With many different digital marketing disciplines, it can be hard to keep up with all of the buzzwords and terminology. To help you, we’ve put together a digital marketing glossary of some of the most commonly used industry terms.
Whether you’ve just started out in your career, or want to gain a better understanding of the work your agency is doing, our definitions will help you to understand the key terms that digital marketers regularly use.
NOTE: This post has been updated for 2022 👍
200 OK – A 200 OK is a type of HTTP status code, which means that the request was received and processed by the server. The user will then be directed to the destination URL.
301 Permanent Redirect – A 301 redirect is a type of HTTP status code that refers to a URL which has been permanently moved to a new destination URL. Upon a server responding to a URL with a 301 redirect, the browser is then redirected to the new destination URL.
302 Temporary Redirect – A 302 temporary redirect is a HTTP status code, used to signal that the requested URL has been temporarily moved.
404 Not Found – A 404 is another type of HTTP status code. It’s delivered by a server when a requested file or page has been deleted or never existed in the first place. Depending on the 404, it may be appropriate to 301 redirect this URL to an equivalent or close-variant URL.
5XX Server Errors – A 5XX error code is another type of HTTP status code, which indicates that the server is unable to process the request. The response should include an explanation and whether the error is temporary or permanent.
A/B Split Testing – Refers to the act of running an experiment with two variants to test which one performs better in a certain environment or context. This can help you to understand what your target audience likes and dislikes about the owned property you’re testing on, whether that’s your website, social channels or advertising platforms.
Above The Fold – “Above the fold” refers to the content a user will see when a page first loads before they scroll down the page.
Ad Manager – Ad Manager is a Facebook tool, used to create, publish and monitor adverts published on the platform.
B2B – B2B stands for ‘Business-to-Business’ and refers to companies that trade solely with each other, and not to the public.
B2C – B2C stands for ‘Business-to-Consumer’ and refers to companies that trade to the public.
Backlink – A backlink is an external link that points back to your website. An example would be an online publication linking to your website from an article. Building backlinks to your site, known as “link building”, is often regarded as one of the most important ranking considerations along with content creation and technical SEO.
Blackhat – Blackhat SEO is bad practice is a term commonly used to describe practices which fall outside of Google’s guidelines. This includes, but not limited to, keyword stuffing and paying for links from a spammy site.
Bounce Rate – Bounce Rate is the percentage of users who visit your site and leave without engaging with any other pages. This percentage can be used to improve the relevance of your content. Bounce rate can be applied at both page- and site-level.
Breadcrumbs – Breadcrumbs is a name to describe the navigation and hierarchical path a user takes to reach a certain page. They are often displayed at the top of a page via a series of links. An example of a breadcrumbs path would be: Home > Mobile Phones > Apple > iPhone X.
Broken links – A broken link or dead link is a link on a web page that no longer exists because the target page does not exist at that time. This can include an improper URL if the website has removed the linked web page, if the web page no longer exists, or if a server error is occurring. For more information, see ‘404 Not Found‘ and ‘5XX Server Errors‘.
Canonical Tag/Rel=Canonical – A canonical is an HTML attribute that refers to a site owner’s preferred or master version of a web page. Using a canonical tag helps to consolidate duplicate issues in a search engine’s index if the content is the same or similar across multiple pages. Canonical tags can be honoured or ignored by search engines depending on the reason they’re used.
CMS – CMS stands for ‘Content Management System’. These are the platforms that make adding and editing your website content easier. For example, WordPress, Magento, Drupal.
Content – Information made available by a website, apps or social media to be consumed by web users. Content comes in different formats and can be written, visual or audiovisual.
Content Categorisation – The organisation of web pages into their categories of purpose.
Conversion – A conversion refers to the completion of a desired action on your website by a user. It is commonly used to describe the purchase of a product, but for lead generation websites, it could be the completion of a contact form or a telephone call.
Conversion Funnel – The conversion funnel describes the journey a user takes before purchasing a product or service. The AIDA model is perhaps the most common conversion funnel framework, identified by four distinct steps, i.e. Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. This conversion funnel can be optimised on-site through Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), in which the user journey is analysed and improved, or via several touchpoints throughout your owned and earned media.
Conversion Rate – A Conversion Rate is the percentage of website visitors who have completed an action on a site, be that macro or micro, such as buying a product or signing up for a newsletter. High conversion rates could also mean that prices are too low and you’re actually missing out on revenue, or that you’re tracking meaningless action as conversions.
Cookies – A cookie is a small piece of data which is stored on a users computer when they visit a website. Cookies enable websites to remember information and record the user’s browsing activity. In digital marketing, cookies can be used to retarget a user through paid marketing, to encourage them to purchase an item which they have previously viewed.
Copy – Written material. The purpose of copy is usually to encourage consumers to buy goods or services or increase brand awareness.
Copywriting – Copywriting is the process of writing content for your website. When writing with SEO in mind, copywriting involves using relevant keywords, headings and many other relevancy factors to help your page rank higher on search engines.
CPA – CPA stands for “Cost Per Acquisition” and refers to the price paid when any marketing activity results in a conversion. It is calculated by dividing the overall cost spent on marketing activity and dividing it by the total number of conversions.
CPC – CPC stands for “Cost Per Click” and refers to the price an advertiser pays when a user clicks on their advertisement once.
Crawler – When we refer to a web crawler, we are referring to software applications that discover new and updated content across the internet. Search engine crawlers do this by following links before sending this content to the indexer where interpretation of its context, relevancy and trustworthiness begins. Crawlers can also be referred to as “bots”, “robots”, “spiders” or “user-agents”.
CRO – CRO stands for “Conversion Rate Optimisation”. This is the practice of improving the user journey on your website to increase the percentage of sessions which result in a goal or transaction, otherwise known as a “conversion”.
CSS – CSS stands for “Cascading Style Sheet” and is used to format the layout and appearance of a web page. For example, you can define text style, font colour and tables using CSS.
CTA – CTA stands for “Call to Action”. This may be a button or statement which encourages users to get in touch or buy your product/service.
CTR – CTR stands for “Click-Through Rate”. This is the number of times that users have clicked on a desired hyperlink, versus the total number of users who view the page where the link resides.
Digital Garage – Digital Garage is a free online learning platform that helps you to learn more about everything digital and will help you to understand other Google tools.
Digital PR – Digital PR (public relations) is the act of building links through online campaigns, thought-leadership articles and expert comments. PR teams have strong relationships with journalists, who can work for authoritative websites.
DR – DR stands for Domain Rating. It is a links metric created by the marketing platform, ‘Ahrefs’ to define the authority and ranking potential a website holds. A similar metric to this is DA, or Domain Authority which was created by Moz, another marketing platform. The higher the domain rating, the more authority and ranking potential a website has.
Earned Media – The placement of an asset, be that digital or physical, that has been achieved on a third-party platform via promotional efforts. Earned placements can be secured via organic or paid means.
Evergreen Content – Evergreen content refers to supporting content on a webpage which is always relevant and fresh to a business’ product or service. Case studies and how-to guides are examples of content which users will always be interested in reading.
Featured Snippet – A featured snippet is a search result box which sits within the search results page. The purpose is to answer the user’s query before they click on a search result. You can achieve featured snippets by answering specific questions in a clear and concise way.
Google Algorithm Update – Google regularly updates its algorithm to ensure that users are receiving the most relevant and trustworthy search results. Historic algorithm updates include the Google Penguin update, which penalised websites for buying links, and Google Panda, which targeted spammy and “thin” content. More recent Google Algorithm Updates have focused on mobile friendliness and page speed, as well as broader consideration around E-A-T.
Google Analytics – Google Analytics is a free tool from Google used to track the performance of your website. You can see the number of visitors to your site, how they found the website, the pages they viewed, and much more.
GoogleBot – GoogleBot is Google’s specific user-agent that crawls web pages and other assets before sending information to Google’s index to eventually display and rank in their search engine. For a breakdown of other Google-owned user-agents, read Google’s Overview of Google Crawlers.
Google Search Console – Google Search Console allows website owners and marketers to check the organic performance of their website on Google web search and provides suggestions towards optimising its visibility.
GTM – Google Tag Manager is another free tool from Google that allows you to manage and implement tags (snippets of code) on your website, without having to modify the site code. It is commonly used to make user behaviour tracking easier.
H1 Tag – A H1 tag is the main heading tag on a webpage, often the title, and is considered the most important tag. It is followed by a H2 tag for a subheading, a H3 tag for a smaller heading and so on.
Hreflang – The hreflang tag is a technical solution for websites which have similar content in multiple different languages or regions. The tag tells Google that the same content is available in multiple languages, removing the issue of duplicate content and ensuring users from different countries are served the correct language.
HTML – HTML stands for “Hyper Text Markup Language” and refers to the code which is used to build web pages and to arrange the layout of the page.
HTTP Requests – ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol’ is a protocol that allows information to be shared and passed between your browser and the website.
HTTPS – HTTPs stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure”, and is used for a secure connection over a computer network. Communications over a webpage are encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS), or its predecessor Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). If your site isn’t secure, it will display HTTP, meaning that your data isn’t encrypted and could be open to attack from cyber criminals.
Image optimisation – Ensuring an image is high-quality and compressed enough so it loads quickly on a webpage while not disrupting user experience.
Impression – Impressions are the number of times your website is viewed within the search engine results. It can also be used to describe the number of times an advert was seen by your target audience amongst a marketing and advertising platform.
Inbound links – Links that appear on other domains that lead to your site.
Keyword – A keyword refers to common denominator search phrases that people search for when looking for transactional, navigational and informational content. When implemented correctly on relevant pages, they enable users to find your website in the search results. Keywords can be tracked in order to review site performance and optimised further to improve rankings.
Landing Page – A landing page is the first page a user visits on your website. For ad campaigns, you can send users to a particular page which encourages them to convert. For SEO, you can optimise a particular landing page so it’s more visible in organic rankings.
Lead – A lead refers to a customer expressing an interest in your product or service. Qualified leads are those which have been identified as likely to result in a sale.
Link Building – Link building is the methodology of influencing external websites to position a hyperlink back to your website. Link building is considered to be one of the most effective ways to grow your organic visibility along with on-site content creation.
Link Equity/Link Juice – Link equity, or “link juice”, is a term which describes the authority a link can pass from one page to another. The authority can be passed through both internal links (from the same website) and external links (from another website). PageRank was Google’s original algorithm which took link equity and the overall link graph into consideration when ranking websites for users. However, there are now multiple other factors which also affect page rankings.
Long-Tail Keywords – Long-tail relates specifically to keywords with lower search volume. They’re less popular than other higher volume keywords (i.e. short- and mid-tail keywords) but with that, they also come with a higher intent, more choice with lots of demand at scale, lower competition and a tendency to convert exceptionally well
Metadata – In the context of digital marketing and web development, metadata refers to a page’s “hidden information” that’s typically stored in the <head> of a document. For SEOs, metadata that’s of particular interest is the title tag and meta description as these are the components that appear in a search result. They can give users a concise overview of what they will find on a page while promoting higher rankings when optimised correctly.
Mobile-first – A digital marketing strategy that assumes that smartphones, tablets and brand-specific apps are consumers’ primary tools to visit a company’s website or other owned media.
Nofollow/rel=”nofollow” – Nofollow is an attribute value used to suggest that search engines should not crawl and therefore shouldn’t pass link equity through any given link. One implied application of this is to prevent any association with intentional bad practice, such as purchasing links.
Off-Page Optimisation – This refers to external measures away from a website which may improve its organic performance. It is mainly used to describe link-building practices through an array of methodologies, including digital PR, but can also refer to engaging with social media, consumer review sites and other platforms that can promote a business’s trust and authority.
On-Page Optimisation – This refers to the measures which can be taken within a website itself to improve its organic performance. This includes tasks such as improving keyword targeting, writing meta descriptions and creating content.
Organic Traffic – This is the number of people who visit your website through natural search engine listings, i.e. without clicking an advertisement or a referral link. Similarly, you can also receive traffic through Organic Social – again, via users who found you on social media through unpaid means – though this is often tagged simply as “Social” through analytics platforms. Organic Traffic does not include what is called “Direct Traffic” – when a user types your URL directly into the search bar, or clicked on their saved bookmark.
Owned Media – Any online property that a brand, business or entity directly controls, for example, your website, blog, social media profiles and posts.
Paid Media – A marketing practice that involves a paid placement to advertise your owned assets on a third-party platform. Paid Media includes paid search, social and display ads.
PPC – PPC stands for “Pay Per Click”. It is a type of online advertising in which the advertisers pay a fixed price every time a user clicks on their advert. Platforms that use this model include Google Ads (formerly AdWords) and Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads).
Ranking Signals – The criteria applied by search engines when evaluating web pages in order to compile the rankings of their search results. They can relate to a website’s content, technical implementation, user signals, backlink profile or any other features the search engine considers relevant.
Remarketing – Remarketing, or retargeting, is the process of targeting users who have previously viewed your website and/or products. For example, once you have viewed a dress online, you may see adverts across the web retargeting you with an advert for that dress.
Rich Snippets – Bits of text, data or visual content that appear in the abstracts or summaries of a Google search engine results page. Rich snippets are pulled from a website on the SERP, usually (but not always!) from one of the pages ranking in positions 1-3.
ROAS – ROAS stands for “Return on Ad Spend” and refers to the amount of revenue your ads receive in comparison to the cost. It is typically expressed as a ratio.
Robots.txt – A robots.txt file is used to tell crawlers which pages on a website they can and can’t crawl. This is indicated by “allow” and “disallow” directives.
ROI – ROI stands for “Return On Investment”. This is the financial results that you see after investing in a service to improve your business, such as Digital Marketing.
Schema Markup/Schema.org – Schema Markup is a form of structured metadata that can be implemented into a website to give search engines more understanding of your website’s content. Search engines then use this information to display different types of content on their platforms. For example, you can add Schema to a recipe to show the recipe and cooking steps within search results.
Search Impression Share – Search impression share is the number of impressions you’ve received on your adverts, divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.
SEO – SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimisation”. The purpose of SEO is to increase a website’s visibility within the regular, unpaid or ‘organic’ search results.
SERPs – SERPs stands for “Search Engine Results Pages” and refers to the page displayed once a query has been entered on a search engine.
Site Navigation – The movement from one web page to another web page via internal links within the same domain.
SSL Certificate – An SSL certificate is a type of digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and enables an encrypted, secure connection.
Style Guide – A document provided by an agency or company for when they are writing copy to closely adhere to the brand’s personality and tone of voice.
Technical SEO – Activities that improve how your website is crawled, indexed and rendered for organic search.
UI – UI stands for “User Interface” and refers to the point of human-computer interaction. UI is a part of UX design and focuses on the overall look and feel of a design, whereas UX design focuses on the entire user experience.
UR – UR stands for URL Rating. It is a links metric created by the marketing platform, ‘Ahrefs’ to define the authority and ranking potential an individual URL. A similar metric to this is PA, or Page Authority which was created by Moz, another marketing platform. The higher the URL rating, the more authority and ranking potential a page has. UR is a counterpart to Ahrefs’ other link metric, ‘DR’.
URL – URL stands for “Universal Resource Locator” and refers to the address of a webpage.
User Engagement – An assessment of a website visitors’ response to a product or service page, or articles and blogs, on a website.
User-Generated Content – User-generated content, or “UGC” refers to any form of content, such as images, videos, text and audio, that have been created and posted onto online platforms by users. Blog comments and forum threads are widespread examples.
UX – UX stands for “User Experience” and describes how a user feels and engages when navigating your website. It is important to ensure that the user enjoys their experience in order to increase the chances of them buying your product or service.
Wireframe – A wireframe is a visual guide which represents the contents of a webpage. It is used during the web design process to decide upon the best arrangement of the contents for usability.
XML Sitemap – An XML sitemap is an XML file that should detail the indexable pages on a website. Search engines use this information to understand which web pages are available to crawl to store in their index.