SEO and Online Marketing Terms and Definitions (60+)

SEO and marketing terms and definitionsA number of years ago, I wrote an article with the basic SEO and marketing terms and definitions. There were eight terms and the first seven remain in this updated article, just revised a bit.

The one thing about online marketing is new terminology steadily makes its way into the marketing jargon in conjunction with new strategies that keep popping up.

Along with this, marketers like to put new spins on steadfast strategies by giving them new titles. An example of this is “igniting content.” In the context of “You need to create igniting content,” it simple means the same as ‘search engine and reader optimized content.’ It’s content that will grab the reader and keep him reading . . . and motivate him to share your article.

So, while there are the old standard terms for online marketing, such as SEO and keywords, there are also new strategies and new spins on older strategies that warrant new terms.

Below is a list of 60+ basic SEO and marketing terms and definitions.

A/B Testing – the process of testing a control (A) with a treatment (B). This refers to an original and altered format or design. It’s one of the simplest forms of testing what’s working.

As an example, take an article title:
Original: Make the Most of Business Opportunities Without Getting Overwhelmed
Treatment: Business Opportunities and Burnout – What to Watch For

In A/B testing, you would post the original to say Twitter on Monday, then post the treatment another day. Next, you would analyze which brought more engagement and clicks.

I do this all the time in my Twitter marketing.

Above the fold – this is what’s visible upon landing on a website. If you have to scroll down to see it, it’s not above the fold. Or, possible for a fixed price.

Affiliate marketing – the strategy of being a reseller. You sell someone else’s product for a percentage of the sale price.

Adwords – paying for Google advertising which is primarily focused on keywords. You pay for particular keywords and your link will be under the “ads” section of the search results. They are the first results on the first SERP.

Alt tags for images – part of the optimization process. It’s text to be used to quickly allow the search engines to get the gist of what the image is about.

Anchor text – linking to other websites and/or pages directly from text within your content. This strategy may be used to bring a visitor to other relevant articles on your site, your sales pages, and even to another site that has useful information pertinent to your post.

Providing readily accessible information and links through anchor text will give your readers a broader reading experience, and she will definitely appreciate it. This builds authority and trust.

Anchor text also helps search engines relate your content to other relevant content. It’s another tool to help search engines categorize, index, and utilize your content.

Article marketing – a content marketing process of writing articles for distribution. This can increase visibility and authority.

B2B – businesses selling to other businesses. An example, a nursery selling to a landscape designer.

B2C – businesses selling directly to customers. An example, a bakery selling to a customer.

Black hat SEO – unethical marketing practices to rank higher in the search engines. Two examples are: keyword stuffing (using lots of keywords in your content) and invisible text (hiding text from the reader, using the same color font as the background – say, white font on white a white background).

Blogging – a ‘web log’ used to list content in. With content management systems (CMS) this process is as simple as typing content and hitting the publish button.

Bottom of the funnel – the last process before conversion, when the customer is about to take the purchasing jump.

Call to action (CTA) – this is copy, images, video, or other content format that is focused on motivating the reader to take a desirable action. It may be to opt in to your subscriber list, it may be to buy your product, or other action you want the reader to take.

Clickbait headlines (titles) – a headline that is specifically designed to motivate the reader to click on the link. It’s a title that may be misleading – manipulating the reader into clicking the link without giving ‘relevant’ content. Its sole purpose is to get clicks.

A drawback to clickbait headlines is high bounce rates and super-low visit length. And, it decreases authority.

It’s important to keep in mind that most readers and search engines want titles to be reflective of the actual content it leads to.

CMS – acronym for Content Management System. It’s a web application that allows you to manage your website (add and edit pages without having to know HTML).

Content marketing – creating and publishing (including distributing) ‘relevant to your audience’ content that’s valuable and powerful enough to attract your target market. The primary purpose is to generate leads and conversions through content that motivates desirable actions. It’s also used to keep existing clients and customers happy . . . and loyal.

Content marketing can be text, audio, video, animation, ads, and so on.

Conversion – the process of converting a visitor, reader, or lead into a customer, client, subscriber, attendee, or other. It’s the process of having a person say YES to your desired action.

The conversion rate is the percentage of people who say YES to your CTA. So, if you have an email optin in place and 100 people visit your site, if 10 of those visitors sign up, you have a
10% conversion rate.

CRM – acronym for ‘customer relationship management. It includes the use of automation, sales, marketing, and customer service/support. It also encompasses the strategies a business uses to manage and analyze their customers buying trends, interactions, and so on.

Deep linking (internal linking) – linking (hyperlinking) to other pages within your website. It might be another blog post or a Web page.

This is a great SEO tactic. It helps keep visitors on your site longer as they click to other articles and/or pages on your website. This is associated with ‘Page Length’ and it’s a website metric that search engines factor in when ranking your site.

Digital marketing – the overall strategies used to promote, market, and sell through digital means. In other words, everything you do to market your product or service online in order to reach your customers. explains that “digital marketing is also known as Internet marketing, but their actual processes differ, as digital marketing is considered more targeted, measurable and interactive.”

Email marketing – the process of using electronic mail for direct digital marketing. It’s one of the most effective conversion strategies in that you have regular access to your subscribers. Through email marketing, you develop a relationship with those on your list. People who know and trust you are much more likely to buy from you.

I use GetResponse for my email marketing service. They have great opt-in box options that are tweakable. I highly recommend them. (Yep, I like them so much, I’m an affiliate for them.)

Email Marketing Autoresponder – A tool or feature an email service provider offers. It allows you to send automatically scheduled messages to new subscribers, a subscriber who took a particular action, a lead who clicked on a call-to-action, and so on.

External Links – hyperlinks to other websites from your website. One way to do this is to quote text from another website’s content. You then reference that site and content with an external link.

You can accomplish this by using anchor text or by having a “References” section at the end of your article.

According to pro-copywriter and marketer Colin Martin, you shouldn’t overdo external links. If you’re external links exceed your backlinks, Google may think you’re a ‘link farm’ or participating in a ‘link scheme.’

While Google has implemented a number of updated algorithms to banish link farms, they still keep an eye out for sites that have too many external links compared to their inbound links.

Google Panda AlgorithmPanda is about the content on your site. It “was developed to make sure sites produce high-quality content aimed to benefit the reader with new or fresh information. ‘Poor’ quality (fluff or no-value) content will cause a drop in search ranking for the site.”

Content that may cause problems include: reprints and duplicate content, thin and/or low quality content.

Google Penguin Algorithm – the primary purpose of this algorithm is to penalize sites that use unethical or ‘unnatural’ backlinking strategies and other linking no-nos. This relates to Number 9 above.

Note: In regard to what an algorithm is, Google explains,

For a typical query, there are thousands, if not millions, of webpages with helpful information. Algorithms are the computer processes and formulas that take your questions and turn them into answers. Today Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals or ‘clues’ that make it possible to guess what you might really be looking for. These signals include things like the terms on websites, the freshness of content, your region and PageRank.

Growth hacking – this is a new term being bandied about. I’m on a number of ‘growth-hacking’ Twitter lists. It’s pretty much a new name for content marketing and inbound marketing. This is what marketers do. They put new names on old strategies to make them sound fresher – to generate new interest.

Growth hacking is about building and growing a startup, a new business. Kissmetrics says, “It’s all about bringing in more traffic and putting more users at the top of the conversion funnel.

It’s about bringing traffic to the website, therefore content marketing is at the crux of this strategy.  And, since it’s about inbound marketing, it applies to every business that has an online presence.

Inbound links (Backlinks) – this marketing strategy refers to ‘clickable’ links pointing to a particular website or webpage from another site. In other words, inbound links to your site. The quality and quantity of backlinks will help determine your Page Rank. This is how website authority it built.

The relevancy and authority of the sites linking in to your site matters.

Inbound marketing – the use of engaging content as a lead magnet. Its purpose is to generate visibility, traffic, and authority focused on potential and existing clients / customers.

It includes website optimization, content marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Influencer – a person who blogs within a specific niche and is considered an expert in that niche/industry. The influencer has more ‘swaying power’ than an A-list blogger. People are motivated and can be swayed by influencers.

Internet of Things (IoT) – according to an article at, the IoT is a giant network of connected  of pretty much everything, including people.

It’s expected that by 2020, somewhere between 26 to 100 billion ‘on / off things’ will be connected. On/off means any device that can be switched on and off.

Connected devices can be anything from your computer to your alarm clock to your home security system, to your coffee maker, to your iPhone, to your car, to . . .

According to Webopedia, it “refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, and the communication that occurs between these objects and other Internet-enabled devices and systems.”

Keyword – a word or phrase an online searcher might use to identify what she’s looking for. Number two above is an example of using a keyword to be brought to information you need – to be brought to the first SERP.

Meta keywords – Originally a quick and easy way for marketers to let search engines know what their site and web pages were about. As with all good SEO practices, the use of keywords to increase traffic and boost rankings were overused by spammers. Because of this, in 2009, Google took the keyword super-powers away.

Landing Pages – these Web pages are the foundation of your marketing efforts. Landing pages include:

-Sales Pages
-Optin Pages
-Product description pages
-Review or Testimonial Pages

HubSpot takes landing pages a bit further. It says that landing pages are “any page on the web on which one might land that 1) has a form and 2) exists solely to capture a visitor’s information through that form.”

Lead generation – in regard to marketing, this is the process of generating potential customer interest in your products or services. Leads can be created for the purpose of sales, list building, event sign-ups, and so on.

Linkbait – any content, including images, animations, and videos, that motivates other sites to link to your website, blog post, or landing page.

According to Lunametrics, “Link bait is content on your website that other sites link to because they want to, not because you ask them to. Whether it’s an evergreen blog post, a helpful eBook, or a viral video, the linkable asset comes in many forms.”

Marketing analytics – the measurement of all your marketing efforts (online and offline). It includes web analytics, such as traffic, visit lengths, page views, and more.

It’s the process of testing and monitoring all your marketing activity to determine which areas are working and which aren’t, so you can revise your efforts for more productive results.

The day and time of day you send out subscriber emails is an example. If you find your open rates (how many subscribers actually open your emails) and/or click rates (how many subscribers actually click on links within your emails) aren’t doing well, change the day and possibly the time you send them out. Then analyze the new results to see where you stand.

Opt in – permission given by an individual to the marketer to receive direct messages via email, regular mail, or other mechanism.

Organic traffic or marketing – free strategies, such as social media network, blogging, guest blogging, article marketing, and so on.

Paid traffic or marketing – utilizing paid/sponsored ads, such as Google adwords, etc.

PPC – acronym for Pay Per Click. It’s the process of paying for sponsored search engine rankings. The higher you pay, the better your ranking. This is a marketing strategy you need to be cautious of – you can end up losing money, rather than making it.

RSS – acronym for Really Simple Syndication. It delivers headlines and content directly to reader lists or feeds.

Search Engines – programs that find and search all web content. Initially they look for specific keywords, but constant updates have made them capable of detecting the ‘idea’ or ‘gist’ of the content searched.

Webopedia says, “A search engine is really a general class of programs, however, the term is often used to specifically describe systems like Google, Bing and Yahoo!”

These programs work by “sending out a spider to fetch as many documents as possible. Another program, called an indexer, then reads these documents and creates an index based on the words contained in each document.” (8)

Search engine spider – also known as a ‘crawler’ or ‘robot’ is another program that is used to automatically ‘crawl’ the Web to find Web pages (content) to give (feed) to the search engines.

The search engines (through the use of other programs, an indexer and algorithms) use the information the spiders provide and index the words found.

These indexed words (keywords) are then used to return results to search queries.

Search engine ranking – your website’s position (how high up) on the SERP. It’s best to be on the first SERP because most people don’t look beyond Page One when looking for what they want. But, not everyone can be on Page One, so getting within the first few pages is also something to strive for.

Below are two types of ranking within search engine ranking:

PageRank – this is the rank Google gives a particular web page – it’s one of the elements used to determine where a page appears in search results.

Ranking for a Keyword – this is an element in PageRank. It’s the process of getting the search engines to understand that your site is focused on one or more specific keywords. The more focused your site is on a particular keyword the more likely Google will use your web page as the results of a related search query.

SEO – an acronym for ‘search engine optimization’ This is the process of creating and revising content, whether for blog posts, articles, or Web copy, that will improve search engine rankings. It’s also the strategy of making your content reader friendly and motivating enough to share.

Fundamentally, it’s the process of making it easy for visitors and search engine robots (spiders) to quickly get the idea of what your site is about.

SEO allows search engines to find, categorize, and rank your content, so to make it available for searchers’ queries. You obviously want a high ranking so when a searcher (potential customer) types in a search term (keyword) your site may be one of those on that first SERP.

SEO writing – the process of writing content with the purpose of making it visitor and search engine friendly, boosting website traffic, and building authority. Elements included in SEO writing are: anchor text, keywords, descriptions, deep linking, external linking, and content curation.

SERP – an acronym for search engine results page.’ The page you’re brought to when you input a keyword or keyword phrase into a search engine ‘search box.’

As an example, I input “content writing” into Google’s search box.

Google brought me to its first SERP.  I was on it. It was toward the bottom of the page, but that’s okay.

The idea is that Google and other search engines put their perception of the highest quality and most relevant links on the first SERPs in response to a searcher’s query. There are other ways to get there, this is one of them.

Sitemap – A web page or document that lists all the pages on the site. This allows for spiders and visitors to easily find all your pages.

Slideshare – The site allows users to upload a number of things, such as PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, videos, documents, and even webinars. Once you upload your content, you can edit the title, add keywords and a description, and upload it to YouTube or other

Social media marketing – the process of using social media networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, GooglePlus, and Twitter, to generate visibility and website traffic.

Social proof – According to Wikipedia, social proof is “a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”

Social proof is recognition of one’s knowledge, skills, or authority. It shows you have influence. It shows that people find what you have to say is of value and worth sharing / following. This in turn motivates others to jump on board and acknowledge that you’re an authority.

Social share – the process of a visitor to your website sharing your content to the social networks.

Startup – again, we go to new terminology created for an older term. Startups are simply businesses starting from the ground up.

According to, these new companies are “often initially bank rolled by their entrepreneurial founders as they attempt to capitalize on developing a product or service for which they believe there is a demand.

These smaller operations usually end up requiring investments from outside sources due to limited revenue and high operating expenses.

Stickiness – web pages or content that’s valuable enough to be revisited / re-read by visitors. It might be resource content or tools that motivate the visitors to keep returning.

Subscriber – a person who signed up for your mailing list. Signing up, gives you permission to contact the subscriber via email with relevant information he signed up for. This is part of ‘permission based marketing’ – an individual has in some way given permission for you to contact them with business related information.

Target market – the people or businesses you want to sell to. If you’re a sci-fi author, your target market is readers of sci-fi. If you’re baby store, your target market are parents with babies.

Top of the funnel – the first ‘touch point’ with your potential customer, the first contact you have with that person or business. It might be a blog post you share on Twitter. Once the reader clicks on the link and lands on your site, that’s considered the top of the funnel.

URL – according to, it’s a ‘Web address’ that uses the HTTP or HTTPS protocol.

Video marketing – the strategies of using video (including animation and Slideshare) for branding, promotion, engagement, list building, and so on.

Viral content – content shared on social media that’s quickly shared by lots and lots of users (people).

Web hosting (service) – a business that provides server space, web services, and file management for websites. Examples of ‘paid hosting’ or ‘hosted sites’ are website through and

You pay a monthly fee in exchange for the server space, services, and file management.

There are also free hosting services, such as,,, and

I use Bluehost and highly recommend it (in fact, I’m an affiliate for them).

Webinar – short for ‘web-based-seminar. It’s an interactive presentation, workshop, or other event transmitted over the Web though ‘video conferencing software.

Website metrics – elements of SEO that need to be monitored and measured. Basics elements include:

-Traffic sources
-Search engine referrals
-The keywords that send traffic
-Length of visits
-Conversion rate

Website speed – how fast a website loads. In other words, how fast it’s viewable by the visitor.

White hat SEO – ethical marketing practices to rank higher in the search engines. An example would be writing quality blog posts and sharing them to social networks.

WordPress – a free CMS, blogging, and web hosting service. It can be used through WordPress itself as the hosting service (, or it can be downloaded on your computer, or it can be used through a paid hosting service, like Bluehost (

According to Conductor, in early 2015, 23% of all websites were powered by WordPress.

WordPress is used by major sites, including New York Times, Mashable, and TechCrunch.

These are just 61 of the online marketing terms being bantered about that you should be aware of. There are many, many more. As I come across more, I’ll add them to this post.

For even more marketing terms and definitions, check out:

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