Term Glossary

Ad Rank

Ad ranking is the position of a PPC ad on a SERP. It is dependent on the quality score of all the keywords paired with each ad, multiplied by the bid for that particular set of keywords. Generally speaking, the higher your ad rank is, the greater exposure your product or service will have from users searching for these terms (as your ad sits higher in the search results, and more users will see it).


Adsense is Google’s advertising placement service that lets websites earn money by allowing advertisers to display their (text, image or video) ads on their sites. AdSense is the website counterpart to Google AdWords. Ads are chosen and delivered based on the keywords embedded in the site to ensure that they’re being displayed to the right audience. Adsense also gives websites control over the process by allowing them to customize where they want ads to appear on their site and what types of ads they would like to appear.

Alexa Skill Kit (ASK)

An Alexa Skill Kit (ASK) is a collection of self-service tools and API’s that give brands an easy way to develop voice-driven capabilities for Alexa. This effectively ‘teaches’ Alexa new information and skills to serve up to voice searchers.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the clickable text that contains a hyperlink to another page or website. Most of the time, this text shows up underlined in blue. In SEO, it’s recommended to make sure any anchor text is relevant to the page it’s linking to. Search engines use anchor text as an indicator of the page’s topic, so the more relevant it is, the better. For example, when linking to a site that sells yellow umbrellas, I should use the anchor text, “yellow umbrellas.”


Backlinks are incoming hyperlinks from one webpage to another website entirely. Any external website page that links to your site is considered and counted as a single backlink. Backlinks are strong indicators to search engines of a website’s value.

For example, if many high authority or trusted websites are linking to your site, that indicates to search engines your site too is also trust worthy. On the flip side, if many low value or high spam sites are linking to your website, that may indicate to search engines that your site cannot be trusted. An important part of a successful SEO strategy will include closely monitoring your backlinks and disavow with search engine tools as necessary.

Bid / Bidding

A bid is the maximum amount of money you’re willing to pay for your ad to show up for a certain keyword. Google AdWords uses an auction-like bidding system to allow competitors to “outbid” each other for different keywords. The higher your bid, the more likely your ad is to show up. However, in practice, you only have to pay enough to beat out the next highest amount. For example, let’s say you and a competitor are bidding on a keyword. Your bid $4, and theirs is $1. In this (very oversimplified) situation, you would only have to pay $2 for your ad to show for that keyword.

This doesn’t mean that the best strategy is just to bid higher than all your competitors. Google also looks at the overall quality of your ad and its relevancy to the keyword (your Quality Score) as a factor in deciding which ads get shown for certain keywords.

Black Hat SEO

In SEO, black hat SEO tactics are any aggressive strategies or techniques used for the sole purpose of manipulating search engines into granting favorable ranking results without consideration of the human audience or user experience. Usually these tactics specifically ignore SEO and search engine guidelines. Some common black hat SEO strategies include keyword stuffing, purchasing backlinks, selling backlinks, abuse of rich snippets among others.

It is important to note that black hat SEO tactics can come with severe and sometimes semi-permanent ranking penalties from search engines, especially Google. Make sure your SEO strategy is always following best practices and search engine guidelines – also known as white hat SEO.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to visit a site and only view one page before navigating away from the site or closing their browser entirely. This statistic is most commonly tracked through Google Analytics and is seen as negative when percentages are unusually high. A high bounce rate indicates to search engines that a website’s content or keywords may not be focused properly to engage the currently targeted audience and may result in content penalties and loss of SERP keyword rankings over time.


An online marketing campaign contains a set of ad groups, or ad sets (depending on the platform used). It is a way of organizing ad categories by location, time zone, product, service, etc. Often budgets are set at the campaign level, allowing you to control spend of each category within your ad account.

Canonical URL

A canonical URL is an HTML defined link element that helps websites avoid possible duplicate content penalties from search engines by defining the canonical, or preferred, version of a web page as part of SEO best practice. A common example where a canonical URL must be defined is on an eCommerce site that will have a single product with multiple versions (such as size, color, etc.) that cause the exact same product copy to appear on multiple unique URLS.


A click is what happens when you select an item online by holding your mouse curser over it and pressing down. In the digital marketing world: when a user sees a link to your site (either though an ad or organic search result) they will click on it if it’s most relevant to their search query. This click will direct them to your website, where you’ll then try to engage with them further about your product or service.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

CTR stands for click-through rate. It is a measure of the ratio of users who click on a specific ad to the total users who have viewed it. For example: if an ad was shown 100 times, and clicked on 5 times, it would have a CTR of 5%. CTR is a common key performance indicator which helps determine the success or failure of a particular ad or keyword.


A conversion takes place when a user completes the designated goal on your web page. For example, for an eCommerce website, this could be when a user makes a purchase on your site. Conversions can take different forms depending on your industry and specific marketing goals. They could be a click on an email, spending a certain amount of time on a particular page, clicking on a link, and so on.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is the percentage of users who completed the designated goal on your web page. For example, say you run an online shoe store: If you have 1000 visitors to your web page featuring a pair of black tennis shoes, and 100 of those users purchase sneakers, you would have a conversion rate of 10% on that page. Often times, conversion rates are much lower than this example, in which case advertisers will employ conversion rate optimization testing (or landing page testing) to increase these rates.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

In digital marketing, conversion rate optimization is a strategy for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that end up converting into customers or complete a desired action on a page of your website – such as as downloading a white paper or completing a lead form. Also commonly referred to as conversion optimization or CRO for short.


Cookies, though not as tasty as you might hope, are a useful way of keeping track of your site’s visitor behavior. They are files stored in a user’s computer which hold data that’s specific to a particular website. That data is then accessed by a web server, which allows it to deliver a page that’s tailored to the user. It’s an easy way to carry information from one user session to the next, without the server having to store a large amount of data.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

CPC is the cost per click that you pay for your ads. It is a measurement of the actual price you pay for each click in your PPC campaign. You will accrue a balance with ad publishers using a CPC model each time a user clicks your ad and is directed to your web page.


CPM, or cost per thousand impressions, is the way we define the price you pay for your ad to be shown to users 1,000 times.  For example, if you’re advertising with Google Adwords, and your CPM is $2.00 – you’ll pay $2.00 for every 1,000 impressions on your ad. This is an alternate metric from CPC – which measures how much you pay each time a user clicks on your ad.


A crawl, or web crawl, involves the process of spiders traveling from site to site, gathering information for search engines to index all while paying attention to broken links, new sites and changes to existing sites. The internet is a constantly changing place, and crawls allow search engines to have a better idea of what is out there at all times. During a web crawl, spiders gather information about site content based on keywords and backlinks, and use that to help keep SERPs accurate and relevant.

Disavow / Link Disavow

In SEO, a common technical strategy is to disavow low quality or high spam backlinks to your website. To Disavow a link means you are denying any support or responsibility for that link. It is common for search engines to view websites negatively with a high number of low quality backlinks, and as a result, may implement ranking penalties. An important part of a successful SEO strategy will include closely monitoring your backlinks and disavow with search engine tools as necessary.

Featured Snippet

featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a user’s search query within a search engine, which is displayed at the top of Google search results. This SERP result is also sometimes referred to as “position 0” or Google’s ‘answer box’ by digital marketers. The result is extracted from a page of a website, and includes the page’s title and URL.

There are three types of featured snippets that can be display, depending on the search query:

  1. Paragraph
  2. Table
  3. List

Paragraph snippet results are the most common and make up about 82% of all featured snippet results. List snippets appear in about 10.8% of results and table snippets in only about 7.3%.

Having your result appear in a featured snippet can help boost authority, build brand awareness, and will hopefully ultimately improve your organic traffic results and conversions.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is Google’s online advertising service that allows advertisers to display their ads on the Google search network. Ad position on the page (or whether or not they even show up) is determined by three things: ad quality (also known as the Quality Score), how much money advertisers are willing to pay (also known as a bid), and how closely the keyword the user entered matches the keywords associated with the ad. Google AdWords is a form of PPC advertising, meaning that advertisers will only pay when people actually click on their ads.


A heading is a title (and sometimes subtitle) of a webpage. Using headings helps with the structure and readability of your webpage. They can also help spiders navigate your page. There are different types of headings from h1 all the way to h6, with h1s being the largest and h6s the smallest. Headings are important to SEO because search engine spiders use them to prioritize the content on your site, and because they improve the overall reader experience.


A homepage is the main, default page of a website. It usually introduces the website or brand and is the hub that all other pages branch out from. A homepage is the webpage that comes up when you type in a site’s domain name. It serves as a directory that links to all the other pages on the site. For example, the home page of this site would be the URL, “https://www.makeitrainusa.com.”


Impressions are when a particular ad or any other form of digital media appears on a user’s screen. This has nothing to do with whether a user clicks on your ad or not, just whether it appears. Impressions are great if you’re trying to increase brand awareness, and advertisers can choose to optimize for them by using a CPM strategy. Several factors can determine whether or not an ad gets impressions, such as keyword use, relevancy, bid amount, and more.   

Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPAs)

Intelligent personal assistants (IPAs), Digital Assistants, or Voice-Enabled Assistants, as they are commonly referred to, is software that has been designed to assist people through voice commands with basic everyday tasks, usually providing information using natural or conversational language.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things refers to the embedding of internet connectivity to everyday objects, such as cars, appliances, phones, smart speakers and more. This enables the objects to send and receive data via the web.

IP Address

An IP address is a string of numbers that identifies a particular device using the internet. IP addresses are automatically assigned to each unique device by the server. They can be used to track unique visitors coming to your site, user location, and other useful demographic information.  In addition, IP addresses are useful tools for delivering ads to users who have visited your site before in Remarketing campaigns.


A keyword is a word or phrase that a user types into a search engine. For example, if a person wanted to buy red shoes online, they might type in the keyword, “red shoes,” on a search engine. Keywords are used by search engines to make sure the content being delivered to users is relevant. Both SEO and PPC use keywords in their marketing campaigns.

Keyword Density

Keyword density is the percentage of times any given keyword or phrase appears on a single website’s page against the total number of words on that page. In SEO, keyword density is used to help determine a specific keyword or phrase’s relevancy on that page. For search engines, too little use of a targeted keyword or phrase is seen equally as negative as over use (commonly referred to as keyword stuffing).

For example, if your target keyword is ‘luxury real estate’ and that keyword is used only once or twice on an 800-word count page, you may not see any real ranking consideration from search engines for that phrase. Alternatively, if you use that keyword 20 times on an 800-word page, search engines will feel the keyword is purposely being over used for ranking consideration and unnatural – which can result in content penalties that can negatively affect your ranking.

Keyword Stuffing

In SEO, keyword stuffing refers to the black hat SEO technique of overloading webpages with a set of keywords or numbers to try to manipulate search engines into giving favorable ranking results for those given set of keywords. Often these keywords appear in a list or grouped together and can be both in or out of context to the website’s focus or topic.

Note that keyword stuffing penalties are not exclusive to using a high number of unique keywords throughout the site, but can also be seen negatively by search engines if your site is over-using even a single keyword that is not natural prose.


A Key Performance Indicator, or KPI, is a measurable value that shows businesses how effectively they’re achieving their objectives. These are good tools for measuring a company’s success at reaching their goals. They will vary from business to business, depending on your industry, department, and what you’re looking to track. For example, an eCommerce site may want to track sales, revenue or even new customers – any of these could be their KPIs.

Landing Page

A landing page is the web page a visitor is taken to after clicking on a link. It’s commonly used in digital marketing as a stand-alone page, separate from your website, that ad traffic directs to. Best practice for a landing page is to put its focus on achieving a singular goal (either a conversion, lead or other action).


A lead is a potential customer. This can have different meaning depending on the specific goals of the organization. A lead could be a phone number, the name of an individual that expresses interest in your good or service (usually via some sort of form), or even an email address to add to your email marketing list. The act of collecting leads is known as lead generation, and is a common marketing strategy.

Link Building

In SEO, link building refers to the strategy of improving search engine rankings by getting external pages to link to specific pages on your website. Link building is important because it can help your website’s rank and make you look more credible to search engines. However, the quality of links is also really important. Receiving tons of links from spammy sites can hurt your website’s rank and hinder your likelihood of getting to the top of the search results. Link building is one of the trickiest aspects of SEO, but also one of the most important.

Long-Tail Keywords

A long-tail keyword is a specific phrase used to target niche market areas that are less competitive. It is defined as a keyword phrase with 3 or more words. It’s important to include long-tail keywords in your account as they help to achieve lower overall costs per click, and highly targeted traffic to your web pages.

Say you own an online shoe store: rather than bidding on the generic and highly competitive term ‘shoes,’ you can build out ads for specific styles or brands of shoes, say, size 7 black pumps. These type of terms are much more specific and less competitive to bid on.

Page Rank / Domain Rank

Page rank or domain rank refers to the algorithm used by Google to measure a website’s authority. The details on what exactly determines this algorithm are unknown, however certain factors, such as the number and quality of inbound links, definitely play a part. The higher a website’s page rank, the more likely it is to be listed higher in search results.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay per click (PPC) is a form of online advertising that is used to direct traffic to a website, where the advertiser pays an ad publisher each time a user clicks on their ad and is directed to their site. The most common form of PPC advertising is on search engines (Google Adwords and Microsoft Bing dominate this market). In that case, ads are served to users based on the keyword or search query they have entered. There are many other sites where PPC advertising is used (Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to name a few). On these social sites, ads are shown to users based on selected audience targeting.


A redirect is a useful way to forward one URL to another. More simply put, it’s a way to send users (and search engines) to a different page than the one they originally landed on. This can be helpful if you want to take users from an old website to a new one, or from a broken page to a working one. There are different types of redirects (301s, 302s, and 307s), but in the world of SEO, 301 redirects are recommended. 301 refers to the HTTP status code, and these types of redirects are permanent and maintain ranking power throughout the redirecting process.


Remarketing is a type of advertising that delivers ads to audiences that are already familiar with your brand or service. This can mean delivering advertisements to users that have previously visited your website or used your mobile app before. Remarketing is an effective method for improving ROI, and can be done through Google AdWords.


Return On Investment (ROI)

A return on investment (ROI) measures net profit compared to the cost of an investment, therefore gauging its efficiency, profitability, and overall worth. The return on investment formula = (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) X 100.


Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help search engine crawlers better identify and categorize your content to return more accurate results for searchers. If you’ve ever implemented or used rich snippets, you’ll understand exactly what schema markup is and how it works.

While schema has not yet been confirmed as an official ranking metric for Google, many digital marketers believe it can help increase your chances of ranking as well as ranking in position 0: Google’s featured snippet box.

Some of the different types of schema markup you can add to your site include:

  • Local Business
  • Organization
  • Website
  • Person
  • Product
  • Event
  • Recipe
  • Job Posting
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Sitemap
  • and many more.

Head over to schema.org to learn more about the many different kinds of schema markup you can implement on your site. You can also try out Technical SEO’s helpful schema tool to easily create validated markup to add to your website.

Search Engine

A search engine is a certain kind of program that searches the internet and creates a list of relevant web pages based on keyword and phrases specified by users. They follow specific rules and deliver users content based on how closely the result matches their keyword and based on the quality of the website. Some example of popular search engines are Google, Bing, and Yahoo.  Advertisers employing SEO and PPC both utilize search engines as platforms to get users to their site.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM stands for search engine marketing. It is a form of PPC, which occurs only within search engines (Google, Bing, etc.).  SEM is the way businesses use ads to promote their website and increase their visibility within the SERPS.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the strategy and process implemented to increase a website’s ranking position in search engine results page (SERP) and therefore increase organic and natural site traffic and revenue potential. Common SEO strategy plans include technical & content focused SEO for both on-page and off-page digital marketing

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

A search engine results page (SERP) is the page of results displayed by a search engine after a user submits a query. The primary component of a SERP are links and short text explanations to best matched websites returned by the search engine in response to a keyword query. These results may also include paid advertisements, such as PPC, videos, and imagery.

Query / Search Query

A query, or search query, is a question or request for information from a database. In SEO, a query most commonly refers to the action of a user submitting a keyword phrase in search engines looking for the best matched website in SERPs.


A spider is a program that visits sites and collects information for search engines to use. Also known as “crawlers” or “bots,” all search engines use spiders in order to create entries for their indexes. Spiders can travel from link to link, gathering website information as they do so. Just like the real thing, these spiders are constantly crawling the web. Webmasters can see which spiders and bots have visited their site, and can even block bots from crawling certain pages of their site in the future.


A URL, or Universal Resource Locator, is the address of a webpage. When a user wants to visit a specific website, they type the URL into their internet browser. These addresses normally look a little like this: https://www.websitename.com. Some of these factors can vary, depending on where the site is located and whether it’s a secure site or not, but the general anatomy is usually pretty similar.

Voice Search

Voice search is speech recognition technology that allows users to search by saying sentences aloud instead of by typing them into a search field with a keyboard. The increasing daily use of smart phones and other Internet of Things (IoT) – web-enabled devices – has spurred recent interest and popularity in voice search.

Voice search queries are a two-way conversation in which the goal is to help the user complete daily tasks in real time – like setting appointments within a calendar, booking a plane ticket, or making a repurchase of a familiar product.

White Hat SEO

In SEO, white hat SEO tactics are strategies or techniques to appear higher in search results that take user experience into consideration.  These tactics follow SEO and search engine guidelines. Some examples of white hat SEO include backlink building, using keywords, and writing content for real, human audiences. These practices are the best strategy for long-term success in SEO, unlike black hat SEO.