Our digital marketing glossary
Overwhelmed by digital jargon? If you thought a canonical tag was a form of invasive surgery and keyword cannibalisation was outlawed many years ago – this guide’s for you.
Our no-nonsense glossary is a living, growing companion in your quest for digital omnipotence.
A permanent way to redirect one webpage to another. This will effectively redirect a visitor and a search engine bot. When you change the URL of a page, apply a 301 redirect to point the old address to the new one. This ensures that people who have linked to or bookmarked the old address will automatically get to the new one, and search engines can update their index.
It’s important for SEO because unlike other redirects that are available (like 302 temporary), the 301 redirect transfers close to all page authority.
A page that displays when a user tries to access a page that no longer exists or types in a URL incorrectly. Experiencing a 404 page can leave a user frustrated if they cannot find what they want. It is important for you to create a helpful, custom 404 page on your site. This will improve your website’s user experience.
A/B testing (split testing)
process of testing that compares two versions of an ad or landing page, etc. simultaneously. This allows the creator to gather relevant statistics about how different variables affect the outcome rather than assuming based on theories or generic advice. A/B testing should be an unquestioned part of the development of websites, advertisement, etc.
Google’s Pay Per Click advertisement program. A very common way of basic website advertisement. AdWords PPC can be used in simple and advanced ways depending on how much time you want to invest in your ad campaign.
An affiliate site markets products or services that are actually sold by another website or business in exchange for fees or commissions. Good affiliate sites will offer unique, valuable content to a user rather than just being a page for ads.
ALT text/tag (image attribute)
A description of an image in your site’s HTML. Unlike humans, search engines read only the ALT text of images. Googlebot can’t read images, so it relies on the Alt text to determine what the image file is about. Add descriptive, SEO optimised ALT text to images whenever possible.
Collected and analysed data. In SEO, analytics is a program which assists in gathering and analysing data about website usage. Google Analytics is a feature-rich, popular, free analytics program.
User-visible text of a link to another webpage. Anchor text helps users and search engines understand what the destination page is about. Anchor text describes what you will see if you click through on the link. Relevant keyword use in an anchor text link is an important SEO consideration.
Business to business relationship.
Business to consumer relationship.
Behavioral marketing (Behavioral Targeting)
A technique that targets advertisements to a user based on their browsing behavior (e.g. what sites they visit and what searches they conduct). Displaying advertisements that are more relevant and match the interests of a user will typically lead to higher conversion rates.
The observational information collected about the actions and activities of people in a situation. In the SEO sphere behavioral data relates to how a user interacts with your website or app and is categorised by the device the user is browsing with (desktop, tablet or mobile). Examples of behavioural data include session duration and the depth to which user navigates through a site’s sitemap (page depth).
Search engine optimisation tactics that contradict best practices (such as the Google Webmaster Guidelines) for supposed quick gains. Black hat tactics are not illegal but are likely to attract a search engine ranking penalty if they are discovered. No SEO provider with long term goals would risk its reputation by engaging in black hat tactics.
A dedicated website or part of a website for regularly publishing content (e.g. commentary on industry/company topics, descriptions of events, photos, videos, etc.). Each blog ‘post’ is a new website page that search engines read and index. Therefore, each post is a new opportunity to be found online. SEO best practice is to keep a blog within the parent website’s own domain.
In information technology, a boilerplate is a unit of writing that can be reused repeatedly without change. This translates to the web development world. Boilerplate is sometimes applied to reusable programming – “boilerplate code”.
A link to a website saved for later reference in a web browser, computer or on a social bookmarking site.
Bot (robot, Googlebot, spider, crawler)
A program which performs a task more or less autonomously. Search engines use bots to find and add web pages to their search indexes. Spammers can use bots to “scrape” content for the purpose of plagiarising it.
The percentage of users who enter a site and then leave it without viewing any further pages.
Broad match modifier
Is a keyword bidding method that gives Google AdWords users a bit more control over the keywords that can be used to display their Google ads by adding a plus symbol (+) before keywords.
Canonical issues (duplicate content)
Canon = legitimate, official version or ‘source of truth’. It is often very difficult to completely avoid duplicate content. However, these issues can be dealt with effectively in several ways including – using the noindex meta tag in the non-canonical copies, 301 server redirects to the canon, and the rel=canonical meta tag to point search engines to the canon.
The official address of the original content. Page content can occasionally be accessed at more than one address. The canonical URL is the best address for finding true information. Specifying the canonical URL helps search engines to understand which address is the correct source.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
The segment of your code that defines how different elements of your site look (examples: headers, links).
Click through rate (CTR)
The percentage of people who have viewed a website in the SERPs and then clicked through to the site. CTR is calculated as clicks divided by impressions, multiplied by 100. If 1000 people see a website in Google and 50 people click through to the site, the CTR is 5% (50/1000). See also PPC.
Content (text, copy)
The part of a web page that is intended to hold value for and be of interest to the user. Advertising, navigation, branding and boilerplate are not usually considered to be content.
Content management system (CMS)
A software program that allows a user to compose, edit, distribute and publish website content. Most modern websites such as WordPress or Magento have a content management system. This allows for easy manipulation of the website’s elements.
The process of creating and sharing expert, trustworthy and valuable content in order to acquire customers. A website may require the user to share their contact information (email address) to access this (commonly free) content.
Achievement of a quantifiable goal on a website. Add clicks, signups, and sales are examples of conversions.
A form by which site visitor information is collected. Conversion forms convert traffic into leads. Collecting contact information helps website owners to follow up with these leads.
The percentage of users who convert. The number of users who convert divided by the total number of users to visit the page – see conversion.
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO)
The process of improving user experiences on a webpage or landing page to increase the number of visitors converting (taking the desired action).
Cost per action (CPA)
An online marketing mechanism that pays publishers when users do specific things. Examples of actions may be leads, sales or anything else of value to the advertiser. See also, Pay-per-click (PPC)
Cost per mille (CPM) (cost per thousand ad impressions)
A statistical metric used to quantify the average value of display advertisements. ‘M’ from the Roman numeral for mille (one thousand). If an ad campaign has a CPM of $10, and you want your ad to be seen 5,000 times, the total campaign cost for 5,000 impressions would be $50.
Crawler (bot, spider)
A program which moves through the worldwide web or a website by way of the link structure to gather data.
Working out the best times to display ads using Google AdWords. Because certain times of day produce different conversion rates, determining the times that most benefit your campaign will be of strategic value.
These are online lists that provide credible and trustworthy inbound links to your website. Yahoo! Directory and DMOZ are two of the most popular directories. You are required to submit your website to the directory before it can be approved and displayed.
To deny any responsibility or involvement outright. In regards to SEO, the Google Disavow tool provides the opportunity to refute and disassociate from particular inbound links to your website that may otherwise result in a rankings penalty.
The main web address of your site (example: www.yoursite.com). Domain names can be registered for a number of years and require registration renewal.
A website devoted to retail sales.
Electronic direct marketing (EDM)
The online version of direct marketing (such as sending material to mailboxes), and instead to email addresses. MailChimp is a prominent EDM service tool which allows users access to email analytics and automatic email scheduling.
Webpage information or content that is timeless in nature. No matter how long the content has been available, it still holds fresh, relevant value for users to this day.
An image icon located next to the URL address on browsers. This image is normally 16 pixels by 16 pixels in size. Favicons are also found next to bookmarks, address drop down lists and tabs. Favicons are branding tools and often display the website logo.
Content delivered to the user through special websites or programs like news aggregators.
This is the line at which the website page is cut off on the bottom of the users screen or browser window. Content beyond this point can be accessed by scrolling, but not seen immediately. The most valuable content above the fold should be coded to load first.
Gizmo (gadget, widget)
small applications used on web pages to provide specific functions such as a hit counter or IP address display.
A goal in Google Analytics is the measurement of a specific interaction with your website. These may appear as an inquiry, purchase or visit to particular pages on your site.
A free, industry leading online tool that helps you understand your website’s performance. Google Analytics creates value by providing reports on consumer interactions with your website and how these interaction trends change over time.
Google My Business
A free and easy way for businesses, products, brands, artists, and organisations to manage their online presence with Google. Using the Google My Business dashboard, you can create and maintain an up-to-date business information listing on Google. Your listing can appear on the SERP in rich snippets or branded sidebars.
Google’s social network, which is used to publish or share content with others. Google + differs from Google My Business, as it targets individuals rather than businesses.
A single word or phrase, preceding the # symbol, allows a message to be categorised into its relative topic. E.g. “#dogs” will filter results for dogs. Hashtags are often used on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.
A fundamental element of html text coding. Applying a heading style to website text will make it bolder and larger than its surrounding text. The relative importance of headings are ranked in ascending order and range from H1 to H6. As a general rule, H1 tags should only be used once on a page for the page title, whilst H2 tags should be used for newest content sections.
Coding which is read directly by search engines. The less cluttered and more succinct a website’s HTML is, the easier it is for search engines to read and frequently visit. Instead of implementing layout features with HTML, alternatively use CSS, which is layout specific.
The event where a user views a webpage one time.
A database of WebPages and their content used by the search engines.
To add a web page to a search engine index.
The pages on a site which have been read and their contents recorded by search engines (i.e. not all pages need to be indexed, some can be hidden from search engines).
A word that a user enters in search. Each web page should be optimised with the goal of drawing in visitors who have searched specific keywords.
When a keyword is repeated excessively over several different pages on a site. Repeating keywords reduces their relevancy and makes it more difficult for users to find what they are looking for. It also makes it difficult for search engines to catalogue which page is most relevant for the keyword.
The percentage of keyword to regular words on a webpage. The recommended percentage for keywords to regular text per page is between 1% and 3%. Having a higher percentage of keywords can result in diminished returns and in some cases, penalization by search engines. The more naturally keywords can be used in a text, the better the copy, and therefore relevancy and value for the user. Rather than repetition of the same keyword, consider use of semantically related terms (see LSI).
The words or phrase that a user enters into a search engine.
Research carried out to determine which keywords would be most important or relevant for each page. The result of keyword research is a short list of keyword phases you will target and optimize your website pages for.
Keyword stuffing (keyword spam)
Excessive use of keyword(s). This could be considered spam by site users.
This is the page first shown to a user who clicks through from a SERP or an ad link. Sometimes referred to as the destination page.
Latent semantic indexing (LSI)
A process run by search engines to group together commonly associated words in a document to answer a search query. LSI assigns value to content words in the document that are relevant to the theme or topic. LSI does not require exact keyword searches in order to provide relevant results, even if the document does not contain any of the searched keywords at all.
For example, searching a sports database for Perth Wildcats player Jesse Wagstaff may return results for team news, upcoming games and previous basketball championships without containing his name at all. LSI is intelligent enough to guess that “Jesse Wagstaff” is closely related to these results.
Valuable content given to users in exchange for their contact details (name, email address, phone number). Contact information can be used to create future interactions with users.
More specific, longer search queries are labeled as long tail searches. This may look like a string of words in a sentence. For instance, instead of searching for “fish”, the search query may be “colorful river fish that live in South America”. A significant number of all searches are long tail searches.
Long tail keyword
Infrequently searched keywords, usually with two or more words in the phrase. Long tail keywords are lower competition and are therefore desirable as keyword targets for smaller businesses.
A short description of the contents of a webpage and reasons why users would value it. Meta descriptions are often found under the page title in the SERP and give Meta descriptions are less than 160 characters.
Often used and abused in previous decades, Meta keyword tags are no longer used by any major search engines.
A part of a page’s Meta data. The Meta title is imbedded in the HTML code of the header on a webpage. The Meta title is also present in SERPS and often contains relevant keywords to boost ranking factor.
Data which describes the content of your website to search engines.
A system or standard of measurement used by analytics programs. You may find certain metrics are more important for your website than others. For instance, a blogger may find the metrics of blog’s “likes” or “comments” more relevant than page views.
To gain revenue from a website. This can be achieved in a number of ways. A popular method is to run a PPC campaign.
Natural (organic) search results
Impressions in the SERP that appear because of the relevancy of the search terms, not because they have been paid for or sponsored.
A HTML command on a webpage instructing google bots to avoid indexing that particular webpage.
Activities that can be done on a webpage itself to improve its rankings and credibility. This may be through more coding, creating content, revising keyword density and HTML code.
The title at the top of the browser, first seen when a user views your page. A page title generally has keywords to do with the page content and your business. Make sure to put the most important keywords at the beginning of the title, as the first words carry more SEO weight than the last ones.
A value given by Google’s algorithm based upon the popularity and credibility of the links coming to your web page. This value sits between 0 and 1, with a higher number indicating a better pagerank.
Pageview (hit, visit)
An instance of a user visiting a particular page on a website. Pageviews are the metric to track if you’re interested in how many people are looking at your website.
Specific updates released by Google for its ranking algorithm aimed to discourage and reduce the amount of low value content being produced by some websites. Panda penalises websites that publish lots of mediocre content in an attempt to gain better keyword rankings without providing true value to users.
A web service designed to provide a number of features and information for users. Portals often become a user’s homepage because of their usefulness. Search engines like Google and Yahoo! Are popular examples.
A form of online advertising in which you pay the company advertising your business each time a visitor clicks on your ad. Google AdWords is an industry leader in providing PPC campaigns.
An element that influences how well your website is ranked on Google. There are hundreds of factors that can help improve your website’s visibility. Examples may be having keywords in page titles, having inbound links to your site and having quick page loading speeds.
Redirect (URL redirect, URL forwarding)
A redirect should be implemented when you wish to
make a web page available under more than one URL address. When a web browser attempts to open a URL that has been redirected, the redirect destination page (with a different URL) is opened.
A piece of information sent by a user’s browser when they navigate from page to page on the web. It shows the URL of the last page a user was at before visiting your site. For example, if there is an external link from someone else’s website to yours, you can see who has found your website from that link. The Referrer string also allows you to see the URL of the search query the user had entered to find your site.
Regional long tail (RLT)
A multi word keyword term which contains a region, city or suburb name. Especially useful for service area businesses. It’s also useful if your business is a physical store or office, as you can target more specific, lower competitions search terms.
Lines of extra information provided in the SERP to users who have entered a search query. A user searching for a particular camera model may see product reviews beneath the website URL’s for some of the results.
A file you can place in the root directory of your site to deny access to Google bots or crawlers. You may choose to do this because you don’t want your pages with similar content to be scanned unnecessarily and use up crawl budget.
ROI (Return On Investment)
One use of analytics software is to analyze and quantify return on investment, and thus cost / benefit of different schemes. You can use Google analytics to find out whether the money you spending is outweighed by the money you are getting in return. You will go for the schemes that give you the best returns.
A type of microdata that makes it easier for search engines to parse and interpret the information on your web pages more effectively so they can serve relevant results to users based on search queries.
Code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. Schema elements and attributes can be added directly to the HTML code of a web page to provide the search engines’ crawlers with additional information.
Search engine (SE)
A program, which searches a document or group of documents for relevant matches of a user’s keyword phrase and returns a list of the most relevant matches. Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo search the entire internet for relevant matches.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
The process of improving the visibility of a web page in search engine result pages (SERPs). SEO is concerned with the organic or unpaid results in the SERP. A page is optimized by incorporating search engine friendly elements into a website. On-page optimisation focuses on internal elements such as the page’s HTML code, text content and images. Off-page optimisation principally focuses on gaining credible, high value backlinks.
Search engine results page (SERP)
The page that you are sent to after you run a query in a search engine. Results are based on relevancy, user history and 100+ other ranking factors. It typically lists 10 results per page, but this may vary depending on the query and search engine in question. As well as organic results, the SERP may include local map results, rich text snippets and sponsored search ads.
The webpage you are directed to when entering a search query on a search engine. The results shown are based on how relevant they are to your searched keywords, browsing history and other ranking factors. There are usually 10 results listed per page. The SERP may display natural search results, rich snippets (sometimes providing an answer right there in the SERP) and ads such as Google AdWords.
What users type into a search engine when they are looking for something of interest to them. A search term can be made up of a single keyword or a combination of words, e.g. “social media” or “latest trends in social media marketing”.
A special document created by a webmaster or a piece of software that provides a map of all the pages on a website to make it easier for a search engine to index that website.
An online program dedicated to trawling the internet, collecting data and other information about websites.
Often known as an introduction page, splash pages feature animation or images, whilst usually limited text. Splash pages may look attractive, but without proper SEO, may be assessed by bots and crawlers as being uninteresting to browsing users.
Webpages that show the same information regardless of who visits or when they visit. Because of this, static pages are very friendly to crawlers and spiders.
Refers to the ability of the website or web page to make the visitor stay. The longer the user spends looking at the website and its pages, the more “sticky” the site is.
Time on page
The amount of time that a user spends on one page before clicking away. An indication of the page’s quality (good user experience) and relevance (to the search term that led the user to the page).
The title of a page on your website, which is enclosed in a <title> HTML tag, inside of the head section of the page. It appears in search engine results and at the top of a user’s web browser when they are on that page. See also page title.
The volume of visitors to your website. It is important to know that bots are sometimes included in site traffic.
How much traffic is coming to your website compared to every other site on the Internet. Traffic results and rankings are published on alexa.com.
The number of users who are have newly visited your site on a certain day. For instance, you may have 100 visitors to your site and 80 unique visitors. This would suggest that in the 100 people who viewed the site, 80 were seeing it for the first time (in that given day). This also means that some viewed the site more than once.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
The web address of a page on your site.
User experience (UX)
How much the user enjoys using and navigating your website. When a user has a positive experience, they will spend longer on pages, go deeper into your site and may even subscribe to an RSS feed or emailing list. User activities like this are a good indication of the quality of your website and help with SEO.
User generated content (UGC)
Content created by users. This may appear as social media posts, blogs and discussion forum comments, wikis, images and videos.
The interactions a user has with your website in a certain period of time. Viewing different pages, commenting, buying products, submitting enquiries can all occur in a visit. A visit ends as soon as a user clicks away from the site. A new visit occurs when they return.
Refers to websites that encourage user interaction with site features.
Widget (gadget, gizmo)
Small web applications or a component of an interface, that enables a user to perform a function or access a service.