Glossary of Terms

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Above the Fold

Historically this is the section on the upper half of the front page of a newspaper. It is the area of preferred content and advertising space because it is most easily seen and read. The term has been extended and used in web development to refer to the portion of a webpage that is visible without scrolling. It is also known as “Above the Scroll.
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Absolute Links

Search engine spiders like links that have the entire link path, including the domain name.
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Add to Cart

A feature on e-commerce websites that allow you to add a product to your virtual shopping cart as a part of the purchase process.
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Add to Cart Rates

Some shopping cart systems will give you information so you can see how frequently people add products to their shopping cart.
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Affiliate Marketing

Setting up strategic relations with other online marketers or third parties to promote services or products for one another. Affiliate marketing usually involves sharing one another’s list and revenues.
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Alexa Traffic Rank

Alexa ranks the popularity of your website relative to others. While not always 100% accurate, it is a great indicator of how well your website is performing in generating traffic.
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A program that automatically generates a set response to all messages sent to a particular e-mail address. It is also your list building & management tool, for it captures and stores your opt-in list and provides automatic responses when they initially sign-up.


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Banner Advertisement

An advertisement on a web site placed above, below, or on the sides of the sites main content and linked to the advertiser’s web site.
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Is a self-published, managed or maintained Web diary. Usually updated daily or weekly, blogs have historically been personal, but gained notoriety after the 2004 election as an influential media outlet. Companies now use blogs to extend their brand and improve their organic search visibility.
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The meat and potatoes of a webpage. This is the where the primary content of a page is displayed.
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Bold Text Blocks

Font on a webpage that is bolded. This alerts search engines and your visitors that the words in bold are of greater significance than other text.
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Internet bookmarks are stored Web page locations (URLs) that can be retrieved.
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Click Rate

The percentage of impressions resulting in a click through. It is calculated by dividing the number of clicks, by the num-ber of impressions.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

The percentage of those clicking on a link out of the total number who viewed the link or text ad.


A “black hat” technique of tricking the search engines into seeing something other than what is displayed to the human viewer; using this technique can get websites penalized or banned from search engines.

Competing Pages

How many pages of content are relevant to a specific search term, keyword, or key phrase. In Google the competing pages are found as the 1 of 10 of “X” number. You can go several more layers into this to determine true competing pages, but this is only a general rule of thumb to give you an idea of how competitive a market might be.

Content Management System (CMS)

A software platform that aids in the management of content on a Web site.

Content Marketing Strategy

Content Marketing is the use of information (articles, blogs, e-books, reports, etc.) to generate interest, engage your readers and build trust and authority. It is a long-term strat-egy for list building and making sales. A content marketing strategy is a plan for building an audience by publishing, maintaining, and spreading frequent and consistent content that educates, entertains, or inspires to turn strangers into fans and fans into customers.


A site visitor completes a desired action – generally, a down-load, signup, purchase, etc 

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Drip Marketing

The ongoing process of sending a series of emails to your list. The idea is to be top of mind, when the time comes for them to make a purchase. Do not overdo it, as it can be perceived as a nuisance. A rule of thumb is 80% content (valuable information) and 20% selling. Don’t get pushy, give good info or people will opt-out. Always opt for content over pitching.


Simply put, e-commerce means conducting business online. E-commerce software programs run the main functions of an e-commerce web site, including product display, online ordering, and inventory management. This software resides on a commerce server and works in conjunction with online payment systems to process payments.

Ethical Bribe

A free enticement, such as a report, e-book, or tips sheet, in exchange for the reader’s contact information which is to be used for later marketing efforts.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

A standard Internet procedure for transferring files from one computer to another.

H1-H6 Headings

Heading tags give importance to the words that are con-tained within them. H1 tags contain larger, bolder font. You work your way down to H6 tags which are much smaller fonts. Search engines read these tags to determine rele-vance and importance. The larger the font, the more import-ant it is.


The Headline is the first line of content and is designed to draw the reader into the content by igniting an emotion or conveying a benefit for the reader. The lead is the initial content which is designed to create intrigue so the reader will continue to stay on the site and review the content.


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IP Address

An IP address is an identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network. Networks using the TCP/IP protocol, route messages according to the destination IP address. Within a private network, IP addresses can be assigned at random as long as each one is unique. However, connecting a private network to the Internet requires using publicly registered IP addresses (called Internet addresses) to avoid duplication.

ISP (Internet Service Provider)

An ISP is an entity that provides commercial access to the Internet. Service can range in size from dial-up access with a 56-Kbps ordinary telephone line and several dozens or thou-sands of customers to multiple pops (i.e., connection points). ISPs may also provide web hosting and other services.

Italic Text Blocks

Font on a webpage that is italicized. This alerts search en-gines and your visitors that the words in italics are of significance.

Keyword/Search Query

It is a term represents the essence of the topic of a doc-ument. It is entered into a search engine to generate an expected result.

Keyword Analysis

Is the study of the most frequently used keywords for a given topic that is entered into a search engine by the users.

Keyword Cloud

A search engine marketing (SEM) term that refers to a group of keywords that are relevant to a specific website. The term keyword in reference to SEM usually refers to a word or phrase (combination of words, such as ‘San Francisco weather map’) used to find relevant and useful web pages. Keyword clouds can be illustrated using web-based tools as a group of keywords, displayed in different sizes to repre-sent the frequency or weighting of each keyword within the cloud.
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Link Popularity

The number and quality of links pointing to your website. This is a very important factor in the search engine place-ment of your website.


The information that appears on a search engine’s results page in response to a search. See “Results Page.”

Local Search

Search engine results constrained by region/location, based on the searcher’s location or intent. With the addition of Web 2.0 capabilities, local search results may include business ratings, reviews, maps and driving directions.


In computer security, login (logging or signing in, also log on) is the process by which individual access a computer system. It is controlled by identification of the user using credentials provided by the user, often called a password, which you create.

Long Tail

In relation to search engine marketing (SEM) the Long Tail refers to keyword phrases that are highly detailed and specific. They may generate low volumes of searches and traffic, but add up to a majority of traffic for sites with deep content or product SKUs. This is ideal for targeting specific known buyers for what you are selling.

Loss Aversion/Sunk Cost Fallacy

Many people have strong misgivings about “wasting” resources. This is called “loss aversion.” In web terms this may involve the purchase of a non-refundable item like a movie ticket. Most people, for example, feel obliged to go to the movie despite maybe not really wanting to, because doing otherwise would be wasting the ticket price. They feel they passed the point of no return which is sometimes called the sunk cost fallacy.
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On-Page Optimization

The area of search engine optimization that applies to the content and structure of the website itself.

One Way Links/Inbound Links

A text or graphical hyperlink from one site to another. Google and other search engines’ algorithms consider a site’s popu-larity based on the quality and quantity of inbound links from relevant third party sites to help determine search position-ing. See “Link Popularity.” Online Reputation Management (ORM) This is the act of monitoring, addressing or mitigating unde-sirable search engine results or mentions in online media for a company or product. Techniques include generating new content and creating posts on existing content and building marketing campaigns around them.

Online Shopping Cart/Basket

The basket is simply a list of the items you have selected to buy, together with the necessary details (number selected, price of each item, etc.).

Opt-in Form

A fill-in the blanks form, providing at least name and email address. It is a way for a web site to “capture” names for its email list. Often, a report or tips sheet or other information piece is offered in return for the user information. Same as “conversion form.” See “ethical bribe.”

Organic/Natural Listings

Refers to the area of search engine results and marketing that are a result of optimization (SEO), in contrast to paid inclusion and pay-per-click programs. 

Page Authority

Page authority is an SEO term used to describe the prob-ability that a specific page from your site will be found on a search engine. It is determined by a number of factors – new content, original content, relevancy, incoming links, keyword usage, and others.

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Portal (a.k.a. web portal)

Refers to a web site or service that offers a broad array of resources and services, such as e-mail, forums, search en-gines, and online shopping malls. The first web portals were online services, such as AOL, which provided access to the web. Most of the traditional search engines (e.g. Yahoo®, Google®, etc.) are web portals, modified to attract and keep a larger audience.

Press Release

A news release, media release, press release or press statement is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something claimed as having news value.

Privacy Policy

Many sites will have a policy regarding sharing of your contact and other personal information. Many will not share, which is what you want. Be aware that some will sell your contact information to other sites, which is to be avoided.

Product Removal Rate

Some shopping cart systems give you detailed analytics that allow you to see how often people remove products from their shopping cart.


How well a particular web page or web site is listed in search engine results. Generally, sites on the first page (or within the first 10 listings) generate significant visibility and traffic. Overall, saying a page is “listed” only means that it can be found within a search engine in response to a query, not that it necessarily ranks well for that query. “Rank” is also referred to as “position.”

Reciprocal Links

A mutually-agreed upon link exchange between two sites.

Regional (Geo Target)

Often used to describe web page requests that originat-ed from a similar geographical area. This is measured by analyzing a server’s log files for requests from ISPs and then aggregating those requests by region according to the ISPs geographical location. 
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Sales Volume

The quantity or number of goods (or services) sold in a specified period of time.

Search Engine

is an information retrieval system designed to help find information stored on a computer system. The search results are usually presented in a list and are commonly called hits. Search engines help to minimize the time required to find information and the amount of information which must be consulted, akin to other techniques for managing information overload. The most popular is Google, but others include Yahoo, Bing, MSN and others.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

The act of marketing a web site via search engines, wheth-er this be improving rank in organic listings (search engine optimization), purchasing paid listings (PPC management) or a combination of these and other search engine-related activities (i.e. affiliate programs, shopping feeds or link de-velopment).

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The act of developing a web site so that it does well in the organic, crawler-based listings of search engines. In the past, has also been used as a term for any type of search engine marketing activity, though now the term search engine marketing is more commonly used as an umbrella term. It basically makes your site easy to find, when the right search terms are used.

SES (Search Engine Submissions)

The act of submitting specific URLs to popular search en-gines like Google, MSN and Yahoo! to ensure the web page gets “spidered” and “indexed.”

Search Index

The collection of information (contained in a large database) a search engine has that searchers can query. With crawl-er-based search engines, the index contains all the web pages have been found from “crawling” the web. With hu-man-powered directories, the index contains the summaries of all web sites that have been categorized.aphical location.
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Source Code

Source code is instructions to the computer in their original form. Initially, a programmer writes a program in a particular programming language called the source code. To execute the program, the programmer must translate the code into “machine language,” the only language a computer under-stands. Source code is the only format readable by humans.


Refers to electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings. Some people define spam as any unsolicited e-mail. In ad-dition to being a nuisance, spam uses a lot of network band-width. Because the Internet is a public network, little can be done to prevent spam, just as it is impossible to prevent junk mail. However, the use of software filters in e-mail programs can be used to remove most spam sent through e-mail. See “Can-Spam Act.”

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

Is a protocol for transmitting private documents via the Inter-net, using a public key to encrypt data and transfer it.

SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate is used for the server authentication, data encryption, and message integrity checks. With a valid SSL certificate, your Internet communications are transmitted in encrypted form. Information you send can be trusted to arrive privately and unaltered only to the server you specify, and no other. Target Audience A target audience, or target group is the primary group of people for which a product or service is appealing. A target audience can be people of a certain age group, gender, marital status, etc. (e.g. teenagers, females, single people, etc.) A certain combination, like men from twenty to thirty is often referred to as a target audience. Your targets are the primary users of your service or product.

Tracking Numbers

Numbers that are assigned to by a call center or shipping service to track the current location of an ordered product. It allows customer inquiries about the status of delivery. 
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Web 2.0

The use of World Wide Web technology and web design that facilitates creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users. These concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social-networking sites, wikis, and blogs.

Web Analytics

The study of user activity on a web site or web application to understand how well the site fulfills its objectives.

Web Accessibility

refers to the practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities.

Web Browser

is a software application that, on a user’s prompt, retrieves and collects information resources and arranges and dis-plays the resources on the user’s computer screen, such as web sites that are relevant to the keywords entered.


A process whereby sound and/or video is broadcast online. The process can deliver live or prerecorded information. Often advertisements are inserted at the beginning of the broadcast.

Website Clutter

Often happens when a website is too busy. Visitors can lose focus and not know where they are supposed to go or what they are supposed to do on your site. Too much clutter can cloud your call to action and interfere with your conversion rate.

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A mathematical formula used by search engines to determine which web sites in their database to present in search results and in which order. It is a behind the scenes evaluation of the relevance of your site for the search terms that have been used. While search engine algorithms change regularly, primary on-page factors include keyword density and source code optimization. The primary off-page factor is link popularity.
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Alt Image Text

When visitors disable image loading in their browser settings (for quicker load times), an image alt tag is displayed. This is assigned during the development of the web page and alerts the end user what the image is about.
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Anchor Text

As an example this is: anchor text and is usually a link to another web page. Using a keyword/key phrase in your anchor text is a good SEO technique. Also, the text should give an indication of what to expect when you click the link.
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An application is a program designed to perform a specific function directly for the user or, in some cases, for another application program. For example, your web browser or word processor are applications.
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Articles should be viewed as an information resource on services or an industry. Articles should be linked back to your website in the resource box when they are distributed to various article directories. This link creates organic SEO and additional ways to be found in the search engines. An article is intended to build trust and authority for the author. 


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Articles should be viewed as an information resource on services or an industry. Articles should be linked back to your website in the resource box when they are distributed to various article directories. This link creates organic SEO and additional ways to be found in the search engines. An article is intended to build trust and authority for the author.
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Call to Action

This is a marketing message that directs visitors to act in some specific manner, such as requesting a report, giving contact information or even make a purchase. One goal is to obtain contact information for later e-marketing efforts.
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Signed into law in 2003, Can-Spam sets national standards for sending email. It is especially oriented to controlling non-solicited email marketing and pornography.
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Cart Abandonment Rate

Some shopping cart systems will give you detailed analytics that allow you to see how often people do not follow through with a purchase.
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Checkout/Purchase Process

How a website flows from product display and selection, to the end purchase.
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Every time a visitor clicks on an advertising banner to access the advertiser’s Web site; it is counted as a “click” or “clickthrough.”
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Click Fraud

A type of internet crime that occurs in pay-per-click online advertising when a person, automated script, or computer program imitates a legitimate user of a web browser clicking on an ad, for the purpose of generating a large charge per click without having actual interest in the target of the ad’s link.
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Conversion Funnel

A series of steps or actions a user must take in order to com-plete the desired result or action (e.g. ecommerce shopping cart).

Conversion Optimization

In internet marketing, conversion optimization is the science and art of creating an experience for a website visitor with the goal of converting the visitor into a customer.

Conversion Rate

The relationship between visitors to a web site and actions considered to be a “conversion,” such as a sale or request to receive more information. This metric is often expressed as a percentage.

Conversion Form

A conversion form can be a newsletter signup, contact page, or quote request page. Typically, the code to properly mea-sure conversion would go on the “Thank You” page.



A type of search engine where listings are gathered or reviewed by humans, rather than by search engine crawlers. In directories, web sites are often reviewed, summarized (in about 25 words) and placed in a particular category. The largest and most popular directory site is Yahoo! D.M.O.Z. ( is another highly relevant directory site.

Domain Name

Used in URLs to identify particular web pages or sites lo-cated on the Internet. For example, the domain name nces. represents the web site for the National Center for Education Statistics. A domain name contains your unique, reserved name and an extension, which describes the cate-gory of site, such as .com, .org, or .net.

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 The homepage (often written as home page) is the URL or local file that automatically loads when a web browser starts or when the browser’s “home” button is pressed. One can turn this feature off and on, as well as specify a URL for the page to be loaded.


To host is to provide the infrastructure that contains all the data, code, programs, etc. that make up a web site or computer service. For example, a company that hosts web servers may provide the content on the server (e.g., web site or other content), but another company may control commu-nications lines required by the server.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

A formatting language used to create web pages that speci-fy how a page will appear on screen.

Image Optimization

 This term is used to describe the process of image slicing and resolution reduction. This is done to make file sizes smaller so images will load faster.

Internet of Things

A term used to define the interaction and connectivity of applications and programs on the internet – as opposed to connection and interaction with people.

Internet Security

When a computer connects to a network and begins com-municating with others, it is taking a risk. Internet security involves the protection of a computer’s internet account and files from intrusion of an unknown user. Basic security measures involve protection by well selected passwords, change of file permissions, and back up of computer’s data. Security is designed to stop malicious malware and dam-aging applications that may damage your computer or steal personal data.

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Keyword Density

The percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on the page. In the context of search engine optimization keyword density can be used as a factor in determining whether a web page is relevant to a specified keyword or keyword phrase, however, the overuse of keywords (keyword stuffing) will lower page rank.

Keyword Tracking

When there are numerous keywords/search terms, the con-tinuous process of tracking or following keywords is per-formed by an SEO expert so as to get information on how a web site is performing in search results.

Landing Page

In online marketing a landing page, sometimes known as a lead capture page, is the page that appears when a poten-tial customer clicks on an advertisement or a search-engine result link. The page will usually display content that is a logical extension of the advertisement or link, and that is op-timized to feature specific keywords or phrases for indexing by search engines. The landing page is designed to lead to a desired action, such as click a link or sign-up.

Link Bait

Any content or feature within a website that entices view-ers to place links to it from another website. Google’s SEO expert Matt Cutts defines link bait as, “anything interesting enough to catch people’s attention.” Link bait can be an ex-tremely powerful form of marketing as it is viral in nature and can impact visibility in search results.

Link Building

The process of improving the volume and/or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results and is used to create a “list” of interested people and email addresses. Information is collected and used for “drip marketing.” Typically, the earlier a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a web site web presence.
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Meta Description

Allows page authors to say how they would like their pages described when listed by search engines. Not all search en-gines use the tag. It does not show on the site, as is embed-ded in behind the scenes code.

Meta Keyword

Allows page authors to add relevant text to a page to help with the search engine ranking process. It does not show on the site itself.

Meta Tag

A command inserted in a document that specifies how the document, or a portion of the document, should be format-ted. Tags are used by all format specifications that store documents as text files. Also, used for photos and video files. Again, it does not show on a site, but is an aid to search engines seeking relevant content.


The act of moving data from one database to another, or moving a website from one server to another.


When your products or services cater to a specific, targeted audience.

Off-Page Optimization

The area of search engine optimization that applies to build-ing back-links and website popularity from off-site resources.
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A link analysis algorithm, named after Larry Page (Google co-founder), and used by the Google Internet search engine that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of “measuring” its relative importance within the set. 2. (As described by Google) PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In es-sence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”

Page Title

The page title appears at the top of each webpage in your browser. Search engines tend to place heavier importance on the keywords included within page titles. Page titles also appear as the link for each entry in search engine results.

Page Views

The number of times a page (an analyst-definable unit of content) was viewed.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

An advertiser pays an agreed amount for each “click” some-one makes on a link leading to their web site. PPC links show up at the top of a search engine results page and on the right side of the page. Facebook and others have ads, too. It is also known as CPC (Cost Per Click) or paid listings on search engines.

Pay Per Impression (PPI)

Like PPC this is payment for your ad merely being placed on the search engine results page. No click required. This is less effective than PPC, but much more affordable.

Pop-Up Ads

Advertisements that appear in a separate browser window while a web site is being viewed.


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Repeat Visitors%

When viewing this statistic in your analytics, it gives you an idea of how often people come back to visit your website. Typically, the more often they return the more likely they are to convert to a sales opportunity.

Return Policy

A document, or policy that explains a merchant’s policy regarding the return of products by customers. A clear and simple Return Policy is widely viewed as an important aspect in Conversion Optimization.

Reviews/Consumer Ratings

People are doing more and more research before making a purchase. Having positive product reviews will help strength-en the chances of someone making a purchase.

Risk Reversal

A buyer is encouraged to buy when he or she believes that risk of purchase (usually price) is lessened or eliminated. A money back guarantee is the most common. A time limita-tion can be helpful.


Historically associated with sales and marketing efforts; when applied to SEM efforts, refers to numerical, percentage or ratio of revenue generated over total cost of activities. ROI typically factors in paid placement and associated manage-ment costs, but a more detailed analysis may factor in profit (true cost). If ROI is measuring paid placement only, it is typically referred to as return on ad spend (ROAS).

RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

Real simple syndication (RSS) is a relatively new and easy way to distribute content via the Internet. For email market-ers, it is a way to distribute messages while avoiding spam filters. Typical applications include email newsletters, blogs or even Web sites. Similar to newsgroups, RSS feeds re-quire a special “reader” like Bloglines or NewsGator to view messages.


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Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

The page that is displayed after a search phrase is typed into a search engine.

Search Volume

How many times in a month a search term is typed in a search engine.


The document or form used to approve, track, and pro-cess outbound shipments. A MAJOR cause of visitor “cart abandonment” occurs when shopping online if the shipping policy is not both clear and cost friendly

Shopping Cart

A program that records and processes purchases online.

Site Complacency

Search engines love fresh content, so having a static or un-changing website will eventually affect your search rankings – in a negative way. Google has announced that they will de-list your site if it remains static after 30 days.


A sitemap (or site map) is a list of pages of a web site ac-cessible to crawlers or users. It can be either a document in any form used as a planning tool for web design, or a web page that lists the pages on a web site, typically organized in hierarchical fashion. This helps visitors and search engine bots find pages on the site.

SKU (Stock Keeping Unit)

A unique number assigned to each of a product. One item may have many SKUs for differing sizes, colors or materials, etc.

Social Bookmarking

Is a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata, typically in the form of tags. Examples include Delicious, Digg, & Reddit.
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The number of times a website is viewed within a stipulated time.

Unique Selling Point or Proposition (USP)

The unique product benefit that the competition does not have or cannot claim. It is your unique position in the mar-ketplace – your unique differentiator.

Unique Visitor

A visitor that interacts with a site for the first time. They may interact more than once, but analytics only count them as one time.

Universal Search

Google’s process of blending listings from its news, video, images, local and book search engines in addition to those it gathers from crawling web pages.

URL (Universal Resource Locator)

a World Wide Web (www) address composed of several parts including the protocol, the server where the “resource” (e.g., web page) resides, the path, and the file name of the resource, and the extension (such as .com or .net). The URL is often referred to as a “domain.”

Viral Marketing

A marketing technique that induces websites or users to pass on a marketing message to others. This creates a potentially exponential growth in the message’s visibility and effect.

Visitor Session

Interaction by a site visitor. The session ends when the visitor leaves the site. Delicious, Digg, & Reddit.

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Web Crawlers/Spiders/Bots

A Web crawler is a computer program that browses the World Wide Web in a methodical, automated manner. Web crawlers are mainly used to create a copy of all the visited pages for later processing by a search engine that will then index the downloaded pages to provide fast searches. This exercise helps determine your keyword relevancy and is a big reason websites get ranked where they do (be it good or bad).

Website Metrics

The foundation and analytics used to measure a website’s effectiveness.

White Papers

Technical documents used primarily to generate leads for business-to-business technology companies. The technical papers typically include industry research, statistics and deep technical information. Download Anvil’s SEO White Paper for an example of how it’s done correctly. It is not intended as a selling document. It is designed to provide information and build credibility.

Website Usability

The ease with which visitors are able to use and maneuver within a website. 

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