SEO from PPC and your SEM from FTP

For many people who don’t live and breathe in the online world the concept of digital acronyms and jargon used in the business world can be as foreign as, well, a foreign language. To help give you a bit of a leg up in those baffling business meetings and presentations where the various phrases just seem to go over your head we provide you with a useful cheat-sheet/glossary of the more commonly used online terminology and their meaning in easy to understand format.

So without further ado here is a list of some of the terms you’re most likely to run across in those long strategy meetings.

Sources that bring traffic to your site

  • SEO stands for search engine optimization and describes the process of increasing the number of people who visit your site organically or naturally by optimising your site to rank highly in search engine results such as Google, within your targeted industry niche. Sometimes you might also hear people referring to SEO as organic search or organic traffic which is the as it grows naturally as you create more content and people linking to your pages without financial motive. While SEO does not guarantee an increase in traffic, the higher your site ranks in search engines such as Google the greater the chance of users clicking through to it meaning that if you do things right you will more often than not benefit. The more pages you optimise to rank organically in search engines, the more pathways you open for people to get to your site.
  • SEM stands for search engine marketing and is often referred to as paid searchsearch or PPC (Pay-Per-Click). SEM involves bidding on, but not necessarily buying, certain keywords and audiences within specific parameters such as location, language and advertising platform. If successful in the bid this then effectively becomes a pay-per-visitor system. Paid results generally appear above organic results making them easier to see and generating more visits to your site. This is an excellent traffic driving strategy for smaller or newer sites, which might not rank so well organically and an excellent strategy for larger sites that do rank organically to prevent competition from entering their space. SEM generally refers to paid search engine result page listings but can also be used for…
  • DisplayDisplay Network or Google Display Network (GDN) advertising focuses on banner display and text advertisements on various website across the web that have signed up with the Google network. These are the adverts that you might notice on your daily blog, news or weather site and forum.
  • SMM is the less commonly used term that stands for the much more commonly known social media marketing or social. It involves any and all marketing done through social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest among many others.
  • eDM stands for Electronic Digital Marketing, more commonly referred to as email marketing. This involves sending out targeted promotional and informative emails to a large number of users at once. The pre-requisite for any good email campaign is that users on that email list must opt-in to receive marketing content and updates from you. If this is not the case, such as with paid email lists, you are not doing eDM but rather spamming users and hurting your brand.
  • Referral traffic indicates any visitors that come to your site organically from external sites that do not include search engines. Even though referral traffic technically includes social media sites they are generally counted as a separate category.
  • Direct traffic refers to all the users that came to your website without being directed there by an outside source. This usually happens through users typing in the website address in the URL bar or via bookmarks. If direct traffic is your highest traffic driver you are either Google, Facebook or have a lot of visitors from inside your organization.

Common Success Measurements

  • Clicks are the most common success metric and refer to the number of times people click on your ads. Unique Clicks show how many unique individuals clicked your ads as opposed to clicks which include the same user clicking through multiple times.
  • Number of impressions indicates how many times your advertisement has potentially been seen. It does not necessarily mean that a user has seen your ad or message but that it has loaded on the page that the user visited. With SEM searches it indicates that the user has looked up a keyword that activated that ad, along with any organic results and any other potential SEM ads.
  • Impression share is a metric which tells you how much of the potential market share is viewing your ads. At 100% impressions share, everyone who searches for your target term or views the site with your ad has the potential to see your ad. At 50% only half of your audience has a chance to view your ad and so on.
  • CTR is an acronym for Click Through Rate and is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions. It gives a good idea of how well ads are performing, but should only be used as a guideline.
  • CPC stands for Cost Per Click and is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the total cost. It is a good indicator of ad performance, though not necessarily an important factor. The Cost Per Click model ensures that an ad only gets charged if a user clicks through to the site.
  • CPM or Cost Per One Thousand Impressions (M is the Roman numeral equivalent of 1,000) is an alternate costing method for advertisements. Rather than getting charged per click and ad gets charged for every thousand impressions. This can be the optimal model for high quality ads with a high Click Through Rate or for brand campaigns where you need to ensure that as many users see your ad.
  • CPA (Cost Per Action or Cost Per Acquisition) and CPL (Cost Per Lead) are usually some of the most important metrics when measuring the success of a campaign. A level deeper than CPC and CPM models, CPA/CPL looks at the cost of a lead or a sale and is calculated by dividing the number of acquisitions by the total cost.
  • Conversions are what most online advertising sites should measure ad and campaign performance on. Conversions may include visits, unique visitors, subscriptions, leads or sales depending on the website model and structure.
  • ROI is a common business term and stands for Return On Investment. In online terms this means taking into account all the revenue generated through the various online channels and subtracting the total spend from that figure.