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Common Terms Used in Digital Marketing and Their Definitions

Above-the-Fold: With reference to the top part of a newspaper, the term is used in Internet marketing to describe the top part of the page that the user can see without scrolling down.

Algorithm: The process a search engine applies to web pages so it can accurately produce a list of results based on a search term. Search engines regularly change their algorithms to improve the quality of the search results. Hence search engine optimization tends to require constant research and monitoring.

Alt Tags: Alt tags are alternate text associated with a web page graphic or image that gets displayed when the Internet user hovers the mouse over the graphic. Alt tags should convey what the graphic is for or about and contain good relevant keywords. Alt tags for images are useful for SEO since it tells the search engine what that image is all about.

Anchor Text: A word, phrase, or graphic image, that is “clickable” and  links to another page or site.

Auto-Responder: An email auto-responder is an automated program, which sends pre-written responses to emails sent to a certain e-mail address that has this service enabled. The message replies can vary from very short and simple to content rich and complex. These are often use with opt-in forms. When someone opts in, they are automatically sent an email welcoming them to the list.

Backlink: Backlinks are ncoming links to a website or web page. Backlinks are very important for search engine optimization (SEO) because search engines give more credit to websites that have a good number of quality backlinks. Sites with better backlink counts usually rank better in in the Search Engines.

Bandwidth: How much information (text, images, video, sound) can be sent through a connection. Usually measured in bits per second. Full-motion full-screen video requires about 10,000,000 bits per second, depending on compression. Some hosting services limit the amount of bandwidth available for a given website.

Black Hat SEO: Search Engine Optimization strategies that are against the guidelines set forth by the search engines. Local MarketPlace does not use Blach Hat SEO techniques.

Blog: A blog is an online journal or “log” of any given subject. Blogs are easy to update, manage, and syndicate, and are maintained by individuals and/or corporations. Blogs are a useful tool to keep your customers current on the products and services offered by your company.

Bounce Rate: Bounce rate is defined by Google as the percentage of visitors to your website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. This is an important statistic used in SEO, you want your bounce rate to be as low as possible, and at least below 50%.

Browser: An application used to view information from the Internet. Browsers provide a user-friendly interface for navigating through the vast amount of information on the Internet.  Examples include Internet Explore, Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and many more.

Call-to-Action: The primary action that you want your website visitor or email recipient to do as a result of visiting your website or receiving your email. The Call to Action should be bold and often provides either a telephone number to call or a link to an action to take.

CAN-SPAM Act: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003. CAN-SPAM established the first national standards for controlling commercial email and email marketing. It is a critical statute for email and mobile marketing that establishes rules and requirements for the use of commercial email messages. It includes strong civil and criminal penalties against spam and spammers.

Cascading Style Sheet (CSS): The Style Sheet is used in conjunction with html to manage the look and formatting of a webpage or website.

Click to Open Rate: Measures the percentage of people that click on a link in an email on average based on the total emails opened.

Click-Through: When someone clicks on a link and visits another web page or website. This number is tracked to determine the effectiveness of your website or advertisement.

Click-to-Call: A link in mobile content that initiates a phone call.

Cloud: Refers to cloud computing which uses a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.

Content: The copy, graphics and images that make up a webpage.

Content Management System (CMS): A platform that allows a user or multiple users to publish and edit the content of a website from a central interface. These systems are often user friendly providing an easy interface for non technical personnel to maintain a website.

Conversion: Conversion is when a website visitor or email recipient takes a desired action as a result of the marketing message. A conversion can be a visit to a webpage, completion of a lead form, making an online purchase, or making a phone call. A conversion is anything that can be measured and that is triggered by a marketing program.

Cookie: A system within a browser allows a web server to send a web browser a packet of information that will be sent back by the browser each time it accesses the same server. Cookies can be enabled or disabled within the browser.

Copy: The text of the website, distinct from the graphics.

Crawler: A program used by a search engine to “crawl” links on the Internet to find and index content. Also called a robot or spider.

Domain Name: A domain name is a unique name that identifies a website. Each website has a domain name that serves as an address, which is used to access the website.

Do Follow: This is an indicator to the search engines to follow the link from one webpage to another. When a link is “do follow” then the authority or page rank of the link is passed on to the linked page.

Duplicate Content: This is when the exact or similar content is  available in more than one location around the internet. This can be duplicate content within a website or between websites.

Directory: This is a particular website which is a list of other websites grouped into categories. Online directories are often used by internet users to find websites in a certain category or niche. Listing your website in directories enhances your site’s visibility and provides relevant backlinks to your website.

Flash: Flash is a technology developed by MacroMedia Corp. that allows a web designer to embed interactive multimedia into web pages. Often used for Flash intros, games, and animating navigation. Flash has it’s limitation from an SEO perspective. It is not recommended for example to use flash for the menu of the web page.

Forums: A virtual community. Also known as discussion forums. Users can post messages in different forums, either to the group at large or to certain users. However, all postings can be seen by anyone else who has access to that forum. Forums are also threaded, which means a reply to a particular posting becomes part of the “thread” of that posting that c
an be followed so the user can track the progression of a particular topic.

Fresh Content: The term that Google uses to refer to frequently changing website pages. When the Google robot, Googlebot, determines that a website’s content is changing frequently, the Google robot will revisit and reindex this page often, which can lead to better rankings.

FTP: File transfer protocol, a protocol that allows for the transfer of files from one computer to another. This is generally used when the amount of data to transfer is large.

Geotargeting: Customizing the content on a website or an advertisement for a specific geographic location of the searcher. Geo-targeting will result in the rankings for the website to be focused on a specific or multiple geographic areas. For example, instead of just ranking for the generic keyword HVAC installation, you may want to rank for Houston HVAC installation.

GIF (Graphic Interchange Format): GIF is a graphics format that can be displayed on almost all Web browsers. It is a common compression format used for transferring graphic files between different computers. They display in 256 colors and have a built-in compression.

Google Analytics: A free web tool offering detailed website visitor statistics; Google Analytics can be used to track all site activities: visits, page views, pages per visit, bounce rates, average time on site, and much more.

Hits: Refers to a download of a file from the web server. Every graphic on a web page counts as a hit, since it requires a download of the graphic file to the browser. Thus, a single access of a web page with 20 unique graphics on it will register as 21 hits, 20 for the graphics and 1 for the HTML page. Thus hits do not correlate with web page visits. Hits are therefore not a very useful metric to measure success of your website.

HTML: Stands for HyperText Markup Language. This is the programming language used to code web content and display it in a formatted manner. It is up to the web browser software, e.g. Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape, to render the HTML source code. HTML is often used with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) which formats the content.

HTTP: A standard method of publishing information as hypertext in HTML format on the Internet, HTTP is he format of the World Wide Web. When a browser sees “HTTP” as the beginning of an address, it knows that it is viewing a WWW page.

HTTPS: HTTP with SSL (secure socket layer) encryption for security. If you are buying anything with a credit card online or providing personal information, you should ensure that you are doing so over a secure socket layer, https:// in the address bar.

Hummingbird Update: This was a replacement to the Google algorithm rolled out in August 2013. This update focused on improving search results by looking at synonyms and the whole context of a search term. The goal is to try to understand the intent of what a searcher is looking for and return the most relevant results. To respond to this update, content should consider why people are looking for something rather than just what they are looking for. In other words, give the user complete answers to their questions.

ICANN: Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is a global non-profit corporation formed to oversee a select range of Internet technical management functions including coordinating the domain name system worldwide. It is currently managed by the U.S. Government, or by its contractors and volunteers.

Inbound Links: Links that point to your site from other sites. These are very important for SEO and can increase your PageRank (PR) and keyword rankings.

Internal Links: Hyperlinks from one page on your website to another. The main purpose of internal links is for navigation around your website, but they also help the search engine bots determine the structure of your website.

Indexing: The search engines build up their index of the web pages on the internet. You want to ensure that the search engines have indexed your website, or else it will never appear in that search engine.

IP Address: P Address stands for Internet Protocol Address. It is expressed as a four-part series of numbers separated by periods that identifies every sender and receiver of network data. The numbers represent the domain, the network, the subnetwork and the host computer. Your IP address identifies the exact location of your server on the World Wide Web.

JPEG: JPEG is a graphics format that is newer than GIF and displays more colors. It displays photos and graphic images with millions of colors. It also compresses well and is easy to download.

Keyword: A word or phrase that a search engine user will type into the search bar to find what they are looking for. Determining the right keywords for your niche is a very important part of SEO. You want to find the keywords that most people would use to find your type of business, particularly those who are ready to make a purchase (called buyer keywords).

Keyword Density: The percentage of the presence of a specific keyword on a web page with respect to the actual content (number of words) on the web page. Ideal keyword density from a search engine optimization standpoint is between 1-3%.

Landing Page: The landing page is a web page where people go to once they click on an online advertisement, email newsletter, or natural search listing. Landing pages are designed to be highly relevant to the advertisement, email, or search listing and encourage users to complete a “call to action”.

Link Building: The process of increasing the number of incoming links to a website in such a way that will increase your website’s search engine rankings.

List Building: The process of gathering a list of email addresses of customers and potential customers for use in email marketing campaigns. Effective ways of list building include gathering email addresses at the point of purchase and offering incentives such as a free e-book or discount coupon to potential customers in exchange for their email address.

Meta Tags: Meta-tags are information that is associated with a web page. These meta tags are included in the HTML code for the webpage but are not displayed for the user to see. There are a variety of meta tags, but only a few are relevant to the search engine spiders. Two of the most well-known meta tags are the meta description and meta keywords. These used to be a big factor in search engine rankings, but no longer play an important role. It is still wise to develop useful meta descriptions and keywords for each webpage.

Niche: A specialized part of a market for a particular product or service. For example, you may be involved in dog training which is the market, your niche may be training dogs to assist blind persons.

No Follow: A link attribute that allows website owners to tell search engines that a particular link does not pass authority and credit on to the target site.

Off Page Optimization: This is a set of techniques that aim to increase a website’s rankings in the search engines. These techniques generally include various methods to increase the number of links pointed at the website.

Opt in: A process by which a user agrees to receive marketing email messages from a sender. This is also called permission based email marketing. Usually a user provides an email address on a website form, sometimes in exchange for a free product or service.

Organic Traffic: Traffic that comes to a website via an unpaid listing in a search engine or directory. Organic search engine listings are those that are not paid

Outbound Link: A link to a website external to your website. For SEO it is wise to have outbound links to authority sites within your niche.

Page Rank: This is a number between 0 and 10 assigned by a Google algorithm to every webpage, with 10 being the best. Exactly what the algorithm uses to determine Page Rank is unknown, but by analysis it has been determined that factors such as number of links and quality of links (from trusted authority sites) are part of the algorithm. Obtaining links from websites with a higher page rank than your own will increase your page rank over time.

Pay Per Click (PPC): This is a pricing model used by the search engines and other websites like Facebook for paid advertisement. Using this pricing model an advertiser will pay each time someone clicks on the ad. The price will vary based on which search engine or website is displaying the ad, the popularity of the keywords used for the ad, and other factors.

Panda Update: This was a set of updates to the Google search algorithm intended to lower the rank of low quality or low content sites and increase the ranking of higher quality and higher content sites.

Penguin Update: This was an update to the Google search algorithm aimed at lowering the rankings of websites which used so called “black hat” techniques for building backlinks to a website. Websites that were hit by penguin included those which do not have a variety of anchor texts associated with the backlinks.

Pinging: Informing the search engines that your website has recently been updated.

Rank Tracking: Tracking search results to determine how well a site ranks for particular keywords. Rank tracking is an ongoing process that changes regularly over time.

Reciprocal Links: links between two sites, often based on an agreement by the site owners to exchange links. Reciprocal links are frowned upon by the search engines and thus are not a useful way to build backlinks to your website. Some reciprocal links are okay, but not as an overall strategy.

Referring Traffic: Traffic that comes to a website indirectly through links on third-party websites. Referring sites are the websites that provide this traffic to your site.

RSS: Stands for Really Simple Syndication. This is a web feed format used to publish content that is frequently updated like blogs.

Search Engine: A web site, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, that provides its visitors the ability to search the content of numerous web pages on the Internet. Search engines periodically explore all the pages of a website and add the text on those pages into a large database that users can then search, this is also referred to as being indexed by the search engines.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Refer to our definition of SEO on our homepage.

SPAM: An email is considered SPAM if it is both unsolicited and bulk email. Meaning that the recipients did not agree to receive email from the sender and the email was sent out to a large number of recipients.

Spiders: They are software applications that are used by search engines to index web pages. Also referred to as a bot or robot.

Subscriber: A member of a mailing list who has opted-in willingly to receive email from that particular sender.

Title Tag: An tag embedded in the html of a webpage describing the title of a web page. This is an important part of on page SEO and the title tag should contain the main keyword for that webpage.

Top Level Domain (TLD): The TLD is the last part of the domain name following the last dot. Examples include com, edu, gov, info, us, etc. Some TLDs have particular meanings, like .gov is for government entities, .edu is for educational institutions, and .uk is for businesses within the UK. The TLDs are administered by ICANN.

Traffic: The number of users who visit your website.

Unique Visitors: The count of individual users who have accessed your website. An individual user may access your website a number of times, so total visitors would account for how many times each visitor came to your site.

URL: Stands for Uniform Resource Locator, but means your unique website address. This is how websites, FTP servers, email servers, and newsgroups are found on the internet.

Visit: A request or sequence of requests made by one user at one website.

Web 2.0 Sites: Refers to newer Internet-based services that include tools that let people share information online, such as social networking sites, wikis, and other website generation sites like wordpress.com, blogger.com and more.

White Hat SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques that are ethical and approved by the Search Engines.

Widget: A piece of code that performs a specific function. The code that creates the Facebook “Like” button on a website is a widget, for example.

WordPress: WordPress is an open-source web publishing system or content management system. It was created primarily as blogging software and is ideal for managing content that is frequently updated. Local MarketPlace uses WordPress as their primary development platform.

Wayne Ivey
Author Wayne Ivey

Wayne is the president of Local Marketplace. He has over 40 years of sales and marketing experience. He specializes in applying technical solutions to business problems, resulting in more efficiency and lower cost.