Anvil is often asked to explain search engine marketing (SEM) strategies, tactics and terms. The following search engine marketing glossary of terms was compiled and edited by Anvil and includes a variety of sources named at the bottom of this page.
What is A/A Testing?
A method of testing two pages of a site (the original and another version of the same page) to see which performs better.
What is A/B Testing?
A method of testing by which a baseline control sample is compared to a variety of single-variable test samples. This method has been recently adopted from direct marketing within the interactive space to test tactics such as banner ads, emails, and landing pages.
What is Above the Fold?
Above the Fold is a term used for content or web pages that appear above all similar content in Search engines.
What is Attribution?
Assigning a value or credit to each marketing channel that plays a role in influencing conversions.
What is Behavioral Targeting?
A method of targeting based on a user’s online behavior/activity that best fits a business’s ideal customer.
What is Below the Fold?
Below the Fold is a term used for content or web pages that appear below all similar content in Search engines.
What is Conversion Funnel?
A series of steps or actions a user must take in order to complete the desired conversion action (i.e. eCommerce shopping cart).
What is Conversion Optimization?
The art and science of maximizing the percentage of website visitors that become customers or leads through quantitative testing. For more information, read Anvil’s conversion optimization article or download our Conversion Optimization Cheat Sheet.
What is a Landing Page?
Where visitors arrive when they click on a search result or online advertisement and should contain content relevant to the searcher’s query or ad text.
What is Marketing Automation?
The use of technology to generate, nurture, score, and qualify leads using customized, multi-touch marketing communications tailored individually for each contact. For more information, download our Marketing Automation Cheat Sheet.
What is Multivariate Testing?
A process by which more than one component may be tested in a live environment. It can be thought of, in simple terms, as numerous split tests or A/B tests performed on one page at the same time. See A/B testing definition for more information.
Search Engine Optimization
What is an Algorithm?
A mathematical formula used by search engines to determine which web sites in their database to present in search results, in which order. While search engine algorithms change regularly, primary on-page factors include keyword placement and source code optimization. The primary off-page factor is link popularity.
What is Authorship?
The reputation of an author being highlighted in and influencing search engine results. Google introduced AuthorRank in 2012, which allows them to ensure the relationship between author and content is valid. For more information, read our Google Authorship blog post.
What is Canonicalization?
Web content that has more than one possible URL. Having multiple URLs for the same web content causes issues with duplicate content.
What is Cloaking?
In terms of search engine marketing, this is the act of getting a search engine to record content for a URL that is different than what a searcher will ultimately see. Most search engines have explicit rules against unapproved cloaking. Those violating these guidelines might find their pages penalized or banned from a search engine’s index.
What is Crawler/Spider/Robot?
The component of a search engine that indexes web sites automatically. A search engine’s crawler (also called a spider or robot), copies web page source code into its index database and follows links to other web pages.
What is a Customer Journey Map?
A diagram that depicts the stages customers go through when interacting with a company, from buying products online to accessing customer service on the phone to airing grievances on social media.
What is a Data Management System?
A software platform used for collecting and managing data for digital marketing purposes.?
What is Duplicate Content?
Content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. Duplicate content dilutes the page’s authority.
What is a Heat Map?
A heat map is data analysis software that provides a visual that indicates areas online that get the most attention.
What is Index?
The collection of information (contained in a large database) a search engine has that searchers can query against. With crawler-based search engines, the index is typically copies of all the web pages they have found from crawling the web. With human-powered directories, the index contains the summaries of all web sites that have been categorized.
What is Inbound/Back Linking?
A text or graphical hyperlink from one site to another. Google and other search engine
algorithms consider a site’s popularity based on the quality and quantity of inbound links from relevant third party sites to help determine search positioning. See “Link Popularity.”
What is Link Reclamation?
Locating, reclaiming and fixing broken inbound links to a website.
What is Lead Generation?
Generating traffic on a website and converting those visitors into leads and, eventually, converting those leads into customers.
What is Local Search?
Search engine results tailored by region/location, based on the searcher’s location or intent. Local search results may include business ratings, reviews, maps and driving directions. For a more in-depth look, download our Local Search White Paper.
What is the Long Tail keyword?
In relation to search engine marketing (SEM) the Long Tail refers to the keyword phrases that are highly detailed and specific and may generate low volumes of searches and traffic, but add up to generate a majority of traffic for sites with deep content or product SKUs.
What is Machine Learning Personalization?
A method that utilizes algorithms and analytics to strategically present relevant content to users.
What is a Macro Conversion?
A conversion of a website visitor that results in a customer or subscriber.
What are Meta Tags?
Information placed in a web page not intended for users to see, but instead typically passes information to search engine crawlers, browsers, software and some other applications. Types of tags include meta description, keyword tag, robots tag and title tag.
What is a Micro Conversion?
The completion of a conversion goal by a user on a website. For example, newsletter signups or downloading a PDF.
What is Mobile Search?
An evolving branch of information retrieval services that is centered on the convergence of mobile platforms and mobile handsets or other mobile devices. The services allow users to find mobile content interactively on mobile websites. For more in-depth information, download our Mobile Marketing White Paper.
What is OpenSearch?
A collection of technologies that allow publishing of search results in a format suitable for syndication and aggregation. It is a way for websites and search engines to publish search results in a standard and accessible format. Originally developed by Amazon and recently adopted by Yahoo!, OpenSearch relies on abstract-based microformats (dataRSS, eRDF, FOAF, GeoRSS, hCard, hEvent, hReview, hAtom, MediaRSS, RDFa, XFN, etc.) to integrate syndicated content into search results.
What are Organic and Natural Listings?
Listings that search engines do not sell (unlike paid listings). Instead, sites appear solely because a search engine has deemed it editorially relevant
for them to be included . Paid inclusion content is also often considered “organic” even though it is paid for. This is because that content usually appears intermixed with unpaid organic results.
What is Page Speed?
A measurement that determines how fast the content on a web page loads, which is a factor for website success.
What are Rich Snippets?
Structured data markup that site users can add to their HTML that allows search engines to better understand the information found on the website.
What is Robots.txt?
A file used to keep web pages from being indexed by search engines. The Robots Exclusion page provides official details.
What are RSS Feeds?
Real simple syndication (RSS) is an easy way to distribute content via the Internet. For email marketers, it is a way to distribute messages while avoiding spam filters. Typical applications include email newsletters, blogs or even web sites.
What is SEO Schema?
A collaboration by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! to improve the web by creating a structured data markup schema supported by major search engines. On-page markup helps search engines understand the information on webpages and provide richer results.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
The act of altering a web site so that it does well in the organic, crawler-based listings of search engines. In the past, has also been used as a term for any type of search engine marketing activity, though now the term search engine marketing is more commonly used as an umbrella term. For a more in-depth look, download our SEO White Paper.
What is a Search Engine Results Page (SERP)?
The list of results generated by a search engine in response to a keyword query based on weighted elements in each engine’s algorithm. Listings that appear on SERPs include organic search listings, sponsored listings, images, maps, news, videos and suggested search refinements.
What is Search Personalization?
The ability to personalize SERPs based on personal profile information, settings or location (IP address).
What is a Sitemap for SEO Marketing?
A list of URLs on a site that helps search engine crawlers easily find the pages for indexing. Sitemaps are the best insurance for getting a search engine to learn about your entire site.
What is Universal Search?
Google’s process of blending listings from its news, videos, images, local, etc. among those it gathers from crawling web pages.
What is Website Optimization?
The process of making changes to a website with the intention to rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP).
What is Big Data in Marketing?
A collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. Analyzing and identifying correlations in these complex data collections allows businesses to operate effectively, make decisions, reduce risks, and serve customers. For more information, read our Big Data blog post.
What is Bounce Rate?
This is the rate of visitors that enter your site, and leave within the first 5 seconds (as calculated by Google Analytics) without viewing another page.
What is a Conversion?
A site visitor completes a desired action. Generally a download, signup, purchase, etc.
What is Conversion Rate?
The relationship between visitors to a web site and actions considered to be a “conversion,” such as a sale or request to receive more information. This metric is often expressed as a percentage
What is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)?
Defines and/or measures progress towards company goals.
What are Pageviews?
The number of times a page (an analyst-definable unit of content) was viewed.
What is Return-on-Investment (ROI) in Marketing?
Historically associated with sales and marketing efforts; when applied to SEM efforts, refers to numerical, percentage or ratio of revenue generated over total cost of activities. ROI typically factors in paid placement and associated management costs, but a more detailed analysis may factor in profit (true cost). If ROI is measuring paid placement only, it is typically referred to as return on ad spend (ROAS).
What is a Unique Visitor?
A visitor that interacts with a site. They may interact more than once, but within analytics reporting, they are only counted one time.
What is a Visitor Session?
Interaction by a site visitor. The session ends when the visitor leaves the site.
What is Web Analytics?
The measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage. For a more in-depth look, download our Analytics White Paper.
What is Content Marketing?
The creation and sharing of valuable content meant to attract, acquire and engage potential customers. Additional information can be found in our Content Resources article.
What are Infographics?
Graphic visual representations of information to present complex information quickly and clearly. Used as a content marketing technique.
What is Link Bait?
Any content or feature within a website that somehow baits viewers to place links to it from other websites. Matt Cutts defines link bait as anything “interesting enough to catch people’s attention.” Link bait can be an extremely powerful form of marketing as it is viral in nature and can impact visibility in search results.
What is Owned Media?
Content and media delivered through channels that a brand owns. Digital properties such as website, blogs, mobile apps and social media profiles are considered owned media.
What are White Papers?
Technical documents used primarily to generate leads for business-to-business technology companies. The technical papers typically include industry research, statistics and deep technical information. Download Anvil’s SEO White Paper for an example of how it’s done correctly.
What is Voice Search?
Searching the internet, a website, or an app by voice command.
What is an Affiliate Program?
A web-based pay-for-performance program designed to compensate “affiliate” partner web sites for driving qualified leads or sales to a “merchant” web site. Typically, the merchant pays a percentage of any sales resulting from any click through (via banner or text link) to their web site from an affiliate partner’s web site. Service providers help track and manage payments.
What is Amazon Marketing?
Promoting and selling products on Amazon.com to reach a wider audience.
What is a Call-to-Action (CTA)?
A call-to-action is a phrase that prompts a user to perform an action that could result in a conversion.
What is Click-Through Rate (CTR)?
The percentage of those clicking on a link out of the total number who view the link or text ad.
What is Click Fraud?
A type of internet crime that occurs in pay per click online advertising when a person, automated script, or computer program imitates a legitimate user of a web browser clicking on an ad, for the purpose of generating a charge per click without having actual interest in the target of the ad’s link.
What is a Contextual Link Ads Inventory?
To supplement their business models, certain text-link advertising networks (like Google) have expanded their network distribution to include “contextual inventory”. Most vendors of “search engine traffic” have expanded the definition of Search Engine Marketing to include this contextual inventory. Contextual or content inventory is generated when listings are displayed on pages of Web sites (usually not search engines), where the written content on the page indicates to the ad-server that the page is a good match to specific keywords and phrases.
What is Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA)?
Cost-per-acquisition is defined as a marketing metric that measures the aggregate cost to acquire one paying customer on a campaign or channel level.
What is Cost-per-Click (CPC)?
System where an advertiser pays an agreed amount for each click someone makes on a link leading to their web site. Also known as PPC or paid listings.
What is Cost-per-Thousand Impressions (CPM)?
System where an advertiser pays an agreed amount for the number of times their ad is seen by a consumer, regardless of the consumer’s subsequent action. This term is heavily used in print, broadcasting and direct marketing, as well as with online banner ad sales. CPM stands for “cost per thousand,” since ad views are often sold in blocks of 1,000.
What are Facebook Ads?
Advertising using the social media network, Facebook.com. These ads will show up on both Facebook and Instagram to reach audiences within different age groups.
What are Google Ads (formerly Adwords)?
Advertising in which users bid on certain keywords to ensure their ads appear higher in Google’s search results.
What is Lifetime Customer Value (LCV)?
The Lifetime Customer Value is the projected amount of money a customer will spend over the duration of a business-consumer relationship.
What are Lookalike Audiences?
Algorithmically-assembled groups to reach new people who are likely to be interested in a business because they’re similar to its best existing customers.
What is Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads)?
An advertising platform that provides pay-per-click ads that serve Bing and Yahoo! search engines.
What is Paid Inclusion/Pay-for-Inclusion (PFI)?
The act of purchasing the ability to be indexed by search engines. Unlike PPC, position within search results are not guaranteed, but unlike organic SEO, PFI guarantees a level of frequency in indexing and enables optimization and submission of large numbers of pages within a site. The end result is ideally a higher position in search results for larger, database-driven sites.
What is Pay-per-Call?
The ability to track offline sales through unique toll-free phone numbers. This service is ideal for offline-based businesses like plumbers, contractors and other service industries.
What is Pay-per-Click (PPC)?
An advertiser pays a certain amount for each click on their ad. See “Cost-per-Click” and “Paid Placement.”
What is Paid Media?
Advertising that uses sponsored ads to sell a product or service.
What is Paid Placement?
Advertising program where listings are guaranteed to appear in response to particular search terms, with higher ranking typically obtained by paying more than other advertisers. Paid placement listings can be purchased from a portal or a search network. Search networks are often set up in an auction environment where keywords and phrases are associated with a cost-per-click (CPC) fee. For a more in-depth look, download our Pay-Per-Click White Paper.
What is Podcasting?
Episodic series of digital audio files a user can download to a personal device.
What is a Quality Score?
An estimate, provided by Google, of the quality of ads, keywords, and landing pages. The higher the quality score can lead to better ad positions.
What is a Relevance Score?
An estimate that demonstrates how well a Facebook ad is performing, indicating it provides relevant information to users.
What are Remarketing and Retargeting ads?
An advanced technique that effectively targets previous visitors to your website via advertising on third-party websites.
What are Shopping Search Feeds?
Shopping search engines allow shoppers to look for products and prices in a search environment for rapid and easy comparison. Premium placement can be purchased on some shopping search indices via “XML feeds.”
What are XML Feeds?
A form of paid inclusion where a search engine is “fed” information about pages via XML, rather than gathering that information through crawling actual pages. Marketers can pay to have their pages included in a spider based search index either annually per URL or on a CPC basis based on an XML document representing each page on the client site. These feeds are commonly used for Shopping Feeds.
Digital Brand Management
What is Online Public Relations?
see SEM PR for a full description
What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
The act of monitoring, addressing or mitigating undesirable search engine results or mentions in online media for a company or product. Techniques include generating new content and adding your message to existing detracting content through commenting or posting. For more information, visit Anvil’s Online Reputation Management article.
What is Search Engine Marketing Public Relations (SEM PR)?
The art of leveraging traditional PR materials to increase visibility and traffic via a hybrid of interactive PR strategies & tactics
including SEO, PPC and SMO. Tactics may include press release optimization and distribution, article syndication and social media outreach.
What is User Feedback?
Feedback provided by users to better understand user experience on a website.
What is Earned Media?
Content that is shared on third party sites because of its quality and relevance. It is not paid for and does not appear on channels that the brand owns.
What is a Social Graph?
A social graph of all Internet users, which represents the global mapping of everybody and how they’re related. The term was popularized by Facebook in 2007.
What is Social Media?
An umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words and pictures. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and “building” of shared meaning, as people share their stories, and understandings.
What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
A form of internet marketing which seeks to achieve branding and marketing communication goals through the participation in various social media networks ( Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn), social bookmarking (Digg, Stumbleupon) and social media sharing sites (Flickr, YouTube). For a more in-depth look, download our Social Media Marketing White Paper.
What is Viral Marketing?
Any marketing technique that induces Web sites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users, creating a potentially exponential growth in the message’s visibility and effect.
What is Email Marketing?
A digital marketing strategy of sending emails to prospects and customers. The email content may be advertisements, industry or company news, or solicitation of sales.
What is Email Remarketing?
A method of following up with, and re-attracting, website viewers and potential customers via email.
What is Open Rate?
The rate of users who opened an email sent by a business, as opposed to users who didn’t.
Definitions above draw on multiple sources, as well as original writing. Content used is copyrighted, and remains property of its respective owners: Anvil Media, I-Search Digest, SearchEngineWatch.com, and Wikipedia.