Search Engine Marketing Glossary: Getting started

There is a seemingly never-ending list of acronyms bandied around the digital ecosystem, so we wanted to de-mystify any unknowns. Here is a starter list of all-you-need-know for Search Engine Marketing.

Generic terms and acronyms

  • Definition of Keyword

A keyword is a search term that is relevant to a website’s line of products and/or services, e.g. ‘plastic surgeon’ for an industry specific site

  • Definition of Keyphrase/Keyword Stem

A keyphrase is a string of keywords, e.g. New York City, marketing agency, marketing services for businesses

  • Definition of Landing Page

A landing page is a specific online page designed as a visitor point of entry that typically contains a targeted selling proposition and a call to action (CTA) that relates to the original search query

  • Definition of Search Engine

A web-based service that locates relevant content within its index of web-crawled sites and/or paid advertising from its advertiser base. Think Google, Bing or Yahoo 

  • Definition of Search Query

A search query is the keyword that search engine users type into the search query box

  • Definition of SERP(s)

Search Engine Result Page(s) (SERP), are where results of a search query are listed

  • Definition of SEM

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is an umbrella term for internet marketing on search engines (such as web, online marketing, or advertising), which includes 1) sponsored search and 2) search engine optimization (SEO)

  • Definition of Traffic Analytics

Traffic analytics ie. web analytics, is a website tracking system that reports information on visitors such as traffic origination, on-site behavior, demographic analysis, visit paths, and the technology used to access that specific site e.g. Google Analytics

Definition of Keyword Bid

A keyword bid is the $ amount that an advertiser is willing to pay to display an ad relative to the competition

  • Definition of Broad/Advanced Match

Broad/Advanced Match is a keyword matching option that allows ads to show under search queries that contain the actual keywords that are bid on, as well as variations such as synonyms, singular/plural forms, and keyword ordering

  • Definition of CPC

The Cost Per Click (CPC) is the actual click cost, equating to the exact or lower amount of the advertiser’s maximum keyword bid depending on ad performance, quality score, and competing bids

  • Definition of CTR

The Click Through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of clicks to impressions, e.g. if 10 users clicked on an ad out of the 100 times that it displayed, the CTR is 0.10 or 10%

  • Definition of Impression

An ad impression is the instance of an ad showing in a SERP or a page belonging to a search engine’s content network

  • Definition of Negative Keyword

As a broad/advanced match buffer, negative keywords function as a filter to prevent an ad from showing under unwanted irrelevant search queries, e.g. for ‘New York agency’, if ‘Baltimore agency’ is set as an exact negative keyword, the search query ‘Baltimore agency’ will not trigger an ad impression

  • Definition of PPC

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) refers to a form of sponsored search advertising where advertisers are only charged when their ads are clicked on by users

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