Glossary of Terms*
Acquisition Strategy – A process of finding those potential customers who are in the market and ready to buy. The attempt to lead customers to a web site and to welcome them, answer their questions and close the sale.
Ad – Advertisements a searcher sees after submitting a query in a search engine or web site search box. In PPC, these ads are usually text format, with a Title, Description and Display URL. In some cases, a keyword the searcher used in his or her query appears boldfaced in the displayed ad. Ads can be positioned anywhere on a search results page; commonly they appear at the top – above the natural or organic listings – and on the right side of the page, also known as “Right Rail.”
Ad Copy – The main text of a clickable search or context-served ad. It usually makes up the second and third lines of a displayed ad, between the Ad Title and the Display URL.
Ad Title – The first line of text displayed in a clickable search or context-served ad. Ad Titles serve as ad headlines.
Affiliate Marketing – Affiliate marketing is a process of revenue sharing that allows merchants to duplicate sales efforts by enlisting other web sites as a type of outside sales force. Successful affiliate marketing programs result in the merchant attracting additional buyers, and the affiliate earning the equivalent of a referral fee, based on click-through referrals to the merchant site.
Algorithm – A set of rules that a search engine uses to rank listings in response to a query. Search engines guard their algorithms closely, as they are the unique formulas used to determine relevancy. Algorithms are sometimes referred to as the ”secret sauce.”
Bid – The maximum amount of money that an advertiser is willing to pay each time a searcher clicks on an ad. Bid prices can vary widely depending on competition from other advertisers and keyword popularity.
Blogs – A truncated form for “web log.” A blog is a frequently updated journal that is intended for general public consumption. They usually represent the personality of the author or web site.
CPA – Acronym for Cost Per Acquisition (sometimes called Cost Per Action), which is the total cost of an ad campaign divided by the number of conversions. For example, if a campaign cost $100 and resulted in 5 conversions, the CPA is $20 ($100 / 5). It cost $20 to generate one conversion.
CPC – Acronym for Cost Per Click, or the amount search engines charge advertisers for every click that sends a searcher to the advertiser’s web site. For an advertiser, CPC is the total cost for each click-through received when its ad is clicked on.
CPM or “Cost Per Thousand” – A unit of measure typically assigned to the cost of displaying an ad. If an ad appears on a web page 1,000 times and costs $5, then the CPM would be $5. In this instance, every 1,000 times an ad appeared, it would incur a charge of $5.
CTR – Acronym for Click-Through Rate, the number of clicks that an ad gets, divided by the total number of times that ad is displayed or served. (Represented as: total clicks / total impressions for a specific ad = CTR). For example, if an ad has 100 impressions and 6 clicks, the CTR is 6%. The higher the CTR, the more visitors your site is receiving; CTR also factors into you advertiser search engine Quality Score and, therefore, your minimum keyword bids on Tier I engines.
Competitive Analysis – As used in SEO, CA is the assessment and analysis of strengths and weaknesses of competing web sites, including identifying traffic patterns, major traffic sources, and keyword selection.
Contextual Search – A search that analyzes the page being viewed by a user and gives a list of related search results. Offered by Yahoo! and Google.
Conversion Rate - Conversion rates are measurements that determine how many of your prospects perform the prescribed or desired action step. If your prescribed response is for a visitor to sign up for a newsletter, and you had 100 visitors and 1 newsletter signup, then your conversion rate would be 1%. Typically, micro-conversions (for instance, reading different pages on your site) lead to your main conversion step (making a purchase, or signing up for a service).
Crawler - Also known as a bot and spider, a crawler is a program that search engines use to seek out information on the web. The act of “crawling” on a web site is referred to when the crawler begins to search through documents contained within the web site.
Display URL – The web page URL that one actually sees in a PPC text ad. Display URL usually appears as the last line in the ad; it may be a simplified path for the longer actual URL, which is not visible.
Doorway Page – A web page specifically created in order to obtain rankings within the natural listings of a search engine. These pages generally are filled with keywords and are meant to funnel surfers into the main web site. This practice is generally considered an outdated spam tactic. This term is not to be confused with a “landing page.”
Editorial Review Process – A review process for potential advertiser listings conducted by search engines, which check to ensure relevancy and compliance with the engine’s editorial policy. This process could be automated – using a spider to crawl ads – or it could be human editorial ad review. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. Not all PPC Search Engines review listings.
Geo-Targeting – The geographic location of the searcher. Geo-targeting allows you to specify where your ads will or won’t be shown based on the searcher’s location, enabling more localized and personalized results.
Impression – One view or display of an ad. Ad reports list total impressions per ad, which tells you the number of times your ad was served by the search engine when searchers entered your keywords (or viewed a content page containing your keywords).
Index – A search engine’s “index” refers to the amount of documents found by a search engines crawler on the web.
Keyword / Keyword Phrase – A specific word or combination of words that a searcher might type into a search field. Includes generic, category keywords; industry-specific terms; product brands; common misspellings and expanded variations, or multiple words. All might be entered as a search query. For example, someone looking to buy coffee mugs might use the keyword phrase “ceramic coffee mugs.” Also, keywords – which trigger ad network and contextual network ad serves – are the auction components on which PPC advertisers bid for all Ad Groups/Orders and campaigns.
Landing Page / Destination Page – The web page at which a searcher arrives after clicking on an ad. When creating a PPC ad, the advertiser displays a URL (and specifies the exact page URL in the code) on which the searcher will land after clicking on an ad in the SERP. Landing pages are also known as “where the deal is closed,” as it is landing page actions that determine an advertiser’s conversion rate success.
Link Popularity – Link popularity generally refers to the total number of links pointing to any particular URL. There are typically two types of link popularity: Internal and External. Internal link popularity typically refers to the number of links or pages within a web site that link to a specific URL. External link popularity refers to the number of inbound links from external web sites that are pointing to a specific URL. If you have more “links” than your competitors, you are typically known to have link cardinality or link superiority.
Meta Tags: Information placed in a web page not intended for users to see but instead which typically passes information to search engine crawlers, browser software and some other applications.
Minimum Bid – The least amount that an advertiser can bid for a keyword or keyword phrase and still be active on the search ad network. This amount can range from $0.01 to $0.50 (or more for highly competitive keywords), and are set by the search engine.
Organic Search Listings - Listings that search engines do not sell (unlike paid listings). Instead, sites appear solely because a search engine has deemed it editorially important for them to be included, regardless of payment. Paid Inclusion Content is also often considered "organic" even though it is paid for. This is because paid inclusion content usually appears intermixed with unpaid organic results.
PageRank (PR) – PR is the Google technology developed at Stanford University for placing importance on pages and web sites. At one point, PageRank (PR) was a major factor in rankings. Today it is one of hundreds of factors in the algorithm that determines a page’s rankings.
Paid Inclusion – Refers to the process of paying a fee to a search engine in order to be included in that search engine or directory. Also known as “guaranteed inclusion.” Paid inclusion does not impact rankings of a web page; it merely guarantees that the web page itself will be included in the index. These programs were typically used by web sites that were not being fully crawled or were incapable of being crawled, due to dynamic URL structures, frames, etc.
PPC Advertising – Acronym for Pay-Per-Click Advertising, a model of online advertising in which advertisers pay only for each click on their ads that directs searchers to a specified landing page on the advertiser’s web site. PPC ads may get thousands of impressions (views or serves of the ad); but, unlike more traditional ad models billed on a CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions) basis, PPC advertisers only pay when their ad is clicked on. Charges per ad click-through are based on advertiser bids in hybrid ad space auctions and are influenced by competitor bids, competition for keywords and search engines’ proprietary quality measures of advertiser ad and landing page content.
Quality Score – A number assigned by Google to paid ads in a hybrid auction that, together with maximum CPC, determines each ad’s rank and position. Quality Scores reflect an ad’s historical CTR, keyword relevance, landing page relevance, and other factors proprietary to Google. Yahoo! refers to the Quality Score as a Quality Index. And both Google and Yahoo! display 3- or 5-step indicators of quality evaluations for individual advertisers.
ROAS – Acronym for Return On Advertising Spending, the profit generated by ad campaign conversions per dollar spent on advertising expenses. Calculated by dividing advertising-driven profit by ad spending.
ROI – Acronym for Return On Investment, the amount of money you make on your ads compared to the amount of money you spend on your ads. For example, if you spend $100 on PPC ads and make $150 from those ads, then your ROI would be 50%. (Calculated as: ($150 - $100) / 100 = $50 / 100 = 50%.) The higher your ROI, the more successful your advertising, although some practitioners in search advertising consider ROAS a more useful metric, as it breaks down cost and expenses by conversions per advertising dollar spent.
RSS Feeds – Real simple syndication (RSS) is a relatively new and 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.
Revshare / Revenue Sharing – A method of allocating per-click revenue to a site publisher (affiliate), and click-through charges to a search engine that distributes paid-ads to its context network partners, for every page viewer who clicks on the content site’s sponsored ads.
Robots.txt - A text file present in the root directory of a website which is used to direct the activity of search engine crawlers. This file is typically used to tell a crawler which portions of the site should be crawled and which should not be crawled.
SEO – Acronym for “Search Engine Optimization.” This is the process of editing a web site’s content and code in order to improve visibility within one or more search engines.
Saturation (Search Engine Saturation) - A term relating to the number of URLs included from a specific web site in any given search engine. The higher the saturation level or number of pages indexed into a search engine, the higher the potential traffic levels and rankings.
Spam/Spamming – Spamming refers to a wide array of techniques used to “trick” the search engines. These tactics generally are against the guidelines put forth by the search engines. Tactics such as Hidden text, Doorway Pages, Content Duplication and Link Farming are but a few of many spam techniques employed over the years.
Title Tag - An HTML tag appearing in the "head" tag of a web page that contains the page title. The page title should be determined by the relevant contents of that specific web page. The contents of a title tag for a web page is generally displayed in a search engine result as a bold blue underlined hyperlink.
Tracking URL – A specially designed and/or unique URL created to track an action or conversion from paid advertising. The URL can include strings that will show what keyword was used, what match type was triggered, and what search engine delivered the visitor.
Traffic Analysis – The process of analyzing traffic to a web site to understand what visitors are searching for and what is driving traffic to a site.
Usability – This term refers to how "user friendly" a web site and its functions are. A site with good usability is a site that makes it easy for visitors to find the information they are looking for or to perform the action they desire. Bad usability is anything that causes confusion or problems for the user. For example, large Flash animations served to a visitor with a dial up connection causes poor usability. Easy, intuitive navigation and clear, informative text enhance usability.
*The above glossary of terms was compiled and edited by Website Advancement from multiple sources (SEMPO.org). Content used is copyrighted and remains property of its respective owners.