The ultimate digital marketing jargon buster

The ultimate digital marketing jargon buster

We always try our hardest to avoid using confusing technical terminology, and endeavour to explain everything in plain English. But there is just so much jargon out there that goes together with acronyms and abbreviations that can be difficult to make sense of if you’re not overly familiar with the web.

So below we’ve covered a whole bunch of words and phrases digital-marketing related to help eliminate the confusion.

You can even click here to download the list as a PDF - why not print it off and have it to hand at your desk?

As always if you have any questions or think we may have missed anything, let us know in the comments below!


Above the Fold – The portion of a webpage that you can see without needing to scroll down

AdSense – An ad-serving platform run by Google that allows businesses to display targeted text, video or image advertisements on external web pages. Revenue is generated on a per-click or per-impression basis.

Adobe Flash – This is used to play video/audio etc media on most devices. Although interestingly, Adobe are apparently phasing out their Flash Player plug in by 2020 due to the mobile device becoming bigger than ever imagined and slowly diminishing the need for Flash.

AdWords – Google’s advertising network that allows businesses to promote their websites above organic listings and in its product feeds; AdWords is Google’s #1 source of income.

Algorithm – The set of criteria used to rank websites in search results pages; this is often reffered to as “Google’s Search Algorithm”.

Analytics – The collection and analysis of online data. Usually when referring to ‘analytics’ we are speaking specifically about Google Analytics; a free platform that enables websites owners to collect information about the number of visitors to their website, the pages that were visited and so on. However there are a number of alternatives including Piwik and Kissmetrics.

Anchor Text – The clickable text of a hyper link. In this example “click here” is the anchor text.

ALT Tags – Alt tags (also known as ALT text) are textual alternatives to images. They are used by screen readers (browsers used by the visually impaired) to describe what an image looks like to those who cannot see them.

Authority – The overall authority or reputation of a website, based on a range of factors including site popularity, social media shares, backlinks and so on. The more popular a website it, the more authority it has.

Authority Link – Hyperlinks from authority sites with a substantial degree of trust. Authority links to your website can have a positive impact on your website’s PageRank. Poor quality links on the other hand will have an adverse affect.

Authority Site – An authority site is one of a very high quality that is well established and respected by knowledgeable people in its industry. An authority site earns the trust of its reader not only because it is packed with useful, good quality content, but also because of its fantastic user experience.


Backlink – A hyperlink on a website that links back to yours.

Below the Fold – The portion of a webpage that you cannot see until you scroll down.

Black Hat SEO – An aggressive form of SEO that uses unethical practices to manipulate search engine algorithms and drive traffic to websites. This is often done using automated tools and focuses more on the search engine than it does the end user.

Blog – An online space that is regularly updated with information and pieces of news.

Bounce Rate – The percentage of people that land on your website and then leave without visiting another page.

Breadcrumb navigation – This is a type of navigation that allows you to see exactly where you are on a website and how you got there. It basically shows you the parent pages of the page you’re on. For example Home > Features > iOS app. The term interestingly came from the Hansel and Gretel story, where they scattered breadcrumbs so they didn’t get lost.


Call to Action – Words or buttons that encourage the user to take some sort of action; for example “Sign up to our newsletter”.

Captcha – A security tool that aims to reduce spam by asking the user to type characters they see in an image or solve a simple math problem.


Captcha forms aim to reduce spam by asking the user to input a series of letters or numbers, or identify objects in an image



Click Through Rate (CTR) – The percentage of people that click on an advert/link compared to those who don’t; for example if your advert was seen 100 times but only clicked on 60 times, your click through rate would be 60%. It shows the success of an advert by calculating the number of clicks on the advert divided by the number of times it’s been shown. The higher the click rate, the more successful your advert.

Content Management System (CMS) – A system that enables a website owner to easily manage and publish content (including text, images and videos) on a website.

Conversion – When a user takes the desired action; this may be signing up to a newsletter, purchasing a product, or making an enquiry.

Conversion Rate – The percentage of people who took the desired action compared to those who didn’t. For example if 10 out of 20 visitors bought a product from your website, your conversion rate would be 50%.

Copywriting – The use of words to create compelling text on websites, print material, or marketing emails, usually with the intention of selling products or capturing the readers’ attention.

Cost per Click (CPC) – The price you pay for each click on your link or advert.

Cost per Mille (CPM) – The cost of 1,000 impressions (views) of your advert.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) – A style sheet language that describes how HTML elements (such as colours, layout and fonts) are displayed on screen, page, or in other media.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System – a piece of software that manages customer data and communications.


Domain Name – A unique string of numbers, letters, dashes and full-stops to identify a website, for example www.ma-design.biz/mad-for.aspx

Duplicate Content – Two webpages, either within the same website or not, that feature the exact (or very similar) pieces of content.


E-Book – A digital book that can be read using programmes like Adobe Reader (PDF) or on devices like the Amazon Kindle.

E-Commerce - 'Electronic Commerce’, which is the buying and selling of products or services over the internet.

Engagement – This is the activity that determines whether an online user will remain a user or ‘convert’ to being a loyal customer. This is often dependant on whether the brand is relatable and seems trustworthy to them. Engagement happens in many ways and this includes a visit, a follow, acknowledgment, converting and more.

External Link – A hyperlink that points to a webpage on a separate site/domain.


Footer – This ‘foots’ the bottom of a document. It may hold numbers or reference authors. In terms of webpage, the footer normally holds legal documents such as privacy policy etc, quick links, contact information and more.

Footprint – The amount of space that a piece of hardware or software occupies in memory.


Geo-targeting – This is personalising content on paid adverts and setting them so that they target specific geographic locations.

Google Bots – Software developed by Google to crawl the web and index it (often referred to as “spiders”.

Google Search Console (previously called Webmaster Tools) – A free service run by Google that allows webmasters to check the indexing status and visibility of their websites.


Hamburger navigation – A hamburger is a clever way of utilising space on your webpage by requiring the user to click the menu button before the main menu appears. It’s best utilised on mobile, where the screen size is a lot smaller and design is prioritised.

Header – As suggested by its name, this is found at the top of a page. In terms of a document, it usually holds a logo, or something which needs to been first. In terms of a page on a website, the header normally holds the logo, name of the business and a main menu to help navigate through the site.

Hyperlink – An element in an electronic document or web page that when clicked on takes the user to another location.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) – The language for describing the structure of a webpage, which allows webmasters to publish online documents with styled headings, tables, lists and photos, retrieve online information via hyperlinks, design forms for conducting transitions, and insert spread-sheets, sound-clips and other applications directly into a document or webpage.


Internet Marketing (IM) – Often referred to as “online” or “digital” marketing, internet marketing is the promotion of products or services as a business owner or affiliate over the internet.

Images optimised for output – Planning the format, quality, pixels (and more) of an image in order to allow byte savings and therefore improved positive performance on your website.

Impression – When a user views your advert or webpage. In advertising, impressions count even if the advert is below the fold of the screen and hasn’t actually been seen by the user.

Inbound Link – Also known as a “backlink”, an inbound link is a hyperlink that points to your website from another.

Indexing – When a website is ‘crawled’ by Google’s bots, information is collected and then stored (‘indexed’) in a database. This allows Google to look up and display your website when someone searches for something that might be relevant to it.

Internal Link – A hyperlink that points to a webpage on the same site/domain.

IP Address – The numerical address assigned to each computer on a network so that it can be distinguished from other computers.


Java – Java is a programming language expressly designed for use on the internet.


Keyword – A word/search term that is highly relevant to your product/service offering or industry.

Keyword Density – The percentage of text that is made up of keywords compared to generic text. For example if you have 100 words on your webpage and only 5 of those are your targeted keywords, you would have a keyword density of 5%.

Keyword Research – Investigating the words and phrases used by your target audience in Google, the number of times they were searched, their commercial intent and strength of competition.

Keyword Spamming/Stuffing – When a keyword or phrase is used excessively throughout a webpage to manipulate search engines and make the page appear more relevant to a search.


Landing Page – A targeted webpage that you intend the user to first arrive on.

Link – A hyperlink from one website or webpage to another.

Link Bait – A piece of content, for example a video that is created with the intent of encouraging people to share and generate backlinks to.


Meta Data – Also known as “Meta Tags”, Meta Data describes the content on a webpage or site and includes tags such as Meta Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords.

Meta Description – The description of a webpage that appears in search engine results pages.

Meta Keywords – Key words that relate to the content on a webpage. These are used by search engines to determine how relevant a web page is to a search query.


Meta data can be seen by Google users and is also crawled by Google's spiders and used for SEO purposes


Meta Title – The title of a webpage that appears in search engine results pages and in the browser’s search/task bar.

Mobile Friendly – This is a term associated with websites and how they display and work on a mobile device. A website needs to work well across all browsers and mobile devices and adapt to different size screens without distorting the content. The usability of a website needs to be as good as on a desktop to retain and hold users on the site.

Mobile Search – The execution of a web search on a mobile device.

Mobile Website – A condensed version of a full-sized, fully functioning website optimised for viewing on smaller devices such as mobile phone and tablets.


Natural Search Results/Listings – Also referred to as ‘organic’ search results, natural search results are the unpaid listings that are returned when someone completes a search. They are ranked against the search engine algorithm and by their relevancy to the term searched.

Navigation – The menu, usually placed across the top or to the right hand side of a webpage, that enables a user to click through to the various pages of the site.

NoFollow – a HTML tag that can be added to hyperlinks to tell Google not to give them any weight when calculating rankings.

NoIndex – A tag that can be used to tell Google not to index the current page. This is often done in the development stages of a web build project.


Offsite SEO – Search Engine Optimisation techniques that do not result in any direct changes being made to a website such as link building or social media optimisation.

Online Marketing - Often referred to as “internet” or “digital” marketing, online marketing is the promotion of products or services as a business owner or affiliate over the internet.

Onsite SEO – Search Engine Optimisation techniques that result in direct changes being made to a website. This is done with the intent of increasing the overall PageRank and Quality Score of a website, and can include creating content in the form of blog posts and adding ALT tags to images.

Organic Search Results/Listings – Also referred to as ‘natural’ search results, organic search results are the unpaid listings that are returned when someone completes a search. They are ranked against the search engine algorithm and by their relevancy to the term searched.

Outbound Link – An outbound link is a hyperlink that points from your website to another.


PageRank – A metric that Google uses to determine how reputable a website or webpage is, based on the incoming backlinks.

Page Title – The title of a web page (also known as a Meta Tag title).

Pay per Click (PPC) – Also known as Cost per Click (CPC), Pay per Click is an advertising model whereby you pay a fixed cost each time your advert is clicked on.

Pixel – This is the smallest proportion/way of measuring of an image (digitally). It is a unit.

Pixelation – When the number of pixels in an image are low, this causes the image to appear blurry and low quality.

Plugin – Sometimes referred to as a “Widget” or “Third Party Contribution”, a plugin is a piece of software code that enables an application or browser to process special types of content. Some of the more common plugins include Flash, Silverlight and Java.


Reach – The number of unique web users who have seen a website or piece of content.

(Page) Real Estate – The portion of visible space on a web page.

Return on Investment (ROI) – The percentage of profit made above the initial investment. For example, if you invested £200 on your AdWords Campaign and earnt £400 back, you would have made a 100% return on investment.

Redirect – When you redirect a user from one webpage to another – this is usually done at the beginning of a site rebuild, where there is an existing website with URLs that need to be redirected to the new one.

Resolution (of an image) – This is the quality of the image, or the detail that it has. The larger the resolution, the more detail.

Robots.txt – A text file that is placed on a website to give instructions for bots/spiders crawling your website.


Search Engine – A program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to the keywords or characters specified by a user.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Using search engines to market to your target audience, for example through paid methods such as Google AdWords (PPC).

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Optimising your website both on and offsite to gain higher rankings in the search engine’s organic listings.

Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) – The page of results generated by a search engine when a search query is made.

Social Media – A website or application that is used for social networking, for example Facebook or Twitter.

Social Media Marketing – The use of social media channels to market to and communicate with your target audience.

Social Share – When a user shares and creates links to your website via a social media channel like Facebook or Twitter.

Spider – A piece of software that crawls the internet to index data.

Split Testing – Testing different landing pages or emails to see which performs better. This can be measured using click through and conversion rates.

Stickiness of a website – The stickier your website, the better. Website stickiness factors are the things that increase the time a user remains browsing onsite and keeps them coming back.

Stock imagery – These are images on a website that are either free or for purchase with no royalties, allowing their use commercially. Some sites for free images that you can use for your website are Pixabay, Pexels and Free Images.


Target Audience – A consumer segment that may be interested in your products or services.

Tier – The levels within a website’s navigation structure. For example, pages that appear as dropdowns beneath the main menu (Tier 1) are part of the second tier navigation.

Traffic – Visitors to your website


Uniform Resource Locator (URL) – The unique string of numbers, letters, dashes and full-stops to identify a web page on the internet.

Unique Visitor – A unique visitor is someone who is entering a website for the first time that day – a visitor who returns to a website within the same day is not counted twice.

User Experience (UX) – An approach to website design that focuses on the usability and accessibility of a website.

User Interface (UI) – An approach to website design that focuses on maximising the user experience to make interactions as simple and efficient as possible.


Web Browser – The application that you use to access the internet. For example, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari.

Web Hosting – The provision of storage space for websites which makes them accessible via the internet.

Webmaster – Somebody who owns a website.

Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console) – A free service run by Google that allows webmasters to check the indexing status and visibility of their websites.

Web norms – This describes the standard expectations of usability. For example a website vistitor would expect to see navigation, content, images etc.

Website – A collection of pages and services on the internet under the same domain name.

White Hat SEO – An approach to Search Engine Optimisation which focuses on using ethical practices to increase a website’s ranking in search engines.



Digital marketing, Jargon buster, Online marketing




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