The Digital Marketing Jargon Buster

Written By Andi Wilkinson. Updated 16th February 2021
Creative Director of Made By Factory. UX Designer & SEO Nerd, Andi is also a board member of Manchester Digital, and speaks and writes on a variety of web-related topics.
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Stay Ahead With Our Ultimate List Of Digital Marketing Terms in 2021

This digital marketing jargon buster is for you if you don't know your PPC from your Pixel tracking, SEO from your SERPS, and your CRO from your CPC. It's a quick and handy A-Z of digital marketing terms you may hear when talking to a digital agency. You may find it handy to speak their language.

We have updated this post monthly since 2016. It's a mash-up of our years working in digital marketing. If you think something is missing, we would love to hear it in the comments! We aim to have the most comprehensive digital marketing glossary on the web. 

0-9

301 Redirect 

A 301 is a way to redirect visitors from one page on your site to another. 301 is a permanent redirect, so its usually used if you change the URL or remove a page and replace it with a more up to date one. They are also used to redirect traffic from one website to another. 

Redirects use up your crawl budget, so be careful not to use them willy nilly. 

302 Redirect 

Like a 301 redirect but just used for temporary situations like if you are redesigning a page. 

404 Error 

A 404 is the error message you see when a page doesn't exist. A well-structured website will have a custom 404 page, which can help the user get back to where they need to be. 

90's Web Guy. 

Don't be that guy. Designs web 2.0 websites, has no concept of whitespace and is well versed in black hat SEO tactics.

90's Web Guy
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A

Above The Fold

Image result for above the fold
From 'Above The Fold' By Pace

Previously referring to newspapers, The most visible content of a folded newspaper would be the front-page top half.

With websites, 'above the fold' refers to the portion of your website visible on the screen when you first land on it.

Though the content shouldn't be crammed, a page devoid of content above the fold can be missing out on a valuable opportunity.

Ad Extensions 

Snippets of information that literally 'extend' your Google Ad. They can take the form of reviews, telephone numbers, 'callouts' such as '24 hour support', addresses, prices and downloads.

More extensions are added to Google's ad extension arsenal periodically. 

See also 'Google Ad Extensions' 

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for a more in depth look at ad extensions, see our post 'How Do Google Ads Work'

Ad Manager Account 

Part of the Facebook suite of tools. As the name suggests, a manager account allows you to 'manage' your Facebook Ads. Other platforms have similar managers but may go by different names. 

Ad Network 

This is a collection of websites or locations where a digital ad can appear. For example, the Google Search Network, The Google Display Network, YouTube, The Google Shopping Network. (Ok, that's technically still the search network) 

AdWords (Google Adwords) 

how do google ads work
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Now called Google Ads, AdWords is obsolete, mainly because it is no longer just about words but incorporates many different multimedia content types. Google AdWords referred to the suite of digital paid advertising tools by Google. 

Ahrefs

A popular SEO software, but the name comes from an HTML tag. <a href= "https://www.mywebsite.com"> in the website world, this is known as an anchor tag. See anchor tags for more information. 

Alt Tags (or Alternative Text Tags) 

An Alt tag is a snippet of code added to an image to provide information to the search engine about its content. All images should contain Alt text unless they are purely decorative.

Most decent content management platforms will handle this on the fly, but its good practice to name your images in a meaningful way to a search engine. 

Analytics (Google Analytics)

Anchor Text 

You may know these as hyperlinks too. sometimes a link appears as a link 

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From Moz Best SEO Practices

https://www.madebyfactory.com/36-must-have-shopify-apps-for-your-store/

Or it can appear as 'clickable text' 36 Must-Have Shopify Apps For Your Store. This clickable text is what is known as anchor text. It is vital for SEO and is one of Google's many ranking signals. Anchor text should provide meaningful information about its destination, like the example above, rather than just saying 'click here' or 'read more'. Using well written and meaningful anchor text throughout your website can improve its overall visibility in Google search. 

Adsense (Google Adsense) 

Not to be confused with AdWords, this is a platform for website owners to earn money by renting out part of their web pages as advertising space. Ads can be placed directly on your site via the Google Display Network. 

Algorithm 

Al Gore Rhythm. Not to be confused with the google algorithm
Sourced from Github. Al Gore Rhythm

Not to be confused with Al Gore Rhythm, That's a dancing president. An algorithm is a set of rules that computers follow to carry out a task. 

If you are reading this, you have probably already heard the term 'Google Algorithm' or 'Facebook Algorithm'. In context, the google Algorithm is a set of over 200 signals that decide where a web page should sit in its index for any given search term. 

Google is always updating its algorithm & loves to give it funny names, like Panda or Penguin. They are also very secretive about their ranking factors. This is to prevent manipulation or 'black hat' SEO tactics. 

Alexa Rank

Alexa Rank
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Not to be confused with Amazon Alexa, The AI voice software that allows us to interact with amazon via various devices like echo and Sonos, Alexa ranking is different. 

Alexa rank is a measure of website popularity. It ranks millions of websites in order of popularity, with an Alexa Rank of 1 being the most popular. 

Alexa rank is calculated using a methodology that combines a site's estimated traffic and visitor engagement over the past three months. 

Just to add in a bit of confusion, Amazon owns both versions of Alexa. 

Apps (applications)

Those things on your phone, right? Not quite. It can be a program that runs on your phone or tablet, but it can run in a desktop browser too. If you use online accounting software, for example, this is an 'app'. Most people, however, think of mobile apps when they hear the phrase.

Authority

Authority is the score of a website from low to high. Websites can be ranked by different scores, but typically 1-100. The higher the domain authority is, the easier it is to rank. Backlinks from higher authority domains or even pages within your own website can help your website to rank. 

Automation

This one gets bandied around a lot, doesn't it? Automate this, automate that. Automation is a way of using a computer application to automate repetitive tasks. Some great examples online are IFTTT and Zapier. Your email and operating system can also perform various automation tasks. An example of automation would be when someone fills in a contact form on your website, send me an email and add the sender's details to HubSpot. (A CRM) 

Average Position 

Average position is a google metric that can show an advertiser where their ad shows (on average). It can also apply to the average organic position in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages). There are four top ad spots. An average position of 5 or more indicates your ads are showing at the bottom of a page.

B

Another popular term, a backlink, is just a link to your website from another website. Backlinks are high up in Google's ranking factors. In a nutshell, the more sites that link to you, the more important your content appears in the eyes of Google. What could be more simple? 

A word of caution. Backlinks can harm you as well as help you. Multiple links from spammy domains or low authority domains can lower your authority in the eyes of google. Lots of links appearing at once can send a signal to Google that you are trying to manipulate your backlink profile and can earn you a penalty. 

Naturally built & well-placed backlinks from domains with good authority can give you a considerable boost in the search results. 

Banner Ad 

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Bannerflow is an example of software to help you produce banner ads

an advert on a web page or mobile device. In the form of a visual banner. It could be a variety of shapes or sizes. Like a real banner. It could also be animated. 

Bing 

Another popular search engine. Owned by Microsoft, it powers around 20% of search, including Yahoo and should not be overlooked. Make sure your website is set up with Bing Webmaster tools as well as Google Seach console. 

Bing Ads

Bings Answer To Google Ads. It's their Pay Per Click platform, allowing your ads to appear across the Bing & Yahoo search networks. It's worth looking at which browsers and search engines are more popular within specific niches before deciding where to put your digital marketing budget. 

Black Hat SEO (See Also White Hat SEO) 

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This looks way cooler than it actually is, This person is just stuffing 'cheap flights' in to as many paragraphs as he can.

The popular term for bad practices employed to manipulate search results. Although it used to work, Search engines algorithms improve all the time to filter out these harmful practices. Examples would be Keyword Stuffing, Spammy backlink campaigns. These tactics will get you penalised nowadays. It's also pretty pointless because black hat content doesn't read well by humans so that you won't hang on to the traffic. 

Others can sometimes employ these harmful SEO practices to harm your business too. But that's a whole other story. 

Blog  

Actually short for Web Log. A website you regularly update with content. Usually, on a specific topic. Like this website. Its web, web, Google, company news and tech. It can help populate your site with relevant content and make you look a little more authoritative to those all-important search engines. 

Bot (See also Spider) 

Our post on how does google crawl my site' explains this at length. The Googlebot (or other bots) are smart programs that crawl the billions of pages on the web to rank and index them within search engine results pages. If you ever see a spike in your traffic in Google Analytics, chances are you've been visited by a SPAMBOT! 

For a more detailed analysis. see 'How Does Google Crawl My Site'.

Bounce Rate 

This sounds more fun than it is. Its the percentage of visitors that 'bounce' (leave your site without interacting). Whilst every website has bounce, a tiny bounce rate of under 5% can indicate incorrectly configured analytics. Aside from this, you want to keep the bounce rate as low as possible. See Reasons Your Website Has High Bounce Rate for more information.

Breadcrumbs

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If you've read thus far, you might be hungry. Sadly breadcrumbs aren't food. They are just a name for a link structure, often seen in e-commerce or on a blog and usually at the top of a page. They may look like this. 

Collections > Watches > Mens > The Steel Z

Breadcrumbs can provide a boost to your website ranking by improving the overall internal linking structure of your site

Browser

That thing you use to surf the internet. You may use Chrome, or Firefox, Opera or Internet Explorer (Edge). You might even be reading on a mobile. They are also using a browser.

Business Manager 

See Facebook Business Manager

C

Call To Action (CTA)  

Any element on your web page that urges a user to take action. Purchase a product, visit another area of your site, move along a funnel, fill in a form. The easier it is for your users to take any action, the higher your conversion rate will be. Below is an example of a call to action. In this case it won't take you anywhere but you get the idea.

Calls to action should be frequent enough for a user to take action when they need to, but not spammy.

Campaign 

Advertising that follows a theme. For example, Smirnoff Vodka's 'The Other Side' or 'Think Small' by Volkswagen are examples of successful advertising campaigns. 

Inside Google or Facebook, it could also be a collection of ads grouped together by purpose, for example, awareness, engagement or location. 

Canonical URL (rel=canonical) 

This tells the browser if there are multiple versions of the same website, such as AMP or mobile pages, which one is the original source. In April 2019, Google changed the search console to attribute all google juice to the canonical URL, despite which version of the page was accessed.

Clickbait

Image result for clickbait
Image from Wikipedia

Misleading copy or images designed to make you click a link. Usually, articles selling rubbish, like magic weight loss pills or p*nis enlargement.

Often with copy like 'read what over 50's in manchester are doing to lose 10 stone in a week'. It will lead you to a slow page crammed with ads and junk content. You will rue the day you clicked. Pro-tip. Don't click.   

Click

With the utmost respect, if you don't know what a click is, you should stop here & do some basic web lessons <3

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

Mostly used in Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) How many times did your advert appear, and how many times did someone click on it? If it appeared 100 times and 10 people clicked, this is a 1-% CTR. It's great we can measure this stuff since you would never know this from placing an advert, say in a magazine.

Code 

Special languages called 'programming languages' used to build websites and applications. Common Web design languages are HTML, CSS, JavaScript & PHP, but this list is certainly not exhaustive. 

Content

The stuff you write and put on your website. or maybe its video or products. It can be anything. It's all content. 

Content is king - but only if it's good quality. 

Content Management System (CMS)

Software that helps users create and manage content on a website without the need for specialised technical knowledge. Some examples are WordPress, CraftCMS & OctoberCMS. 

Content Marketing

Marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as blogs, videos, and social media posts) intended to curate interest in brands products or services.

Conversion

The completion of a goal. Used to track various things on your site, such as purchases, but they don't always have to be transactional. They could be a form-fill or a phone call. 

A lot of agencies choose to measure micro-conversions too. These are a series of actions leading up to the strong possibility of an actual conversion. This could be time spent on site, pages visited, steps in a funnel and so on. 

Conversion Rate 

How often that conversion happens. If you have 1000 visitors and 50 of them take action, that's a 5% conversion rate. Conversion rates differ by industry and the quality of your website and ad campaigns. Very low conversion rates could indicate a problem. 

Conversion Rate Optimisation

Conversion rate optimisation is Getting more customers to complete the goals you identify above for the same effort. This is where analytics comes in. You may find that you have a high rate of shopping cart abandonment.

This could be because your website is too complex and confusing for the user. It doesn't always matter what you might think of the customer journey; it's good practice to see what the analytics reveal.

For a more in depth look, read our post on how to nail conversion rate optimisation.

Cookies

Mmm cookies. A small snippet of code, stored on your device to identify and track your website usage. Some cookies are essential and are needed to pass information about your activity between pages, for example, the checkout process or favouriting items. Some are used for tracking purposes to gather data about the types of users visiting a website—location, demographics and more. 

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

CPA is a metric in paid advertising (PPC), which measures how much a lead or sale cost to acquire. It takes into account Ad spend and not other factors such as manufacturing costs. 

In simple terms, if you spend £500 and get 10 phone calls, and your goal was lead gen, then your cost per acquisition is £50. if only one of those leads turns into a paying customer, you know that it costs you £500 to get a new customer. 

This is a really handy metric used to measure how profitable a campaign is. 

Cost Per Click (CPC) 

Simply, how much one click to your website costs. Averages are meaningless, so look for specific keyword averages and niche. Some clicks can be pennies, and some can be £70 and upwards ($100). 

All-encompassing terms like 'mortgage and 'insurance' often have very high cost per click. A savvy advertiser competing in this niche will make use of long-tail keywords. 

A well-optimised website can increase quality score, which can lower overall CPC. 

CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions)

Don't be confused. It's the M in Roman Numerals. How much it costs for your ad to display 1000 times. This is a useful metric if your campaign goal is to reach as many people as possible. 

Crawler (See also Googlebot, Bot and Spider) 

Search Console
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intelligent bots that crawl the billions of pages on the web to rank and index them within search engine results pages. Not to be confused with comic book villains. 

CRM - Customer Relationship Manager

A CRM system allows businesses to manage business relationships and the data and information associated with them. Examples are Zoho, Hubspot and Salesforce. 

CSS - Cascading Style Sheets

Don't get hung up on linguistics. CSS is a language that tells the browser how to display your web page—colours, fonts and positioning. If you are a web designer, you need a grasp of this language.  

D

Dark Web

A nasty place. Don't go there. Not to be confused with the deep web, it is unindexed content for illicit and nefarious purposes, conspiracies and misinformation. 

Deep Web

That part of the internet that isn't indexed by search engines but not illicit or illegal. It can contain databases and documents and content on several levels, like online banking, email, cloud-based applications, and gated content.  

Digital Marketing

In a nutshell, an umbrella term for all of the different online marketing niches. This could be web design & development, social media management, SEO, PPC, content writing, content marketing, CRO and more.

In recent years it has also shifted to include television, as digital and personalised ads can now be served via our TV screens. Scary huh?  

Modern businesses need an effective digital marketing strategy to thrive in the online space.

Digital Marketing Jargon

A load of waffle that 90's web guy and agencies like to blind you with, to confuse you into buying services. Not after reading this guide. you'll be able to quote digital marketing jargon with the best of them. Muahahahah!

Directory

A directory is a website that lists other websites very much like a phone directory. This was the original format for Google and notably Yahoo. Still, as the internet grew, tech companies realised that it wasn't an efficient way to do things. 

Historically, appearing in web directories was good for SEO. Still, over time many are now classed as spammy and can potentially harm your rankings. 

Display Ads

Display Ads that are ads served in image or video format. But confusingly can now also contain text. The most common form of display ads you will see is images, potentially animated ones around the page when you visit websites. Some websites serve hundreds of spammy display ads on a page. you may also notice when you looked up that sneaky expensive thing you wanted to treat yourself to, you are now haunted by it EVERYGERE>

Display advertising: "You're welcome." 

Display Network (Google display network) 

The Google Display Network (or GDN) is a network of millions of websites that can potentially reach 90% of users on the internet. You can target niche audiences by topics or interests, or even intent. 

DNS

DNS stands for Domain Name Server. Websites reside at IP addresses, which are numbers. It's easier to recall names, so names are assigned to these IP Addresses. We call those things' Domain Names'. Your DNS serves the name, so when you look at a website, it has a name rather than a number in its URL. 

DoFollow. See Also NoFollow

Dofollow is a tag attached to a link, informing a search engine whether to pass authority between pages. Dofollow links pass some of this Google nectar between pages, where Nofollow links do not. (although the jury is still out on this because many SEOs report 'some' benefit even from Nofollow links. 

Duplicate Content. 

This can be on your own site or from other sites. If your website's .htaccess file is incorrectly set up, for example, you might find Google sees your www domain as a duplicate of the non-www one. Poor URL structure can also cause duplicate content issues, such as the same page showing on multiple URLs. Copying content from other people's blogs just to populate your own will also get your page flagged as duplicate. To avoid this, use canonical URLs and ensure your website is structured correctly. 

E

Ecommerce (E-Commerce) 

Electronic Commerce is a type of business that retails it's products online. Though they can also have a traditional 'bricks and mortar' presence. Popular platforms for e-commerce are Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento.

Email Automation 

Email automation is using software to send sequences of emails based on triggers or actions a user takes. For example, suppose a user abandons their cart at checkout. In that case, they may get an email to encourage them to complete a purchase or even offer them a discount. 

Email List (Or Mailing List)

A mailing list is a list of email addresses that can be used to send emails to your target audience. Users should opt-in to receive marketing or promotional emails from your business. 

Email Marketing

The sending of promotional emails. They can be one-offs or drip content intended as a funnel.  

F

A featured snippet is a 'snippet' of information from your page that Google can show on its search results page (SERP). These snippets appear above the traditional results and just below ads. For this reason, they are sometimes dubbed 'position zero'. 

They often appear for informational searches such as 'how to make a perfect cup of tea' and so on. 

Facebook Advertising

Facebook, at its core, is a giant advertising company. Just like Google. In exchange for the benefits of free networking, you are served ads. Facebook has vast targeting options due to the data they collect on their users and down to the personal information we share. Our location, what we are eating, who we are friends with, where we work. This kind of information makes it an incredibly powerful advertising medium. 

Facebook Business Page 

A Facebook page is a profile for your brand, product or service. A business page can interact like a personal profile can, in that it can join groups and post updates. It cannot, however, see information about users that they choose to keep private. 

Facebook Business Manager

FBM is a Facebook platform that allows marketers to manage multiple pages and ad accounts in one central location.

Facebook Ads Manager 

As part of the business suite, Ads manager is a tool for creating and managing Facebook ad campaigns. 

Form Fill  

A form fill is an action a user takes on a website when a user fills in a form. Form fills are often measured as a conversion action.

Funnel

A journey towards purchase. Essentially a set of steps a user takes, or a series of 'states' they are in. Typically awareness, consideration, intent and purchase. Many factors can influence the funnel, and in the digital world, it is not so linear. 

Read our post on the consumer path to purchase

Google

Google are the massive tech company behind the search engine. Also, a verb 'To Google'. 

Google controls over 80% of search traffic &, as such, is the ideal platform to advertise your brand. Google also own YouTube. Much more than search, Google have an extensive range of products, including maps, art galleries, VR products, and so much more. 

Google Analytics

See 'Analytics' 

Google Ads (Google AdWords) 

See 'Adwords' 

Google Fred Update 

An update to the Google Ranking Algorithm that penalised low-quality content websites. In particular clickbaity ad-ridden pages that prioritise monetisation over user experience. 

Google Maps 

Google Maps is one of the most ubiquitous navigation apps globally, providing GPS & Real-time traffic information. It's also a local helper for SEO. Having a google my business listing can put you on the map, literally helping you appear in local search results. 

Google My Business 

My Business is a platform where you can list all kinds of information about your business, helping it appear in search results. You can include name, address, opening hours, reviews, events and news. Proper implementation of google my business is essential to a local SEO campaign. 

Google Partners 

Google partners are certified agencies that have PPC expertise. They may have one or more specialisms in the various advertising niches, such as search, display, mobile, video and shopping. The google partners certification must be renewed annually and is based on at least one company representative having a minimum of two certifications in Ads, a minimum ad spend and an overall high-quality score in the ad account. If the agency has specialisms, the same rules must apply for each specialism. 

Google Hummingbird

Another algorithm update is Google Hummingbird. Hummingbird was one of many overhauls of the Google system. Hummingbird looked at intent which provides much more relevant search results to a user. The update looked at the overall content of a page and matched that to a user's intent. For example, if you search for chocolate chip cookies, chances are you are looking to make them rather than buy them. 

Hummingbird decides on the overall intent based on the keywords and would serve you a recipe instead of a shop page. It works both ways. Semantic Keywords can google decide the overall intent of your page. Gone are the days when you could stuff 'chocolate chip cookies' into the page over and over, so it would appear at the top. 

Google Mobile-First Rollout

Mobile traffic surpassed desktop in 2014. In 2018 Google switched to mobile-first indexing. This meant that your site was indexed based on googles mobile bot. Slow websites and those not adapted to multiple device sizes (responsive) would be penalised. To see if your site is indexed mobile-first, check the Googe Search Console.

Google Mobile Speed Update 

Another update from Google in July 2018, Google made right on their announcement to use page speed as a ranking factor. This update was supposed to affect the only slowest mobile sites.

Google Panda

One of the more famous Google Algorithm Updates, alongside Google Penguin, Google Panda update, was designed to prevent websites with low-quality content from making their way to the top of the serps. It is a continuous update to ensure websites put out quality content instead of manipulating the search results through black-hat tactics.

Google Penguin 

Penguin is an algorithm update that focussed on the quality of links pointing to a website. Some websites ranked from manipulative link building tactics. Low-quality content could be used to raise a sites SERP position based on how many backlinks it had. Links could be placed as spam in the comments of low-quality blogs and other tactics. Specifically, articles that bore no relation to the topic. 

Keyword stuffing was also addressed. You may have seen pages like "wondering where to get the best dental implants in manchester? our dental implants manchester page has all the information about dental implants manchester that you need."

It doesn't read well to a human, and Google sees this and doesn't reward you for it. 

Google Pigeon

Google love random animals and birds. It made sure you needed a good web presence to rank locally and made it easier for local businesses to appear in search results. 

Google Algorithm 

That old chestnut. By now, you should know this is the intelligent computer program designed by Google to determine where and when a website should show up in the SERPS when a user performs a search. 

The algorithm is in a constant state of flux and constantly impacts where your website sits. Trying to manipulate it can cost you dearly. Instead, focus on high quality, fresh original and informative content, good website speed and structure. 

Although the algorithm is top secret, Google does always share best practice to give webmasters the best chance to produce the best webpages. 

Google Search Console (GSC) - Formerly Google Webmaster Tools

GSC is a free tool, providing a wealth of information on your website's organic performance and overall health. The search console will tell you how many people visited your site via organic SC search and exactly what they typed in as a query to find you. It can help you identify new keyword opportunities. 

GSC also identifies potential web errors that can affect your visibility, such as code errors and page speed. 

Google Reviews

Google reviews are user reviews left on Google My Business. Rated between 1-5 and including a text review. Reviews can impact local search and can positively affect SEO.

Google Tag Manager

GTM is a tool that allows you to add tracking functionality to your website without having to continually edit the website code. You can add various tracking codes and monitor funnels and conversions. GTM uses a JavaScript layer to accomplish this. 

H

Hashtag 

#OMG, a hashtag is a phrase beginning with the symbol "#". Hashtags are commonly used (and misused) in social media to tag content for users to find. If you search for a hashtag, you can find all related content on that topic. Utilised best on Instagram and Twitter as an excellent way to market content, but also used on Facebook and LinkedIn. 

Header 

This can be the top of a webpage, the portion 'above the fold'. The header can also be the HTML code containing information about the website, such as its language, locale and coding language. 

Header Tags (h1 - h6)  

Header tags give structure and hierarchy to an HTML document. From H1 to H6, they categorise the headings of your page content by importance. 

Your page's main title should use the h1 header tag, and the main headings should be in h2. You should only use the h1 tag once, and it should never be absent, 

A common mistake less knowledgeable web designers make is to create headings based on size and appearance. You should always use the correct hierarchy of headings and style your page using CSS. 

Heatmap

A heatmap is a visual representation of how users interact with your site. Heatmapping software such as Hotjar is used to track where users click on a page, how long they spend, what touchpoints they interact with and how they behave. It can provide valuable data to help you design better content. 

HTML – Hypertext Mark-up Language

HTML is a markup coding language used by web designers to create web pages. HTML 5 is the latest iteration. It 'marks up' elements of the page to allow them to be identified by a browser to better ascertain what your content is about. Some HTML tags include 

  • article
  • headings
  • body
  • footer
  • aside
  • caption
  • figure
  • link
  • image

There are many more. 

See also Tim Berners Lee for his part in it all!

HTTP

Stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. you see this at the start of website URLs. http://mywebsite.com This command tells the browser to fetch data from the server and serve it to your web browser. 

HTTPS 

HTTPS Stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. By now, all websites should be secure and show the padlock symbol. Non-secure websites may even display a message from Google, warning users not to proceed. HTTPS encrypts the data transferred to your browser, preventing hackers from stealing sensitive details such as financial information or passwords. 

Hreflang Tag 

hreflang is information within the header code of a website that tells search engines like Google which physical language a web page uses. 

Hreflang must be implemented on multilingual sites to avoid duplication. 

A hyperlink is an HTML code that creates a link from one web page to another. It's usually text, but it can be an image or a naked URL. The best practice is meaningful anchor text. 

Homepage

A Homepage is the front page of your website. The home page is the one that sits directly at your domain name. Often, people land on the first page, but not necessarily if they find you via a landing page. 

I

Iframe 

An iframe is a snippet of code that allows one website to display inside another. It is no longer the best practice to use iframes. 

Impression 

An impression is a metric to measure how often something appears. If its Google Display Ads, an impression is how many times the ad appeared on a page. If you are using Facebook Ads, an impression is how many times the ad appeared in feeds. You can also find out stuff like how long it appeared in the frame. 

In Google search ads, an impression is how many times your ad appeared, whether or not it was clicked on. 

In organic search, an impression is the number of times your website appeared in the SERP for a given search term, even if it did not appear on page 1. For example, if someone types in 'cat websites' into a browser, and you are position 25, this is page 3. Even though the user did not go to page 3, it still counts as an impression in Google organic search.

Impression Share

Impression share is a metric that tells us how often you appeared versus how many times you could have. If there are 100 opportunities for your ad to appear, but your budget runs out after 50, your impression share would be 50%. It's a great way to measure how you are compared to competitors.

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 to attract prospective customers by educating and building trust about your services, product and/or brand. (See also: organic)

Index

Literally an index of content. Like on Yahoo or Google. An index is also a verb 'to index', which refers. to when Google or another search engine index or file your content to determine where it will appear in search results pages. 

Intent (Search intent or Audience Intent) 

Search intent describes the purpose of an online search. Google defines our intent as one of four micro-moments. 

  • I want to know
  • I want to go 
  • I want to do 
  • I want to buy

When you search, you have intent. Google wants to make sure the right content shows based on your search. So if you search for cats, you might just want to see photos of cats. If you search for a cats shelter, then the chances are you need a local result. 

IP Address 

IP stands for Internet Protocol. It is a unique number that identifies a device on the network. To find your own IP address, go to google and type in "what's my IP".

J

Javascript 

Javascript is a scripting language used in web browsers to provide interaction. For example, when you add an item to a cart, the button might change to say 'view basket'. Elements like this are usually handled with JavaScript. 

Java

Another programming language. Not JavaScript! 

K

Key Performance Indicator (KPI

Key Performance Indicator is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. A KPI might be to sell 200 units in a month. 

Keyword

A word (or phrase) that you may expect your prospective visitors to search to find your site or a particular campaign. for example, "summer handbag sale."

The whole premise behind SEO is to show for as many relevant keywords as possible and dominate the SERPs.

A keyword isn't just a word. It can be a group of two or more words or a whole phrase. 

Keyword Density 

The amount of times a keyword appears on a page. If a piece of content has 1000 words and the keyword is 'digital cameras', which appears 10 times, then digital cameras has a keyword density of 1% 

Keyword Stuffing

A black hat tactic. Intended to manipulate search engines, SEOs used to stuff keywords in the body text and even meta tags of a web page. It was horrible to read. Google algorithm updates eventually found and penalised websites that keyword stuffed. They also removed meta tags as a ranking factor. 

Knowledge Graph 

Google Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base used by Google and its services to enhance its search engine's results with information gathered from various sources. The data is presented to users in an infobox next to the search results. It has often come under criticism for lack of sources. 

Knowledge Panel 

Knowledge panels are information boxes that appear on Google when you search for people, places, organisations, or things) The panels are meant to help you get a quick snapshot of information on a topic based on Google's understanding of available content on the web.

L

Landing Page 

This is the first page of a website you land on. It may not be the site's home page, but it should be relevant to what you are searching for. You will see this quite often with signup websites or member websites where the landing page is the signup form.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) 

LSI is a context-based way of ranking content. The Google algorithm looks for context and intent. A piece of content about a specific topic will contain other words and phrases related to that topic, reflecting the page's purpose. 

a recent Google research paper states that they use "words frequently occurring together" to understand an article's main topic: 

if your article is about vacuums, then other words in the article, such as cleaning and home, help Google determine that your article is about a vacuum cleaner instead of a void in space or a thermos flask. 

Lead 

A potential customer. Someone who filled out a web form made a call or signed up to your mailing list. 

A link could be text, image or a video but anything that you can click and take you to some other content.

A link profile is a profile of all the links pointing to a website. The link profile is one of the signals that determine a website's authority. If a website has a high number of authoritative links, it can rank well. Conversely, if a website has a lot of spammy links pointing to it, Google may see this as an attempt to manipulate the search engines and penalise the website. 

Linkedin 

Linkedin is a social network for business professionals. 

Linkedin Advertising

LinkedIn's paid advertising platform, like Google Ads & Facebook Ads. 

A link network is a black-hat strategy. A network of websites all linking toke each other to manipulate the serps and gain ranking. Although they may work in the short term, the juice from link networks will be devalued or even penalised when Google spots them. 

Lookalike Audience

This is an effective method of targeting paid ads. If you already have an audience, the ad platform can cast it's net wider, so to speak and look for more users with similar interests and demographics. Lookalike audiences (Facebook) and similar audiences (google) are a great way to generate new customers. 

Long Tail Keyword

A long-tail keyword has more words. It has less monthly searches but is more specific, so it can be easier to optimise. 

For example, "how to do keyword research" is a long-tail keyword and would be easier to rank for than 'keyword research'. "Web designer" is hard to rank for, but 'WordPress Web Design Manchester' is much more specific. 

M

Marketing

marketing is the act of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

MCC

My Client Center. A google portal used by Agencies, allowing them to manage multiple google ad accounts from one dashboard. 

Medium (source/medium):

Medium is the category or way by which your website acquires users. In Analytics, this is broken down into categories, as shown below. 

  • email
  • direct
  • referral
  • organic
  • CPC

Metadata 

Information coded into the header of a website, adding important context for search engines and crawlers. Metadata can contain the articles date, author and descriptions of images, amongst other things. 

Meta Description

The meta description is a description you give to your web page. It should include the keywords you want your page to rank for. Meta Descriptions can be automatically generated by Google even if you write your own, so try and make sure they are as relevant as possible. 

Meta Keywords

Webpages used to include keywords in the metadata. Although you can still add these, Google no longer pays attention to them. Other search engines may still use them as a ranking factor. 

Metric

Metrics are measurable values used by business to demonstrate the effectiveness of campaigns across various marketing channels. 

Mobile

A mobile device is a device that is mobile such as a tablet or smartphone.

N 

Nofollow (See also Dofollow) 

A nofollow link is a link that has an attribute attached, telling web crawlers not to pass any google juice between pages. 

Links in as well as out are important for your SEO. But high authority sites don't want a load of low authority sites backlinking to them. Enter nofollow. 

Nofollow links shouldn't give any benefit to the recipient. Some SEOs believe there still may be a little benefit. This is why it's encouraged to link back to your site from social media profiles. 

Opt-In

Opting in is an action taken by a user where they agree to receive promotional material from you. 'Opt-In to marketing emails

Organic

Organic is one source of traffic to a website that comes via searching in a search engine. SEO aims to grow relevant website traffic through the careful optimisation of a website's content. 

Organic listings

Where your web page ranks on a search engine naturally. "Oh, I am top of Google when you type in Plumbers in Timbuktoo".

Remember, organic listings are really only useful if people are searching for that keyword. It's pointless ranking naturally for a phrase that only you will type into a search engine.

P

Pay-per-click (PPC)

A form of advertising where you pay for users to click on your advert. Highly useful if set up and managed properly. Google Ads is a form of Pay Per Click. Still, there are many other platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more.

Q

Query or Search term

A Query refers to the search term you type into a search engine to find the content you are looking for. "Cheap flights to Malaga" is an example of a query. This is also a keyword. 

Quality Score 

Quality score pertains to Google Ads. Keywords in a Google Ad Campaign are given a quality score based on the campaign's keyword's quality and relevance. 

Quality score is determined by the landing page quality, expected click-through rate and other factors. It helps keep ads fair by preventing your ads from showing for stuff that's not really relevant to your page. A good quality score will also lower the cost per click and cost per acquisition. Happy Days!

R

Ranking

Where you sit on a search engine for a particular phrase or term. – See also "organic listings".

Rankbrain 

Rankbrain is part of the Google algorithm. It uses machine learning (self-teaching machines) to determine which results are the most relevant to a user's search—creative stuff. 

A reciprocal link is simply two websites that link to each other. Innocent enough, but on occasion, it can be deemed black hat manipulation by the search engine, which can incur penalties or devaluation of both sides' link authority. 

Redirects

When you click on a link, and it takes you to a different link, this is a redirect. The most common is a 301 redirect. A redirect can help user experience by taking a user somewhere useful if they follow a link that no longer exists. A 301 can take you to a new website or a new page. 

If your site has too many redirects, it can waster your crawl budget. 

Referral Traffic

Traffic referred to a site from another website, commonly social media or affiliate links, but a referral can be from anywhere. 

Rel - Canonical 

See Canonical URLs

Remarketing 

Remarketing or retargeting is an advertising method that enables advertisers to show ads to customers who have already engaged with a previous ad or visited their website. Remarketing uses 'cookies', small snippets of data stored in a users browser. 

When a user then visits other sites, they will see ads for the site they visited preciously. Done right Remarketing is both a useful and successful way of improving conversions. Done wrong, it can be spammy, and you can feel like you re being 'followed' or 'spammed' with ads. 

Responsive Design

Also known as device adaptive design, responsive web design is a design methodology that enables the correct presentation of content regardless of the device size or orientation. Good, responsive design will not just simply shuffle around elements to fit on a screen but will place careful consideration on each device experience.

Websites optimised for mobile are prioritised vt google. 

Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) 

ROAS is a PPC metric that calculates the amount of money made compared to the amount spent on ads. It is not the same as regular business profit, which must take into account overhead costs. 

If you spend £1000 on ads and make £5000 in sales that were directly from an ad, your ROAS is 500% 

Return On Investment (ROI)

ROI is a metric that goes hand in hand with ROAS. ROI gives insight into an ad campaign's overall profitability since not all conversions can be directly attributed to ads, but ads may have made a positive contribution overall. For example, a direct sale can occur due to someone seeing a brand awareness campaign, but the conversion may not be measured within the Google Ads dashboard. ROI can show you if your ads are having an overall positive effect. 

S

Schema Markup

Schema markup is special code that is added to the HTML of a website. 

Schema exists to give search engines more relevant information about a person, a business, reviews, places, products, articles, and various other things. 

If you utilise proper schema markup, your site may display rich snippets on the search results page, making your search result stand out and improve click-through rates.

Search engine

Popular ones include Google, Bing, Yahoo. A tool that allows you to search a word or phrase and return an index of content based on your search.

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Enhancing the content of your website to improve the visibility in the organic listings of a search engine. For a comprehensive 101 guide, see Moz Beginners Guide to SEO.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

Where you can bid for your ad to appear alongside organic search results. (See also Pay Per Click). An excellent way to get found and fast. Also, check out The Internet Bro's Guide to SEO Marketing.

Search engine results page (SERP)

The SERP is the results that appear on a page when you search for a keyword or phrase. In short, a page containing the results of your search.

Search Network

Search Networks such as the google search network A group of websites in which ads can appear. The Google Search Network is a group of Google & non-Google websites that partner with Google to show text ads. This is similar to the display network and will contain many of the same websites. 

Session or Visit

A session is a metric in Google Analytics or other analytics that measures one user interacting with a website over a set period. (30 minutes for google) 

A session is classed as one session regardless of how many pages are visited. This is a separate metric. If you go to a website and visit 10 pages, this is counted as one session. If you leave and come back within 30 minutes or are idle, this is still classed as the same session, 

Sitelink

A sitelink is an ad extension in Google Adwords appearing below the main ad copy, which links to a chosen page on the website (for example, a product page or the contact page). Google Ads have up to 6 sitelinks. 

If your website is SEO friendly, then sitelinks can appear in organic search results too. Often your most visited pages. 

Sitemap

A sitemap is a file or page on a website that lists all of your website's pages and posts to be successfully indexed by a search engine. 

The sitemap document helps search engines quickly understand all of the content that they need to index on a given website. 

You should submit your sitemaps to Google Search Console and other search engines to have them easily indexed. 

Slug

 What a strange word. Slug is the word for the part of a URL that comes after the top-level domain (TLD), for example, madebyfactory.com/seo-articles. The slug would be 'seo-articles'. 

Top Tip. Pretty URL slugs can help SEO. So www.mywebsite.com/post123 is not as good as www.mywebsite.com/cake-making. Whilst the slug is not a leading ranking factor, it allows a user to see what your page is about in the SERP, so it is good practice to write meaningful ones. 

It helps if you use a keyword from your page in the slug & keep it short and concise. 

Social network

An online community. The most popular of which is Facebook but is in no way limited to the above. Networks exist everywhere and for various reasons.

Source

The source is a term in analytics that shows where traffic is coming from. For example, the origin of clicks to your site could have come from Google Ads or referred from social media. 

The source can also be a page source. Right-click on a website to view the source code of that website==. This code informs the web browser what content to display on a web page and what it should look like. 

Spam 

Spam is a word for junk. Spam is an umbrella term in web language, including a lot of black hat and ominous activities. You often see spam in the form of comments to a web page, trying to send loads of low-quality backlinks to manipulate the Google algorithm. These days all it will get you is a penalty. 

Spam also refers to junk email in your inbox.  

Spider

Also known as a bot (a spider bot is a pretty scary concept, *runs screaming*). A spider is a smart program that crawls around the web (like spiders do, so that analogy should be making sense at this point). 

We imagine a little spider with its knapsack on, going on amazing adventures. It visits all the sites on the web and indexes them. Its a bit like the Judith Chalmers or Alan Wicker of spiders, travelling around and reporting back on what it sees.

Spambot

On the other hand, you have the spam spider. This conjures up a much more monstrous image. It visits websites sending junk traffic, and performing tasks such as email harvesting, to spam email people. This is a bad spider, and it's perfectly ok to kill it with fire. 

SSL Certificate 

An SSL certificate is a file added to a web server that uses the HTTPS protocol. SSL is an encryption method, meaning data sent to a website (such as form fills or card details) cannot be accessed by a third party. 

Previously the goto for eCommerce and websites that stored user details, SSL is now a critical Google ranking factor. If you don't have SSL nowadays, a message can display in the SERP saying your website is not secure, or you may get a red warning sign in the URL bar in the browser. 

Not using SSL is now considered bad UX, as it sends a message to the user that your site is not trustworthy. 

Most web hosts offer SSL for free or at a small annual charge. 

Style Sheet (or Cascading Style Sheet, CSS) 

Style sheets aren't 300 thread count stylish bed linen, unfortunately. 

CSS, short for cascading style sheets, is a special language that adds visual structure to a web page's elements. A CSS file is a document that dictates the visual appearance of a website. 

The style sheet will set what font and colours the site uses, what it's forms and buttons look like, heading sixes and every visual element you see. 

A website can have many stylesheets or just one, and help the web developer keep the style of a website organised and make changes to a whole site by changing one rule, such as what font or colour is used.

T

Tag

A tag commonly used in WordPress to 'tag' your content similar to a hashtag. Like a category but slightly more granular, a tag is used to organise content in similar themes or topics. Categories may be broader. This is just guidance, however, and there is no set rule. 

You may have a category of PPC, and the tags that work with it could be 'Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Display Ads, Google Shopping and so on. This is the standard way to use categories and tags. They may be called other things in other content management systems. But they work the same way. 

Title Tag 

The title tag is an element of HTML marked up as <title>Title Here</title>. The text in-between these title tags tell the search engine the primary topic of your page. For this reason, the title tag should contain your keyword. 

Every page should have a unique title tag for your page to rank well. 

TLD or Top Level Doman

the characters that come after the 'dot' in yoru web address. so .com, .co.uk, .net, .org and so on. 

There are thousands of potential TLDs today, but the most robust continues to be .com, which continues to be the standard, along with country-level domains such as .co.uk and so on. 

Organisations often use .org, and there are special ones government-owned and restricted to specific sectors, such as .gov. or .edu. 

Tracking Code

Tracking code is a piece of script, usually placed in the header or footer of a web page, that allows a third party to track data on your website to garner information to help with user interface design or advertising. 

Examples of tracking include Google Analytics and Facebook pixel. Still, any third party that needs to track data to measure specific activity on your website will have its own tracking code. 

Too many tracking codes can slow down a website, so it is vital to make sure they are implemented correctly. 

Traffic acquisition

How you get traffic to that there website. Is it via Organic listings? Social media? Email Marketing or PPC? Ideally, it should be a range of all of the above.

Twitter

Twitter is a social media platform in which posts or 'tweets' are limited to a set number of characters. (280 or less) tweets are public. 

In addition to following people, Twitter makes use of hashtags to categorise its content. Hashtags that are receiving a lot of attention are known as 'trending.' 

Often, Twitter is used during events where a hashtag is given to the delegates, and a live stream may ensue, so all attendees can see tweets using a specific hashtag. 

This cleverly creates communities around themes and topics. 

Twitter Advertising

Twitter advertising is Twitter's ad platform. Ads are known as 'promoted tweets'. Promoted tweets allow you to get your content out to a broader audience, who show interest in your general topic and get you much wider reach than hashtags alone. 

U

Unique visitor

A unique visitor is an individual visitor to your page. The term 'unique visitor' is a metric in Google Analytics, showing how many different or 'unique' people view a website over a selected period. 

Google uses IP address location to track a unique visitor. Even if you visit a website many times, you will be classed as a unique visitor if you have the same IP address. 

URL or Uniform resource locator

The web address where we will find your content. for example madebyfactory.com

User Experience (UX) 

Commonly referred to as UX, user experience refers to the way users interact with a website or application and their overall experience. UX is not the same as UI, although they go hand in hand. 

UX includes more than the look and feel of a website. It includes how fast a webpage loads, how easy it is to use on a mobile device (think size of buttons) and even whether the interface 'jumps' around because of elements loading after the page is accessed. Good UX will encourage repeat visitors and engagement. 

UX is an important Google ranking factor. (See core web vitals)

User Interface (UI) 

The UI is A graphical interface, allowing a user to interact with your content via a digital device. The UI contains components such as navigation, buttons and structure. 

Useful UI should be easy for people to understand. In web design, trying to stand out as 'quirky' or different does not help a user. For this reason, organisations like Google have UI guidelines for consistency across the web. 

Useful web or application design should be intuitive, like picking up a book and knowing where to start. 

V

Visits

Visits are an old google term, which is now called 'sessions'. 

Visitors

See also unique visitors; visitors are an analytics metric. Visitors are broken down into new and returning and help ascertain how many people are returning to your website and how many are brand new. 

W

Web 2.0

The World Wide Web's second iteration led the shift from static content to dynamic web pages, user-generated and social media content. 

Website

A collection of content stored on a web server and accessible at a specific web address (domain) 

White Hat 

The best practice way to do SEO—ethical and non-spammy digital marketing practices. If you always follow white hat guidelines from search engines, your traffic won't suffer a penalty when Google updates its algorithm. 

Wireframe 

A wireframe is a diagram showing the basic layout of a web page or application, represented in simple lines like a blueprint. 

X

XML 

XML is a language similar to HTML. It stands for eXtensible Markup Language. Why is it not called EML then? We think XML just sounds a bit cooler. 

XML is the language behind 'feeds' and allows computers to better understand the content and what to do with it. For example, your sitemap is an XML feed. 

XML Sitemap 

As mentioned in XML above, the XML sitemap is a document that contains a list of all your website's pages, posts files and so on. The document is intended to be read by a search engine, though it is essentially a collection of URLs, so it can be easily read by a human if, say, you wanted to get a quick list of the pages on your site. 

The XML sitemap is essentially a directory of your content.

Y

YouTube

Youtube is Google's video-sharing and viewing platform and also the worlds second-largest search engine. It is one of Google's primary advertising platforms and allows anyone to stream their content and be a youtube star. 

YouTuber

An informal term for a content creator on YouTube who seeks to make a living from the platform. 

YouTube Ads 

Ads created for the YouTube platform. YouTube is part of both the Google Search Network and The Google Display Network. Ads can be in-video or on-page text and image ads.

Yahoo! 

Yahoo is one of the largest search engines in the world. Since 2009 Yahoo has been powered by Bing but still retains its own brand. 

Yahoo! Advertising 

Yahoo and Bing ads both run through the Bing Ads platform. These search engines share their advertising networks.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and credit goes to our Google Partner insights for the index, although the explanations are ours. If you think we have omitted anything in this guide that could be useful, please contact our PPC Agency in Manchester on the form below.

Made By Factory are a Manchester Digital Agency specialising in digital marketing, conversion rate optimisation and Google Ads.

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