The Ultimate Digital Marketing Dictionary

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16 Minutes Read

Digital Marketing Dictionary

Like any industry, digital marketing has its own verbiage and if you are trying to keep up with current trends, you might need a little extra help. This list of common digital marketing words, phrases, acronyms, and lingo will help you stay caught up when you start planning and strategizing how to improve your digital marketing results. 

301 Redirect - 301 redirects are used to permanently redirect website traffic from one page to another. This is a common practice if you have a domain change, remove content, or any page that has a URL change. This is helpful to avoid broken links which can negatively impact your website.

302 Redirect - 302 redirects are used to temporarily redirect website traffic from one page to another. You could use this as you are doing updates to a particular section of your website or want to hide certain content seasonally.

404 Page or 404 Error  - A 404 page or error is the result of a visitor attempting to visit a page that doesn't exist. This may happen if you delete a page or have an incorrect link. If you are deleting pages, you may want to utilize a 301 redirect to avoid any negative impacts on your website's rankings. 

A

Adwords - See Google Adwords

Alt Text - A description added within the HTML code for each image to provide information about that image to visually impaired website visitors. Adding Alt Text to images is highly recommended for SEO since website crawlers can't determine the content of an image, but can utilize the Alt Text to understand what value that image brings to the page.

Analytics - See Google Analytics

AlgorithmA process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer. In digital marketing, algorithms are used to rank search results. Google's search algorithm is highly complex to identify what content and value web pages provide to visitors and ranks web pages based on their algorithm.

Automation - The process of automatically executing tasks based on events, triggers, and interactions of website visitors. Automation is most commonly used with email marketing to nurture leads and accomplish goals that normally would take manual human interaction or effort. 

B

Backlinks - A hyperlink that links to a website. This creates connectivity from one website to another and provides SEO value for the destination website. The more backlinks a web page has, the more perceived value that page provides in the eyes of search engine algorithms. 

Banner Ads - A common form of digital advertising found throughout the internet, designed to capture attention and entice visitor clicks to other websites. Banner ads are typically sold on a CPM or cost per impression basis. 

Blog - A shortened version of "web log," a blog is a series of organized and categorized web pages that provide relevant content for visitors. Blogs are frequently updated and are an important piece of a digital marketing strategy. Blogs can be very helpful in attracting visitors and provide a high value to search engine algorithms

Bot - An automated computer program that reviews website code to gather information. Bots are commonly referred to as "crawlers" and continuously scan the internet gathering more information. Some bots can skew website traffic in Google Analytics or be used to capture sensitive information on websites that are not securely protected. 

Bounce Rate - The percentage of people who immediately leave a website without clicking or interacting with any content on that page. If a website gets 100 visitors and 25 of those visitors immediately leave, that page has a bounce rate of 25%. The lower the bounce rate the better. That means visitors are finding value in the website and looking are more content. 

C

Contact Form - A website section with fillable fields where users can provide information to the website owner. Common fields include name, email, phone number, and some type of message. Contact forms are a primary tool for capturing leads from a website. 

Content - The text, images, videos, and graphics that appear on a website.

Conversion - The completion of a digital marketing goal. Goals are typically defined around an action or metric so they can be measured. Examples of conversions include but are not limited to a lead capture, newsletter sign up, or specific page visit. 

Conversion Rate - The rate at which visitors accomplish specified digital marketing goals. If a web page gets 100 visitors and 10 of those visitors fill out a contact form, the conversion rate for that web page is 10%. 

CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) - In digital marketing, the CPA is used to measure the average amount of money spent to acquire one lead/customer. If you spend $100 in digital advertising to drive traffic to your website and the website produces 10 leads, your CPA is $10. 

CPC (Cost Per Click) - The average amount of money spent for one click on a digital ad. CPC is a method for pricing out digital advertising. Pay-Per-Click advertising like Google Analytics uses a CPC model to determine the value of bidding on keywords in search engine marketing campaigns. If you spend $100 on a PPC campaign and receive 50 clicks, your CPC was $2. 

CPM - Is short for "cost per thousand" as M is the roman numeral for 1000. This is another method for pricing digital advertising and refers to the price paid per 1000 impressions of an ad. If an advertiser charges $5 CPM and you spend $100 you would receive 20 impressions. 

CrawlerAn automated computer program that reviews website code to gather information. Crawlers are commonly referred to as "bots" and continuously scan the internet gathering more information. Some crawlers can skew website traffic in Google Analytics or be used to capture sensitive information on websites that are not securely protected. Search engines use crawlers to gather and evaluate information about a website and discover new websites. 

CSS - Is short for "Cascading Style Sheets" and is a form of HTML code that tells browsers how a website should appear on the screen. This includes layout, colors, fonts, and styles and creates a single section of code that controls all website styles. 

CTA (Call to Action) - A website element that is used to entice visitors to complete an action. CTAs usually include some text, a button, or graphic with phrases like "Click Here", "Download Now", or "Buy Now". 

CTR (Click-Through Rate) - The ratio of the number of times an advertisement was clicked compared to how many times it was viewed. If your ad was viewed 1000 times and had 200 clicks, it produced a CTR of 20%. 

D

Display Ads - Commonly referred to as "Banner Ads", a display ad is an image, video, or HTML 5 graphic that is displayed on a website to grab visitors attention and entice them to click on the ad to be navigated to a 3rd party website. 

Duplicate Content - Content that is found on two or more web pages or two or more websites. Duplicate content is a negative from an SEO standpoint and can damage a website's quality score. 

E

Email List - A collection of email addresses used to communicate marketing information to. Email lists typically consist of leads, past customers, or potential customers and are used for promotional communications. 

Email Marketing - The use of email to attract more leads, customers, and sales. 

F

Facebook Advertising - Advertising to Facebook users through the Facebook platform. Ads can be populated throughout a variety of locations within Facebook and users can be targeted on a large variety of information they have input into their Facebook profile, including age, gender, home location, interest, internet behavior, and physical location.

Facebook Profile - The page within Facebook that holds/displays the personal information of an individual Facebook user.

Facebook Page - A public facing page within Facebook that represents a business or organization and includes information about that business. The Facebook Page acts as a communication portal for individual Facebook Users and the business. 

Facebook Ads Manager - The tool where Facebook and Instagram advertising campaigns are managed. This tool allows for the management of campaigns, ads, audiences, and reporting.

G

 

Google Analytics - This is a free tool offered through Google to help you analyze your website data. You can get a glimpse into how users find and interact with your website, how much time their spending on certain pages, bounce rates, and more.  

Google Maps - Google's mapping software that gives users access to satellite images, street maps, real-time traffic, street views, and more. Having your business listed with Google and active in Google maps is one way to improve your SEO. 

Google My Business - Google's tool to help business owners control what information pops up when someone searches for their business or a similar type of business. This typically looks like a small window with any Google reviews, and the option to call, get directions, share or head to the website.

Google G Suite - Google's bundle of products and software aimed at making collaboration and organization a walk in the park for Google users. This includes handy tools like Google's Calendar, Docs, Mail, Drive, Sheets and more. 

H

Hashtag - More than just a millennial quip, hashtags are any terms preceded by a pound sign (#), originally created for social media use. Hashtags act as categories used to identify subject matter and increase engagement.

Header - This typically refers to the top part of a web page that includes the menu, logo, or large hero image. 

Header Code - Code that is placed in the universal header of a website to ensure that the desired data will be displayed across each page of the website in the same way. Most users will include things like Analytics Code, Schema Markup, AdWords Code and more to help collect data across the entire site. 

Heading Tag - These are used to organize text on a web page. They typically are referred to as H1 (Heading 1, used to indicate the page title), H2 (Heading 2, used to indicate a subheading to the page title), and H3 (Heading 3, used to indicate a subheading to H2). This cascading format organizes a web page for both readers and search engines alike, and are always a good opportunity to incorporate SEO.

Heat Map - This is a graphical representation of your website's engagement. Heat mapping software uses color to indicate where users have clicked on a page, how much time they spend there, or how far they scroll. Reds and oranges represent high engagement, while cooler blues represent "colder" spots on your site. 

HREF - Hypertext REFerence. An HTML code used to create a link to another page or a different portion of the same page. 

HTMLHypertext Markup Language. This is a set of codes that inform a web browser on how to display a web page. It is used to indicate things like font, color, layout, and other graphic attributes of a web page. 

HTTPHyperText Transfer Protocol. A universal protocol that defines how information is processed and transmitted and tells the World Wide Web what actions should be taken in response to varying commands. 

HTTPS - HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. The S at the end of this acronym refers to the network being secure. It means that all communication taking place between your browser and your website, are encrypted. 

Hyperlink - HTML code that links one web page to another. This code is often represented by a certain word or phrase that you will see highlighted or underlined on a page. This text is active, and when clicked, will redirect you to a separate web page. 

I

I-Frame - An element of HTML that makes it possible for an external web page to be embedded into an HTML document. 

Impression - A term used to refer to the number of times an ad or social post is viewed. When a web page with your ad or post is loaded by a unique visit, this counts as one "impression." 

Inbound Marketing - The practice of drawing potential customers to your company via content marketing and social media. Instead of pushing a product, which is common in outbound marketing, inbound marketing focuses on creating awareness and helpful content that will eventually draw prospects in. 

Index - Another term for the database used by a search engine. Web crawlers scan the web and store and rank any pages into their database in an index format. 

Instagram - A social media platform with a focus on image sharing. Users can upload photos and short videos to the platform, where they are provided with editing features that transform standard photos into professional looking pictures. The company was bought by Facebook in 2012 and has expanded its features to include video stories, live streams and their IGTV. 

IP Address - Internet Protocol Address. This is used to identify any device on the internet. Like a street address, each device is assigned a unique IP Address so that it may be recognized by other devices that are connected via the IP.

J

Java - A common programming language created for building applications that can be used on a digital device

Javascript - A scripting language used to create interactive elements on a web page that would be possible through HTML or CSS. Unlike Java, this language is preserved for web browsers only, and can't be applied to application construction. 

K

Keyword - The identifying word for a piece of content. Think of keywords as the words that you type into Google when searching for specific content. They are the topic-oriented words used to identify subject matter. Knowing how to use them well on your website makes your site more accessible and improves SEO. 

Keyword Stuffing - A naughty practice when it comes to using keywords. Now outdated, keyword stuffing was a common practice at the dawn of SEO to improve your web page's ranking. This can be seen when the same keyword is repeated over and over again throughout the content in a way that does not feel natural or organic. An older SEO practice, this method will now do you more harm than good with Google's rankings. 

Landing Page - The web page you are redirected to when clicking a link in an ad, email, or elsewhere. This is usually a short, single page created with the function of lead generation or directing traffic to your website. A straightforward example of this is when you click a signup link and are taken to a simple page with a signup form and a call to action. 

Lead - Someone who has interacted with your company in a way that lands them in your sales funnel. Typically through a call, email, or form submission, this person's actions communicate to your company that they have the potential to become a customer. 

Link - See hyperlink

LinkedIn - A social media platform developed with the business world in mind. The platform allows users to create a digital resume and interact with other professionals in and out of their field. Users can share business blogs, websites, photos, comments, as well as use the tool as a means of networking or job hunting. 

Lookalike Audience - A function available through Facebook that locates an audience who may be interested in your products or services based on the audience you already have. Facebook uses the current group's traits and features to find prospects with high chances of conversion for you to target through the platform.

Long Tail Keyword - A phrase of three or more words that are used to identify specific subject matter. Much like a keyword, long tail keywords help tie searchers to the content they're looking for. While single keywords bring broader results, long tail keywords help to narrow down your audience. For example, someone searching for "camera" (keyword) is a lot less of a qualified lead than someone searching for "camera D3500 DSLR used." 

M

Medium - Refers to categories within Google Analytics that indicate where your website traffic is coming from. 

Meta Tag - Elements placed in the head section of your HTML code that tell web crawlers about the kind of content on the page. The web crawlers then use that data to decipher what information from your site should be displayed to an internet user during a search result. 

Meta Description - An HTML element that describes what your page is about to Google as well as internet users. When you search for something in an internet browser and are given a list of links, the meta description is the small paragraph (usually 120 to 150 characters) that usually shows up under the link title. 

N

Nofollow - A link that does not count in favor towards a web page's SEO ranking. Publishers can add the nofollow link attribute to their HTML, to indicate to web crawlers that the link in consideration should not be considered when ranking the page for SEO. This is useful when the page is a paid link, user-generated content, or any other unnatural content that Google may flag otherwise.

O

Organic Traffic - Any traffic that naturally finds makes it to your site. This is the opposite of paid traffic or any traffic generated through ads or referrals. 

P

PDF - This is a file format in the form of a digital image of a page or document. It is often the preferred format when it comes to uploading files to the internet. They are easily downloaded, viewed, or converted, and can be read by Google just like a web page.

Position - How customers and potential customers view your brand. Your brand position refers to your brand image and overall identity, and where that identity lines up in relation to your competition. 

PPC - (Pay Per Click) - Also referred to as Cost Per Click. This is an advertising model used to facilitate web traffic where an advertiser will pay a publisher for each time their ad is clicked. 

Q

Quality Content - Content that is truly useful to your reader. As Google's algorithms get more advanced, quality content becomes more and more important. The search engine wants to ensure your content is getting readers what they want to know in an organized and expert matter. It's content defined by value, not just volume. 

Query - The word or words a user types into a search engine. Remember our nifty long tail keyword example? "Camera D3500 DSLR used," is a great example of a query.  

R

Rankings - How a website ranks on search engine results. To build on our previous term, let's say a user types in a query of "artisan sock puppets." Now let's say you're the Elvis Presley of sock puppet making (hey, whatever floats your boat), who has spent a great amount of time on your website's SEO. If your website appears in the first three links on the user's search results, that's a great ranking.  

Redirect -  A web function that sends a user from one URL to another. Redirects are often automated through a series of HTML code. The most common redirects include 301 (moved permanently), and 302 (found/moved temporarily). and 

Referral - New lead sources obtained organically, usually through word of mouth. There are some strategies companies can use to increase referrals, such as referral rewards programs. Blue Apron does this well by offering new users discounts when they email a friend a Blue Apron promotional offer. 

Remarketing - Involves targeting potential buyers with content or products they have already viewed on your site through advertisements. When you spend two hours scrolling through Steve Madden's spring line, only to find the same shoes peeping out at you from an ad on your Facebook page, that's remarketing. It's a great way to reengage prospects who have already shown interest in your business and keep your brand top of mind.

Responsive Web DesignA way of creating web design that uses flexible layouts and images that can translate legibly, no matter the size of the device they appear on. This was created to make websites more user-friendly when they're being viewed on a phone or tablet. The website will automatically load into a clean format that fits the dimensions of the users device

Robots.txt - A text file created by a programmer that instructs web crawlers (i.e. robots) how to crawl through their site. It's used to indicate to a web crawler whether they may or may not crawl through certain portions of a website, known as "allowing," or "disallowing," certain behaviors. 

ROI - Return on Investment. This is a way of referring to the dollar amount that is being generated by a specific investment. In marketing, this is often used in reference to ad campaigns. If you are spending $1,000 a month on an ad campaign that is generating a $3,000 Return on Investment, that is a healthy ROI. If you're spending $1,000 a month on a campaign that's generating $100 a month, your ROI is telling you something is desperately amiss and needs readdressing. 

RSS - Really Simple Syndication. A kind of web feed that allows users to track and update a variety of sources all in one place, as opposed to seeking them each out individually. 

S

Search Engine - A program that searches the World Wide Web based on queries entered by the user. Major search engines include Google (the most popular), Bing, and Yahoo.

SEM - Search Engine Marketing. Most commonly refers to the use of paid advertisements online (like those Pay Per Clicks campaigns we just chatted about) that drive traffic to your website. 

SEO - Search Engine Optimization. The practice of outfitting your website, blog, or social platforms with strategies that search algorithms favor and promote within their rankings. These strategies can include optimized content through keywords, headers, alt tags, topic clusters, and more. 

SERP - Search Engine Results Page. The pages displayed by a search engine as the result of a user's query. 

Session - A Google Analytics metric that refers to a group of interactions by a user that take within a given time frame. A session may include one user's multiple page views, social shares, and ecommerce transactions, but all of these actions together would be grouped into one session. 

Sitelink - In an ad, the links that appear below the ad copy that direct users directly to specific pages on your site. Available through Google AdWords, sitelinks give you the ability to send users straight to pages like your Contact Us or About Us pages. 

Sitemap - A list of all the web pages on a website. Just as it sounds, a sitemap is a map to navigating each page of your website. It tells both your users and web crawlers about the organization of your web site's set up.

Source - A Google Analytics term that describes where your web traffic is coming from. A source could be an email, a search engine, or even a social media platform.

Spam - A term applied to a wide variety of shady web practices. It can refer to a mass-sent emailing that the recipient hasn't agreed to (think your junk folder), or bad web practices such as Black Hat SEO for the deliberate manipulation of search engine rankings.  

T

Title Tag - The HTML element that appears on a SERP as the article title. When you enter a query into a search engine, a list of articles appear. For SEO best practice, you want to keep these clickable headlines descriptive and include your main keywords.

Tracking Code - A JavaScript based string of HTML Code that is used to track website visitors, engagement, or other specific data on a website. 

TwitterA social media platform where users can share status' of 280 characters or less. The platform is used for link sharing, hashtags, and commenting on other user's posts. While still very much a social site, Twitter has largely become a platform for news sharing and real-time news updates.

Twitter Advertising - A paid ad that appears on a users Twitter feed. Twitter refers to these as "promoted tweets," or tweets that are promoted to a wide audience, some of which may not be following you yet. Just like a standard tweet, promoted tweets can be liked, shared, and commented on. 

U

Unique Visitors - The number of individual users or visitor to your site. If a unique visitor hits your site 20 times, they are still considered just one unique visitor. This distinction gives you deeper insights on your audience and overall web performance.

URL - Uniform Resource Locator. This is the address of a web page. 

UI - User Interface. Refers to the space in which the user interacts with digital design. UI should be easy clean, user-friendly and easy to navigate. Bad UI is a quick way to lose potential customers who don't feel like wrestling with a messy interface.

UTMUrchin Tracking Module. A simple bit of code you can add to a URL that allows Google to track where your traffic is coming from. That way, Analytics can track if your visitors are finding you, be it a certain source, medium, or campaign. A good example of this would be creating multiple UTM codes for the same campaign, so you can track which platform is working best. If you advertise the same campaign via Instagram, through email, and as an ad, the separate UTMs let you track which of these sources is delivering the most traffic for you. 

UX - User Experience. Refers to a user's experience when interacting with your design or product. You can test what makes for the most successful UX by adjusting messaging, calls to action, layout, etc. Testing for optimal UX is imperative, as a bad UX is a quick way to lose potential customers who don't feel like wrestling with a messy interface.

V

Visits - How many times a user visits your site. If one user goes to your website 20 times, that counts as 20 visits for your site. This is now referred to in Google Analytics as "sessions." While the term is different, the meaning is the same.

Visitor - A metric used by Google Analytics to organize new and returning visitors to your site. New visitors are categorized as users who are visiting your site for the first time while returning visitors are users who have perused your site before and have come back for more exploring. 

W

Website - A web page or collection of web pages that are grouped together on the World Wide Web

Webinar - A seminar that is broadcast over the internet. These are usually used to train, inform, market or sell to a group of individuals who have signed up to view the webinar. They are done live and subscribers can often ask questions in real time. Most webinars are typically available to subscribers once the real-time broadcast is over via replay. 

Wireframe - A set of image that is used to demonstrate a website's structure. This skeletal layout is used to indicate how the website will function at the early stages of the web design process. 

X

XML - Extensible Markup Language. A markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding a document in a format that's both human and machine readable. 

XML Sitemap - A list of your website's important pages in XML format that makes it easy for web crawlers to find pages on your site and understand its overall structure.

Y

Youtube - A video sharing platform for the public. Users can create accounts, search and view videos, subscribe to channels within the platform, and upload their own videos. 

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Gregg Alexander

Principal, Director of Digital Marketing


Gregg is an advisor, a strategic content marketer, and an analytics authority. He serves as the digital marketing director and the head of operations for PRIME, a marketing and design agency in Bozeman, Montana. He is a communication expert who uses inbound marketing, SEO, PPC, social media marketing, media placement, email marketing, and marketing automation to engage target markets for PRIME's clients.


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