Search marketing jargon buster

A quick guide to popular search marketing terms

Feeling a little lost in the sea of search marketing acronyms and jargon?  Don't worry, you're not alone.

Below is a straight-talking guide to 17 of the most often used terms in search marketing:

Paid Search (Google Adwords) terms

  • SEM: aka Search Engine Marketing i.e. all the tactics you use online to entice customers to visit your site.

  • PPC: Generally mentioned as part of the phrase ‘PPC Marketing’ or ‘PPC Advertising’. The letters stand for ‘Pay-per-click’, which is the most commonly used billing option when you advertise through Google Adwords.

  • CPC: Stands for cost-per-click. This is the amount you pay each time someone ‘clicks’ your ad and will vary depending on how popular the search terms that you pay for are with other advertisers. The lower your CPC is, the better.

  • Impressions: The number of times your web page has been visited; or when used in paid search, the number of times your ad has appeared in the search results.
  • CPI: Means cost-per-impression, another method of payment for search engine marketing. Instead of paying per click, you can choose to pay for the number of impressions your page receives. Unless your marketing goal is brand awareness, CPC is generally a better payment options than CPI because you only pay for actual clicks to your website, instead of the number of times your ad is displayed.

  • CTR: This stands for click-through-rate, a metric you can use to measure the success of your online advertising campaign. Given as a percentage score, it's measured by the number of clicks you received for your ad, divided by the number of times the ad showed up in the search results.

 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) terms

  • Keywords/Key-phrases; The words and phrases your potential customers are most likely to use when searching for your products and, therefore, the ones you need to target.
  • Keyword density: The amount of times your target keywords are woven into your website pages. As a rough guide, aim for somewhere between 2 - 5% of your words to be keywords or phrases. Don't overuse these words or search engines could penalise you for trying to rort the system by pushing your website low in the search results.
  • Optimise: To ‘optimise’ your website is to use SEO techniques that help your site/page rank highly in organic search results.

  • Black-hat SEO: A frowned upon practice of using unethical techniques to make your website rank highly in search engine results pages. Don't risk it or you could find your website banished to the cellar of search results forever!

  • Inbound links: The number of links on other websites that point back to pages on your website. The more you have, the more ‘important and relevant’ Google deems your site to be, and therefore the higher it will rank.

  • Bounce rate: The percentage of times people visit your webpage and then leave without clicking through to any other pages. The lower your bounce rate, the better.

  • Conversion rate: A good measure of how successful your website is. If you sell a product, the conversion rate shows the amount of visitors who go from casually viewing your wares, to actually buying your product. If you sell a service, you can measure your conversion rate by the number of visitors who decide to fill in contact, call from the site, etc.

  • SERP: Literally, the SERP is the Search Engine Results Page... i.e. what Google spits out when you type in a search query!


Other tricky terms you might run into

  • CMS: Content Management System, or the part of your website you use to add/delete and amend the content on your web-pages. Currently Wordpress is the number 1 CMS in the world because it's so easy to use, especially for web newbies.

  • SMO: Stands for Social Media Optimisation (also known as SMM aka Social Media Marketing). Just means anything related to marketing your website using popular social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.

  • EDM: Stands for Email Direct Marketing. Also known as Electronic Direct Marketing. Means marketing campaigns via email to entice customers to visit your website, call, buy, attend an event, etc. You can create EDM’s for different target audiences (e.g. returning customers, new customers, varying needs, etc). Very cost effective and easy to track how well they work.

So there you have it, 17 search terms demystified to keep you on track with your online marketing goals - and in the know when speaking to a fancy talking web specialist.

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