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An Almost Comprehensive Glossary of Digital Marketing Terminology

Between Penguins, Pandas, SERP’s and G+ accounts, there’s a whole litany of confusing acronyms and jargon in the digital marketing industry. If you’re not familiar with these and they’re constantly being causally dropped into conversation, they could leave you scratching your head and running for the hills, longing for a simpler time when Google referred to someone’s bug eyes and search engines were an unheard of.

But fear not, we speak geek here at Media Heroes better than most, and we’ve put together a glossary of terms so you can decipher the gobbledegook of the Google era, and nod knowingly when we talk tech. 

ABOVE THE FOLDRefers to the content on a web page that is visible before the user needs to scroll further down. Testing has shown that the most important or valuable information should be displayed above the fold.

ADGROUPS – Ad groups consist of separate groups of one or more individual ads which target specific keywords or sites. The advertiser then sets the maximum cost per click (CPC) they are willing to pay.

ADWORDSGoogle’s online advertising service where advertised links are placed in the result page of a search engine enquiry. A typical ad appears as a ‘sponsored link’ above, below or in the right or left margin in the result pages from a Google search. The order of the advertisements is based on many things including the amount the advertiser pays, the site’s loading time, and how often the ad is clicked on.

ALGORITHMA series of variables that a search engine assesses to determine the order of the results offered to users when submitting a search enquiry. The aim of the algorithm is to offer high quality and relevant results to the user based on their enquiry. These variables are all weighted differently, and Google and other search engines continually refine their algorithms with regular updates. Major updates to Google’s search algorithm in the last few years have frequent, with the major updates explained briefly below.

  • Google Caffeine Released in 2010, Google Caffeine launched a faster web indexing system that returned links to timely and recently published content, and boosted the raw speed of Google’s operation.
  • Google Panda Released in 2011, Panda cracked down on thin, poor quality content and sites that were previously ranking highly but had a number of quality issues.
  • Google Penguin Released in 2012, which addressed a number of spam factors, most importantly sites that were over optimised with obvious keyword stuffing along with sites that included a number of bad, spammy links.
  • Google Hummingbird Released in 2013, Google’s trend to improve the relevance of the search results for its users continued with more a focus on returning results that specifically answered questions entered into the search field.

ANALYTICSA service provided which allows a site administrator to track numerous statistics from their websites, including the number of visitors, the level of engagement on the site as well as other metrics including conversions made.

ANDROIDAn operating system designed primarily for tablets and mobile devices. It is owned by Google and the world’s most widely used smartphone operating platform.

BACKLINKSAlso known as incoming links, backlinks refer users from one website to another. Useful for navigation around the web but also for SEO, the amount and quality of backlinks is one of the most important measures to determine to relevance, importance and popularity of a website.

BANNER ADSWeb banner ads are visual advertisements displayed on a web page delivered through an Ad server like Google Adwords (these are called Google Display ads), with the aim to drive traffic and entice the user to click through to advertiser’s own website. If you’re already running Google ads and you’d like to learn how to track them effectively, check out our article on Google Ads measurement.

BLOGA blog is a dedicated website or a section of a website where a feed of regularly updated content (usually written) is added to communicate information, ideas or opinions usually within a specified niche.

BOUNCE RATEMeasured in percentages, the bounce rate is the proportion of visitors to leave or ‘bounce off’ the site. The lower this percentage the better, as it represents a site which is not giving people the information they want, or information of poor quality.

CALL TO ACTIONA direct appeal to the visitor of the website to take a form of action and convert a visit into a sale, email subscription, or even something as simple as leaving a comment

CONTENT MARKETINGA technique where businesses create, distribute and share relevant content with their customers in a bid to attract, engage with and retain customers. Content is presented as useful, informative and valuable to the customer with the aim to build trust and the hope that the customer will reward the business with their loyalty (learn how to measure this with the Customer Loyalty Index).

CONVERSION OPTIMISATIONA number of techniques used to increase the conversion rate of visitors into customers on a webpage. Techniques include targeted messages through copywriting, the website design and a persuasive call-to-action, among many others.

CLV – (Customer Lifetime Value) – Refers to the predicted monetary value over the entire relationship you will have with the customer. It can be also based on the expected future cash flow contributed by the customer and is a useful measure for businesses to dedicate time and resources to the customers with the highest lifetime value.

CPC – Stands for ‘cost per click’ and is one of the methods to calculate the price of running an online advertising campaign.

CPIStands for cost per enquiry, and represents the proportion of enquiries generated from the amount of spent on marketing and advertising. It’s an effective tool for assessing the effectiveness of a campaign that is being run.

CTRClick through rate. Usually measured in a percentage, the click through rate is the amount of visitors who click through to a website from a paid ad or an email newsletter.

DIRECTORIESOnline directories are a website that specialise in offering collection of links to other websites, sorted by categories and subcategories. Owners of websites can either submit to their domain to a directory to be approved, or the administrator of the directory will add sites. A directory should be of good quality to have a positive benefit to SEO.

DOMAIN NAMEA domain name is part of a web address separated by a full stop that identifies. For example, facebook.com is the domain name for Facebook.

EMAIL MARKETINGA direct marketing technique where a commercial message is sent via email to a group of people in a company’s database of email subscribers, usually with the intention for the recipient to purchase something, or to drive traffic to the website. To learn more about measuring email metrics, check out our comprehensive guide on this.

FACEBOOKThe world’s most famous social network, launched in 2004 and a social platform that businesses and brands use to engage with their customers a

FOLLOWED LINKSInbound links that connect one website to another. They are considered by search engines as a vote or endorsement of that webpage, and the more followed links the higher the page rank and the more likely that page will rank highly in search engine results pages.  No follow links are links that while still directing users to another website, do not count as endorsement of the page nor provide any SEO benefit

GEO TARGETING:A method of determining the location through post code, ISP, country, city or state of the web user, and providing tailored content based on this location (usually an advertisement)

GOOGLE DISPLAY NETWORK – A advertising platform where text, image or video ads can be targeted to be displayed on other relevant websites that are related to what you are selling and to prospective visitors who are most likely to be interested in your business.

GOOGLE TRENDS –  (Formerly known as Google Insights and then merged back into Google trends in 2012) is a tool which allows you to see what others are searching for within Google. Graphing can be provided over a nominated time period and be based on geographic region and many other variables to assess the popularity of different terms and phrases. Useful in content marketing to see what people are interested and tailor content based on this interest.

GOOGLE PLACES –  (Formerly known as Google Maps) A collection of local business listings which are placed at the top of Google search results when the user is looking for local information.  Relevant businesses are placed on a small map. There are many benefits for companies to create a free Google places listing, they can complete their opening times, photos of their business or products and more.

GOOGLE PLANNER – See Keyword Planner

GOOGLE PLUS – Google’s social network similar to Facebook in how users each interact with each other, but having the distinction of authorship which attributes content directly with it’s owner and through other online sites like Gmail and Youtube

GOAL COMPLETIONS – A measure within website analytic program to track how well a website fulfils its conversion objectives. Each time a goal is completed e.g a visit the contact page, or the submission of an online enquiry, a completion is logged.

GUEST BLOGGING – Posting an article on a blog which is not one’s own, usually to increase the profile of the author or in exchange for a backlink to their own website to help with search engine rankings.

HEAT MAPPINGA technique to visually assess which areas of the website visitors are paying attention to and a ‘hot’ and which areas are ‘cold.’ Is useful to see what areas of a webpage people are interested in, and which areas could be improved to boost engagement.

HYPERLINKA clickable link that diverts to another document or webpage. Most often underlined blue text as a word or phrase, but also as a picture.

IMPRESSIONSThe number of times an advertisement or sponsored post is displayed online, whether it has been clicked on or not.

INSTAGRAMA social networking application and website where users submit pictures and short video which can be edited and enhanced for their followers to engage with. A medium that is becoming increasingly used among brands who offer products or services with a strong visual appeal.

JAVASCRIPTA web script language which enables web developers to create a websites with an array of interactive features.

KEYWORDSThe terms or phrases that search engine users submit when making searches which hold a great significance to web marketers.

KEYWORD PLANNERA tool developed by Google which shows search volumes of different keywords, suggests similar keyword ideas and shows search volumes and estimates by city and country. Is a very useful function to develop a search campaign and a SEO strategy.(Formerly known as Google Keywords Tool)

KEYWORD RICH DOMAINSWebsites that feature keywords in the web address. E.g brisbanecarpetcleaners.com.au, instead of the actual name of the business. In the past purchasing these domains have been effective in ranking highly in search engines, but as algorithms become more sophisticated, keyword rich domain names are starting to only rank highly on their merits instead of simply because relevant keywords are used.

LANDING PAGEA specific page where traffic is directed to, either from a search engine or another type of online referral.

LIKES, SHARES, COMMENTSA measure of engagement within Facebook. The more likes, shares and Facebook comments, the more engagement with that post or update, and the more exposure and reach the post will have to other Facebook users.

LINKEDINA social networking website used by people in the professional jobs and a forum for networking between businesses. LinkedIn is also used as a digital recruitment and marketing tool for companies to attract new staff, and as a hub for people to find jobs and recommend roles to others in their networks.

META DATA –Can be a number of pieces of information (or data) including the size of the image, when the image was created, descriptions and keywords to help describe the content of a webpage with the aim of assisting in the categorisation and indexing of the information.

ONSITE OPTIMISATIONA number of techniques to help a website perform well in search engines including headings, keyword placement and density, meta tags and descriptions, and the ability to be easily shared through social networks

OFFSITE OPTIMISATIONThe techniques which help a website to rank well which take place off the page or site and improve the overall page rank. This is most often by building external links, guest blogging and social sharing of content.

ORGANIC TRAFFICThe search engine traffic to a website search engine results that have not been sponsored or paid for.

OUTREACH – Similar to PR activities, outreach can refer to a number of techniques and activities a business can undertake to develop relationships between people in their industry with the aim to boost the exposure of their brand.

PAGE RANKAn algorithm developed by Google’s founder, Larry Page, which determines the importance of websites based on the number and the quality of links the site has from other sites.

PAGE VIEWS – Is an instance where a page is loaded by a web browser. Each time that page is refreshed or revisited another page view is logged, even from the same user.

PAY PER CLICK (PPC) – The amount an advertiser pays Google or another platform (e.g Facebook, Bing) when a advertisement is clicked on. The amount is determined through bidding for specific keywords or phrases that are related to what they are selling, or can be determined with fixed price per click. Need some help? Talk to the Media Heroes Brisbane PPC team today, so we can offer some advice and guidance with your campaign.

PERMISSION MARKETING – Marketing where users voluntarily opt in to receive information, product news and other company news which has a higher level of engagement than marketing which interrupts or bombards the user. Email newsletter subscriptions and following a business on social media are forms of permission marketing.

PINTEREST A image based social network where users collect or ‘pin’ images of interest from around the web to themed or categorised boards. When an image is pinned to a board from an external site, it provides a link back to the original site, providing an SEO benefit to the original site.

REACH – The number of people who are exposed to a message, post or advertisement at least once. Differs from impressions, which is the number of times the message is displayed.

RECIPROCAL LINK – A link that has been arranged between two websites that link to each other, providing a benefit and extra traffic for both.

REDDIT – A website with forums or ‘threads’ where users join in conversations on an almost unlimited amount of topics. These topics are categorised into sub reddits. The relevance, quality or validity of the comments submitted under a topic heading are then voted up or down to endorse or dis-endorse which determines their ranking or position on the page.

REFERRAL – A visit to a website or webpage which comes from other site, search engine or link.

REMARKETING – used to show users your ads via the display network once they’re visited your website (largely by Google but also available via other search engines)

ROBOTSAlso known as Internet bots or web crawlers is a software application which browses through the internet and across the World Wide Web to index and categorise. Once web content has been crawled and indexed it can then be found by search engine enquries.

ROI – Refers to return on investment, and is a measure to determine the financial returns made from running a digital marketing campaign. A successful campaign should

SPAM – Advertising messages (usually emails) that are delivered in bulk that may be unwelcome, unsolicited, or overly frequent and usually not material which the recipient has opted to receive.

SEM – Stands for search engine marketing and refers to a range of activities that increase the visibility of a website online Can be done through organic optimisation (SEO) or through paid advertising like a pay per click campaign.

SEO – Stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is a critical element in ensuring a website is found online making it especially important for a business looking to gain new customers. Involves multiple optimisation strategies, web development standards and measuring SEO performance. Need an SEO boost? Talk to the Media Heroes SEO team today and we’ll explain how you can take the right steps to dominate your competitors!

SERPStands for Search Engine Results Page which is the collection of web results offered by a search engine after submitting an enquiry. In relation to this, SERP volatility is when your webpage rankings jump up and down in a volatile way.

SOCIAL BOOKMARKING – A method for internet users to share links to pages or sites that they like with others online and add comments and other tags.  Stumble-upon and Reddit are examples of social bookmarking sites.

TRAFFIC – The number of visits a website has in any given period.

TWITTER – A micro blogging social media platform where users interact with each other and their networks by tweet short comments (160 characters or less) on specific topics or conversations, or tweet updates to their following.

UNIQUE VISITORS  – A visit to a website which is only counted once in a given period, regardless of the number of pages or returns they make to the site.


VLOGA video blog, where instead of written content, updates are in video form, often supplemented with a text paragraph to introduce and describe the contents of the video.

WORDPRESS – A content management system (CMS) to publish new content to a website, or blog with a number of different features, plug-ins and other functionality which make it considered the best for usability, spam protection and web standards. It’s what this post has been published on!

YOUTUBE – The world’s largest video sharing site, also a valuable place for companies and individuals to develop a hub of valuable and useful content help build their profile and direct traffic back to their website.

YAHOOOO!!!  (that’s also a search engine, albeit  it’s verrrrrry 2000’s) you’ve made it through our digital dictionary, and now you too can talk the tech talk with us with gusto.

At Media Heroes, as well as being well-versed in geek speak, we do strive to speak your language and make a point to explain things in the clearest way possible. If we do by odd occasion happen to descend into techno-babble, don’t hesitate to give us a heroic hiding. If you want some straight-talking help with your business, talk to the leading digital strategy Brisbane team here at Media Heroes.

Wanting another lesson in online language? Check out our web lingo and web design terminology guide!