Internet terminologies for advanced users
A/B testing, at its simplest, is about randomly showing a visitor one version of a page – (A) version or (B) version – and tracking the changes in behavior based on which version they saw. (A) version is normally your existing design (“control” in statistics lingo); and (B) version is the “challenger”
A procedure for solving a mathematical problem such as, in the case of search engines, determining the order in which to present a list of websites in response to a query.
Anchor text refers to the visible text of a hyperlink. In other words, the actual text that a user clicks on. For example: When I need to link out to something within text, I use anchor text. Anchor text is particularly important when acquiring inbound links and should be a significant aspect of any link
Time-lagged calculations (usually averages of one sort or another) which provide a basis for making comparisons of past performance to current performance. Baselines can also be forward-looking, such establishing a goal and seeking to determine whether the trends show the likelihood of meeting that goal. They become an essential piece of a Key Performance Indicator
The practice of targeting and serving ads to groups of people who exhibit similarities not only in their location, gender or age, but also in how they act and react in their online environment. Behaviors tracked and targeted include web site topic areas they frequently visit or subscribe to; subjects or content or shopping categories
A form of automated bid management that allows you to increase your bids when ads are served to someone whose age or gender matches your target market. This level of demographic focus and the “bid boosting” tool are current Microsoft adCenter offerings.
Block Level Analysis
A method used to break a page down into multiple points on the web graph by breaking its pages down into smaller blocks.
Most browsers come with the ability to bookmark your favorite pages. Many web based services have also been created to allow you to bookmark and share your favorite resources. The popularity of a document (as measured in terms of link equity, number of bookmarks, or usage data) is a signal for the quality of the website
Keywords or keyword phrases associated with a brand. Typically branded keywords occur late in the buying cycle, and are some of the highest value and highest converting keywords. Some affiliate marketing programs prevent affiliates from bidding on the core brand related keywords, while others actively encourage it.
An associative grouping for related concepts, keywords, behaviors and audience characteristics associated with your company’s product or service. A “virtual container” of similar concepts used to develop PPC keywords, focus ad campaigns and target messages.
Also called the Buying Cycle, Buyer Decision Cycle and Sales Cycle, Buying Funnel refers to a multi-step process of a consumer’s path to purchase a product – from awareness to education to preferences and intent to final purchase.
Planning and executing a paid search campaign concurrently with other marketing initiatives, online or offline, or both. More than simply launching simultaneous campaigns, true paid search integration takes all marketing initiatives into consideration prior to launch, such as consistent messaging and image, driving offline conversions, supporting brand awareness, increasing response rates and contributing to ROI
The process of picking the best URL when there are several choices; this usually refers to home pages. The canonical version of any URL is the single most authoritative version indexed by major search engines. Search engines typically use PageRank or a similar measure to determine which version of a URL is the canonical URL.
Catch All Listing
A listing used by pay per click search engines to monetize long tail terms that are not yet targeted by marketers. This technique may be valuable if you have very competitive key words, but is not ideal since most major search engines have editorial guidelines that prevent bulk untargeted advertising
Clicks on a Pay-Per-Click advertisement that are motivated by something other than a search for the advertised product or service. Click fraud may be the result of malicious or negative competitor/affiliate actions motivated by the desire to increase costs for a competing advertiser or to garner click-through costs for the collaborating affiliate.
The use of scripts in order to track inbound and outbound links.
A system to hide code or content from a user and deliver different content to a search engine spider. IP based cloaking delivers custom pages based on the users IP address. User Agent cloaking delivers custom pages based upon the users Agent.
In search results the listings from any individual site are typically limited to a certain number and grouped together to make the search results appear neat and organized and to ensure diversity amongst the top ranked results.
In relation to Google Instant, a cognitive pause is the time taken by a user to consider the results that were displayed after a letter is typed. If that pause is three seconds or longer, listings on that SERP earn an impression.
As used in SEO, competition analysis is the assessment and analysis of strengths and weaknesses of competing web sites, including identifying traffic patterns, major traffic sources, and keyword selection.
A search which attempts to conceptually match results with the query, not necessarily with those words, rather their concept.
Links which search engines attempt to understand beyond just the words in them. Some rather advanced search engines are attempting to find out the concept links versus just matching the words of the text to that specific word set.
An ad serving process in Google and Yahoo! that displays keyword triggered ads related to the content or subject (context) of the web site a user is viewing. Contrast to search network serves, in which an ad is displayed when a user types a keyword into the search box of a search engine
The marketing decision to display search ads on certain publisher sites across the web instead of, or in addition to, placing PPC ads on search networks.
Contextual Network Ads
Also called Content Ads and Content Network, contextual network ads are served on web site pages adjacent to content that contains the keywords being bid upon. Contextual ads are somewhat like traditional display ads placed in print media and, like traditional ad buys, are often purchased on the same CPM (cost per thousand impressions) model
Conversion rates are measurements that determine how many of your prospects perform the prescribed or desired action step. If your prescribed response is for a visitor to sign up for a newsletter, and you had 100 visitors and 1 newsletter signup, then your conversion rate would be 1%.
Small data file written to a user’s local machine to track them. Cookies are used to help websites customize your user experience and help affiliate program managers track conversions.
The ability to specify different times of day – or day of week – for ad displays, as a way to target searchers more specifically. An option that limits serves of specified ads based on day and time factors.
A bad, or inactive, HTML link to which the destination web page no longer exists. A link that produces a 404 error, page not found.
The act of linking to a page (deep) within a web site rather than linking to the main URL. Directories discourage the submission of deep links as a way to keep their indexes clean and organized.
Refers to the information contained in the description META tag. This tag is meant to hold the brief description of the web page it is included on. The information contained in this tag is generally the description displayed immediately after the main link on many search engine result pages. This is how a description tag […]
Also known as a search directory. Refers to a directory of web sites contained in an engine that are categorized into topics. The main difference between a search directory and a search engine is in how the listings are obtained.
Information in web pages that changes automatically, based on database or user information. Search engines will index dynamic content in the same way as static content unless the URL includes a question mark [?]. However, if the URL does include a question mark [?], many search engines will ignore the URL.
Dynamic Landing Pages
Dynamic landing pages are web pages to which click-through searchers are sent that generate changeable (not static) pages with content specifically relevant to the keyword search. For example, if a user is looking for trucks, then a dynamic landing page with information and pictures on multiple models and, possibly, geographically localized dealerships might be served.
Dynamic Text (Insertion)
This is text, a keyword or ad copy that customizes search ads returned to a searcher by using parameters to insert the desired text somewhere in the title or ad. When the search query (for example, “hybrid cars”) matches the defined parameter (for example, all brands of electric/gasoline passenger cars AND SUVs)
Search engines count links as votes of quality. They primarily want to count editorial links that were earned over links that were bought or bartered. These are links which are not paid for, not asked for and not traded for. These are links which a web site organically attracts because that site is producing good […]
Editorial Review Process
A review process for potential advertiser listings conducted by search engines, which check to ensure relevancy and compliance with the engine’s editorial policy. This process could be automated – using a spider to crawl ads – or it could be human editorial ad review. Sometimes it’s a combination of both.
Certain activities or signatures which make a page or site appear unnatural might make search engines inclined to filter / remove them out of the search results. For example, if a site publishes significant duplicate content it may get a reduced crawl priority and get filtered out of the search results.
The geographic location of the searcher. Geo-targeting allows you to specify where your ads will or won’t be shown based on the searcher’s location, enabling more localized and personalized results.
Increasing the organic search ranking of a particular website or page by pointing hundreds or thousands of links at it using very specific anchor text. Google claims to not have allowed this type of manipulation since 2007.
Knocking a competitor out of the search results by pointing hundreds or thousands of low trust low quality links at their website.
Program which webmasters can use to help Google index their contents. Please note that the best way to submit your site to search engines and to keep it in their search indexes is to build high quality editorial links.
Search terms that are short, popular and straightforward; e.g., “power-boat water skiing.” These short terms are called head terms based on a bell-curve distribution of keyword usage that displays the high numbers of most-used terms at the “head” end of the bell curve graph.
This HTML tag contains the headings or subtitles visible on a page. Your headings provide a summary of page content and ideally should contain strategic keywords to be read by search engine spiders.
(Also known as Invisible text.) Text that is visible to the search engines but hidden to a user. It is traditionally accomplished by coloring a block of HTML text the same color as the background color of the page.
Making a search engine believe that another website exists at your URL. Typically done using techniques such as a 302 redirect or meta refresh.
Link based algorithm which ranks relevancy scores based on citations from topical authorities.
HTTP Referrer Data
A program included in most web analytics packages that analyzes and reports the source of traffic to the user’s web site. The HTTP referrer allows webmasters, site owners and PPC advertisers to uncover new audiences or sites to target or to calculate conversions and ROI for future ad campaigns.
A reference (link) from some point in one hypertext document to another location in another (or the same) document. A web browser usually displays hyperlinks with special underlining, color and font, so as to distinguish them from their surroundings.
A system for defining “hot spots” in a graphic image that, which when clicked, take the user to a different web page.
Portions of the web which are not easily accessible to crawlers due to search technology limitations, copyright issues, or information architecture issues.
The act of delivering customized content based upon the users IP address. This is used in cloaking so you can deliver specific pages to spiders.
An illegal process of faking an IP address.
An old measure of search engine relevancy based on how prominent keywords appeared within the content of a page. Keyword density is no longer a valid measure of relevancy over a broad open search index though.
The relationship between various related keywords that searchers search for. Some searches are particularly well aligned with others due to spelling errors, poor search relevancy, and automated or manual query refinement.
To return to the root or stem of a word and build additional words by adding a prefix or suffix, or using pluralization. The word can expand in either direction and even add words, increasing the number of variable options.
Refers to the META keywords tag within a web page. This tag is meant to hold approximately 8 – 10 keywords or keyword phrases, separated by commas. These phrases should be either misspellings of the main page topic, or terms that directly reflect the content on the page on which they appear.
Displaying Pay Per Click search ads on publisher sites across the Web (also Contextual / Content Networks) that contain the keywords in a context advertiser’s Ad Group.
Denotes the number of times a keyword appears in a page as a percentage of all the other words in the page. In general, higher the weight of a particular keyword in a page, higher will be the search engine ranking of the page for that keyword.
Landing Page Quality Score
A measure used by Google to help filter noisy ads out of their AdWords program. When Google AdWords launched affiliates and arbitrage players made up a large portion of their ad market, but as more mainstream companies have spent on search marketing, Google has done many measures to try to keep their ads relevant.
A measure of how strong a site is based on its inbound link popularity and the authority of the sites providing those links.
A link farm is a group of separate, highly interlinked websites for the purposes of inflating link popularity (or PR). It is also a website or group of websites which exercises little to no editorial control when linking to other sites. Engaging in a link farm is a violation of the Terms Of Service
A measure of how many and what percent of a website’s links are broken. Links may broken for a number of reason, but 3 of the most common reasons are: a website going offline, linking to content which is temporary in nature (due to licensing structures or other reasons) ,moving a page’s location
A profile is a representation of the extent to which something exhibits various characteristics. A linking profile is the results of an analysis of where of your links are coming from.
All server software stores information about web site incoming and outgoing activities. It is file maintained on a server showing where all files accessed are stored. The log file is usually in the root directory but it may also be found in a secondary folder.
Log File Analysis
The analysis of records stored in the log file. In its raw format, the data in the log files can be hard to read and overwhelming. There are numerous log file analyzers that convert log file data into user-friendly charts and graphs. A good analyzer is generally considered an essential tool in SEO
Ad networks that pull advertiser listings from other providers. They may or may not have their own distribution and advertiser networks.
Meta Keywords Tag
The meta keywords tag is a tag which can be used to highlight keywords and keyword phrases which the page is targeting.
Meta Refresh Tag
The tag present in the header of a web page that is used to display a different page after a few seconds. If a page displays another page too soon, most search engines will either ignore the current page and index the second page or penalize the current page for spamming.
Meta Search Engines
A server that passes queries on to many search engines and directories, then summarizes the results. Ask Jeeves, Dogpile, Metacrawler, Metafind and Metasearch are meta search engines.
An HTML tag placed within the header area of code for a web site. This information is visible only to spiders and does not appear as a visual part of the web site. These tags were originally used be webmasters to provide information about the content of a web site in order to assist search engines
Mirror / Mirror Site
In SEO parlance, a mirror is a near identical duplicate website (or page). Mirrors are commonly used in an effort to target different keywords/keyphrases. Mirror sites are useful when the original site generates too much traffic for a single server to support. Using mirrors is a violation of the Terms Of Service of most search engines
URL Rewrite processes, also known as “mod rewrites,” are employed when a webmaster decides to reorganize a current web site, either for the benefit of better user experience with a new directory structure or to clean up URLs which are difficult for search engines to index.
A type of testing that varies and tests more than one or two campaign elements at a time to determine the best performing elements and combinations. Multivariate testing can gather significant results on many different components of, for example, alternative PPC ad titles or descriptions in a short period of time.
NoFollow is an attribute webmasters can place on links that tell search engines not to count the link as a vote or not to send any trust to that site. Search engines will follow the link, yet it will not influence search results. NoFollows can be added to any link with this code: “rel=”nofollow”.”
No Frames Tag
A tag used to describe the content of a frame to a user or engine which had trouble displaying / reading frames. Frequently misused and often referred to as “Poor mans cloaking”.
No script Tag
The noscript element is used to define an alternate content (text) if a script is NOT executed. This tag is used for browsers that recognizes the tag, but does not support the script in it.
Altering the search results based on a person’s location, search history, content they recently viewed, or other factors relevant to them on a personal level.
Words which were traditionally associated with low quality content that caused search engines to want to demote the rankings of a page.
A feature in Google AdWords and in Microsoft adCenter enabling advertisers to specify in which positions they would like their ads to appear on the SERP. Not a position guarantee.
The monitoring and maintenance of a Pay-Per-Click campaign or campaigns. This includes changing bid prices, expanding and refining keyword lists, editing ad copy, testing campaign components for cost effectiveness and successful conversions, and reviewing performance reports for reports to management and clients, as well as results to feed into future PPC campaign operations.
The ability of a search engine to list results that satisfy the query, usually measured in percentage. (if 20 of the 50 results match the query the precision is 40%) Search spam and the complexity of language challenge the precision of search engines.
Search engines count links votes of trust. Quality links count more than low quality links. There are a variety of ways to define what a quality link is, but the following are characteristics of a high quality link: Trusted Source:
A method of alerting browsers and search engines that a page location moved. 301 redirects are for permanent change of location and 302 redirects are used for a temporary change of location.
A special meta tag that causes a web browser to reload a page (perhaps the same page) after a delay.
A link which shows the relation of the current URL to the URL of the page being linked at. Some links only show relative link paths instead of having the entire reference URL within the a href tag. Due to canonicalization and hijacking related issues it is typically preferred to use absolute links over relative links
Ensuring your brand related keywords display results which reinforce your brand. Many hate sites tend to rank highly for brand related queries.
An index of keywords which stores records of matching documents that contain those keywords.
Revshare / Revenue Sharing
A method of allocating per-click revenue to a site publisher, and click-through charges to a search engine that distributes paid-ads to its context network partners, for every page viewer who clicks on the content site’s sponsored ads. A type of site finder’s fee.
Media with embedded motion or interactivity. A growing option for PPC advertisers as rates of broadband connectivity increase.
A special file in the root directory of a website used to control how and which search engine spiders access pages within a website. When a spider or robot connects to a website, it checks for the presence of the robots.txt file and uses it to index or avoid specific or all web pages within
Movement or path of searchers, who tend to do several searches before reaching a buy decision, that works from broad, general keyword search terms to narrower, specific keywords. Advertisers use the search funnel to anticipate customer intent and develop keywords targeted to different stages. Also refers to potential for switches at stages in the funnel
Search Submit Pro (SSP)
Search Submit Pro is Yahoo!’s paid inclusion product that uses a “feed” tactic. With Search Submit Pro, Yahoo! crawls your web site as well as an optimized XML feed that represents the content on your site. Yahoo! applies its algorithm to both the actual web site pages and the XML feed
Links that are indirectly acquired links, such as a story in a major newspaper about a new product your company released.
A technique for developing relevant keywords for PPC Ad Groups, by focusing tightly on keywords and keyword phrases that are associative and closely related, referred to as “semantic clustering.” Focused and closely-related keyword groups, which would appear in the advertiser’s ad text and in the content of the click-through landing page, are more likely to be popular
Techniques used to steal another web sites traffic, including the use of spyware or cyber squatting.
Page which can be used to help give search engines a secondary route to navigate through your site. On large websites the on page navigation should help search engines find all applicable web pages. On large websites it does not make sense to list every page on the site map, just the most important pages.
Site targeting lets advertisers display their ads on manually-selected sites in the search engine’s content network for content or contextual ad serves. Site-targeted ads are billed more like traditional display ads, per 1000 impressions (CPM), and not on a Pay-Per-Click basis.
Feature rich or elegantly designed beautiful web page which typically offers poor usability and does not offer search engines much content to index. Make sure your home page has as much simply formatted, relevant content on it as possible.
The degree to which an observed result, such as a difference between two measurements, can be relied upon and not attributed to random error in sampling or in measurement. Statistical Validity is important to the reliability of test results, particularly in Multivariate Testing methods.
The process of determining root words. For example, querying a search engine using the word “computer” might return results for “computers” or “computing”.
Documents which generally are trusted less and rank lower than documents in the main search index. Some search engines, such as Google, have multiple indices. Documents which are not well trusted due to any of the following conditions: limited link authority relative to the number of pages on the site duplicate content or near duplication
Search terms that are very specific, long phrases that include one or more modifiers, such as “cheapest power-boating near Cincinnati.” These longer, more specific terms are called “tail terms” based on a bell-curve distribution of keyword usage that displays the low numbers of little-used terms at the “tail” end of the bell curve graph.
Narrowly focusing ads and keywords to attract a specific, marketing-profiled searcher and potential customer. You can target to geographic locations (geo-targeting), by days of the week or time of day (dayparting), or by gender and age (demographic targeting). Targeting features vary by search engine.
A theme is an overall idea of what a web page is focused on. Search engines determine the theme of a web page through analysis in the algorithm of the density of associated words on a page.
Tier I Search Engines
The top echelon, or top three, search engines that serve the vast majority of searcher queries. Also referred to as Major Engines, Top Tier Engines or GYM, for Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft Bing Search.
Tier II Search Engines
Smaller, vertical and specialized engines, including general engines, such as Ask.com and AOL; meta-engines that search and display results from other search engines, such as Dogpile; local engines, shopping and comparison engines, and business vertical engines. Tier II Search Engines don’t offer the search query market share or features of the Tier I engines; however
Tier III Search Engines
Contextual distribution networks, through which marketers’ ads appear on pages within the PPC engine’s content network, triggered by user web site page views at the moment that contain the advertiser’s keyword in its content. Cost is usually through Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions (CPM) charges, rather than Pay Per Click (PPC).
Top Level Page feed, the often automatic and on-subscription feed of an advertiser’s home page or unique category pages. Also see TLP.
Method of computing PageRank which instead of producing a single global score creates topic related PageRank scores. The meaning is close to Vertical Search except that the search engine is the global search engine in this case as against the Vertical Search Engine. Hence the PageRank is said to be topic-sensitive PageRank.
Automated notification that another website mentioned your site which is baked into most popular blogging software programs. Due to the automated nature of trackbacks they are typically quite easy to spam. Many publishers turn trackbacks off due to a low signal to noise ratio.
A specially designed and/or unique URL created to track an action or conversion from paid advertising. The URL can include strings that will show what keyword was used, what match type was triggered, and what search engine delivered the visitor.
Also known as Paid Inclusion, a trusted feed is a fee-based custom crawl service offered by some search engines. These results appear in the “organic search results” of the engine. Typically, the fee is based on a “cost per click,” depending on the category of site content.
Positioning trends when vertical listings appear at the top of organic search engine results and below top sponsored listings (when they are displayed on the SERP).
Vertical Portal (Vortal)
Search engines that focus on a specific industry or sector. Such vertical search engines (also called “vortals”) have much more specific indexes and provide narrower and more focused search results than the Tier I search engines. See Vertical Search.
A search service which is focused on a particular field, a particular type of information, or a particular information format. In other words, domain specific search solutions that focus on one area of business or knowledge and hence is limited to a specific topic, media format, genre, purpose, location, or other differentiating feature.
Self propagating marketing techniques. Common modes of transmission are email, blogging, and word of mouth marketing channels. Many social news sites and social bookmarking sites also lead to secondary citations.
A website setting on its own domain name.
Web Server Logs
Most web server software, and all good web analytics packages, keep a running count of all search terms used by visitors to your site. These running counts are kept in large text files called Log Files or Web Server Logs. Useful for developing and refining PPC campaign keyword lists.
A form of paid inclusion in which a search engine is fed information about an advertiser’s web pages via XML, rather than requiring that the engine gather that information through crawling actual pages. Marketers pay to have their pages included in a spider-based search index based on an XML format document that represents each page
XML maps are specially formatted links to your pages. They do not replace the need for HTML site maps. Refer XML.