Marketing Glossary

Mathematical rules search engines follow to rank web pages. Figuring out search engine algorithms is a significant part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you understand how the search engines calculate relevance, you can make specific changes to your web pages to rank higher.

Anchor Text
The clickable part of your hyperlinks. This text also helps search engines understand what the linked-to page is about.

Banner Ad
A rectangular display advertisement placed on a website or participating search engine. Clicking on the ad takes you to the sponsors landing page.

A computer program to view and interact with websites on the Internet. The most common browsers are Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox.

Click fraud
Process where competitors or other unscrupulous individuals click on paid advertisements without intending to purchase or interact with the website. Click fraud can happen manually, by one individual at a time, or en masse using a program. All major search engines detect and combat click fraud.

The action taken when a user clicks on a paid display ad or other hyperlink and arrives at another website or landing page.

Click-through rate (CTR)
The percentage of clicks on an ad divided by the number of times the ad was viewed. The number of clicks on an ad divided by the times it was viewed. For example, an ad with 5 clicks for every 100 views has a 5% CTR.

Conversion rate
The percentage of desired actions (sale, lead, etc.) divided by the number of clicks on the ad. For example, 10 sales from 100 clicks would yield a 10% conversion rate.

Cost-per-acquisition (CPA)
The cost an advertiser is willing to pay for a desired action (click, sale, lead, etc.).

Cost-per-click (CPC)
The cost incurred to a sponsor when a user clicks on a paid text advertisement.

Cost-per-thousand (CPM)
Used in traditional as well as online advertising. Refers to the price a sponsor pays for the display of 1000 advertisements.

Crawler / Robot / Spider
A program used by search engines to visit, examine and catalog factors on a given website. The crawler then follows all outbound links to other websites to repeat the process, eventually reaching all linked websites on the Internet.

A topical list of websites viewed, ranked and catalogued by a human (as compared to a search engine, where these functions are done by a computer program). Directories tend to have better and more relevant results when searched topically.

Geographical targeting
Enhancing website elements or paid marketing campaigns to reach a specific geographical area (such as your state or county).

Hyperlink / hypertext link / link
An element on a webpage where clicking on it takes your to another webpage or website.

HTML (hypertext markup language)
The programming language browsers use to render a webpage.

Inbound link (or Back Link)
The link from another website pointing to your website. Search engines use the number of links in their algorithms to assess the popularity and importance of your website.

Inbound Marketing
The multi-step process of creating extensive content (articles, blogs, videos, etc.) about solution(s) you provide for your target market’s problems or aspirations; then optimizing and implementing strategies and processes to help your content get found by those prospects already learning, discovering and shopping online for an answer to these objectives.

The entire collection of web pages a search engine can draw from when queried by a user. The index is composed of the pages found by the crawler.

A count of the number of times an advertisement is viewed. For an example, an ad viewed 1000 times is said to have received “1000 impressions”.

Keyword / key phrase
The word(s) used for a search engine query.

Keyword density
The percentage of keywords and key phrases as compared to the total number of words. Keyword density is a factor in many search engine algorithms.

Landing page
A specific web page reached when visitors click on a display ad, organic listing or text based advertisement.

LinkedIn Optimization (LIO)
The art and science of manipulating your public LinkedIn profile, and thus rank higher on both search engine queries and LinkedIn searches. LIO generally includes achieving 100% completeness on your public profile, making and receiving recommendations, participating in groups, and answering questions within your industry.

Link farms
Websites containing only links with little or no genuine content.

Link popularity
A measure of the number of websites linking to a given webpage. Link popularity is a factor in many search engine algorithms.

Link text
The underlined and clickable text contained in a hyperlink. Well-written link text describes to the user what they are likely to find if they click on the hyperlink.

Listings / natural listings / organic listings
The non-sponsored information appearing on a search engine results page. Listings are organized with the most important webpage being listed first, and so on. Sites appear in the listings because an algorithm has deemed then appropriate for the keyword or key phrase query.

Long Tail Theory
The economics of abundance. With Search Engine Marketing, it means you can make more by selling less with certain infrequently used keywords or keyphrases.

Meta tags
HTML elements on a web page. Meta tags tell the crawler what type of content, the description of the page and associated keywords. The most important HTML elements are the title tag and Meta description tag. Meta keywords, although commonly used, have little or no influence on search engine rankings.

Online marketing
A vehicle for interaction between prospects and your website. It allows any user connected to the Internet to receive, view and act upon advertising messages as well as with organic, or non-paid, listings.

Optimization services
Services offered by a business to increase search engine optimization of a website. These services generally are performed with a goal of increasing the rank of a website with one or more search engines.

Outbound links
Links from your website to another website or webpage. The visitor generally has to leave your website to follow an outbound link.

Page view
The number of times a given webpage has been viewed. For example, a website viewed 500 times is said to have received “500 page views.”

Paid inclusion / paid listings / paid placement
Payment for listing on a search engine or directory. Paid inclusion does not guarantee organic ranking for any keyword or key phrase.

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
A marketing program where text or other advertisements are displayed based on specific keyword or key phrase queries. Advertisers then pay the sponsoring search engine based on the number of click-throughs to their website. These listings are generally separated from the organic listings.

A keyword or key phrase request to a search engine’s index, which results in a search engine results page (SERP).

Search engine
An Internet website used to search the web for websites matching your keyword or key phrase query., and all have search engine functions.

Search engine optimization (SEO)
The art and science of manipulating web pages to influence search engines, and thus rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP) for a given keyword or key phrase. SEO generally includes a review of the website’s architecture and HTML structure, content development and in-bound link development.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
A high-level marketing program, often including search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising, with a goal of improving the conversion rate of a website or webpage.

Search engine results pages (SERPs)
The page displayed after a user queries a search engine.

Social Marketing
A type of website requiring user participation or user generated content. The three main types of sites within social marketing are social media (e.g. Flickr, YouTube), social networking (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn) and social bookmarking (e.g. Delicious, StumbleUpon).

The practice of sending unsolicited e-mail messages to promote a website or webpage. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was enacted by Congress to combat spam.

Title Tag
An HTML meta tag with text describing a specific web page. Arguably the most important piece of data on your web page, since it’s also the clickable portion on search engine results pages.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
The domain name or Internet address for a given website or webpage.

Universal Search
Blended search results which pulls data from multiple sources, and may contain images, videos, maps, live search results and news stories.

Brian Farrell is a coach, helping clients achieve their personal and professional goals. He's also the creator of the "QA2 Method". For more about Brian, visit