Like many areas of business, there is a LOT of jargon that bounces around in the digital world.  This is by not means exhaustive, but I’ve collated a list of the most commonly used terms below in my Glossary of Digital Terms.

Please be warned, it’s a long list!


A/B testing – This is testing a new technique (A) of online marketing (whether it be PPC or SEO) against a control (B) to see if the new technique is more effective

Adwords – The technology that powers Google’s PPC advertising. It facilitates targeting adverts to specific searches, and the adverts appear above and to the right of the organic searches. To find out more about Adwords see our Pay Per Click information page

AddThis – A bookmarking service that gives a code people can use on their websites so when people visit they can share

App – Short for application, an app performs a function on your mobile phone or computer

API – Application Programming Interface, a document interface that allows software applications to interact with other applications. For an example the Twitter API

At tag – The @ symbol is used in email, but it is now also being used to tag users in messages on social networking websites. Both Twitter and Facebook use the @ tag

Avatar – An image that represents an account on social networks and forums

Backlink – This is a link to a specific website from another. It increases the website’s visibility when evaluated by a search engine, in essence telling it that the website must be popular

Blog – Short for weB LOG, a blog is a group of articles on a website that is maintained by one or more users where the user/s post updates. Some are used as online diaries, but many businesses now use them too to share thoughts and inspiration. A company that maintains a blog gives it a personable front for potential clients, and it also maintains an regularly update online presence that can be great to assist with SEO

Blogger – A person who writes a blog

CMS – Content Management System.  Used by site creator and editors to add/amend the content on a website.

Connections – A term used on LinkedIn to describe the people you have linked with and are associated with.

Content – This includes all text, pictures, video’s and any other online material you care to use

CRO – Conversion Rate Optimisation. The conversion rate is how many people go from just browsing to making a purchase, or becoming a client for your business. Obviously a high conversion rate is what we all aim to achieve!

CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility, the ethical behaviour of a company while serving to improve the welfare of their employees as well as the local community

Facebook – The brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg.  If you haven’t at least heard of this website then where have you been?  It is the definitive social networking site.  Please feel free to like my business FaceBook page.

Flickr – A social network based on picture sharing. Users can store and share photos

Follow – The act of choosing to see the tweets of someone you’re connected with on Twitter.

Following – Your following are all those people that have chosen to view your tweets in their Twitter newsfeeds

Forum – An online discussion board. People post about whatever topic they wish to generate an online discussion and then converse with their respondents.

Geo-targeting – The practice of search engines displaying results dependant on where you are located right now. Local businesses can promote their wares to you when you’re close enough to be a potential customer / client.

Google+ – Google plus offers the benefit of merging all other Google services under one social networking site

Google Analytics – A free, browser-based tool that allows users to track many different statistics in relation to their website. This tool is vital for SEO. For example, a webmaster will be able to track which device their users are on and what search terms they used. For anyone looking to optimise their website, this is an invaluable tool

Google Trends – A tool that shows search density by keyword. It can show keyword popularity in comparison to others, as well as popularity over a given amount of time

Hangout – A video service provided by Google+ which allows up to 10 people to talk at one time.  You will need a Google account to be able to use this service.

Hashtags (#) – Regularly used on platforms like Twitter, a user can draw attention to certain aspects of a post by placing the # symbol before a word (phrases must be joined without spaces).

Hits – Saying a website got X number of hits means how many people have visited the site. This can be broken down into time periods so that the site’s performance can be reviewed over time

HTML – Hyper-Text Mark-up Language is the code that the World Wide Web is written with. If you right-click on this page a select “view code” you can see its HTML. When a search engine crawls your site, this code is all that it will see

Hyperlinks – Text that is highlighted and provides a link through to an alternative web page (on the same site or a different one) determined by the site’s editor. They can be used to reference other content or to help navigate through a website

IM – Instant Messaging , texts that are delivered in real-time. This can occur one-to-one or in group messages. IM also allows users to use video calling

Impression – An impression is simply someone seeing an online advert. They may not click on it or buy anything so this does not help to establish ROI.

Instagram – A photo sharing social network which allows users to take photographs that they can then apply filters to. These photos are automatically shared with the account holders ‘followers’ who then have the option to comment on them or to share share them on their own social networks

Keyword – A term or phrase that a user will search for within a search engine. It is important to have your business’ website associated with the right keywords so that it will appear within the search results of your potential audience.  Keywords are hidden from users within the backend of a website

Landing page – This is a specific webpage on a website that a user is taken to when clicking on a search engine result or a PPC advert. While this could simply be the homepage, often it is more helpful to the customer if they are taken to a page that is specific to their search terms

Link bait – An online page/promotion interesting content that people will share with others. They may share it through email, or over Facebook or Twitter

Link building – The process by which you increase the amount of links directing users to your website. It may involve generating more interesting or newsworthy content, creating a blog, asking clients to link to your site, plus many other techniques. It is useful for SEO to build as many good quality links to a website as possible

LinkedIn – A corporate social network used to connect professionals.  Please feel free to connect with me on there.

Meme – An idea, joke or concept that people share. Memes can be images or videos or text. Typically a meme comes in the form of an image with supportive text

Newsfeed – This is where your posts are collated into one feed. For Facebook, the news feed is made up of friend’s posts. On Twitter, it is known as a Timeline and is made up of the tweets of those that you follow. In both cases, the news feed is constantly refreshed with the latest posts

Organic listings – These are the results of a search within a search engine that have not been paid for. The positions of the results should be organic in that they reflect the popularity/trustworthiness of the website without being influenced by paid advertising

Page rank – Search engines use ever-changing algorithms to determine the order that search results are displayed.  Where your company is on this list, is known as its page rank.

Pinterest  – A social network for people to create and share idea boards

Platform – This is a framework that’s used to run software and present content

Podcast – These are typically audio files which have been uploaded to a website for others to stream or download to listen to later

PPC – Pay Per Click. While SEO improves a website’s standing in the unpaid section of a search engine, paid results are also found on search engines. On Google, they are above, and to the right, of the main (unpaid) results and are accompanied by a small ‘ad’ logo

Profile – On each social network you are given a profile to complete with your personal information and which you will then use as a portal to share content and to interact with the content published by others

Retweet – An action where a user share another’s Tweet so that it is then displayed to their own following. The original users name tag stays in place, ensuring any credit is given to the original source.

ROI – Return on Investment (not a digital specific term, but one that’s used a lot to determine the effectiveness of any online marketing activity). This simply means any profit generated above that the initial investment of a campaign / promotion

RSS – Really Simple Syndication.  An RSS feed takes all the information from subscribed news sites and blogs for the reader and puts all this information in one easy-to-digest place. It is constantly refreshed to keep the information up-to-date

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation.  The goal of SEO is to position a website as close to the top of search engine’s results pages as possible compared to its competitors.  By tailoring the specifics of a website and how it is marketed, a website can move further up the results page. Doing so vastly improves the odds that the user will click on the link and visit the website

SERPS – Search Engine Results Pages. You probably see this every day; it is the page that is displayed when you search within a search engine.  It will have a list of results relevant to your search, as well as any PPC adverts

Skype – An audio / video chat programme that is free to use. You can also use it for texting and leaving video and voice messages to other users

Social media – There are various social media platforms available now, but each is made up of users who partake in social interactions using social websites, networks and applications

SMO – Social Media Optimisation.  The act of driving web traffic via social media channels to achieve a certain goal

Spider – this is the method used by search engines to indexing all available webpages and to score them based on a number of factors to gauge their trustworthiness or popularity

Tag – As computers cannot understand web content in the way that humans can, tags help draw attention to certain aspects of a webpage for a search engine to use, or for the website’s own search system.  This can be particularly useful for web elements like images and videos which do not contain search engine readable text

Thread – A stream of conversations. For example, a list of comments on a blog post or a Twitter post

Trending – An event or topic that is popular and is widely discussed online at any one point

Twitter – This is another social media website where users can post short messages, known as Tweets (up to a maximum of 140 characters) for anyone who is following them to see. It is sometimes known as microblogging as it is similar to blogging but with a strict limit on the amount that can be posted

UGC – User Generated Content.  A term given to all user-created data such as blogs, comments, reviews, podcasts and more.  I.e. the content is not created by the editors of the site itself.

UI – User Interface. The user interface is the way through which a user interacts with an application or a website.  The growing dependence of many companies on web and mobile applications for the success of their business has led many companies to place increased priority on UI in an effort to improve the user’s overall experience and therefore their likelihood to be converted into a new customer

UX – User Experience.  In the terms of a business’ digital presence, this encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products online

Viral – Certain bits of information are said to ‘go viral’. This means they spread from person to person very quickly, much like a virus. Memes can often spread like this

Vlog – This is much like a blog, but is documented using video content instead of written

WordPress – An open source CMS which is used for blog publication and website creation. There are currently over 70 million WordPress sites in the world… including this one you’re on now that I built!

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