The Essential SEO & Online Marketing Jargon Buster

SEO and internet marketing in general is awash with jargon, and while we do our best to steer clear of using terms that will bamboozle you, there is the odd term that slips through the net. Go beyond this site in search of SEO knowledge and you’ll find that jargon is even more widespread. 

SEO is essential to modern business, so essential that we can’t be having you confused over some of the nonsensical language used in the industry. Which is why we’ve produced this: The Pea Soup Digital SEO & Online Marketing Jargon Buster, where we’ll do our best to explain the most common terms. 

If there’s a term you’d like to know about that isn’t featured here, get in touch and we’ll see that it’s added.

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U W



301 Redirect – A
permanent redirect from one URL to another.  Think of it as being like the form you fill in
at the post office when changing address. For example, if you have a website
called that
you want to change to be called,
you would set up a 301 redirect to from the old site pointing to a new site.
When that’s all done, anyone typing in your old website will be automatically
sent to your new website.

302 Redirect – A
temporary redirect from one URL to another. Same as above but used as a
temporary solution.

404 – An error
message that pops up when a page on a website cannot be found.



A/B Testing –
Also known as split testing.
Involves creating two versions of something and testing them to see which
performs best. An example would be creating two email templates (A and B)
and showing them both to subscribers. The one with the best conversion rate is
the keeper.

AdWords – Google’s
advertising network. AdWords is the biggest online advertising platform in the
world and Google’s number one source of revenue, allowing advertisers to create
and place ads across SERPs, Google Shopping, Google’s Display Network and
relevant partner websites.

Affiliate Marketing –
A type of performance-based marketing whereby affiliates market a brand’s
products for an agreed commission. Basically, if you’re a brand you can use
affiliate marketing to let other people promote your products and services for
you. If you’re an affiliate, you can promote branded products on your website
and get paid for it. Affiliates get paid whenever a sale is made through their

Algorithm – A set
of rules used by search engines to rank websites. The Google Search Algorithm
is updated 500-600 times a year, with each update focussed on
improving the relevancy and quality of search results for users.

ALT Text – The text
description that appears when you hold your mouse over an image. The ALT Tag is
a small bit of HTML code that allows search engines to understand what an image
is about – search engines cannot see images.

Anchor Text – The
clickable text of a link that is used in content to link to another website. It
typically appears as blue text, like this:

Beneath the anchor text is a URL, in this case
– which wouldn’t really fit naturally in a sentence.


Backlinks – When
another website has linked to a page on your website. Backlinks are taken into account by search engines when ranking a site and must come from well-respected sources.

Banners Also known as banner ads. A type of advertising used by websites to drive traffic to a landing page. Banners will typically include a call to action to entice clicks. 

Black Hat SEO – A
selection of underhanded tactics that are used to dupe search engines into
rewarding a website with a high ranking. See this article.

Blogs – An informal, conversational web page that is regularly updated with content that
is informative, educational and relevant to a specific industry. Blogs were
originally personal online journals, but have evolved to become tools used by
brands to increase authority and thought leadership, and earn backlinks.

Bounce Rate – The
percentage of visitors that leave your website after only viewing one page. A
good site will have a low bounce rate. A high bounce rate suggests something is
wrong with keywords, content or calls to action.



Call To Action (CTA)
Buttons and/or words that are designed to encourage users take an action
such as clicking on a link, signing up to a newsletter or making a purchase.
“Read more”, “Buy now” and “Click here” are examples of typical CTAs.

Click Through Rate
(CTR) –
The percentage of people that viewed your ad versus the amount of
clicks the ad got. For example, If your ad was seen 500 times and had 100
clicks, the CTR would be 20%.

Content Management
System (CMS) –
A user-friendly website/blog system that allows people to
create a website and publish content without having to mess around with coding.
WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are the most popular CMS platforms.

Content Marketing – The
process of creating and sharing content (blogs, images, infographics, videos,
etc.) as a way to increase awareness and gain customers.

Conversion When
a user takes a specific action on your website. A conversion could be:

  • a purchase
  • a signup
  • a download
  • contact (via contact form, email,
  • account creation


Conversion Rate
Optimisation (CRO) –
The process of analysing, improving and testing a website
or landing page to improve the number of conversions. The conversion rate is
the number of visitors versus the number of conversions. For example, if 2 out
of 10 people converted, the conversion rate would be 20% – CRO would look at
ways to increase this.

Copy/Copywriting – Writing
specifically for the purpose of marketing or advertising. Copywriting is the
process, copy is the finished product, created to persuade a reader into
following through on a CTA.

Cost Per Action (CPA)
Also known as Pay Per Action (PPA). A type of paid advertising focussed
on a specific action that a user performs on an ad (impressions, clicks,
purchases, form submissions, etc.). With CPA, advertisers pay for each specific
action, making it ideally suited to affiliate marketing programs.

Cost Per Thousand
(CPM) –
A type of advertising where publishers are charged every time an ad
is displayed. Fees are based on every 1000 impressions (not clicks), making it
a popular model for banners. The “M” in CPM relates to the Roman numeral for



Digital Marketing – The
marketing of brands using digital media (the internet) and devices. What we do.

Disavow Tool – A
tool within Google’s Webmaster Tools that lets you tell the search engine which
links to ignore when ranking your site. Best used as a last resort if you have
spammy or low-quality sites linking to you that you’d rather not be associated
with. Google recommends contacting site owners to have links removed before
using the Disavow Tool.

DoFollow – A
backlink that can be followed by search engine spiders. If a well-respected
site is linking to you, a DoFollow is the type of link you want.

Domain Name – The
unique name for your website, i.e.

Domain Authority (DA)
A measure of domain strength created by digital marketing community Moz.
A DA ranking between 0-100 is given to a website based on age, popularity and

Duplicate content – Two
web pages that feature either identical or very similar content. Duplicate
content, whether intentional or not, is frowned upon by Google and can lead to
a Penalty. See this article.


Ecommerce – The
buying and selling of products and services online.


Favicon – A small
brand icon that appears in the browser tab.

File Transfer
Protocol (FTP) –
A protocol for exchanging files over the internet and
between computers on a network. FTP is a quick way to transfer lots of files or
images to an online database. Filezilla is the most popular free FTP tool on the market.

Funnel – Similar
to the wide-at-the-top-narrow-at-the-bottom tube for guiding liquid into a
small opening, a digital funnel is the process of guiding website visitors from
initial contact to final conversion.


Google Display
Network –
A group of more than one million websites and apps where AdWords
ads can appear.

Google Panda – Major
Google algorithm update released in 2011, focussed on lowering the ranking of
sites perceived to be “low-quality” and promoting sites that publish
high-quality content.

Google Penalty – A
Google-imposed penalisation for websites found to be using black-hat SEO

Google Penguin – Google
algorithm update released in 2012, primarily focussed on fighting webspam in
search results. Still ongoing, Penguin is continues to crack down on websites
using black-hat SEO techniques.

Google Shopping
A service that allows search users to search for products from ecommerce
websites and compare prices.

Guest Post – Writing
and publishing an article on someone else’s blog or website. Guest posting can
be a great way gain exposure, increase authority and drive targeted traffic to
your website; however, posts must only be published on relevant, high-authority
sites. Publishing on low-quality sites with no relation to your industry can be
damaging to SEO.


Header Tags – HTML
coding tags that define the structure of an article. Header tags are arranged
in hierarchy, from H1 to H6 and should be kept in order throughout an article.
Skipping heading tags breaks the heading structure. Headings should always
include keywords to help Google understand the content of a page. H1 is the
most important tag and must be included on every page, but no more than once.
Other headings can be used multiple times throughout content.

Hits – The number
of people that have visited your website. Every visit is a hit.

Hypertext Markup
Language (HTML) –
The programming language used to created websites and
achieve graphic, font, colour and hyperlink effects. Whenever you bold some
text or change the colour of a font, HTML makes it happen.


Impressions – A view
on your web page, social media post or ad.

Indexed – A web
page that is included in a search engine’s index of the Web.


JavaScript – A
programming language used to write Web-browser compatible software apps.
JavaScript is no longer widely used and it’s unlikely you’ll need it.


Keywords – The
word(s) a user enters into the search engine.
SEOs spend a lot of time researching what their target audience search for in order to optimise their site for these terms. Content that features the
right keywords will help your website appear higher in SERPs, giving it more
chance of being seen by search users.

Key Performance
Indicator (KPI)
– A measurable value that indicates how effectively a
company is achieving predetermined objectives.


Landing Page – The
page of your site you’d like visitors to arrive on from the SERP.

Link – A part of
a website that can be clicked to take the user to another page or another
section of the current page.

Link Building – The process of cultivating backlinks to a site you have control of. Building quality, relevant links helps to increase the authority of a webpage or domain.

Loading Time – The
length of time it takes for a website’s page to appear in full.


Meta Description – Sitting
in the HEAD section of a site’s HTML, a Meta description gives a short
explanation of the content of a page.

The description serves as advertising copy on the SERP, and should be concise and compelling in order to draw in prospective customers/visitors. It’s imperative not to exceed Google’s length parameter of 928 pixels or roughly 156 characters or your message could be truncated.

Meta Title  Title
tags define the subject of a webpage and will appear on the search engine
results page.  The title should give an
accurate and concise description of a page’s content to improve user experience
and search engine visibility. To avoid truncation, a Meta title should be no more than 482 pixels or roughly 65 characters. 

M-commerce – Mobile
commerce, in the words of the first person to coin the phrase, Kevin Duffey, is “the delivery of electronic commerce capabilities directly into the
consumer’s hand, anywhere, via wireless technology.”


Negative SEO – The
malicious practice of negatively affecting competitors’ search engine
visibility. See this article.

Newsletters – Regular
emails sent to customers/potential
customers including products and
services, business updates, news and offers.

NoFollow – A
command found in the HEAD section of a HTML page or within an individual link
code, which instructs the search engine’s crawlers to disregard or not follow
any or specific links on a page.


Offsite SEO – Search
engine optimisation techniques that are employed without making changes to your
website. For example, link building, social media campaigns and PR.

Onsite SEO – Search
engine optimisation techniques that require changes to be made on your
website.  For example, landing page
content, writing Meta data and improving the speed of your website.

Organic Search – The
process of a user locating a page on your site via a search engine query. Organic results in search engines are those which are unpaid – the ten blue links that do not feature a yellow ad box. 

Outbound link – A
link on a website that points to a page on a different website.


PageRank (PR) – A
Google algorithm that determines how organically authoritative and trustworthy
a website is. “PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a
page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is.” – Larry
Page, Google founder.

Page Speed – The time
it takes for a web page to fully load. Fast pages lead to a better user
experience, conversions and engagements, which is why Google use this as a
ranking factor.

Pay Per Action (PPA) – An advertising scheme where you only pay for a completed user interaction, such
as sale, newsletter signup or enquiry.

Pay Per Click (PPC) – An advertising scheme where you pay agencies such as Google whenever a user
clicks on their advert.

Pixels – A
minuscule area of illumination on a display screen. Many pixels make a digital
image. The higher the pixel density and resolution, the more vivid a display or image will appear.

Plugin – An
application or program that can be installed and used as part of your Web
browser. Plugins are typically used to improve the functionality of a browser, site or blog engine.


Reciprocal Link – A mutual link between two website owners.

Return On Investment
(ROI) –
A profitability ratio, typically calculated by dividing the benefit
of investment by the cost of the investment.

Robots.txt – A small text file placed in the root of a website to tell search engine spiders
which parts of a site can and cannot be crawled. If you have private or
sensitive data on your website that you do not wish to be found through search,
you should make use of robots.txt.

RSS (Really Simple
Syndication) –
a feed format for delivering fresh Web content. The
format is used by many news-related sites and blogs that publish large amounts
of content from various sources.


Search Engine
Marketing (SEM) –
The promotion of websites through search engine
optimisation and paid search advertising. SEO and PPC are both types of SEM.

Search Engine
Optimisation (SEO) –
The process of increasing the visibility of a website
in the organic (unpaid) search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO is a blanket
term for a number of different white-hat practices, including keyword research
and optimisation, link building, social media and content marketing.

Search Engine Results
Pages (SERPs) –
The list of results provided by a search engine based on a
keyword query.

Sitemap – An XML
file that lists web pages to tell search engines about the organisation of your

Social Media – Online
communication channels that are driven by community input and interaction. Think along the lines of Facebook and Twitter, Google+ and YouTube, Pinterest
and LinkedIn. Using social media as a tool to promote brands, products and
services is known as social media marketing (SMM).

Spam – Unsolicited
messages via email and social media in an attempt to force products and
services onto people that wouldn’t ordinarily choose to purchase them. Named after the tinned unique
blend of prime pork and ham luncheon.

Spider – A program that is used by search engines to “crawl” and feed webpages.

Subscribers – A person who likes your brand and/or content so much that they sign up to receive
updates and various privileges not available to ordinary non-subscribing folk.  



Traffic – Visitors
to a website and the measurement of the pages they visit. Internet marketers
monitor traffic closely to keep track of popularity and spot specific trends,
such as views from a particular age group or country.


URL – An acronym
for Uniform Resource Locator and a reference to a resource on the Web. To us
and you a URL is the website address that appears in the top bar of your
browser. For example,

Usability – the
ease of use of a website.

User Experience (UX)
how easy it is for a visitor to use a website. UX focusses on the design
and development of a site.


Webmaster – the
person who maintains a website.

Webmaster Tools – a
free service from Google designed to help Webmasters monitor, maintain and
improve the search presence of a website.

White Hat SEO the use of SEO methods and practices that adhere to search engine guidelines. The opposite of black hat SEO. See this article. 

No Comments

Post A Comment