Immersed in a Little Self-Study on SEM? Awesome!

Here are a few terms that you might run across during your research or we might use when discussing your search engine marketing and optimization strategies.

Learn the Search Engine Marketing definitions and terminology basics:

Search Engine - a software or application that searches for information and returns sites that provide the most relevant information to the user.

Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - marketing and advertising online. How you position your website online.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - techniques used to increase website ranking in the natural (organic) placement of the search engine.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page) - the page that displays the search results.

Other Search Engine terms and definitions:

301 Redirect - redirecting one URL to another while preserving current rankings.

Algorithm - rules the search engine spiders follow to index information. Each search engine uses its own algorithms.

Alt Tags - alternative text placed for images, so that when you hover over an image a text box displays describing what the image is. This is important for accessibility where it is used by screen readers to help with visual impairment.

Backlinks - links pointing to your website. A link from another site that provides validations or votes of confidence - this is especially important for Google.

Black Hat SEO - unethical techniques used to gain ranking in search engines. The search engines filter for such techniques and you may get banned from displaying in search engine results.

Click Fraud - the act of purposely clicking on competitor's sponsored ads without really wanting to buy something from the site. Search engines have improved ways to detect and prevent this from interfering with your account. You will not be charged for clicks that seem to be fraudulent.

Click Through Rates (CTR) - the number of times (in percentage) that people clicked on your sponsored ads.

Conversion Rate - the number of site visits resulting in a sale, phone call, or someone filling out your contact form on the site.

Cost Per Click - the amount it costs the advertiser when someone clicks on a sponsored ad. Each keyword in a campaign may have a different cost-per-click rate depending on the competition.

Content match - in paid placement, if you decide to do a content match it means that your ads will show up in other related articles and websites that the search engines are partnered with.

CPM (Cost per Thousand) - the amount the advertiser pays for every thousand impressions of their ad.

Doorway Page - a page that is created solely for the search engines in an attempt to increase site ranking in the search engines. This is a Black Hat technique (Unethical).

Google AdWords - pay-per-click service provided by Google. (sponsored search ads)

Google AdSense - ad placement program from Google. This allows people to have Google Ads running on their site for content placement.

Hits - the total number of requests for files opened. For example, if you have 4 images on your web page, that will count as 5 hits. 1 for opening the page and 4 for the images to upload. This is not a good indicator to use for site traffic.

KEI ( Keyword Effectiveness Index ) - measurement of the effectiveness of a keyword for natural ranking. This is based on search frequency and competition of the keyword.

Keywords/Keyword Phrases - words searchers use to look for information online.

Keyword Stuffing - attempt to get a higher ranking in the search engines by repeating keywords more than necessary. This is considered Black Hat SEO.

Landing Page - pages that users click through to from the sponsored ads. Specially made for a particular product or service focusing on one topic related to marketing an idea or product.

Link Popularity - measurement of inbound links to a website. is a good tool to use.

Long Tail Theory - niche keywords for your business.

Meta Description Tag - HTML head tag that tells the search engines what the page is about. Search engines may use this for your SERP description.

Meta Keywords Tag - relevant keywords to the web page, also an HTML tag that tells the search engines what keywords are associated with the page.

Meta Tags - part of the HTML that tells the search engine spiders what the web page is referencing.

Organic Listing - natural listing of your search results.

Paid placement advertising/Pay Per Click (PPC) - sponsored ads you see at the top and side of your search results in search engines. Advertisers bid on a keyword they like for their ad to show up.

Page View - the overall number of times that the web page was viewed by visitors.

Reciprocal Link - two-way linking when two websites exchange links.

Robots.txt - a text file that is used to control the search engine spiders and what not to index.

Search Engine Spider/Crawler - program or automated script that visits websites and crawls the pages to index information for the search engines.

Text Link - a word used as a hyperlink. Also known as anchor link. Usually linking to a page with more specific information about that word/topic.

Title Tags - defines the title of the web page; tells the search engine spider what the page is about. This is also an HTML tag.

Unique Visits - one visit to a website by one visitor. If the visitor leaves and come back it will count as a second unique visit.

Visits - the total number of times people visited your website.

White Hat SEO - ethical techniques of SEO.


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