A Simple Digital Marketing Glossary

By Christina

Oct 18, 2016

There is a lot of jargon used on the web, especially in the world of digital marketing.  This guide from Passion Digital explains both some of the more commonplace as well as some of the more technical terms you may see. 

Head over to Passion Digital to see the original content. 


There is a lot of jargon used on the web, especially in the world of digital marketing. 

This guide explains some of the more commonplace as well as some of the more technical terms you may see.

Pretty much the same as the old real world directories such as Yellow Pages.  It's a website which has links to other websites, it is created by humans and the companies who wish to be listed are checked before a link is approved.

Hyper-Text Mark-up Language is the code that the World Wide Web is written with. 


Search Engine Results Pages.  This is the page that is displayed when you search with a search engine.  It will have a list of results relevant to your search, as well as PPC adverts.

These are the results of a web search that have not been paid for (PPC).  The websites listed are there because they are popular and/or trustworthy without being influenced by paid advertising.

A file that says to a search engine WebCrawler "do not search me!" Placing a file named robots.txt in the main directory of a website allows the webmaster to block all WebCrawlers from accessing the page, therefore stop a website appearing in results of search engines.

(Sometimes called a bot, robot or spider) Search engines work by indexing all available web pages and scoring them based on a number of factors to gauge their trustworthiness or popularity.  Web Crawlers are automatic routines that travel the web using links and carry out evaluations of each individual website.

Stands for Page Rank, and is usually seen accompanied by a number i.e.  'PR6'.  It is a score of how trustworthy a particular site is as ranked by Google.  A score of 10 is the highest while a score of 0 or N/A is the worst.  A website will be evaluated against similar websites that have similar keywords to judge how well it will do in the search results.

Part of the code for a link may include a 'rel' signifier, which is short for relation.  It tells a Web Crawler something about the link, and is used to fine tune certain aspects of SEO.  There are two terms frequently used:

A normal link to another website counts as a 'vote' in that websites favour, a 'nofollow' command stops Google and most other search engines from counting a vote, although the Web Crawler will still follow the link to the next website.

If there are multiple versions of similar pages, the canonical rel tag tells the Web Crawler that the page linked is the definitive version.

Search engines evaluate the trustworthiness of a website based on how many links point to that website.  The better quality a website is the more trustworthy it will be, ideally other websites want links from these good sites.  If all links into a website are from good quality, trustworthy websites then Google considers the site being linked to is also trustworthy.  All these websites that link to each other are part of the websites link neighbourhood.

The newer the links into your website the better.  Older links tend to decrease in power over time.  Therefore it is necessary to work towards getting new, fresh links.


This is were two things are tested against each other.  It could be two website pages, one in pink and one in blue.  The pages would appear in the search results an equal amount of times and the test would be to see which colour was preferred by the visitor.

Saying a website got X many hits is saying how many people visited that website.

An impression is simply someone seeing an advert.  They may not click on it or buy anything.

The process by which you increase the amount of links to your website.  It can involve creating newsworthy content, creating a blog, asking clients or suppliers to link to your website, plus many other techniques.

A webpage with great, interesting content that people will share with others.

Conversion Rate Optimisation.  The conversion rate is how many people go from just browsing to making a purchase, or becoming a customer. 

Pay Per Click.  Within the search engine results page you have an organic section and a paid section.  Websites pay to appear within the paid section, often found at the top, bottom and right hand side of the results page.  The company who own the website only pay for the ad if someone clicks on the link to their website.

Search Engine Optimisation.  By tailoring the specifics of a website and how it is marketed, a website can move further up the results page on a search engine in the organic section.

Return on Investment.  For every £1 you spend on promoting your business you want to make more money in sales.

A term or phrase that a user will search for with a search engine.  It is important to have your business website associated with these keywords so that it will appear when these words are searched for.

The opposite of a keyword: if a user searches using a negative keyword, your results will not show.  This is useful if a link is easily confused with something else.

White hat activities are any technique to increase a websites rank that follows search engines rules.  More generally, this means ethically promoting a website without resorting to spam and other such 'black hat' activities. 

The idea of Black hat/White hat comes from hacking, where white hats were benevolent hackers and Black hats were disruptive and unethical. 

We always use authentic and ethical 'white hat' techniques here.

What SEO attempts to encourage, a link to a specific website from another.  It increases the websites standing when evaluated by a web crawler such as PageRank, in essence telling it that the website must be popular.  However, links from untrustworthy websites tell the search engine that perhaps this specific website is untrustworthy and this is therefore undesirable.

Many terms are searched for through search engines, and many people search for the same things.  As these terms are so popular, it is very difficult for a starter company to compete against the established websites.  However, on the other hand, there are a vast amount of terms that are searched for relatively rarely.  These terms are said to be part of the 'long tail', as when plotted on a graph the terms are searched for infrequently, but there are many of them.  It is far easier for a starter company to rise to the top of the results with long tail keywords, albeit with fewer potential searchers.

As the amount of links pointing to a website tell the search engine how popular it is and therefore how high up the website will be on the results page, some people attempt to create vast amounts of links to a website to try to increase its apparent popularity.  There are several ways to do so, but they are all unethical.  While spamming was useful in the past, search engines are getting better at distinguishing these unethical links and ignoring them.  It may produce short term success nowadays, but the search engine will penalise websites that have many spam links to them in the long run.

The technology that powers Google's PPC advertising.  It facilitates targeting adverts to specific searches, and the adverts appear above and to the right of the organic searches.  To find out more about Adwords see our Pay Per Click information page.

The specific webpage on a website that a user is taken to when clicking on a search engine result or a PPC advert.  While this could simply be the homepage, often it is more helpful to the customer (and therefore your profits) if they are taken to a page that is specific to their search terms.  For instance, if you clicked a PPC ad for 'Passion Digital SEO' and ended up on the CRO explanation page, that would be disingenuous for both us and you.

What a user sees on a webpage and a Web Crawler sees are actually very different.  A computer does not see pictures or text in the way we do, and users do not see the code that produces these pictures or arrangements of text.  Google advises that they should not differ too much, meaning that there should not be hidden text or links that the user does not see, which would be there to alter a search engines ranking of the website.  Hiding things from the user like this is known as 'Cloaking' and is generally a 'black hat' technique, and search engines penalise these websites.

The practice of search engines displaying results dependant on where you are.  If you want a new pair of shoes it is useless to you if shops 5000 miles away are top of the results page and they don't deliver!

The anchor text is the text that the user clicks on for a link.  It is also what a Web Crawler uses to decide what the linked page is about.  Therefore, a link to your website with the anchor text that has the exact keywords you wish for your website is the ideal.  Or at least it used to be, but Google has taken measures to penalise too many links with the same anchor text, as it is inorganic.  Instead, it is more effective to include some keywords in the anchor, perhaps separated by a few words, which will create a partial match.  It is becoming better to use PMAT rather than EMAT.

Google Penguin is the latest version of its PageRank Web Crawler which improves its spam detection.  It is better at detecting cloaking, keyword stuffing and duplicate pages.  It is in place to better organic searches.

A webpage has a section that is hidden from users, but contains all the words relevant to the page.  Keyword stuffing is a black hat technique whereby this section is abused and filled my a high amount of irrelevant keywords, in the hope that it will be associated with these words and found when these words are searched for.  Google will penalise websites that it discovers using this technique, and the use of keywords to tag a website is becoming less useful.


A free, browser based tool that allows users to track many different statistics concerning an owned website.  This tool is vital for SEO.  For instance, a webmaster will be able to track from which search engines users arrive on their site, and what search terms they used.  It is also linked in with Google Adwords and allows control over these ads from the Google analytics site.

A website and toolbar that tracks the number of hits (visitors) to a particular website and ranks them based on this amount.

A tool that shows search density by keyword.  It can show the keyword popularity in comparison to others, as well as popularity over a given amount of time.


WEB 2.0
Several years ago the web was 'one way', meaning that users were only able to consume information; they did not contribute to the web themselves.  Web 2.0 is the idea that users are now able to influence websites and send information to them.  This is the underpinning of all online social media, from Youtube, where users upload videos, to Facebook, where entire lives are maintained online.  Other, less dramatic Web 2.0 ideas may be the inclusion of a comment section on a news site.

You probably see these on plenty of websites, it is a little graphic button encouraging linking between a website and a social media profile.  The "Like" is Facebook's own version, Google has a "+1" button.  The purpose of them from the social networking companies point-of-view is that it facilitates targeted adverts.  You can like this page by clicking on the relevant buttons at the bottom of this page!

Google plus is the latest competitor to the social networking market, and offers the benefit of merging all other Google services under one social networking site.

Brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg.  It is the definitive social networking site.  Users carve out their own section of the website with their own friends, interests and 'likes' and allows people to chat with their friends and share photos, along with a host of other things.  Companies can also maintain a corporate page to promote themselves.  The revenue comes from advertising based on the users own interests that they divulge as they interact with the site (targeted ads).

Short for weB LOG, a blog is a website that is maintained by one user, or a group of users, where the users post updates.  Some are used as online diaries, but others may be corporate.  A company that maintains a blog gives it a personable front for the potential clients, and it also maintains an interesting online presence that can be used for SEO.

A social media website where users can post short messages, known as tweets (up to 140 characters) for anyone who is following them to see.  It is sometimes known as micro blogging as it is similar to blogging but with a strict limit to what can be posted.  Companies and individuals can use them, and is a great way to draw attention to certain things, as well as maintain a social media presence.

Since computers cannot understand text in the way humans can, tags can draw attention to certain aspects of a webpage or other online content for a Web Crawler to use, or for the websites own search system.  For instance a user may tag a video with its relevant actors.

Like the concept of tags, a user can draw attention to certain aspects of a twitter post.  By placing a #symbol before a word (phrases must be joined without spaces) it is highlighted as a tag.  Other users will do so, and Twitter can track how many people are talking about something.  This has been used to track natural disasters as many people tweet about them.

The @ symbol is used in email, but it is now also being used to tag users in messages on social networking websites.  Both Twitter and Facebook use the @ tag.

One feature of social networking sites is that users can share links.  If your website has an awesome page, a user may want to share it with all their friends.  Most social networking sites have features that make this process very easy.

Meme: Any information on the web that people share for their own amusement, generally a video or image.  Good memes are guaranteed to gather large amounts of clicks.

Certain bits of information are said to 'go viral'.  This means they spread from person to person very quickly, much like a virus.  Memes can often spread like this.

@ -

The 'at tag' is also known as the Anchor name, Twitter username and Twitter handle.  This is the name a user chooses for themselves.  The 'at tag' is used to link that specific account to a tweet.

A bookmarking service that gives a code people can use on their websites so when people visit they can share.

A document interface that allows software applications to interact with other applications.  For an example the Twitter API.

Short for application, an app performs a function on your mobile phone or computer.

An image that represents an account on social networks and forums.

An online design portfolio-based community recently acquired by Adobe, developers of industry-standard design software such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

A free URL shortening application.  They also provide analytics on your links.

An online journal, written by individuals/groups of people/ companies.  A blog can be about any topic the person wishes to write about whether it be a documentary, description of events, video logs etc.  A blog is organised in reverse-chronological order with the earliest entry at the top.

A person who writes a blog.

A term given to the sum of all blogs on the internet.

A campaign is made up of marketing messages with a specific aim.  A campaign may aim to raise awareness, raise funds or increase the sales of a product.

Groups of friends on Google + network.  Circles can be categorised into colleagues, family etc.  You can share certain information with certain groups if you wish.

An online response given by users as either an answer or reaction to a post or message.

A term used on LinkedIn to describe the people you are associated with.

Text, pictures, video's and any other online material.

The ethical behaviour of a company while serving to improve the welfare of their employees as well as the local community.

An online news website which has a unique algorithm.  The site lets its readers submit articles and also allows people to vote whether or not they liked the article.  The articles with the highest number of votes appear at the top of the page while the less popular stories move down the page.

A community for designers to upload snapshots of their work.

#FF -
Follow Friday is a trending hashtag on Twitter.  Users tweet using the '@' to tag people they think others should follow adding.  They then add in the #ff.

The most well-known social network.  Founded by Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook is used by over 1 billion people.  Users create their personal online space inviting their friends to share it with them.  Users can 'like' what their interested in and they can message their friends as well as upload video's and photos and share more data such as blogs and interesting articles.  On a corporate level, companies create pages to promote themselves and interact with their 'fans'.  Facebook generates revenue from advertising based on the users' interests as they interact with the site.  To find out more about advertising on Facebook as well as other social media sites, see our Social Media Services.

Individuals that you connect with on your Facebook profile.

A large group of people organise to get together at a specific time and place to surprise the public.  They will put on a performance that is random and pointless for a brief time and then they will disperse as if nothing has happened.  The performance could entail acting, dancing and singing, all with the aim to entertain and spur curiosity.  Many companies use this method to generate awareness.

A social network based on picture sharing.  Users can store and share photos here.

An online discussion board.  People post about whatever topic they wish to generate an online discussion.

The act of choosing to see the tweets of someone on Twitter.

Following - Twitter users that choose certain accounts to follow are choosing to view their tweets in the timeline (aka news feed).  Your following, are all those people that have chosen to view your tweets.

Google's very own social network encourages you to share with the circles (see description above) you make.

A video service provided by Google + which allows up to 10 people to talk at one time.

The hashtag is used on both Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to connect what comes right after the hashtag.  It is mostly used to describe your post, an event or situation.  Hashtag trends allow you to see what is being most talked about.  Companies use hashtags to measure success of campaigns.

Text that is highlighted and takes you to a certain destination.  They are used to reference other content or to navigate you through a website.

Someone who is an expert in a certain field and, or have a large following.  Influencers therefore hold a lot of power in communicating their opinions to their followers, perhaps affecting their opinions and behaviour.

A photo sharing social network which differs from others as it runs as a mobile application.  The application allows users to take photographs which they can then apply filters to.  Your photos are automatically shared on Instagram and then you have the option to share them on other social networks.

Texts that are delivered in real-time.  This can occur one-to-one or in group messages.  IM also allows users to us live record and video calling.

A measure of social influence, Klout connects your social accounts and provides each user with a Klout score.  The higher your score is the more influence you have in the social world.  The Klout score is out of 100.

An action made by a Facebook user that represents approval.

A corporate social network used to connect professionals.

An idea, joke or concept that people share.  Meme's can be images or videos or text.  Typically a meme comes in the form of an image with supportive text.

The hub of everyone's posts.  For Facebook, the news feed is made up of friend's posts.  On Twitter, it is known as Timeline as is made up of tweets of those you follow. 

The news feed is constantly refreshed with the latest posts.

Images that are chosen from websites or within the Pinterest community.  These images are then placed onto image boards.

A social network for people to create image boards.

Framework that runs software and presents content.

Typically an audio file, a podcast is available to download for playback.

On each social network you are given a profile to develop with your personal information and content which you can then choose to share and interact with.

Delivers content enabling readers to stay up-to-date with any blogs or sites they read without them having to visit each individual site.

A social news site that is made up of users who share and leave comments on stories.

The action a Pinterest user takes when pinning an image from someone's board onto one of their own.

An action on tweets for users to share that tweet with their following.  The action resends the message with the original users name tag.

Users subscribe to news feeds to get all the latest information in one place (RSS Reader).

Taking all the information from subscribed news sites and blogs, the reader puts all this information in one easy-to-digest place.  It is displayed in a format that is constantly refreshed to get up-to-date information.

An action made by internet users to pass on any form of information (whether a photo, video, article etc) to their friends, followers and connections.

A video chat programme that is free to use.  You can also use it for texting and leaving video and voice messages to other users.

Made up of users who partake in social interactions using social websites, networks and applications.

The act of pro-actively monitoring and tracking applicable social media activity.

The act of driving traffic through social media channels to reach a certain goal.

A written document that outlines how employees should talk about work on social media as well as advising them on how to best use social media sites.  This is written for the protection of the company and clarifies what employees can and cannot say.
Subscribing - The action of choosing to get updates and information from a certain site.  It is much like signing up for the monthly postage of a magazine.

Keywords given to blogs and posts.  They are made up of terms that come up repeatedly.  This helps people navigate to a certain post with ease.

A stream of conversations.  For example, a list of comments on a blog post.

An event or topic that is popular and is widely discussed online.

Someone who has the intention to get an emotional response from others online.  They generally post controversial, provocative & irrelevant messages for their own amusement.  Their views do not necessarily reflect the ones they post about.
troll face

A microblogging platform and social network that allows users to post images, text, video's, links and quotes.

A post made on Twitter.  A tweet contains no more than 140 characters.

A social network that lets users tweet (see below) to their following.

The world in which Twitter exists.  This is made up of everything that happens on Twitter.

A term given to all user-created data such as blogs, comments, reviews, podcasts and more.

Information that spreads quickly from person to person and becomes well known among a huge community.  A viral item can be made up of an image, video or text.  The reason for it being shared can be news-related, amusing, shocking or other.

Much like a blog, but documented using video instead of written content.

An open source CMS which is used for blog publication.  There are currently over 70 million WordPress sites in the world.  Many business also see this a cheaper alternative to creating a website instead of using a professional design.

A global video community where users upload and share videos.

Website Design and Development

Comments have been switched off for this post!

Bookmark this article

Bookmark this article

Refer back to it when you need to