The Jargon Journal
The journal will be a living list. As new phrases or terms get coined, or as old ones get redefined, we will update this list to keep up with the ever changing language that is the Internet.
But let's start with two of the bigger bits of jargon in this industry - SEO and SEM.
The term SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When the term was first used is up for debate, but it is likely that the term dates from the late 90's. While the term SEO has lived on the practice of search optimization has changed dramatically about every two years. Simply put, as search engines get more powerful and "smarter" the practice of getting their attention must change to keep pace. There is a groundswell of sentiment to change the term to Visibility Optimization since it now includes Social Media, multi-media and so much more.
SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing, a term that describes using paid ad products in search. And just like SEO the practice of search marketing now exceeds its original scope. In fact, SEM also includes ad placement outside of search too. There are several payment models used in SEM but pay-per-click and pay-per-view (impression) are the main payment methods.
310 Redirect - An instruction on a website that redirects the request for one page address to another address. 301's are permanent redirects and are often used to detour incoming links from old or discontinued web pages to new or updated web page addresses.
Moving a website from one platform to another will often require that all old page addresses be 301 redirected to the new page addresses. For example, moving an e-commerce website from a Zen Cart platform to a Magento platform. Each platform creates page addresses in a different format so old links off the site won't find the new page locations without a redirect.
404 - This is an 'Address Unknown' error encountered when a web address is entered incorrectly or when a hyperlink's target page has been removed. 404 errors caused by discontinued or moved pages will drop from the engine's index after a period of time, but a long list of 404 errors can indicate a problem with a website's structure and should be investigated. Google's Webmaster Tools can help a site owner discover all the 404 errors on their site.
adCenter - The Bing and Yahoo search marketing property. adCenter is the tool used to manage search marketing in both Yahoo and Bing search.
AdWords - Google's search marketing property. AdWords is both a tool and a system. AdWords is the name of the online interface used to manage a Google search marketing account. AdWords is also the name used to describe the universe of search marketing within Google.
Bounce - A term used to describe an event where a visitor arrives onto a site at a single web page and leaves from that same page without viewing any other page on the site. The Bounce Rate can be a measure of how engaging a web page is to a visitor. (Bounce Rate = Visitors who bounce / Visitors who view another page.) Be aware that a visitor who is logged as a bounce will also show zero time on the site - even if they spent up to 29 minutes fully engaged with the page's content! (See also Time On Site)
CPC - Cost Per Click, an alternate term for PPC (Pay Per Click), describes a billing method used in search marketing.
CSE - Comparison Shopping Engine. A CSE is a web property that accepts product listings from qualified merchants and displays them in a shopping or store format. The Find, Google Shopping, NexTag are all examples of CSE's. Using a shopping engine requires knowledge of RSS feeds or delimited product file conversion. Many shopping engines charge a percentage of each sale as a fee.
Within Google's search results we often find a row of product images with prices and links. Or we see a map of 'retailers in your area' dotted with location markers. This information is populated by Google from the feeds supplied to their shopping engine. Using the Google Shopping feature and Google's Places property are the only means to be featured in these results.
A word of caution regarding CSE's: Comparison shopping engines are all about price. You must be prepared (and willing) to be price competitive or a CSE listing is just an expensive way to not sell your stuff.
Click Trough Rate - (CTR) A measure of how often a search ad was clicked compared to the number of times it was displayed. 50 clicks on 100 displays equals a CTR or 50%. CTR is always expressed as a percentage.
Content - Literally the content of a web page. Content can be images, text or video. Content can include hyperlinks to other web pages or websites. Content is the point of search engines - delivering the correct and relevant content to a search user.
Conversion - Conversion describes the desired action to be taken by a user, customer, client or prospect that achieves a goal. A marketing plan is designed around achieving conversions. A conversion can be a purchase, a subscription to a newsletter, a donation, or any other action taken that is deemed to be valuable. Most websites will track a single action as a conversion while others may track several conversions with differing values assigned to each.
Conversion Rate - In search marketing a conversion rate measures the number of times an ad is clicked versus the number of conversions those clicks achieve. 100 ad clicks that resulted in 3 conversions equals a 3% conversion rate. Websites also measure conversion rates under such categories as: organic search users, direct visitors, referral visitors and so on.
Conversion rate standards vary by industry and organization. For example, a 3% conversion rate is good for a consumer electronics search ad campaign while the same 3% conversion rate could be considered terrible for a non-profit's newsletter sign-up campaign.
Crawler / Crawling - Search engines use automated programs to discover and catalog the content of websites. This process is called crawling and the automated program is called a crawler, bot or spider. Sites that have been crawled and their contents added to the search engine's catalog have been 'Indexed'.
e-Newsletter Marketing - e-Newsletters bridge the gap between connecting socially and delivering a marketing message. e-Newsletters are most often used to keep existing clients engaged while encouraging new subscribers / prospects to cross the line and become clients. A good e-Newsletter program will offer content and links that support the social component of an organization's outreach and provide timely announcements of new services, products or offers.
Because e-Newsletter recipients must opt in to a subscription it may be assumed that they have qualified themselves as interested in the products, services or message of the e-Newsletter owner. Therefore many businesses consider subscribers as having moved from prospect status to lead status.
Impressions - In search marketing, Impressions is the metric that reports how many times an ad was displayed to searchers.
In-Bound Marketing - Refers to a marketing concept based largely on search optimization and on-site conversion optimization. While paid search advertising (PPC, SEM) isn't precluded, the emphasis is on attracting visitors through search engines using high quality content. The in-bound paradigm is one of pulling visitors in with desirable and linkable content rather than pushing as with advertising. Emphasis is focused on the site's ability to 'close the deal'.
Indexed - After a website has been discovered by the search engine all or a portion of its content is added to the engine's catalog. The site's contents have been 'Indexed'. The search engine compares search user's keywords to it's extensive index of websites and pages to offer up the most relevant search results.
KPI - Key Performance Indicators. A collection of metrics that indicate the health of an endevour. In search optimization a KPI could be growth in new versus returning visitors. For search marketing return on investment is a great example of a KPI. It is important that an agreed upon set of KPI measures is understood by all parties involved in a project. There should also be flexibility to add or alter KPI's as goals and targets shift.
Keyword - The term keyword or keywords describes the words entered into a search engine to initiate a search. Keywords can be a single word or a string of words: baselball, baseball bat, professional baseball bat. Keywords are used in many ways beyond initiating a search. Websites include keywords in their text that the owner believes will help search engines match their site to user's queries. Search advertisers research keywords that are relevant to the products or services that they promote and place their advertising bids directly on these keywords.
Local Targeting - The practice of focusing SEO / SEM efforts within a localized geography. The geography is termed as 'local' even out to a statewide or multi-state region. The typical geography range is between 20 and 100 miles of the enterprise physical address.
By restricting the territory of an SEM campaign we target a smaller and more affordable audience. This smaller audience is also well within the enterprise's reach of travel - a big consideration for any brick and mortar business. With SEM we are able to set physical boundaries that define where our ads are shown.
By optimizing for localized search terms in SEO we eliminate the generalized terms that would reach a national audience. Consider that 'car insurance' returns 492 million results while 'car insurance cedar rapids' returns only 1 million results. Which mountain of results would you rather climb to get to the top? Further, today's search user is more likely to add a geographic term to their search in order to find results that can benefit them in their location.
Meta-Tag - A meta-tag is a special HTML tag used to provide search engines information about a website. Unlike normal HTML tags, a meta-tag doesn't affect the way a webpage is displayed. Meta-tags can inform search engines about who owns a webpage, the language the page is created in, even a description paragraph that can be used in search display.
Organic Search Results - Organic results are non-paid results on search results pages. Organic results are those discovered by search engine through crawling websites. Organic results are delivered by comparing the search user's search keywords to the website's content and finding best matches.
PPC - Pay Per Click is a term used to describe a billing method in search marketing. Alternately used, CPC or Cost Per Click means the same thing.
PPV - In search marketing, Pay Per View is a payment model offered in affiliate, off-search advertising. The advertiser bids a dollar amount based on how much they will pay per thousand impressions.
PageRank - A whole number between zero and 10 assigned to a web page by Google which ranks the page's authority. Authority is ranked by the number of incoming links from other relevant web properties.
PageRank is named after Larry Page, a co-founder of Google. Panda Slap - A punishment meted out by the Google Panda search algorithm. Panda is a Google search update issued in 2011 that among other things selectively ignores duplicate content found on multiple websites when ranking a page. As a result, when Panda went live many sites that had posted a lot of duplicate content on the web had their rankings reduced - they were Panda Slapped.
Penguin Peck - Penguin was an update applied to the Google search algorithm in April 2012. A goal of the update was to help reduce the amount of bad results returned in Google Search. Websites that didn't follow Google's Webmaster Guidelines and practiced 'Black hat' tactics such as keyword stuffing, cloaking and link building schemes had their site rankings greatly reduced or were even de-listed. Affected sites that had their rankings reduced or were de-listed were referred to as having received a 'Penguin Peck'.
QR Code - Those odd, square computer codes used by smart phones, a contraction of Quick Response Code. QR Codes are very useful in closing the loop between printed and electronic media. A QR Code in print can be scanned by the camera of a smart phone, tablet or other internet device to: download a coupon, jump the browser to a website, add contact information to the device's contact list, or even initiate an SMS reply.
ROE - Return On Engagement. A measurement used to express the value of contacts made toward achieving a conversion. While there can be methods to capture and measure serial engagements across several marketing channels there will always be a high degree of uncertainty in the results. ROE should be discussed as a concept, but we believe that it is a poor metric to use in judging the success of a marketing plan. (a.k.a Return on Conversation, Return on Influence)
ROI - Return On Investment. A formula that indicates the profitability of an investment. As used in marketing, ROI measures the return on advertising costs. The basic formula is (Revenue - Costs)/ Costs=ROI. ($100 revenue - $50 costs)/ $50= 100% return on investment. To be accurate, cost should include any time costs and management fees invested into the campaign in addition to media placement and production costs.
SEM - Search Engine Marketing, an umbrella term used to encompass marketing and advertising efforts keyed around search engine use and results plus ad placement on websites.
SEO - Search Engine Optimization. The process that includes making a website more attractive to search engines to increase the site's placement in search engine results. Where SEM concentrates on motivating the search user, SEO instead 'motivates' the search engine for better results placement in order to reach the search user.
SERP - The acronym for 'Search Engine Results Page'. Any search query generates one or more SERP's.
Social Media - A really big umbrella term that describes everything from blogs and video sites to Facebook, Twitter and Google +. Where SEM is about gaining conversions and SEO is about climbing to the top of organic search results, social media is about engagement and conversation. Social media generates word of mouth recommendations from its audience.
Word of mouth can be a direct recommendation or the sharing of a link back to a site. Word of mouth is a 'Like', a '1+', or a 'Retweet'. (See also e-Newsletter Marketing.)
Time on Site - Measures the time a visitor spends on a website. Often used as an indication of visitor engagement with the site's content. Time on site is measured with a cookie that the user's browser accepts when the page is loaded. Please be aware that time is arrived at by subtracting the start time of the first page visited from the start time of the next page visited. The time spent on any page that a user exits from will not be a part of the Time on Site report since there is no beginning time stamp from a next page.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator) - Also known as a web address. A URL is a specific text string used to reference a resource online. The resource can be a website, a PDF document, or any other content that can be reached through a web browser.
Visibility Management - A proposed name to replace Search Engine Optimization. Intended to encompass all current practices for traffic building including Social Media, Content Marketing, Guest Blogging, and traditional SEO practices.