stands for “Cost Per Thousand” (M is the roman numeral for 1,000). This is the amount an advertiser pays for 1,000 impressions of their ad. For example, if a publisher charges $10 CPM, and your ad shows 2000 times, you will pay $20 for the campaign ($10 x 1000 impressions) x 2. Measuring ad success with CPM is most common in awareness campaigns, where impressions are more important than conversions or clicks.
Crawler - An automated program that scans websites to determine their content and purpose. The name reflects how the software “crawls” through the code, which is why they are sometimes also referred to as “spiders”. Crawlers are used by Google to find new content and to evaluate the quality of webpages for their index. Webmasters and SEOs can request additional scans through Google Search Console.
CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) - A branch of digital marketing that aims to improve the conversion rate of web pages, thus making the pages more profitable. Conversion rate optimization combines psychology with marketing and web design in order to influence the behavior of the web page visitor. CRO uses a type of testing called “A/B split testing” to determine which version of a page (version A or version B) is more successful.
CSS - Stands for “Cascading Style Sheets”. CSS is a document of code that tells the website’s HTML how it should appear on screen. CSS is a time saving document for web designers, as they can style batched-sections of HTML code, rather than styling individual lines of code one-at-a-time.
CTA (Call to Action) - An element on a web page used to guide visitors towards a specific action or conversion. A CTA can be a clickable button, an image, or standard text. They typically uses imperative verb phrases like: “call today” or “buy now”.
CTR (Click Through Rate) - the ratio of how many times an advertisement was clicked on, versus how many times it was shown. It is calculated by dividing the ad’s clicks by the ad’s impressions. For example, if an ad is shown to 100 people, and 10 of them click the ad, then it has a click through rate of 10% (10 clicks / 100 impressions = 10%)
Dashboard - A web page that contains and displays aggregate data about the performance of a website or digital marketing campaign. A dashboard pulls information from various data sources and displays the info in an easy-to-read format.
Dark Web (or Dark Net) - A part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines and is generally found only on secret or encrypted servers and requires special software or configurations to access. The Dark Web is thought to be used for illicit activities like black markets, illegal information sharing and underground political discourse.
Deep Web - In contrast to the Surface Web (indexed sites), this part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines, but does not deal in illegal activities, like the Dark Web. This consists of a variety of databases, documents, reports and other information that is not available to the public. It can also include things like web mail, online banking or subscription based content like videos, magazines, newspapers or other publications.
Digital Assistant - Sometimes known as a virtual assistant or intelligent personal assistant, this software or application can perform tasks or services via verbal commands from a user. These assistants are generally used to answer questions, set events and to-do lists, and can be set up to control utilities like lights and other automated devices in homes or businesses. Most smart devices also have built in digital assistants like Siri or Alexa. Google, Amazon and Apple offer some of the most robust digital assistants on the market.
Digital Marketing - A catchall term for online work that includes specialized marketing practices like SEO, PPC, CRO, web design, blogging, content, and any other form of advertising on a internet-connected device with a screen. Traditionally, television was not considered digital marketing, however the shift from cable television to internet streaming means that digital advertising can now be served to online TV viewers.
Directory - A website that categorically lists websites with similar themes. Some directories like chambers of commerce (a list of businesses in one geographic area) can be helpful for SEO, however widespread abuse of spam directories led Google to discount links from directories whose sole purpose was selling links.
Display Ads - Ads on a display network which include many different formats such as: images, flash, video, and audio. Also commonly known as banner ads, these are the advertisements that are seen around the web on news sites, blogs, and social media.
Display Network - a network of websites and apps that show display ads on their web pages. Google’s display network spans over 2 million websites that reach over 90% of people on the internet. Businesses can target consumers on the display network based on keywords/topics, placement on specific webpages, and through remarketing.
DNS - Stands for Domain Name System, it is a protocol that translates website URLs (which use alphabetic characters) into IP addresses (that use numeric characters). DNS exists because it is more useful for internet users to remember letters and words in website URLs, but the world wide web communicates in numbers with IP addresses. Without DNS, every website would just be a string of numbers rather than a traditional URL.
Dofollow - A phrase that denotes a hyperlink absent of a “nofollow” tag. By default, a hyperlink is a dofollow link until a “nofollow” piece of code is added to it. Dofollow links pass SEO equity to the destination URL, while “nofollow” links do not.
Duplicate Content - Refers to instances where portions of text are found in at least two different places on the web. When the same content is found on multiple websites, it can cause ranking issues for one or all of the websites, as Google does not want to show multiple websites in search results that have the exact same information. Generally, the site that indexed the content first is considered to be the original content and would not be penalized. Duplicate content can result from plagiarism, automated content scrapers, or lazy web design. Duplicate content can also be a problem within one website — if multiple versions of a page exists, Google may not understand which version to show in search results, and the pages are competing against each other, this is also known as keyword cannibalization. Issues like this can occur when new versions of pages are added, without deleting or forwarding the old version, or through poor URL structures.
Ecommerce (or E-Commerce) - Stands for Electronic Commerce, it is a classification for businesses that conduct business online. The most common form of e commerce business is an online retailer that sells products direct to the consumer.
Email Automation - A marketing system that uses software to automatically send emails based on predefined triggers. Multiple automated emails in a sequence are used create user funnels and segment them, based on behavior. For example, an automation funnel could be set to send “Email A” when a person provides their email address, then either “Email 2a” or “Email 2b” would be sent based on whether or not the person clicked on the first email.
Email List - A collection of email addresses that can be used to send targeted email marketing campaigns. Lists are typically segmented by user classification, so a list of existing customers can receive one type of communication, while potential customers can receive more promotional communication.
Email Marketing - The use of email with the goal of acquiring sales, customers, or any other type of conversion.
Featured Snippet - A summarized piece of information that Google pulls from a website and places directly into search results, in order to show quick answers to common and simple queries. Featured snippets appear in a block at the top of search results with a link to the source. Featured Snippets cannot be created by webmasters; Google programmatically pulls the most relevant information from an authoritative site. Most featured snippets are shown for question queries like “what is _____” or “who invented _____”. Some featured snippets even feature tools like calculator or conversion apps.
Facebook Advertising - Facebook allows advertisers to reach its users through their ad network. A range of ad types can be created to reach various goals set by companies. Facebook advertising is unique in that audiences are set up based on vast demographic information that Facebook has about their users, as compared to Google advertising that uses keywords.
Facebook Profile - A personal Facebook account. Profiles are automatically created when a user signs up.
Facebook Business Page - A public webpage on Facebook created to represent a company. Using a business page gives users access to Facebook Ads Manager. It also allows businesses to engage with users (i.e. page likes, message responses, post content).
Facebook Ads Manager - Ads Manager is a tool for creating Facebook ads, managing when and where they’ll run, and tracking how well campaigns are performing on Facebook, Instagram or their Audience Network.
Form Fill - When a visitor has filled out a contact form on a website, commonly used as a noun to refer to a conversion. “This month our marketing campaign generated 20 phone calls and 8 form fills.”
Google - Company behind the search engine giant Google.com. Founded in 1998, Google now controls approximately 80% of the search market. Google has also expanded to include many software services, both directly related to search, and targeted towards consumers outside of the search marketing industry like Google Chrome (a web browser), Google Fiber (internet service), Gmail (email client), and Google Drive (a file storing platform). Google is owned by parent company Alphabet.
Google+ - Google’s now defunct social media platform. Google+ was used for personal and business pages (now Google My Business), which featured information, company events, updates, and more.
Google Analytics - A free software platform created by Google, which is used to analyze nearly every aspect of users accessing a website. Website traffic, conversions, user metrics, historical data comparisons, and effectiveness of each channel of marketing can all be managed using this tool.
Google Adwords - Google’s online advertising service. This system allows advertisers to reach customers through their search and display networks. AdWords offers several cost models which vary by bidding strategy and company goals. Advertisers can bid on keywords which allows their ads to show in Google search results and on Google’s network of partner websites.
Google Chrome Security Warnings - In October 2017, Google made another step towards encouraging HTTPS/SSL Certificates for websites. Chrome users that visit sites without HTTPS are now shown a warning message that the site could be hazardous.
Google Fred Update - In March 2017, Google appeared to roll out a major update that penalized low quality content. Google did not confirm this, except that they make algorithm changes a regular basis. Gary Illyes joked that these types of updates should be referred to as Fred and the name stuck.
Google Home – A device for consumers that connects to their home network and can perform a large variety of tasks through voice commands. Typical uses for Google Home include asking basic questions, making Google searches, scheduling appointments, playing music, or setting alarms. More recently, digital assistants like Google Home have allowed homes and businesses to connect their virtual assistant to automated devices like lights and security, allowing them to be accessed and controlled via voice command.
Google Maps – The location and navigation service provided by Google. Using maps.google.com, users can search for stores, restaurants, businesses, and landmarks anywhere in the world. Google Maps is one of the most widely used navigation apps, providing GPS directions that update in real time, according to traffic patterns and issues.
Google My Business - The platform on which businesses can input information to appear in the search results, map packs, location searches, and more. Name, address, phone number, website link, hours of operation, reviews and more can all be managed through this tool. GMB is crucial to local SEO campaigns, and is directly related to location-based searches.
Google Partner Agency - An agency that is certified by Google for meeting certain requirements. To be a Google Partner, an agency must have an Adwords certified employee affiliated to the company profile, meet spend requirements, and Meet the performance requirement by delivering overall ad revenue and growth, and maintaining and growing the customer base.
Google Hummingbird - The industry nickname for one of the first major overhauls to the main Google search algorithm. In contrast to algorithm updates like Panda or Penguin, Hummingbird was intended to completely update the way Google interpreted user search queries. Previous to this update, Google results were mostly provided based on specific keyword matching within the user query. Now, a search for "Cheapest way to build birdhouse without using wood" will show results directly related to that query. Previously, users might see results that included wood as a building material. (See also: Google Algorithm, Google Panda, Google Penguin)
Google Home - A device for consumers that connects to their home network and can perform many basic tasks through voice commands. Typical uses for Google Home include asking basic questions, making Google searches, scheduling appointments, playing music, or setting alarms.
Google Maps - The location and navigation service provided by Google. Using maps.google.com, users can search for stores, restaurants, businesses, and landmarks anywhere in the world. Typically, users will find routes to nearby establishments including local businesses using Maps.
Google Medic - A major Google algorithm update in the summer of 2018 that primarily affected medical, fitness, health related and “YMYL” websites. Many sites in those fields saw significant drops in rankings, though Google denies specifically targeting these industries. This update is sometimes referred to as the “Query Intent Update”.
Google Mobile First Index Rollout Update - In early 2018, Google announced that it was beginning to roll out its mobile-first updates. Mobile-first refers to the Google initiative that encourages developers to build sites with a mobile view focus. Mobile-first requires responsive websites that work on any smart device and are optimized for fast loading speeds. Sites that are not mobile friendly will lose rankings or not be listed in mobile search results.
Google Mobile Speed Update - In July 2018, Google followed up on their announcement to use page speed as a ranking factor for mobile devices. This update is only supposed to affect the slowest mobile sites.
Google Panda - A Google algorithm update focused on analyzing the quality of a website's on-page content. Initially released February 2011, and updated periodically after this release, similar to Google Penguin. This update would determine if content on site pages was related to queries it was being displayed for, and alter the site's rankings accordingly. Sites with low-quality content saw significant ranking drops due to this algorithm update. The algorithm has now been assimilated to Google's core search algorithm, and can assess content quality in real time. (See also: Google Algorithm, Google Penguin)
Google Penguin - A Google algorithm update focused on analyzing the quality of links pointing to a site, or more accurately, the overall quality of a site's backlink profile. First announced on April 2012 and updated periodically after this release, similar to Google Panda. This algorithm targeted so-called "black-hat SEO" tactics which manipulated search rankings by creating links to sites in an unnatural manner. Google analyzes all of the pages which link to a specific site and determine whether the links are a benefit to users, or if they simply serve to manipulate search rankings and adjust the site's standing accordingly. Google estimates that Penguin affects 3.1% of all searches in English, a relatively large number for one algorithm. (See also: Backlink, Black Hat, Google Algorithm, Google Panda).
Google Pigeon - A Google algorithm update focused on providing locally relevant results to searchers. For example, searching for "SOHO coffee shop" will return results primarily centered around that neighborhood. In addition, Google can determine your location when you enter a search, and show you local businesses nearby your area even without localized keywords. This algorithm greatly influenced the potential for local businesses to appear in search results. (See also: Google Algorithm)
Google Algorithm - A mathematical programmatic system that determines where websites will appear on Google search result pages for any given number of queries. Sometimes also called the "Core" algorithm, though this is a less specific term. Google's algorithm is constantly updated (approximately 500-600 times a year, or two times per day), which can have varying levels of impact on the rankings of websites across the world. Google's actual algorithm is kept deliberately secret to prevent webmasters from manipulating the system for rankings, though Google does publically state their suggested "best practices" for appearing higher in search results.
Google Reviews - Reviews left using the Google My Business platform. Reviews are on a 1-5 star scale, and include a brief message written by the reviewer. Reviews can show up in the knowledge graph in Google searches, and have been shown to positively correlate with SEO rankings. (See also: Google My Business)
Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) - Search Console is a free tool Google offers to webmasters. Within the tool are several areas that include data on how a site is performing in search. Search Console differs from Analytics - it does not measure traffic, it measures a site's visibility on search pages, and indexability by Google crawler bots. Metrics Search Console measures are Click-Through Rate, Number of Indexed Pages, Number of Dead Links (AKA 404 pages), and more. (See also: Google Analytics, Click-through rate, Index, Crawler/Spider)
Google Reviews – Reviews left using the Google My Business platform. Reviews are on a 1-5 star scale, and include a brief message written by the reviewer. Reviews can show up in the knowledge graph in Google searches, and have been shown to positively correlate with organic and map pack rankings.
GCLID - Stands for Google Click IDentifier. This is a small string of numbers and letters that serves as a unique ID badge for visitors to a website. Typically, this is used to keep track of individual users as they click on a PPC ad, so that their interaction with the website (whether they converted, on which page, and using which method) can be tracked and attributed properly using Google Analytics. (See also: Google Analytics, PPC)
Gravity Forms – A WordPress plugin that adds a customizable contact form to a website. This plugin keeps track of all completed form submissions, and allows for all of the fields on a form to be customized. Gravity Forms integrates with many third parties and is therefore the standard contact form plugin used on sites built by Geek Powered Studios.
HARO - Stands for Help A Reporter Out. Three times a day Monday through Friday, HARO emails are sent out, listing different stories that reporters need sources for. Used as a marketing strategy to gain PR and link opportunities.
Hashtag - a phrase beginning with the symbol "#" used in social media as a way for tagging content for users to find. Adding hashtags to a post allows users to find that post when searching for that topic. This can be used for finding users looking for broad topics on social media, as well as niche, detailed topics.
Header - Can refer to either the top portion of a webpage that typically contains the logo and menu, or the section of HTML in a website’s code that contains important information about the site.
Header Code - On a website, certain code is placed in the universal header section so that it can be accessible across all pages of the website. Typically in the header code, you'll find things like Schema Markup, Analytics Code, Adwords Code, and other tools used for tracking data across a website. These are placed in the header code so that they can be rendered and start tracking information as the site loads.
Header Tags (h1, h2, h3, etc) – Header tags are used in HTML for categorizing text headings on a web page. They are, in essence, the titles and major topics of a web page and help indicate to readers and search engines what the page is about. Header tags use a cascading format where a page should generally have only one H1 (main title) but beneath can be multiple H2s (subtitles) and every H2 can have H3s beneath (sub-sub titles) and so on.
- H1 is typically used only once on a webpage, and is used to display the most important title.
- H2 is used to display the major subtopics of a certain webpage
- H3 is used to display the major subtopics underneath an H2 tag.
Heatmap - A heatmap is a graphical representation of how users interact with your site. Heatmapping software is used to track where users click on a page, how they scroll, and what they hover over. Heatmaps are used to collect user behavior data to assist in designing and optimizing a website.
HTML - Stands for Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is a set of codes that are used to tell a web browser how to display a webpage. Each individual code is called an element, or a tag. HTML has a starting and ending element for most markups.
HTTP - Stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. HTTP is the protocol used by the world wide web to define how data is formatted and transmitted, and what actions web browsers and web servers should take to respond to a command. When you enter a website into your web browser and press enter, this sends an HTTP command to a web server, which tells the server to fetch and send the data for that website to your browser.
HTTPS - Stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. Is a secured version of HTTP, which is used to define how data is formatted and transmitted across the web. HTTPS has an advantage over HTTP in that the data sent when fetching a webpage is encrypted, adding a layer of security so that third parties can't gather data about the webpage when the data is sent from the server to the browser.
Hreflang Tag - A code in the html of a website that tells search engines like Google which spoken language a web page is using. These are especially useful for websites that have versions of pages in multiple languages, as they help Google understand which pages are related and which should be shown to specific audiences.
Hummingbird - See “Google Hummingbird”
Hyperlink - A hyperlink is an HTML code that creates a link from one webpage to another web page, characterized often by a highlighted word or image that takes you to the destined location when you click on that highlighted item.
Iframe - An HTML document that is inside of another HTML document on a website. Iframes are used commonly to embed content from one source onto another web page.
Impression - A term used in Pay per click advertising that represents how many times an ad was shown.
Impression Share - Used in Pay per click advertising, this metric refers to the percentage of times viewers have seen an advertiser's ad, in relation to the total possible amounts that ad could have been seen. If an ad campaign’s impression share is 70%, then the ads showed 7 out of 10 possible times.
Inbound Marketing - Inbound marketing refers to the activities and strategies used for attracting potential users or customers to a website. “Inbound” is a more recent euphemism for what has traditionally been called “SEO”. Inbound marketing is crucial to having a good web presence, as it's used as a way to attract prospective customers by educating and building trust about your services, product and/or brand. (See also: organic)
Index – When used as a noun, index refers to all of the web pages that Google has crawled and stored to be shown to Google searchers (eg: “The Google index has billions of websites”). When used as a verb, it refers to the act of Google copying a web page into their system (eg: “Google indexed my website today so it will start appearing in their search results”).
IP Address - An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique number that identifies a device using the internet to communicate over a network. Each device has a unique IP address, and can be used to locate and differentiate that device from all other devices when using the internet. You can find your public IP address by going to Google and searching "what is my ip address."
Keyword – A word or phrase indicative of the major theme in a piece of content. When you search for something in a search engine, you type in a keyword and the search engine gives you results based on that keyword. One major Goal of SEO is to have your website show in searches for as many relevant keywords as possible.
Keyword Phrase - A group of two or more words that are used to find information in a search engine. Sometimes, when searching for something, one single keyword does not provide the information you seek, where a keyword phrase allows you to string multiple words together to find better information.
Keyword Density - Keyword density refers to the percentage of how often a keyword appears on a webpage in relation to the total words on that webpage.
Keyword Stuffing – When a web page uses a keyword too often or superfluously, with the intent of manipulating search engines. This type of behavior is frowned upon and can lead to either algorithmic devaluation in search, or a manual penalty from Google.
Knowledge Graph - Similarly to the Knowledge Panel, this tool shows up at the top of the screen, but generally in research related search results. The panels summarize quick information points that are often pulled from sources like Wikipedia. These are commonly found when researching things like people, places, events and other topics.
Knowledge Panel - Like the Knowledge Graph, this box appears at the top of search results on the search results page. This tool is designed to display when users search for a business on Google; it can help users get quick information about a business like phone numbers, reviews and location. Much of the information is pulled from sources like Google My Business and Google Maps.
Landing Page – The destination webpage a user lands on after clicking on a link (either in an ad or anywhere else). Some landing pages are designed with the purpose of lead generation, while others are used to direct the flow of traffic throughout a site.
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) - A search engine indexing method that creates a relationship between words and phrases to form a better understanding of a text's subject matter. Latent semantic indexing helps search engines serve up results to queries with higher precision.
Lead - A potential customer in the sales funnel who has communicated with a business with intent to purchase through a call, email, or online form fill.
Link - Also known as a hyperlink, a link is a string of hypertext transfer protocol structured text used to connect web pages on the internet. There are two main forms of links: internal links that point to pages on the same site, and external links that point to web pages on a different website.
Link profile - The cumulative grouping of all links pointing to a particular website. A link profile can be used to determine a website's power, trust, subject matter, and content. Link profiles are important at determining where a website ranks in google search results. If a website has a high number of links from websites that are not trusted, adult in nature, spammy or against guidelines, the link profile will have a negative effect on rankings. If a website has a high number of links from websites that are strong providers of content or reputable sources of information it will have a positive effect on rankings.
Linkedin - A social networking website oriented around connecting professionals to jobs, businesses and other professionals in their industry. Linkedin is also a strong platform for marketing, job posting, and sharing professional content.
Linkedin Advertising - LinkedIn’s advertising platform. Through different ad formats, advertisers can bid on ad space and target unique audiences based on job title, years of experience, industry, and many other demographics.
Link Network - A blackat link building strategy that uses a network of websites all interconnected with links in order to boost backlink profiles and rank certain sites higher in google search results. Some link networks can also be known as private blog networks (PBNs). Link networks and PBNs are against Google guidelines and are devalued or penalized when detected.
Lookalike Audience - A targeting option offered by Facebook’s ad service. This audience is created from a source audience (i.e. fans of your Facebook page, email list), and from this list Facebook will identify common characteristics between audience members. Facebook will then target users that exhibit similar interests or qualities.
Long Tail Keyword: A keyword phrase that is longer in length and hyper-specifically matches a user search query. A long tail keyword get less searches per month but has a higher search intent, and typically less competition by companies looking to serve up content to that search query. For example, a regular keyword might be “austin web designer” but a long tail keyword would be “affordable austin web designer that makes WordPress sites”.
Map Pack: The section of the Google search results page that features three businesses listed in a local map search area. The map pack shows up for queries with local intent, a general business type, or a “near me” search.
Medium (source/medium): Medium is the general category of traffic to a website tracked in google analytics. Some examples of common medium are:
Metadata - HTML snippets added to a webpage’s code that add contextual information for web crawlers and search engines. Search engines use metadata to help decide what information from a webpage to display in their results. Example meta tags include the date the page was published, the page title, author, and image descriptions.
Meta Description: One of the meta tags that gives a description of the page in 160 characters. The meta description is an important aspect of a webpage because it is what appears in Google searches and other search engine results.
Meta Keywords: A specific meta tag that displays the specific keywords addresses in a page. After meta keyword markup was abused on some websites, listed keywords no longer apply to how a page is categorized by google and other search engines.
NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) - An acronym for local citations. Consistency in name, address, and phone number citations is an important piece of a local SEO Campaign. To build local SEO authority, a business's name, address ,and phone number should be listed across local citation websites like Yelp, Google Business, Angie's List, Yellowpages, Better Business Bureau, Foursquare, and more.
Nofollow - An HTML link attribute that communicates to web crawlers and search engines that the link to the destination web page should NOT transfer SEO equity (ie it shouldn’t give SEO benefit to the recipient). According to Google’s guidelines, any link that is unnatural (like you paid for a press release, or you gave a journalist a perk for writing about your product) should have a nofollow tag.
Organic – A source of traffic to a website that comes through clicking on a non-paid search engine result. Organic traffic is a primary measurement of an SEO campaign and will generally grow as a site ranks better for relevant keywords in search engines.
Panda - A search engine algorithm developed by Google to rate the quality and relevance of content on a webpage. Google panda was released in February 2011 and devalued sites in search results that had thin, non original, or poorly written content.
PBN (Private Blog Network) – also known as a link network, a private blog network is a collection of private websites all linking to each other. These networks are intended to manipulate search engines by adding large amounts of new links to a website’s link profile. More recently, search engines like Google have cracked down on the abuse of PBNs and have devalued them or even penalized sites that exploit them.
Penguin - A search engine algorithm developed by Google to determine the quality of links pointing to a particular site. It was launched to deter spammers from blackhat seo practices such as private blog and link networks. Google Penguin was released in April 2012 and updated regularly until 2016 when it was then rolled into the Core Algorithm.
Pigeon - A Google search engine algorithm intended to serve up locally targeted information for certain searches. Google Pigeon was released in July 24, 2014 and helps users find local businesses from broad keyword searches.
PPC / Pay-Per-Click - An online advertising model in which advertisers are charged for their ad once it is clicked. The PPC model is commonly associated with search engine and social media advertising like Google Adwords and Facebook Ads.
Position – The placement in a search engine’s (Google, Bing, etc) search results, where a site ranks for a specific query or keyword.
- Featured Snippet: When content within a web page is pulled into google search results to instantly give the information a user is looking for.
- First Page: when a site ranks on the first page of google search results.
- Map Pack: the first through third result on a google serp result page that serves up local businesses for a query.
Penalty - An infraction issued by Google, to a webmaster, for breaking Google’s guidelines. The penalty is issued by Google through Search Console, and can result in a sites’ removal from search engine results. The issues that caused the penalty will need to be fixed before the penalty is lifted, and once the penalty is lifted it may still take some time to return to previous rank in Google search results. Penalty may also refer to an “algorithmic penalty” which is actually a misnomer; a website may be doing poorly in search results because of an issue that Google’s algorithm has found in the site. This however is not really a “penalty” but a ranking problem. For there to be a true penalty, there would have to be a manual action from Google, as denoted by the message sent to the webmaster in Search Console.
PDF – A digital document format that provides a digital image of text or graphics. PDF’s are a common document type when uploading documents to the internet, because of its ease of use and its ability to be imported or converted easily. PDFs can indexed by Google, however extra steps must be taken to ensure that Google and other search engines can properly understand the intent and content of the PDF.
Quality Score - Google Adwords’ rating of the relevance and quality of keywords used in PPC campaigns. These scores are largely determined by relevance of ad copy, expected click-through rate, as well as the landing page quality and relevance. Quality score is a component in determining ad auctions, so having a high score can lead to higher ad rankings at lower costs.
Query - The term given for what a user types and searches using search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Examples of queries include "austin electrician," "how do i know if i have a raccoon in my attic," "distance to nearest coffee shop," and many more.
Rankings – A general term for where a website appears in search engine results. A site’s “ranking” may increase or decrease over time for different search terms, or queries. Ranking is specific to each keyword, so a website may have keywords that rank on the first page, and others that don’t.
RankBrain - A core component of Google’s algorithm that utilizes machine learning to evaluate search results and related queries. It is believed that RankBrain uses an interpretation model that can test a variety of potential factors and determine the intent of the search.
Reciprocal Link - Two websites linking to each other, typically for the express purpose of increasing both's search engine ranking. These types of links are sometimes deemed manipulative by search engines, which can incur a penalty or devaluation against both sites.
Reddit - A collection of internet forums or “subreddits” that span a massive variety of topics. Posts and comments can be ranked via upvotes or downvotes, culminating in a user’s total points or “karma”. Reddit also offers paid advertising services.
Redirect – A way by which a web browser takes a user from one page to another without the user clicking or making any input. There are various types of redirects (the most common of which is the 301 redirect), which serve different purposes. Typically, this helps improve user experience across a website by helping the user find what they are looking for or avoiding dead ends like 404 (Not Found) errors.
Referral - A medium denoted in Google Analytics that represents a website visit that came from another website (as opposed to coming from a Google search, for example). When users click on a link to another, external webpage, they are said to have been "referred" there.
Rel Canonical - In HTML, "rel" is an attribute associated with links. "Canonical" can be applied to the "rel" attribute, which will link to the original or authoritative page from which content is being used or referenced. The "canonical" page is the original content, and any page referencing it is a duplicate or otherwise similar page. Used to prevent duplicate content issues and maintain search engine rankings.
Remarketing - Also known as retargeting, a type of paid ad that allows advertisers to show ads to customers who have already visited their site. Once a user visits a site, a small piece of data called a "cookie" will be stored in the user’s browser. When the user then visits other sites, this cookie can allow remarketing ads to be shown. Remarketing allows advertisers to “follow” users around in attempts to get the user back to the original site.
Responsive Web Design – A philosophy of creating a website that allows all of the content to show correctly regardless of screen size or device. Your website will “respond” to the size of the screen each user has, shrinking and reorganizing on smaller screens, and expanding to fill appropriately on large ones. Responsive websites that are deemed mobile friendly are prioritized to show up in Google searches on mobile devices.
ROAS - stands for Return On Ad Spend. A PPC marketing metric that demonstrates the profit made as compared to the amount of money spent on the ads. Similar to ROI.
Robots.txt - A text file stored on a website’s server that includes basic rules for indexing robots which "crawl" the site. This file allows you to specifically allow (or disallow) certain files and folders from being viewed by crawler bots, which can keep your indexed pages limited to only the pages you wish.
ROI - Stands for Return On Investment. In order for a business to receive a positive ROI, they must earn more money using marketing channels than they are spending on the marketing itself.
RSS - Stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is a way for users to keep track of updates to multiple websites (news sites, blogs, and more) in one place, as opposed to having to manually check in on every single site individually. An RSS Feed is a place where all updates are tracked together, in an easily viewable format.
Schema Markup – Code that is added to the HTML of a website to give search engines more relevant information about a business, person, place, reviews, product, or thing. Proper schema markup can help your site display rich snippets in the search results page, making your search result stand out and improve clickthrough rates.
Search Network - A group of websites in which ads can appear. Google’s Search Network, for example, is a group of Google & non-Google websites that partner with Google to show text ads.
Search Engine - a program that searches an index of information and returns results to the user based on corresponding keywords. The most well known search engines are Google, Youtube, Bing, and Yahoo.
Search Operator - a text modifier that can be used in Google searches to return more specific results. Search operators essentially act as shortcuts to an advanced search.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) - a nebulous term that can apply to either 1. Any digital marketing that involves the use of a search engine, or 2. Only paid digital marketing that involves a search engine, ie: PPC (pay-per-click). There is not an industry standard as to which definition is correct, however the latter is most commonly used.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - the process of improving a website’s performance and positioning in organic search engine results through a variety of methodologies including content production or improvement, technical and code improvement, and link acquisition.
SERP - stands for Search Engine Results Page, the page featuring a list of search results that is returned to the searcher after they submit a keyword search.
Sessions - A metric in Google Analytics that measures one user interacting with a website during a given period of time, which Google defaults to 30 minutes. A session is not dependent on how many pages are viewed, so if a person goes to a website and looks around at different pages for 20 minutes, it would count as 1 session.
Siri – Apple’s digital assistant that uses voice command technology and allows for hands free search and virtual assistant functions on iPhones and other Apple products.
Sitelink - An ad extension in Google Adwords that appears below the main ad copy which links to a specific page on the website (i.e. Contact Us, About Us, etc.). Ads can have from 2-6 sitelinks.
Sitemap - An XML file or page on a website that lists all of the pages and posts for search engines to see. This document helps search engines quickly understand all of the content that they should be aware of on a particular website.
Slug - Slang for the portion of a URL that comes after the .com. For example, the homepage might be http://www.domain.com, but for the Contact Us page, a slug would be added to the end of the URL to direct the browser to a page within the website i.e. http://www.domain.com/contact-us.
Source - A term in Google Analytics that helps webmasters classify where traffic is coming from (ie. the “source” of the web traffic). Source can be a search engine (for example, Google) or a domain (website-example.com)
Spam - A broad term that includes many different nefarious activities in digital marketing that are done either to help a website rank better or to harm a competitor website. Spam is often in seen the form of hundreds or thousands of low-quality backlinks that were built by a black hat SEO to manipulate rankings.
Spider - An automated program that visits websites, sometimes also referred to as a “crawler” or a “bot”. A spam spider visits websites for nefarious reasons, often showing in Google Analytics as junk traffic. However, Google uses a bot to crawl websites so that they can be ranked and added to Google search.
SSL Certificate - These small data files are added to web servers that then allow a website to use the HTTPS protocol. SSL certificates digitally connect a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. Originally, these were used to secure logins, data transfers and credit card transactions, but have recently become the go-to system for websites, especially after the Google Chrome update that displays a warning message to users, if the certificate is not present.
Style Sheet - Shortened term for Cascading Style Sheet (CSS). CSS a document of code that tells the website’s HTML how it should be appear on screen. CSS is a time saving document for web designers as they can style batched-sections of HTML code, rather than styling individual lines of code one-at-a-time.
Tag - In Wordpress, a tag is an identifying marker used to classify different posts based on keywords and topic. Similar to Wordpress categories, but tags are more granular and specific, whereas categories are broad and thematic.
Title Tag - An HTML element that is used to describe the specific topic of a web page. Title tags are displayed in the tabbed top bar of a web browser. In SEO, it is best practice to have descriptive title tags featuring your main keywords, rather than something basic like “home”.
Tracking Code - A script, often placed in the header, footer, or thank you page of a website that passes information along to software tools for data gathering purposes. Tools like Google Analytics, Google Adwords utilize tracking codes so that they can track information about users who view a site.
Twitch - A live streaming video platform owned by Amazon. Generally known for showcasing video game streams and esports tournaments, Twitch also offers a wide variety of streaming channels, ranging from art and cooking to programming and woodworking. Recently, Twitch has begun to feature streams of popular tv shows, political rallies and traditional sports like the NFL. Twitch’s chat feature gives each stream an interactive element where the audience can converse with each other and even interact with the streamer.
Twitter – A social media platform where users interact, or “tweet” by posting a message or replying to a message in 280 characters or less. Each keystroke on a keyboard is considered a character. Twitter is used to share information and links, and utilizes hashtags to categorize information. Tweets are typically public and can be seen by anyone. If you are followed by another user, that user will see your tweets in their feed. Similarly, you will see the tweets of anyone you follow in your feed.
Twitter Advertising - Allows marketers to promote a tweet on users feeds without that user having to follow your brand for it to appear on their feed. These advertisements can be used to grow brand awareness, gain more followers, extend social media reach, and/or reach out to prospective customers about a product or service.
Unique Visitors -A metric used in web analytics to show how many different, unique people view a website over a period of time. Unique visitors are tracked by their IP addresses. If a visitor visits the same website multiple times, they will only be counted once in the unique visitors metric.
URL - stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is the address of a web page. The URL refers to what specific web page a web browser is viewing.
UI - Stands for User Interface. User interface is the area with which a user interacts with something through a digital device. Good UI should be fluid and easy for most people to understand.
UX - stands for User Experience. UX refers to how a user interacts with a website or app (where they click, which pages they visit). UX can be shaped by testing differences in page layouts, CTAs, colors, content, etc to improve conversion rates. Having a good UX is crucial to having a good business, as it drives repeating users and engagement.
Visits - An old term in Google Analytics which was recently changes to “sessions”.
Visitors - A metric in Google Analytics that quantifies a user of a website over a particular period of time. Visitors are often broken down between “new visitors” who are browsing for the first time in the allotted time period, or “returning visitors” who have already browsed at least once in the given time frame.
Web 2.0 - The second major phase of development of the World Wide Web, marked by a shift from static web pages to dynamic content, as well as social media and user generated content.
Website – One or a group of documents, content and/or media that are accessible on the World Wide Web. Websites are typically identified with a domain name and published on a web server.
Webinar - An online seminar used to train, inform, or sell to an audience of viewers who signed up to view the presentation.
White Hat - Term for ethical digital marketers who don’t participate in work that could be viewed as unethical or as spam.
Wireframe - a cursory layout drawing of a webpage that acts as the first step in the design process.
XML - Stands for eXtensible Markup Language. Similar to HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) in that it is primarily used to categorize various data for computers and humans to use more effectively. In basic terms, XML allows for customizable tags for marking up information that is otherwise difficult for computers to understand.
XML Sitemap - A document in XML format that categorizes all relevant pages, posts, files, etc. of a website. This document is not intended for human use, though it can be viewed by humans. Instead, an XML sitemap is designed to help search engine crawler bots easily find all of the pages for a given website - very similar to a roadmap or atlas that one would use when driving a car long distances.
Yelp - A social review platform and search engine that allows users to leave reviews for businesses. Yelp also offers an advertising program which gives advertisers the ability show their marketing assets to qualified Yelp users based on keyword searches.
YouTube – A video sharing website, bought by Google in 2006. YouTube is part of Google’s ad network and is considered one of the most popular search engines in the world. YouTube offers a growing suite of streaming services and produces original tv series.
YouTube advertising - YouTube offers advertising in 6 different formats. Display ads, overlay ads, skippable video, non-skippable video ads, bumper ads, and sponsored cards. These ads can all be created and run through the Google Adwords platform.
Yahoo! Search – One of the largest search engines in the world. As of 2009, the platform has been powered by Bing.
Yahoo! Advertising - Yahoo and Bing ads are both run through the Bing Ads platform. These search engines share advertising networks.
Created By John Leo Weber - Director of Digital Marketing
Curated and Updated By Matt Benevento - SEO Team Lead