The most comprehensive digital marketing glossary will help you understand every word and is organized in alphabetical order.
Have you ever read any article or guide and misunderstood some of the words? It’s not your fault, every industry is complicated by itself and it’s okay not to understand everything.
So in digital marketing, if you want to understand what you read and see, you have to understand all the terms. That’s why we’ve created the comprehensive guide to the digital marketing glossary.
We will make sure to add more terms as needed and at your request. If you want to know more terms, just leave us a comment below.
A/B Testing – Also known as “split testing” is used often in SEO to test two controls to see which is more profitable within an online business.
Acquisition – When a visitor to a website is generated to a lead or direct customer of the website.
AdSense – Google AdSense is Google’s pay-per-click advertising program that is utilized by publishers as a way to monetize the traffic on their sites. The publisher is able to choose the ad type in which they are paid for each click or impression of the ad.
Advertisement – A Message or marketing communication that is usually paid. An advertisement is usually intended to promote a product or service, or any other information by the sponsor (advertiser). The advertiser finances the ad and pays to the marketing channel.
AdWords – The pay-per-click (PPC) search-engine marketing (SEM) program provided by Google that is ultimately used by the companies wishing to advertise on the publisher’s websites Or on Google search results.
Aggregator – An Internet-based tool or application which collects and curates content (often provided via RSS feeds) from many different websites and displays it in one central location.
Akismet – A widely used application for blogging platforms, such as WordPress, that functions as a filter for trapping link spam, comment spam and other forms of undesirable user-generated content.
Alerts – Notifications that are set for various actions (whether that be user requested contact, completion of an action, or notification of events). These are often sent to an individual via an email message or search tab notification.
Alexa – A website that tracks the number of hits or visitors to a particular website and ranks them based on this number.
Algorithm – Search engine’s calculations to determine site ranking when indexed. Individual search engines have unique algorithms to determine priority and some are known to contain hundreds of components. Not only search engines use algorithms, but also social networks and other platforms.
ALT Tag – A line of text used to describe a non-text based file, typically an image. Most search engines rely on ALT Tags as a way of assisting ranking through their algorithms.
Anchor Text – The non-URL text that is displayed in a hyperlink. Proper use of anchor text can produce both reader and SEO benefits.
At tag (@) – The @ symbol is used in all email addresses but has more recently been used to tag fellow users in sections of social media.
Avatar – An image that represents an account on social networks and forums. Avatars can sometimes be a person’s first impression of a person before they see any content from the creator.
Backlink – A link from another website directed to yours. Backlinks often identify a website’s online credibility by its presence on social media or other websites. Search engines prioritize backlinks when deciding their SEO algorithms.
Ban – Removal from a search index when a page and/or entire website breaks a search engine’s terms of service and is not deemed appropriate for 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.
Bing Ads – The pay-per-click (PPC) search-engine advertising program provided by Microsoft in conjunction with its Bing search engine, now also populating Yahoo! search results.
Black/White Hat Seo – White hat activities are any ethical techniques to increase a website’s rank that follow search engines standards. The opposite of which being Black Hat which is often considered to be spam or against search engine rules.
Blog – a term short for “weblog,” is a special kind of website made for self-publishing, often done by the owner of the site, but also sometimes by a group of authors working within the organization. Blogs are well known for having successful community interaction, often allowing comment feeds or share buttons.
Blogger – The publisher of content for blogs, either through personal or professional means. Themes used by bloggers vary greatly, but many pursue a more personal approach to the typical blogging atmosphere.
Blogroll – A resourceful list of recommended or similar blogs that a blogger lists on his or her own blog as a resource for their audience.
Bookmark – A saved a website address for future reference through the tools provided by the web browser.
Bounce Rate – The percentage of a page’s visitors who exit without visiting another page on the same website. Also known as “abandonment rate.”
Broken Links – Refers to links to pages that no longer exist or have been moved to a different URL without replacement or redirection. Often times search engines will identify this is a 404 error and will allow a user the ability to report the broken link.
Campaign – This is made up of marketing messages with a specific goal. A campaign may aim to raise awareness, raise funds or increase the sales of a product.
Categories – A way to organize content or themes on a website. Typically used to document both old and new articles by Alphabetical order.
Click Through Rate (CTR) – The percentage of users who will click on a link or advertisement in proportion to a number of impressions it was given.
Cloaking – An illegal practice of tricking a search engine into indexing different content than the user actually sees. Essentially, it is serving one version of a page to search engines and another to humans. Often the page is entirely unrelated to the actual topic/theme of the rest of the site.
Collaboration – The act of working with another publisher to create content viewed by both publisher’s audiences. Often times this is associated with both dual backlinks and increased exposure.
Collective Intelligence – The theory that a community of individuals is more capable of higher thought processes than an individual. Applications of this concept include online communities which provide user-created informative content, such as Wikipedia.
Comments – Content made by users in response to an initial publication, most notably blog posts. These are usually posted within or below the blog entry, and can be vehicles for creating advanced levels of discussion that increase the lifespan of blog posts or just the interaction with the publisher. Comments are also often associated with social media.
Content – Any text, image, video, audio, app or other material published on the internet for audience consumption.
Contextual Link Inventory – An extension of search engines where they place targeted links on websites they deem to have similar audiences.
Conversion – An action taken by a website visitor, such as making a purchase or signing up for an email list.
Conversion Rate – The percentage of visitors on a site or ad who take a further action, like buying a product, filling out a survey, or signing up for an email list.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) – 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 (CPC) – The method of directing traffic to your website and only paying for visitors that have clicked on your link, in contrast to paying for an impression.
CPM (Cost Per Mille) – This is the “cost-per-thousand” views of an advertisement.
Crawler – A function of some search engines to search through an individual page and then subsequent pages to look for links, metadata, etc. This is often used by a search engine to determine the ranking.
Crowdsourcing – A process used by many social bookmarking sites where individuals are allowed to vote on news stories and articles to determine their value and relevancy within the site.
Dashboard – An area of administrative control for operating applications, like social media settings, blogging software, and user profiles for websites that offer multiple customization options.
Directory – An index of websites where the listings are compiled by hand, rather than by a crawler or other program from search engines.
DMOZ – Also known as the Open Directory Project, is a continually expanding directory run by volunteers. It is claimed to be the largest of the human-edited directories. As of Mar 17, 2017, dmoz.org is no longer available.
DNS – Stands for “Domain Name Service,” “Domain Name Server,” or “Domain Name System”: the DNS is a name service which allows letters (and numbers) that constitute domain names to be used to identify computers instead of numerical IP addresses.
Domain – A unique website name that distinguishes between the rest of the sites on the web. The domain is the address in the browser address bar with a name and domain extension.
Doorway Page – A low-content page traditionally created expressly for the purpose of ranking on a search engine. Usually very keyword-heavy and user-hostile, most search engines do not rank these pages as they are considered spam now.
Entry – A writing submission posted to a blog, microblog, wiki, or other easy-access Web publishing platform.
Forum – Refers to an area on a website (or an entire website) dedicated to user conversation through written comments and message boards, often related to customer support or fan engagement. Can be grouped to meet a theme of discussion or purpose of the website.
Friends – People who are connected to one another’s profiles on a social networking site, most frequently used in association with Facebook (e.g., Facebook friends).
Geo-Targeting – The act of displayed results from search engines being dependent on where you are geographical.
Graphical Search Inventory – Images or banners ads that are associated with certain search terms that are shown to a user when deemed relevant to their query.
Groups – Communities within a social media site for those who share a mutual interest or goal. Often seen within sites like Facebook or LinkedIn
H-Tags (H1, H2, etc.) – Also known as “header tags,” are page elements representing different levels of headings in HTML. From the largest (H1) to the smallest (H6), they define the titles/headings and sub-headings of a particular Web copy. Often times for SEO purposes, headers should contain as much of a keyword as possible.
Hashtag – A symbol (#) placed directly in front of a word or words to tag a post on Instagram or Twitter. It is now used to categorize a theme of posts or to group similar users together.
Hosting – Refers to website hosting, it is a service that allows making our website online across the internet.
HTML – Hypertext markup language (HTML) refers to the text-based language which is used to create websites.
Hyperlink – Known as “link” for short, a hyperlink is a word or phrase which one is able to click and takes the visitor to another Web page. This page can be on the same site or on a completely different site.
Iframes – Also known as “frames”, allow 2 or more websites to be displayed simultaneously on the same page.
Impression – The act of being exposed to or viewing a piece of content. Often referred to as CPM marketing.
Index – The actual collection of data and websites obtained by a search engine.
Influencer – An expert in a certain field and, or have a large following. Influencers hold a lot of power in communicating their opinions to their following, perhaps affecting their opinions and behavior.
Instant Messaging – A service where individuals can communicate through a real-time, text-based interface over an Internet connection. The exchange of small files and screen-sharing are also typically available on these platforms. AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) is one of the most famous (and original) American examples of this software. Many other software programs provide this functionality, including Skype, Facebook, Gmail, and corporate video conference clients.
IP Address – The unique numeric address for individual Internet users made by random numbers and periods.
Java – Java is a powerful programming language that is independent of platforms, which means it can run on multiple computers and operating systems.
Keywords –The terms that are entered into a search engine by a user, and the terms that search engines will rank based on their own algorithms.
Keyword Density – The proportion of keywords to the total number of words in the face copy of a website.
Keyword Proximity – The relative placement of keywords in prominent areas of a Web page, including the distance between keywords in the visible text.
Keyword Stemming – The practice adopted by search engines to group search results not only by exact keyword matches, but also by variations of keywords in semantic groups, such as singular-plural, related suffixes, and synonyms.
Landing Page – An independent Web page that a user “lands” on, commonly after visiting a paid search-engine listing or following a link in an email newsletter. These pages are often developed to grab contact information from a user to send them offers at a later date.
Lead – A prospective consumer of a product or service. Lead creates when the user leaves his/her details on the landing page or on the contact form on the website.
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.
Link Farm – A website exclusively devoted to listing a very large number of links without groupings, categories, or structure. These websites have been largely penalized by search engines, and your association with them could lead to penalization on your end as well.
Listings – A listing is a website’s presence in a search engine or directory, and is not necessarily indicative of its search-engine positioning.
Long tail keywords – Keywords that are more specific to a longer search term. Instead of “bodybuilding”, a long-tail keyword would be, “bodybuilding for people over the age of 50”.
Meme – An idea, joke or concept that people share usually through a picture or a video format.
Meta Search Engine – A search engine that does not compile its own independent results, but rather pulls data from two or more search engines.
Meta Tags – Also referred to as meta-data, this information is found in HTML page headers and is often used to optimize a page for SEO.
Meta Description Tag – A basic description of a page sourced through a tag in the web page’s heading source code. This helps search engines categorize the page and potentially leads users to the right information within the page.
Microblog – A micro blog refers to the short status updates often given by users within a social media platform such as twitter or facebook.
Nofollow – A “Nofollow” link is coded into the HTML markup of a hyperlink and used to prevent a search engine from indexing a link to a particular Web page. This was originally suggested to stop comment spam in blogs. Today webmasters are not responsible for the content on the site, and therefore should not be seen as recommending it
Open Source Software – Computer software with special licensing that allows users in the general public to edit and improve the source code.
Organic Listings – Also known as “natural” listings, are search-engine results that have not been purchased.
Outbound Link – Any link on a web page to an external web page.
Paid Listings – Listings often sold to advertisers for a fee. Closely associated with sponsorships or paid advertisement through a blog or website community.
Pay For Performance – A paid-search system nearly identical to (and essentially synonymous with) pay-per-click, but sometimes linked with pay-per-engagement.
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, Yandex, Yahoo and more. To get the highest position on any of these search results, often times you will have to win a bid to reach the top spot. PPC is now used often in social media atmospheres like Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
PDF – Stands for “Portable Document Format” and is a type of file for viewing documents, created by Adobe.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) – Any type of interaction between two or more people within a specific social network. Most viral media by definition get their popularity via such P2P sharing.
Podcast – a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.
Pop-Up Ad – A form of advertisement which automatically opens (or “pops up” in) a new window in a browser to display an ad. Also seen in the form of “pop-under” ads, a slightly less intrusive version. Although this form of advertising is largely disliked, it is known to pay publishers much more than other means of monetizing their website.
Position – The position your page is in when considering search engine rankings.
Profile – A personal page of an individual within a social media network that gives a biographical view of them through various pieces of information. It may also share information such as employment history or connected “friends”.
Query – The term(s) entered into a search engine by the user.
Ranking(s) – The position of a website’s listing(s) on search-engine results pages. The higher a rank for a specific keyword, the more generally visible a page is to search-engine users.
Rapid Inclusion – The indexing of websites in search engines and directories based on a per-page fee. As opposed to free submissions, where indexes are updated every few weeks (or less frequently), rapid indexing occurs every 48-72 hours.
Referral – The operation of transferring someone from one place. In digital marketing, when talking about a referral, we mean a website, search engine, social network or another factor that directed the user to your site.
Registration – The process of signing up to participate in an online forum, community or social-media network. This usually includes a minimum of email address submission and a password.
Robot – Also known as “bot.” Similar or identical to the term “crawler”. Used to do automated functions for a search engine or website.
Robots.txt – A small text file included on a website that directs a search engine to include/exclude specific pages from its index. It can be submitted manually to search engines to ensure the latest version is reported.
ROI – Stands for “return-on-investment.” ROI is the percentage of profit from a given digital marketing investment or activity.
RSS – “Really simple syndication” is the process by which content such as blog posts or podcasts can be updated regularly and syndicated to subscribers in feeds. RSS feeds enable users to access content updates from various outlets.
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 Engine Marketing (SEM) – Refers to the broad range of search-marketing activities including both paid and organic.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – The process of using website analysis and search engine algorithms to ensure the best possible ranking for your website on a particular keyword or set(s) of keywords.
Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – The page that shown when a user enters a query in the search box and clicked “search”, this page shows all the results that the search engine finds in their index associated with the keyword.
Search Term – Also known as a “query”, it is the exact search term used by a user within a search engine.
Shopping Search – A search engine dedicated to indexing groups of products with their prices and reviews for side-by-side comparison; often used by online shoppers as a powerful tool.
Social Media Network – Refers to all online tools and places that are available for users to generate content and communicate through the internet. This kind of media could include social networks, blogging communities, bookmarking sites, and much more.
Social Media Policy – A written document that outlines how employees should talk about work on social media as well as advising them on how to best use social media sites. This is written for the protection of the company and clarifies what employees can and cannot say.
Spam – Within email marketing, this refers to any message that is deemed by users or email providers to be an unsolicited commercial offer. Also referred to as “junk mail.” Spam also refers to any links, comments, or solicitations generated by users with no real benefit to the blog or discussions.
Style Sheet – A template used for designing the layout of several pages within a website, often seen in the form of “CSS” (cascading style sheets).
Submission – The act of submitting or registering a site with a search engine’s index or web directory. Not all submissions guarantee inclusion, but if not added the submission will likely be reported through the search engine’s crawlers.
Subscribing – The act of buying into an email newsletter, product line, or adding an RSS feed to an aggregator.
Tag – A keyword added to a blog post, social bookmark, or media file that helps categorize content by subject.
Technorati – A blog search engine that aggregates blog content and scores blogs’ popularity or influence.
Title Tag – Meta-data used by search engines to categorize them by title. These are often valued by search engine algorithms to determine to rank as well as sorting for further categorization within the actual page content.
Unique Visitor – Also known as “absolute unique visitor,” this represents visitors to a website that are only counted once in a given time period despite the possibility that they would make multiple visits to that website. This is widely determined by cookies.
URL – “Universal” or “uniform resource locator,” is a string of letters and numbers separated by periods and slashes to make it unique from other Internet pages. This is the necessary written form for a page to be found online.
User Sitemap – Refers to a page containing links to all other important pages on a particular website grouped by the topic or navigational hierarchy. These sitemaps can be extremely helpful to search engines and their crawlers as they are often constantly updated to support new indexing and search engine insight into the website itself.
User Generated Content – Also known as “UGC,” is any form of content created by a user and submitted to a larger forum. This is similar to the structure used by companies like Wikipedia.
Vlog – A video blog that is usually distributed through social media websites like Facebook or Youtube.
VOIP – Also known as “Voice Over Internet Protocol” is technology that allows a user to make phone calls or video through a computer with an Internet connection or a wireless-enabled mobile device. A famous example of VOIP is Skype.
Web 2.0 – The complex term used to describe the parts of the web, including user access to streaming video, audio, or images and to describe interactive, community-driven content like blogs, UGC, and social-networking sites.
Webinar – A Web-based seminar containing audio and video.
Webconference – Web conferencing enables the real-time sharing of computer screens, individual applications or web-based content among two or more computers or mobile devices. This is many times based on existing internet applications or software.
Wiki – A UGC-like term referring to any page or collection of pages on the Internet or an intranet that can be easily edited by the public or a select group of registered visitors through widespread collaboration.
Wikipedia – a free encyclopedia, written collaboratively by the people who use it. It is a special type of website designed to make collaboration easy, called a wiki. Many people are constantly improving Wikipedia, making thousands of changes per hour. Wikipedia is also the largest encyclopedia in the world and administered by the Wikimedia Foundation.
Webmaster – A person responsible to manage and to maintain one or more websites.
XML Sitemap – An XML file containing a list of URLs on a particular domain for the use of various search engines. This is often used to supplement regular indexing and is used when a bot or crawler is sent out to a website to gather data.
Yahoo! Answers – An online question-and-answer community where questions are asked and answered by members of the community and then later rated or voted on to determine the best answer.