In Digital marketing 101

A-Z Guide To Digital Marketing Definitions and Phrases

digital marketing definitions

There are so many digital marketing definitions and so much jargon thrown about, so I’ve put together the ultimate list of digital marketing definitions!


A/B Testing: is a marketing method of testing two variables, A and B, to determine which version is the most effective. This is often used when testing the effectiveness of two different webpage layouts.

Affiliate Marketing: This is when there is an agreement between a merchant and a publisher (affiliate). The affiliate drives traffic to the merchant’s website through content or ads on their own website. If this traffic converts, usually into a purchase, the affiliate will receive a commission.

Algorithm: A set of factors within a programme that the different search engines use to determine the organic ranking position of websites on the result pages.

Alt Text: This is alternative text that is added to the HTML tag of an image. This text will be displayed in situations where images will not load or cannot be displayed.

Analytics: is the collection, measurement and analysis of online data through a software or programme.

Anchor Text: is the clickable text, within a webpage or document, which contains a hyperlink and directs you to another page or information source.


B2B: Business to Business sales of products or services.

B2C: Business to Consumer sales of products or services.

Backlinks: Also known as a ‘Links’ or ‘Inbound Links’, are incoming links to a website or webpage from another site.

Bing: is Microsoft’s search engine.

Black Hat (SEO): Black Hat SEO refers to the use of aggressive or unethical tactics which are not in keeping with search engine guidelines. This is often a short term solution which can result in your website being punished or banned.

Blog: A blog is a platform for publishing frequent content on a website or a dedicated blog. ‘Blogging’ has become an important part of online marketing.

Bounce Rate: is the percentage of visitors who arrive on a website and exit without navigating to any other pages on the site.

Branding: is the process of creating a name and image or logo for a product, service or business which will be uniquely identifiable.

Broken Link: A broken link is a hyperlink which leads you to a webpage that is not in operation, not working properly or not as described.


Call-To-Action: A CTA is a button, slider, graphic, form or text that encourages a person to carry out a particular action.

Captcha: is an abbreviation for ‘Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart’ or a mini test which usually involves a website user having to retype some oddly written words or letters from an image.

Citation: An online citation is a reference to a business, product, service or an information source. This can be used for local optimisation purposes.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR): This is the number of people who click on a specific link on an email, webpage or online advertisement.

Conversion Rate: The percentage of visitors to a website who complete a desired action, such as a purchase.

Content Creation: This is the process of writing content to be used on your website pages such as your blog, product descriptions, services, company information etc.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC): The cost of a click through on an online ad.


Deep Link: A link to a webpage that is not the site’s homepage.

Directory: A web directory is a website that has a categorized list of sites. It is only advisable to add your website to reputable local and international directories.

Disavow Tool: This is a tool by Google which allows Webmasters to apply to have ‘spammy’ links from external websites removed and not counted towards their ranking.

Domain Name: A Domain is a specific address of a website on the World Wide Web. This is often referred to as a URL.

Duplicate Content: Publishing content that is already published on the internet becomes duplicate content.


E-Book: A digital or electronic version of a book which is downloadable from a website. These may be mainstream books/novels or short books customized by a business for their existing or potential clients.

E-Commerce: Electronic Commerce is the process of conducting business on the Internet.

Email Marketing: is a direct digital marketing method, which uses e-mail to contact a database of contacts.

Engagement: This generally refers to online conversation and engagement between a business and their consumers through social media platforms, blogs, forums etc.

Exact Match Domain (EMD):  An EMD is a domain name that matches exactly what that website does. Example – 

Ezine: An electronic magazine which is made available online or sent out via email.


Favicon: Short for ‘Favourite icon’ a favicon, also known as bookmark icon or shortcut icon, is a small image or graphic associated with a website. This image will usually be displayed in the web browser’s address bar, the website’s title tab and beside the site name in bookmarks.

Follow Links: Do Follow links send the link juice to the URL in the particular hyperlink. Followed links are links that do not contain rel=nofollow.

Footer Links: These are links that appear on a website’s footer, which is generally located at the bottom of every page on a site. Footer links are no longer considered important for SEO purposes but are still used in order to provide visitors with links to relevant information.

Fold (Above the): ‘Above the fold’ refers to the area of a webpage that can be seen when you arrive on a website and without having to scroll down. Any portion underneath this section is referred to as ‘below the fold’. 


Geo-targeting: This is a method of identifying the geographic location of a website visitor and providing them with content based on their location.

Google: As well as being the largest search engine in the world, Google also offers a wide range of Internet related products and services.

Guest Posting: Also known as Guest Blogging. This is where an author, blogger or expert will write a guest blog post to be published on another person’s website or blog. This is often done in return for a link, which may be included in the featured content or in an author bio, and can be a good source of traffic for your own website.


Hashtags (#): are regularly used on social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook to associate a tweet or post with a particular topic or event and are also used to create trends.

Heat Map: A heat map allows website owners and webmasters to see exactly how visitors interact and navigate on their site’s webpages (or emails) through visualisation. With heat maps, webpage interaction will be represented by areas of colour, for example hot red highlighting the areas of most interaction and a cold blue highlighting the areas of least interaction.

Homepage: This is the main or front webpage of a website.

Hosting: Web hosting is a service that allows people and businesses to have their website accessible on the internet at all times. Web host companies offer space on servers through a wide variety of hosting packages.

HTML: Hypertext Markup Language is a language made up of symbols and codes used for creating webpages and web based information.

Hyperlink: Clickable links located within a webpage or document which will direct you to another section of the document or website or to a completely different location.


Impressions: The number of times an online advertisement or webpage is displayed, regardless of whether or not it is clicked on.

Inbound Marketing: is a strategy to increase your websites visibility online by using a variety of techniques such as SEO, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Blogging.

Internal Link: is a link from one page on a website to another page still inside the site. Example – Link from Blog Post to Services Page

Infographic: An Infographic is a visual interpretation of data; it usually contains images, graphs and statistics.


Juice: or Link Juice is the term used to describe the benefit received from a link. This Link Juice is what can help improve search rankings; remember to include internal links to spread link juice around your whole site.

JavaScript: is a scripting language that web developers use to create a more interactive website.


Keyword: is a word or phrase you are targeting for SEO purposes

Keyword Research: is the research done to find out what keywords could be targeted that will benefit your website in terms of traffic gains and sales.


Landing page: is a specifically designed page where traffic is sent to prompt an action from the user.

Leads: a Lead is a person who completes a Call-To-Action on your website. Example – Fills in Contact Form

Link Bait: is content that is specifically designed to attract natural links. Example – Infographic

Link Building: is the earning of external links pointing to your website.

Link Profile: is the group of sites that link to your site.

Local Search: is the set of results in which search engines show users based on their location. Examples – Google Places

Local Optimisation: involves optimising your local page to get found within local searches. Example – Citations.  

Load Time: refers to the amount of time it takes for a webpage to open.


M-Commerce: Mobile-Commerce is the process of conducting business through mobile websites or applications.

Meta Tag: is a HTML element that provides structure data about a webpage in the form of keywords

Meta Description: is the description that appears about a webpage in the SERPS. The Meta Description generally describes what is on the page and sometimes uses keywords.


Natural Search Results: This is the set of results you can influence organically and is usually located after the Paid Ad section in a search engine.

No Follow Link: This is a link from a website to your website that includes a small piece of code rel=nofollow. Most links are Dofollow links, however some sites still only give Nofollow links.


Onsite Optimisation: involves making sure that each SEO aspect of your site is correct. Example – Title Tags, Meta Tags, Alt Tags etc.

Online Visibility: is the amount of exposure and impressions a site is receiving online through search engines; this can be also known as keyword visibility.


PageRank: is a link analysis algorithm which assigns a numerical value to your website; this is based on both internal and external links. The theory is that the higher the PageRank the more authoritative a website is, however search engines are putting less emphasis on PageRank than they used to. (Note, this is now out of date and not used anymore.)

Panda: is an algorithm update Google released to punish websites with duplicate, thin and poor content.

Penguin: is an algorithm update released by Google to punish websites that have broken Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using Black Hat SEO Techniques. Example – Link Spam

PDF: Is a document format that is often used online as an eBook.

PPC: Pay Per Click is a form of advertising in which you pay every time a user clicks on your advertisement. Example – Google Adwords.


Query: A search query is the word or phrase that a user enters into a search bar. Example – Wedding Photo Book


Rankings: This is your website’s organic position in search engines. Rankings are usually based on keywords and can be a good indicator in tracking your SEO.

Responsive: This is in the design of your site and it means that your website can be viewed on all devices. Example – Tablets, iPhones and other smartphones.

Reviews: is when a person leaves a opinion or rating on your business through a review website. Example – Google Reviews, Yelp or Trip Advisor

Robots: is a web crawler that browses the web in an orderly fashion capturing information on webpages and indexing them.

ROI: Return On Investment is the Gain From Online Investment minus the Cost of Online Investment divided by Cost Of Online Investment. This will be expressed as a percentage and give you an accurate ROI for your online activities. 

RSS: Rich Site Summary is used to publish frequent blogs or news to a web feed of a particular user.


Search Engine: is a software system that is designed to search information on the Internet. Example – Bing & Google

SEO: Search Engine Optimisation is the process of climbing search rankings to increase traffic and sales. This is done through Link Building & Content Creation.

SEM: Search Engine Marketing is a form of Internet marketing that involves both SEO & PPC.

SERP’s: Search Engine Results Pages is a list of webpages returned by a search engines for a specific query.

Social Media: is the sharing and exchange of content between users on virtual communities. Example – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Google Plus

Spam: is sending the same message to the same person regardless of personalisation. This can be any action that is done constantly on the Internet. Example – Email & Link Spam

Sitemap: is a list of pages on your website that is accessible by robots and users.


Title Tag: is a HTML tag that is placed on a website which appears in the SERPs. It is also a form of onsite optimisation and must be no longer than 70 characters. Example – Dublin Hotel | City Centre Hotel | Cheap Hotel | Boutique Hotel 

TLDs: Top-Level Domains are the highest and best type of domain you can get. However there are strict guidelines to getting a TLD. Example .gov .edu

Toolbar: is a widget that is installed on your browser to help you find out information on a website. Example Alexa Toolbar for Traffic Indications and PageRank

Traffic: the amount of people who visit your website

Traffic Source: Is the different place where your website gets traffic from. Example Organic, Referral & Paid


URL: Uniform Resource Locator is a specific address of a website on the World Wide Web. This is often referred to as your websites Domain.

UX: User Experience is the positioning of different aspects of your website to make the site easier to user for your visitors. Example – ‘Buy Now’ Button Above The Fold


Video (Embedded): is a video clip that has been placed within the HTML code of your website. This will show up on your site for all visitors to see.

Vine: Is a social media platform that allows users to snap a 7 second video and post it to other social platforms. Each video should be optimised with the use of hashtags.

Viral Video: is a video that becomes extremely popular through sharing and liking on social media websites. Typically a viral video will get a huge amount of views in a short space of time.

Visitor: is a person who clicks onto your website

Vlog: is a blog that posts video content.

VOIP: Voice Over Internet Protocol is mainly used with applications like Skype & Viber to make call over the Internet.


Web Design: involves designing, creating and maintaining websites. The web designer will come up with the overall layout for the website whilst keeping user experience and aesthetics in mind.

Webmaster Tools: is a service provided by different search engines that allow a site owner to see exactly hat is happening with their site. The Webmaster tools will display your sitemap, robot.txt file, Internal & External links and any broken links your site might have. Example – Google & Bing Webmaster Tools.

Webpage: is a specific page on your website. Example –

White Hat SEO Techniques: is the use of natural link building tactics in conjunction with other ethical online marketing techniques. If these techniques are used, your business will thrive.

WordPress: is a very easy to use content management system. WordPress can be used to build a full website or just host a site’s blog.


XML: Extensible Markup Language is designed to transport and store data. XML was designed for its simplicity to provide easier usability over the Internet.


Yahoo!: is another search engine however today’s Yahoo’s search results are provided by Bing.


Zagat: Reviews & Guide for Hotels, Restaurants, Shopping, Nightlife etc. Zagat reviews and ratings are now becoming more integrated with Google. Also can be a good citation.

Follow me on Twitter. I’m much more fun than this list suggests!

This post originally appeared on the Brave Media blog and was written by my colleagues, Sean and Dave.

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