A beginners guide to digital marketing terms

Marketers and web designers often like to use a lot of technical digital marketing terms and abbreviations in their daily work, and if you’re new to the industry, it’s easy to feel slightly, ok very intimidated by them, especially if the only abbreviations you are accustomed to using are more along the lines of OMG and YOLO.
Article by Simon Steed
Simplepage The Big Idea

Table of contents

Marketers and web designers often like to use a lot of technical digital marketing terms and abbreviations in their daily work, and if you’re new to the industry, it’s easy to feel slightly, ok very intimidated by them, especially if the only abbreviations you are accustomed to using are more along the lines of OMG and YOLO.

However, it's useful to get to grips with digital marketing terms as using acronyms is less time-consuming than saying a long complicated expression out aloud. More importantly, having a variety of technical terms in your arsenal will help give your clients and colleages more confidence in you.

As a result, we've put together a guide to digital marketing terms using a range of internet slang that will hopefully get you on your way to speaking like a digital marketing professional.

CMS (Content Management System i.e. Wordpress, Umbraco, Magento, Sitecore etc)

This is an interface or application (program, software etc) that allows for the easy editing and management of the content upon a site. The most popular is WordPress powering around 28% of the internet. We specialise in Umbraco and Wordpress development here at Simplepage.com.

SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)

You know the drill: you type a search term into Google, press enter and you are given a page that displays a list of websites that are most relevant to your particular search entry. Now, I know that you have almost certainly been lying awake at night, feverishly wondering, ‘what is the technical term for the page that displays search results?’ Well, you can rest at ease because the answer is ‘SERP’. This term does not only refer to search results pages brought up by Google, although this is definitely the heavyweight in the SERP category. The term can also be used in association with results pages brought up by any search engine, including Bing, Yahoo or everyone’s favourite butler, Jeeves (does anyone still actually use Jeeves?).

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

This is the practice of optimising a website’s ranking on SERPs, both through on-page activities such as keyword research and content optimisation and off-page tactics such as link building. An effective SEO strategy helps to ensure that a site appears nearer the top of the results page, improving the likelihood that it will be seen by people browsing the web. This in turn helps to increase the number of clicks through onto the site itself.

Ignore SEO and your website will slowly sink further down towards the bottom of the results page, much like the ratings of Donald Trump!.

PPC (Pay Per Click)

Years ago, I thought this was something from another planet, however I now know it means Pay Per Click i.e. pay Google, Bing, Yahoo etc so place my listings higher in the search engines. Whilst SEO strategies bring a certain amount of attention to your website, you can take your site directly to the top of the top of the SERPs with a PPC advert.

Pay per click, sometimes confusingly and incorrectly referred to as cost per click (CPC), refers to an advert that is published on a website or SERP. Every time an ad is clicked on, the advertiser has to pay a fee to the search engine. The most common form of PPC ads are the ones found at the top of Google’s results page.

CPC (Cost Per Click)

CPC is relating to how much each click costs you in a PPC campaign. Keywords are weighted based upon their popularity. The more popular they are, the more they cost you to bid upon in your campaigns. Each time someone clicks upon your advert, it will cost you a specific amount, this is CPC.

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation)

Whilst tactics such as SEO and PPC help to drive more traffic to your website from SERPs , conversion rate optimisation improves the likelihood that a user will end up ‘converting’ once they are on the site itself – whether this be by subscribing to a newsletter or blog, or purchasing products and services advertised by the website. Examples of CRO strategies include introducing pop-up subscription forms or ensuring that a Call To Action is easily identifiable and appealing.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

We all use computerized devices on a regular basis, but how well does the average person really understand them? If you’re looking to develop a more intimate connection with modern man’s best friend, you can start by improving your understanding of HTML.

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language, and is a programming language used to build websites - in fact, every single website in the world uses HTML to display their wares! Essentially, it’s used to communicate with the computer to let it know how you would like a web page to appear on the screen. Once you have learnt some basic HTML, you will be able to make fonts bold or italic, denote headings, insert hyperlinks and alter text colours by making changes within the code.

However, like human beings, computers use a wide range of languages. If you really want to be the Doctor Dolittle of computers, there are several other languages that you will have to learn, including Javascript and CSS.

UX (User Experience)

UX stands for User eXperience and refers to the overall feel and user interaction with the website, how well it performs when it is being used, and generally how easy and intuitive a site is to use. One of the main aims of a web designer is to ensure that a website provides a good UX.


In the digital marketing world, the term organic does not refer to free-range banana (as nice as this would be), it's actually more often used in relation to Search Results. These are the search results that appear naturally on SERPs and are by far the most preferred search results available from a marketing point of view. On Google, organic results appear below the inorganic PPC adverts. It is these results that the practice of SEO is concerned with. ‘Organic search’ is in direct opposition with ‘paid search’.


This used to refer to any written content that appears on a webpage .

Meta Tags (Heading and Descriptions)

A META heading is the title of a webpage or article that appears on SERPs, although it is not necessarily the heading that appears on the actual page.

A META description is the text that appears under the META heading that provides a description of what the post is about.


Keyword is the technical term for the words that a user puts into a search engine. For example, if you found this guide completely unusable, you could search for an alternative one by typing a keyword phrase such as ‘digital marketing terms’. Hopefully if the SEO has been done well for this blog post, searching for 'digital marketing terms' will show us towards the top :)

Head Keywords

These are popular phrases that people enter into search engines. They tend to be broad terms which receive a high number of average monthly searches. Head keywords are normally highly competitive with lots of companies attempting to rank well in search engines for these particular search terms. In relation to this article, for example, head keywords could include search terms such as ‘digital marketing’, ‘web design’ and ‘SEO’.

Longtail Keywords

These are longer, more specific phrases that people enter into search engines. If you were searching for this article, a long tail search term might be something along the lines of ‘beginners guide to digital marketing terms’. Most long tail keywords are four or five words long.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free online tool (although there are paid options) which can be used to analyse the performance of a website. You can use it to monitor the amount of time that users spend on particular pages of a website, the number of hits that each page receives, the age demographic of users, and to track the most common paths that users take whilst navigating through the website – amongst other things.


Plugins are additional features that you can add to a core CMS which enhance its functionality in conjunction with the user’s requirements. WordPress has more than 30,000 plugins. Yoast SEO is an example of a plugin that you can install for a WordPress site which helps the user to optimise content for SEO purposes.


A website’s breadcrumb is a virtualised trail that records each page you click on as you move deeper into the website. This serves to make the overall site easier to navigate and prevents the user from becoming lost in a messy hierarchy of pages.

Now when someone says something along the lines of, ‘there’s no point implementing SEO and PPC strategies if you’re not doing CRO’, you will stand a better chance of knowing what they mean!

If you’ve found this article useful, consider giving it a quick share on Facebook or Twitter, or feel free to add any of your favourite terms or definitions in the comments box below.

If you need help navigating the world of digital marketing, consider our SEO services to help you plan and execute the perfect marketing strategy for your business.