Glossary

Like every industry ours has a specific vernacular to help communicate the ideas and concepts behind what we do every day. Here are some of the useful terms you'll see underlined throughout the site.

a/b split testing

A method in which two groups of web site visitors are served different ads or pages to test the performance of specific components such as a headline or graphic elements. This testing is used to test only one variable at a time. Results help to track the changes in behavior of prospective customers based on which version of the ad or web page they viewed. This type of testing can increase conversion rates, challenge assumptions, and solve problems.

abandonment

In web marketing, when a website visitor leave before completing a conversion or desired outcome. This can be leaving a shopping cart before paying, or a caller from a phone number on the website hanging up the phone before a representative answers. This rate is a measure of the efficiency of the marketing program or some component of it.

above the fold

On web pages, the part of the page that is visible on screen without scrolling downward. Material in this area is considered to be the highest value part of any web page because the viewer sees it first and some viewers do not scroll down the page.

ad position

As it relates to online text ads, the position on the search engine results page (SERP) where the ads are displayed. Depending on the search engine, text ads are shown at the top of the page, the right side of the page and in some engines below the natural results. The number one position ad is at the top of the page, so a lower number in reports generally means the ad is more likely to be seen and clicked upon. This is a critical point if the position of the ad falls below those shown on the first page of results.

adcenter

The trademarked name of the Microsoft pay per click ad network. As of autumn 2010, this network includes PPC traffic from search engines Bing (formerly MSN)and Yahoo. According to their website, this network reaches over 30 percent of the U.S. online market.

adsense

The trademarked name of Google's advertising program for web site publishers to place text, image and video ads on their sites. Google uses its search technology to serve ads based on site content, viewers' geographical location and other factors. This service is free and can be very effective in monetizing web site content. Revenue is generated on a per-click or per-thousand impressions basis, and publishers receive a share of the revenue.

adwords

The trademarked name of Google's innovative pay per click advertising program. It has two primary modes, text ads on search engines or search partners, and text or banner ads for content sites. The auction-style program is flexible and has been designed so that ad campaigns can be highly targeting, including custom local, national and international levels.

analytics

A tracking program that provides useful data about what happened on a website. Installing the code on the pages to activate tracking is necessary for monitoring trends. This data includes how many visits occurred during a particular time frame, what visitors did while they were on the website, the page they left from, and where they went after they left, and much more. A free version is available from Google.

Synonyms: website analytics
B2B

Abbreviation for Business to Business in advertising and marketing.

Synonyms: B-to-B
B2C

Abbreviation for Business to Consumer in advertising and marketing.

Synonyms: B-to-C
banner ad

A form of online advertising that contain graphic images and is linked to an advertiser’s web page. Banner ads come in a variety of sizes and can be static or have motion such as rich media.

below the fold

On web pages, the portion of the page that is visible on screen by scrolling down to the middle or bottom of the page. Content in this area is commonly considered to be less valuable because some viewers do not scroll down the page.

bing

The trademarked name of Microsoft's search engine that was announced in the summer of 2009. Microsoft describes it as a "Decision Engine" designed to help searchers make more informed decisions. It had four initial areas of focus: purchases, travel, health and local business.

blog

Short name for web log. These sites are mostly used to post regular online diaries, and include discussion forums. The application that is used to create these, such as WordPress or Blogger, can also be used as to create a site that looks and has some of features of a traditional website.

blogger

This term has two definitions. As a common noun, it means a person who writes blogs. As a proper noun and trademarked name, it is a free blog publishing tool from Google.

browser cache

A temporary record of your internet activity. It includes downloads, images, and sounds and is stored in a file on your computer for a short while. Clearing your cache can make it possible to see certain changes in web pages, tracking phone numbers and more.

cache
Synonyms: browser cache
call to action

A brief phrase or message meant to inspire prospective customers or clients and create a desired outcome. Examples include requesting additional information, making a purchase, asking for a catalog, downloading a free white paper, etc.

call tracking

In web marketing, the counting and gathering of marketing data on incoming phone calls that have been generated by a website. This is usually done by the use of tracking phone numbers and dynamic phone number substitution.

callside

The trademarked name of TopSide Media's tracking and related services for phone calls. Although tracking and forwarding phone numbers can be used in traditional places such as print ads, they can also be inserted dynamically on a web page. This allows the tracking of calls back to the ad source that generated them. The service features options to record calls or have them analyzed.

cascading style sheets (CSS)

The language used to describe how an HTML document should be formatted. Both web designers and builders use CSS to define colors, fonts and layout to separate style from structure on web pages.

click

In the web marketing situations, a user interacting with an ad via a mouse. This action lands the user on the advertiser's web page, and generates a visit to a web site.

clickthrough rate (CTR)

The number of clicks on an ad divided by the number of impressions of that ad. This a measure ad effectiveness. Typically, the higher the clickthrough rate the better. Ads from active searches tend to have higher efficiency than those served to readers of content.

complex sale

A business transaction that usually requires several steps or elapsed time and thus cannot be delivered instantly online. Lead generation is often associated with this type of transaction. A product or service can be in this category because it is expensive, such as enterprise software, or due to its nature.

confirmation page
Synonyms: thank you page
considered purchase

as it relates to search marketing, a mode in which the searcher is carefully reading the results of his/her query. Contrast reading the ads for or descriptions of a university degree program with quickly scanning a SERP to buy ink for a printer.

content management system (CMS)

The tools or methods used to create, publish, or edit the content of a website or electronic text.

contextual advertising

A program that generates advertisements on a web site based on the specific content on that web page. Google AdSense was the first program of this type, and is the most popular. To better understand this term, contrast it with ads served to computer users who are actively entering a query in a search box and clicking a submit button.

Synonyms: content advertising, display network
conversion

A desired customer action that is tracked to measure the success of a web site or advertising program. These can be either online or offline. In addition to purchases from a web site, these can include newsletter signups, online appointments, membership registration, the download of software or a white paper, a referral to a colleague or friend, etc.

conversion rate

In web marketing, a measure of efficiency. It is calculated by dividing clicks by conversions, then multiplying by 100 to express as a percentage.

conversion tracking code

A snippet of code that goes in the source code of specific web pages to track desired action has been taken online. Examples of this code would be from a search engine ads program such as Google AdWords, or more generally from a website analytics program. This code counts how many times the conversion happened and relate it back to the source of traffic, keyword, and other contributing factors.

cookie

A small data file stored on a user’s computer by a web site. Examples of cookies include a URL or web address. Cookies are designed to help customize a visitor's experience to your web site and also allow the tracking of conversions.

cookies

In web related work, cookies are small text files that are downloaded to a user's computer. They are used to store user information and preferences. Sites use cookies to customize page loads, content and more for repeat visits to a site.

cost per action (CPA)

The cost to an advertiser for a specific outcome by a user who has responded to an ad. This can range from the purchase of a product to downloading a white paper. Pay per incoming phone call is another example of this pricing model.

cost per click (CPC)

A pricing model for web traffic that is based on an incremental charge each time an ad is clicked. Most search and content ads are in an auction system in which advertisers pay in this fashion. Higher efficiency and a higher quality score lower the net price. Contrast with cost per thousand (CPM) impressions and cost per action (CPA) models

Synonyms: pay per click (PPC)
cost per conversion

Total ad cost divided by the number of conversions during a specific time frame. Conversions can be any desired action and include online purchases, completing a contact form, an incoming telephone call, etc.

cost per thousand (CPM)

A long standing advertising pricing model, in which the M stands for mille. This is the dollar amount an advertiser pays for 1,000 impressions or potential views of an ad. Contrasted with PPC or CPA, the incremental costs occurs regardless of clicks or conversions.

dayparting

In the serving of ads, an option that allows managers to run ads on a certain day of the week or time of the day. This feature allows ads to be shown when the target audience is more likely to be available, and can also be used to manage your budget or to make sure ads receive exposure in different time zones or parts of the world.

destination URL

The address of the web page targeted to open after a link or ad is clicked upon.

discovery search

A query in which the user enters the product or service without including a company or brand name. Also referred to as a functional search. Contrast with recovery search.

Synonyms: discovery searches
display network

In Google AdWords, the segment of traffic that previously known as the content network or contextual advertising. In addition to graphics or display ads, text ads are triggered from this setting, based on automatic (content) match or by placement targeting.

display URL

In a online text ad, the part of the website address that shows in the ad. It is often only a part of the address, not the complete page name that is used for its destination URL.

domain name

Part of a URL to the right of the forward slashes that identifies an ip address or one or more particular web pages. In the URL http://www.callside.com, callside.com is an example.

drupal

The trademarked name for an open source content management system used as a back-end system for websites. It is versatile enough to be used for sites ranging from enterprise websites or online stores down to simple personal sites. The website you are reading now uses this platform.

ecommerce

The buying and selling of products and services on the internet, where the transactions or conversions are performed online. The letter e stands for electronic. Contrasted with a complex sale, this type of selling gives the most direct feedback as to which keywords, ads and other settings generated the sale.

flash content

The graphic animation used on web sites to make them visually interesting and interactive. However, because it contains minimal crawlable text content, search engines in the past have had more difficulty crawling it and ranking web sites that employ it. There are recent developments that could make flash more "readable" by crawlers, however.

forum

An online community where users may post comments or questions, and read about topics of common interest.

frames

A feature supported by most web browsers that allows web site designers to display two or more pages in the same browser window. Although this web design technique facilitates consistent site navigation, frames have now been replaced by more effective content site building tools.

funnel

In web marketing, a path of elements or pages created to encourage conversions. Even if not set up in the structure of a website or landing page, tracking funnels can be created in analytics to analyze traffic patterns and locate opportunities for improvement on the website.

geotargeting

In paid search, the method of distributing ads for a product or service to a defined market based on the physical location (ip address) of prospective buyers. You can define your market by country, region, state, city or zip code to reach your targeted customers.

hits

A general description of the number of times a particular web page, web image or file has been viewed. In web analytics, there are more precise terms available to describe website traffic.

html

Abbreviation for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is the language used to create documents on the web.

id10t error

An information technology insider acronym and joke. When spoken aloud it becomes "I-D-Ten-T error". It makes a handy way to lighten up a tense situation when someone goofs up, provided the person who goofs doesn't take themselves too seriously. It works great as an intro to a mea culpa when spoken about one's self, as in "it appears as though I've made another I-D-Ten-T error".

Synonyms: I.D.10-T error, I.D.10T error, ID10-T error
impression

In online advertising, the term used to describe when your ad has been shown on a search results page after being triggered by a user's query or a content match.

inbound links

References on the Internet that point to or link to your website. These are in the category of "off page" search engine optimization.

ip address

Every computer connected to the internet is assigned a unique numeric address known as an internet protocol (IP) address. Since these
addresses are usually assigned in geographically-based blocks, it can be used to identify and target the area from which a computer is connecting to the internet.

joomla

An open source platform content management system - CMS for publishing content on the web or intranets. It includes features such as page caching, RSS feeds, printable versions of pages, news, blogs, and polls. It and Drupal are the two primary open source platforms used to build websites.

jumped the shark

In marketing, a slang term that means something or someone has gone over the top, or is on the wane in some way. It alludes to an episode on the TV show "Happy Days", in which Fonzie literally jumped over a shark on water skis. In marketing lore related to the term, this episode either caused or was the effect of a decline in interest in the show.

keyword

A word or series of words that are essential to creating websites and advertising and marketing them. They are entered as queries into the search box. Thus, keywords are arranged in specific ways (but in limited numbers) for on-page SEO. In PPC, depending on the web site and the size of the advertising program, the number of keywords used can run into the thousands.

keyword bid

In PPC advertising, the maximum amount of money an advertiser is willing to pay each time a user clicks on your ad on a search engine and then visits your web site. Google rewards relevance and efficiency. The better an ad campaign is built and managed, the lower the cost per click will be below the bid.

keyword matching

In PPC advertising, the different methods of choosing and organizing your keywords to match your prospective customers’ queries. Google AdWords has four different matching options, including broad, exact , phrase, and negative. These advanced options, properly used, can help you target your ads to the desired audience. Yahoo!, MSN and other search engines have different standards for organizing keywords, and these vary somewhat from those of Google.

LAMP

acronym for Linux (operating system), Apache HTTP Server, MySQL (database software) and Perl/PHP/Python. These are combined to build web application servers.

landing page

The web page that loads when an ad or link is clicked on. So, it is the page that your prospective customers “land on”. These are typically designed with a strong call to action and path to the desired conversion action. This type of page can be part of your web site or a page hosted at another location. A landing page is also known as a destination URL or clickthrough URL.

long tail keywords

Keyword phrases composed of three or more words that are more specific than a single keyword. These are usually more likely to convert to sales than shorter, more generic keywords for two reasons: a- the searcher is assumed to be closer to the act of purchasing, and b- there is sometimes less competition from other advertisers for the longer phrases.

microsite

A web site with features between a short landing page and a traditional full web site. They are designed to function as a supplement to the primary web site and typically provide specialized information. Microsites often have their own URL, and they are frequently used when a business wants to offer prospective customers focused information about a new or specific product, service or technology. Microsites can also be used as landing pages for PPC.

minimum bid

In search advertising, the dollar or cents amount suggested/required by a provider of ads for either a specific keyword or type of keyword. Below this amount, the ad for that keyword may either not be shown at all or not on the first page. Minimum bids can be encountered when there are quality score penalties in the initial account setup or during ongoing bidding.

moment of relevance

As used in search marketing, the brief and timely opportunity that exists when a searcher has entered a query online. Responding by serving a PPC ad or natural search results on the SERP reaches the searcher at this critical time.

multichannel marketing

The use of multiple media activities to reach a targeted customer group. Channels can be a web site, email, a bricks-and-mortar business, a mail order catalog, etc. The objective is to make it as easy as possible for your clients or customers to find and buy from you.

multivariate testing

Also known as the Taguchi Method, this is a sophisticated statistical testing model that allows simultaneous testing of several ad or landing page variables such as the hero shot, headline text, body copy, background color, etc. Contrast this with a/b testing, where only one variable at a time can be effectively examined.

natural ranking

The position of a website in natural or organic search results, which are found in the center and left section of a search results page. Rank can assigned overall for a website and also for an individual keyword. Unlike PPC ads this position cannot be affected by bids to a search engine, but can be improved by professionally delivered search engine optimization (SEO).

Synonyms: organic ranking, page rank
negative keywords

In search engine advertising, this matching option is used to avoid undesirable ad impressions and clicks. Once entered, these excluded keywords act as filters to prevent ads from being triggered when a user enters a query that is similar in some way, but not relevant to the advertiser's product or service. When correctly used, this tactic helps raise clickthrough rates (CTR) and lower the cost per click (CPC).

off page optimization

A type of SEO that focuses on creating references and links to a website, to increase the traffic to and ranking of the target website. Contrast with on page optimization.

offline conversion

A purchase or other desired outcome which takes place somewhere other than online. Two examples are a purchase at a bricks-and-mortar location and a order placed over the telephone. Contrast with off page optimization.

on page optimization

The type of SEO that makes additions or improvements to the structure or content of a website, to make that website more attractive and/or accessible to potential users and the search engines.

organic ranking

A web site listing on the free or unpaid section of a search results page. These result from using SEO techniques rather than paid advertising. Unlike PPC, you have limited influence as to where your web site will show up on this ranking, and you do not pay each time a user clicks on the link. Your rankings are based on an unpublished algorithm that includes factors such as the content on the site, links from other sites to your site, the age of your site, etc. Also, unlike sponsored link ads, these rankings can take years to achieve, and older sites have a advantage over newer sites.

Synonyms: natural ranking
overture

The company that was the originator of pay per click advertising. Founded in 1997, it was purchased in 2003 by Yahoo! and subsequently became known as Yahoo! Search Marketing.

page load speed

the time, measured in seconds or fractions of seconds, that it takes a web page to load after a link to it has been clicked upon or the URL entered into a browser.

page view

A single web page being loaded by a browser. In website analytics, there are also more precise gradations available to give a more complete picture of traffic and the number individuals involved.

paid search

Another one of the many names for search engine advertising or PPC.

pay per action

An advertising model in which advertisers to pay only when specific actions that they define are completed by a visitor. For example, instead of paying for impression traffic, an advertiser may choose to pay only when a user interacts with the ad, makes an online inquiry, calls, or makes a purchase.

Synonyms: cost per action, pay per performance
pay per call

An advertising model in which payment is based on incoming phone calls rather than ad impressions, clicks, or other types of traffic or conversion. Ads for this model display a tracking/forwarding telephone number that counts and gathers marketing info on the call. Paying by the call is an example of the increasingly popular pay for performance advertising model. Calls can be filtered for length, have duplicates removed, be recorded, etc. to gauge their quality.

pay per click

An online advertising model where advertiser pays only when a user clicks on an ad that links to the advertiser’s web site. For each click, the advertiser pays the search engine an incremental part of their daily budget. The cost ranges from a few cents to several dollars per click. In search results pages, these are displayed as text ads on the top and/or down the right side of most search engines. In online content, they are found in many places. In general, they can be targeted for relevance and can be measured.

Synonyms: paid search, PPC, search advertising, search engine ads
performance based advertising

As it applies to website or PPC advertising, using specific measurable goals, such as the number of units of a product sold online at a certain price, cost per lead or phone call, etc. In some situations, compensation for the agency can also be based on this, so that the agency puts their time or other resources at risk, but shares in the rewards at a higher level than in a fee based model.

platform

Generally, the underlying structure or framework, which can be hardware, software, or a combination. In our search marketing work, a common usage of this term relates to websites. Examples of open source website platforms are Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress.

PPC
Synonyms: pay per click
pull marketing

Positioning or promoting a company, its products or services by efforts that respond to existing demand rather than to create it. A few examples include PPC advertising, SEO, and in some situations, a on-demand coupon.

push marketing

Generally, positioning or promoting a company, its products or services by outgoing efforts. Such outreach activities typically are meant to create demand or top of mind awareness. Examples include mailers, discounts, or offers through a product distribution system meant to generate increased market share or sales.

quality score

A metric used by Google AdWords to assess the relevance and correlation of an advertiser's keywords, text ads and landing page content. It is part of the formula that affects keyword status and effective bid. A higher score usually relates to higher efficiency, higher ad position, and lower cost per click.

query

The word or phrase a user types into a search box and submits while actively searching online. The box can be on a search engine’s home page or in other places including the tool bar of many web sites. It is useful to know the difference in the search ads this action triggers and content or contextual advertising that is triggered based on content being viewed.

Synonyms: search phrase
receipt page
Synonyms: thank you page
recovery search

A query that includes a company or brand name. Surprisingly often, search engines are used in the same way the phone book white pages were used in years past. Contrast with discovery search.

Synonyms: recovery searches
referrer

The source or URL of the web page from which a particular web site visitor came.

return on advertising spend (ROAS)

A measure of the effectiveness of a ad campaign. This is computed by dividing revenue resulting from an advertising program by the cost of your advertising investment.

return on investment (ROI)

A measure of the returns you will receive from each marketing dollar. The ROI formula can be used to measure the return at your choice of levels, including sales, gross profit, or net profit.

RSS

An abbreviation for rich site summary or real simple syndication. It is a method of sharing content among different web sites. Sites can syndicate "feeds" or content, and users can use an application known as
an RSS reader to download these feeds.

sales cycle

The time between the first contact with a client or customer and the
sale. It can be used as a measure of the efficiency of the sales organization when compared within the industry vertical. It is often a factor in the complex sale process.

Synonyms: purchase cycle
search engine advertising

The ads found on search engines results page. These ads are triggered by active search, as contrasted with reading content.

search engine marketing (SEM)

A broad term that describes all of the activities used to promote web sites and thus generate leads and sales from search engines. SEM includes PPC advertising, optimization for natural search results (SEO) and more.

Synonyms: SEM
search engine optimization

Refer to abbreviation SEO

search engine results page (SERP)

The page on which search engines display the results of an active search. The active search consists of entering a query in a search box and submitting it. The results page contains both natural results in the left center, and ads on the top and right side of the page.

Synonyms: SERP
search query report

a standard reporting format available in Google AdWords. This report, which can be downloaded into a spreadsheet, shows the actual search terms that were paired with the different keyword matching options. It can be used to either add more negative keywords or to subdivide a topic.

SEO

Abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization. The process of increasing a web site's organic or natural rankings. The process is valuable, but complex and takes time. It includes improving web site usability, content improvement, link building, social media and more.

social networking

As it relates to the web marketing, websites where users find and connect with people from their past, meet new people, get or share news and opinions, post photos or video, mass distribute mundane details, and so on. Examples include FaceBook, MySpace and Plaxo. An example of a networking site that is used for business professionals is LinkedIn.

sponsored links
Synonyms: Google AdWords, pay per click, search engine advertising
success page
Synonyms: thank you page
text ads

A type of online ad that contains words rather than an images. When viewed on a search results page such as Google, a Google AdWords text ad consists of a headline, two lines of text, and a display URL. A text ad can be found in both search results and contextual or content pages.

thank you page

The web page that appears after a user submits a form or an order online. Typically, the page is used to confirm receipt of the info submitted, thank the user, and let them know what will happen next.

Synonyms: confirmation page, receipt page, success page
topside

The trademarked name for several categories of advertising, marketing, web and related media services based in Austin, Texas. It is also a nautical term that means the higher vantage points or places of authority on the deck of a ship.

tracking phone number

In web marketing, telephone numbers used to count offline conversions that were generated by an online visit. Some providers also offer optional recording of the call to improve internal sales or customer service procedures. When used on a website, these can be dynamically inserted to track calls back to the ad that generated them.

Synonyms: forwarding phone number, phone number substitution
unique visitor

In website analytics, a count of the number of individual users who have accessed a web site during a given period of time, usually 30 days. These do not include duplicates, so visitors are counted only once regardless of the number of times they visit a site.

URL

Abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator. This is the unique address of a web site or file on the World Wide Web. It consists of two parts: first- the protocol identifier, which is found to the left of the colon, and second- a resource name, the part to the right of the two forward slashes, which specifies the ip address or domain name where the resource is located.

viral marketing

A category of marketing that is self propagating and creates the opportunity for exponential growth of your message as a result of users passing or spreading it to other users. Channels include email, social networking sites, blogging, and word of mouth.

wanamaker equation

A reference to John Wanamaker (1838-1922), an influential U.S. business innovator and civic leader. He has a long list of roles and accomplishments, but is often quoted as saying the following about traditional advertising: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." We like to say that TopSide "puts our clients on the correct side of Mr. Wanamaker's equation".

website analytics
Synonyms: analytics
website platform

A general description for software, underlying structure, back-end, or methods used to create a web page or website. Examples include custom html, Drupal, Joomla, or WordPress. To avoid rebuilds, we recommend having a website built on a platform with features that meet current and future needs of the owner.

wordpress

The trademarked name for an open source blog publishing and content management application powered by PHP and MySQL. It can be used to create blogs that stand alone or can be integrated into a website. With the addition of graphics, this application can also be used to create a website that is easy to update with a word processing style text editor.

yahoo paid inclusion

The trademarked name of a program that ending at the end of 2009. It was a one-of-a-kind blend of PPC and natural search results. The results displayed in the "organic" results section, but was paid placement with a low cost per click and limited settings. Although used by search marketing companies of many types, it was used extensively by automated or packaged PPC platforms.

yahoo search marketing

The trademarked name of the online advertising service owned by Yahoo!. In the fall of 2010, Yahoo combining its advertising program with Microsoft AdCenter.