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A Dictionary of Digital Marketing Terms

Ever wondered what a term means or particular word refers to? We use a lot of buzz words in Digital Marketing and sometimes it’s easy to forget that some people don’t understand an acronym that we use every day or what a term that we frequently use, actually means. Here we’ve tried to create a complete list of digital marketing terms as your guide. We will be adding to this list on a regular basis but if there are any specific words you’d like adding, please let us know.


The ‘at tag’ is also known as the Anchor name, Twitter username and Twitter handle. This is the name a user chooses for themselves. The ‘at tag’ is used to link that specific account to a tweet.

The @ symbol is used in email, but it is now also being used to tag users in messages on social networking websites. Both Twitter and Facebook use the @ tag.

A/B Testing
This is testing a new technique (A) of online marketing (whether it be PPC or SEO) against a control (B) to see if the new technique is more effective.

A bookmarking service that gives a code people can use on their websites so when people visit they can share.

The technology that powers Google’s PPC advertising. It facilitates targeting adverts to specific searches, and the adverts appear above and below the organic searches, with some Shopping and Local Ads appearing to the right.

Affiliate Management
The process of managing an online affiliate program for an affiliate merchant, which seeks to optimise the return on investment from this channel whilst providing experience and relationships within the affiliate marketing industry.

Alexa Internet
A website and toolbar that tracks the number of hits (visitors) to a particular website and ranks them based on this amount.

Analytics Services
The process of examining, analysing and interpreting the data from a website’s Analytics software to deliver meaningful reports and information to the website owner and their marketing team.

See Google Analytics

Short for application, an app performs a function on your mobile phone or computer.

Application Programming Interface (API)
A document interface that allows software applications to interact with other applications. For an example the Twitter API or Google AdWords API

An image that represents an account on social networks and forums.


Back Link
What SEO attempts to encourage, a link to a specific website from another. It increases the websites standing when evaluated by a WebCrawler, in essence telling it that the website must be popular. However, links from untrustworthy websites tell the search engine that perhaps this specific website is untrustworthy and this is therefore undesirable.

Bing Ads Management
The process of managing your Bing Ads account to ensure you are achieving an optimum return on your investment

A free URL shortening application. They also provide analytics on your links.

Black/White Hat SEO
White hat activities are any technique to increase a websites rank that follows search engines rules. More generally, this means ethically promoting a website without resorting to spam and other such ‘black hat’ activities. The idea of Black hat/White hat comes from hacking, where white hats were benevolent hackers and Black hats were disruptive and unethical. We always use authentic and ethical ‘white hat’ techniques here.

Should you Choose a Black or White Hat?

Should you Choose a Black or White Hat?

Short for weB LOG, a blog is a website that is maintained by one user, or a group of users, where the users post updates. Some are used as online diaries, but others may be corporate. A company that maintains a blog gives it a personable front for the potential clients, and it also maintains an interesting online presence that can be used for SEO.

A person who writes a blog.

A term given to the sum of all blogs on the internet.


If there are multiple versions of similar pages, the canonical rel tag tells the WebCrawler that the page linked is the definitive version. Each non-canonical page must link to the canonical version with this link.

What a user sees on a webpage and a WebCrawler sees are actually very different. A computer does not see pictures or text in the way we do, and users do not see the code that produces these pictures or arrangements of text. Google advises that they should not differ too much, meaning that there should not be hidden text or links that the user does not see, which would be there to alter a search engines ranking of the website. Hiding things from the user like this is known as ‘Cloaking’ and is generally a ‘black hat’ technique, and search engines penalise these websites.

An online response given by users as either an answer or reaction to a post or message.

A term used on LinkedIn to describe the people you are associated with.

Content includes Text, pictures, videos and any other online material, however we mainly refer to content relating to text, infographics and video.

Content Optimisation
The process of improving usability, conversions, search results, ranking and visibility as well as increasing the value of your content.

Conversion Rate Optimisation
The process of increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers or take a desired action on a webpage

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
The ethical behaviour of a company while serving to improve the welfare of their employees as well as the local community.

Conversion Rate Optimisation

Click Through Rate, the percentage of people who clicked through to a page from seeing an ad or link (Clicks/Impressions=CTR)


An online news website which has a unique algorithm. The site lets its readers submit articles and also allows people to vote whether or not they liked the article. The articles with the highest number of votes appear at the top of the page while the less popular stories move down the page.

Digital Remarketing
A term for the targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies to reach and convert leads into customers and retain them.

A website that collects links to websites much like a search engine, but instead is done by humans rather than WebCrawler’s. They are not going to be fooled by spam, but they cannot index nearly as many links as a search engine and generally stick to one topic.

Display Advertising
A type of online advertising that included banner ads, rich media and more. Unlike text-based ads, display advertising relies on elements such as images, audio and video to communicate an advertising message

A community for designers to upload snapshots of their work.


Email Marketing
Directly marketing a commercial message to a group of people using email.


The most well-known social network. Founded by Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook is used by over 1 billion people. Users create their personal online space inviting their friends to share it with them. Users can ‘like’ what their interested in and they can message their friends as well as upload video’s and photos and share more data such as blogs and interesting articles. On a corporate level, companies create pages to promote themselves and interact with their ‘fans’. Facebook generates revenue from advertising based on the users’ interests as they interact with the site. To find out more about advertising on Facebook as well as other social media sites, see our Social Media Services.

Facebook Friends
Individuals that you connect with on your Facebook profile.

Filter Bubble
Nowadays Google and other search engines attempt to pre-empt what you want when you are searching. Geo-Targeting is one example of this, but the search engine will also try to guess what you want, and tailor your results, by your past search history. This means that over time, as the search engine gathers a profile of what you are like, the more constricted the results may be. This can be a positive thing, as it stops results you are unlikely to want from appearing, but it also separates you from new and potentially interesting things that may be happening outside the bubble.

Flash Mob
A large group of people organise to get together at a specific time and place to surprise the public. They will put on a performance that is random and pointless for a brief time and then they will disperse as if nothing has happened. The performance could entail acting, dancing and singing, all with the aim to entertain and spur curiosity. Many companies use this method to generate awareness.

A social network based on picture sharing. Users can store and share photos here.

The act of choosing to see the tweets of someone on Twitter.

An online discussion board. People post about whatever topic they wish to generate an online discussion.

A social network for users to share their location with friends that are within a close proximity.

Links tend to decrease in their power over time. A backlink may do better for your website today than it will in a year if it remains unchanged, to stop results pages being clogged up with outdated material. Therefore it is necessary to always get new, fresh, links.


The practice of search engines displaying results dependant on where you are. If you want a new pair of shoes it is useless to you if shops 5000 miles away are top of the results page and they don’t deliver!

Google +
Google’s very own social network encourages you to share with the circles (see description above) you make and offers the benefit of merging all other Google services under one social networking site.

Google Ads Management
The process of managing your Google Ads account to ensure you are achieving an optimum return on your investment

Google Analytics
A free, browser based tool that allows users to track many different statistics concerning an owned website. This tool is vital for SEO. For instance, a webmaster will be able to track from which search engines so users arrive on the site, and what search terms they used. It is also linked in with Google AdWords and allows control over these ads from the Google analytics site.

Google Penalty
The negative impact on a website’s search rankings based on updates to Google’s search algorithms and/or manual review. The penalty can be an unfortunate by-product of an algorithm update or an intentional penalization for black-hat SEO techniques or practices that are against its webmaster guidelines.

Google Shopping Optimisation
The Process of Optimising your Google Shopping Feed, Products, Campaign and Account so it achieves the most effective results for your business.

Google Trends
A tool that shows search density by keyword. It can show the keyword popularity in comparison to others, as well as popularity over a given amount of time.


A video service provided by Google + which allows up to 10 people to talk at one time.

Hashtag (#)
The hashtag is used on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to connect what comes right after the hashtag. It is mostly used to describe your post, an event or situation. Hashtag trends allow you to see what is being most talked about. Companies use hashtags to measure success of campaigns.

Head Terms (short head keywords)
Popular keywords with high search volumes, which are generally more competitive to rank for in search results.

Saying a website got X many hits is saying how many people visited that website.

Hyper-Text Mark-up Language is the code that the World Wide Web is written with. If you right-click on this page a select “view code” you can see this code. Interestingly, this code is all a WebCrawler sees. Other types of code are used on the internet, such as flash, but search engines cannot view this material at all. The latest version is HTML5, and this hopes to incorporate features that were previously only seen with Flash.

Text that is highlighted and takes you to a certain destination. They are used to reference other content or to navigate you through a website.


An impression is simply someone seeing an advert. They may not click on it or buy anything.

Inbound marketing
Marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content and is the opposite of Outbound or Interruption Marketing.

Someone who is an expert in a certain field and, or have a large following. Influencers therefore hold a lot of power in communicating their opinions to their following, perhaps affecting their opinions and behaviour.

A photo sharing social network with differs from others as it runs as a mobile application. The application allows users to take photographs which they can then apply filters to. Your photos are automatically shared on Instagram and then you have the option to share them on other social networks.

Instant Messaging (IM)
Texts that are delivered in real-time. This can occur one-to-one or in group messages. IM also allows users to us live record and video calling.


A term or phrase that a user will search for with a search engine. It is important to have your business’ website associated with these keywords so that it will appear when these words are searched for.

Keyword Opportunities
Opportunities to rank for (and so get traffic for) keywords that are relevant to your business or site

Keyword Research
The process of understanding the different keywords that users might search for to find information, products or services offered by a particular site and analysing the feasibility of achieving a search engine ranking for that term

Keyword Stuffing
the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Keyword stuffing is now seen as a negative signal in Google and can adversely affect a page’s rankings.

Words, terms or phrase that a user will search for with a search engine. It is important to have your business’ website associated with these keywords so that it will appear when these words are searched for.

A measure of social influence, Klout connects your social accounts and provides each user with a Klout score. The higher your score is the more influencer you have in the social world. The Klout score is out of 100.


Landing Page
The specific webpage on a website that a user is taken to when clicking on a search engine result, PPC advert or other activity, e.g. display ad or email. While this could simply be the homepage, often it is more helpful to the customer if they are taken to a page that is specific to their search terms.

An action made by a Facebook user that represents approval.

Like Button
You probably see these on plenty of websites, and it is a little graphic button encouraging linking between a website and a social media profile. The “Like” is Facebook’s own version, Google has a “+1” button. The purpose of them from the social networking company’s point-of-view is that it facilitates targeted adverts. You can like this page by clicking on the relevant buttons at the bottom of this page!

Link Bait
A webpage with great, interesting content that people will share with others. They may share it through email, or over Facebook or Twitter, or even social news and bookmarking sites like Reddit or Digg. The link bait may depend on your market; it could be an interesting infographic, a funny video or even a picture of a cat with some text on it. Depending on who links to it, creating link bait is vital for creating a high search rank.

Link Building
The process by which you increase the amount of links to your website. It may involve generating more interesting or newsworthy content, creating a blog, asking clients to link, plus many other techniques. It is the goal of SEO to build many good links to a website.

Link Strategy
The strategy for building links to your site

A corporate social network used to connect professionals.

A hyperlink is a clickable piece of text on one page of a website which links to another page on either the same site (an internal link) or another site (an external link)

Local SEO
Local SEO is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current or stated location. It has become particularly important since Google’s Pigeon update which aimed to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results.

Long Tail
Many terms are searched for through search engines, and many people search for the same things. As these terms are so popular, it is very difficult for a starter company to compete against the established websites. However, on the other hand, there are a vast amount of terms that are searched for relatively rarely. These terms are said to be part of the ‘long tail’, as when plotted on a graph the terms are searched for infrequently, but there are many of them. It is far easier for a starter company to rise to the top of the results with long tail keywords, albeit with fewer potential searchers.

Long-tail keywords
Keyword phrases, generally, made up of 3-5 words. They tend to have less traffic because they’re not as popular and are less competitive to rank for in search results.


An idea, joke or concept that people share. Meme’s can be images or videos or text. Typically a meme comes in the form of an image with supportive text.


Negative Keyword
A type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. It tells Google/Bing not to show your ad to anyone who is searching for that phrase. For example, when you add “free” as a negative keyword to the keyword “SEO Services” it will mean that your ad will appear when a user searches for “SEO Services” but not for “Free SEO Services”.

Neighbourhood/Link Neighbourhood
Search engines evaluate the trustworthiness of a website based on how many links point to that website. But links from trustworthy sites are better than links from untrustworthy, and potentially spammy, websites. If a website is within a system of bad websites that all link to it, it is seen to be in a bad link neighbourhood. So while the website may have many links pointing to it, a search engine may still evaluate it untrustworthy based on the websites that point to it. On the other hand, if many trustworthy websites link to it, the search engine can be reasonably certain that it too is trustworthy.

News Feed
The hub of everyone’s posts. For Facebook, the news feed is made up of friend’s posts. On Twitter, it is known as Timeline as is made up of tweets of those you follow. The news feed is constantly refreshed with the latest posts.

No follow
Since 2005, Google has been using a new term that can be implemented into the ‘rel’ code of a link. Whereby a normal link to another website counts as a ‘vote’ in that websites favour, a ‘nofollow’ command stops Google and most other search engines from counting a vote. It does not stop their WebCrawler’s from following the link, however.


Organic Listings
These are the results of a web search that have not been paid for. The positions of the results should be organic in that they reflect the popularity/trustworthiness of the website without being influenced by paid advertising.


The process of reaching out to bloggers, writers, communities and other websites to create a value proposition which makes it in their best interests to write about and/or link to a website.


A system for ranking web pages developed by Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University. PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at considerably more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; for example, it also analyses the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves ‘important’ weigh more heavily and help to make other pages ‘important.’ Using these and other factors, Google provides its views on pages’ relative importance

Paid Search Account Optimisation
The process of improvement and change to your pay-per-click account, ensuring your budget is being spent in all the right places and you are achieving an optimum return on your investment

Partial/Exact Match Anchor Text
The anchor text is the text that the user clicks on for a link. It is also what a WebCrawler uses to decide what the linked page is about. Therefore, a link to your website with the anchor text that has the exact keywords you wish for your website is the ideal. Or at least it used to be, but Google has taken measures to penalise too many links with the same anchor text, as it is inorganic. Instead, it is more effective to include some keywords in the anchor, perhaps separated by a few words, which will create a Partial match. It is becoming better to use PMAT rather than EMAT.

Here are some other users of the term "Penguin"

Here are some other users of the term “Penguin”

A set of algorithm updates and data refreshes for the Google search engine that the company periodically initiates to help enhance the value of its search query results for users.

Images that are chosen from websites or within the Pinterest community. These images are then placed onto image boards.

A social network for people to create image boards.

Framework that runs software and presents content.

Typically an audio file, a podcast is available to download for playback.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Adverts are primarily Search adverts that appear above or below the main organic listings on a search page and which advertisers pay for when a user clicks on their advert in response to a specific search query. Display Ads on Content Sites and Social Media are now also sold on a PPC basis.

On each social network you are given a profile to develop with your personal information and content which you can then choose to share and interact with.


Really Simple Syndication (RSS)
Delivers content enabling readers to stay up-to-date with any blogs or sites they read without them having to visit each individual site.

A social news site that is made up of users who share and leave comments on stories.

Part of the code for a link may include a ‘rel’ signifier, which is short for relation. It tells a WebCrawler something about the link, and is used to fine tune certain aspects of SEO.

Relevancy of content which answers the question or solves the problem of a specific search term and the fundamental principle that underpins Google’s search algorithms

The action a Pinterest user takes when pinning an image from someone’s board onto one of their own.

An action on tweets for users to share that tweet with their following. The action resends the message with the original users name tag.

The robots exclusion standard, also known as the robots exclusion protocol or simply robots.txt, is a standard used by websites to communicate with web crawlers and other web robots. The standard specifies how to inform the web robot about which areas of the website should not be processed or scanned.

Return on Investment. What every business person likes to see! ROI is usually expressed as a percentage and is typically used for personal financial decisions, to compare a company’s profitability or to compare the efficiency of different investments. The return on investment formula is: ROI = (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100.

RSS Feed
Users subscribe to news feeds to get all the latest information in one place (RSS Reader).

RSS Reader
Taking all the information from subscribed news sites and blogs, the reader puts all this information in one easy-to-digest place. It is displayed in a format that is constantly refreshed to get up-to-date information.


Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
The practice of marketing via search engines. This is often considered to mainly refer to PPC Marketing however a number of people define it more widely as including SEO

Search Visibility (website visibility)
A gauge of how visible your site is in search engines for both short head and long tail keyword phrases

Search Engine Optimisation, the process of making your website and pages optimised for both users and search engines alike

A toolbar for Mozilla Firefox that aggregates many different measurements of a website’s popularity. It is very useful for getting information about a website at a glance.

Search Engine Results Pages. The page that is displayed when you search with a search engine. It will have a list of results relevant to your search, as well as PPC adverts. A goal of SEO is to move a website to the top of the results page of relevant searched terms.

An action made by internet users to pass on any form of information (whether a photo, video, article etc.) to their friends, followers and connections.

One feature of social networking sites is that users can share links. If your website has an awesome page, a user may want to share it with all their friends. Most social networking sites have features that make this process very easy.

A video chat programme that is free to use. You can also use it for texting and leaving video and voice messages to other users.

Social Media
websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

Social Media Marketing
A form of Internet marketing that utilizes social networking websites as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach.

Social Media Monitoring
The act of pro-actively monitoring and tracking applicable social media activity.

Social Media Optimization (SMO)
The act of driving traffic through social media channels to reach a certain goal.

Social Media Policy (SMP)
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/Link Spam
Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme or SPAM and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behaviour that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site


Since computers cannot understand text in the way humans can, tags can draw attention to certain aspects of a webpage or other online content for a WebCrawler to use, or for the websites own search system. For instance a user may tag a video with its relevant actors.

Technical Optimisation
The process of making a website easy for the search engines (and users) to read and identifying any areas which may be hindering a sites performance or could be improved

A stream of conversations. For example, a list of comments on a blog post.

An event or topic that is popular and is widely discussed online.

A microblogging platform and social network that allows users to post images, text, video’s, links and quotes.

A post made on Twitter. A tweet contains no more than 140 characters.

A social media website where users can post short messages, known as tweets (up to 140 characters) for anyone who is following them to see. It is sometimes known as microblogging as it is similar to blogging but with a strict limit to what can be posted. Companies and individuals can use them, and is a great way to draw attention to certain things, as well as maintain a social media presence.

The world in which Twitter exists. This is made up of everything that happens on Twitter.


User Generated Content (UGC)
A term given to all user-created data such as blogs, comments, reviews, podcasts and more.


Information that spreads quickly from person to person and becomes well known among a huge community. A viral item can be made up of an image, video or text. The reason for it being shared can be news-related, amusing, shocking or other.

Much like a blog, but documented using video instead of written content.


Web 2.0
Several years ago the web was ‘one way’, meaning that users were only able to consume information; they did not contribute to the web themselves. Web 2.0 is the idea that users are now able to influence websites and send information to them. This is the underpinning of all online social media, from YouTube, where users upload videos, to Facebook, where entire lives are maintained online. Other, less dramatic Web 2.0 ideas may be the inclusion of a comment section on a news site.

(Sometimes called a bot, robot or spider) Search engines work by indexing all available webpages and scoring them based on a number of factors to gauge their trustworthiness or popularity. WebCrawler’s are automatic routines that travel the web using links and carry out evaluations of each individual website. Google’s PageRank WebCrawler is possibly the most famous.

Website Audit
An inspection and analysis of the inner workings of your site

An open source CMS which is used for blog publication. There are currently over 70 million WordPress sites in the world, including this one!

World Wide Web
(WWW) is a network of online content that is formatted in HTML and accessed via HTTP. The term refers to all the interlinked HTML pages that can be accessed over the Internet.