The Basic Online Marketing Dictionary

online marketing dictionary

When trying to meet the needs of our clients, some of them have difficulty putting these needs into words. They may understand that they need to utilize tools like local SEO to get more customers and grow their business, even if they truly have no idea what “SEO” really stands for. This confusion lead us to think that an online marketing dictionary would really be beneficial!

We empathize with those that find these concepts overwhelmingly complex, especially when technical jargon is being tossed around casually. Rest assured that part of our job as digital marketers and writers is to learn about these concepts ourselves so that we can communicate more effectively both with clients and with others in our field.

In other words, we have had to learn about these things just like you, often taking concepts on one bite at a time.

To help you work through this process faster, here is a list of digital marketing terms that enable you to grasp not only what you need for people to find you online, but also what you need to impress your potential clients.


Digital Marketing

Starting with the absolute basics, digital marketing is a branch of marketing that embraces the needs of online systems and the communities that populate them. Simplified even more: digital marketing is often the same thing as online marketing.

With regular marketing, businesses are expected to learn about their target audience, their needs and wants, what sort of offerings they respond to and how to best provide those offerings with a method that prompts action.

An example of a company that has impeccable marketing is Apple. Their high-quality products are often priced far above other competitors, but because of their prestige and design they still garner a loyal following.

Digital marketing focuses on how online audiences discover a product or service and how these audiences go about deciding whether or not purchasing it is right for them. As a result, digital marketing is part advertising, part educating and part finding methods to increase the online visibility of your company as a whole.



A query is a search term entered into a search engine, such as “hardware store Marietta, GA” or “best place to order motorcycle parts.”



SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” It has become the primary method that businesses use to obtain a competitive edge online. Since a majority of local purchase decisions start from using a search engine like Google these days, taking steps to optimize your business’s page in order for them to appear on search engines is an important strategy.


Local SEO

Local SEO is an approach to SEO that aims to effectively target a certain local market.

How do businesses go about accomplishing local SEO? There are many available methods, including:


  • Writing high-quality text on every web page while using keyword-rich phrasing
  • Developing a content strategy that involves publishing high-quality informational posts on your business’s blog, also while using keyword-rich vocabulary
  • Interlinking all your business’s pages on social media, on local business listings and within your website so that all of your information is connected, including the keywords you use
  • Configuring the code of your web pages, such as the metadata, for search engines to more easily identify your page with certain searches like your business name or your field of expertise
  • Completing pages in areas that increase your visibility online, such as creating a Google business page and claiming available local citations



SEM stands for “Search Engine Marketing.” It includes local SEO strategies as well as other methods like paid advertising on search engines.



SERP stands for “search engine results page.” Ideally, your business will have good enough local SEO that you will be near the top of the list on the first page of results when someone searches online, making them more likely to click on your post over others.


Display Advertising

Also frequently called just “display ads” or “display,” this form of advertising consists of images and text displayed somewhere. Magazine ads count as “display,” but when referred to in a digital context, display ads are often paid-for ads that appear on search engines, social media and other web pages. Think of it as a better term for “banner” ads.



PPC stands for “pay per click.” This method of display advertising only costs you money when someone clicks on the ad. Because Google’s PPC ads only show up in relation to certain queries or demographics, it can be a useful tool for researching what your audience responds to.



PPM stands for “pay per mille,” where “mille” means that a display ad has been viewed a thousand times. This type of ad may be more costly because businesses pay for ads even when no one clicks on them.



An exposure is a time your ad or web page listing was seen. Since someone hitting “refresh” on a page counts as a new exposure, every exposure does not necessarily represent a different person.



CTR stands for “click through rate.” This measurement corresponds to the ratio or percentage of people who saw your ad or page and clicked on it versus those who saw it and ignored it.


Conversion Action

Often just called a “conversion,” this is the step you want someone to take next after they see your marketing materials.

For example, an email message asking someone to sign up for a new service could count new signups as a “conversion.” You could also count merely opening the email as a conversion, depending on the action you want to emphasize.

Like CTR, the conversion rate is the number of people exposed to your request divided by those that actually heeded it.



This refers to the process of analyzing the traffic data of your web pages or display ads. You can see information like CTR, conversion rate, how effective you are at reaching certain segments and more generally how many people have viewed your page in the past few days.



“Copy” is technically any form of written text, as opposed to graphical elements like pictures or structural elements like a news story headline.

Copywriting can refer to creating ad-slogan-like phrases to dress up pages and display ads, or copywriting can refer to the simple act of writing catchy text for your web page.



CTA stands for “call to action.” This marketing mainstay is a command for anyone who sees the marketing piece to take some sort of action.

For example, a fast food place encouraging someone to try a new Western burger or take advantage of a promotional offer has a clear CTA. Even asking someone to look at another article on your website after reading a first one counts as a CTA.

Those that successfully follow the CTA could be said to take conversion actions as described above.


Content Marketing

Any time someone uploads an article, a picture or pretty much anything online with the intention that someone will view it, it counts as “content.” Therefore, content marketing is the approach of creating high-quality content with the intent that it will simultaneously attract more people to view the content while encouraging search engines to offer the content as a result in response to a search.

For example, a real estate company that makes an article about ways to sell your home quicker may encourage Google to display their article when someone searches “how to sell home fast.”

Content marketing is Optimized Scribes’ bread and butter. Recent Google updates have placed an emphasis on only retrieving web pages that have intelligent, high-quality content in relation to someone’s search query. Other methods like paid display, PPC or simply repeating keyword phrases over and over have lost effectiveness compared to a solidly-executed local SEO content marketing campaign.

Best of all, when you fill your site with great content, you improve the image of your business and encourage people to share your content through venues like social media, growing both the size and value of your audience.



A segment is a target demographic that your company wants to turn into customers. For instance, women between the ages of 25 and 65 could be a segment, as could all motorcycle owners who live within an hour drive of Norcross, GA.


Landing Page

A landing page is a single webpage functioning as a dedicated marketing tool. The page is often short, has persuasive information on it and requests visitors to take another action in response. People often end up on landing pages after clicking a paid ad or clicking on a piece of content from social media or a blog.

For example, someone may see a Facebook ad for “Pond landscaping for only $200!” If they click on the ad, they might be taken to a landing page that explains the deal along with its benefits and asks people to submit their email in order to book a consultation appointment.


Still Confused About Basic Online Marketing Strategies?

If you’re still a bit lost on this whole “online marketing” thing, you aren’t alone. Small business owners all over the country are consistently finding themselves struggling to keep up with today’s digital age. It seems as soon as you may have a grasp on digital marketing, the rules suddenly change. The good news is that you don’t have to handle it by yourself.

As professional writers and marketers, we love nothing more than breaking down tough subjects into concepts that are easy to understand. If you are still puzzled by terms you see related to digital marketing, local SEO or any other realm, then do not hesitate to contact us and learn more.

Categories: Internet Marketing

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