Acquisition Cost : See under “cost-per-acquisition.”
AdSense : Google AdSense is a pay-per-click advertisement application which is available to bloggers and Web publishers as a way to generate revenue from the traffic on their sites. The owner of the site selects which ads they will host, and AdSense pays the owner each time an ad is clicked.
AdWords : The pay-per-click (PPC) search engine marketing (SEM) program provided by Google.
Alerts : Notifications that can be set up for various search terms, events or website actions.
Algorithm : Mathematical rules and calculations a search engine uses to determine the rankings of the sites it has indexed.
Analytics : Information resulting from the systematic analysis of data or statistics. In digital marketing, analytics is the information resulting from systematic analysis of data gathered from marketing activity such as email marketing, landing page A/B testing, or Google AdWords purchases.
Avatar : A graphical representation of a real person, often seen in user profiles for online forums, social networks or chat/instant-message services.
Ban : Removal from a search index when a page and/or entire website is deemed inappropriate for a given engine’s results, usually on a temporary basis until the offending site corrects itself
Banner Ad : Graphical image or small animation file embedded within a Web page and used for advertising, often containing a link to other sites, products, etc.
Blog : Short for “weblog,” this is a special kind of website for self-publishing, often done by the owner of the site (the “blogger”), but sometimes by a committee of authors who rotate by day, for example. Blogs typically record and categorize all content updates by date/time and topic for easy tracking by readers. The posts appear on a blog’s homepage in reverse-chronological order (thus the original term, “weblog”).
Blogger : An individual who generates content for blogs, either personal or professional.
Bounce Rate : Refers to the percentage of a given page’s visitors who exit without visiting another page on the same site.
Brand : A business’s brand is the sum total of all its users’ and customers’ opinion of that business; a business can choose to intentionally shape its brand or allow the market forces to shape its brand.
Broken Links : Links to pages which no longer exist or have been moved to a different URL without redirection.
Categories : Ways to organize content on a site, especially blogs. One typical way to store both current and archival blog posts is by an alphabetical list of topical categories.
Click-Thru Rate (CTR) : The percentage of people who actually click on a link (e.g., in an email message or sponsored ad) after seeing it.
Comments : Comments are content generated by users in response to an initial publication, most notably blog posts. These are usually posted below the blog entry, and can often be vehicles for creating advanced levels of discussion that increase the lifespan of blog posts. Comments are also typically associated with news articles, videos, media-sharing sites, and Facebook posts.
Content : Any text, image, video, audio, app or other material published on the Internet for audience consumption.
Conversion : The desired action was taken by a website visitor, such as making a purchase, registering for an event, subscribing to an e-newsletter, completing a lead-gen form, downloading a file, etc.
Conversion Cost : See “cost-per-acquisition (CPA).”
Conversion Rate : This is the percentage of visitors to a site or ad who actually take further action, like buying a product or filling out a survey. For example, if your primary goal is to collect survey data through your site, and 20 people visit it, but only 5 people complete the survey, you have a conversion rate of 25%.
Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) : Represents the ratio of the total cost of a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign to the total number of leads or customers, often called “CPA” or “conversion cost.”
Cost-Per-Click : A method of paying for targeted traffic. For a fee, sites like Google or Facebook direct traffic to your site. You agree to pay a set amount for every click.
CPA : An abbreviation for “cost-per-acquisition.”
CPC : An abbreviation for “cost-per-click.”
CPM : This is the “cost-per-thousand” views of an advertisement. Often, advertisers agree to pay a certain amount for every 1,000 customers who see their ad, regardless of conversion rates or click-thrust. The “M” in “CPM” is derived from the Latin word for 1,000 (mile).
Crawler : An automatic function of some search engines that index a page, and then visit subsequent pages that the initial page links to. As the cycle continues over time, search engine crawlers or “bots”/“spiders” can index a massive number of pages very quickly.
CTA (Call to Action) : An element on a web page used to push visitors towards a specific action or conversion. A CTA can be a clickable button with text, an image, or text, and typically uses an imperative verb phrase like: “call today” or “buy now”.
CTR : An abbreviation for “click-thru rate.”
Dashboard : Any area of administrative control for operating applications, especially social media settings, blogging software, and user profiles for websites that offer multiple customization options.
Engagement : In digital marketing, the term for user interaction with a particular piece of shared content: Likes, shares, comments on Facebook; RTs, replies, favorites on Twitter, and link clicks on all social media.
Entry : A piece of writing posted to a blog, micro-blog, wiki, or other easy-access Web publishing platform.
Facebook : A dominant, free-access social-networking site which is available to companies and any person 13 years of age or older. Facebook was initially non-commercial and limited to students with a college email domain, however, it had expanded since then to accommodate fan pages, paid to advertise, and e-commerce stores etc.
Forum : An area on a website (or an entire website) dedicated to user conversation through written comments
Frequency : In digital marketing, how often a task is performed; for example, the frequency of a blog post or twitter update.
Friends : Individuals connected to one another’s profiles on a social networking site, most frequently used in association with Facebook (e.g., Facebook friends).
Graphical Search Inventory : Images and banner ads that are tied to particular search terms on a search engine. They are then displayed to the user after a related search term is entered.
Groups : Micro-communities within a social networking site for individuals who share a particular interest. LinkedIn groups are a particularly notable example of this phenomenon.
Hashtag : A symbol (#) placed directly in front of a word or words to tag a post on Twitter. It is often used to group tweets by popular categories of interest and to help users follow discussion topics.
Hyperlink : Known as “link” for short, a hyperlink is a word or phrase which is clickable and takes the visitor to another Web page.
Impression : An instance of an organic search-engine listing or sponsored ad being served on a particular Web page or an image being viewed in display advertising. In paid search, “cost-per-impression” is a common metric.
Index : The actual collection of data and websites obtained by a search engine, also known as “search index.”
Instant Messaging : A service where individuals can communicate through a real-time, text-based interface over an Internet connection.
Keywords : The terms that a user enters into a search engine. They can also signify the terms a website is targeting to rank highly as part of an SEO marketing campaign.
KPIs : Key Performance Indicators
Landing Page : A stand-alone Web page that a user “lands” on, commonly after visiting a paid search-engine listing or following a link in an email newsletter. This kind of page often is designed with a very specific purpose (i.e. conversion goals)for visitors.
Link Popularity : A measurement of the number and quality of sites that link to a given site, especially as cataloged in a search-engine index.
LinkedIn : A business-oriented social networking site for professionals. Much like Facebook, LinkedIn allows members to connect with other users on the network, share status updates, and participate in groups and chats, although with a career focus.
Listings : A listing is a website’s presence in a search engine or directory and is not necessarily indicative of its search-engine positioning.
Meta-Keywords Tag : In the past, this tag allowed page authors to insert a massive list of keywords related (and occasionally unrelated) to a page in order to game search-engine results. Today, this tag’s potential to influence rankings has diminished to the point where it is widely disregarded by major search engines.
Meta-Tags : Also called meta-data, this information found in HTML page headers used to be the bread and butter of SEO marketing tactics. Still used today despite widely perceived diminishing relevance to search-engine rankings, the most common is the “title,” “description,” and “keyword” tags.
Microblog : A micro-blog is a social media utility where users can share short status updates and information. The most famous example is Twitter, which combines aspects of blogs (personalized Web posting) with aspects of social networking sites (making and tracking connections, or “friends”).
Organic Listings : Also known as “natural” listings, these are search-engine results that have not been purchased. They are calculated solely by an engine’s algorithm and are based on the merits of the listed pages. Typically, most search engines will display several sponsored ads related to search terms (often separated by background color or otherwise highlighted) before displaying the non-paid listings.
Page Rank : A former proprietary method of Google (now disavowed) for measuring the popularity of a Web page. Much-debated in the SEO community, the measurement is believed to be influenced chiefly by the number and quality of inbound and outbound links associated with a given page. Updated infrequently, this rank was indicated as a number between 1 and 10 most commonly displayed in a green bar chart in the Google toolbar add-on for browsers. The SEO community consensus opinion is that the measurement was nothing more than Google’s incomplete assessment of the relative strength of a website.
Paid Listings : Listings sold to advertisers for a fee. Also known as “paid placement.” See “pay-per-click.”
Pay-For-Performance : A paid-search system nearly identical to (and essentially synonymous with) pay-per-click.
Pay-Per-Click : Also known as “PPC,” this type of paid search marketing involves placing advertisements that run above or beside (and occasionally below) the free search-engine listings on Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Typically, to get the highest position among these ads, website owners place a per-click bid. It’s not uncommon to participate in a bidding war for coveted top spots. For example, if a website’s listing is among the top 3 advertisements on a page, the same ad appears in the same location on partner websites. Some marketing firms, including Fathom, provide bid management services to get the most value for each search term.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) : Refers to any type of interaction between two or more people within a specific social network.
Pop-Up Ad : A form of advertisement which automatically opens (or “pops up” in) a new window in a browser to display an ad


PPC : An abbreviation for “pay-per-click.”
Profile : A profile is a personal page within a social network created by a user for sharing with others on the network. The profile provides basic biographical information and often links to the profiles of the user’s friends/connections.
Query : The term(s) entered into a search engine by the user.
Ranking(s) : The position of a website’s listing(s) in search-engine results pages. The higher rank for a specific keyword, the more generally visible a page is to search-engine users.
Registration : The process of signing up to participate in an online forum, community or social-media network. At a minimum, this act usually involves sharing a name and email address in order to set up a username and password.
Retargeting : The technology, driven by web browser cookies, that enables a marketer to continually put a digital message in front of a user who has visited that marketer’s web property.
ROI : An acronym for “return-on-investment.” ROI is the percentage of profit from given digital marketing activity. For example, if you pay $50 a month for CPC advertising, and it leads to $500 in profit, your ROI would be 1000%.
Search Engine : A website that allows users to search the Web for specific information by entering keywords. Can include paid or organic listings of websites and sometimes specific images, products, videos, music, place entries or other enhanced results.
Search Term : The precise word or phrase(s) entered into a search engine by a user (also called a “query”).
Search-Engine Marketing (SEM) : A phrase sometimes used in contrast with “SEO” to describe paid search activities, SEM may also more generally refer to the broad range of search-marketing activities, either paid or organic.
Search-Engine Optimization (SEO) : The process of using website analysis and copy/design/structural adjustments to ensure both the highest possible positioning on desired search-engine results pages and the best experience for a given site’s users.
SEM : An abbreviation for “search engine marketing.”
SEO : An abbreviation for “search engine optimization.”
SERP : An acronym for “search engine results page,” displayed after a query is entered on a search engine.
Social Media : Refers to all online tools and places that are available for users to generate content and communicate through the Internet. These media include blogs, social networks, file-hosting sites, and bookmarking sites, among others.
Subscribing : The process of opting into an email newsletter or adding an RSS feed to an aggregator (e.g. for reading blog updates).
Tag : A keyword (often in a string) which is attached to a blog post, tweet (see “hashtag”), social bookmark or media file. Tags help categorize content by subject.
Total reach : The total exposure (measured in web users or “eyeballs”) of an advertisement or piece of content.
Tweet : A “tweet” is the special name for an entry made on the micro-blogging site, Twitter. Up to 280 characters long, tweets can consist of random status updates, news, commentary, or anything an individual wants to communicate to followers at that moment, including personal messages to other users or groups and links to external content (articles, photos, videos).
Twitter : Twitter is a micro-blogging platform which allows users to create profiles, share short updates on a timeline, and engage with other users, much like a social-networking site
UGC : See “user-generated content.”
Unique Visitor : Also known as “absolute unique visitor,” this statistic represents visitors to a website that are counted once in a given time period despite the possibility of having made multiple visits. Determined by cookies, unique visitors are distinguished from regular visitor counts which would classify two or more visits from the same user as multiple visitors.
URL : “Universal” or “uniform resource locator,” this string of letters and numbers separated by periods and slashes is unique for every Internet page. A page’s address must be written in this form in order to be found on the World Wide Web.
User-Generated Content : Commonly abbreviated as “UGC,” it is any piece of content created by a member of a given website’s audience for use on that website and sometimes to be freely distributed on the Web. Wikis (and Wikipedia) are examples of UGC
Webinar : A Web-based seminar containing audio and video, often in the form of a slide deck.
Wiki : Refers to any page or collection of pages on the Internet or an intranet that can be easily edited by the public or a selective group of registered visitors. Wikis are examples of collaboration. See “Wikipedia,” the most famous example of a wiki, below.
Wikipedia : A free, open-source, multilingual encyclopedia consisting of heavily edited user-generated content on topics of nearly every sort.
YouTube : The most popular video-hosting and video-sharing site, it is also currently the largest search engine after Google (incidentally, also owned by Google). Users can view, upload and comment on video content for no charge, though companies can pay for sponsored promotion of videos or to have enhanced branding and design capabilities on their profile pages, known as “channels.”


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